By Tara Taylor/Bring Them Along
It’s hard to imagine, but there was a point in time when being a parent was a very isolating and lonely place. Parents looking for advice or community couldn’t fire up their computer and seek out a forum or mommy blog. You had one choice, mainstream media or nothing at all. It was the lack of different voices that birthed the parenting zine RAD DAD.
Ten years ago Tomas Moniz was looking for someone — anyone — who shared his feelings about fatherhood. Of course, there were parenting books and magazines, but not a single one addressed his concerns as a young father of a teenage son. There were no articles on how to talk to your kid about porn, drugs, politics, the police, or racism.
A zine is born
Moniz, a teacher at Berkeley City College, started piecing together his thoughts and feelings onto paper. He quickly realized his writings were not going to fit into any glossy magazine.
“I wanted to get published, but who would publish me?” the father of three said.
Inspired by renegade writers who bypassed the approval process of a publisher and editor, Moniz turned to the zine community for the inspiration. He began creating RAD DAD out of his house, cutting and pasting his thoughts into small booklets to be photocopied, traded, and sold.
“I didn’t know what I was doing for a long time with my writing,” said Moniz, who would put his kids to bed and spend the evening hours working on the zine. Like bloggers of today, Moniz poured his unfiltered feelings about parenthood on to the page – often using his teen son as an example.
“I regret not sharing my early stuff with my son,” said Moniz, who now gets the approval of his teenage daughters if they are going to be mentioned in essays or editorials.
Creating a collective
As his children got older the topics addressed in RAD DAD changed, but a steady stream of contributing writers helped keep the soul of the zine alive. Essays published have provided voices to fathers of color, single moms and dads, transsexual fathers, and alternative families.
A decade later, with only one teenager remaining in his Berkeley home, Moniz still sees a lack of fathers writing about their vulnerable moments. Moniz wants parents to look beyond the cute and silly to reflect on the triumphs and struggles that lie in everyday parenting.
“I love the way people take risk and show vulnerabilities,” Moniz says about the writers to contribute to RAD DAD. “That’s the premise, not what we are but what we aspire to be.”
Last year, under the creative vision of Kyle Knobel, and alongside the relaunch of the alternative parenting magazine Hip Mama, RAD DAD morphed into a beautiful bound magazine and writers’ collective. Gone are the pages that crammed content into every bit of white space. What remains are the many voices of parents who see themselves parenting radically.
With three issues this year, Moniz wants to keep RAD DAD going, even as he faces an empty nest, but the costs of publication are not cheap.
“Even if our next issue is the last one, it’s a nice place to stop,” said Moniz adding that he hopes the collective can raise enough money to keep going.
The publication is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign to raise $25,000 to cover next year’s printing and production costs. The campaign ends Oct. 31.
If the collective reaches its goal, it aims to produce additional issues next year providing an outlet for parents who are looking for an alternative to the mainstream parenting magazines at the grocery store and in doctors’ offices.
This article was originally published on Tara Taylor’s website Bring Them Along.
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