David Solomon, firstname.lastname@example.org, dcsolomon.com, $2 (plus postage)
“I’m still quiet, subdued, contemplative, and full of an overwhelming sense of adoration and appreciation often difficult for others to swallow.” David Solomon, writer of Travel On zine, knows very well he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. This can be inconvenient for someone who often lives in close quarters with others out in the field as an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Through a series of letters, lists, stories, and diary-like essays, David expresses his wide-eyed wonder for the universe and the people around him with first-Weakerthans-album-level sentimentality.
Subtitled “A Summer in Montana,” Travel On actually takes place in locales throughout the Northwest outlining Solomon’s relationships (both in person and through the mail) and self-conscious reflections on his own non-traditional lifestyle as a federal wildlife worker who experiences a pristine wilderness often off-limits to average citizens. While not for everyone, the writing is good and the zine is attractively designed with a minimal and text-heavy look.
I do not want to overlook the obvious amount of care and passion that went into this zine. Nor do I want to disparage the blood-and-guts approach Solomon takes, sharing his feelings with a rawness that occasionally may make you wince. At one point Solomon pens a defensive, almost vindictive piece defending his career choice while calling out a friend with a more white-collar job as a sellout. That aside, Solomon is really effective at bringing you into his experience through realistic dialogue, breathless descriptions of nature, and a certain longing so naked it almost bleeds onto the page. The people who dislike this zine will be put off right away, but those who like it may discover a pen pal and a kindred spirit. (Chris Landry)