FINDING NEW VOICES
DEFINING NEW GENRES
When Matthew asked if I would like to write a guest blog post about the literary zine that I run (PAPER AND INK, for those not already in the know), I thought I would give it the usual sales patter and try to win over a few new readers or even writers who will one day submit, but that just didn’t feel right. So I am not going to do that. We already spend far too much of our lives being sold things, having advertising shoved down our throats, and being force fed other people’s thoughts. So bollocks to it. Life is too short. Instead of trying to sell you my zine and tell you why it is the best thing since sliced bread, I kindly ask that you turn off your computer or phone or whatever device you are reading these words on and go outside, take a deep breath of fresh, polluted air, maybe hug a loved one, talk to a stranger, go for an aimless wander, or hug a fucking tree for all I care. Just get lost. Go on. Go.
I am just kidding. Forget everything I just wrote and go to my website and buy a zine already!
I had a fantastic experience at a zine fair last year. A woman came to my table and picked up a copy of issue #6 and had a flick through. The theme of the issue was childhood so she was intrigued as she collected zines and publications about parenting. As she perused the pages, she came to a poem by a Swedish artist by the name of Janne Karlsson, which went like this:
Son, one day you’re gonna appreciate everything I’ve done for you.
Bitch, one day I’m gonna write a fucking poem about you.
The woman’s face dropped. She hastily dropped the zine, picked her jaw up off the floor, and scooted along to the next table. THAT is the exact reaction I want to provoke every time someone looks at PAPER AND INK. Not to offend, but to completely destroy expectations, to shake things up, to take risks and to make jaws hit the proverbial floor.
I guess that about sums up the ethos of the zine. It is obnoxious, self deprecating, a mass of contradictions, and costs me more money to run than it makes in sales. It certainly isn’t for everyone. If you’re easily offended, or look down on profanity (or look down on anything, for that matter) then you probably won’t like it. But then again, if that was the case, you probably stopped reading this blog post a while back. If you’re in the market of discovering new and interesting voices that you won’t find in mainstream publications (which, as a fan or Urbane Publications, you undoubtedly are) then PAPER AND INK might just be right up your street.
Issue #7 comes out on February 1st and is available to PRE-ORDER right now. The theme is hangovers and features Urbane authors, Dean Lilleyman and Jared A. Carnie, along with a host of other talented writers and artists from all over the world. Whether you buy a copy or not is up to you, maybe you will get lucky and find one on the seat of a bus or left in a pub somewhere, but whatever you do, expect the unexpected. Or something. Whatever.
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