'ZINE by Pagan Kennedy


How I Spent Six Years of My Life in the Underground and Finally. . . Found Myself . . . I Think
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 This unconventional memoir, as life-affirming as it is hip, shows and tells all about the author's self-published, Xeroxed magazine, which helped her survive and flourish during her postcollegiate years. After completing Johns Hopkins University's graduate writing program, cultural critic and fiction writer Kennedy (Stripping and Other Stories, 1994, etc.) was highly ambitious but creatively frozen. So instead of competing to be a ``famous young writer'' in New York, she decided to move to the Boston area and make herself a star, and while she was at it ``trick people into liking me . . . get dates. . . and transform my boring life into an epic story.'' Thus her 'zine (called ``Pagan's Head'') was born. Distributed to friends and acquaintances, and using a mix of text, cartoons, and clip art, it featured tributes to childhood pals, reflections on the Nixon era, paeans to platform shoes, thrift stores, and the Partridge Family, and her crushes on Friedrich Nietzsche and Henry Adams. And it worked, Kennedy says; she became ``the 'zine queen of Boston.'' Each of the eight issues is reprinted here, accompanied by essays about the making of ``Pagan's Head.'' Here she explores the contrast between the bold and witty public persona she created and her ``real-life-Pagan'' self, a semi-insecure, brainy woman who discusses seriously such matters as her dad's death from cancer, the Gulf War, her ovarian tumor, and her ancestors' slave-owning past. But eventually, with the help of her 'zine and the self- discovery that follows, she pools her resources and becomes the unified, present Pagan. Kennedy's delightful chronicle is enough to make you want to pick up a pen and start your own personal fanzine or put on some platforms and dance in the streets.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-312-13628-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1995


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