zines

Like lots of people that were/are active in punk rock, I used to make zines (in addition to blogging) before I got distracted by life and the internet generally. This is a list of the zines that I made; if you meander over to the “published things and zines and such” tab you can find where to buy the current digital versions of these.

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Coup de Gras (2006)

“My family and I spent days watching television, obsessively searching weather.com and nola.com for news with increasing horror, sadness, and worry.  I had never before realized that radar images on a weather report can give you that creeping, angry, scared feeling in your stomach–the feeling I usually associate with horror movies.  It was like September 11th, when none of us could leave our televisions, except it lasted for days and days.  I watched as news of the destruction of the levees started to spread.  I watched people huddling on rooftops, retreating to the highway interchanges, waving at news helicopters, begging for rescue.  I watched people walk on the railroad tracks out of town, carrying literally all of their possessions with them.  I watched policemen, firemen, National Guardsmen, Coast Guardsmen, and plain old ordinary citizens with boats fish each other out of the water.  I watched the mayor talk of thousands of bodies; the fire chief say that they weren’t collecting bodies because they were so overwhelmed trying to help the living.  Water was rising in the hospitals, nursing homes, lapping at the steps of the Superdome, and there was no way to evacuate any of the people inside.  I watched the cavalry arrive–finally–in the city on Friday, September 2nd, days after the levees broke.  80% of the city was underwater, looting spread, and government officials didn’t seem to be able to prioritize.  And I tried to come to grips with the fact that I was in love with a city that no longer existed…Can one person really make a difference?  Can one person, in a disaster area as big and total as the Gulf Coast, make any difference at all?  I’ve been told all my life that you do what you can, and that’s enough.  Growing up in America, the myth that one person can change the world is something you take in in preschool.  But the people who told me that said it before Hurricane Katrina rolled through our lives.  And if I’m not making a measurable difference, am I just feeling good about myself, instead of good about the work that I’m doing?  There’s a kind of vanity in goodness, as Madeleine L’Engle says.  I didn’t want to go down there and just spin my wheels feeling good about myself.  Is that what I did?  I don’t know.  Maybe you will, after you’re finished reading this.”

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Spandrel #1 (2008)

“I was walking up the steps in my apartment building.  Courier bag on my shoulders, groceries in one arm, mail and jacket in the other.  Trying to shake out my keys.  Not noticing my shoelace untied until I stepped on it, tried to lift my foot, lurched forward because I’d already started to shift my weight.  Unable to catch myself because my arms were immobilized.  Then I was rolling back down the stairs, groceries spilling, mail scattering, CD cases in my bag breaking my fall.  I lay flat on my back on the landing, staring at the ceiling, feeling the broken eggs slowly seep through my shirt, sticking to my skin.

“You know, I thought, staring at the flickering florescent light above me, this is definitely indicative of what my life has become.”

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Spandrel #2 (2009)

“What ‘Tobacco Island’ and ‘San Patricios’ tell me is not a story of when the Irish allied themselves with the ‘other’…but rather stories of a time when the Irish were the other.  When the White power structure thought that killing an Irishman was no more great thing than killing a dog, when the Irish were less of an investment than African slaves and treated just as cruelly.  It wasn’t so long ago, in the New World Colonies and in Old World Britain, that the Irish were n***ers.  When ‘papist’ was a savage insult synonymous with ‘barbarian.’  When the so-called civilized English committed acts so atrocious as to rival the Nazi concentration camps or the Russian pogroms of 300 years later.  And while it’s important to recognize the WASPy demographic of America’s power structure, it’s also important to realize (especially as we try to change said demographic) that the definition of “white” in America has changed a lot over the past four hundred years.  The power structure is mutable and always changing in small ways.

“…Only a generation ago, we as a nation wondered, not if a black person or a woman could be president, but if a Catholic could be.  It wasn’t more than a generation back that Irish-Americans were raising funds and arms for Sinn Fein and the IRA.  Would the English say their society is post-Irish?  They just pulled active troops out of Northern Ireland in 2007.  Would the residents of Northern Ireland say they’re post-Catholic or post-Protestant, just because the bombs have stopped and nobody’s on hunger strike, and folks are talking about painting over the war murals?

“I don’t know.  I know we’re not post-gender because I have a boss who thinks Ladies Night is sexual discrimination and who freely admits visiting tittie bars…And I would say we’re not post-race simply because Obama’s election is such an earth-shattering thing.  We’re not post-race when white people and black people have such radically different American experiences, and when Latinos aren’t counted as American at all.  Maybe when those things change–maybe when we finally actually integrate–we’ll be post-race.  And maybe then we’ll be post-Irish.

“But I doubt it.”

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Noise Gate #1 (2008)

“My favorite bands are the Mighty Mighty Bosstones and the Clash.  I can do a pretty badass cover of ‘Pissing in a River’ by Patti Smith.  Cargo pants are my most favorite item of clothing ever.  I’ve been a roadie and a band member, and discovered pretty early that as a girl, the first thing you do is go grab the heaviest piece of equipment there is because otherwise, no one takes you seriously or assumes you can’t lift the heavy shit.  I’m vegetarian (vegan when not on tour), and straight edge, and a red belt in tae kwon do.  And I love punk.  I fucking love it.  With every possible part of my soul.  Punk was the first place I ever felt safe, ever felt accepted.  I’d give my life for it.  I have given my life to it.  I don’t want anything more from life than to be a part of it, and find more lost kids, and let them be a part of it.

“It sounds dumb and corny, but then, I can be pretty damn corny.  I have a decidedly un-punk sentimental streak.

“So maybe you can understand, to a certain extent, how I felt when I woke up in 2002 and realized I was deaf.”

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Noise Gate #2 (2008)

“I know exactly how Vincent Van Gogh felt when he cut off his ear.  He had tinnitus, really bad tinnitus, and some people thank that’s what drove him crazy enough to cut off his ear in a ruthless attempt to make the noise stop.  It didn’t work, of course, because the problem was in his inner ear.  I wonder how he felt when he woke up to the realization that he’d mutilated himself, caused himself unimaginable pain, and gained absolutely nothing.  That must be the height of futility, right there.

“I know how he felt, even if I have the opposite problem–not the inability to make a noise stop, but the inability to start it.  And I know on an intellectual level–as Van Gogh probably knew–that cracking my own head open, that opening up my ear canal with a razor blade, will not make me hear.  I know that when a surgeon’s fine blade and an audiologist’s digitally enhanced hearing aids can do nothing for me, I should not try to make blunt, imprecise progress with a rock.  And I know that Van Gogh committed suicide when he was 37, so his emotional life is not something I should try to emulate or take comfort in.  But sometimes it’s the only thing I want to do.  Sometimes it seems eminently practical.  And that’s when I better call somebody.  Sit in a room with no sharps in it.  Keep myself away from all weapons, because I can’t trust myself not to take advantage of opportunities.”

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Slice Magazine #1 (2007)

“Jake keeps having the same dream, night after night.  He figures that it’s some illogical mixture of his daytime wanderings through the New Mexico mountains combined with his constant god-awful skittishness.  In the dream, he’s in a damp, moldering, underground tunnel.  Each drop of water that falls from the ceiling makes an impossibly loud plop, his lurching steps through the knee-deep water echo off the concrete tunnel, and his own breathing resonates loudly in his ears.  He tries to move silently, knowing with that certainty that comes only in dreams that he’s being followed.  No.  Not followed.  Hunted.  By the huge, hairy, beady-eyed ape-thing that lives down here and knows every twist of the humid, sweaty tunnels.  But for that, he would stand in frozen terror, but he has to keep moving and hope it loses him.”

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