At Richmond Zinefest 2013 I headed up a storytelling workshop. One of the folks in the session was Megan. Before the workshop broke up she handed me issue #3 of her zine Trail Mix.
Now, as fans of zine culture know, there are zines and there are zines. Some are just thrown together, some are assembled with care; some are outstanding and some are horrid. But when they are good they are very very good, and it is this fact that compels me (like the folks who sift through piles of junk at yard sales or purchase brown paper grab bags with unknown contents) to read zines.
Trail Mix is one of the very very good ones.
In terms of production value, it is in the classic cut’n’paste mold: there are black and white pictures snipped and glued, handwritten pages mixed with typewritten sections, and ransom note headlines. It is relaxed and unstudied in its feel, but that doesn’t mean it is slapdash. Relaxed doesn’t mean poorly constructed. Trail Mix is organized and flows perfectly. The time, effort and skill it took to organize the work of so many contributors reveals itself as art rather than artifice.
The centerfold is an autobiographical story Megan wrote called “Rookie.” A sweet and genuine piece, tender without being treacle, it is the work of a writer in control of story. I was moved.
Maybe Megan should be the one leading the workshop next year. Trail Mix is highly recommended.