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Advanced American History (1924)
Author: Forman, S. E.
Illustrator: NA
Publisher: The Century Co.
Copyright (c) 1996 Zedcor Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Keywords: reproduction circa 1923 art sculpture column capital Cain Abel, b/w

Michelle is a New York City native, but is currently in exile in the fair state of Connecticut, getting an education or something like that.  She grew up in downtown Manhattan and was a happy child until, oh, say, middle school, when that peculiar synergy of immaturity, hormones, urban grit and popular culture molded her into an adolescent that was, to oversimplify things a bit--less happy, more tense, angrier, less sensitive, more argumentative, more judgmental, and a little more perceptive.

Thus she progressed naturally into the world of zinedom.  She became involved with zines at the age of fourteen, around the time that she discovered that she could transform her teenage bitterness and irony into a paper format and thus efficiently distribute her angst-ridden rhetoric among complete strangers. This discovery coincided with the beginning of high school--a very unique and enlightening chapter in her little "Bildungsroman."  There were the relatively normal teen phenomena--getting attached to certain genres of underground music, going to shows, wearing different clothes.  But more importantly, freshman year pried her eyes open to the existence of others.  It was the snobbery and pettiness of junior high and the frustration of young adulthood mashed together, but there was something else under the surface--a realization that she wasn't the center of the universe; that sometimes she didn't have a right to be angry and condescending; that the rest of humanity actually had interesting things to offer, even if they did wear trendy clothes or consume designer drugs or what have you.  She saw there were experiences to be had that didn't entail self-destruction or subservience to convention, though there were also plenty of other worthy experiences that did.  As usual, there were people on her wavelength and people who pissed her off to no end, but for some reason, she found herself accepting the good along with the bad, letting go of a tiny bit of her disillusionment, and embracing the teen age by letting herself be a stupid, average kid once in a while, instead of just a tormented, precocious victim of society.

Her first zine, Inverted, reflected this subtle shift in attitude, with essays on "neo-feminism" (as if she even knew what that really was at the time), subculture, the question of individual identity and weird things she found on the internet.  The zine derided the human condition and yet the process of creating it inspired her to like life more than she had in several years.  The operation was put to sleep sometime during her sophomore year of high school, due partially to lack of motivation, but also to a other commitments and a general feeling of blah towards the way her work was turning out, as she was her own harshest critic. After that, she continued writing articles, poetry and fiction, some of which has been published, most of which is sitting in some dingy corner of her bedroom. In the last two years of high school, she underwent another large and important phase of her emotional and intellectual maturation.  Strange experiences in her mental and social life (which are too complex to delve into here) pushed her again into extreme cynicism.  But as she had a couple of years earlier, she emerged with a clearer outlook.  It was not until her senior year of high school that she decided that it was time to develop a new creative outlet, one that embodied her interest in different kinds of media, youth culture, weird music and angry people. In fact, she had realized that she had grown up quite a bit since the acid and cacophonous days of Inverted, and she wished to etch yet another rabble-rousing notch into her recorded history. What else but a zine could really do the trick?  And so little Michelle embarked on yet another mission in her bumpy journey towards her true identity, armed with all the love, hate, ferocity and curiosity that she had collected along the way.

 

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