Our Place

a poem from May-July 2013 ziner’s group zine The World and What Its Come to… 

Click image for a sneak peek of the group zine The World and What its Come to...

Click image for a sneak peek of the group zine The World and What its Come to…

Amid this misty cloud cover
and this ring of fire
and this body of water
that is the world,
where do we stand
where do we go to for help.
where can we really be treated equal
and get the help we need
and not be criticized
and not be game pawns of the government.
Where is our place?
Is it in the DSHS?
Is it in the highways or byways?
Is it beneath the sun?
Is it amongst our peers?
Is it in this madness the government created cuz of poverty?

We need a place that will not use
and abuse us
Or keep us in this system
so they can control us.
We need a place that builds
rather than tears down
That will keep us safe from evil.
That will not put us in debt from helping us
From being too nice.
It’s hard to say no.
We needs a place that keeps us comforted
Without stress.
Where we can relax and finally breathe.
We need a place that will allow us
to be our selves–
A place that will enable us to roam free.
We want a place without media and fashion and statistics
And without electronics.

My place is in the Mediterranean sea
where the sea changes color.
In the Bermuda triangle
where emotions get lost
With the white sand beaches,
palm trees and a friendly tour guide.
Offshore, inland to the forest
where we can figure out
the mysteries that lay ahead.

I would re-discover life as we know it.
In our world, I would re-discover
Washington and all its glory.
I would make history
like the first president.
I would change history, change statistics.
Change the fact that Malcolm X and MLK died.

I would say peace
I would say love,
I would say Harmony
I would say future
I would say care for one another
I would say family
I would say real friends,
I would treat everyone equal.

And I would rise against it all, I would shine
like Diamonds in the morning sun.
I would be lost in a forest of darkness,
Lost In translation , in transfiguration
In a cocoon waiting to transform
Into a butterfly,
into new life,
Into reality with heaven-breaking peace
Into the world and what it’s come to.

Group Zine:The Adventures of Flying Toaster Strudel

Things in Zine can get heavy!

As you may have noticed, our writers write about homelessness, addiction, confusion and loss.

Though their writing is often sad, they themselves are just as often full of joy and resilience. In The Zine Project, we believe that their writing—no matter how sad—is a product of this resiliency. Expression is hope.

With that said, there’s a real need sometimes for a little comic relief.

Zine Interns are required not only to make personal zines but also a group zine. The point of the group zine is for the interns to experience working as a team to create something. From our perspective as a prevocational program, this cooperative effort is an extremely valuable job skill.

Interns have to band together and decide a common theme—a process that sometimes can take longer than the actual writing.

While some groups delve deeper into the heavy themes—poverty, addiction, domestic violence— our October-December 2012 group decided to dedicate themselves to the story of a special little pastry we’ve all come to know and love:

Flying Toaster Strudel!

Flying Toaster Strudel!

During our first brainstorming session, one of our interns shouted out the idea and it stuck.

“We were done writing about sad stuff,” said one.

“Yeah, my zine was filled with difficult, serious themes. And so I wanted to do something different.”

And different was what they did.

The group decided to create a comic zine about their original super hero.

And they had three weeks to do it.

This achieved another great professional skill—working under a deadline.

To meet their deadline, the ziners had to answer prompts about their hero, creating a wisdom figure, a sidekick, a nemesis, an origin, a final conflict, etc…

Each decision required them to listen to each other and compromise as they propelled their idea forward.

After the stories were made, the interns took ownership of a section of each story to draw and though each hand executed its lines differently, they all worked off sketches drawn by Sam, one of the interns. Sam’s sketches had a defined style that the rest of the interns followed to create continuity. FTS Characters

They were devoted to their twee aesthetic—creating cherubic looking characters and keeping swearing to a minimum. They discussed fonts and page order and, more often than not, made decisions unanimously after thoughtful processing.

On the final day of the project, their group zine was complete—much to the joy and hilarity of all who read it. Each of the five interns walked away with a united feeling of success and a confidence in their ability to be a part of a collaborative team.

Click here to check out the full version of the Adventures of Flying Toaster Strudel and admire our interns’ efforts creating and preparing themselves for employment.