Raw Material
View From the Ledge

Chuck Shepherd,
View From the Ledge

Age: 51

Selection: "Five Weird News Items So Common They're Not Weird Anymore" (page 70)

Sample: $1 cash from P.O. Box 18737, Tampa, FL 33679

When did you launch your zine? What inspired you to do so?
I was caught in the Carter malaise while working in Washington. For the first time in quite a while, nothing seemed to matter to me, and I started noticing the world's rapidly accelerating decline. My friends noticed, too. Their newspaper clippings were on their refrigerators, but I published mine.

Why publish a zine?
You find out there are many kindred spirits around the country, or beyond, that you'd never meet otherwise. You expand the possibilities of things that might make you less bored.

What can you tell us about the selection you provided for "The Book of Zines"?
I chose five once. If I chose today, it'd be a different five, all just as ridiculous. In fact, if I had chosen the day after I chose the first ones, it might have been a different five.

Have you published any other zines?
My News of the Weird zine is published every six weeks and contains only the latest six of my syndicated newspaper columns. I published one issue of my attempt at a News of the Weird covering sex called True Crime and Debauchery. I'm not sure of the fate. In the early 1980s, I published a few issues of commentary called Chuck Shepherd's Wrestling Newsletter, which was as good as it got in those days but pales next to some of the pro wrestling zines on the market today.

Any general tips for aspiring zinesters?
Don't mistake equality of opportunity for equality of outcome. It might be romantic to think all zines are worthwhile, but consider the people you meet who aren't zinesters: Maybe 10 percent are cool, 20 percent to 30 percent are on the border, and 60 percent to 70 percent suck. Same with zines.

What's your favorite part of doing a zine?
Paste-up. Lining up the clippings without using a light table or a T-square. Put on a little classical music, pop open an ice-cold Double Diamond.

In my other life, I'm the:
Writer of the syndicated newspaper column, News of the Weird.

Fan Mail
More News of the Weird (book)

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