During my sophomore and junior years at Southwest High School, a handful of friends and I published a ‘zine before we even knew what a ‘zine was. We called it an underground newspaper, and we dubbed it Anonymous! We vowed to each other that we would not reveal to anyone outside the publication our involvement.
Initially, it was just my friend Angela and me, and we wrote in several personas in order to make it appear more people were on staff. Over time, a few more people figured out what we were doing and joined in. We didn’t talk about it explicitly at school, and denied it ferociously if questioned. In fact, I had one friend and reader who was so obsessed with getting me to admit I had a part in it, that he eventually became my stalker, even after I moved to New York for college. The front page of the first farewell issue was directed toward him.
The first issues were photocopied at the Boy Scout office during Angela’s brother’s meetings. Later, one of our teachers offered, hypothetically of course, to make copies for us in the teachers’ lounge on the sly. We had other support among the teaching staff, mostly of the moral kind. At some point, we were also noticed by the head honchos, and we had to find another copy source. My mom was gracious enough to take up the challenge, and we mailed off our mock-ups 250 miles away to Houston for printing.
We closed up shop when half the staff graduated and Angela and I lost interest in each other. It was a lot of fun while it lasted. The most amazing thing about it was that we had an actual readership and subscribers, even.
Recently, I was reunited with all the issues of Anonymous!, thanks to my wonderful mother, who had been keeping them safe and well-archived for all these years. And now, for the first time since 1991, they are available for public consumption. I make no claims as to the quality – some are really quite bad in fact – but I think it is a neat piece of nostalgia. Keeping true to the name, we never claimed ownership of any of our original writing. If we did put a name to it, it was a pseudonym, mainly to keep up appearances of having more people on staff than actuality. Some of the pieces I know for certain were written by me, others I’m not so sure.
Now, seventeen years later, I reveal my fellow staffmembers (those that I can remember, anyway), in no particular order: myself, Angela C., Sean S., George P., Gabriel B.
I apologize to anyone I forgot, and to those I remember (in the event they still don’t want to claim involvement) .
And without further ado, I give to you Anonymous!