Stories of These Times · May 5, 2020

The Quarantine Zine

These past couple of months, I’ve felt adrift. But I've found a creative way to stay sane.

With all of our lives drastically changed, self care has never been more important… or more challenging. Especially (in my case) with a husband and a three-year-old home with me all day, every day.

Self care for me has always included some form of creative skill-sharpening. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been focused on creating with my hands, sans computer. Just paper and pen, pencil and eraser.

Enter zines. Zines are essentially mini-magazines. They can be made a variety of ways, but the technique I’ve adopted comes from Austin Kleon (“a writer who draws”) and requires just one sheet of paper. See the illustration below, or check out this post, which includes a video.

When I started this process, I set a few rules for myself:
1. Do them by hand.
2. Do them regularly. Daily, if possible.
3. Be whimsical
4. Don’t spend more than two hours.

The topics range from routine to existential. The first zine I did was inspired by my three-year-old daughter, Sophia. Based on her unrelenting demand for pasta (and her fascination with the various shapes and sizes), it’s titled “Noodles, Noodles Everywhere!” I sketched her favorites, and the text is simply the types of noodles we’ve eaten.

Another was based on a writing session I participated in. It’s titled, “When this is over…” I excerpted portions from my writing piece and used them as text and visuals.

One day my topic was “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.” A few days later, it was “How to speak to women during quarantine, and avoid divorce.” (These things can be therapeutic.)

I’ve been doing zines for two weeks now (minus the weekends). These simple, crude little booklets have kept me grounded and provided a fun way to stay connected to the physical act of creating.

I’m posting my work on Instagram. If you’re interested, you’ll find them @quarantine_zines_.

Issue No. 7 How to speak to women during quarantine, and avoid divorce.