a place for zinesters - writers and readers
I guess I think of perzines more from a reader's perspective than from a writer's perspective. I have read perzines before where I felt as if I were reading someone's diary, and I wondered why they were putting such info out into the world. However, when the writing is good, I don't care how personal the info is. I'll read anything if it's well-written. So usually when I think something is "too personal" and should have stayed in the writer's journal, I think my critique is really that the writing is not so good, not very polished. In a lot of zines I've read (especially perzines), it seems as if the writer just flopped her/his/hir first draft on the page without bothering to revise and improve.
Time and distance seems to help me feel more comfortable printing something that is very personal. Some things that I could not imagine publishing when I was in the thick of them, years later just seem like a funny story.
sandy said:yes, definitely. it's satisfying enough to get something out on paper, even if it's not shareable. i used to feel obliged to share everything i wrote, but since giving that up, i've felt much better about the things i've written, and more able to decide on what's 'fit enough' to send out.
Good call. It can be tempting to print things straight out of your journal, but zines need more editing and processing than that. While it may be important to write down certain things for yourself, every little detail is likely not going to be very interesting for readers. I love personal zines, and I've made many, but I don't like photocopies/unedited text directly out of a person's journal. It makes a zine feel like it's made up of a lot of filler.
I printed my first zine in 6+ years this week and it is very, VERY personal! It's a memoir type zine, recounting falling in love with my boyfriend, his cancer diagnosis and how I have dealt with it.
I have had some cold feet about printing it because there is one vignette that is essentially a sex scene. There's a lot of personal information about my boyfriend as well. I was adamant with myself about making him read it and give me the OK before printing it and sending it out there because even though it's from my perspective, it's not just about me. Luckily he gave me the go-ahead and even wanted to send parts of it to his friends because he liked it so much. I really love and respect him for that because not a lot of people would be okay with such intimate details of their life being put out there.
My dad keeps asking to read my zine, but I told him there's no way he's getting it from me. At least not while I'm 23. I am a little wary of the fact that he might seek it out and then get all freaked out about the sex scene or other sexual bits, but what can ya do?
I can totally relate to this - my first zine ever was so unbelievably personal that I just gave it out to 5 friends in the end, that was it! Even the illustrations all resembled me in one way or the other. I made the zine when I started to reflect on a lot of my behaviour so it makes sense that I wrote just about what I experienced or how i felt.
But I don't think that a zine is automatically "good" if it's very personal and speaks from the heart. Sometimes it can come across as very self-absorbed, especially if your personal development is the only focus of a zinesters writings or drawings. When I read through my first two zines know I am actually really relieved that I didn't give it out to more people.
I think you can write from personal experience and still...take your readers and "the outside world" into account. That is my personal goal now when I make a zine or a comic.
But of course I still have the tendency to be too personal sometimes. It's very cool that so many people talk about this gut feeling of not being comfortable with giving it away in the end. All it comes down to is how you feel about your zine in the end...if you feel like not sharing it with anyone, maybe it'll turn out to be the best decision in the long turn.
My zines are incredibly personal, but that's intentional. The things that I/my community deem "personal" are things that I think actually should be shared, or... I'd like to live in a world where I could share them. I think there's lots of inhibitions of sharing our true selves, and I hate that.
So my zines are personal because my zines are my journey toward being the person I want to be... sort of...?