1. When I was a teenager growing up in Utah in the 90s zines showed me a different world outside the oppressive one I was living in and opened my eyes to new experiences and ways of living.
2. From that first moment of realizing “I can do this too!” Zines have given me an exhilarating sense of self expression on my own terms.
3. I could do something and be a part of a culture that wasn’t just forming bands and I didn’t need to find other people to work on a project.
4. Zines gave me a new name. True story! You didn’t really think my actual name was “Alex Wrekk” did you?
5. Zines fueled the love I already had for mail and postal goodness. When I was 19 my post box key was a prized possession that gave me access to a whole world.
6. Zines gave me something to do with my paper hoarding and office supply obsession.
7. Zines helped me get out of Utah. I moved to Portland in 1999 and most of the people I knew here knew me from zines. Zines automatically gave me friends in a new city.
8. Zines opened my eyes to new experiences from politics to the fascinating lives of people who were very different than me.
9. Zines give me more than just “tourism” as a reason to travel and they give me a place to stay when I get somewhere with the invaluable local eye view of a city. I have been to zines events in dozens of cities in 4 different countries sleeping on the floors of people that I only knew from paper. When I was 19 I wrote in a zine that I wanted to be able to know enough people through zines than I would always be able to find a place to stay across the country if I needed it. I think I’m pretty close to that. Conversely, I invite those people back to my city to share when they are in my town, The Portland Zine Symposium is a great reason to get people to visit me!
10. Zines have given me some of my very best friends. I even met my partner, Paul, through zines in a way when we traded zines at a show in 1997. I feel like these connections through zines are some of the strongest and most lasting over the years. It’s good to see my friends grow up and grow more into themselves.