On Zines and Zinesters
This past weekend I participated in Zinefest Houston - one of my favorite local events. In this event, local paper artists create zines to sell--small, hand-made, individual books, pamphlets, and other paper ephemera. I've participated twice and I always enjoy this well-crafted event. What I like about Zinefest is the audience. It's mostly young people who are interested in meeting other writers and artists. It's also one of the most diverse and well-attended events I go to every year. I always end up meeting some lovely folks!
For me, the zine is about vulnerability. You can put something in a zine that you might not want to put online. You can also show off your skills with your hands. Each zine I make is hand-folded, hand-cut, or hand-colored. In this way, zines are ephemeral and special. Like chapbooks, they usually focus on one specific theme. I love making them and buying them because I always learn new ways to play with paper. We often forget that paper is what physically connects us to readers. It's a precious resource. Perhaps this is why most of my writing starts out as a handwritten draft. That connection to paper propels my imagination. It says, it's okay to make a mistake, in a way that Word, with its myriad of editing options, doesn't.
Zinesters are some of the coolest people I've ever met. They might seem strange to outsiders, but every time I'm around them I feel at ease. It's like finding your tribe.
I'm already thinking up new ideas for next year's festival!
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About the Author
Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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