you tell me first of all a little bit about yourself? How old are you, where are
you originally from and where do you reside now?
I am 38 years old, I
grew up outside New York City (say it loud, I'm from Jersey and proud), and now
I live in Portland, Oregon.
What do you do besides your zine?
addition to the zine, I work at home raising two boys, a 4-year-old and a 15-month-old.
And I read ferociously.
how long have you been running your zine now? Are you the only editor or is there
I've been doing Miranda for 6 years now. I do it all myself.
What made you decide to start this project? How did you come up with the
idea and the name?
I first heard about zines when I met my boyfriend (now
husband). I'd just gotten back from three years in Morocco, and I'd never heard
of zines. He was a punk-turned-folkie and had been doing one for years and had
lots of them around. I'd always been a writer, and I saw at once that this was
the medium for me. I was intrigued by the underground nature of zines, of flying
under the publishing radar, and the by-mail community around them. I wanted to
write about my Peace Corps adventures and other stories from my past, and this
seemed like the way to do it.
As for the name - like most kids who read,
I planned on being a writer, and I always had the idea that the protagonist of
my first book would be named Miranda. I never wrote the book, but I never stopped
liking that name. (Good thing I chose it for the zine, since I couldn't use it
for either of my children...)
What do you hope to accomplish by making
and distributing your zine?
Publishing Miranda is a way to keep my sense
of self amid the chaos of parenting. It gives me a separate identity as a writer,
keeps me from being altogether consumed by my children.
topics do you discuss most often in your zine?
I have a couple of recurring
themes. One is a column called "The Motel of Lost Companions" in which
I profile people who have played significant roles in my life but with whom I'm
no longer in contact. The kind of people we've all known, who we wonder about
from time to time, but never take the steps to find. I try to find that balance
between bittersweet regret at their absence and evoking the adventurous times
I also write about the strategies I use to find time to read.
Reading is literally necessary for my sanity, and as a parent, it can be a real
challenge to get that time to do it. Miranda didn't start out being a parenting
zine, though. It was your basic perzine - and then I had kids, which gave me some
new topics to tackle. I try to write realistically about parenting, which sometimes
comes off as negative - but there's a lot of times when raising kids is just a
hard, thankless slog of a job. And of course, we all like to complain...
role(s) did (and do) zines and zine making (and reading) play for you as you became
After I became a mother, just in the past few years, there's
been a big boom in mother-made zines. I've enjoyed reading them and seeing the
ways in which other women translate their experiences of motherhood into zine
What do you love and find challenging about zine making?
love the writing. I feel proud of the fact that I can actually do it, sneak it
in to my life, despite having children. The challenge is doing the sneaking. Finding
the time. Also, I'm not very artistic. At all! I don't do clip art, I can't draw,
I don't have a good sense of design. So I always worry that Miranda is going to
look boring. Fortunately, I have
an in-house artist.
are some of the zines you read and admire?
I love Transom. It's by a librarian
in Seattle and just so quirky and neat. I also like Leeking Ink and Thoughtworm.
The first mama zine I read was The East Village Inky, with which I was instantly
smitten. Other mama zines I like are Zuzu and the Babycatcher, Edgy-Catin Mama,
and Hausfrau. Ooh, Hausfrau is so funny and so good!
What advice would
you give to a mother who wanted to start a zine?
Keep a notebook handy.
You always think you're going to remember that fabulous sentence you mentally
composed on the walk to preschool, but by the time you've nursed the baby to sleep
and put the diapers in the wash, it's gone.
you feel part of a zine community or network and what does it mean to you?
started Miranda before I had children, so I got plugged into the wider zine community
first. Now that I write about parenting, I"m also a part of a mama-zine network
that - most of the time- is focused solely on other mama zines. It's like two
separate worlds, that occasionally overlap. I strive to keep Miranda in the overlapping
area, which is why the zine is subtitled, "motherhood and other adventures."
I don't feel like I'm defined by or want to focus solely on motherhood in my writing.
Could you please describe a little bit the grrrl zine community or
network in your country?
I don't identify Miranda as a "grrrl zine"
per se, and I'm not sure if the term applies to me (is there a definition?), so
I can't really say.
you consider grrrl zines as an important part of a social movement? Do you think
zines can effect meaningful social and political change at large?
your second question, I think zines can effect meaningful social and political
change on the individual level. Making or reading a zine can change a person's
outlook, let her know she's not alone, inspire her to creativity or to political
action. But to be honest, I really don't think that zines, in and of themselves,
effect social or political change at a level beyond the personal. Zines are a
tiny fringe element of our culture. Tiny. Which is not to say that they couldn't,
I suppose - I just don't see it happening.
were some of main influences that have empowered you (punk/feminism/zines/friends
in your life?
Reading "Our Bodies, Ourselves" at 15 made me
a feminist for life. I started wearing my "ERA Now" button (I'm dating
myself, here, I know!) and reading Ms. Magazine. Also, when I was in high school
the anti-nuclear movement was at its height. In the Reagan years there was a very
real fear that these weapons might be used. Working for nuclear disarmament was
hugely important among kids at my school. It seemed like the most important political
action we could take, something vitally important to be working on. Spending three
years in Morocco made a big impact as well. Living in a Muslim country, learning
to speak Arabic, seeing what life is like in the developing world, has changed
me in many ways. More recently, laboring, giving birth, and breastfeeding have
taken me over a divide, into a true realization of the power and ability of my
body to sustain life. That has changed me forever.
role does play the Internet for you?
It's a guilty pleasure, honestly.
When I'm on the internet, I know I should be writing.
you define yourself as a feminist? What are the most pressing issues you are confronted
with in daily life (as a woman/mother/feminist)?
I am a feminist. I face
two issues in daily life. The first is economic; by choosing to stay home and
raise my children, I forfeit the Social Security credits I would be earning if
I were, say, taking care of someone else's kids. I will be financially penalized
in old age because the U.S. government does not consider what I do to be actual
"work." This pisses me off no end. The second is the fact that I am
raising boys in this world. Do I need to say more? I'm trying to do my best to
raise them with my values, and it's easy while they're still little. But once
those outside influences kick in, I know it's going to be a lot harder.
do you think about feminism today? Do you see yourself as part of "Third
Wave Feminism" and if yes, what does it mean to you? Or why not?
not sure what "Third Wave" Feminism consist of, to tell you the truth.
I'm just your garden-variety feminist. I see myself as part of a tradition of
feminism stretching way back through history. I am the beneficiary of rights our
foremothers worked for, and didn't always achieve in their lifetimes. Having children
has made me more of a feminist than ever. That I have the right and the knowledge
to make choices about my fertility is something I take for granted, but am deeply
Can you see any unique contributions grrrl zines may
have made to the feminist and trans liberation movement?
Back when I was
a teacher, I would always remind my reluctant writers, "Everyone has a story
to tell." Any time anyone tells their story, it's a unique contribution.
the current issue: (#11)
The Portland Zine Symposium: a highly subjective report on fashions, personalities,
and breastfeeding at an underground publishing conference
But I Wanted
a Girl! coming to terms with being the mother of sons
Pirate Band: how
we became followers of a bunch of rock-and-roll buccaneers
A Note on
the Type: everything you never knew about Garamond
Stray Thoughts of
a Stay-at-Home Mother: in which Mama ponders questions of life, death, and a little
lego man inexplicably named Jesus
book reviews, the Motel of Lost Companions, and a really good pasta recipe
Taking to the streets: '73/'03 - Protesting as a kid. Protesting with a kid.
Over to the Other Side: a birth story - overdue, back labor, a mean midwife...could
this tale have a happy ending? You'll find out...
Peace and War at Home-
in which yours truly discovers that life with a three-year-old can turn the most
dedicated dove into a raging hawk
Mother/Reader - not even the cares
of motherhood can keep a real readerfrom reading.
Seven Steps to the
Brink of Insanity - want to drive Mama to the brink of madness? Follow Mr. Baby's
1 bottle of ink + 1 sewing needle + 1 length of thread = my Moroccan Tattoo Tale.
Miranda FAQ - Why is it named Miranda? How long will you call that kid, "Mr.
Baby," anyway? And more scintillating info
pay attention to the toddler, or read that book? The shocking truth!
PDX Zine Conference: I might not have been the hippest there, but I sure had fun.
Mamas Bad Day: weve all had them; most of us survive.
to a Second Baby. From bad attitude to carefree to ready to pop.Plus
regular features: Stray thoughts of a stay-at-home mother, Motel of Lost Companions,
Booklist, and a delectable spinach-ricotta pasta recipe.
back issue costs $2.
info for MIRANDA:
bruceandkate [AT] juno.com
$2 ($3 for orders outside U.S. Well concealed cash preferred); Subscriptions $4/year
(two issues) to:
Haas, Portland OR (email her for address or look at her web site for mailing address)
send money to:
bruceandkate [AT] juno.com
from your bank account or paypal balance only, please.)