Zine Scene: The Sociology of Aaron Lake Smith

Aaron Lake Smith’s zines read like journal entries – sad, humorous, and everything in between.  While some might find the diary genre played-out, works like Big Hands incorporate Smith’s meditations and even an indictment of whatever he was feeling at the time.  In a way, it’s a new genre: the extra-meta perzine.

“My writing process involves long months of reading too many books and watching too many movies, and filling up volumes of journals with writing,” Smith explains.  “When I finally go back and look at the journals, I find my handwriting unreadable, and can’t make out what I’ve written.”  This air of reconstructing human interaction in hindsight permeates his work.

As a member of the independent publishing community, Aaron Lake Smith also shares his take on the state of new media:  “Independent publishing is the media today. If you look to the media dinosaurs like the New York Times and venerable book publishing houses of New York, they’re scouring the Internet for new bloggers to write about.”

In the end, he’s ambivalent, musing that, “in one way, it’s great that everyone can finally ‘express themselves’; but on the other hand, it makes you long for the quieter, simpler times when there wasn’t such a proliferation of awful, pointless cultural commodities out there.”

Aaron Lake Smith: oldwaysways.com

Zine Scene, by Mallory Gevaert, is a weekly column about writers and artists’ adventures in the world of independent publishing.

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