New Zines & Stories of Formative Queer Teen Experiences

Flier by Melissa

Flier by Melissa

It’s autumn, but somehow it’s so sunny and warm today. I just had my morning coffee out on the balcony with zine pal Lily, who came to town so that we could go see Placebo (!!!) together. She recently made a really excellent zine called Queer Sailor Moon Fanfiction Saved My Life, which you can get at this very distro or at her zine racks at Pressed and Gabba Hey in Ottawa, and probably other distros, too. After I read her zine, I wrote a quick letter to her to tell her about my own pre-teen/teenage fandom experiences, and how influential Placebo was to me. It happens that they’d recently announced a Montréal show during my birthday week, and we decided we had to go together. The show was last night. We went with Cinder, another pal – they made the zine MIXD: A Mixed-Race Compilation Zine, which I’ll soonly be stocking in the distro. We had a chance to talk about some queer teen experiences together, and of course to sing along with Placebo. Sometimes I’m amazed at the rad friends that I have – a group of ’em had actually gotten together the funds to buy my ticket as a birthday present, because they know that I’m a broke baby and that I wanted to make this a really good week. I’d seen them twice before (seven years ago and eleven years ago, my gosh!) and I’m not going to write a show review here, but I will say that it was a really lovely night and I’m glad to have shared it with friends.

Placebo on the marquee, photo from my Instagram: @amber_dearest

Placebo on the marquee, photo from my Instagram: @amber_dearest

I’ve actually been getting some writing done lately, and working on website updates. It’s so easy to fall behind. Earlier this week, I downloaded StayFocusd and FocusWriter and they’ve both been helping me to stay away from social media and other distractions. I can only use Facebook and Twitter for thirty minutes a day, and FocusWriter helps me set and keep track of my writing goals. So I added some new zines to the catalogue, including Queer Sailor Moon Fanfiction Saved My Life; The Collected Scathings of Ioana Poprowka; If Destroyed Still True #6: Iraqi Kurdistan Edition; and Sex Industry Apologist #1-#2, and I finally wrote descriptions for Pinch Kid #4; Rot #5; Deafula #7; Pansy #9; Bike Rides From SW Montréal; and Spirits: Relationships With Alcohol & Drugs #2.

Tabling in Toronto, Montréal, and Halifax this fall is another thing that’s really making me get organized. The Toronto Queer Zine Fair was last week and I had such a blast. The first thing I noticed when I walked in the room was that we actually had SPACE. Organizing large events (or any kind of event) can be really stressful and difficult, and there are all kinds of accessibility needs to keep in mind (which frankly, are completely overlooked by a lot of organizers). Some really simple things that organizers often forget about are to leave space between tables so that tablers can easily get in and out (how many times have I had to crawl under a table just to leave for a bathroom break?? And what about people who don’t have the ability to do so??), to leave space for people to maneuver around corners and high-traffic areas, to recognize that some people will have mobility aids and can’t just squeeze through a crowd of people, etc etc. Granted, this was my perspective as an able-bodied person. But I took note. I had the company of my sibling, who was tabling their zine and anthology Telegram to my right, and and made friends with the zinesters to my left. My bestie Kit dropped by for a bit, and I met all sorts of rad queers. I feel like zinefests are always a whirlwind of small talk and cute people and too much coffee, and this was no exception. I don’t know how to write about them anymore, but I wanna tell everyone what a great time I had. Thank you so much to everyone who stopped by my table! I managed to sell nearly everything I brought with me, and I’m looking forward to reading my haul – Fucked: On Being Sexually Dysfunctional In Sex-Positive Queer Scenes; Working Class Queers; Home: A Conversation Zine; On Sisterhood, our sisters specifically; and Telegram #36. I’d say the highlight of my day was talking root beer with table-neighbour Bee (soda-talk is the way to my heart!) and realizing we both used to post on the Placebo messageboard as teenagers. This interaction felt magical.

Our sunny kitchen, where I spend a lot of time.

Our sunny kitchen, where I spend a lot of time writing letters and working on the distro.

What else have I been up to lately? Redecorating the house, participating in 31 Postcards In 31 Days, beginning my winter survival strategy, reading a lotta books, dealing with the stressy-depressies, and just trying to make it through. So that’s it, a rare update from me. Oh hey, I’ll be in Halifax soon! I feel like such a lucky kid to have the chance to visit twice in one year. I’ll be tabling at the Halifax Pop Explosion Zine Fair (Facebook event here), and hangin’ around town for the week. Please get in touch if you’d like to grab a coffee, or show me your favourite parts of the city! Whenever I visit Halifax, I just like to wander for hours and hours.

And in just over a month, Expozine! ‘Til then…

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