Originally published on It’s Not Where You Start.
Did I ever tell you about the zine my friend Jennifer and I published in high school?
Don’t get too excited. We only produced two issues. We were freshmen and saw ourselves as outsiders, so it felt like producing a zine was the right thing to do. Plus, my parents owned a xerox machine (to facilitate my dad’s small tax-accounting practice) so it was super easy.
The only issue was that neither of us had ever actually seen a zine. We had read about them in Newsweek and had a general idea of what they were (edgy, xeroxed… um… creative?). So we recruited a bunch of our friends to write, pseudonymously, fired up Print Shop, and had a go.
We named our zine “Monty’s Monthly Cycle.” We came up with a really contrived framing story about a transsexual person whose sex change operation got botched, resulting in a monthly bleeding… to cope with which, he produced a zine. Or something like that. I don’t have a copy handy.
Imagine my surprise when, a half-dozen years later, I saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch!
Anyway, our plan to create the zine had a few flaws. One, we didn’t know how to distribute it, especially if we wanted to stay anonymous. We left a few copies around school and stuck inside our favorite books in the public library. Of course, this was before any of us had internet email accounts, so we didn’t really have a way to get feedback from readers, assuming anyone read it. And besides our friends who were already contributing… was there anyone who wanted to read our stuff?
So it wasn’t really a surprise to any of us that we lost interest after the second issue. Instead, I went on to take over the real school newspaper, and eventually find my way onto the internet.
But the zine established a pattern in my life that still persists. I get interested in something that’s kind of cool or edgy. But I’m not really cool or edgy enough to do it right. But I can kind of act the part. But when I get inside of whatever it is, I realize that it’s not necessarily all that cool in and of itself anyway. So then I figure out how to do the thing I actually want to be doing instead of the cool, edgy version.
And this, my friends, is how I came to be the editor of JewishBoston.com.