It’s been 14 years since Katie Ludwick (aka Ladypajama) started her zine “Blah Blah Blah.” She has no idea how many issues there might be.
“At some point I wonder, should I just stop?” Ludwick said, then deciding: “It’s been the one consistent thing in my life that kept me being creative.”
It’s also tracked her artistic interests through the years, from personal essays and drawings to poetry.
She started out making them every week, then twice a month, before settling on the monthly schedule several years ago. That fit her life better as she grew older and started having children.
“The win is publishing it,” she said. “It’s all about consistency of making it every month.
“Quantity can sometimes make up for quality,” she laughed, adding she has “no integrity” when it comes to the zine’s contents.
Each publication is eight pages made of two 8-by-11-inch sheets of paper cut in half (in zine parlance, a “quarter-size”).
For a long time, Ludwick would sell the zines to friends, or allow them to pay in advance for a subscription, added to the mail list along with family and friends outside of Missoula.
This summer she started a Patreon page for the zine, to simplify the subscription process and hopefully attract more regulars.
There’s a $1 tier, with scanned images of the month’s zine sent to you, a $2 tier, with a physical copy sent in the mail (along with the digital version) and a $10 tier, that promises original art, post cards or other zines in the mail.
“Mostly,” Ludwick said, “you just get bills and junk mail.
“For a really low amount of money, you can have this weird art come.”
A small handful of people have signed up, enough to make Ludwick happy, but she hoped the subscription amount would eventually fully cover the cost of printing the zines.
The digital-only subscription is a fairly unique concept for an art form that’s usually held up as an icon of pre-digital culture.
Ludwick said she didn’t feel the digital version is “as special, but people like what they like,” and, plus, it cuts down a bit on printing costs.
Her live readings have picked up a bit in the last year — the Missoula Independent held a zine creator reading in 2018 and she’s been invited to a few art shows. Being a former poetry slam contestant and theater kid, Ludwick loves being able to present her poems and essays on stage.
The First Friday reading will be a little different, though, due to the space.
She planned on bringing a portable record player and some vinyl for visitors to choose from and will have copies of every month’s zine from the last year or so available for sale.
“It’s in a weird little space,” Ludwick said. “It’s got this super-cozy atmosphere, so it’s going to be like story time.”