This baby was my very first zine. It is 1/2 size, b&w newsletter, 32 pages, and released in 2003.
When I first released it (I was 19), I had high hopes and unrealistic expectations of myself, thinking I could create multiple volumes of this zine and push out stories quarterly. I was young and stupid. The zine is full of short stories written when I was a teenager. Needless to say, I’m very embarrassed by the stories now so I no longer share this zine even though I have hundreds of copies still.
Here are some kind reviews of the zine taken between 2003 and 2005.
“Sinoun is a very discriptive writer! There are four different parts to this zine. With this issue of Smelling Trees, the Sweet Relief series starts. This is a Story about a character who has dreams within his dreams. The series Star Gazer is about a woman’s experience of living in a world she has never been in: Planet Earth. When I was done with this story, I was so amazed, and I REALLY can’t wait for the next part. This zine also includes Essays, Rants, “and/ or everything else.” I was so into this zine, i didn’t want it to end. The stories kept me wanting more. Without a doubt, this zine is one of the greatest zines I’ve ever read.”
“Smelling Trees is a beautifully laid-out zine featuring fantastical writing and lots of strangely wonderful images. I know that’s not a very clear description, but I can’t think of any other way to put it. Part of the problem, if you can call it that, is that Smelling Trees is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It has this light, airy quality to it that makes it hard to categorize. I have a feeling, though, that that’s just how editor Sinoun likes it. As she says in her editorial, Smelling Trees ‘is for anyone in the world.’ Anyway, the zine is divided into three parts: “SLEE” (or something like everything else), which consists of the usual fare–stories, rants, and essays; “Sweet Relief,” which chronicles the adventures of a “dreamtraveler” who “lives in dreams”; and finally, “Stargazer,” which tells the story of a woman who finds herself “living in which she’s never been.”
Red Roach Press
“Reading “Smelling Trees” brought back this nostalgic feeling. The feeling I got as a child when I first picked up and read a book I really enjoyed. The feeling of drowning in simple, yet beautiful words and for a second you don’t want to get out because for a second you’re thinking this is way better than reality. “Smelling Trees” is a literary zine that contains pieces about a girl reuniting with an old friend, about a woman who is isolated on an island with no contact (who wants no contact), And there are some pieces in journal entry form. She writes about the simple things that we all love, well, most of us at least. Can’t wait for the next issue!”
“Smelling Trees is filled with some really interesting stuff, all written by Sinoun, and her photography, layout and design are modern and pretty. I’m tempted to call her fiction experimental, but that might be misleading. It’s really just very imaginative, which is what fiction is supposed to be, right? One of my favorite pieces is a one-page genderfark called “superhuman,” told from the perspective of a little girl taking the train with her mother. “everyone looks sad or mad,” the girl thinks to herself. “I can’t tell.” Fantastic. There are 8 stories and 3 titled visual pieces with other artwork throughout.”
“After putting this zine down, I was stuck in some trance. Sinoun writes with vivid details that I keep begging for! She has her stories divided into three different sections: SLEE (Something Like Everything Else), Stargazer, and Sweet Relief. A lot of passion, imagination, strained eyes came out of this project. Sometimes I couldn’t read the text although I still understood the point that was going across. I don’t have many words to express what this zine represents but it is truly lovely.”
“Smelling trees is the work of a person named Sinoun of Suwanee, Georgia. Visually, Smelling Trees has a pretty cohesive look. It’s black and white, with small, simple print, and some handwritten text at the beginning and end. My favorite things about it were the images peppered throughout the zine, some of which were superimposed by text. The images consisted of trees and faces, starscapes, and animals. Trippy? Umm, yes, as is the writing. It’s all very emotional and dreamy and arty, but I imagine it will find an audience. If you’re currently experimenting with psychedelics, or would like to read a story in which trees and the characters named “the dreamer” are prominently featured, this zine may be for you.”
Maximum Rock N’ Roll Magazine
“Another respectable first issue, Smelling Trees offers fiction, both realistic and science, and some nice black-and-white photography in a classy newsprint digest format. The first story was pretty good; it had an authentic first-person voice. My favorite piece was ‘The Writer Who Does Not Read,’ which has this whole fictitious historical background built up around it…very convincing and entertaining. Sinoun plans to continue this story, which I think is a fine idea, as it seems ideal for serialization. The science fiction didn’t appeal to me, not that it wasn’t written well because I think it was decent, but because my taste in this genre runs really narrow. I enjoyed the photos, especially the collage near the middle of the zine, which also has some intriguing bits of prose scattered through it. This is free, so you have no excuse not to drop Sinoun a line and request a copy. Definitely a well-produced first effort.”
“You’ve just gotta love the newsprint zine! It leaves an impression on your mind and on your fingers (and sometimes around the house, as well!) Hailing from Suwanee, GA, Smelling Trees is an interesting collection of unique short fiction stories, arty photos, teeny tiny fonts and a nice headshot xerox. Within these pages you can quit your job, get reacquainted with an old friend, get hit by a car, be superhuman, ponder ‘the writer who does not read’, contemplate the lovely heads project, and follow the stargazer. Have I peaked your interest? Then send for your copy today! Nice work.”
Karoline at Slug and Lettuce
“Short stories with gender bending themes with a zen-like, philosophical spirit and highly effective stream of consciousness narrative style. Stories run the gambit from reunited friends with a sudden death, historical fictional lesbian writers, to an alien in a botched mission. Stories are told with a noteworthy skill in a tone that is compelling, mysterious, and sometimes zen. Graphic design is great with a thrifty use of newsprint. If the other issues are like the one I read, this is worth a subscription. Sinoun should branch out into novelistic prose, she has the skillz.”
Maynard Welstand from Xerography Debt Zine
“Artsy, literary personal zine chock full of 8 point type superimposed over really nice black and white photos. Although this made it somewhat hard to read, the technical design skill was commendable. She uses a lot of dream imagery, which made some of the stories kind of inaccessible to me; I felt like they were just in her head, and I didn’t have any way to relate.”
Artnoose from Zine World
“Sinoun’s fiction zine, with photographs, is printed on newsprint. While text over photos made it hard to read in some parts, the stories are pretty good. One reads like a journal/personal zine piece about a woman’s day, running into an old friend and falling for her. In another, she invents an eccentric, mysterious author and the text of the person who went to find her. Creative zine I’d like to see keep going.”
Mishap from Zine World
“Das Heft habe ich über eine Internet-zineaus- tauschgegen- seitigbeglückentotal-glücklichmachenseite bekommen und natürlich ist es eines von der Sorte, die ich mir sonst nicht gekauft hätte (da ich eben kaum Geld habe im Moment) und die dann doch den Horizont etwas erweitern. Es gibt Kurzgeschichten, die für mich natürlich nicht einfach zu verstehen sind, da mein Englisch das mieseste diesseits des Äquators ist. Au?erdem bekam ich noch ein nettes Schaf gezeichnet (es geht hier nicht um Punk).”
Gunter from Zine Zine