I noticed that I like to start these recommendations by explaining how I found each zine in the first place. This one’s pretty vivid in my memory: I was visiting my oldest brother in San Francisco when I was in college, and asked him if we could go to City Lights Books (I’d just read Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur, which has a scene taking place there). We couldn’t find any parking in North Beach, but my brother offered to keep circling around the neighborhood while I ran in and explored the store. That’s when Doris #16 by Cindy Crabb somehow jumped out to me from the zine shelf. I bought it on impulse, eventually liking it so much that I mailed Cindy a letter to order more issues (as we had to do in the old days). Among these back issues was #15: the “DIY Anti-Depression Guide,” one of my all-time favorite zines.
Fifteen years (and issues) later, reading Doris still has a way of waking me up and making me feel inspired about life again. The newest issue does this right off the bat, with this passage from the intro that may as well be Doris’ mission statement: “How do we imagine and build a world that we want to live in, despite all the messages coming at us that it’s not worth the fight?” #31 is the shortest issue in a while, but this gives it a sharp, focused feel. Most of the issue is taken up by “Cape Cod,” a beautifully written 10-page story about Cindy and her friend “Elliott” squatting in Cape Cod after one of their friends is killed. They find a vacant motel cottage in the woods and live there for a month in the dead of winter, going to the library, walking to the ocean; each of them mourning the loss and healing themselves in their own way.
The issue is rounded out by two shorter essays, one about white privilege and reparations, and another about the mixed emotions she feels about raising lambs on her farm (“It has taught me about love and loss.”)
You can order Doris #31 from Cindy’s website, or from distros like AK Press, Microcosm, Pioneer’s Press, Portland Button Works, and, yes, you can still get it at City Lights in SF!
I also highly recommend the Doris anthology published by Microcosm (which includes the “DIY Anti-Depression Guide” mentioned above).
Somnambulist 25 by Martha Grover
When the Dust Settles by Rina Ayuyang
Blindspot #3 by Joseph Remnant and Eschew #3 by Robert Sergel
Gnomes by Sam Gaskin
TABLEGEDDON and As You Were #1
Real Axe (#1) by Josh Frankel
Extra Time #2 by Jeff Levine
May 2013 – Is It The Future Yet? by Corinne Mucha
April 2013 – SMOO 4, 5, and 6 by Simon Moreton
March 2013 – Painful Vices by Lisa Rosalie Eisenberg
February 2013 – Ochre Ellipse #3 by Jonas Madden-Connor
January 2013 – Not My Small Diary #16
December 2012 – Ramble On #2 by Calvin Wong
November 2012 – Veggie Dog Saturn #6 by Jason Young