Donna Kossy, Kooks
Selection: "Inside the Kooks Archive"
Recent review (from Bruce Sterling): "Donna
boldly blazes new trails in the vast intellectual wilderness
of American writers, thinkers and philosophers who were or are
Sample: #2-8 and Book Happy #1-6 are $5
each from P.O. Box 86663, Portland, OR 97286 (checks: Donna Kossy)
When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
I began Kooks in about '88
or '89, as a "supplement" to my previous 'zine, False
Positive, which I'd been doing since '84. FP had included "kooks
pages" in each issue, and there had also been two "all-kooks"
issues of FP. After doing the second all-kooks issue, I realized
I had enough material and interest to run a separate kooks supplement
with each issue of FP. The natural next step was to kill FP altogether
and concentrate on kooks.
The inspiration came from
all the kook material I had. I thought if I just read enough
of kook material, I might be able to solve the mystery of the
kooks. What makes them tick? Why do they believe what they believe?
What are the kook types and traditions?
Why publish a zine?
Publishing is power, pure
and simple. When I publish I get to decide what people will read,
which obviously influences how they think. Of course, the higher
the quality of what's published, the greater the influence; publishing
requires good judgment & talent for it to be effective. On
the one hand the concept of publishing is simplicity itself,
which makes it very easy to get started. But on the other hand
it's a great challenge to create something that people will want
to read. If you're up for the challenge you can't help learning
something about writing, editing, designing, and printing.
What can you tell us about the selection you provided for
"The Book of Zines"?
Kathy Marquis is no longer
at the MIT archives. It was a taped interview, which I edited
down a bit for publication. It was the first interview I ever
Have you published other zines?
False Positive (mentioned
earlier)each issue focused on one topic (e.g. technology,
sex, Japan, cars, crime, kooks, food & drugs); it had excerpts
from books I'd been reading, original satire, collages, drawings,
just about anything, as long as it related to the topic in question.
Each issue had a color Xerox cover collage.
If you want to get historical,
my first zine was Kid Stuff, which I co-edited with a friend
when I was in sixth grade. It had gossip, fashions, poetry, jokes
and even movie reviews. It sold for 5 cents. My mom typed it
up and Xeroxed it at work!
I recently started a new zine
now called Book
Happy, about weird and obscure books.
Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
Make the mistakes you have
to make, instead of listening to a lot of advice. The only way
to learn anything is by doing it.
What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
It would be a tie between
watching the pages take shape as I pasted up, and opening up
my full post office box.
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