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"Do it. Sit down. Make it. That's all."

PERSEPHONE IS PISSED!

An interview with Olivia

by Elke Zobl

January 2002



Can you tell me first of all a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are you originally from and where do you reside now?
My name is Olivia, I come from a very strange and unusual background of thieves, pirates, gypsies and queens. I am 19 now, a paradoxical age, one of those on-the-brink times in a person's life. I was born in a cabin my father built in the mountains of Southern Oregon. I moved to Eugene, Oregon with my family, cultivated imaginary friends and a fourth dimension, and promptly became a writer. I lived for some years on a farm, at which time I developed my earthy sensibilities, and I traveled a lot throughout my adolescence. In September 2001, I migrated to Denver, Colorado, a city I have decided is probably an air sign.

What do you do besides your zine?
A whole myriad of things: I act, sing off-key, have plenty of sex, contemplate all sorts of useless stuff, engage in pointless celebrity worship, embrace anarchism, pursue happiness, I make other zines, I get dressed up, I write unfinished novels, I do research on Harry Houdini and circuses and voodoo queens and mythology, and I am learning to cook. Also, I'm an aspiring cellist and modern dancer.

For how long have you been running your zine now? How many issues did you put out until now? Are you the only editor or is there a team?
I have been putting out my major zine, Persephone Is Pissed, for about a year. I have (almost) 4 issues. Yeah, it takes awhile, but I like to think it is worth it.

What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the idea and the name?
I have known about zines forever. Persephone Is Pissed was born when I realized Ineeded an outlet for my recently-unearthed feminist fury. I realized a zine was perfect, I grabbed scissors and began.

What topics are most often discussed in your zine?
Feminism, feminism, and more feminism. I write about what it is to be a woman, freedom, anarchy, choice, aging, sex, queer issues, identity issues...basically whatever comes up.

What do you hope to accomplish by establishing your zine?
I want a voice. More than anything, I have always wanted a voice.

What does zine making (and reading) mean to you? What do you love about zine making? What is the most challenging aspect of making zines?
Zine making and reading means to me being a part of an underground literary
revolution, a kind of beautiful uprising of all kinds of people everywhere who want voices. Whatever they want their voices to say, we are all looking for the same thing when we make a zine. We want to be heard. From Britney Spears to police brutality, I think it is all valid when someone is just putting on paper that they have something to say and here it is.

I love most the feeling you get in your chest when you create something and it meets your expectations; that special, burning, beautiful pride.

The most challenging thing is my fear of criticism or rebuke. I know my zine is controversial, but I am still afraid to meet people's disapproval. Also, it is sometimes hard just to force out an issue.

What was your first exposure to zines? How did you find out about them? What have they come to mean to you?
In a way I have always known about zines. I guess I grew up alternatively, they were always present in my life. They represent art, creativity, opportunity, and profound love.

Do you consider grrrl zines as an important part of a movement of sorts? Do you think zines can effect meaningful social and political change?
Absolutely! There are many zines that have changed me, and I know people
have been changed by my zine...any time that someone is being daring, and honest, it will affect someone.


What does the zine community mean to you?
It is kind of a support network, and a good place to go when you are looking for advice or a feeling of community...also, it is nice to send a message to one of the list serv's looking for contributions or staff and to have a bunch of cool new people email you back.

What advice would you give others who want to start a zine?
Do it. Sit down. Make it. That's all.

What are some of the zines you admire?
Oh, so many. One of my all-time favorites is a one-shot called My Stupid Heart, by a Canadian gal named Sarah. Also, Love And Rage, which is a collection of diary entries written in prison by Carl Harp in the late 70's. A Renegade's Handbook To Love And Sabotage. Cherry Pepper. Dictionary Stories. There are others, but I can't think of them now.

Could you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine community in your country?
It varies so much for me! I would call all of the wonderful women who have subscriptions to Persephone Is Pissed part of my grrrl zine community, and they are all very different kinds of people: mothers, artists, gardeners, rebels, anarchists, liberals, old, young, outspoken and shy alike. Mostly I guess the grrrl zine community consists of women who want to change the world, and who make art or live life in a way that expresses those desires.

Do you define yourself as a feminist? What are the most pressing issues you are confronted with in daily life (as a woman/feminist)? Are you active in the feminist movement?
I am EXTREMELY active in the feminist movement. Every day, I am confronted by issues surrounding the patriarchal order. Women everywhere are oppressed, in all kinds of ways, and if someone can't see it, they aren't looking hard enough.

What do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as part of the "Third Wave Feminism" and what does it mean to you?
I think feminism today is struggling a lot because many men in anarchist/activist/rebellious circles have taken steps backwards in terms of confronting sexism and patriarchy. So, women struggle. We fight. We have to. I don't know if I'm a part of Third Wave Feminism. I just want to be a part of the everchanging, ongoing women's movement: women who are brave, strong, and determined to have our voices be heard.

Which role plays the Internet for you? Does it change your ideas of making zines and doing/reading zines?
The Internet is a great networking tool, but Persephone Is Pissed is and always will be all cut-and-paste.

Do you have any suggestions? Something you want to add?
Every girl out there should take some photos or write some poems or rants or essays or short stories and start her own true, passionate, heartfelt zine.


*****

If you want to order Olivia's zine "Persephone is Pissed" write her at:
PO Box 11345,
Eugene, OR 97440,
USA


or via email:
persephoneispissed [AT] hotmail.com

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