I have a new hobby. As I have said before, Portland seems to be quite the hobby town, and it is encouraging my own creativity. Recently, I was turned on to the world of zines. You will find a good definition of a zine at Wikipedia.

Portland seems to be crazy about zines. Most bookstores seem to have a section for them, and there are at least three bookstores that include a great deal of zines in their merchandise. I first became interested in zines when I stumbled across the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC). I joined the IPRC and began taking classes and reading through their extensive zine library.

As I continued to research zines, I came across a topic that I am using to write my first zine. I am writing teaching tips for teachers. I am taking all of my experience and trying to condense it down into a detailed, readable, and funky zine. I'm giving advice on substitute teaching (always carry Bandaids), curriculum development (real and relevant), classroom management, and parent/teacher conferences just to name a few of the chapters. I am limiting it to 10 pages front and back (4 zine pages per page), and I plan on hand stitching it with waxed linen thread. I took a class on this stitching method, and I am very excited to use it on my own work.

What will I do with the product? I don't know. Part of the fun for me has just been the process. It was almost therapeutic to put my thoughts and ideas down on paper. I may see if the local bookstores will market it, and I may use it in interviews where I can show evidence of my educational beliefs and ability to use the computer and self-publishing concepts in the classroom.
I have to admit, I'm not really that concerned about what I do with it now. For me, it was all about the writing of the book.

I have already learned several things about myself and the self-publishing process. Some of the the things I have learned are below:
  • I learned to use the Paint computer program to make graphics. Next time, I want to use something different.
  • My first rough draft was very readable, sterile, and boring. Zines are supposed to be somewhat funky. I ended up experimenting with borders, fonts, and graphics in order to add a little whimsy to my zine
  • I learned that I know a lot more about teaching than I give myself credit for knowing.
I am already thinking of ideas for my next zine. It may be about living on the farm in junior high, or it may be about the crazy Oregon Trail that I took from Tulsa to Oregon. I have not decided yet, but I am already excited about the possibilities.