Interviews with Great Folks #18: Karen

April 2, 2013 § Leave a comment

Hi! Tell us who you are!
I’m Karen, I do Crable Zines out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. I write
Mixtapers Do It Better Zine (all about mixtapes), Jesse  Owens Zine
(campfire stories), and Haunted Ground Zine (true ghost stories).

When did you start writing zines?

Well, I was obsessed with fine-tuning the art of making mixtapes whenever
i’d make them for my friends, and one day someone said “you should make a
zine about all this because you’re way too serious about this sort of
thing.” I thought it was a good idea because I wanted to remember every
“rule” I made for myself, but I also knew there were some people who loved
obsessing over mixtapes, too.

Why did you start writing zines?

Once I started writing my mixtape zine, I realized that this was becoming
quite therapeutic for me. I’ve kept a journal since I was 11 years old,
and knew how good that felt to get things down on paper, documented, but I
wouldn’t ever share my journal with others. When I wrote my zine, people
read them and we could have discussions about techniques and styles. I
also became friends through the mail with people I’ve never met, all
thanks to my zine.

Do you have any influences?

There was one zine that I really loved the style of, called Dunk & Piss,
out of Buffalo, NY. My friend and I poured over his zines, coping his
style in our own zines. It was humorous, it had little drawings, and all
the elements just came together perfectly. His band ended up playing a
show with our friends band in New York a year or so later, and we got to
stay at his house. He gave us one of his new zines. I got to watch The
Golden Girls with his dog. It was like zinester stardom.

What do you write about?

I’ve always loved writing about music, so writing a zine about mixtapes
was an excuse to do that. I used to write a column for a local music scene
website every month, and usually I told funny stories about people i’ve
known, and so those columns became Jesse Owens Zine. The ghost story zine
(haunted grounds) came about because I was being haunted in an old
apartment of mine AND at my parents house at the SAME TIME! How often does
that happen? I knew I had to write about those experiences because I soon
learned that I could find any excuse to write a new zine.

Why are zines important to you?

It’s therapeutic, but it’s also fun putting these things together. It’s
exciting to look through magazines to find funny pictures, or search for
words with weird fonts I could incorporate somehow. It’s a healthy habit
that’s good to get into. Way better than sitting in front of the TV or
computer screen all day.

Recommend a zine(s)
I really enjoy “Dig Deep” by Heather in Chicago and “Seven Inches To
Freedom” by Joe Lachut in Ft. Myers Florida.

Tell us anything you feel moved to!

Here’s my website if you feel compelled to visit it:

– Thanks, Karen!


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