My second zine was also written by an anonymous Australian—maybe I have a type. It was issue #32 of fergus, and I’ll admit I was attracted to the cover of a duck sniffing a birthday cupcake.
I thought fergus would be about the duck, or a story similar to a children’s book. Instead it turned out to be a small, very personal pocket-sized booklet about a woman’s 32nd birthday.
In the beginning of the issue the zinester says that she decided to write about her birthday because she “felt that familiar urge to make a zine, but didn’t really have anything much to write about.”
This zine is like a wonderful mix of a blog and journal. Much of the story is broken up by drawings and real photos. But what struck me the most was how the story was very raw and stream-of-consciousness. For example, the zine was supposed to be about the zinester’s birthday, but it often veers into other directions, such as the different types of chocolates included in a box of Cadbury Roses.
Being an anonymous zinester also gives her a lot of freedom. In just a few short pages (furgus has 76) I felt like I really got to know her. Aside from learning that she’s a twin and she has an older boyfriend but never wants to get married, I got the sense that she’s a very practical person. At the end of the issue, she writes a postscript, stating, “it seems wasteful to make any zine with less pages than can fit through my stapler.”
After reading this issue–which can be had for $2–I have to say I don’t think this story would work as well in any other format. Holding this small set of stapled pages in my hand (all “emotions” are illustrated by Hong-E.), knowing it was handmade, makes the zinester’s voice more authentic and personable. I now have a better understanding of why there are not many digital zines.