Lily, a Zine for Writers

The title of this zine pretty much says it all: Lily is a zine geared toward those of us who are wordsmiths.

A full-sized zine bound by a simple staple in the corner, creator Ruth Latta actually took the time to print these puppies straight from a computer (forgive me– quality pictures and paper excites me).

She named the zine after her own furry feline and one of my favourite quotes comes right at the beginning. Ruth says of her cat–who is a nemesis to her writing habit–“She has defaced manuscripts by clawing, biting the edges, and smudging them–behaviour not unlike that of some editors.”

I had to guffaw at that one. Anyone whose worked with editors knows that you’d have more constructive conversations with a mop. (Ed. Ahem)

Anyways, what works with this zine is that it’s different. Ruth uses Lily as a vehicle to promote her work, so it’s both personal and professional. It has original poems, short stories and she also includes the odd article from community newsletters and such.

What this zine desperately needs, however, is character and a personality. It really lacks endearing qualities, both in appearance and content. I’ve just spent the last half-hour reading about this woman’s early years as a writer, admiring cute snaps of her cat and sampling some of her work. And yet I still have nothing to grasp hold of. There’s no substance.

I mean, the main piece of work is a short story about a snake accidentally let loose in a family’s home. Sounds like it could be interesting, right? But it’s not, and it’s because it errs too much on the side of realism. I could have written the same story by simply imagining how my family would act in that situation.

Ultimately, what this zine needs is for the writer to take some risks. Don’t get me wrong, for a debut issue, it’s not bad, especially considering that this is new territory for the creator. But there’s plenty of room for growth both as a writer and artist, and zines are the perfect playground to do that. (Amy Greenwood)

Litzine, Issue #1, Ruth Latta, Free, ralatta@cyberus.ca


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