The World of Zines: Your Truth

I was interested by the fact that Carnegie Library had so many different zines to choose from and I think if I had been given access to them at my former high school library then my knowledge of literature would have been more properly expanded upon early on. It’s amazing how literature can have many different layers and it’s quite exciting getting to peel back these layers as you get older or even as you meet new people who introduce you to new types of literature. Our publishing course was my main introduction to the subject of zines, although I swear I’ve heard the term at least once or twice before recently coming into this course. The zine was something I’d heard of as an online ordeal and I had never seen real close-up examples of zines until now. I’m happy to hear that literature isn’t 100% online and it’s easy to see that zines are a smaller part of the reason why that is.

Nicey Hatey ©
Photo courtesy of Amanda Moyher

Becoming more acquainted with the subject of zines and their overall look and purpose, or lack thereof was a very liberating experience for me as a reader and as a writer. I love how unorthodox and zany they all seem to be. None of the zines I looked through at Carnegie Library were completely “normal”, given the sense that a regular shmegular book or work produced by the Big Six is what we consider to be normal nowadays. The zine could not be farther from a Big Six book and that, to me, is highly refreshing. The zines I looked at were all very small, which means for easier transport and sharing. Not everyone can take an entire book series with them on the subway, unless they download it to their smart devices, which wouldn’t be fun at all. I imagine a zine to be something of a small “Bible” you can take with you anywhere and show to anyone. Hopefully comparing a bible to a zine is not seen as offensive – perhaps what I mean to say is that the Bible was created with “the truth” of God and all these holy figures in mind and was meant to be shared through word-of-mouth and by physically passing it along to other people. I believe that zines are similar in that they, too, were written with the author’s personal truth in mind and can be passed around between people.

HUGS in Nicey Hatey ©
Photo Courtesy of Amanda Moyher

My favorite zine out of all the ones I looked at was a tall and slender zine called Nicey Hatey and I’m 100% convinced that some higher power allowed me to find this particular zine so that I could be inspired to make my own in the future. Nicey Hatey is a brilliant zine that looks like a pamphlet with contents that are nowhere similar to what a conventional pamphlet entails – unless pamphlets were created with the purpose of complaining about nuisances and speaking your mind without the concern of others. The I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude that perforated my very careful and kind demeanor caught my attention the minute I first read the piece called HUGS. This was the moment I knew I wasn’t in my comfort zone anymore and I was okay with that. Having the ability to use a zine as a means to share your thoughts about anything and everything you want is not only freeing for the author(s), but it can be equally freeing for the reader as well. If you ever want to share your opinions with a group of people, but you’re trepidatious about people in the Twitter-sphere coming at you with harsh criticisms: make a zine. Your truth might just find the right people within a smaller community when they really need it the most.

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Zines

2 thoughts on “The World of Zines: Your Truth”

  1. You touch on two of my favorite things about zines here: the fact that so many remain physical, vs. online (even though “online” distribution would seem to suit their – defining? – purpose of getting thoughts/message “out there”), and the fact that they are, despite being physical ‘publications,’ so insistently informal in tone. To put something “in print” is, traditionally, to formalize it – but, with zines, print resists formality while relishing in the handmade physicality of the print medium. They remind me of letters, telegrams, in that sense.

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