What was your first zine about and when was it made?
In the spring of ’99, when I was a senior in high school, a bunch of friends and I submitted our work to the (famously awful) school literary magazine. It was all rejected in favor of poems that students had been required to write for their English classes. So I and one of my friends solicited stories and poems from everyone we knew and turned it into a literary zine called Chrysalis. My friend’s dad worked in the office of a ramen factory and we used his photocopier to print it.
Describe your most recent zine.
I’ve just started a serial zine called Little Cloud. The first issue, “Borders, Boundaries, and Barriers,” is about my efforts to combine Witchcraft with Judaism and Buddhism into a syncretic religious practice. It uses permaculture as a metaphor for healthy spirituality.
Of all the things you’ve ever made, zine-related or otherwise, what’s your one favorite?
Last year I published my first novel, Other Life Forms, through Dinah Press. It’s about an artist who hangs missing person posters with her own face on them to see if anyone will recognize her, and mayhem ensues. It got some praise in Booklist, which was incredibly exciting and validating. Tied with my novel, though, would be my fanzine about The Craft, which explores why a campy horror movie made such an impact on American teenage girls (including me).
Name three of your influences and how they affected your work.
I love Telegraph by Maranda Elizabeth. Their writing is poignant and incisive, and I love the way they approach magic and ritual. Doris is another of my favorites. There’s really nothing I love more than a good perzine, and I hope my zines make readers half as happy as these perzines make me.
In terms of visuals, I’ve been inspired by Kristin Trammell’s collage work, and have finally started experimenting with collage myself. Collage pops in a way that’s hard to achieve with drawing, at least for me.
What do you do when you’re not creating and how does it help or harm what you do artistically?
By day, I work as the UCLA Powell Library zine librarian! In addition to building the collection itself, I get to work with student zinesters and faculty to put on events and integrate zine-making into coursework. For instance, I just worked with a composition instructor to compile her students’ poetry into a zine inspired by the LA Aqueduct.
Immersing myself in zine culture gives me a million ideas for stuff to write about, and having constant access to the collection means that I can read more zines than I could on my own. Between my job and my toddler, though, I often don’t have a lot of time left over for my own writing. American culture isn’t going to grant writers living stipends any time soon, so being a writer means you have to be selfish with your time. Few people are going to give you time to write, and even fewer are going to really understand why you need it, so you have to take it, with no apologies. If you’re anything like me, you’ll feel guilty and crappy about it most of the time. I wish there was a better way.
Check out more from Julia Glassman on her Etsy!