where you from?, Issue #2
Various contributors, compiled by Hope Amico. 78pg. at 1/4 letter size.
I bought my copy from ms. valerie park distro for $2.50
For me this zine, a compilation of eleven writers’ takes on where they grew up and where they live, is two great tastes that taste great together.
The past couple years I’ve nursed a burgeoning obsession with the history and the ins and outs of New Orleans, a city where I’ve only spent a couple of days, loopy with the tropical humidity and a couple days on the Greyhound. Since then, I’ve read dozens of books and zines about the Gulf Coast, moved by its syncretic history, its hauntedness, and its love of weirdness and spectacle.
Another of my favourite things is finding out where people come from and where their disparate elements came from. I take a lot of pleasure in getting to know a new person to the point where I can get some idea of where they get their notions about the world, the cadence of their speech, their intuitions and prejudices about things. I LOVE meeting people’s parents.
So there this zine was, right up there in my alley!
As Ella, a contributor to this zine, puts it,
“I like the idea of my hometown being a little thing that follows me around. Would she be connected to me by a rope? Or would she trail behind by her own methods? Can I lose her? Can she stalk me? Can she die? Do we ever have conversations?”
Hope Amico, who compiled the zine, lives in New Orleans, and writes Keep Loving, Keep Fighting, a zine that often deals with the city. (Please click on her name up there and read her blog, which is great). Seven out of eleven contributors write about places in Louisiana. Their experiences and their approaches to storytelling, however, differ widely.
Jason writes about the mercurial, shifting landscapes of Mandeville, Alex writes efforts to build a scene in Baton Rouge, and Darin contributes a strange and evocative one-page piece about growing up in apocalyptic, industrial Norco. Tim, “extracted, slapped, and circumsized” in New Orleans, and grown up in various of its suburbs, waxes philosophical about the relationships cities and suburbs have to one another.
Other parts of the world are represented too. Steve tells about growing up in a small town in England, and Adam F. writes about Arizona, having grown up in Flagstaff and living at time of writing in Tuscon. Adam gives a compelling and instantly relatable tale of teenage malaise, smoking cigarettes and experimenting with drugs and subcultures, things never so fun as you’d hoped.
He also shares the particularities, the things you really want to know about places and people’s lives there:
“The dust that fills the door jambs and the back of the book cases in every house even has its own smell. The way the dust feels in the creases of my hands and the soles of my shoes has become so familiar that it’s like a second skin. A gift skin. A skin that is as borrowed or owned as I let it be.”
Kathryn writes about Decatur, Alabama: “home of the first wave pool”. I love local claims to fame and have nurtured for many years an ambition to visit Knoxville, TN, “Underwear Capital of the World”. The bleak town I grew up in was once the providence of wealthy lumber barons, and in 1884 was the first place in Canada to have electric streetlights. Despite the shuttered factories, the empty storefronts, the methadone clinic, they will prise our electric streetlights from our fucking cold, dead, hands.
She writes about the times she shared with her stylish grandmother Mimi, who “came from very little” and yearned for luxuries.
“Daughter of a card playing-drinking man, Mimi was the oldest of three. Her mother died in a kitchen fire and two years later her father was shot in the chest in a pool hall. She was 16 years old. The newspaper said she collapsed in tears on the witness stand during the trial.”
People and their lives are so great. Surely, you will enjoy this zine.
- Lily Pepper