I just got my most recent order from Paper Trail Distro in the mail, and spent yesterday feeling under the weather but curled up under an afghan reading zines. Zines like "Love Letters to Monsters", "Glossolalia 11", and "Keep Loving Keep Fighting 8" make me feel so acutely the positive charge of really good writing.
Often with zines, I feel sort of left out if the zinester is too strident about living punk or sXe or politically radical. I understand that one of the most important things about zines is that they provide a place for expression of all kinds, but my daily life is pretty far away from train-hopping, collectives, house parties, and protests. I was never punk, I just wanted to blend in and fly under the radar to avoid getting ridiculed. I abandoned the art world because it was too much about being a certain way to certain people, and I didn't like being told what to do. I "grew up to be" a librarian and spend my days making boxes or fixing books or repairing papyrus. My favorite things to do are to make books, write letters, and spend the evening on the sofa with my husband, absorbed in our respective reading material, while drinking a glass of wine. By and large I am a quiet person, not terribly inclined toward group activities of any kind. Not very radical.
So while the zines I mentioned before are written by people who are actively engaged in the subcultures of punk, or radicalism, or just large communities of like-minded people, they write about those things in a way that make them accessible to everyone. When they write about feeling lost in the prevailing culture, or about struggling to keep up hope and daily activities in the face of mass disaster, or even just discontent with bucolic bike-riding Portland, they do so in a way that makes those things identifiable. All you have to do is be human, have eyes and a heart, curiosity and engagement with the world. You don't need the badge or the punk points to get it.