(Photo from Nospoonneccesary.com)

                                                        ODE TO JOY-ZINES

                                   A self-pub, a journal, a dream board, a zine;

                                   All the positivity one might glean.

                                   For you and by you, print one or umpteen;

                                   A roadmap for travels in your joy-making machine.        

Your “S.U.N.S. ZINE” is a joy-journal created BYFY (by you for you). It’s a compilation of inspiration and ideas designed to help bring to life your unique vision for enhancing joyful aging via S.U.N.S. (Smile-Making, Uniting, Neighboring and Spellbinding.)

Writing down your individualized dreams and priorities connects both parts of your brain—the dreamy creative and the systematic task-oriented. A study by Dr. Gail Matthews, psychologist at the Dominican University in California, found people are 42 percent more likely to keep New Year’s resolutions if they write them down. This was reported in “Inc Magazine” (Feb, 2018).

S.U.N.S. ZINE is not just a pretty scrapbook you share with someone over a nice cup of Earl Grey tea; it is mostly for focusing and expanding your thinking. You may choose to keep it private like a diary. You may or may not want to give someone a peek inside your creativity kimono.

The giant, motivation guru, Tony Robbins (besides being a huge success in “edutainment,” he towers at 6’ 7” tall and wears size 16 shoes) underscores the importance of writing down goals to add an extra layer of intent and maximize the likelihood of making dreams become realities. He says, “How you make and follow through on the outcomes you want is a long-term process not a short-term, once-a-year resolution…instead of merely resolving to change a behavior, write down your goal! Not on a computer, but on paper or in a journal.”

S.U.N.S ZINES are personal and revealing. I’ve kept journals and chapbooks my entire life and they are where I’ve scribbled most of my 5,000+ original aphorisms, sketches for paintings when I travel and ideas I’ve gleaned from art muses such as French Post-Impressionist artist, Henri Matisse, and clowning heroes like Mel Brooks and Margaret Cho.

Here’s an example from my S.U.N.S. ZINE: “Life is not about finding yourself; it’s about creating yourself.” That is not a line original to me, but it speaks to me as should the words in your zine.

Zines, which today often incorporate photocopied images and texts, are as old as the Gutenberg printing press—actually older. Zines have been influential throughout American history. Thomas Paine’s revolutionary pamphlet, “Common Sense,” self-published in 1775 would make a grand zine to explore this Independence Day.

S.U.N.S. ZINE DO-IT-YOURSELF:  Pick up your scissors, grab your kindergarten glue sticks and allow yourself to daydream about a magical, joy-filled life uniquely created by you. Don’t worry about this looking perfect or making perfect sense. Later, when you re-visit your zine, you’ll find some patterns which allow you to “connect the dots” in ways that may puzzle your biographer but make sense to you.

Journals, which I buy already bound, is the way I create my own S.U.N.S. ZINE. Over time, they’ve become a personal archive. I like to draw, so regularly, the pages of my zines are embellished with some doodles and caveman-quality blobby “quick takes.” I also include photocopied tidbits torn out magazine images, cartoons lots and lots of beautiful trash. You may prefer collaged boards or three-ring binders for your zine. (STRONGLY SUGGESTED: Number your pages and often scribble in the date you are working on your zine. This will save you time and some sanity when collating.)

Here are some reasons to create your own zine and some idea prompts as you start creating your own:



–Re-live and retrieve happy memories and thoughts.

(Idea: Record what was SMILE-MAKING for you in the news this week. This may take a bit of time. If you get stumped, try the “free” uplift of getting emails each Tuesday from GoodNews.com.)

–De-clutter your refrigerator door as you add cartoons, event ticket stubs and stickers to your zine.

(Idea: What is your favorite cartoon source? My favorite is the cartoon archives of “The New Yorker” magazine. Also, for years I’ve collected photo images of Queen Elizabeth II when photographers have caught her laughing aloud. Even QEII needs to…LAFF EVERY DAY!

–Plant ideas for future SMILE-MAKING. I’m writing this in early summer but this week, I added the date of an annual Christmas concert to my zine and an image that includes this year’s guest performers.

–Bring your bucket list to greater awareness and accountability with visuals.

–Exercise your positivity and mental muscles. I hope you dance and it’s a “happy dance.”

(Idea: Quiz yourself with interview questions. What is your favorite color? Memory of ecstatic happiness? The dearest pet of your lifetime? A teacher who made a great, positive impact?)


–Record ideas for future gifts and SMILE-MAKING pleasures for those close to you. Save advertisements for products and gift sources.

(Idea: Recall someone you think is “absolutely wonderful” and always makes you smile. Now, write down a few examples of how they are SMILE-MAKING for you. At some point, you might take a photo of what you wrote about them in your zine and text them a “thank you.”)

–Gratitude journals are a good, stand-alone practice but you could include such things in your S.U.N.S. ZINE.

(Idea: Write down something each day this week that you appreciate about someone you love. Review those things after seven days. If the experiment brings you some joy, continue.)

–Make your zine your “grudge holder.” Take that heavy chip off your shoulder and put it here. Release it from your daily existence.

–Imagine your old relationships from a new, positive perspective. What’s an image of that?

–Build a bridge over troubled waters between you and someone. Draw that bridge.


–Collect great community ideas from other places and plan on how to share those where you live.

(Idea: “Readers Digest Magazine” does an annual salute to “The Nicest Places in America.” Search online for why those places were selected. Maybe you can inspire your local leadership.)

–Because of health fears and increased time online, we are living in isolation more. Add some people-helping-people images to your zine.

–Living through hard times provides an even greater need for “good news stories.”

(Idea: Chat with your local United Way office about the “do-gooder” groups they support in your neck of the woods. There are good NEIGHBORING opportunities for a variety of interests. Add those possibilities to your zine and plan to get involved.)

–Shift from thinking of yourself as an overwhelmed victim of society to someone putting concern into action. Add names and stories of your role model heroes/heroines to your zine.


–Reduce the pinball scatter in your brain—focus as you put your favorite priorities in front of your eyes.

–Go deep on your “particular passion.” Last year, I intensely focused on the color blue and my zine from that period has blueprints for building bluebird houses and cocktail recipes using that blue liqueur which no matter how refreshing, always looks like one is drinking Tidy-Bol. Currently, I’m spellbound by all kinds of vessels and by trellising/treillage—tomato/tomahto.

(Idea: You are one of 7.4 billion humans sharing this planet and each of us has trials and tribulations. Think about how insignificant your troubles are. C’mon, forget your troubles, go weed a garden, string some beads, rake the yard, get happy).

–Validate your growth and progress. Your zine is a good place to record your weight, blood pressure, vitals. If some sort of addiction is

–Create “free” data storage to support your brain-chugged memory.

–Awaken your “inner voice.”

(Idea: Imagine some floating, magic bubbles. If something is bothering you, draw some round-ish bubbles in your zine, write any negative thoughts inside the bubbles and imagine them drifting away).

–Crystallize your thinking about what is important to you.

Your S.U.N.S. ZINE is meant to be a joy for you to create. Grind some coffee beans, pour some caffeine, “power up” with a bite of cuisine, accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, don’t mess with Mr. In-Between (thank you, Johnny Mercer) and go start your—ZINE.


“I kept a diary right after I was born. Day 1: Tired from the move. Day 2: Everyone thinks I’m an idiot.”—Steven Wright

“Keeping a journal: The short entries are often as dry as instant tea. Writing them down is like pouring hot water over them to release their aroma.”—Ernst Junger

“Who else but me is ever going to read these letters?”—Anne Frank

“Painting is just another way of keeping a diary.”—Pablo Picasso

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.”—Oscar Wilde


–What do you call a part of a city where everyone makes a zine? A writers’ block.

–What did the zine-writer say when he glued his hand to a page? “That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.”

–The jerk who stole one of my zines just died. My thoughts are with his family.

–I enjoy jotting down ideas in my zine, but when I return to edit them it’s more re-wording.


June 25—Anthony Bourdain

June 26—Nick Offerman

June 27—Vera Wang

June 28—Mel Brooks

June 29—Anne-Sophie Mutter

June 30—David Alan Grier

July 1—Estee Lauder

                                              SUMMER CRANBERRY CHICKEN SALAD—MASSACHUSETTS

Each week, JOY & GERONTOLOGY shares a recipe saluting a healthy food produced in America. The delicious and nutritious collection is called “The S.U.N.S. Longevity Cookbook” and highlights vitamin B-3 (niacin) which many gerontologists believe holds the promise for a long, healthy, joyful life.


4 oz mixed greens

2 fresh sliced strawberries

10 dried cranberries

5 red grapes

½ diced apple

1 oz diced, cooked chicken breast

½ oz chopped cashews


1 cup red wine vinegar

1 cup canola oil

4 strawberries

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar


Step 1—In a medium sized bowl toss the mixed greens, apple, dressing and chicken. Transfer into a serving bowl.

Step 2—Top salad with dried cranberries, red grapes and sliced strawberries.

Step 3—Sprinkle chopped cashews on top to finish.


573. “Highlights Magazine”

574. The box of valentines and ephemera mom saved for each child

575. Mod Podge

576. Charlotte Moss collages

577. Birmingham Public Library archivist, Marvin Whiting

578. Queen Charlotte’s “Print Room” at Kew Gardens

579. “Pop-up books”

580. Making “pop-up” books and cards

581. Baseball cards

582. Drunken revelers photocopying body parts at the ad agency Christmas party

583. Japanese lanterns

584. Noguchi rice paper lamps

585. Winning national Addy Awards for print campaigns

586. 1920s and 1930s French and Italian posters

587. Hand-carved print blocks for “The Seven Signs of Southernness.”

588. Eleanor Roosevelt about tea bags

589. The vintage, French postage stamp I bought online during COVID “lockdown”

590. Horchow stationery

591. Watercolor lessons

592. Moleskin journals

593. The advent of Pampers

594. Advent calendars with paper windows

595. Andy Warhol’s “Interview Magazine” subscription



Ben South