9/30/09

a key of my own


I've made zines about past relationships and zines about long time affairs. I've made zines about bands I love and zines about music I can't stand to listen to. I've made zines that are mostly interviews and zines that are nothing but three paragraphs detailing a momentary mindset of my own. When I was wee, I drew out little newspapers, complete with weather, date, and bannered headlines (probably about our pets or maybe mom washing dishes).

I don't remember learning to read. I don't remember learning to print. I don't remember first deciding to create something written with intent to distribute, any more than I remember learning to use the toilet or eat with a spoon. But I do remember the first time I learned about zine culture (punk personal zines, in this case), laid out my first one (god damn, it was ugly), and got my first post office box.

Up until then, I'd never had a key to anything that was my very own. I didn't really have my own room growing up, I moved straight out of my folks' houses and in with a girlfriend - I don't recall even having a locked trunk or cabinet. But all of a sudden, I had a small place that was mine. I could get mail and never show it to anyone, if I wanted - in fact, no one even had to know I ever received anything. I could slap that address on a zine that I sent out and carry on conversations with people that no one else in my life had any connection to without having to worry about any of them showing up at my front door.

Walking into the outer, always open area of a post office at night to check my mail calms me. It's quiet and cool, and it smells like paper and ink. And if that p.o. box is full of zines and stickers and letters, by god, that's as good as Xmas.

After I folded my last zine - it covered a certain music scene, and I just got tired of doing interviews and herding all the cats needed to make it come out right - I let my box rent lapse. I'd had that address through several different incarnations of zinedom, and it seemed time for a change. So now I'm working on something that might be more than a one shot issue, and I need a way for people to contact me. It's easy to throw an email address on there and call it good, but what fun is that?

So next payday, I'll pick my branch and rent a box. I've overjoyed at the thought. Hey - you have your incomprehensible thrills and I'll have mine.

14 comments:

Mwa said...

I never would have gotten that until I had my own comments section on my blog. Now I can be all excited for you getting your new postbox.

downtown guy said...

Let me tell you, a post office box beats hell out of a comments section. If only because sometimes you get things like pins or unsolicited books or records.

Ms. Moon said...

I could get my mail delivered to my door but it's so much more fun to go down the block to the post office, twist the little combo needles and open my box to see what's there. Even if I don't get any good mail, I might get some gossip or news, especially if Ms. Martha is on duty.
Doesn't hurt that the PO is an old train station and always makes me happy to walk into.

downtown guy said...

You do have pretty much the greatest post office ever.

May said...

I love it. Mail is pretty magical to me anyway, and then to have the extra added bonus of a secret lock box that receives missives from the unknown is even better.

Petit fleur said...

Makes sense... like treasure hunting!

downtown guy said...

Exactly!

Ben said...

I've had a post office box for a few years now cause I got tired of changing addresses every time I moved around Tally. I love it, even though I hardly ever get mail. I'm never getting rid of it.

I love going to check my mail late at night, too! It's kinda creepy and Kafkaesque in there most of the time. There is this eternal leak in the ceiling that drips into a bucket, florescent lights flicker, and just when you think you are all alone, the strange noises of mail distribution will scare the crap out of you.

downtown guy said...

Yeah, I always feel like I'm in some sort of movie, and I'm about to get a clue.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I just received the zine you sent me this afternoon. I can't wait to read it.

Thanks so much.

Love,

SB

downtown guy said...

It's different from my usual work, and I hope you enjoy it.

Sarcastic Bastard said...

I'm sure I will enjoy it. I leafed through it last night and can't wait to sit down and read it in full and earnest.

Thanks again for sending it.

Love you,

SB

Laura Lee said...

It sounds positively fabulous.

downtown guy said...

It is, and I get to do this tomorrow!