What They’re Reading: Gabe Darling, Multimedia Artist, Mx. Darling Creations
Gabe Darling’s first zine was a fanzine collection of poems he wrote, inspired by the songs of their favorite band, Twenty One Pilots.
In the decade since, Darling’s zines have become more personal and introspective. Zines are self-published magazines, and for Darling, they provide space for writings on their “intersectionality of personalities -- queer, neurodivergent, person of color, military brat.”
“I feel maybe a little bit different from the mainstream,” Darling said.
For Darling, libraries have always been a place for exploring all the interests that so many cultures and identities entail. When they first discovered the joys of music, they would visit a library and leave with a stack of CDs.
On Feb. 17, Darling joins The Library’s Black Makers Fair to show their zines and fun, colorful jewelry.
What are you reading?
I'm reading the most recent volume of Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman, which I'm super excited about. I started watching the TV show, and then I started reading the books. It's so cute and nice. And I really enjoy the representation that kids have now, because I did not have a lot of that when I was younger.
Why that series?
I’ve been writing for a long time, and I have a goal of writing children's books. I like to pick up a few kids’ books just to get some ideas. I read a lot of young adult fiction because I think it's important to understand what youth are going through now so we can be a better support to them. Heartstopper is heartfelt. A lot of stories in the media about queer youth or about queer people in general are sad or tragic, or just talking about all the struggles we go through. It's really important to me to find the representation that's happy and light and has a happy ending.
Is The Library a place for people to explore their own identities and interests?
Absolutely. As somebody who kind of grew up online, I do mourn the internet that we had in the earlier days, because I feel like everyone is so used to these algorithms that are just giving you information. You're not really finding it on your own. In this very capitalist society where we're expected to consume and buy things all the time, and we get this information fed to us, it's really important to have that drive to find things that you feel passionately about. The Library is such an amazing place because there's so much information, and it's free. One day out of the week, I go to The Library and walk around. I pick whatever is interesting, and I read it or listen to it throughout the week. I love The Library.