$3/38 pages/ Quarter legal size
by Taryn Hipp
I think this may be my favorite zine written by Taryn Hipp. It's good writing about mental health, life, travel, determination, and relationships. In this issue, Taryn writes about her ten day vacation in the Pacific Northwest - adventures in Portland, Olympia, and Seattle. She writes deeply about self-care, love, feminism, and sobriety.
I do all these things & yet, never feel good enough. I suppose really, I might never feel good enough but I wish I at least knew how to feel good, enough.
$2/32 pages/Quarter size
Yup, this zine is by the same author of Proof I Exist, so you know that I was ecstatic to learn that! It's already been established just how much I enjoy Billy's writing and this zine is no exception to that. It has the same wonderful writing, but a different setting, so to speak. This zine is dedicated to the author's experiences as a dealer at a casino. It's a text-heavy zine about what he experiences while on the job. I've never been one to gamble or be interested in it, so I was worried about my interest in the theme of these zines. On the contrary, it was extremely entertaining! It opened my eyes to a subculture of gamblers, people having fun and the dealers. Not to mention all the other different types of personalities that the author, as well as the reader, encounters.
The zine also had its subtle, really-sneaks-up-on-you, thought-provoking moments because of all those personalities that walked through the casino's doors. I'd recommend this zine to anyone interested in the subculture that is the workplace. And in this case? A more intriguing workplace than most.
"The reality is that nothing has changed. Well, that's not entirely true.
[...] the thing that has changed at the stroke of midnight is our attitudes."
Review by Celia Medrano
$2/32 pages/Quarter size
In this second issue of this zine, we find Billy at a full-time status as a dealer for the casino. He's six months into his job and still encountering the most interesting of characters. In this zine, we learn about his newly found pet peeve, terminology of the casino and the lessons to be learned while on the job.
One of the most interesting sections in this issue was Billy's "interpretation" (for lack of a better term!) of gambling addiction. There is almost a tragic beauty to the idea that as humans, we are built to seek something and when we don't get it, confusion follows.
"I've always loved to gamble, but have always been careful not to love it too much."
Review by Celia Medrano
$3/48 pages/Quarter size
Billy's antics as a casino worker really make for a hilarious zine that follows his work days and the multitude of characters he gets to meet. Full of quips and funny stories, it makes you want to work in such an... interesting... workplace.
And it's tough, sometimes, to walk that line. To do as many stupid things as possible without going too far. To experience life fully, without ruining your life completely. The real kicker is, the whole thing is one giant experiment, and you only get one shot at it.
So, be careful. But have fun.
Review by Kris
$4/44 pages/Half size
I quickly became wrapped up in Meredith's writing. I found myself unable to put this text heavy zine down and I had to finish reading it in one sitting. This zine is the story about Meredith falling in love with her boyfriend over the summer of 2009 and how he was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in December. Her writing is beautiful and makes your heart swoon & ache. She writes about his diagnosis, treatment and present day life.
An excerpt, "And these feelings may not last forever. We will not last forever. You might leave me before I want you to. You might be taken from me."
$2.75/34 pages/Half size
by Daily Alice
Daily Alice had me at her first paragraph. She writes about meeting her girlfriend on the internet and a little about their long-distance relationship. Daily Alice explains why she thinks online socializing can be a positive for people who are shy, suffer from social anxiety or geographically isolated. She includes a few pages of a zine, Do You Ever Want to Know About Healthy Relationships?, which was created by students at Warren Wilson College. Lots of good information about good communication skills. I found all of Daily Alice's stories to be interesting and enjoyable!
$2.75/38 pages/Half size
by Daily Alice
In this issue, Daily Alice writes about mental health problems and fashion, femininity, and gender. I found all of the pieces tied in very well together. A trigger warning is included before the piece regarding situations and places that triggered anxiety along with how Daily Alice reacted to each event. Also, thoughts on graffiti, roses, eyebrows, and zine reviews!
I feel like a doll a lot of the time, or a robot, like my limbs are leaden, only thinly upholstered in skin, and filled with something other than blood and bones and muscle. They seem so difficult to manipulate, not really mine or under my control.
$2/24 pages/Half size
Sage writes, "Issue #6 of Marked For Life is the product of the 24 hour Zine Challenge. I write about happily choosing solitude in my life, but also seeing how my lifelong battle with anxiety has played a role in that choice. I touch on getting older & how I feel about being a 30 something. I also look back on four people (family & friend) who have passed away throughout my life & how their deaths have affected me. I’ve also included some collage art."
coast to coast
$1/24 pages/Quarter size
Sage writes, "This zine is sub-titled coast to coast because I recently moved from the east coast to the west coast. I guess you could call it a travel zine since all I write about is my journey from Georgia to Washington. I share my favorite road trip stops, such as Johnny Cash & June Carter's grave site and the Bell Witch Cave. I include the story of a cracked tooth in Idaho, plus all of the beautiful landscapes I experienced. Photos of the trip are inside, too!"
$1/24 pages/Quarter size
Sage writes, "My intentions were to fill issue #8 with stories about weird and funny things that happened while riding the city bus in Olympia, Wa, but soon after starting on the zine, I realized quite a few of my stories revolved around my anxiety and how it affected my bus rides. I wrote about the various characters I met on the bus, memorable moments, awkward moments, a bus ride panic attack, and DIY anxiety tips for bus riders."
I began to have many irrational thoughts. Would I get on the right bus? Would the bus driver stop when I pulled the signal? How would I know where to get off? The questions ran on and on in my brain like a movie reel spinning out of control.
Mrs. Noggle 2
the old letters issue
$2.50/40 pages/Half size
This text heavy issue of Mrs. Noggle seems to have been an extremely healthy way for Jolie to release built up feelings & emotions as well as a way for her to look back on her past and see the positive changes she has made over the years when being in a relationship. Jolie was able to convey the way she felt about herself and the vicious cycle she found herself in with other people.
Jolie writes, "this zine contains actual unedited/uncensored letters to boys that abandoned me & broke my heart over the years. these are the desperate ramblings of a pathetic lonely girl trying to pick up the pieces of shattered relationships that she broke with her bare hands in attempts to paste together scraps to construct her other half.”
Mrs. Noggle 4
"the writing prompts & writing exercises" issue
$2/28 pages/Half size
This issue is exactly what the sub-title describes it to be: "the writing prompts & writing exercises' issue. Jolie has taken eight various writing exercise topics such as 'write about one of your most memorable moves', 'what is your earliest memory? why has it stayed with you?', write about an unhappy new year's eve', etc and shared her in depth answers within the pages of this issue.
I think it was a great idea to combine all of these writing prompts into this issue of Mrs. Noggle. The combination resulted in a great read of multiple subject matters. You'll also find an excerpt about the passing of her cat, Sid and the zine ends with a fiction short story.
$2/20 pages/Half size
Jolie completely blew me away with this issue and I was easily able to relate to her feelings of vanity, self-esteem, self-hatred and body image. She describes how people treat her differently now that she is heavier and how uncomfortable that makes her feel. She also details her history of going up and down with her weight.
Jolie writes, "I have become a non sexual overweight frumpy housewife. I don't turn heads anymore. (except maybe when my tattoos are exposed and I get looks of disgust)."
$2/40 pages/Half size
the Addiction issue
I am a huge fan of Mrs. Noggle zine. In normal Jolie style, Mrs. Noggle #14, The Addiction Issue is extremely text heavy and includes excerpts from her journals. This edition deals with two different addictions, alcohol and sex. Jolie talks about why she started drinking. She says “It all started with a bottle of raspberry zinfandel.” As her drinking progresses, it loosen ups her anxiety around boys, which leads to her addiction to sex. She gets herself into some scary situations with boys. Jolie also explains her family’s history with alcohol. “I was always seeking validation and approval from everybody. With my family it was the fact that I started drinking, it felt like they were proud of me….
I was finally one of them.”
Review written by Kimmie Sparks
$1/18 pages/Half size
Jolie writes that she has always felt a connection with actress, Brittany Murphy, throughout the years, even when Murphy's physical appearance transformed from curvy to extremely thin. Her death was shocking (for all of us) and led to Jolie becoming slightly fixated with her passing. Jolie writes,"as weird as it sounds-her death kinda feels like a death of ME. i know i sound crazy & i'm just rambling ... but the way she looked was how i used to look & that is as dead & gone as she is ..."
Jolie shares her thoughts about continuing her education and finally getting a job that she will enjoy, she shares her love for collage art (as well as a few samples) and Jolie also includes a summary of the multiple best friends she has had since Kindergarten!
$1/16 pages/ Half size
Jolie compiled a variety of topics to make up this issue of Mrs Noggle. The zine begins with a story about a day in the life of a temp; which highlights drama, co-workers and being a temp in a factory. Jolie shares her thoughts about jealousy, spoken word and two collaboration projects she is involved in. She also includes a story of how she had to take control of an annoying neighbor situation. Jolie writes, "sometimes you just gotta be a bitch!"
An excerpt, "sometimes i wake up in the middle of the night - out of a dead sleep- in a panic. for no reason. i just wake up anxious in the middle of a panic attack. & all i can think about is how i am running out of time."
$2/24 pages/Half size
In her introduction, Jolie explains her many obsessions, some that she has touchecd on in past issues of Mrs. Noggle. She has chosen different obsessions to write about in this issue; such as tape recorders, spoken word, coffee, journals, her appearance, death and a few others. In her outro, Jolie describes the variety of projects she is working on.
it was out of my hands & that really scared me. & it wasn't about the way i was gonna die or when, really. just the thought that i will no longer exist.
my little friend #5
moving back; treading forward
$1/24 pages/ Quarter size
Eryca describes the transition from being an independent student at a major art school in Chicago to now living with her parents in Los Angelos where she attends a community college. She writes about lost friendships, activities and watching over 150 hours of Law & Order: SVU in 3 months. Eryca also shares her OkCupid dating experience with three different guys. This zine is an uplifting reminder that no matter how down we can get, keep moving forward.
$2/14 pages/Half size
Kale is a transguy who has documented moments of harassment while riding public transit in Nashville, TN. Kale shares stories of various conversations, fellow passengers using gender labels, verbal altercations, and sexual harassment.
Kale's Advance Warning: This zine describes my experiences with pretty graphic verbal sexual harassment, as well as descriptions of transphobia and homophobia that I encountered early in my transition. If you are having a rough time right now, it might be a good idea to hold off on reading this one. <3
on writing, drinking & demons
$2/40 pages/Quarter size
This zine is the product of a writing experiment of sorts. Nichole hit a point where she couldn't work through a writing block she encountered. On a Monday afternoon, in an alcohol-altered state, Nichole embarked on a writing journey to see if she could ignite some inspiration. This zine documents the before, during and after of the writing experiment.
An excerpt, "I wanted to feel like I mattered, even if it was to just one person talking about sports I could really care less about. Sometimes I want to quit writing altogether so I won't be lonely anymore."
on lucid dreaming ~ information & personal experience
$2/48 pages/Quarter size
I found this issue of Pieces to be really fascinating. Nichole writes about lucid dreaming, part of the zine contains quite a bit of information about the ins and outs of lucid dreaming. A good introduction for those who aren't very familiar with lucid dreaming or how you are able to induce it. She records her lucid dreaming experiences from July 2010- August 2010.
An excerpt, "And while I still like to experiment on occasion, dream lucidity is now more about personal discovery, confronting my fears, working through anxiety, and making sense of two specific facets of self in my waking life."
$2/54 pages/Quarter size
I have been fond of Nichole's zines but this issue truly captured me the most. It is a text heavy zine that deals with a variety of subject matter but they all have something in common & that is: change. She touches on dietary choices (makes great points), identifying as a writer, accepting masochism, her sister's psychiatric hospital admittance & how she spent the closing of 2010.
An excerpt, "I'm pushing on, facing fear and the unknown. With work, with pleasure, with everything in between. When you are comfortable in life it means you are stagnant. You are no longer learning, experiencing, living."
$3/86 pages/Quarter size
"I asked myself multiple times today, 'Why did I get a job again?' and the answer I got every time was: 'You were more lonely than not.'"
I always look forward to text heavy zines. They tell me, without even reading them, that I'm going to listen to stories that were worth writing down - stories that mean something to someone. And this zine did not disappoint.
The reader will find an abridged version of the author's commuting journal within its pages. For 3 months, Nichole traveled from her home in Indiana to her job in Chicago and this zine chronicles her feelings about having to wake up every morning at 5 am only to return at 7 pm with hardly any time left for herself. It also describes her observations of others around her as well as those she interacted with. There is a sprinkle of photos, all aimed towards The South Shore, the electrically powered commuter train that served as her transportation. Above all, I enjoyed the questioning the author dealt with and the challenge she posed for herself - as a sort of personal development.
"It pops in my head when the discomfort settles a little too deep, but I realize change is necessary not really to survive, but to thrive."
I recommend this zine to anyone interested in catching a glimpse into someone else's life. It was truly interesting in its observation and even made me want to keep a diary! Overall, a very inspiring story for the full time worker in all of us.
Review by Celia Medrano
$2/82 pages/Quarter size
by Nichole & Carrie
I think I love both sides of this split zine equally. Carrie writes, "Nicole and I decided sharing insecurities and successes in regards to our struggles with body image and appearance in a zine would be a good way to continue the dialogue."
Nichole (Pieces) shares her long battle with acne and facial scars (from the acne). The skin issues impacted her self-confidence and she dealt with compulsions and suicidal thoughts. Carrie (my aim is true) writes about being fat, gender identity, avoiding certain things because of her weight, and healing from abuse.
Both writers contribute text heavy writing, their struggle with acceptance, numerous things they tried in order to overcome their insecurities, and dating stories.
Life, Love, & Anything that matters
$3/60 pages/Half legal size
This issue is extremely text -heavy (which I love), well-written and full of thought provoking stories. Billy writes about different places he has lived, roommates, and people who have influenced his life. He discusses the connection he had to Christianity as an adolescent and how his feelings about religion have evolved. Billy openly writes about depression and the death of a friend, as well as his father. He is a captivating storyteller, someone you want to spend hours conversing with swapping stories.
I felt honored to have a bit of the same blood running through my veins, and even more I felt a deep sense of family knowing that her hands helped crete the quilt that helps keep me warm at night, blanket that helps keep me alive through the long Chicago winters.
$2/64 pages/Quarter size
This issue of Proof I Exist is a collaboration of multiple entertaining stores, and some that talk about death and how it seems to come in threes. I enjoy Billy's writing so much, it feels as if he is sitting there next to you excitedly telling you all about his adventures.
Issue #10 includes pieces about his grandfather, a vampire movie script, an awesome roommate, furry animal suits, zine love, friendships, a technology flashback, and getting married by Elvis in Vegas. Text-heavy awesomeness.
But each person I meet, I try to imagine what sort of day they've had, and in what way they will add me into their life story. I try to be a worthy supporting character to whatever plotline they are working through.
$1/24 pages/Half size
Typed lovingly on an old-fashioned typewriter (spelling mistakes n'all), this time we follow Billy as he begins to make the transition from Chicago-ite to travelling man on his move to Santa Fe. The journal-like entries explore reactions and feelings from making a drastic decision, and the slight push we sometimes need to get us out the door. High points from this issue include local Chicago characters and the sweet and simple conversation with his mum regarding death.
Review by Kris
$2/44 pages/Half size
Billy's gone! This issue of “Proof I Exist” begins with the wrenching departure from his home of 10 years to his journey and beginning of a new life in Santa Fe. The confusion of the unfamiliar and the detailed stories of the things Billy will miss make this zine a bittersweet chronicle of how those memories stay with us. And how hopefully a dreadful journey becomes just a funny stopgap on the way to a new adventure or two.
Review by Kris
$3/56 pages/Quarter size
This wonderfully written text-heavy zine deals with many of the author's experiences in his every day life. Actually, it's more like taking a glimpse into his personal journal - every thought exposed for us to see. It's truly a brilliant read.
Some of the topics that are mentioned are the author's experience with insomnia and the realization that everyone (at his workplace, at least) seemed to be taking some sort of medication to go to sleep or stay awake.
"I floated through my shift, in my own reality."
Another section covers the contemplation of the almost-death of his dog and how it made him think of his beliefs. I thought it was interesting how it lead to thinking about how, even though we like to think that money isn't all that important, moments like these remind us of just how important it can be to our well-being and survival.
"It's simple and straightforward, but there it is. An epiphany in ink."
There are so many tidbits like this in this zine that it made me want more!
"[...] I now also realize that whatever you do, if you do it for your own reasons, and do it your way, then that is pretty damn cool."
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Review by Celia Medrano