Disclaimer: There is the slightest hint of some teeny-tiny penises in here. You’ve been warned.
So, to open with a #humblebrag, Hugzilla blog is featured in the August 2014 issue of My Child magazine, with a whole bunch of other mummy-bloggers. I’m first cab off the rank and one of my friends cheekily implied that it was a deliberate layout strategy to keep me away from the other mummy-bloggers because I sound like an anti-mummy-blog asshole. She didn’t use those exact words, but that was essentially the subtext. You can read it for free here, starting on page 90.
For me, the interesting thing about Hugzilla being featured in My Child is that it officially marks almost 14 years to the day that I was last featured in a mainstream magazine for my self-publishing endeavours. (Yes, my life has been somewhat less than monumentally successful).
How do I know this? Am I some sort of savant who has memorised the key events in her life?
I know this because I stumbled across an old copy of the magazine in amongst my files while I was doing something last week that I should have been doing last year – preparing my home and my family for the bushfire season. We’ve only been living in the mountains for a few years, blithely going about our lives and paying lip-service to the threat of fires until our suburb almost burnt down last year. Twice.
I take that shit more seriously now. This summer is shaping up to be just as terrifying as the last one, so I have been meticulously collating important personal documents and sifting through boxes of irreplaceable sentimental ephemera. And there it was.
Australian Women’s Forum. July 2000.
One of the cover headlines:
“The Write Stuff: Australia’s Girl Publishers”.
I was 23 years old.
For those not familiar with it, Australian Women’s Forum (published 1991 – 2001) was like Cleo magazine on crack with a side of soft-core porn. Sex tips and ads for strippers vied for space with articles about abortion, women’s health and vitamins. Classified ads for phone sex lines, crotchless lingerie, nude male centrefolds and excerpts of erotic fiction were all standard fare.
There was even a suitably-titled section called “Studly” where readers sent in photos of their significant others with their schlongs hanging out, captioned with cutesy-cum-cringeworthy quotes like this one from Melissa (totally unrelated, I swear!):
“He’s the sweetest and he’s so hot and cheeky – he’s my sexy stud! PS He’s also my sex god too”.
There’s simply no way I’d ever write something with syntax that utterly heinous.
In amongst the pages of titillating content came the article about female fanzine publishers that I was featured in, right next to a full page ad for “Vibrators – Sex Enhancers – Dongs & Body Sauces”. I was one of the three women interviewed for the piece, and they even published excerpts from my ‘zines, including one of my favourite quotes about David Hasselhoff being the anti-christ. I was suitably chuffed. I’m sure it was a terribly proud moment for my mother as well.
Looking back at it now, the whole article is laughably quaint; the world of self-publishing back at the turn of the century was primarily done via tiny print runs of photocopied fanzines, a universe away from what self-publishing is now. If I sold thirty ‘zines at $1 each I was triumphant. Nowadays, if I upload a blog post that gets less than thirty Facebook shares I consider it a failure.
And whilst many things have changed dramatically over the past fourteen years, some things stay reassuringly familiar. A wry grin spread across my face when I read one of my direct quotes from the article. Fourteen years may have passed, but my 23 year old self and my 37 year old self still have some important things in common:
“If there’s a theme (to my writing), I take a contrary stance to what’s in other mainstream media. It’s being a smart arse and saying that this is my opinion. That’s why people start their own zines, because they’re not being satisfied by what they read elsewhere”.
Which brings us in a perfect circle to the profile piece in My Child magazine, where I said this:
But, on the other hand, I failed spectacularly at predicting the future:
“I don’t know that e-zines will replace the printed zine,” says Melissa, “but rather will complement it”.
If by “complement” you meant “annhilate”, you were spot on Zilla.
And for the record, the magazine – and copies of all my old fanzines – are currently taking up valuable real estate in my emergency fire boxes. Ain’t no way I’m letting those babies burn. I’m gonna use them one day to show the grandkids what Nanna Zilla was all about before she lost her edge.
Linking up with Jess for IBOT.