Mother, teacher, writer, musician, artist and activist Jessica Mills is doing us all a favor– she’s helping to make the job of parent easier and more radical. In 2007, the former columnist for Razorcake penned the punk-parenting bible called, My Mother Wears Combat Boots: A Guide to Parenting for the Rest of Us, to offer alternative strategy to parenting for those who want to be nurturing to their children without completely abandoning their own art. My Mother Wears Combat Boots joins Tomas Moniz’s Rad Dad, and Ariel Gore’s Hip Mama as guides to non-traditional, radical childrearing. Aside from raising a handful of daughters with her partner, Jessica helps run a distro– well, a different type of distro– she is a key volunteer for Erda Gardens, an all-local CSA located in the South Valley of Albuquerque.
Please tell us about the zines you’ll be tabling at ABQZF!
This is the 3rd year I’ll be putting out a special ABQ zine fest issue of Yard Wide Yarns. And since I’m a haiku junky, I’ll have a Summer 2013 haiku zine. I handmade a bunch of spiral notebooks because I’m a scavenger reuser, so I’m bringing those too. I actually ripped off my daughters’ idea there except theirs have collage covers and mine are cut from food packaging.
How long have you been writing zines, and how did you get started?
I had been writing for others’ zines, but put out my first issue of Yard Wide Yarns in 1993. I was surrounded by punk rockers doing things themselves and wanted to be a participant instead of just a consumer. I was also motivated by feeling that my female voice had something to add to the male dominated scene. I stopped doing YWY in 1999 when I was pregnant with my first daughter and started writing a monthly column for Maximum Rock and Roll, “My Mother Wears Combat Boots,” until 2009. I picked up YWY again in 2011 for my first ABQ zine fest.
What do you say when someone asks you, “What are zines?”
Zines are independently produced publications. They can be whatever you want them to be and have more sass than regular “maga”zines.
Do you have a zine crush? If so, are you willing to reveal the object of your zine affection?
Yes, and it’s a bad couple of ‘em! No way.
What’s the most challenging thing about zine making?
Not being able to prioritize enough large chunks of uninterrupted time that putting together a zine requires.
What do you enjoy most about making zines?
That amazing rush of feeling vulnerability and accomplishment at the same time whenever I finish writing, laying out, xeroxing, folding, stapling and putting out a new issue. That and the connecting with others doing zines through mail and in person, too.
Roughly how many zines do you archive in your personal collection?
Oh geez. I probably qualify for hoarder status here. Thanks to moving from Florida to Seattle to Albuquerque though, I did unload a few boxes at the Civic Media Center Zine Library in Gainesville, FL and few scattered others. I think I’m ready to unload some more at the Albuquerque Zine Library (at the Tannex)!
So much of the written word we now experience via digital media. Why are zines important?
Zines are important like any other sliver of any other culture is important. They are media, art, literature, and passion. They’re unhackable, secure documents that you don’t need to be electronically connected to to enjoy.
Photos courtesy of Jessica Mills.