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Interview With Zine Maker - Laura-Marie River Victor Peace Nopales

Lorena Villegas, Young Adult Librarian, Cypress Park Branch Library,
Zine author, Laura-Marie River Victor Peace Nopales and her zines, Lost Child, #5 and Resisting Capitalism for Fun, #4
Zine author, Laura-Marie River Victor Peace Nopales and her zines, Lost Child, #5 and Resisting Capitalism for Fun, #4

Laura-Marie River Victor Peace Nopales is a queer traveler. She enjoys ecstatic dance, art making, learning, ritual, and prayer. She’s been making zines since she was a young teenager. She enjoys fat liberation, singing, plant life, and guttermancy. Pleasure is her favorite way of experiencing God. Laura-Marie is a lifelong hearer of voices and enjoys extreme states. She has sensory sensitivities and social differences. She’s working toward a world of deep respect, where emotional skills help form justice, and love is more important than money. Find her at @xtrikeslutsx.

How did you get interested in zines?

Zines are so great for people like me who have something different to say, and aren't motivated by standard ideas of success through money or mass market appeal. I'm a writer with a DIY attitude; finding and making zines was inevitable. I have outlier traits and am not easily accepted on a usual path.

But to answer your question, I had a friend at another high school who made a zine that said daring things, upsetting many people. I started my own zine. Mine comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable also.

What are your zines about?

I have a mental health zine called Functionally Ill which I've been making for more than 15 years. It explains my whole journey from diagnosis, rediagnosis, the system, mainstream medicine and medication, power imbalances in medical contexts, disability, disability justice, autism, community, forming a radical mental health collective, healing, and transforming culture.

I have many other zines, such as the fat liberation zine A Special Treehouse for Fat People, poetry zines like Hat Genius, an autobiographical alphabet zine called Lost Child, and some one-offs like Love Is a Skill We Can Strengthen and How Not to Domestic Violence Anyone. I have a zine Trike Diaries about riding a trike for survival after my mom died. I have a disabled permaculture zine, and a vegan cookzine.

My zines are about telling the truth, vulnerability, connection, and trying to use the gifts my ancestors gave me to make a better world.

What are some of your favorite zines and zine makers?

Doris by Cindy Crabb is a long time favorite zine that helped me understand how we can say Anything in our writing. My friend Synthia Nicole makes Damaged Mentality zine, which is so honest and direct about disability and love. My friend enola who made No Gods No Mattress for years is brilliant and prolific. And my friend Vanessa Asswipe makes provocative, fresh, exciting zines also.

I love the zines of Nina Echozina who is a valuable writer / musician / artist in Belgium. Stacy Russo makes amazing poetry and Love Activism zines. Nyxia Grey makes feminist zines that address important subjects like assault, suicide, and trauma. My spouse Ming Lai made a clear, descriptive, caring zine about having narcolepsy called With Intention: A Zine About a Person with Narcolepsy.

Mostly my favorite zines are by my witch friends who speak truths others don't say. Their creations nourish my soul.

Some random fragmented poetry zine I read 20 years ago and half-remember, weird doodles someone threw together the day before the zine fest, zines by little kids, comics about pain, alcohol, and burritos by zine legend Carrie McNinch—I like many kinds of zines. Thin, awkward stapled ones—ornate letterpressed handbound tomes. I like them all.

Your zines are in our library collection for patrons to borrow. What do you think about that?

I love libraries. I feel so happy if anyone can get a new idea or feel supported by my work, especially for free. Thank you for sharing diverse media with the people.

What do you think is the future of zines?

Zines are a wonderful way to connect, share, heal ourselves, transmit culture. I see zines continuing in their present role of low budget, creative freedom.

Why are zines important?

Zines facilitate deep connections and stay at the edge of what people are allowed to say. The truths known by people with less power are so important, but often ignored. Zines allow marginalized and oppressed people to share our reality. There's less gatekeeping. Freedom is delicious!

Lastly, is there anything else you think we should know about you/your zines?

My zines are high on ideas and low on pretension. They're text-heavy, vulnerable, sometimes funny, sometimes sad. I avoid perfectionism and sail many zines out into the world like kites made of thoughts. I hope you catch one soon!

Book cover for Lost Child, #5
Lost Child, #5
River, Laura-Marie

Book cover for Functionally Ill 23: Ulcer
Functionally Ill 23: Ulcer
River, Laura-Marie

Book cover for Resisting Capitalism for Fun, #4
Resisting Capitalism for Fun, #4
River, Laura-Marie