Into the Grid, 32pg. @ 1/8 letter,
and Dig Deep, issues 1-3, various sizes and configurations
by Heather C.
Available through Stanger Danger Distro, $1 each.
One of the best things about reading more zines in service of this website, is that people who make zines are often really nice, and they tend to like other people who make zines. While times have changed, and you can buy a zine without folding a dollar bill up in a little letter to a stranger, that ethos of friendly solidarity has thankfully persisted into the age of PayPal (an online service that has a lot to do with Paying and very little to do with Pals).
Thus, when I ordered a copy of the latest issue of Dig Deep, by Heather C., through her distro, Stranger Danger, she sent not only that issue, but both the previous issues, some bonus zines, a sticker, and a nice letter.
It’s a nice reminder that not all transactions involving money are the same – just cause I use the same money to buy shitty produce from China as I do to pay Hillary, the farmer whose CSA I belong to, doesn’t make those transactions two instances of the same thing. Drawing equivalencies like that seems defeatist to me; it makes you forget that it is possible, and awesome, for the money you spend to connect you to, rather than shield you from, other people in the world.
Anyway, zines: buying them and reading them.
Heather C. is a reference librarian at a public library in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. Dig Deep and Into the Grid are partly, but not entirely, about her life living many a bookish person’s dream of spending whole days hanging out with books, moving books around, ordering books, and helping people find the books they need.
She reminds us that working in a library isn’t really the best job for the hermetically inclined – it is first and foremost a job in the public sphere. Heather writes about her threatening, funny, moving, and baffling experiences with library patrons. She also talks about how rewarding it is to help people out in her capacity as a librarian, whether through helping someone find books about getting through a loved one’s suicide, or by setting up a zine library for teenagers.
Dig Deep #3 is a split with Your Secretary #10, by Jami Sailor, who is also a librarian, and works in a public library in Chicago [Ed. note: I originally misidentified the city where Jami works as Detroit. Thanks for the correction and please accept my apologies … I’m from Canada.] helping patrons use computers. Her zine tells, humorously and sometimes angrily, the story of her job and how she got there.
Non-library-related matters that Heather writes about include her family, her favourite t-shirt, street harassment, making friends, and passing thirty and working on putting together a life that makes her happy.
Heather’s writing is sharp and cogent; her zines are written in short vignettes that succinctly and thoroughly express an idea or focus attention on a moment or aspect of her life. I admire the way she lives her values and enjoys what she does. Her zines are a fun and inspiring read, pick ‘em up!
- Lily Pepper