SF Zine Fest talks with Corina Dross

In three sentences, tell us what your work is about.

I'm always aware of what's missing--what are my friends and I suffering from the lack of? I try to fill that gap, sometimes in oblique ways. The results vary from deeply personal to political, from satiric to sincere, but they are all some sort of problem-solving.

How did you first find out about zines? What inspired you to make your own zines?

I can't even remember the first zine I saw! I came of age in the punk rock subculture of Chicago in the early 90's and then later in Philadelphia, where it was just understood that we were producing our own media for each other. I love that zines still exist, despite how easy it is now to reach more people online. There's a different kind of experience we have when we hold something in our hands and take some time with it. I'm a fan of the tactile pleasures of reading. I started to make zines around the same time as I was learning basic DIY carpentry and bike repair--I was just better at writing and drawing so I stuck with them. 

What do you do when you’re not creating?

Keeping mind and body together in some way. Since I moved to the Northwest last year I've been exploring the wilderness, getting over being a city kid. I'm involved in a few radical publishing collectives, and one of my day jobs is giving astrology readings and teaching astrology. I'm pretty interested in the power of what happens on the margins of society, whether that's in a social group that's been disenfranchised or in a system of thought that's been discredited by the dominant ideology.

What is an unexpected benefit that you’ve experienced from reading/ making zines?

There are a few zines that saved my life, literally. The zine "Entropy" helped me understand my chronic illness from a new perspective--this was after many years of pursuing Western and alternative medicine--and pointed me toward my recovery. Cindy Crabb's zine "Doris" has helped me heal from early trauma. And what's great is in the zine community, you can generally reach out and connect with the people who have inspired you. Our commonality can sometimes blossom into real friendship. 

How would you advise first timers on making their first zines?

Be honest and take risks. Don't be afraid of getting into some dark or confusing territory. Get some critique from your friends and spend some time editing it--but give yourself a deadline to finish it! I need an external deadline to motivate me, otherwise I would dawdle and tinker with something indefinitely. In fact, I'm procrastinating on a writing project right now by answering these questions.

What are you working on for this year’s SF Zine Fest?

I'll be distroing artwork and zines, including a new zine I just wrote in honor of a small dog, called "The Tiny Tyrant of our Hearts." It's a deceptively cute story, centered around anxiety and grief. I'll also be bringing a range of zines about the politics of relationships, anti-capitalism, and care work--as well as prints, notecards, decks of cards, and patches. This is my first time tabling at the SF Zine Fest and I'm looking forward to it!