Zine Review: Telegram Ma’am #11

1 April 2008

Zine cover - Telegram Ma’am #11

Previous issues of Telegram Ma’am I’ve read (#9, #10) have been mostly-chronological records of significant events in Maranda’s life, occasionally shooting off on interesting tangents. Issue 11, though, takes a different structure: in order to break her writer’s block, she uses each letter of the alphabet as a prompt for a brief blurb on a different topic — it’s almost like reading Dick Bruna’s angsty perzine.

These little stories lead off in every direction; past, present and future. Mental health features prominently, but notwithstanding a couple of trips back to the hospital and some problems with prescriptions, the tone is significantly more cheerful. In the introduction, Maranda says “as long as I can still create, I know there is hope.” The vignettes about her craft and zines show she’s happiest when she’s making things to share with others.

I thought one story (under “Ottawa”) captured the spirit of the zine nicely. The influence of Little Acorns on Maranda’s life goes beyond a cool tattoo design, as she explains:

[O]ne day [a woman] watches a squirrel from her window gathering nuts for the winter, and decides that if this squirrel can take care of itself with the harsh winter coming on, so can she. So she takes care of her problems just like those acorns: one at a time.

The alphabetic structure works well to highlight Maranda’s own acorns. What seem to be daunting problems are broken down into discrete parts. She can chip away at them one at a time, whether it’s by adding a splash of colour to her wardrobe, organising Baking Days with her friends, or learning to like her surname. It’s nice to read about the little rays breaking through the storm clouds.

Maranda Farthing, Telegram Ma’am #11, 1/4 size, 24 pages.
Available from the author (E is for Etsy!).

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