I was looking for a good label for myself. Artist never seemed quite right, mainly because I’m really not all that technically good at the stuff that is usually called art. I’m sure I could be good- I may in fact be good in the future, but at this point I am probably a high beginner or low intermediate on the scale of artistic prowess. But I have always been naturally “creative” and when I looked over my body of work I saw that almost everything I did, did well and/or liked to do to seemed to fit (albeit loosely) into the memoir category.
The picture to the right is a lot of my zines and zine-style mass mailing letters. They are different in that the zines are more a chronicle of what I am thinking about, immersed in, etc. during the zinemaking period, while the letters document more of my daily life, both practical and emotional.
The very earliest zines were not personal at all and in fact were basically propaganda, but they memorialize the earliest stages of my libertarianism and also helped me learn about layout and design. The ones made during the past decade have gotten progressively less propagandish (sometimes I think I was propagandizing myself) but I think only the ones made in the last five years can be said to be propaganda-free. Here I am, blogging, but my first love is the indie printed page and one of my dreams is to have something to do with sparking a zinemaking renaissance, especially among Christians.
My mass-mailing letters grew out of my love for letter writing in a time when most people no longer answer letters. For quite a while I still wrote letters to individual people, but since I rarely heard back from them about their own lives (and this is in no way a guilt trip), I was writing multiple letters that were all about the same – basically, a monologue about me. I remember my first foray into the mass-mailing and I felt totally guilty and I swore I wouldn’t make a habit of it. Well, I did make a habit of it and I write one every year or two. I really don’t know how the people who receive the mass-mailings feel about them. They are definitely not like your standard Everything Is Awesome Christmas letter, in fact I am often grumpy and miserable when I am writing them and I don’t hide that. They are very long (like 48 pages or so) and usually take months to write. They are important to me because they are the best record I have of life on the ground with my family, from the time my oldest (who is now 21) was about 3 years old.
Although they definitely fall into the category of memoir, I don’t include my art journals here because they are a different animal altogether (and they have their own page). They are all handwritten in my undecipherable script and full of stream of consciousness thoughts which get very boring. I almost never write about anything that “happens” in the world outside my brain. But taken together, the zines, letters and journals are a pretty good representation of my intellectual, daily and psychological lives over the years. Though our lives are as ephemeral as the grass, I find having a less-ephemeral-than-cyberspace record of mine to be very satisfying.