A Journey

Here is a story about a project I did that required the help and participation of quite a few people for me to accomplish it. And it’s one that has meant a lot to me, because it involves my favorite people and the place where I feel most happy, other than my own home – the public library.

In April of this year, I visited my son in Pittsburgh, where he is living right now. I took the trip on my own and traveled by train from Philadelphia – a seven hour journey. The trip made a big impression on me. There was an unending progression of interesting sights from the train window, and then I spent 4 days looking around Pittsburgh, some of it on my own and some with my son.

One of the places I visited was the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s main location. I particularly wanted to go there to see their zine collection. Some time earlier, a student in one of my collage classes introduced me to the existence of zines. I found the idea fascinating, that I could put together my own publication. Inspiration as to what to do, though, evaded me, and the idea of trying my own remained something just in the back of my mind.

Then, my son gave me some zines he bought at a zine fest in Pittsburgh – and I learned of the CLP zine collection from researching the authors of those zines. So, as a result, I found myself spending an afternoon reading selections from the collection. Just a wonderful experience, I can’t tell you. There are very interesting people are living in this world and I’m glad that some of them are writing or drawing and creating these works.

After I went home, I thought about the trip, and I consulted the small notebook that I had kept notes in for the trip – I had done this with the idea of doing something with the information, but figured mostly it would just help me remember what I saw when I told my husband about the trip. I realized my notes made a story – and then I realized, here was my zine idea.

So I set to work, wrote it all, put pictures of my notebook pages in it as well, and made painted covers. I sent them to friends, both ones I see in person and some who I know only through my mail art activities. I took my courage in hand and inquired as to whether the CLP would like a copy. Yes, the answer came back! So I sent it off to Pittsburgh and imagined it in its place in the collection there.

I received many nice comments on my work – in one notable instance, the husband of one my mail art friends wrote me a postcard saying he’d read her copy and that he traveled the same way I did, looking out the window and enjoying the everyday sights right outside. (He said that if we ever traveled together it could be difficult, because we would both want the window seat!) You can see that I felt very satisfied by the whole experience.

But there is one more thing to tell. This last weekend my husband and I visited our son (traveling by car this time). On the Friday afternoon, October 25, we went to the library to visit my zine. We couldn’t find it at first, looking in the Travel section. Then – we found it, displayed in a special spot as a new zine! For everyone to see it!

So, I want to thank Katie, Andrew, Hector (and all the others who read my zine, including Diane and her sister), Jude, and Bob for how each of you made such a nice experience possible.

If you want to know more about the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s zine activities, here’s a link.

And here’s another post I did about my trip to Pittsburgh – about their very attractive city buses!

And, if you want a copy of the zine (It’s called “Mom Takes The Train to Pittsburgh, Has a Great Time, and Then Goes Home”, email me and I’ll send you one.

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