zine downsizing update

to answer the nine million questions i got after my last post: no, i don’t think i am totally fed up with zines & walking away altogether. i wasn’t being polite in that post; i was being honest. i had too many zines & i wanted to get rid of them. it’s not a reflection on how i feel about zines as a medium or a culture.

last week i watched a lot of documentaries about mount everest & read a few books about high-altitude mountaineering. it was kind of blowing my mind a little, imagining these people camped out for two months on the side of a mountain somewhere. anything they take up the mountain has to be carried by someone: either the climber, a hired sherpa, or a yak. it made me think about all the crap i have, that i tote around with me from house to house every time i move. & historically, i move a lot (though i hope things will slow down a bit now that i am in my 30s). i had about seven milk crates packed to capacity with zines. it didn’t necessarily look like an overwhelming amount of zines when the crates were just stacked in a corner somewhere, but moving them necessitates several trips, & the way they were being stored precluded regular perusal of the zines. most of them had been traveling with me, shifting from crate to trunk to box to bookshelf to drawer, for years & years & years. some of them accompanied me on as many as twenty different moves. it just seemed unnecessary.

i just really don’t like to have an over-abundance of stuff. when i walk into someone’s apartment & they have every surface cluttered with framed photographs & knickknacks & three different kinds of towels in the bathroom & too many pillows on their bed & thirty pairs of shoes & a dish for every possible serving need & such forth & so on…it makes me feel very claustrophobic & anxious. i have my weird collections (babysitters club books, anyone?), but i have been trying to downsize a lot of my possessions recently. i’ve been selling clothes to resale shops or donating them to clothing swaps. i’ve been selling my collection of “sassy” magazines & toting crates of other, less collectible magazines to the recycling center. i’ve been re-arranging the kitchen cabinets to more efficiently stack & store dishes. & my office was stressing me out because one whole wall was consumed by messy crates of zines i never look at.

anyway, everything is gone now. i am left with one crate loosely packed with my very favorites. everything has been mailed save for three packages for people to whom i owe letters. cash orders started arriving in the mail today. i have been trying to make it a priority to swiftly refund everyone that didn’t get in on the offer. i am bummed to have to disappoint so many people. i really didn’t expect the zines to go as quickly as they did. most people who ordered opted for the large box, which surprised me, because that’s like a good 150 zines. i guess i am just thinking from my own anti-clutter, zine-ambivalent perspective. i would not want a sudden infusion of 150 random zines into my life. but i guess i’m in the minority!

but this doesn’t mean that suddenly i hate zines & want nothing to do with them. i did keep some, after all, & i am still curious to read others. i still have copies of the “love letters to monsters” #3/”alabama grrrl” #9 split available. or, i will once i collate, staple, & fold the latest batch from the copy shop. i am still mulling over exactly what i’d want to cover in my proposed issue #4 on the topic of self-care.

but it’s also true that there is almost nothing that i whole-heartedly enjoy about zines. reading them is generally a slog. i usually find the quality of the writing disappointing & the topics repetitive. although writing is really easy & relatively joyous for me once i’m doing it, the period of thinking about writing is agonizing & horrible. i hate doing layout. i hate going to the copy shop. words can’t describe how much i hate collating, stapling, & folding. i find filling orders really tedious. the only good thing about going to the post office is that it’s close to my favorite coffeeshop, so i usually stop in for a fancy coffee drink. it honestly blows my mind a little, how negative i feel about so many different aspects of making & reading zines. maybe i am still recovering from running the zine distro…or maybe this is a sign that i need to find something new to fill that role in my life. i really admire people who find so much joy in all the activities i hate. i remember feeling that way, i wish i still felt that way…maybe it will come back in time.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

2 thoughts on “zine downsizing update

  1. If you aren’t feeling zines and the zine world, then you aren’t feeling it. The way I see it, we are obligated to do enough things we don’t like to do as it is. There is no reason why you should choose to spend your obligation-free time doing things that don’t bring you pleasure.

    I sometimes think I would like to have a totally minimalist lifestyle, but then I think of my eight billion books and get very sad. I wonder if it would be possible to be a minimalist and still have eight billion books? Probably not.

    1. maybe it would work if you had nothing but eight billion books. have you seen those weird fashion challenge blogs where people try to, like, get through three months with only eight articles of clothing & such forth? if you could live that kind of life, with no knickknacks, no collections, no other extra crap, & eight billion books, it could be your own twist on minimalism. that’s kind of what i’m doing. selective minimalism.

      & i agree. we do enough crap we don’t want to do without doing a bunch of other crap we don’t want to do just out of obligation. it’s hard to imagine walking away from zines. i do think i just need a little more space. like when you have a fight with a friend or something.

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