Old Zine Writing: A Story About Love, Sex, Punks, College and the 90s

What better way to procrastinate on revising your novel than by revising your old zine writing from eight years ago?

Back in the day I did a zine that ended up being called Continental Drift. (The drawing that’s in my rotating banner is from one of the issues.) My past life as a zinester means a lot to me: I met many friends through zines, read so much brilliant, inspiring writing and thinking and feeling, and it has ended up playing an essential role for me as a writer. I read a lot of my past zine stuff and, these days, it’s like Who wrote this? (In both good and bad ways.)

Most of my zine writing, especially at the beginning, was trying to figure out my thoughts, record my impressions, and just go on and on about music and records and movies and books. But near the end I started getting all arty and writing out fiction sketches — just shards of characters, incidents, moments. This was one place where they all came together to form a story. I found the old file from many years ago, dusted it off and edited it. And now it is called “Distance Covered in Four Songs” and here it is!

If it had tags, it would have: love, sex, college, punks, the 90s, parties, long distance, alternawaifs. That sums it up pretty well.

It is personal and emotional, of course, like a lot of zine writing is, but I feel so distant from it to feel fine about letting it go into the world as its own entity: something that transformed itself beyond my small, narrow experiences into its own thing. Who wrote this? is a very relevant question. I remember the person who wrote this and it feels like a great distance has been traveled and I live on other shores now. But it is a place I remember with great affection, even if I’ll never go there again. Which is what college feels like, often.

Here is the story. According to Figment, it takes about 18 minutes to read. The PDF and ePub have acknowledgments and a note at the end that tells you how much of the story is true:

——–> Read it online at Figment (if you’re a member, give it a heart, I feel so unpopular there, ha ha)
——–> Read it as a PDF
——–> Read it as an ePub document (have no idea if this works, just thought I’d give it a go.)

I actually read my shorter work out loud in the final stages of revision (an old practice from film school), so I have this story as an mp3 as well — just holler if you’re audio-inclined. I spent the summer listening to audio books and I quite enjoyed them, especially when authors or readers had nice voices to listen to.

Of course, everything is an opportunity for a soundtrack. It’s particularly relevant for the story, since music is very much something between the two characters. So here is a mix featuring the four songs in the story, along with five more that remind me of the time period that the story takes place within. There’s Unwound, My Bloody Valentine, Lync, Rye Coalition, and Red House Painters, among others, so it’s good even if you don’t read the story. Life deserves good sound design.

4 thoughts on “Old Zine Writing: A Story About Love, Sex, Punks, College and the 90s

    1. ha ha! i have no idea how they got that estimate! i just think it’s funny that they make it, although it seems Figment (and the Internet in general) does skew towards shorter wordcounts…

      & thanks for reading! xo k.

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