Cement, Flour, Saints

Back in the mid-nineties I was one of those angsty teenage girls who wore blue corduroy pants and cardigans and listened to a lot of Eric’s Trip. I was in the suburbs, looking for people to relate to, easily awed by the idea of a City. I first heard about zines in Sassy (god bless Sassy), and then, after following the zine review column in Canada’s monthly music rag, Exclaim, finally sent out a few quarters and stamps to strangers in Canada for their fanzines about Sloan. I read these photocopied booklets, and figured I could make something too. I sat on my bedroom floor with a felt-tip pen and an electric typewriter and wrote this vague, emotional, blurry zine. Melt the Snow #1. It was so embarassing. I mean, the thoughts of any 17 year old are inherently embarrassing – go read your high school diaries if you don’t believe me. That’s why non-teenagers are the best writers of coming-of-age novels.

So, I made 13 issues of Melt the Snow, and then I started another zine called “The Second Part”. I made 4 issues of it before quitting zines in October 2004. I guess “quitting zines” sounds a bit extreme.

I “quit zines” because at the time I wanted to concentrate only on writing fiction, and fiction in zines always seemed a little awkward to me – sloppy editing, releasing work before it was really finished. And there’s that whole stigma of self-publishing your own fiction. Making a zine suddenly seemed too rookie for me. I wanted, you know, the major leagues. And I was working too many hours at an accounting firm anyway to keep up with zine stuff. I hated collating, and I never had enough time to write people back. So I stopped making zines altogether.

And then, a few years passed. I did work on my fiction. I still work on it. And, as time passed, the snobbism I had built up towards zines melted away. Suddenly I remembered how much I loved zines. Their sloppiness and heart, the smudgy uneven tones of a photocopier, all of it. I wanted to make another. So I did.

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Cement, Flour, Saints is not the most creative of titles given that the zine is made up of 3 parts (cement, flour, saints). It’s mostly words and a few poorly photocopied photos. You can read about a holy stream in Nova Scotia, about watching fireworks from the roof of an abandoned brewery, and you can bake a plum crumble from a recipe I’ve included. It’s small and square and fits in the palm of your hand. You should read it.

This is how you can order the zine:

The easy way: Paypal me $2 CDN, along with your mailing address so I can send it to you.

The hard way: Send me something as a trade. A mix CD, your own zine, a postcard, a map, your first born, etc etc. If you want to clear the trade with me first, go ahead and email me, but I like surprises too. Email me and I’ll send you my address.

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