Top 12 Zines of 2012

In the twelve months of its existence, Zine Project Seattle and its amazing homeless youth interns have churned out twenty seven zines!

It’s been a fruitful year and we wanted to share with you some of our favorites of 2012. These twelve are dense with eye popping imagery and soul stirring words. Happy reading! 

Click on each image to check out actual zine pages filled with original writing and artwork from youth on the streets:

  • A Day in the Shoes of Love, Family and Life by Michelle
A Day in the Shoes of Love, Family and Life
A Day in the Shoes of Love, Family and Life, $7.
(Click on image for a sneak peek.)

Complete with lush visuals and poems rushing with emotions and profundity, A Day is a must-read zine on the difficulties of coming of age. The author recounts her experiences with love, family and life with a devastating honesty, an inspiring optimism and a unique symbol set. As the zine’s pages turn, read how this young woman finds perspective on herself, the world and others.

  • Loved, Lost, Lived by Kristin
Loved Lost Lived Cover
Loved, Lost, Lived: Full Color $7
(Click image for a sneak peek)

This Zine is called Loved, Lost and Lived. It goes through a plethora of different emotions of a girl and the life that she has lived so far. From beginning to end there are many issues that are brought up. It shows a struggle to let go, and the release into happiness.

  • Bitter-Sweet ConfusionBy Natalie
Bitter-Sweet  by Natalie
Bitter-Sweet by Natalie
Full color $7

This zine is a collection of poems and pieces of original art created by a homeless youth . She interprets her battles, and personal struggles, including her determination to be free and sober. She puts interpretive twists on her travels and experiences. Read more to get the full experience.

  • Apocalypse Yesterday by Jan 2012 Interns
    Zine Project Seattle, Apocalypse Yesterday, Zine sample
    Apocalypse Yesterday, $7, full color

    Nov 2011-Jan 2012 interns band together in this Zine Project Seattle version of a post apocalyptic world. Apocalypse Yesterday contains imaginative group writings about hypothetical happenings in the wake of chaos, as well as individual perspectives trying to cope with catastrophe. For these young, homeless writers, their apocalypse forms a fitting metaphor for the re-envisioning of citizenship, leadership and group identity in the face of marginalization and disaster. A must read.

  • Killing Your Dreams by Sam
    Killling Your Dreams Cover Pic
    Killing Your Dreams, $7 Full Color
    (Click image for a sneak peek)

    In this zine, there are poems, illustrations, watercolor paintings, and a short story, centered around the author’s thoughts, fears, and preoccupations. With spare but tremulous prose, the author communicates a sadness and confusion, all the while coaxing the reader along with unique, art-mag quality layouts.

  • Dirty, Ratty Converse, by Jack
Zine Project Seattle
Dirty Ratty Converse: $7, full color

With titles like “F*** You June Cleever”, “I am the Monster in the Mirror”, and “God the Devil and Me”, this collection of original poetry and artwork represents an authentic, cynical, insightful and hilarious chronicle of identity, and womanhood.

  • Unhinged by Justin
    Unhinged cover
    Unhinged, $3

    Unhinged is a Zine about addiction, hope, cynicism, and the struggle for a junkie to learn what it means to become a man. Harrowing, honest, and unapologetic, this writer invites you on a journey, written in a minimalist “to the point” style, into the psyche of a troubled yet hopeful young man. What is optimism and where does the healing begin? Find out in Unhinged!

  • Culture Our Way: a zine on Pop, Culture and the People’s Response By Jan-March 2012 Interns
    Culture Our Way
    Culture Our Way, $7 Full Color

    Jan-March 2012 Ziners observe, satirize, and reflect upon major elements in American pop culture. Topics include cell phones, teen pregnancy, entertainment, advertizing, etc..Through original artwork poetry, prose and artwork, these youth authors move from passive receivers of pop messaging to perceptive critics, ultimately attempting to reclaim the culture. Read it to see if they succeed.

  • The Forest in my Brain by anonymous
The Forest in my Brain by anonymous

The forest in my brain is collection of struggles and accomplishments in the form poetry and art work. In this zine the author deals with issues of gender identity and belonging. Enjoy your time in the forest!

  • The Book of Life, From a Homeless Seattle Youth by Josh
    The Book of Life, from a Homeless Seattle Youth by Josh

    In The Book of Life, From a Homeless Seattle Youth, the author expresses his love and hatred for the wild things life has to offer – in his own original and magical form. Start with a violence laced upbringing in the first page, and watch the author’s journey through unsafe waters and weary personalities until the end, where all of life comes together in a beautiful and rugged climax of experience, knowledge and wisdom that may only have been learned with an open mind. This Zine includes non-fiction personal horror stories, delightfully colored illustrations of the world around us, and many wise words that are geared to inspire and introduce the reader to an enjoyable, manageable life that he or she is in full control of. Step into the life of a homeless, queer youth who has an abundance of things to say!

  • Broken by Michael
Broken, $7
Click image for a sneak peek

Broken is written by a young man who details his aversion to the modern Republican Party, despite being a registered member.  In his writings, the author covers everything from the United States federal budget to the partisan gridlock of the GOP that has strangled Congress. Further highlighting the plights of the Republican Party, the writer emphasizes the extremism that has taken a hold in American “conservatism” and what his personal opinion is of this. Despite this, his love for his country is vibrantly apparent and obvious in each page. Compassion, compromise and civility have long since been key factors in politics, and, unfortunately, those attributes have become lost in modern times.  Read this or else.

  • I Never Thought By Ester
    I Never Thought
    I Never Thought By Ester
    Full Color: $7

    “I Never Thought…” is a collection of poems by a young Ukrainian teenage girl who was sexually exploited in Seattle. The poems are a collage of past experiences (tragedy, fights, abuse, and hurt) versus the life she is living now (going to school, goals for future life, and family.) From poems that might shed a tear or two to poems that will make you laugh, this collection will move you. 


Check out our new Zines!

October-December 2012 Zine interns have completed work on their individual zines!

Click here to visit our zine store and take a look at what they’ve been working on.

Click the image of each zine for a virtual tour of each unique publication.

With titles like “Killing Your Dreams”, “Loved, Lost, and Lived” and “Shattered Universes”, this group’s masterful and heartfelt work is sure to go down in Zine Project history.

Please read and enjoy!

Zine Project Alums Graduate from Youthcare’s Barista Program

Previously, we’ve written about how Youthcare’s Barista Program is a landing pad for Zine graduates to pursue further employment opportunities (click here to read previous post).

Josh at Barista Graduation

Josh at Barista Graduation

This is no truer than ever after last Friday’s Barista Graduation event. The final 2012 Barista cohort contained two former Zine superstars–Josh and Justin who rocked it in Zine and, not surprisingly, went on to rock it in Barista.

Justin at the Barista Graduation

Justin at the Barista Graduation

For two weeks they studied coffee. For five weeks they worked at a cafe serving real life customers at Fare Start’s Cafe at the 2100 building in South Seattle. And for a final week they looked for jobs, getting a chance to get interviewed by current management at neighboring Starbucks.

Last Friday, they celebrated. The Barista Grads made gourmet drinks for their guests and then got a chance to read words of thanks.

Graduation from Barista meant employment success continued from their Zine Project tenure. But, of course, it meant more. It meant a moment of victory for young people still struggling with difficult issues like poverty and addiction that make it difficult for young people to finish things.

Justin, after thanking the Barista staff and his fellow graduates, shared the following:

I had a lot of struggles during the program. Fears of the future, guilt from the past, stuff that matters, and mostly, just stuff that really shouldn’t matter but does. I was scared I wouldn’t finish the program a few times. I hit a rough spot, a rough week really, and I was doubtful I would get out of it.


To quote one of my favorite writers, Hubert Selby, and I’m paraphrasing here: “We despair because we choose to fight against pain instead of letting go”. That clicked on one of those despair days, and I promised myself that I would work to get better. I don’t want to fight pain anymore. It’s just as much a part of me as the happiness I feel here now. And you know what? Its ok to hurt sometimes, because it sure as heck makes these moments when I feel accomplished that much better.

Justin with Barista Completion Certificate

Justin with Barista Completion Certificate

This is a crucial insight. Especially considering that so many youth problems stem from the impulse to fly from feeling pain. An insight gleaned from literature, acted out in the crucible of meaningful work and shared through the spoken word with the young person’s community: this is what Zine hopes for for all of its graduates.

It’s a tall order. But both Justin and Josh did it last Friday.

Justin continued:

I had a blast in this program. I am most happy when I’m bettering myself and my craft, be it writing, or running, or making coffee. It satiates me spiritually. My idea of happiness is something that takes struggle and change. Something that is built with my hands. We are the sculptors as well as the marble as the saying goes. And though I’m not perfect, and have plenty of work to do. I’m happy to say that I’m finally sculpting the person I want to become.

Josh with Barista Completion Certificate

Josh with Barista Completion Certificate

Way to go Barista Grads!

Click here to check out more of Justin’s writing in his zine, Unhinged.

Click here to read Josh’s zine The Book of Life.

First Breathe

By Michelle

First breathe.
Realize what it is. You are making yourself
 feel the way you are feeling.
And why?
This suffocation inside you that’s got you perplexed
 it’s got you in chains.
Name one thing
you are doing right at the moment,
listen to the beat
of your pounding heart screaming
its madness like its performing.
Wake up.
Visualize the decisions that keep you chained to a bed,
a thought, a memory that strings itself closer the more you want it to fade .

You’ve stayed in your box for too long-
That masking tape ain’t no stronger than you are .
Whatever the reason or for whoever your frustrated at, remember..
give them time and give yourself patience.
It makes sense that everything seems pretty fucked up at the moment.
In case you haven’t realized it,
you are a human
living in this world that is as dark as a basement.
First breathe
Then talk to yourself about it.
Find it
 and do something POSITIVE with it.

My Hands

The water master. by Peter

The water master. by Peter

My Hands

My hands are formless like water
How they move is a mystery to Me.
My Hands can flow like a calm water, or come crashing down like a violent torrent.
My Hands can flow like water
because My Hands are water.
I am water.
I am shapeless like water,
while at the same time, I have a shape.
I am the master of water.
I am the master over myself.