Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's raining hearts (365/351)

It's raining hearts (365/351)
Originally uploaded by JenniPenni

such an inspiring photo... it gave me a little bit of hope, on this strangely depressing summer day...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Zine-related Projects

last update: 2010/05/14

Just to keep track of the zine-related projects i'm involved (past, present & future ones). Also some notes on zine collaboration projects i would like to start myself, if i only had all the time in the world ;-)

so i seem to have caught the "translation bug"...

* translate to Portuguese the girlVIRUS fliers i just got from Erin (Clementine Cannibal) yesterday, and then mail some back to her in Canada, so she can spread them around in the Portuguese communities! at first, i thought about translating the fliers just to spread them around in Portugal, then Erin wrote me and reminded me that there are a lot of Portuguese communities in Canada, which now got me to think about all the other Portuguese communities all throughout the USA, and these need the girlVIRUS too!

* i'm still undecided on this one but... Recently i got a zine from the UK, "Witches, Midwives and Nurses", which is a fascinating study of the European history of women as healers from the Middle Ages through to the 20th Century. besides discovering a lot of things i didn't know about, it opened my eyes to what seems to have really happened during the Inquisition's Witch Hunt, since the authors research presents facts that make total sense to me. i'll be carrying this zine in my distro (Invicta Distro) of course, because it's really worth reading!
but back to the point... i'm truly fascinated by this zine and i would love to make a translation of it into Portuguese. i sense [know] that a lot of people in Portugal would be interested in reading it, and maybe not everyone is able (or in the mood) to read the original English version, so, why not make a Portuguese version? but it's a big task (and somewhat a responsibility of course) and it will take me more than just a couple of days to do it, we're talking about a 30-page zine after all!

translating some Riot Grrrl & Feminist flyers, along with «the Fight Boredom Manifesto» (this last one by Amber Forrester) to Portuguese - awesomeness!

translating to Portuguese a mini-zine i received with an order from Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go for my distro. this mini-zine is about how "Zines build strong culture three ways": Literacy, Creativity, and History. 
i find their quick explanation really interesting and it gets the point across in a very simple way, so why not make a Portuguese version of with? sure i used Google Translate for a rough draft-translation, but then i started editing it myself, of course. and yeah, i'm planning on making some copies (of both versions) and send them out in the world. How this will be done is still a secret, though...


* last year, around Fall, i sent my first submission ever for a zine project; the theme was «Windows». now i'm anxiously waiting for the printed results.

* i'm listed in a "worldwide" chain-zine project, and the «Chain Zine #2» arrived this last week to my mailbox. i got my theme "assigned" by the person listed before me on the list and it wasn't a theme that hard to get me inspired. no, i'm not gonna tell what the theme is, you're gonna have to wait until the project is finished and printed! :-p
when i was going through the other pages other collaborators had done before me, and thinking about my theme, thoughts started coming to my mind and i wrote them all down, even made some doodles of imagery or cliparts i thought would go well with it. then i let the writing sit for a couple of days, but also because i had some distro work to do. then i browsed the internet for some clipart, went through some magazines and through my own clippings and stuff. the last couple of days i scanned some photos i had, some clippings, etc. i went through the text i had written, and did some editing, adding some more text (maybe a little too much?), and i used my typewriter to write the text again, to make it more "visually appealing". then i scanned the typewritten page, tweaked with the contrast and printed it on several different sizes.
by now, my page is almost done! which is amazing, since it's my first cut-n-paste zine page i did, and it didn't take as long as i thought, even with all the experiment around with backgrounds & clippings, and the changes i decided to make on the layout and even with the text. although it didn't take a long time to make, i spent a couple of hours before and another two hours after dinner on it, around scissors, bits of paper, glue sticks, getting my hands dirty like they usually say. 
i must confess i enjoyed it, it was sort of relaxing, but i don't see myself doing several zine pages for a "real" zine with that method. maybe a few pages can be done that way, but it's really very time consuming (and gave me a pain in my back) and i almost went crazy with the small pieces of paper spread around my bed. my perzine is supposed to be quite text heavy, so i'll have to use other ways to print & cut-n-paste the text, but this experience was really helpfull for future projects, specially when it comes to printing the text you're gonna use in the right size(s) to fit in the page or along the zine format you want to use.

i'm gonna let it sit for another day, to have the little pieces of paper all dry (from the glue) and then i'm gonna glue the last thing and also, can't forget, i have to add my name/nickname/whatever & a contact. i'm thinking about using my first name, but i dunno... I want to put some things out there with my real name, and i don't think using my last name is necessary, since my first name, being Portuguese, kinda stands out a bit from all the usual english-language first names. while some things i want to share with my real name, others i'll most likely won't, and that may happen with other projects i'm half-involved with ;-)
after my page is done, i have to send it to the next person on the list within two weeks, but i'm quite concerned with the current problem of the closure of airspace in much of continental Europe, due to the volcano in Iceland, while the "cloud" is now moving towards Portuguese islands of Açores and that sucks big time! if it wasn't for the volcano problem, i could probably have the zine sent within the next week :(

* i have a text for a collab zine about Mental Health, and i wanted to transcribe another text for the same project, just to keep my options open. problem is, i haven't finished editing the first text yet, and the deadline is coming soon - May 1st! the distro kinda put all the other projects in the bottom drawer, but blame is one me because i kept delaying going back to that text to finish editing it. and in the meantime, i sort of lost track of the other text i wanted to transcribe. it was a much longer text than the first one, so it would/will take me more time to edit, knowing me the way i do... Still, i would like to have that text out there, it's totally related to mental health as it's about living with someone with mental health problems. maybe i can send it for another collab-zine that might come up in the meantime, or just leave it for later, and use it for my perzine, called «Birdcage», even if this one has been in the making for some months now...

* i'm in another collab zine about Relationship Violence, deadline is August 1st. so i think to myself "plenty of time to work on that one!...", and then we all know that i'll leave it to the last minute.
this might look like a pretty touchy and/or heavy subject to write about, but that's just the way it is... It's an issue that is -or- was present in my life, and i've written about it, so i have experiences that i can share with others.
what i find harder for me about preparing stuff for a collab, is that most of my writings are handwritten, they're all spread around in various journals or notebooks, and i get a bit lazy when i have to transcribe them to electronic text versions. i usually find typos, small grammar mistakes and such, so it's a hard work typing it all into the computer. but that's mostly because i'm really lazy and i have a major tendency to procrastinate... Shame on me!

* earlier this month, another zine-related project came up with a forum post on We Make Zines - Zine Roulette! it would be something in the style of the Secret Santa thing, but with zines. The original idea is that people would sign up to get a random zine from someone, either a zine that that person made or one from their collection (depends on whether the sender makes zines or not); and then people in the list would also send a random zine to someone else on the list. a few people showed interest in joining the project, but right now there's no news about it, so i'm just waiting...


besides these zine collabs & zine projects that are already going on, every once in a while i get an idea for a zine collab, but i put them in the back drawer. not because i don't think the idea is a bad one, or that it wouldn't work, but mostly because i know i just don't have the time to run all these things at the same time. and specially now, that i'm starting the distro. maybe later up-ahead, after i put all the zines & other items in the catalog, put that all online,  and get the distro's website-shop working...
i've posted some (if not all) of these ideas before, but here i go again:

* this one just came back to my mind yesterday, and it tried hard to take form, but i kept on saying 'no', but i'll write it anyway!
Reprint - a collab zine project, featuring submissions (artwork and writing) that were already printed in another zine (individual zine or another collab zine). the submissions would be chosen amongst the favorite submissions a zinester had sent to a collab zine, or printed in their own zine(s). to keep it from being a bit "boring", the submissions have to had been printed over 3/6 months ago, i still can't decide on that, since time has a different "perception" when it comes to the zine world. i'd start by sending "invitations" to some of my favorite zine-writers, i guess. submissions could be sent already with the layout done by the author, and then i would have to tweak it to an European paper size (probably A5, which is similar to half-letter). maybe send the submissions by scanning the original print in the zine they were first published, high-resolution 300 dpi, to be printed in grayscale, so all works had to be previously done in black & white.

* back in December 2009, i was writing a post for this blog, and then came up with and idea for a collab zine project just within Europe or within the countries in the European Union (EU).
according to my research on Wikipedia at that time, there are 48 countries in Europe, while the European Union itself as only 27 countries. one contributor from each country (rests the doubt: EU countries only or not); two-pages max for each, maybe the theme could be divided into 2 parts, being part 1 «my country» and part 2 «what i think about Europe/the rest of Europe». although i realize it would be hard to find one zine-maker in every country, this is still an idea that might be interesting to try. maybe one day, later on.

* just earlier this month, after i started working on the project for my own distro - Invicta Distro - and while i was doing research on how to run a distro/mail-order, i realized that there were quite a few books, and even zines, about how-to make zines, or how-to silkscreen, or how-to start a zine workshop, etc, etc. but nothing exclusively about "distro how-to".
While the “how-to make a zine” books/zines i have also mention a chapter or a couple of pages on distros (how to start & run one, how zine-makers can work with distros, etc), there isn't really a how-to guide specifically on how to start & run distro (or for zine-makers on how to work with distros), as far as i know anyway... So i posted my questions about how to run a distro and whatnot on the We Make Zines forum, and also asking for opinions on if a zine on the topic of «How to start & run a Distro» - it would be like a how-to/guide zine, compiling experiences and tips from other distro owners - would be a "viable" project or not. some people replied about collaborating or not but the response was a bit low so i put it in the back burner until further notice.

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next are a few ideas i had for different zines and/or contents for a zine, topics i would like to receive submissions one day and print a zine, if i only had enough time (and money!) for everything hahaha! now don't go and steal these names, ok?! i will be using them, somehow somewhere, even as a combined project, why not?

Birdcage - the name i've decided on for my perzine project... The name does mean something to me, it came to my mind in a somehow random way but when i think about it makes complete sense. and now i know i'm gonna stick with it!

Paper Scraps - this is a delayed project for an "artsy" zine, the first idea i had for making a zine, actually...

You Suck at Drawing - don't ask... the title sucks too, i know, but the intention is what really counts :-p

Summer Leaves, comes Autumn Breeze - now this is definitely artsy inclined too, since Autumn is such a visual theme. poetry, prose, illustration, photography, comics, whatever has visual & literary content, preferably mixed in the same piece. i got the idea for this project last September, near the beginning of Fall, that explains the theme and the title i came up with.

Busy doing nothing - how about this? yeah, not very original cause i got it from an article on «The 7 habits of procrastinators», but it's the best i could "come up" with... Procrastination is a subject that affects me way too often, so i could build from that to make something ziney about it. 
at the time i came up with this idea, i googled the name and there was already a zine in the UK called «The Art of Procrastination (Or How to Write a Zine)», which left me a bit limited to use the word 'procrastination' for the title. the funny thing is, i found the author of that zine (Philippa or Pippa, who also writes Rebel Grrl Zine) at the We Make Zines community and bought that zine along with many other cool zines she makes!

A Helping Hand - all about Volunteer Work, but i'm more curious about stuff related to animal shelters & animal welfare and about volunteer work made in jails. oh, and when i come to think better, also women's shelters, and literacy programs for children & adults without economic opportunities. i feel if there was more good work done on these subjects, the world would be a better place.

so far, this is it... all the names are down on paper*, ups, i mean in digital form, to make it more real and appealing.
(* actually, most of the names are written on paper, in one/several of my many notebooks/journals where i first write down any ideas i have for zines)

and so far, i think these are all the projects i got thrown in the bottom drawer, some in the "middle" drawer, and a few in the top drawer.

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it's past 3.30 AM now, and i've got quite a few emails & FB messages that i need/want to reply, but i'm feeling too tired to be able to write in proper English without having to go over the text again & again looking for typos and grammar mistakes. i guess i still haven't recovered my energy from yesterday's shopping and doing distro work. 
after i logged off the internet, i still worked some more on distro stuff, and then got under my blankets to read some zines for distro consideration. along with zines i was sent from zine-makers, i also ordered some new zines/issues in a bulk order, and i feel it would be better to read them first to make sure they fit the distro's "spirit". i must have spent like 3 hours reading, and when i noticed the time, it was almost 7 AM (!?!), so i had to turn off the lights to finally get some sleep.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

In the mailbox lately - April, part 1

i should/need to write a bit about these last days & the stuff i got in the mail, as some were real surprises, and others are great news for my distro...

Vampire Sushi Distro order
i made a bit of a mess with this one. when Tukru warned me that she had just gone out of stock on two of the zines i had initially ordered, at first i decided to wait for the zines to arrive. but then i decide not to wait and chose another two zines to “replace” the former. In the middle of the mess (my mess!) i ended up choosing a zine i had already ordered from the zinester directly, but eventually i had forgotten about the zine's name. i got this zine in the mail, and the next day i got Vampire Sushi's order in the mail... and saw the zine again. hahaha, I'm such a dumbass sometimes!
but i understand why i might have messed up with this: with so much to think & worry about these last couple of weeks, with starting up the distro, messages & emails back and forth with zine-makers inviting them to the distro and others wanting to send their work for distro consideration, i eventually forgot about that zine i had ordered (or at least, its name!) and didn't notice it when i saw it on Vampire Sushi's website.

Pin-Buttons for the Distro Yeyyy!!
i ordered some pins from a local maker/seller, just enough quantity to get the free shipping discount hahaha. i ordered mostly pin-buttons with specific designs that:
a) go well with the distro's catalog;
b) were made of photos, or had text, or had detailed designs;
c) to be honest, some were also designs that i liked so much i just had to order them;
– all this to get an idea of the quality of their work.
i also added a “custom-made” design i had worked on, by using a clipart of a penny farthing bike and adding the words penny farthing around the bottom side of the pin.
i wanted to experiment their custom-made buttons quality too, of course, since i have to have all these things in consideration when thinking about buying i buttons from them for the distro's catalog!

i though my order would arrive next week, but it happened to arrive a couple of days ago... The end result on ALL the pin-buttons is very good, so it left me really really happy. and i have to be honest, i'm happy because this way a have a local alternative to having to buy buttons from other places overseas. this doesn't mean i am not gonna buy buttons from some international resellers because they have exclusive designs that i can't get anywhere else and are totally zine-related, so they're essential for the distro's catalog! but i feel better knowing that i have other alternatives when it comes to other types of buttons, and that i can even make “exclusive” designs for the distro.
that custom penny farthing button i ordered came out pretty nice, even with the quality of the image i used not being excellent, but it was good enough for the purpose. it came out so nice that i'm thinking about ordering more of them for the distro's catalog :)
after 3 failed attempts at trying to get a "good" photo of this button, this afternoon i finally got a "good enough" photo of this cute pin. (see above!)

E-Learning course's "diploma"
about a month & a half ago, for everyone else (besides myself LoL) who doesn't read my blog, i paid myself an e-Learning course on «Entrepreneurship and Business Creation», but i didn't actually end it because the topics got way too complex for my little brain and i became so stressed that i just had to quit, after doing about 3 and 1/ 2 classes (the total classes were 5). in the course's “rules” they said i would receive a certificate if i did like 85% of the classes.
surprisingly, yesterday i got my diploma in the mail. they gave me a score of “Good”, if you compare that to a scale from 0 to 5, it's the same as a 4, or in US terms, it's like getting a “B”. that left me even more surprised. oh well, at least now i don't feel (that) bad for wasting those 120 euros on nothing...
i can now add yet another course certificate to my resume... like it's gonna make a big difference anyway! it's not like i'm really gonna add that info to my curriculum vitae or anything, because the useful information and learnings i got from it weren't that significant that i can say i know how to work on a business creation process from start to finish. so, again, i'm starting to feel like it was a waste of money after all!

Zines for distro consideration
i got my first zine(s) for consideration for my distro's catalog. i must say it felt exciting to get them in the mail, it's like they are little treasures to be discovered. now, after all i read about how to run a distro and stuff, i'm aware that sometimes i might receive zines that after reading i won't like them or think they are what i'm looking for the distro's catalog, and then i'll have to learn how to deal with having to reject people's projects.
but so far i've been lucky enough to get good zines! before this "paper" zine i got in the mail, i had already received a zine but it was a PDF file. now i don't usually accept digital files for consideration because you can't really get an idea of what the zine is like in "real", in paper, but this time i opened an exception because i already knew the zine-maker and i had read another zine by the same person before. lucky me, the PDF was good enough to read without burning my eyes or anything, and the writing/layout/etc in itself were/are quite good so it was definitely a «yes!» for the catalog.
going back to the zine i got in the mail though... I'm not gonna go into too many detail about it, but it is also a «yes!» zine, and i have to email the editor back to tell the good news :)

this just proves what i was talking about a couple of days ago, when someone asked me to tell them "a little about my distro, something to show them that it's not super generic", because ''it seemed that every distro around all carry the same zines". i don't disagreed on 100% but neither do i agree with this kind of statement, so maybe i just agree on 50% or whatever. anyway, what i mean is that, even before i got my 1st zine in the mail for consideration, i felt that there are a lot of zines out there being made that are great, good, amazing, excellent, or "just" really cool, and they aren't necessarily featured in every distro's catalog. sure, there are some "famous" zines that are in almost every distro i've ordered from - but, then again, so far i've just ordered from about 10 distros (if that seems like a lot of distros to you, it's cause i like to experiment :-p). then you have zines that are only featured in one distro or another and that you can hardly find anywhere else besides directly from its editor. i also realize a lot of distro owners stock zines that are made by zine editor they are friends with, and i don't see anything wrong with that either, i'd be doing the same if any of my Portuguese friends had a zine (even my friend that did make a zine in the early 2000's). and although i can't really say i'm friends with anyone in the "international" zine scene, there are some people that i can say i get along with very well, and i obviously want to have those people's zines in my catalog! right beside those people, there are people whose zines i admire but i never really got to "talk" much with, so that makes me a little embarrassed to invite them to be in the catalog.

what if some of my favorite zines are "famous" zines, is that a problem? some of them were the first zines i got to read when i (re)discovered the zine world about a year ago, and they inspired me to start writing again, to have a journal again; they made me feel less lonely; they taught me about things i didn't know or knew little of. so why shouldn't i be grateful to them, and why shouldn't i have them in my distro?
but the zine world isn't just "famous" zines, like i said, there are a lot of other good zines out there, even if those zinesters aren't registered on We Make Zines or aren't part of the zine communities on LiveJournal. some of these people i want them in my catalog too, and if everything goes well, i will have them ;-)

all this to say i have an email to reply, to someone who makes an original and very good zine, and sometimes i just don't know how to put my thoughts into words. i want to invite this person to be in the catalog. since the beginning of our conversations, this zine-maker was really very humble and even being kind of a newbie in the zine world, proved to be a very accessible person. this isn't me saying that "experienced" zine-editors aren't accessible or easy to talk to, not at all! i'm just procrastinating a bit on writing that email...

this week i've also gotten some samples/writings from other people, regarding a possible submissions of other zines for consideration. i liked what i read, even though it's way different from what i usual read and from the majority of zines being made, but that's me - i like to read new and different things, i'm always willing to "try" out something new. and so that's what i got to read, something totality new and quite interesting. i'm curious as to what it would/will look like in the form of a zine ;-)

Zines & books bought and on the reading...
this was a really busy week for my postman i guess hahaha. i got another perzine in the mail, but i have a few "problems" with it and i just don't know what to do about it. at first, i thought about writing back to the editor and tell about what i feel could be corrected/improved in the zine, specially since it's their 1st issue of this particular zine, although the editor says not to be new in zine-making. but i'm affraid my advices will be taken as critiques and not as sincere advices on how to improve the zine.
the problem with this zine is that the text size is too small. the layouts are good, everything else is good, but small text size on a quarter-sized zine just puts me off. i even give a discount to the fact that more than a couple of different typefaces are used (handwritten typefaces). i really want to read the zine but the text size is so small it gives me headaches so i dunno if i'm gonna pick it up again and continue reading. and that makes me sad, really.

i also got "about half" of an order i made from Godhaven Ink distro. it's a book called «Surrender», by Mahalia. when i opened the package and flipped through the book's pages, i was puzzled because it looked like it was half poetry and half prose or biography or whatever. i must have been a little distracted when i ordered it, but it must have been something in the book's description that made me click ''add to cart''. actually, by visiting the distro's website now, i read that Mahalia is a poet, but i probably didn't notice that when i ordered it, to be honest...
the pages still looked very interesting, and when i had the book in my hands i felt curious, being the bookworm i am, so i knew i had to read it to find out what it was all about. and so i did. mostly i think it's poetry, and until the part i paused my reading, i enjoyed it.

i'm always a bit wary when it comes to poetry, because it's not the type of literature i'll choose to buy or read, since i find it hard to like and/or understand, even poetry that is written in my native language (Portuguese). and let me tell you, we have some great poets in our literature's history! though i do like some Portuguese poets, like Florbela Espanca, and some of Fernando Pessoa's poems (or some of his heteronym's poems), most of what i enjoy reading from my country's writers is prose.
i think my high-school Portuguese classes are also to blame for my little interest on poetry. i admit that there was a time in high-school where i slacked off on most classes and i even got some bad grades on Portuguese class, what was kinda shameful given my love for reading and how good i was at those classes until that time. my teenage years kinda sucked, anyway, so... let's move on.

on writing & my future "promised" perzine
well i wasn't planning to write about this when i first started this post, but while i'm writing this i'm also multitasking (as usual) and i opened a text file to edit; it's "just" some stuff i wrote before dinner. i was just getting ready to leave my bedroom and go to the kitchen, when i had this weird burst to write. about my zine project and about writing in my journals. my so-called "zine project" that's what got me here (to make this blog) in the first place. it got me to sign up on We Make Zines and to start dreaming of making my own zine, my very first. but i got lost in the ZineWorld and reading other people's zines became more exciting than working on my own zine.
though i have collected several texts, articles, images, written my own texts, journal essays, made mock-ups of several different zine sizes & different paper foldings, etc. Almost everyday that i turn on the computer, i will find something interesting on the internet, bookmark it and save the page and/or pictures with the intent to use them somehow when making my own zine.
starting my distro came bit as a savior for me. since i couldn't contribute to the zine scene by making my own zine, well, i might as well help spread other people's words (zines!) around the world (though i'm mostly trying to appeal to future European costumers) with a mail-order service, most commonly known as distro.
but know i've gotten the "zine-bug" again and have been thinking about making my zine, maybe in a couple of months or so, when the distro is finally working on 100% or close enough, like 80% or 90%. and then i can distro my own zine, wouldn't that be fun?

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this post is way too long, i wonder if Blogger servers can take it hahaha!
but i should be working on the distro anway, and trying to write down those damn Submission Guidelines i've been trying to write for days now! and on answering emails regarding distro stuff, that's important too!