Why Write Zines?

Broken Pencil - - Zine Philosophy - by Car­rie Col­pitts, cre­ator of My Aim is True

MY FIRST ZINE was all about a boy. I had a gi­ant crush on the fella, and he made zines, so I de­cided I should make zines. This would be a su­per cute story if I had been 13, but the truth is I was 32. I have a lot of re­gret about that whole si­t­u­a­tion, and I feel like I was an­noy­ing, clingy, pushy, needy. To be hon­est, I ru­ined what was once a gen­uinely great friend­ship, and it could have been great again if I’d just got­ten over the fact that he didn’t want to date and/or bone me.

The one thing I do not re­gret is start­ing to make zines. It’s been about 10 years and I still love mak­ing zines, talk­ing about zines, and teach­ing others to make zines.

I also like that I can look at my zines and see my progress as a hu­man. I read my first four zines, Bril­liant Mis­take, and they are so damn sad. I hadn’t started deal­ing with the se­ri­ous de­pres­sion that I would later end up need­ing meds and tons of ther­apy to man­age. I was im­ma­ture when it came to dat­ing. I had body im­age is­sues ga­lore. I was a mess. By the time I was over the whole guy-doesn’t-want-me si­t­u­a­tion, I was four zines in. I de­cided it was time to change ti­tles and start a new perzine, be­cause I felt a new stage in my life was start­ing.

I wrote the first is­sue of My Aim Is True as I was be­gin­ning to date a lot, re­al­ized I was queer, and dig into ther­apy... and Lexapro. I have 12 is­sues now, and if I look back, I’m so proud of the progress I have made in learn­ing to ac­cept and love my­self. In Bril­liant Mis­take, I’m lost and not sure of my­self. Through the course of My Aim Is True, I started to fig­ure out who I am and gain con­fi­dence.

Mak­ing zines has helped me grow as a per­son. I never thought I would be con­fi­dent enough to stand on a stage and read a story, but I’ve done it many times. The first time I read on stage, I was ter­ri­fied; my stom­ach hurt, sweat pooled along my hair­line, and my mouth was bone dry. But as I kept read­ing, and when peo­ple started to laugh in the right places, my pulse slowed down and I started to re­lax. I was an or­ga­nizer for the sec­ond Chicago Zine Fest, which gave me ex­pe­ri­ence or­ga­niz­ing and plan­ning a big event. Tabling at zine fests has helped me be­come more com­fort­able talk­ing with strangers and mak­ing friends. I’ve also trav­elled to places that I may not have if I hadn’t dis­cov­ered zine-mak­ing. Shar­ing my sto­ries has helped me be okay with be­ing vul­ner­a­ble. Shar­ing my sto­ries has also helped me see that I’m not alone in my weird­ness. I get let­ters and emails from peo­ple who en­joy my zines! It’s flat­ter­ing, and I do hope to make art that peo­ple can re­late to, and that helps them feel a lit­tle less alone. But hon­estly, I make zines be­cause they make me feel bet­ter.

Mak­ing a zine is a kind of ther­apy for me. I think about what I’m go­ing to write for a long time and then it spills out. Once some­thing is writ­ten, I let it sit for a day or so, and then go back to it to edit. Next comes my favourite part of mak­ing a zine: cut­ting and past­ing. I cut and paste the whole zine then pho­to­copy the thick pages.

When I am sit­ting at the ta­ble with pa­per, scis­sors and a glue stick, I am truly, supremely happy.

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