Who are you? Where are you based?
I’m currently based in London, UK. I live in a tiny studio flat with my partner and our cat who likes to get right in the way of all zine making activities. I use adisorderedmind as my zinester identity as I find it liberating to be able to create content without having to worry what people who know me might think. I don’t want to self-edit and if I’m anonymous it’s easier not to do that (at least for me).
What are zines to you?
For me, zines are amazing creative outlets for self-expression. The possibilities feel endless because a zine really can be about anything. I’m never without ideas for new zines because there are no limits and no rules or criteria on what a zine should or shouldn’t be. That’s what’s so special! I also love the community around zines and how the intimate and personal becomes shared and distributed. I used to write in a notebook to try and process difficult feelings and analyse how my mental illness was affecting me, but now zines have become my new, more creative and rewarding notebook and they’ve really helped my mental health.
What was your first encounter with zines?
My first encounter with zines was actually when I was working in a library that happened to be hosting a zine-making workshop. I didn’t know what a zine was at the time but once I saw them being made and learned more about their history and their function and the community that surrounds them, I knew I wanted to get involved. That being said, when I was a kid, I used to create issues of my own magazine, written and illustrated all by me, which I would then send to my best friend. I like to think that I was engaging in zine culture at an early age, even though I didn’t realise it at the time.
Tell me about your zines. What kind of zines do you make?
My zines are largely about mental illness, specifically Depression, Anxiety and Borderline Personality Disorder. I try to illustrate my own experiences of living with these conditions through cartoons, drawings, and the written word. It’s difficult to make others see an invisible illness but my hope is that these zines will help. I used to draw pictures and cartoon strips for my partner to try and explain in cute and funny ways what was happening in my head when I was ill and they really helped her understand me and the illnesses better. Most of my zines are perzines (personal zines) focusing on particular moments of my life, especially difficult times in my past, as I find it helpful to make something secret and painful and hard to explain into something tangible. An object you can hold in your hand which makes sense and is real. So I have written zines on grief and grieving, on coming out, on being raised in a fundamentalist religious home and on being working class.
What inspires you to create zines?
So maybe I started to answer this question a little bit already, but for me, inspiration is more of an urge— An urge to get something painful or ugly outside of me and transform it into a zine that I like and am happy to have in the world. So far, I haven’t run out of zine inspiration because I have an endless need for catharsis! Whenever I have an idea for a new zine, I write it down on a “future-zine” list and that grows faster than I can make them, so there’s a backlog right now. I often get ideas for zines when I’m about to fall asleep, or when I’m in the shower – both quite inconvenient times really.
What’s your favorite thing about zines?
The freedom and the community. Okay, so that’s two things but I think they go together.
Do you recall your first zine ever, what was it about and what inspired you to create it?
I’m pretty new to zine making, so my first ever zine was made in very recent history! I’m talking months rather than years here 🙂 It was a poetry zine called Poetry on Prozac, as I had just come out of a phase of poetry writing and I wanted to bring the poems all together and create illustrations for each one. I wrote the poems out by hand onto A5 pieces of paper and drew illustrations around them but I didn’t know how to turn all of these individual sheets of paper into a zine. I tried to sneakily and subtly use the photocopier at work but I didn’t know what on earth I was doing and I wasn’t able to create anything but a big mess! I think I gave up on it for a while but when I came back, I figured out my own little process and have stuck with that. I’m sure it’s not the best way of the easiest way. But it works.
Tell me a little about your zine-making process.
So yeah, my process is a little convoluted. If I’m going to make a mini-zine out of a single sheet of A4 or A5 paper, I use the traditional folding and cutting method that you can easily find on Google, but most of the time I create my original zine by using individual sheets of A5 paper which I then scan as images, convert into PDFs and format the document so that when I print it, I can make it into a booklet. So I guess I print from a file rather than use a photocopier according to the traditional way of zine making.
What do you hope people get out of your zines?
Mainly I hope that my zines help people to feel less alone, less like they are the only ones living with mental illness or struggling with identity or with life in general. I’ve felt isolated and like I don’t belong many times in my life, but in sharing my experiences (from being homeschooled to coming out gay in a Christian home etc.) I feel connected. I hope that’s what others feel too. An important part of connecting with others is through honesty and that’s something zines allow you to be, super honest. There is so much pressure to present ourselves in certain ways and to come across like we have life totally sorted, but in zines (at least in my zines) it’s the opposite. You can confess and overshare and strip everything back. It’s real.
Name two of your favorite zinesters.
Just 2??! Ooo that’s tricky. I have a lot of love for @tinyvictorieszine who makes gorgeous little zines full of advice and encouragement and self-love. I also really love the zines of @jaydeperkin whose created beautiful illustrated zines on grief and grieving.
Do you have any advice for new zinesters?
My advice for new zinesters would be to just keep doing what you’re doing, don’t worry about the content or style of other zinesters, make what you want to make in the way you want to make it and then just put it out there and see what happens. I think it’s important to do whatever you are passionate about and say what you feel you NEED to say, rather than try to guess what people want to hear. I make the zines for myself and then if someone else is interested in them, that’s amazing and makes me happy, but you don’t look for validation from others.
Is there a zine website or resource you would recommend new zinesters to check out?
Instagram! Instagram is a great place to meet other zinesters from all around the world and to follow their work. Follow the hashtag #zine (and use it yourself) and you’ll be linked up to a wonderful community in no time.
Interview conducted by Solansh Moya
Pictures provided by adisorderedmind