Hearts I tried not to break but did – an interview with zine author Simon Gennard

How did you get into making zines?

I had contributed to a zine made by a friend of mine (it’s called The Collectivist) and I’d been meaning to make one of my own for a while but never really got around to it. And since I didn’t have a job or any commitments over summer, I decided to put some of my free time to good use.

Can you give us a short bio about you?heartsItriednottobreak

Uhh, there’s not much to tell. I’m a socially inept 18 year old, studying English and Political Science at Vic, and I love my cat.

We have read the zine and loved it. In your words could you please explain to us why you decided to make it and publish it?

I always get anxious that I’m taking myself too seriously when I talk about the zine like this, I’ll give it a try. I guess I wanted to explore the way in which we tell stories that seem so personal to us, but at the same time possess this universal quality. So I made the stories anonymous to give the interviewees space to open up and share more than they’d otherwise be comfortable with. And I also tried to find a middle ground between keeping the distinctive voice of each person, while removing a lot of the idiosyncrasies and specifics of the stories, to allow the reader to apply their own experiences or experiences they might be familiar with to each story. I don’t know whether I achieved that, but that was my intent.

Once it was out there, did you get any unexpected reactions?

Most of the people who have read it have been my friends, who have been universally supportive, but they’re sort of obliged to be. I’m not really sure whether to trust their opinions or not. It did make someone cry though, I felt pretty bad about that.

Blogging about romantic experiences can be so much fun; do you have a blog where you update your love life?

I don’t really have a love life to blog about. I have a Tumblr, but it’s mostly just pictures of Tilda Swinton and racist things Rick Santorum has said. Oh, and I have a blog just for Things We’re Not Going to Talk About.

Do you have plans to make any future zines?

I have most of the second issue finished. I just have to take a few more photos and then put everything together. It’s called Arguments I Meant to Finish but Didn’t.

What would you say to other zine makers?

I would say, “I have a dwindling social life and low self esteem, would you like to be my friend?”

Do you have any music/zines/blogs recommendations?

I don’t think it’s possible for anyone to make zines in Wellington and not have a deep respect for Incredibly Hot Sex With Hideous People. My favourite Zinefest finds are probably Family Photos – which is basically a series of photos made from photocopied hands with doodles drawn over them – Cupcake Monsters, and Neighbour Cats.I also adore This American Life podcast. I feel like everyone on the internet constantly raves about it and anything I say will end up detracting from how wonderful it is.

In terms of music, I mostly just listen to Billie Holiday and sob quietly to myself.