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Fun At Grid!

Grid Zine Fest is an incredible event I've been able to participate in for the last three years of it running. The organizers are amazing and kind women who put so much work into making this event so fun and energetic. When I first started getting into Zines, I would travel out to Bend and Portland, Oregon with my Aunt Heather (the amazing person who introduced me to zines!) to attend the Portland Zine Symposium (PZS). I honestly believed there wasn't really a community around SLC or Ogden for zines. Or anywhere in Utah! Which is really silly to think because Utah, especially SLC, is very cultured and vibrant and zines are literally EVERYWHERE. When my friend and local author, Ashton Widdison, were looking for some writing groups to possibly join, we ventured out to a SLC writing group on a rainy Thursday and sat down with some really nice writers for the evening. Lo and behold, across from me was Stephanie Novak, who had a Stolen Sharpie Revolution sticker on her laptop! That's when it really hit me that there was zine life in SLC.

I've always been fond of my tabling name for my zines and this year I found and put back together my pennant banner that I made for the PZS about 4 years ago. My pink floral table cloth has become a constant in my tabling adventures because it's so bright and lovely with my zines and book covers. I've experimented with different table signs and banners, but this one feels the most unique and ME out of all the ones I've tried so far.

I have this bad habit of rushing to make zines the few weeks before the fest and as usual, I didn't get 3 of my 4 new zines finished until two nights before the fest. Maybe one year I'll get my shit together and not procrastinate, but who are we kidding?

Two of my new zines were Things My Grandma Says on Facebook Vol 2 and 3! These have turned out to be my best sellers and really capture people's attention at my table. My grandma Rosemary is so hilarious and I can't even try to make up the stuff she posts on the internet. I feel so lucky to get my creativity from her.

The other two were more personal and serious zines. I made one about my 2018 and how that went for me. It was a hard one to make, mostly because I kept starting and restarting it until I realized I couldn't waste my time talking about negative things that happened. Once I focused on the positive events of my year, then I finally finished it. I didn't sell very many at the fest, but I look forward to trading it and sending it out to some other zinesters that aren't in SLC. I also made the second volume to Shave Your Head and this one focused on 9 steps on how to love yourself and your body based off my own practices and journey over the last decade of reteaching myself how to view who I am.

One of the best parts of attending Grid Zine Fest this year is who I got to share a table with! I brought my cousin August again and she had so much fun. She introduced some new zines this year including a coloring book of profiles of girls, a second part to her drama comic, and a zine about how to find your elemental super power! She even brought and set up her own table cloth and props that she wanted on her table. I love her energy and creativity, but I also love watching how grown up she is and all of the ideas she has and tells me about. That girl is going to make so much change in this world!

The other wonderful human who got to join me at my table and for the whole evening was Indie YA author, Katie Michelle! Katie and I go so far back, back before either of us were even close to publishing our books. It was her first time at any of these events and we had a blast meeting new people and talking to a few of them about our writing process and our books. I always admire how thorough Katie is with how she presents herself and her novel. For her first time at a fest, she went above and beyond! I kick myself every year when I forget to bring business cards to direct people to my website or where my books can be bought and I've been doing this for about 6 or 7 years now. But Katie had lots of business cards to hand out to everyone who stopped by our table! I can't wait to have her at many more events and see her continue to grow and blossom as a self published author!

Photo from Grid Zine Fest's Facebook Page

Most of the zines I got from other people this year were via trades. I've always been a culprit of blowing tons of money at the zine fests, but with so many big events these past few months like buying a house, I knew I needed to be more careful. But, one of the advantages to this, is that I've already read most of my zines! I only have a small book and a zine to read now when I normally have a TBR pile of zines for months or years after a fest because I procrastinate so much on reading. I'm very pleased and inspired by all the pieces I got and I'm excited to keep creating more zines for Alt Press Fest in the fall!

I can't wait until next year with Grid Zine Fest and getting to bring August and maybe her brother to this event! And hopefully Katie can come again too! I'm so thankful for a vibrant and amazing community so close to home!

-Jayna Ostler

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