This blog is a zine.

Write Your Own Words #1

Today's post might seem silly — a whole lot of words about a word, and who gives a dang about a word?

I do. 

♦ ♦ ♦

Before the internet, weirdos like me connected with other weirdos through zines, and of course, all zines were on paper.

I've read thousands of zines, and published five titles myself, beginning when I was 10 years old. When I had no friends, I had zines. Zines got me a job. Zines got me laid. Zines kept me from going completely mental. My wife and I met by reading each other’s zines. The last zine I published was Zine World, a zine about zines.

Zine World #3
cover illustration
by Jeff Meyer

So I'm a zine guy. It's only a word, but it’s one of my favorite words — a word that’s been extraordinarily important in my life.

♦ ♦ ♦

Whatever it is that makes you you, if you write it and share it, that's your zine. It's not pieces of paper, it's pieces of you.

I love reading 'pieces of people' in their zines, unfiltered by any concerns except whatever the zinester wants to say. I like it raw.

When I published Zine World, we sometimes got snooty about that rawness. If something came in the mail and it looked too slick, too professional, or it had too many ads, we were suspicious. We imagined this dividing line between zines and everything else:

Magazines and mass media are powered by the profit motive. The underlying question is always Can we make money from this? That’s what drives almost everything that almost anyone reads, or watches, or listens to.

Zines are powered instead by the passion motive. The underlying question is only, Do I have something to say? If the answer is yes, then you'll publish a zine (and I'd like to see it).

♦ ♦ ♦

Since launching this webpage, I’ve called it a blog, but from reading other blogs, it's obvious that it isn't. Not to me, anyway.

Most blogs are about selling something. Go to r/Blogging to see what bloggers are passionate about — search engine optimization, earnings, advertising, etc. I don't give a hoot about any of that.

There are a few blogs I read and enjoy, but most are written by professionals. I read the pro's prose in books and magazines, and I'll read pro blogs, too, but they don't scratch my itch for something zinelike.

A few blogs have that zinelike personal passion, but almost invariably those blogs ceased publishing years ago. I've read dozens of really good dead blogs, and it's sad, like stepping into an abandoned house where the kitchen still smells like stew.

Not counting pro blogs and dead blogs, the number of amateur, passionate, zinelike blogs I’ve found is … charitably, half a dozen? And I haven't given up, so if there's a seventh personal blog that exists, please let me know, but meanwhile ...

♦ ♦ ♦

You're reading this online, not on paper, and there are no staples, no stamps, but this is a zine.


Write your own words

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  1. Captain HampocketsJuly 13, 2021 at 5:59 AM

    Here is my Zine Wiki entry :

    "Joe Gallo published the zines Gulp Life and Electric Third Rail. He was better known, however, for his harsh, dismissive reviews in Zine World: A Reader's Guide to the Underground Press. He is no longer active in zines. His last listed address was in San Francisco.

    He shares his name with a famous Mafioso"

    1. Isn't that famous Mafioso a blood relative?

      Your meanness was legendary, but I don't really remember any of it as being mean. You (and the rest of us) just didn't have much patience for half-assed efforts.

    2. Captain HampocketsJuly 13, 2021 at 5:09 PM

      Yeah, Crazy Joey Gallo is some sort of uncle, not sure how close. Not SUPER close.

      I definitely remember occasionally* playing up my meanness in reviews. One I remember was for a Jazz zine. I forget the title. But the guy who did the zine called himself "Rotcod Zzaj." Get it? It's "Doctor Jazz" backwards. I thought that was the lamest fucking thing ever, and made fun of his name. I feel bad. Dude was just trying to have some fun.

    3. Telling the truth is nothing to be ashamed of.

  2. Captain HampocketsJuly 13, 2021 at 3:35 PM

    Stay safe and masked, everyone. A guy on a podcast I listen to has Covid. He's on the correct side - vaccinated, masked up usually, etc. But was at a family reunion, and like 40% of the people there have come up positive.

    1. Still wearing my mask, any time I'm anywhere but at home or in my car. That's what I'd advise.

    2. Captain HampocketsJuly 13, 2021 at 5:13 PM

      Same. It's at the point where I'm in the 10% minority in every store, wearing masks.

      I rotate between five grocery stores - a big chain, a small chain, and then three independent Mennonite-run, unrelated discount stores. They offer amazing cheap deals. But they are also quite religious, and resisted masks, as well as abandoned them completely as soon as mandates were lifted.

      Fuck that, though, I just ordered some SF Giants masks.

    3. I'm vacinated so I'm (mostly) safe from the corona but who wants a flu? I will wear the masks.

  3. All news to me. I've heard of blogs, but zines only in your 1990s posts. Are there still zines on paper?

  4. Not silly at all. I've never seen a zine but I can tell that you love zines.

  5. I dont understand it but I respect it.


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