This week I was able to bring in two good friends from my college years into my classroom to discuss the world of zines as they experienced them. Rusty and Nate were some of my most cherished friends during my undergrad years. They spent a solid year developing and producing their own punk rock/hardcore zine that they sold and distributed at shows they played or went to. They took time out of their very busy schedules to come speak to my students about their zine adventures and answer questions.
They spoke to each of my three ninth grade classes for roughly thirty minutes each, and walked through their zine making process, gave advice, and told some good stories along the way. What I’ve found to be difficult for my students is them recognizing their own passions and interests as well as how to get started. Before I get to my dissertation study, I’m going to look at developing some scaffolding of how to create a zine physically. The last two years, I’ve simply explained what they are, provided examples, and talked students through their uncertainties; the issue here is that unless a student is willing to take a leap of faith in developing a design for their zine, there is a good chance the zine will take forever to even come close to materializing. While I do not know this empirically, my gut tells me this is in part because students honestly don’t know where to begin.
I’m hoping Nate and Rusty’s voices–coming from outside my classroom–enlightened or at least encouraged students to literally create and pursue what they want. They did a great job covering the pitfalls of zine making (i.e. needing resources, printing, layouts, small audiences), but also what is so wonderful about them (i.e. real audience, passion, self-directed, community building). In the end, their advice was simple–there are no rules to zine making, so create the world you want.
Did the message sink in or even make sense? I don’t know. I’m hopeful next week will be a big week to start really putting some material together. I’m asking each group or person to bring in some tangible pieces of what they’re developing in hopes we can support each other in the zine making process. With any luck my post next week will show how some of these zines are coming together.
In any case, the day was a success just have these two good friends in a classroom with me sharing a literacy they love–showing, hopefully, that writing and designing are powerful tools that shape the world well outside the classroom walls.