Interview with Zine Graduate Josh

Josh, proud Zine Graduate

Josh is silently expressing his appreciation for Zine!

How would you describe The Zine Project to someone?

Zine Project was, for me, a safe place to come every single day for eight weeks and let things go that were holding me down or weighing on me. It was also a place for me to hone in on my employability and figure out what was working for me and what was not working so well, and improve on these skills.

What did your average day in the Zine Project look like?

On an average day at Zine, we would be munching on delicious pastries and sipping a hot cup of coffee in the early A.M., before we would jump into our writing prompts. Our writing prompts started off the day, and we would read a piece from various authors, and then reflect on the piece and also write something of our own words and thoughts. Typically we would share our pieces of writing… then talk briefly about the things we learned. We would then work independently for the rest of the day.

What past job experience did you have before Zine?

“Before entering the Zine Project, I had wide gaps in my employment history where I was lacking experience. I had obtained a short internship at Allstate Insurance that lasted a few weeks, and I had worked as a Server at Johnny Rockets diner for about 6 weeks, where things were less than functional.”

How was this job different?

Coming to Zine every day helped me touch up on my punctuality and accountability the same as a regular job would; it was the atmosphere that was different. Things that were expected of me were generally not very intensive, and I had more breathing room to make mistakes and learn from them. I appreciated this because since I was lacking experience in the general employment world, I needed to start somewhere that I could learn these lessons with ease rather than being afraid of making mistakes and being fired for it.   

How do you feel about the art you made in the Zine Project?

Untitled Josh Drawing

Untitled Josh Drawing

I love the art that I produced in the Zine Project and I am confident that I wouldn’t have created such meaningful pieces had I not been provided the space and paid time to seriously reflect and put my creative hands to work.

I am currently in recovery for alcoholism, and also involved in some intensive mental health therapy to assist me in the healing process of moving past traumatic events that have occurred in my early life. Much of the writing I did in Zine was either focused towards, or took specific incidents from my childhood and events in my past that hurt me excessively. I had not planned this part, but after writing things down and reading them aloud, I found that I felt a load had been taken off my back and I no longer had a need to think or worry about these things ever again. The Zine Project gave me the opportunity to write things out on paper, share them aloud, and let them go into my history where I would never relive them. And for that I am eternally grateful.

After completing Zine, I feel strongly more confident in my work and the work in my past as well. I had always enjoyed my style of writing in the past, and had friends that did as well, but I discovered a new-found level of importance in writing that I simply couldn’t see before.

Contour Drawing by Josh

Contour Drawing by Josh

What’d you like most about Zine?

I liked the flexibility the most. I had lined up a job before I entered into the Zine Project. Shaun, my instructor, gave me as much space as I needed to complete my trainings for this job, even if it coincided with our Zine schedule. However, Zine is ultimately a job-readiness program that is geared towards preparing homeless youth for real-world jobs.

What’s next? How has Zine prepared you for this next step?

The next step (for me) is to continue my writing! Creativity is something that I could never put a value on, and it is something that is going to last well beyond the days I have here on earth. I may just create and publish another Zine on my own time. We’ll see how that goes! I am also prepared to jump into my new job full time, as well as keep on the lookout for more work, and new opportunities.


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