Native Zinetress creators Amber McCrary (left) and Melanie Fey (right) at the Portland Zine Symposium.
Melanie Fey & Amber McCrary
MF: Flagstaff, Arizona
AM: Flagstaff, Arizona
Favorite Arizona place:
MF: My favorite place is my dad’s house, way on the outskirts of Flagstaff, during moonless summer nights. It’s so warm out and if you lay outside on the picnic table, you can see all the stars and the Milky Way perfectly. Seriously, I think I saw a UFO once. It was crazy. But it’s also beautiful, seeing the stars the way they’re meant to be seen, without all the light pollution, at 8,000ft.
AM: The Canyons at my Grandma’s sheep camp (Shonto, AZ)
MF: Coconut water is the bestest.
AM: Arnold Palmer
Favorite local project:
MF: Portland, OR (which is where I currently live) has so much to offer, where do I even begin? One Flaming Arrow: Inter-tribal Indigenous Art, Music and Film Festival is relatively new but absolutely revolutionary. It’s an annual festival during the summer that showcases Indigenous resistance and survivance type art and media made by Native artists. Demian DinéYazhi, Kaila Ferrell-Smith and Carlee Smith organize this amazing event. They will probably be opening up the application process soon so that’s something for Indigenous artists to keep an eye out for. Unchaste Readers is a reading series that highlights raw and unfiltered prose and poetry read by local female authors. It’s organized by Jenny Forrester and takes place every few months. There are just so many local projects that I love here in Portland but I could write about that for hours so I’ll just stop here.
AM: Wasted Ink Zine Distro. They are a zine distro/shop based out of Tempe Arizona. It is a cute little shop filled with zines from all over the country. It’s a great place to stop by and look at DIY items like buttons, zines, bags and comics. It’s a lot of fun to see that creativity should not be limited to just those few, I like the idea that anyone can publish anything they feel or want due to DIY Zine culture.
THIS or THAT:
Spinning or yoga?
MF: Definitely yoga! Although I wish I could do it more often because it helps me to de-stress! And what’s this spinning thing? I keep hearing about it. Does it have to do with bikes?
What was your first real job?
MF: My first real job was at a movie theater. I had to show up in a white button down shirt (usually covered in popcorn butter stains), suspenders and a shiny blue tie and cummerbund. When I wasn’t sweeping the floors of theaters and throwing away half-finished sodas, I was at the concession stand begrudgingly asking customers if they’d like to upsize their orders. I only lasted 3 months.
AM: My first real job was working at a thrift store in Flagstaff called Savers. It’s still one of the best jobs I’ve had, I loved the idea of finding all these great fashion finds for less than $10. It was a fun outlet to be creative and I had a lot of great weird co-workers. Actually, that is how I officially discovered Feminism because one of my supervisors was a radical feminist.
Melanie Fey at a poetry reading she did for Chemawa Indian School and Williamette University students.
How do you describe the work you do?
MF: I’m a library minion at Multnomah County Library; your tax dollars hard at work. Seriously though, I love books.
AM: I work with Indigenous Youth in the Valley.
What activity do you consistently make time to do, or at least try to?
MF: I try to spend as much quality time with my cats as possible. Their names are Spike and Hades and I think they often get mad at me for spending so much time working and writing. Always got to check in with my fur-babies though, make sure they’re doing alright.
AM: I try to run. I actually really don’t like running but it balances me out in terms of stress, appetite and mood. Basically, running keeps me out of my crazy tree. Even 30 minutes of running a day is hard for me but at the end of the day I feel lighter and sleep better.
When do you feel most in your element, zone, etc.?
MF: When I get into my writing zone, that’s when I’m in my element and it can be really hard to snap me out of it. Seriously, I get this crazy look on my face when I’m really getting into either my poetry, short stories or zine work. I even wear a writing bonnet sometimes, this crazy looking wolf scarf thing. When I have that on, that’s when I mean business.
AM: I feel I’m most in my element or zone when I’m listening to music, writing, reading or working with people.
What advice do you have for your younger self?
MF: Remember to breathe kid! And don’t compromise your true self in order to fit in. It’s not worth it.
AM: It gets better.
What direction would you like your life to take from here?
MF: More travel? Yes, please! Write a novel? Yes, please! Travel writer? Yes, please!
AM: I would like to continue working with the Native American community, go to Graduate school and continue doing this writing project with my zine husband, Melanie.
To purchase a copy of Native Zinestress, visit their Etsy store in the coming days as they will be selling the third installment of their zine, “Shik’is ShiHeart”. More information HERE.