When I was transitioning between high school and my first year of college, I created a zine. I was armed with a typewriter my great aunt had owned, a glue stick and some plain white letter paper. There was a Kinkos nearby for production of my little publication. I named the zine Martha Dumptruck, after the picked-on character in the movie Heathers. The cover was a picture of DIY lo-fi hero Lou Barlow that I lifted from the album The Freed Man (which later got warped from sitting too long in the sun — one of the perils of vinyl ownership). The contents consisted of a fake interview with the cover star conducted via a magic 8-ball, some record reviews and an address where anyone who shared the sensibilities of the zine could write to me.
During my second semester of college, I developed a lump in my chest that would initially be dismissed as just my sternum, but would later be diagnosed as lymphoma. I had to start treatment at Duke Medical Center immediately after my diagnosis and drop out of East Carolina University a few weeks short of the end of the semester. Grades had to wait while I got some unwanted spare time. I needed something to focus on, apart from my cancer treatment.