i started making that zine & things got weird

i started writing that zine i talked about. i started it yesterday. i popped ramona into the moby & at first she was all fussy, so i was going to take her on a field trip to the post office so i could ask the woman in the passport office what the fuck to do about the fact that my passport had the wrong name on it.

yeah, check it out: i’ve never had a passport before, but jared is presenting at a conference in toronto next month, & we thought it might be fun to take a family trip up there, get ramona to be all well-traveled & worldly & everything. but it’s canada, so we’d need passports. jared already has one because he went to europe when he was a teenager. he totally lived the suburban massachusetts dream in that respect. i, however, am white trash from ohio & have only left the country three times: once to do a writing retreat for three weeks in halifax (awesome), once to bum around montreal for a week (pretty cool), & once to shoplift shoes from a mall in windsor, ontario. it was high school. options for fun were thin on the ground. though it’s worth noting that i went with my two best friends & one of them failed to mention to us until we were in line at the border that she was on HOUSE ARREST. for, like, marijuana possession or something. she wasn’t even supposed to be hitting the local dairy queen with us, let alone driving to canada.

anyway. the point is that i’ve never had a passport. getting one for ramona was a pain in the ass because the passport office is only open like five hours a day–& jared is usually at school during those five hours. but both parents have to be present when getting a passport for minor, or the absent parent has to present a notarized letter of authorization for the other parent to get the passport.

so we do the whole thing & present all the paperwork, including my name change paperwork, which always confuses people because i did not change my name due to marriage. i just changed it for my own amusement. & my name change paperwork looks 100% forged, even though it’s real. we got the passports surprisingly quickly, & i was all pleased, but when i cracked mine open, it was for someone named clara miaow xyerra. who the fuck is clara?

i’m kind of stunned that the government got this one so far wrong. i didn’t even know a glaring error like that on a passport was possible. medicare has been under the impression for years that my middle initial is L & not M, but that’s just one letter (my former middle name started with an L). these passport people got my entire name wrong!

yeah, so i guess i have to go figure that out eventually. but i’m in no rush because i decided going to toronto was just not realistic. i am going to detroit instead. with ramona. while jared goes to toronto. seeing it written down like that, i’m wondering what the fuck is wrong with me, but one of my best friends lives in detroit. i’ll be staying with her & she can (ostensibly) help out with ramona & everything. who knows, maybe she’ll be even more helpful than jared since a baby is a novelty for her & she doesn’t have a dissertation to write!

so i started writing the zine. i decided i would limit myself to 10,000 words. that’s enough for a good meaty zine but not so much that a person would just be utterly overwhelmed by text, i think.

well, i’ve already written nearly half my word count & i’m not even to the part where i actually get pregnant. i really like a lot of what i’ve written though. yes, there will have to be some edits, & yes, i may have to lose some things i like. but i’m telling some good stories, & i like the voice i’ve managed to capture. it’s informative without being pedantic, it’s honest, & best of all, it’s funny. funny is important. funny is surprisingly rare in zines. zines are so often just these litanies of terrible things that have happened to someone, perhaps interspersed with the occasional shout-out to their typewriter collection or their letter-writing club or something. why so serious, guys? i’ve decided it’s important for me to be funny in my zines. back when i was super-heavy into zines, the #1 thing i would hear from zine friends upon meeting them for the first time was always, “wow, you’re so much funnier than i expected!” fuck yeah, i’m hilarious! why would that not be expected? just because i write these total rage zines about arguments i’ve had with people in which the other person was a totally wrong idiot & by the way you’re probably an oppressive asshole who needs to examine your privilege? …oh. that’s why no one expected me to be funny.

but now i don’t know where to quit with this zine! if i keep going at this rate, it’s going to take like four or five zines just to get to where i’m at right now in being a parent. & by the time i make four or five zines as a parent, ramona is going to be, like, starting school. & then i’ll have to catch up through all the toddler years & everything. at which point she’ll be a tween pestering me for glitter nail polish & a MP4 player all the live-long day (MP4 because we are talking about the future). & then i’ll have to catch up & by then she’ll be trying to choose a college & hinting around about getting a flying car as a graduation present…you see where this is going. flying cars. it’ll happen.

i guess i’ll just write what feels like it needs to be written right now & worry about the future later. in my flying car, probably. right? any advice from the zinesters/zine readers out there?

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

6 thoughts on “i started making that zine & things got weird

  1. Robert Caro has been writing about Lyndon Johnson for 30 years and it was only last year that he got to the part where Johnson becomes president. Just try to publish more frequently than once every 10 years tho.

    1. haha, that made me feel better. it’s worth noting that jared has been reading those caro biographies out loud to ramona in the middle of the night when she gets all fussy.

  2. Maybe write about it until you run out of things to write about and then see how much volume you’ve got and decide from there? Even if you released that material in several zines, you’d have the writing pre-done which seems useful when also actually parenting at the same time. I have no idea how well this works with the way you write so if this is totally the wrong advice, sorry.

    1. that is more or less exactly how i write. i did end up giving myself a word limit, because otherwise i could go on forever. i’m holding myself to around 10,000 words per zine, which is the equivalent of about ten blog posts here. i think that’s enough to really get into things, but not overwhelm people. i am kind of writing two zines at once: one about trying to get pregnant & various aspects of pregnancy, & the other will pick up with the pre-eclampsia diagnosis & go into bed rest, the birth, the NICU, & having a newborn at home. i’m almost done with the first 10,000 words. next: editing editing editing, & then figuring out layout.

  3. Psyched that you’re making a baby zine! There was a cute baby at our Pittsburgh reading – Artnoose from Kerbloom brought her adorable kid. So, that’s another mom zinester!

    Also about the last entry – I’m also a super huge Harry and the Potters fan!

    1. i don’t know artnoose, really, but i knew she had a baby. i know there are plenty of other parent zinesters out there! but like i have talked to you about already, it’s hard to get out there into the mix & promote your zine when you have baby responsibilities at home.

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