Friday, September 29, 2017

Making a little zine about listening to the sounds of the night

I wanted to have a new zine ready for the LoLa art crawl, which took place in mid-September, and while I always have several zines started in some form, none of them was quite close enough to completion in the time I had available.

Then I remembered an essay I wrote a long time ago that I've long intended to turn into a tiny zine. By tiny I mean 1/16th of letter size paper, or 2-1/8th inches high by 2-3/4 inches wide.

The essay, which I wrote in 2008 when my husband and I were publishing a local literary journal called Minneapolis Observer Quarterly, or MOQ, was inspired by my occasional sleepless nights listening to sounds that wafted through the open window. The focus of MOQ was the "bucolic city," so an essay about the mingling of nature sounds with scattered city sounds — we live in a quiet neighborhood a good six miles or so from downtown — seemed like a perfect theme for the journal.

At the time, I illustrated the essay with a drawing of a cricket. I believed that I was hearing the chirping of crickets at night from June through September, but I later read that crickets in Minnesota don't start chirping until late summer and concluded that I was probably hearing treefrogs or toads at the beginning of summer. I revised the essay to incorporate this new information, and did a drawing of a toad to illustrate the beginning part.

I decided to use this essay for my new zine because it didn't involve doing any research; it was already written, I just needed to plan the layout and do some more drawings to go with it.

My zines tend to be a little research heavy, which is why it takes me a while to complete them. And sometimes my blog posts lean that way, too.

In fact, I started to fact check myself again about the toad/frog/cricket sounds, thinking to provide a link in this post to a reliable source, but I was getting mixed results and realized I could still be wrong about what it was I was actually hearing, and briefly felt a bit chagrined that my little zine could be inaccurate and maybe I should do more research and then revise it again ...

And then I slammed the brakes on my overactive brain and decided that it was just fine as a simple little evocative essay about my observations, with several new drawings and a nice presentation, and that's all it needs to be.

If you're interested in buying one, after all that, you can find it in the shop at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, or in my Etsy shop.