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Lara Haynes mail interview January 31, 2000

If you read QRD regularly (& thoroughly), you’ve probably seen the review of Lara’s zine not dead but dreaming…  It’s like QRD if you replace the interviews with literature & artwork.  Well, maybe it’s slightly more serious.  NDBD is probably the only original peer of QRD still in production besides Vendetta.

QRD – Why did you start a zine?

Lara – I first saw a zine when I was a freshman in high school — a couple punk kids had put one together, mostly of music reviews, & were selling issues in the halls for a quarter. It was love at first sight.  About a year later, this guy & I started a zine at school that was supposed to be a subversive/underground version of the school lit magazine. I was into the “lit” idea of it; he was into the “subversive” idea, & wanted to make the zine more political. That wasn’t what I was interested in doing, so I left him to it, & that was fine. He did a good job with it. I learned something from that experience: I did not want to work with anyone else on a zine. I wanted it to be all mine.  I was totally into goth back in high school, so that was what I decided to do: a gothic fanzine. That was Bathory Palace I really loved doing it, & it was such a stimulating outlet. I totally got into it — interviewing bands, reviewing music & trading names back then. In some ways, I miss doing that kind of zine, although it was extremely time demanding.

QRD – “not dead, but dreaming...” is one of the longest-lived zines that is still going. How long have you been doing it, & what is the secret of its longevity?

Lara – The first volume of “not dead” came out summer of 1995. Originally I intended to produce four issues a year — I can’t imagine what was going through my head!  Not to be too corny, but I love doing it, & I love the zine itself. Admittedly, though, there have been a couple times over the past five years when I thought of ending “not dead”, due to school or financial pressures making it so difficult to keep up my interest level. At those times, the enthusiasm of other people — readers, contributors, friends — really influenced me to continue. Then again, I wonder if I would have been able to end it anyway, seeing as I’d already tried to stop zining once when I ended Bathory Palace within a year I was already planning a new zine for myself.  I think the “secret” mostly has something to do with my personality. I most enjoy private leisure-time activities like drawing, reading, & writing when they are means to some rewarding end — like a completed zine which other people may see, own, & hopefully enjoy. It’s not that I can’t just sit down & draw something simply for the sake of drawing, but if I like what I’ve done, there’s the additional joy of saying to myself, “Oh, this goes really well with such-&-such poem,” or “This could go on the cover of the next issue.” Having this continuous, pervasive project in my life “obligates” me to do pleasant, relatively constructive things in my free time, like draw or listen to music. It sort of forces me to relax, which I admit does sound kind of strange.

QRD – What zines influenced “not dead” from the start, & what ones influence you now?

Lara – The strongest influences on “not dead” & the dead/asleep titles collection were Jenny Soup’s poetry zlne In Remembrance, Diana McCrary’s gothic zines Euronymous & Nyx Obscura, & Hyacinthe Raven’s Erased, Sigh, Sigh & Via Dolorosa Press chapbook series. As far as I know, Hyacinthe is the only editor in that list still doing any zine work. But I admit, I have been rather out of touch; over the past couple years while finishing school, it has seemed from my perspective that so many of the goth & punk zines which I used to keep up with have ended or disappeared. Meanwhile, there have been only a few taking up the torch. Specifically, I’m thinking of paper zines, not websites on the internet — but perhaps that’s where the fanzines generally are now?

QRD – What’s your favorite Swans song?

Lara – “The Golden Boy That Was Swallowed By The Sea.”

QRD – What do you think is the reason so many zines die out so quickly?

Lara – It may be due to financial problems, depending on how far out the editor’s sights were set. I know of a couple excellent zines that were beautiful, glossy, full-sized magazines from the very start, but the editors had such a difficult time with the costs. Actually, you & I discussed this once — you even gave me some tips on how to keep zine finances under control. & although I complain about money problems ceaselessly, I do realize that it is much easier to control the financial aspect of a zine than it is to control or deny the tremendous time & effort required of it. In many cases, I’m sure people’s time & energy simply must be diverted into other activities: children, jobs, a new hobby. They may become bored with zining, or other things in their lives simply become more important.

QRD – What words do you use to characterize your zine? What words do you hate to be used to describe your zine?

Lara – I usually use the phrase “dark-hearted” to characterize the overall sentiment of the zine. That’s a useful catchall; it covers all the gothic, gloomy, introspective, horrific, & romantic aspects. It also, for the most part, accurately describes the poetic & aesthetic content as well as the music & literary review material.  If I am explaining my zine to someone who isn’t really into goth or music subculture, I would use the term “gothic” to describe “not dead”. That word is so socially loaded now; I don’t use it in ads or anything, & I think the zine would be an understandable disappointment to someone who ordered it wanting to read about gothic bands, clubs, or subculture. But it doesn’t bother me if someone else calls it “gothic” in a review or something, because in my own sense of the word, it is fitting.

QRD – If you had more money to invest in each issue of your zine, how would you use it?

Lara – Better copy quality, nice paper; full-color centerfold art & cover; if I still had money left, I would purchase ad space in other magazines & extend my print run.

QRD – Do you have any advice for someone who is starting a zine?

Lara – On a practical note, be realistic about your budget. Also, be honest & responsible with other people’s money. Being organized is important... be more organized than I have been.  On a spiritual note, if I may, be sure that ultimately you are doing it for yourself, because you simply love to do it. For me, it’s been important to keep in view the things I truly love about doing a zine; it’s important to keep these in sight both in the face of failure & success, so my zine does not become a burden to me, but instead remains a passion.

QRD – Anything else?

Lara – Thank you, & best wishes with QRD!