Shelly & Taylor

Shelly & Taylor

Me (left) and my mom at about the same age, between 8 and 10.

I’ve been trying to write a memoir for about six years. When I say trying, I mean I’ve been tossing the idea around in my mind, writing outlines, gathering research, interviewing family members, and fruitlessly trying to combine my existing essays into something of a book-length thing.

I started getting really discouraged and felt like I would forever be spinning my wheels. Then I saw a tutorial on mini-zines from one of my favorite writers-who-draw, Austin Kleon.

He puts little zines in his son’s lunch box every day, which I think is the absolute best thing ever. These posts were incredibly popular and people were asking how to make them so he posted a tutorial from the book Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? 

I couldn’t believe how quickly the ideas came once I folded my first mini-zine. In my memoir, I wanted to juxtapose the childhoods of myself and my mom but I was getting overwhelmed with the amount of material I had gathered over the years.

Having a six-page mini-zine made it so much easier to select anecdotes to share. I pumped out three issues in no time:

Issue one of Taylor & Shelly, a mini-zine
Issue one, “Trees”

I have a bunch more ideas and am grateful for this shot of inspiration to reawaken my creativity and remind me why I love telling stories.