Remedy Quarterly Issue 6 from Kelly Carambula
I am so pleased to announce that a story about my young days as a punk rock zinester back in Portland, Oregon has been published in the wonderful journal Remedy Quarterly. Run by Kelly Carambula of the fantastic food (and lovely cocktail) blog Eat Make Read, the publication features “Stories of food, recipes for feeling good.” Each issue is put together around a theme and the newly released issue number six has “Stealing” as its binding idea. As with anything theme driven it’s really fun to see how each author interpreted that theme. My piece takes on the late 1990’s punk community’s views on stealing and how we used that to our advantage to help feed hungry zinesters at the first Portland Zine Symposium in 2001. It also features a recipe for my potluck standby, peanut tofu noodles.
Not only is Remedy Quarterly a pleasure to read, but it is beautifully designed. It even features original fonts by Aaron Carambula, among others. In this digital age it’s nice to find a beautiful magazine you can hold in your hand, so the article is only available in the paper journal. Treat yourself! And why not subscribe and support independent publishing and cooking?
And yes, I totally cross posted this to my food blog, 2 Cooks in the Kitchen.
The other week I went to the Brooklyn Bloggers meetup at the Bell House with my friend Laura of the blog Eating the Beats. It was my first time going to an event consciously as a “blogger,” and despite having written on Killerfemme for the past few years I’ve been hesitant to really identify as being a blogger versus simply being a person who has a blog. All told, the Brooklyn Blog meetup was fun. I talked to bloggers who write about New York nachos, tech and gadgets from a girl’s perspective, writers for Broeklyn, and a brave young woman who writes about being broke and navigating New York’s dating scene. It was nice to hear people’s interesting ideas and find out about how they are crafting their blogs. However, I also feel like I’ve come to blogging too late to really get into it without seeing the bold commercialism that is behind so many blogs now. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but blogs are often seen as a means to another end, which is fine, if that’s your goal. While I too would love a book contract and/or a regular byline, I don’t necessarily think my personal blog will be my ticket to my dreams as a writer.
Mostly I feel like I haven’t found my blogging “community” yet. Perhaps it’s because of the vastness of the blogosphere (if we can even call it that anymore), but I don’t feel like I’ve found bloggers who share my ideas, values and aesthetics. In fact, most of the blogs I read are in French. While I thoroughly enjoy those blogs, it’s hard to connect with those writers when I write in a different language, even if I comment on their entries en francais.
This made me think back to when I started making my personal zine Induglence in 1998. When I first encountered zines I knew immediately that I would make one myself. The concept of publishing one’s own personal writing made sense to me innately, especially as a teenager, because I knew that I could not expect anyone else to publish my work. Perhaps because I knew exactly the kind of writers I wanted to connect with—I would describe them loosely as young feminists interested in art, queer politics, and music—it was easier for me to immerse myself in the zine community. I felt like over the course of two or so years I was able to build up an audience for my zine and also a network of close friends, penpals and fellow zinesters that I felt I shared something in common with. My connection to and beleif in the power of the zine network extended into helping found the Portland Zine Symposium in 2001. It continues to resonate into my adult life because some of my closest friends (and neighbors) are women I met through zines over 10 years ago.
Perhaps its because I have close friends now that I don’t feel the same urgency to seek out people to connect with through blogs. However, I also feel like I am writing in a vacuum, and some days that makes me wonder if I should even continue to bother with this blog. Keeping a blog (and keeping it up more regularly and diligently) has reminded me about the whole reason I started making zines and keeping a blog to begin with: to write. Being a writer has been my dream ever since I was a little girl and it is something I am determined to make a reality in my thirties. I know it’s harder now than ever to distinguish oneself, one’s voice, one’s ideas, and one’s blog (especially if I don’t have hundreds of dollars and hours to sink into the design and hosting of it), but I also feel like its much easier for me to find opportunities to publish and connect with wider audiences nowadays. For me, I feel like blogging and writing for other web-based publications holds a lot of promise. We’ll see what the future will bring.
Hopefully in the next decade I'll be able to write a better novel than Ida the cat.
Jenna, my favorite blue haired zine librarian, was recently donated my old zines for the Barnard Zine Library collection. She put up a recipe for vegan chocolate chip cookies which I published in Indulgence #6. Yum! The thing that she didn’t say was that the recipe is from the Canadian label Endearing Records (who are amazingly still around!) mailing email list. I must have received that recipe in 1998? I suppose I’ve made it my own now, but credit where credit is due.
After four years I made a new issue of Indulgence! True to form, this one is essays about my life, but I’ve shifted from political analysis to personal introspection, framed by places I’ve lived or visited. There are three essays about Paris, Portland, and Brooklyn, and the cover is printed on the Print Gocco and it is hand bound. Of course. I never staple. If you would like to receive one in the mail, please paypal me $3 to killerfemme (at) yahoo.com. I’d also trade for your zine/art proroject or a really good letter. Thanks!
Several weeks ago (time is going too fast!) there was a zine reading at ABC No Rio as part of their “Art of Zines” show. It was pretty awesome to hear some old school zinesters like LJ and Elissa Nelson read. I thought about how not only had I started reading their zines about 10 years ago, but how amazing it is that we have become friends. There has been a small amount of zine activity around the city lately (I taught a workshop and attended a reading at Think Coffee the week previous) and I find that so interesting and important. Even though I’m not always sure what the power of zines are in the digital age, I know they have power. Seeing all the zines also motivated me to finally finish a new one. It’s going to be about art (big suprise) and especially about art I hate (nothing like a good rant for a zine, right?).
One of the higlights of my time at Bookworks, besides seeing the show and a space where awesome people create beautiful things, was getting to talk to a group of teenage girls and their parents about making zines. I find it funny that wherever I go my Museum Educator skills are being put into practice, but I enjoy it. It was wonderful to talk about what it was like to start making a zine when I was the girls age in a rural place not unlike Asheville and where zine making has brought me. Even though I haven’t made a personal zine in three years, I still really connected to zine making and the desire to create and share personal work with the hope of connecting with others and sharing ideas about changing the world (and yes, I really beleive that) . So the idea that I could encourage teenage girls to create a zine (or anything, really) was pretty intensely moving and fun as well. I should mention here that Bookworks offers zine making and other cool classes for teenagers as well as adults. At the closing of the show the teenagers in the zine making class will get to show off the zines they have made in the workshop. This is such a great idea because it adds to the conversation of zine making and combining zines and bookarts. Bring on the next generation of zinesters!
Sara Jaffe’s zines, with Amy Greenan’s in the background, plus the beautiful show poster!