For International Zine Month

I made a zine, once. I didn’t distribute it. So I’m the only one who knows about it. But, the process was fun. Before I had a computer I hand wrote the contents, doodled and cut and pasted the rest. Then put my pages together with a cover. It was about the paranormal and the unexplained. I don’t have it now. Sometime during many moves from one town to another city, it disappeared. I’d do it again. It was a great way to be free with my creativity.

July is International Zine Month  (Facebook) – Set up a zine reading, a zine swap, a cut and paste party, a zine fest, or even a simple zine workshop at your local library or community center. Write a letter to every zine you read, leave your zine at random places around town like buses, bathrooms or universities. Order zines directly from the creator, make a shirt with iron on letters that says “ask me about zines”, make buttons with phrases like “zines saved my life” or “do you read zines”. Send out zine fliers with your mail or leave them around your town. Approach shops in your town about carrying zines, donate to zine libraries…..

Resources:

24 Hour Zine Thing

WikiBooks: Zine Making

Zine Wiki

Love Letters to Irony

Nobody Cares About your Stupid Zine Podcast

We Make Zines

Overglued

Broken Pencil

CanZine

Zine World

Google Groups: alt.zines

Sticky Institute

Flickr: Art Zines

Flickr: Zinesters

Flickr: Illustrated Zines

Yahoo Groups: Zine Geeks

Independent Publishing Resource Center

Live Journal: Zinesters

Live Journal: Zine Scene

Zine Mobile

The Book of Zines

The Paper Trail Interview Series (On hiatus?)

Asking for Trouble

Zine Library

Toronto Zine Library

Zines for Lunch

Robert Street: Anchor Archive Zine Library

Arrow Archive

These Things That People Make

Zine Dream

Facebook: Fanzines

DIY Bookbinding

E-Zinez: The Handbook of Ezine Publishing

CAPTCHA Art

How do you tell computers and humans apart? In cases where we can’t see whether we are interacting with a real human or a computer, CAPTCHA is sometimes used to prevent comment spam.

CAPTCHArt : A blog for turning random CAPTHCA phrases/ letters into art.

Know your Meme: CAPTCHArt
Rhizome: General Web Content – CAPTCHArt
Urlesque: Captchart Turns Random Captcha Phrases into Art
Geek O System: Captchart – The Art of Proving You’re Human
Cerebral Pop: Found – CAPTCHArt

captcha comics
Comics Alliance: Captcha Codes Find True Meaning in CAPTCHArt Comics

Lava Doesn’t Care if it Hurts Your Feelings

Sometimes odd phrases just pop into my head. They don’t make sense in a logical way, but they reflect my sense of irony and personal logic. Today I’ve been watching a marathon of TV shows about geography of the planet.

Chances are people assume geography is about knowing where places are, like towns and countries. That’s only a small part. Geography is as vast as our planet, it is the study of our planet, the elements that create our planet and continue to change it. I love the science of geography. Everyone should take a moment to think about geography once a day, it keeps you humble to know we mean nothing to the planet we live on. That must be why “lava doesn’t care if it hurts your feelings” popped into my head this afternoon and made me laugh.

Geography (Definition from Dictionary.com) –

the science dealing with the areal differentiation of the earth’s surface, as shown in the character, arrangement, and interrelations over the world of such elements as climate, elevation, soil, vegetation, population, land use, industries, or states, and of the unit areas formed by the complex of these individual elements.

Draw the globe, the world with it’s land masses, as correct as you can by memory. Start without looking at anything, just to see what you can do. Do you remember what the world looks like?

That, There and Then

From Self Editing Tips #2 on Write Anything:

Annihilate the words ‘that’, ‘then’ , ‘there are’ or ‘there is’ or ‘to be.’ . Its a rare piece of text which requires either of these words to show up regularly or as a valuable or necessary participant. There are always better ways to write sentence without having to use those phrases.

The words ‘that’ and ‘there’ are two I try to watch for in my own writing. I know I over use them. Practice taking them out as you are writing. You can see how your writing has more punch when you eliminate these space takers. There are some words, like these, which wind you down rather than wind things up.

Try a Five W’s Poem

A Five W’s poem is five lines long. Each line answers one of the 5 W’s (who, what, when, why and where).

Start with a Who. Make a list of people or things you could write the poem about. Choose one from your list.  Plan a chart for the other W’s. Come up with words or short phrases for each of them: what, where, when and why.

Write your first draft, keep each W on it’s own line. Check the facts, make sure you answer each of the W’s. Check your words, could they be tighter or are there better words to describe what you mean? Check for errors, of course.

Toby

the Toad

Sits by the pond

at sunrise

licking up bugs.

From Defying Gravity

Hell If I Know = H2IK

From the sci fi show, Defying Gravity. I’ve watched the show a few times, it’s confusing with popping around to the present and past frequently. So I haven’t really gotten into it. But, tonight, I like H2IK. Kind of fun to come up with short forms for common phrases. What can you come up with for a few you use often?

Whatever it is that we do = WIITWD (I remember this one from my days on IRC). Could also be W2ITWD.

An Igloo of Love

On the left side of the page, list tangible nouns: house, garden, train, truck, tree…

On the right side of the page, list abstract/ intangible nouns: trust, peace, misery, dreams…

Now combine them in a phrase like this:  A ____ of ______.

Play around, create interesting phrases and some new cliches. Some will be silly, some will be obscure and some may turn out to have a lot of power in just four words.

Using Catchy Phrases

Hitting their sweet spots has never been more important than for someone writing on the Net. What is a sweet spot? To take it out of writing context, think of yourself driving over a bumpy train track but steering your car to the side, to a spot where it’s not bumpy. That, sweet spot, is the easy on your car and yourself.

In writing the sweet spot, as I think of it, is hitting just the right word or phrase. Something that your reader is looking for and has a personal ‘thing’ for. For instance, to appeal to women you can use words like ‘diva, goddess, grrl’. Phrases like ‘adventure living, backpacking, Earthy’ appeal to nature lovers. There are better choices but those are the current pickings of my brain. Hope you get the idea.

Anyway, those catchy phrases and words are even more important online because people will be searching for them. Your article will be picked over by search spiders and those catchy, sweet spots will be caught in their web and added to a mind boggling list. You may not be first on the search list but you will appear somewhere. That’s why those sweet spots should be considered, not just in titles, subtitles and descriptions but throughout the article or essay. Don’t go crazy over it. Too much is not a good thing. But keep them in mind and don’t think it’s too cliché to use the odd cliché if it’s an effective sweet spot.

Consider some of your own sweet spot words and phrases. Which appeal to you especially? Why?

One way to find sweet spots for a certain group of people is to join one of their online discussions, chats or boards and keep track of what comes up frequently. Let me know if you come up with more sneaky ideas.