THE EDITOR'S DESK by Ellyn Wolfe
I like it when someone is willing to take a risk with their creativity – especially when they step outside the traditional writer’s box and present a new style to the literary world. Jenois (think French when you pronounce her name - Jen-wa) Harris has done that with her Zinedabbles.
At the Diamond Valley Writer’s Guild Book Fair, I found a small note next to a rack of colorful 6” x 9” Zinedabbles on Jenois’ display table. It read -
I coined the word Zinedabble from the word Zine, used to describe a small self-published magazine or fanzine, and the word dabble, used to describe my abilities as an artist.
Anyone can be a Zinedabbler. I encourage you to grab some paper, pencils, markers, paints, etc., and go at it.
Zinetastically yours, Jenois Lyons Harris
I was intrigued and bought one. As I read it through, I laughed out loud, delighted at how this small zine tickled my inner child. It made me think about how we lose touch with our child-self, our sillier side that is discouraged in most workplaces. unless you work in high tech where returning to your inner playfulness is encouraged - because it triggers creativity.
Writing and illustrating your own Zinedabble will take you back there, to that place inside that has been waiting patiently for you to step back and enjoy life from a lighter perspective. If you try it, I suspect you will reconnect with the small child who happily colored with crayons outside the lines and maybe continued the artwork onto the kitchen walls, or wrote a Valentine poem with words spelled phonetically and letters written upside down - proud moments of creative freedom before we knew about The Rules.
I Zinedabbled last Sunday afternoon. It was an awkward start. First I had to peel off many layers of “shoulds” acquired over the years, like I should follow all the rules I’ve learned about drawing and writing. After a few false starts, in which I criticized myself for not doing it “right”, those layers finally started to fall away. I felt free and even a little sassy. Time disappeared. My writing took on a new unhinged flavor, and I found joy in my primitive artwork.
I encourage you to take Jenois’ suggestion and try it. Then see what happens later when you sit down to write your short story, poem or novel. See if your creativity flows freer, deeper and in unexpected directions in a Zinedabble sort of way.
One last note – after many years of dedicated and creative work, Jim Hitt has stepped down as publisher of Straitjackets Magazine.
I offer a hearty “Thank you, Jim” from all the writers whose work has come to life at your hands, from all the editors who delivered stories you turned into beautiful magazines, and from everyone who enjoyed watching your “Looking for Literary America” and DVWG author videos.
Your talent and creativity will be missed.