April Duang – who runs Fluxxii Mental Health Distro and writes the zine Coffee and Ziggurats – talks to us about the therapeutic potential of zines and the intersection of mental health and feminism. Check it out:
1. Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do.
My name is April and I am all over the place, literally and figuratively. In the zine world, I run a mental health distro called Fluxxii, write a perzine called Coffee and Ziggurats, and try to collect as many diverse voices on the subjects of mental health as I possibly can. In addition to that, I travel, photography, study science, tinker with computers, and drink far too much coffee.
2. How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?
Remember the days of Laundromatic, anyone? I received my first package of zines (which I still have!) in a trade and have been accumulating and reading them since I was a teenager. I never produced anything of my own until freshman year of college, where I was involved to mental health advocacy initiatives and learned that writing and creating zines are amazingly therapeutic for both readers and writers. The ability to get a glimpse into the minds of experiences of others, however similar or different, helps us feel a little less lonely in the world. And the very act of writing about the tough stuff is definitely not easy – I appreciate anyone brave enough to do so.
3. What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?
To make feminist zines is to contribute to a growing pool of diverse voices by documenting your experiences and creating your own space in the world. A lot of my work and the work that I distribute is implicitly feminist. In my experience, mental health and feminism are very closely intertwined as they both rely on a degree of self-awareness, identity, open and honest conversation, and progression.
4. What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?
I don’t think I could ever identify one or even a few favorite zines, but I can always tell when someone has a clear vision for their zine because they execute it so well. It can be any written or visual style, but I will always respect someone who has defined themselves well in that sense.
5. If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?
I’m tempted to say a corkscrew. Because I’m always hidden around somewhere but I pretty much only come out when things are either really good or really bad.