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$?, 8 ½” x 11”, 40 pgs.

By megan
Thursday, September 21 2006

I think it’s pretty funny that this was sent to us. In one interview, Travis (or Sk8, as he calls himself) asks an interviewee, “Do you feel strongly [sic] about declaring war on Razorcake as I do?” He’s apparently upset about a negative review that was given by Razorcake in regard to a zine made by one of his friends. Do I understand the difficulties involved in putting together a prison zine? Probably not fully. I know that material is regularly confiscated. I know punishments are doled out. Do I think that someone who creates their art in light of these circumstances is admirable in their dedication? Absolutely. Does that mean that when I (or anyone else) reads it, especially for review, that they should just focus on those circumstances and not pay attention to the actual content as they would any other zine? Not at all. Solitary Existence is not something that I want to read. The author writes like an eighth grader who needs additional help in basic English. Talking about eating boogers, upping the punx, and Paris Hilton is just not going to do it for me, no matter what circumstances you’re writing under. Yes, I think it’s good that someone wants to write, but put in the effort to write well. The entire time I was reading this, I was thinking of an essay I’ve read called “A Homemade Education.” It’s by Malcolm X and is in his autobiography as well. The gist of it is that he realized that his main method of communication while in jail was going to be through writing, so he taught himself how to write, and how to write well. He did things like copy the dictionary page by page. He expanded his vocabulary, practiced his penmanship, and improved his spelling. I suggest that anyone interested in writing, from prison or elsewhere, read that and take a few lessons from it. –Megan (Fanorama)

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