Perzine, Joshua James Amberson, Issue 10, 28 pgs, antiquatedfuture.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, $3 (US)
While I acknowledge the zine community’s pretense of chucking notions of celebrity, I also acknowledge my personal feeling that Joshua James Amberson is one of zinedom’s greats. He is the paradigmatic humble and wise zinester – reflective, careful and sensitive. Not shouting into the scene, but quietly epitomizing the literary DIY, like a master gardener among seed bombers. Not to condemn the shouters – by all means, bombs away – but Amberson’s insight and voice is such a special contribution.
After a decade of creating Basic Paper Airplane, Amberson’s tenth issue reports on his foray into writing as a career. A few years into the endeavor, Amberson has difficult, hilarious and sobering observations to offer the aspiring wordsmith. His zine is unsurprisingly delightful to read, stylistically charming and very down to earth in its there-and-back-again tale of doing what you love. Amberson uses a series of vignettes to chart the progress of his mission, including his indirect descent into exploitative club culture while writing for an international club directory …and visiting zero clubs. Contrast that soul sucker with Amberson’s affirming experience of teaching night school writing classes, and iteratively finding his way for an alternative weekly gig. He navigates tough decisions like whether or not to write for Vice, and whether or not to take a stable bookstore help desk job. Altogether, it’s a narrative of Amberson’s mixed success, but one that adds up to the will to keep on going. So if you’re looking for some inspiration or some camaraderie on the quest to spend your life how you want to, check this one out, from one of the zine scene’s greatest writers. (Joshua Barton)