Winter Reading List

It’s been a long time since I first wrote about my relationship with zines here in Portland. And while I haven’t written much about it since then on this blog, believe me, I am still ultra-involved in getting ready for the next Portland Zine Symposium. In fact, (shameless plug) we are having an open meeting for anyone interested in becoming an organizer for the event this Wednesday, Dec. 5 at 7pm at the IPRC, and also, we’re having a mini zine fest called Amazine Day (also at the IPRC) from 2-6 on Saturday, Dec. 8. There will be pizza, beer, and sodas, along with lots of handmade zines and other self-published items for sale and trade. It’s free to attend, $5 to table (sign-ups are in-person only at the IPRC.) It’s going to be great! All you Portlanders, come join us.

OK, on to the real reason for this post. I wanted to introduce you to some of my favorite zinesters. All three of them that I will feature today happen to be women, and they all make fantastic zines. Let’s start with something local:

Show and Tell #10 by Rachel Lee-Carman
Show and Tell #10 by Rachel Lee-Carman

Rachel Lee-Carman lives in Bend, Oregon, and she writes a zine called Show and Tell, which is truly one of my favorite zines to marvel at. Rachel uses her own drawings and doodles to illustrate and convey her thoughts, observations, conversations, dreams, DIY tips, and other information. She writes a lot about the community in Bend, including stories about her friends and the things she learns from them. I’ve heard her zine described as eco-spiritual, which makes sense to me but sounds a little off-putting at the same time. Trust me, this is not off-putting. Rachel’s zines have a way of pulling me into her world. Like some of the best zines, she invites you into her brain and let’s you walk around for awhile. The result is something magical, pure, and serendipitous. Show and Tell is completely hand-crafted, which adds to its charm. There are no perfectly straight lines or page numbers. It’s just an awesome jumble of comics, thoughts, and stories woven together using many different visual elements—photographs, drawings, collage, paint, handwriting, and type-written text. I am SO EXCITED when I get my hands on a new issue of this zine and have a hard time even waiting until I get home to immerse myself in Rachel’s beautiful view of the world.

Show and Tell #10
Show and Tell #10

Check it out for yourself. You can pick up her zines locally at Portland Button Works, or you can get them through the Ms. Valerie Park Distro in Olympia, Washington (looks like Rachel did the art for their website, too!) Also, one of the coolest parts about the zine world is that zine writers typically LOVE getting feedback and hearing from people directly. To contact Rachel herself, write to rcarman AT gmail DOT com.

Another one of my favorite local (for awhile) zinesters is Korinna, who writes the zine Roots of Hope.

Roots of Hope #2 and #4 by Korinna
Roots of Hope #2 and #4 by Korinna

Korinna’s zines make me want to ditch my comfortable apartment-dwelling lifestyle, sell all my possessions, and see where life takes me. This is probably because most of the issues of Roots of Hope have detailed Korinna’s incredible traveling adventures. I picked up a stack of Korinna’s zines at the 2011 Portland Zine Symposium, and when I picked them up to start reading, I could not stop until they were finished, which is quite a feat since they are pretty thick text-heavy zines. I was up until one in the morning that first day, my head swimming with thoughts of Nicaragua, Belize, Colombia, Peru. Korinna writes perceptively about traveling around these countries with just her backpack and a vague plan about what she will do as a white American woman, and her bravery blows me away every time. She is a passionate person, and her writing reflects the incredible spiritual and emotional journeys that she makes amidst her Central and South American travels in incredible detail. Probably the most memorable story she tells is her experience living on a commune, which appears in Roots of Hope #3. Her zines are mostly text along with pictures from her travels. Korinna is currently living in Oaxaca, Mexico and writes about her experiences there on her blog.

Not sure how many of Korinna’s zines are still available, but you can at least get Roots of Hope #2 from Stranger Danger Distro out of Chicago. You can contact Korinna directly at rockstarwithwords AT yahoo DOT com.

And lastly, I’d like to introduce you to Truckface zine, written by LB.

Truckface #8, 10, 11, 12, 15 by LB
Truckface #8, 10, 11, 12, 15 by LB

This is one of my all-time favorite zines, by far. It’s another text-heavy zine, although LB also draws and handwrites some parts of it. Her issues have pretty much exclusively focused on her experiences as a teacher in an inner-city neighborhood in Chicago. While her previous issues touched on a lot of other things—becoming an adult, gender, sexuality, playing in a punk band, drinking, wild adventures—her writing about being a teacher is definitely my favorite. She writes about the incredible fatigue, worry, and anxiety that teaching brings out in her, while simultaneously explaining that it is what she absolutely loves to do. She loves her kids and her class, but the challenges that they face as students and young adults, as well as the challenges that she faces as a teacher seem overwhelming much of the time. Truckface is essential reading for anyone interested in education or becoming a teacher. She writes about working for social change starting at the classroom level, combatting violence, racism, homophobia, in addition to showing students how to channel all the angsty awkwardness that comes with being a high school student into something great. Truckface was one of my first favorite zines, and I still actively look forward to any and all new issues that LB writes.

You can get Truckface from Stranger Danger Distro, which LB used to run, but is now being run by an awesome lady named Heather. It’s one of my favorite distros, and where I used to get most of my zines when I still lived on the East Coast.

Happy zine reading!

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