I JUST PICKED UP ISSUE 16 FROM THE HEARTLAND CAFE IN ROGERS PARK, CHICAGO. LAST YEAR I WAS WORKING THERE AND I READ ISSUE 15 BEHIND THE REGISTER WHILE MY MANAGER PISSED ME OFF BY STEALING MY WRITING I WAS WORKING ON AND CUSTOMERS WERE ABUNDANTLY GIVING ME SHIT. THE EXPERIENCE, AND A COUPLE ARTICLES IN PARTICULAR, SPAWNED THE ANGRY LITTLE LETTER I SENT YALL WHICH YOU PRINTED IN FULL IN YOUR LATEST. IT BROUGHT TEARS TO MY EYES AS I SAT ON THE SMELLY ASS CTA ON MY WAY TO THE WICKER PARK BAR. THANK YOU.
AKA NOE ONE [CHICAGO, IL]
Hi Jeff ..
Ive had this Xerox copy of a poem on my wall for years. Its called brush burns, by Jeremy Beaudry. I really liked it years ago when I found it in a zine my friend had at his house, and I photocopied it and stuck it up. To fill in for the lack of poetry, especially good poetry, I decided to put the poem in my zine, Chicago Pulp, with an introduction saying I had taken it from a zine a long time ago cause I really liked it, a skatezine from one of the coasts that might be called Double Negative. I didnt know how to find out.
But last week I was at wOrk, and the guy I wOrk for threw this thick thing at me: Zine Guide 3. He told me that was my copy and we would be sending promos to well established zines that looked like theyd want our stuff. Believe it or not, the first thing I did was look up Double Negative to see if that really was the name of the zine. And I found your address. Its a rad poem, in my opinion.
Claire Logic [oberlin, OH]
I am squirming with embarrassment but I had to write to let you know what an impact the journal had on me - and though you may not know it, your influence stretches further than you think. Issue 15 came to my attention when I was wandering round the ICA bookshop in London. I just couldnt believe the foreword by Jeff - how anyone can so acutely and accurately convey the way I feel so much of the time. I passed my copy on to a vegan skater friend of mine and went and bought another copy for myself.
In a sense, Double Negative does not totally have a positive effect. On one hand it makes me recoil at the sedentary dullness of my existence as I sit here placid at my desk, gray day out my window and burning inside with the potential that I do not know how to realize or release. On the other, I feel utterly liberated that there are others who think and feel the same as me - that I am not the weirdo(not my words) that others think. My smooth-edges (not my words - again!) becoming razor-sharp when interrogated about my life-style by people too dull to do anything else but pry. I answer politely, rationally and coldly whilst inside I scream, WHY THE FUCK IS IT ANY OF YOUR BUSINESS!
But the yellow magazine on my desk makes me remember whats important and gives me inspiration. I smile a secret smile and keep going forward. Keep writing. And Ill keep reading.
With love and respect
Fiona (via internet)
Look at this, my first letter to Double Negative. And Im not even sure it exists anymore.
Heres some back story. Ive been reading the zine ever since I discovered it in Boston after not only entering Emerson College but becoming a bike messenger a few weeks after that. Needless to say, I fell in love at first sight. I remember this one piece (but not the issue #) where you just spewed about what life is like as a courier and it completely spoke all my feelings I was unable to speak. I always thought it was the way life is supposed to be work two or three days a week, live and breathe the city in ways most folks never will, make enough to get by and relax on the weekends knowing that you live the most peaceful existence, where you physically work for your food, in tune with your environment in a rhythmic way.
I always thought, this is how I want it to be. And there was no reason why it couldnt be like that for the whole rest of my life. So many cities around the world need couriers. Bike! Eat! Write poetry! Find a park bench after each drop and revel!
I actually had one of your poetry teachers once. She caught me with an issue of DN and kept me after class to talk about how much she adored you and she convinced me that the above philosophy was not only true but possible.
Honest writing is the key to everything, I think. I never thought that really (thinking, of course, that all writing is honest writing), but being out of school for a year and seeing how much of a struggle everything is, I appreciate it with knowing eyes. I think school is sort of a safety net none of your income goes to food or shelter. You know the place, you have your support group. Even writing was easier then. When I look at some pretentious journal entry struggling so hard to be real that was written hastily before bed or just after waking up, I think, what the hell happened?
I thought the same thing this weekend. I moved to England, in an attempt to actualize this idea of being able to write and to be a bike courier anywhere in the world. I worked my first three days (in London, of course) and escaped to a friends house in the South East countryside to breathe and bring the rest of my belongings back to the city. I didnt know why I didnt feel good, why this city seemed so unfriendly. What the hell happened? To all the excitement Im travelling, exploring, living.
On the train up I remembered stowing some odd copies of DN in my suitcase just before heading out to JFK two weeks ago. I read #14 and the piece about your early days in Philly, when everything was gone except for you and your bicycle. I cried and cried. Once again, you put into words what I didnt know how to do.
So I guess I realized today that It was about damned time to finally get in touch with one of the only true kindred spirits I never met, and thank you for Double Negative. It means positive and thats the only thing we ever need to know; despite how scary it can be sometimes the only answer is positive energy, forward motion, make an art gallery, write a screenplay, whatever. And there really is no such thing as loneliness if you have your bicycle and a few people out there who understand and inspire.
So thanks again, Jeff. And if DN is still in business Id love to know how to find a copy here in the UK.
Jesse Olson [London, England]
When is the next issue of Double Negative coming out? I've been waiting for months. Number 16 is good but I can only read it so many times. I can't wait for the new one. Double Negative is probably my favorite of the zines that get to South Carolina.
thanks for a killer magazine-
Billy (via internet)