1. Ahh, zines. Of course the zine scene is still alive (it’s been ingested into and mostly absorbed by the blog scene), but we used to print them on paper — typing paper, computer paper, newsprint — and try to distribute them in book and record stores. We didn’t have blogads.com around then either, but you could usually find someone with a band or a poetry chapbook to pay $20 for a quarter page.
As you’ve probably guessed, I once ran a zine. This was a long time ago, back when I was in high school, and I founded Head Express with my stepsister Kelly (who is now a librarian in Florida and occasionally pops up on LitKicks). Head Express was a parody of a rock music magazine, with articles like “Rate Your Rogers” (stacking up Roger Waters vs. Roger Daltrey vs. a Roy Rogers Roast Beef Sandwich) and terrible Rolling Stone-style flower child poetry from a fake contributor named Ann T. Lope. We ran for a couple of issues and then forget to keep doing it. Years later, I looked at LitKicks.com and realized it wasn’t very different from Head Express at all. But here the flower child poetry is real, and hopefully the jokes are better.
The zine scene gets a good workout in a new novel by Tim W. Brown, Walking Man, which sends up the intense 80s/90s “Factsheet Five” era when zinesters started taking themselves seriously and pushing at the limits of creative possibility that would eventually blow up into the internet age. Published by Bronx River Press, this paperback original tells of the hardworking obsessive Brian Walker’s brief rise to the peak of “zine fame”, and where it left him. A breezy look back at a faraway literary age from not very long ago
2. I didn’t realize the Iowa floods had reached the library at the University of Iowa, a renowned literary spot.
4. The Diary Junction is a blog devoted to the literary form known as the diary.
5. And I Dream of Analysis is devoted to the study of one particular kind of dream.
7. This is one way of looking at it.
8. I was at the same Brooklyn Litfest cheese-cube party that didn’t impress Ed Champion, though I was satisfied enough and don’t mind that the Brooklyn book fest is reaching to Manhattan for talent. But I was at the PEN World Voices Gilligan’s Island cruise party a couple of months ago, so I know what it’s like when bad book parties happen to good lit fests.
9. If you’re going to do a literary project called Here Ends The Beginning and bill yourself as “a multimedia storytelling experience, part screenplay, part graphic novel, part audio book and part movie, the newest chapter in publishing” (via Joe Wikert) … you shouldn’t put a talking video on your main landing page, and you shouldn’t compose your final design in Microsoft Powerpoint.
10. Pratalipi is a bilingual monthly magazine — an idea that seems obvious, but I don’t think I’ve seen it done before.