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Writing Memoirs: GORBASH!

Posted by mary-andrews on June 25, 2007 at 3:32 AM

       After that first convention in Amarillo, I was impressed by the wonderful opportunities a convention provided for artists and writers.  If someone had told me about these things before, there would have been no stopping me in my youth.  I saw new talent being taught and guided by professionals.  I saw an outlet for art to be seen.  A place where creative endeavors were recognized?even applauded. I reveled in the presence of like-minded people.  Why hadn?t I ever heard about these things before?  I decided to get the word about fandom out to the public.  Just think what other discouraged artists could do with this! 

 

      From this concept Aliens Anonymous? most productive project evolved.  We created a fanzine named GORBASH.  Bob Aspirin had suggested I choose a name of a character from a well known writer.  That way, our publication would have to be seen by a pro to make sure we weren?t abusing the character?s name, and we would establish a connection to someone prominent.  Bob suggested Gordon R. Dickson because ?Gordy likes to help new talent.?  That?s where the name GORBASH came from.  He is a drunken dragon from Dickson?s book THE DRAGON AND THE GEORGE.  Most of the group thought it was appropriate because the dragon liked to drink.  That was ok by me, but secretly I kind of liked that the name resembled the word ?garbage? and most people don?t recognize art when they see it, so it is frequently mistaken for garbage.

 

      Any way, since the Star Trek club officers told us it wasn?t possible to put out a fanzine more than twice a year, we successfully put GORBASH out every two months for about a year.  (After that, I folded it when my husband and I divorced.)

 

      Now this was in the early 80?s and PC?s were?not.  We sold ads to local businesses and bartered with a copy shop for printing our covers etc but other than that we did everything the hardest way possible.  The magazine averaged from 47-50 pages with cardstock front and back covers.  The columns were double justified, by hand?my hand.  I used an index card with lines on it that I held up to the submittals (the ones that were typed) and I would mark the ends of each line, and then I would hammer it out on my MANUAL typewriter?there were no edit or correction buttons on those mechanical wonders either, only  Liquid white and correction tape.  Eventually, typos became a forgivable crime in my mind so my little fanzine was far from perfect.

 

      Every ad, every picture, every article, poem, or story was cut and pasted with my trusty scissors and scotch tape, maybe even a little glue stick.  We gathered as a group to staple and hand collate each issue and then placed black tape across each book?s spine.  It really wasn?t so bad?maybe the drinking helped.  Who knows, I was younger and dumber then.

 

      Though I?ve never understood why, people actually did what I told them to do then.  I gave out writing assignments and everybody wrote.  I started finding artists along the way and got some great drawings.  So I added an artist portfolio in each issue.  We took short stories, poetry, filk songs, articles about different forms of fandom, original role playing game character designs, and interviews.  As payment, I promised to put a copy of each magazine into the hands of every pro I met, and I did my best to do just that.  It was fun and because of the zine, I had a reason to approach professional writers, and talk to them one-on-one.

 

      For our first issue, I accosted the AA members with a single assignment.  ?In one week?s time,? I told them, ?you will be expected to bring me an article or poem or story or song with this phrase in it: Above the sky ripped open and a glimmering figure stepped forward.?  This was a phrase that I had dreamt up waaaay back then to use in the climax of my book.   If you buy THE FIREBORN CHRONICLES, you will find it there too.

 

                                    To be continued?.

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