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I'm wondering -- how many of you guys have kids, and if you do, have you written zines (or zine stories) about them? Not necessarily just talking about mamazines or papazines here. I've been finding myself thinking about the ethics about writing & publishing zines about kids. If you're telling a personal story about a partner/husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/friend/whatever, you can always ask the person for consent first. But you can't really do that with a kid, especially a young one. So is it right to write about them, when you don't know how they will feel about it later?

Tags: children

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Jerianne! I don't have kids, as you know, but I was one a while back. Personally, I don't see a problem with writing about your young 'uns and the effect they've had on your life. Even if the things you have to say aren't always overwhelmingly positive, well hey, that's part of your experience as a parent. I think all of us have had that moment in our adult lives when we've said "oh my gawd, what a little snot I was! I must've made my parents' lives hell!" (Unless of course you were an angel and your parents were monsters. It does happen). And from that moment of realization onward, you are a slightly better person. A concrete record of how your parents felt while raising you, I think, would be a valuable thing to have. Even the parts that might hurt a little bit.
But that's just me.
Today I feel particularly lazy, so I'll just say I agree 100% with Androo.
I have done cartoons on all my children and they love them. The oldest is 14 and I remember drawing him when he was little and some of the adventures he used to have. I still draw them.
That's a tough question. I personally think it is best to avoid at least using overtly identifying information about kids, online or in zines. Saying "my kid" might not work either if your name is all over! I think it really depends. Kids might not be into this when they get older. I would say stick to caution and just write about something else or a more fictionalized account if possible. The neighbor's kid!
If you're writing about deep and personal stuff, remember that they might read it later on in life. But if it's fun, loving or upbeat, they might be really grateful for it later. I try to hold back from writing about the craptastic stuff... and I don't mean typical things like when my son does something that tests me, that every kid pulls on their parents... but I hold back on his emotional growth and how I think he has a learning disability and all this other personal stuff. I see how much talking about him to another person affects him, I can just imagine what me writing about him, and him reading it later would do.
My kids are now 18 and 21. I could give you an example of an apparently innocent remark made by a teacher when one of them was 7 that, unknown to us, was bottled up for years and became detrementally life changing. We all say things we wish we could retract. Even as adults, we can be hurt by words not meant to offend. Being a parent is the hardest thing in the world because what we say and do, and think trivial, can be so influential.
I used to make mock newspapers with my kids help, reporting of events in family life. They were sent to all overseas friends and relatives.
Writing about neighbours is fun, but depepnding on the distribution, I'd fictionalise the names and location.
I put small snippets about my two kids in every now and then, nothing overly telling. But I always mention them somewhere. But I write from a parents persepective if that makes sense without being obvious. I talk about why I like being a Daddy to two little girls. I think a zine is great when it has some personal feeling in it and I'm trying to put some personality into my zine along with the basis of the music.
Oh yeah a really good book to read about kids/parenting is "Punk Rock Dad" by Jim the singer from Pennywise.
I started The East Village Inky because I was going barking mad from the loss of creative outlet (low budget late night theater) following the birth of my 1st child. It was a way to find an audience of strangers again, and a way to give structure and community to my long, often isolated-feeling days. Now that kid is eleven and the zine just celebrated its 10th anniversary. As she's aged, there have been a couple of gators I've had to cork, topics (or illustrations) that might embarrass even an extrovert like her. The zine's becoming a lot more about me, and less about us, though folks still give subscriptions as baby shower gifts, which must confound the recipient...what could this 43 year old woman riding the subway in her underpants possibly have to do with my baby?

Anyway, my hunch is that both Inky and Milo share Androo's take on things. The zine has definitely captured moments I would otherwise have forgotten (or misremembered).

I do try to tread lightly when depicting the children's friends...it brings a whole nother set of parents into the mix for one thing. I once showed Inky and a friend of hers around age 6, amusing themselves by coloring in all the illustrations in one of my cookbooks. The other child's mother was horrified that they would deface the book. I actually treasure the embellishments, and have fond memories of how that cookbook kept em occupied for a blissful 20 minutes, but I guess I didn't make that explicit in the zine, so the other mother thought I was being kind of passive / aggressive, telling the world, "Look at this ill-mannered kid, defacing my property!" Fortunately, we're all good friends, and I think she believed me when I told her I wasn't bothered by the so-called vandalism.
although i havent mentioned my daughter in my zine (splatter movies and her dont quite go together) i have mentioned her online in a semi regular blog about my top ten things - (under the name beezlebubby though)... she gets a kick out of it... i dont get too personal, least i dont think i do, its more my feelings than hers but she likes being involved in my world... i guess it depends just what you reveal about them
I am not sure there isn't a zine that I have written that doesn't include something about kids, even if it is a tiny random thing about them or something we did toegther. I don't write anything too personal but I homeschool and share a lot of what we do as a family such as school stuff, family trips, our daily adventures, etc.

My oldest is 8 years old and she knows all about most of my zines. We have made zines together ... actually we are working on one together now! I think it is an awesome way to document our lives together.

Each parent has their own way of parenting so I am sure there may be parents out there who disagree with it but my family is comfortable with it. Zines are just a part of our creative life.
I've not written a zine as such about my daughter. I doubt she'd thank me for it, seeing as she's now 22! (I've talked to her about zines but she's not interested, sadly. I think that if she decides to do something like this, she will have to discover it for herself.)

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