Thursday, June 02, 2005

to blog or to zine

first misdirection
I see the Indigo Girls every chance that I get. I have seen them twice in town. Once at the Performing Arts Center. The sound quality surpassed any other venue it was so good my heart was cracking my chest with happiness. At some point in the night they were chatting and said that they had not seen each other for a few months (busy living their lives I guess) and were trying to recall the last time they hung out before that tour. They had gone to see an artist called Fallon ( who I have never heard of) and they said that she was so amazing. They were blown away. Made them want to throw in the towel, she was so good.

second misdirection
I gotta say I kick myself for having discovered the DIY concept and culture so late in my life. Zines fascinate me. I don't know their history or their etiquette. As a person who shops in malls and loves ear candy, I am probably not welcome in their networks. I am not counterculture enough. I have sampled only a few zines. The Mediageek Zine volumes 1 and 2. Very informative. The Self-Defense Zine vol 2 inspiring and informational. The Low Hug one-shot zine Laundry Basket - delightful. I have not even dipped my toe in the water. B is working on a zine. She is separated from Z for the summer and is putting a zine together about what happened in her life while Z was gone.

third misdirection
I consider zines a descendent of the pamphleteering of Thomas Paine.
Self publication can be more than an act of vanity it can be truly revolutionary.

fourth misdirection
I have a penchant for walking and reading at the same time. The streets of Urbanana are not busy and I can generally do it without tripping, crashing into things, or getting hit by cars/bikes/people/dogs/low hanging branches.

When I went to the Media Reform conference in StL I forced my company onto a group of zinesters from Chicago at an end of evening mixer. They were aloof, mostly interested in hanging amongst themselves. I was overly ingratiating, a slobbery St. Bernard among cat people. I did this mostly because my crew was too tired to talk and because the lull at a table makes me nervous.

One of them, a fella named Andrew gave me a copy of his zine, livingProof. I skimmed it at the table and was impressed. Yesterday I read it cover to cover.

I was walking and reading LivingProof. Home to work, work to home. I was not merely impressed, I was floored. He does what I want to be doing, thought I was doing, but clearly am not. I feel like Amy and Emily at the Fallon concert. If I was not so addicted to this electronic process of pulling my pants down and hanging my ass out the window, I would hang up my hat and take up a more sensible pastime like knitting or stamp collecting.

Let me offer you an exerpt that he will probably sue me for posting if he finds out about it. *shhhh*

"These are the things I am: I am both a college student and a corporate slave. I am both a smoker and an abstainer, an omnivore and a vegetarian, a slob and a neat freak. I am both miserably single and contentedly in love. I overspend and conserve money, eat too much Taco Bell and cook dinner at home four times a week, love my 1991 Hyundai Sonata and rely solely on my chartreuse ten-speed for transportation. I am simultaneously past and present in these pieces, myself and someone else who is also myself. I get lost in the space/time continuum, breaking dimensional boundaries at an unprecedented rate. Sometimes I forget entirely which present is the real present, and let old worries long buried fill my head. Sometimes I feel like an entirely different person."
from Living Proof #4

This whole idea of being yourself now and yourself then. The process of writing and analyzing a memory as time travel without the physical paradoxes commonly there associated. Delicious.

I am the gushing groupie. I also hate the bastard for being so damn good. He has a website living proof. There are more samples there. To get the whole deal however, you must offer green.

Here we come to the divide between the zine and the blog. The material presence and the monetary exchange. Zines cost something. A person worked hard to make her words a physical presence. A tree dies so that you can hold someone's words in your hand. Where blogs are electrons on a screen. Content ("content") provided from unseen sources delivered with a type and a click. A zinester might ask you to compensate him for his efforts and you must agree to the exchange to read. While a blogger might put a paypal link on her site, but who's going to pay for what they can get for free? Unless you make it a subscription service.

A zinester asks for a demonstration of committment before giving it up where a blogger gives it up to whoever clicks by.

The internet makes it easier to do the things you love: self-publish, record and share music and there is a chance for greater access to more things. A chance for a wider audience. But there is the nagging question (not for me, the hack, {I do it for the frequent flyer miles.} but on behalf of others) We live in a world in which we must work for a living - what happens when people won't pay you for the labor in your labor of love?


searchingforMrDarcy said...

Wow if I tried to walk while reading I will most likely trip or get hit by a car. I almost get hit by cars without reading. B and others have saved me several times I believe. You're living life on the edge girl.

ergo said...

I seem to do better while reading than when I just focus on the walking. =P

Someone is definitely watching out for me.