• Dare To Be

    Posted in Blog by Brooke Trout

    It is hard to believe but it will have been twenty years ago in April that I first debuted my zine “Different – Your Alternative Newspaper.” I am now doing an open call for submissions for the 20th anniversary release of the zines. You can email submissions to brooketroutmusic@gmail.com. I have wanted to release a free E-Book compilation to be made available to all former contributors of the zine on my web site.

    For those of you who don’t know, my home town is Kalispell, Montana. It is here where I fought that battle that is known as adolescence. Growing up in small towns you do tend to be sheltered, isolated from the outside world. It is this isolation that makes you all the more crave that outside influence, the big city life. The issue of intolerance was definitely at the forefront of my mind in those formative years when our local theatre refused to screen Boyz N The Hood. That was a world so foreign to us but the issue of peer pressure seemed too important to be hidden and swept away. In fact it was around this time I witnessed a stabbing in the school parking lot and the complexity and rawness of that situation still leaves a mark. Montana is not alone in its humanity; I could assume from that isolated state that everyone anywhere shared in these experiences on some level.

    This will be a second edition of the “Dare To Be” compilation of issues I previously released as a limited edition soft cover. My hope is to have an updated forward as well as a few retrospectives and topical articles. If you have any special memories of your experience with Different feel free to pass them along. They don’t even have to be full articles, anecdotes are fine and fun! Topics of particular interest for full articles include the meth epidemic in Kalispell; Columbine retrospective; 9/11 retrospective.

    If you have any issues of interest that you feel would be a good fit feel free to pitch them to me. I was always ecstatic to receive any material! At the peak of the zine we had a 60 member staff! I enjoyed the wide variety of submissions we received including hand drawn sketches, poetry, editorials, theme-related articles and even short stories. We even had an after school club called The Square Table that met at Club Algiers Old Books back in the day. I still remember the smell of apple cake, old books and tea fondly. One of the draw backs of those earlier issues was the need to be in black and white. Since this new E-Book will be online I don’t foresee any problems with going in color. With that said, if any of you have any photos of The Square Table club nights or even different medias like pottery, fabric, etc… feel free to scan, photograph, or what have you for inclusion.

    It has been ten years since I have been back home. So much has happened but for me the largest area of concern has been the growing meth epidemic that has spotlighted Kalispell on a national level. How did it ever get to this point? Drug addiction and legalization were also topics covered by Different, just some of the taboo subjects covered by the zine.

    I can openly say today that it was incredible how much support and resistance Different received. There were teachers and even outside vendors that tried to confiscate the materials even as much as there were teachers and parents that subscribed to show their support! We only ever charged the price of materials so the more people subscribed the more copies we were able to distribute. It was always fun seeing copies of our zine floating around, even at times circulating in the round of the hallowed Smoker’s Corner!

    The primary catalyst for the birth of Different was the suicide of one of my friends who took her own life at the age of 14. For those who knew her she always had a beautiful smile for everyone. Her death was the first I ever came face to face with, open casket. The harrowing reality of what suicide actually meant hit me so hard it inspired my poem Pyre as well as the song Valhalla which appeared on my last album Chasing Windmills – The Red Herring. I began volunteering for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and National Suicide Prevention Day at UCLA. It was interesting to experience a wide gamut of theory from prevention to prescription. Again, suicide was a topic frequently covered by Different which often lead to complaints about the issues being too depressing. I have no regrets however as I received several very tender stories from readers and students even year’s later confessing how these issues helped them when they were on the edge.

    One of the hopes of Different was to be a forum for free expression. Every issue focused on a theme, a controversial topic, and the goal was to include both sides of a perspective thus the reversed yin yang logo. Those first issues were pasted together very old school style which I picked up on from working for the school newspaper Smoke Signals at West Valley Elementary School. For those of you who don’t know I stirred a real controversy by having my own horoscope section which was promptly banned for being seen as occult by some parents. This little rift continued on into my journalism class in junior high when I was witness to that violent bullying incident mentioned above that my teacher adamantly refused to cover in the school newspaper. Fast forward to the present I continued to write for a wide variety of publications including The Santa Maria Times, Mahoganygirl, Bitchin Entertainment, All Access Magazine, Songsalive and currently Music Connection. It is one of my hopes that I can share the story of Different now with a new generation and help inspire them to aspire to journalistic integrity. Again, if you have anything to contribute please email to brooketroutmusic@gmail.com.

    And now for band update! Brill is way ahead of our production schedule. We’ve already got ten songs in development for our debut album “Fish Out Of Water” to be released in the Spring of 2015. Our group is currently on hiatus from live performances in the interest of bringing you an awesome new batch of songs that we can’t wait for you to hear!

    Special thanks again to everyone who helped contribute to my walk in memory of my Gramma Virginia! We raised about $500 for pancreatic cancer research. The walk is happening this Saturday morning at Westlake Village City Hall if you want to come out. They typically have a lot of fun kiosks, live music and contests. Here is a link to my fundraising page for more information: http://2014westlakewalkrun.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1093483&lis=1&kntae1093483=8CE85B4414E349C8BBCDC8E431E945F5&supId=397819047

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