Paragraph Girl #0


The Everyday Adventures & Scribbled Adventures of Paragraph Girl is (was) a per/litzine. As i write in the epilogue: “In the spring of 2004 i started this zine with the intent that it would focus on storytelling — stories about my daily life and fiction about the daily life of a character i’d been creating.” Well, that didn’t exactly work out, for reasons you’ll have to buy the zine to discover. Mwahaha! ;)

Right now the project is on indefinite hiatus. One issue was produced.

'Paragraph Girl' (#0)
'Paragraph Girl' (#0)

The nitty-gritty about Paragraph Girl issue #0:

  • published: August 2006
  • language: English
  • size: 1/4 legal (3&1/2″w x 4&1/4″h), 60pp, ~6300 words
  • status: Out of print.

The table of contents:

  • Prologue: Meet Paragraph Girl (Sample below!)
  • Vacant
  • Recipes 1 & 2
  • Shorn, blackened
  • poetry
  • STET
  • Recipe 3
  • Decorating with books
  • On databases
  • Urban pastoral
  • Recipe 4
  • This page intentionally left blank
  • Epilogue: At the end of these things


Prologue : Meet Paragraph Girl

This is how it begins.

It’s the autumn of 1986. The first quarter of the first year of high school. She’s sitting in a too warm classroom with twenty-nine of her peers. The instructor walks in — a teeny old woman who tip-toes across the room in her high heels because she believes it’s quieter. This is a habit that will come to drive all of the students slightly mad by the end of the semester.

The instructor explains Freshman Composition: “Our assignment for the semester is to craft the perfect paragraph. We will not be writing essays; this course is intended to be a foundation for the rest of your composition classes while you’re in high school. If you cannot build a strong paragraph, you will not be able to build a strong essay. At the end of the semester, all classes of Freshman Composition will assemble in the cafeteria where you will be assigned a topic and given one hour to write your paragraph. Only those who pass this final examination will be given permission to progress to Sophomore Composition next year.”

– – – – – – – – –

This is how it begins.

It’s fourth grade. 1981-1982. She’s in her bedroom one night, cutting cardboard. First she places a book down on an old box and traces an outline. She does this four times, then cuts. Next, she takes the carefully-typed sheets of paper — two stacks of duplicates — and tapes them together with masking tape. Then she tapes those bundles in between two sets of the cardboard pieces. On the back of each she glues her school picture and the one M.G. gave her.

Nearly finished, she takes out her markers. On the front of each book she writes: “Poetry by M….. G…. and C…. W……”

– – – – – – – – –

This is how it (almost) really begins.

She’s five. It’s 1977. On a warm, sunny day toward the end of summer, she revs up her tricycle and races up and down the gravel driveway. Her mother is … walking beside her? working at the end of the yard? Memory is hazy.

As she races along, she chants, “Tomorrow i start school! Tomorrow i start school!!”

Her mother corrects her that she starts school the day after tomorrow. She simply alters her chant, undeterred in her enthusiasm. And who wouldn’t be excited? So much to do in school. So many colors and numbers and words to play with. … Oh, yes. So many words.

– – – – – – – – –

And so it continues.

There are so many beginnings that i can’t choose just one. Is the real beginning when i learned how to read? I can’t remember that. I can’t remember when my mother started reading to me. I can’t remember when i learned how to write, tho’ i can remember when i learned cursive (4th grade — the teacher would draw lines on the board with those 5-chalk holders that are usually used to draw music staffs, and we’d go up for practice; and then again in 8th grade … or was it 7th? … when our teacher insisted that we learn again the correct way to write cursive letters). I can’t remember when i began making up plays and stories for my brother and i to act out.

So many beginnings. I began writing poetry in 2nd grade, tho’ i only became truly serious about writing and re-writing when i was in 9th grade. I became fascinated by individual words when my 3rd grade gifted teacher gave us a group project to create our own dictionaries: we researched the words, copied out the definitions by hand, drew illustrations, designed the pages and dictionaries, and printed them on mimeograph machines (my group’s dictionary was Steopeish). I began writing for school newspapers in 6th grade. I began editing for school literary journals in 11th grade.

And so on (journalism major) and so on (English major) and so on (newspaper clerk) and so on (publishing intern). I have, simply, always loved words. I love playing with them individually. I love putting them together in phrases, sentences. Paragraphs.

I love story-writing. I honestly love writing essays for school. I love the production of putting a newspaper / journal / chapbook together.

I love the feel of the finished product in my hands. I love knowing that it’s mine, or that at least a part of it is mine.

And here i am, doing my 1st zine. And it’s all mine. I can’t wait to hold the 1st printed and bound copy in my hands.

So many words. And they’re mine. All mine.

Yours, too — i’ll share them with you. I hope they’re not too awkward and embarrassing. I hope you’ll enjoy them.

Fare well, little zine.

Let’s begin.