Sunday, August 17, 2008

'Zines and Things

Darla was interviewed by Creative Loafing for a story on the 'Zine scene in the Bay Area.

Darla answered staff writer Alex Pickett, "What killed zines?" Darla Nunnery of the now-defunct zine Hostage. "MySpace, message boards, PDF files and the high cost of postage."

After reading the article, I was going through a box of old papers and found printed copies and tear sheets from the old DWJ. I realized that the hard copy Deepwater Journal could have actually qualified for a 'Zine.

I started it as an anti-mag type periodical in response to a writing contest I entered sponsored by - who else? Creative Loafing. I was encouraged to enter by numerous ex professors and some friends as an exercise in submissions. The subject was to be The Flavor Of Tampa in which the author was to write about some aspect of the city and surrounds.

I sent my piece off and waited for the contest end to see the winners. Of course, I didn't win even a mention. That was alright. I was just happy to be participating instead of my m.o. of writing and then putting it in a huge stack with other writings I don't do anything with.

But what truly astounded me was the shitty quality of the winners. I was absolutely stumped at how such infantile essays could possibly have blown the rest of us out of the water. Until I started reading more carefully and looked at a few back issues. I surmised that the 'winners' were darlings of the judges, politically local and correct, or at least connected or influential in some way. I thought of all the people who had bothered to take their precious time to write, edit, hope and send their pieces in only to have zip of a chance for publication before they even licked the stamp.

A day or so later, I read an op-ed piece in the New York Times where some ancient bellicose hat wearing chauvinist commented on his opinion of 'true literature' and the journal movement where 'bored, pudgy housewives poured out their picayune little lives' or some such shit and that they were 'wasting paper.'

Ass. Judgmental old fart. Close-minded, rock salt veined, puffed and piney chested, little weinied, self-entitled, dog breathed **, septuagenarian, hackneyed old jackass of a Calvinist pig!

These two events birthed DWJ. I asked every woman and girl-child I met to send me poetry, prose, stories, art -- anything that they had ever secretly wanted to share and I would give their efforts a home. And I was flooded with just that. Writing. Poetry. Art. Lots of it. And they were good!

Some submissions I've republished here in the electronic version. To a one, every single thing ever to go in DWJ was worthy and certainly not a waste of paper. I still want to see the words and work of others who have been denied a voice.

How the hard copy Deepwater Journal died was convoluted. It was very well received but I was functioning minimally with health and time and other issues. Jeannie Taylor decided to take it on and we merged it with her Journey of a Madwoman. Then artist and writer Heather Brown-Truman took over for Jeannie. When Heather moved to Oregon with her death defying pregnancy and gypsy feet, I got it back. I published a stack of the next two issues and that was it until 2006 when Martha Marshall aggravated me into blogging over at her house one day.

I asked her what I should blog about. She said, "Your writing, your stories...any damn thing you want to."

So. My take is that old 'Zines don't die, they morph into something else. Those old fart critics should be grateful for the ones of us that went onto blogging instead of more physically expressive pursuits. Like bomb making and other ways of not playing well with others.

**(apologies to my legal goddogs, Abby, Reno and Boomer)


redchair said...

Love this post Dina. Knowing both you and Heather, I still never knew the story of how it started or what the Deepwater Journal was about. I love the idea.

queenlint1 said...

Lots of stories go along with this but they only surface as some switch is set off.

DWJ was another victim of my own bellicosity, "Wait! Stand Back! I can do that! And that, and that, and that, and this...."

One day, I may learn how to just say 'know' to my enthusiasm in relation to my energy.

Eric S. said...

What would be neat, is to put all that hard copy into an E Book. Then publish it yourself, just for satisfaction. Make sure to send a copy to that old fart.

queenlint1 said...


I'm thinking of you tonight. Before your wife comes after me, tell her that it has to do with part 15 of the PLR meme!

As for sending the old fart anything, if the literary world is lucky, his demise has generated cheer on some obit page somewhere. And I wouldn't "waste the paper" on the old fart ;}

What are YOU writing?

Martha Marshall said...

Abby, Boomer and Reno are proud tonight.

Heather said...

Yippeee we have morphed, I love that! :) Balls to the old farts.

Martha Marshall said...

PS Darlin',

Nobody is denied a voice any more. You gotta love the internet.

queenlint1 said...


I think they forgave me after last night's doggy biscuits and sneaks of bites at the table.

I swear we were all reincarnated together from some rush-floored castle in Medieval England! The kids would have fit right in under my trencher table with me handing them of haunches of venison and phesant wings!

queenlint1 said...

Heather Love!

We HAVE morphed in lots of ways! I was thinking that you needed to publish a book with your writing and paintings in it!

Get John to make you a book jig like the one in the video I blogged about and bind them yourself!