Cipher #1


Cipher is my current, ongoing zine project. I finished the 1st one in may 2008 and finally did all the copying and collating in july.

To explain what’s going on in my head when i’m putting together a new Cipher, i guess i’ll just quote myself from the 1st issue:

I live in a world layered with meanings and metaphors, with symbolism and rules and superstitions. Many of these structures have been imposed on me — by the cultures and societies and circles that i move in, and by those that move in circles outside of and around me. And some, too, i’ve devised on my own — to comfort me, to amuse me, to wrap myself tight in a security blanket so that i don’t fly to pieces.

It’s not always an easy world to live in (just ask my spouse), but it’s my world and it works for me, by and large. And i like it.

And i like, most especially, pulling at the various threads — to understand them, to repair them, to get lost in the mystery of them. To rip apart the tapestry and re-weave it into something new.

I call the written result of this questioning a “personal critzine” — because it looks at the personal thru’ a critical lens and at the critical thru’ a personal lens. I am, i admit, an academic by training and passion. But i’ve also been a print news writer by profession (and by passion) and i really want to try to combine the best of both worlds. To try to make academia’s crazy, interesting ideas clear by writing with my journalist’s pencil.

I can only hope it’s as interesting to read as it is to create!

'Cipher' (#1)

'Cipher' (#1)

Some stuff you’ll probably want to know about Cipher #1:

  • published: May 2008
  • language: English
  • size: 1/4 letter (4″w x 5&1/2″h), 40pp, ~7100 words
  • status: In print!

The table of contents:

  • “i speak in clichés”
  • Prologue.
  • On cracking the code that is Chris=writer.
  • A postmodern herbal. (Sample below!)
  • How i pulled apart “Paragraph Girl” and Mockingbird Ink to find out what was inside.
  • 2 recipes: drop sugar cookies & snickerdoodles.
  • Wordnerdery! — corduroy.
  • Why my friend Liseuse’s “Harry Potter” fan fiction is more satisfying for me than J.K. Rowling’s books.
  • Epilogue, thanks, a brief bibliography, typesetting, etiquette, contact info.


cover price: $1 (U.S.)

postage: $1 (U.S.) to North America, $2 (U.S.) to Rest of World

I’m happy to take orders via postal mail, but please only send well-concealed bills (sending coins in the mail is just silly).  The address is:  Chris Wrdnrd / PO Box 45536 / Seattle WA 98145-0536 / USA

I can also take orders via PayPal.  Please contact me via email to set it up:  cipher @ wrdnrd . net

sold by:

  • Click Clack Distro.  Still A Room of One’s Own.  I dropped off 5 copies during WisCon 33 (Memorial Day weekend 2009).
  • Powell’s.  Sold in Powell’s zine section starting mid-august 2008.  Sorry — the 10 copies that Powell’s bought sold out by early october 2008.

reviews & other mentions:

  • Chunga 15.  Randy Byers talks about Cipher #1 in his piece “If You Meet a Trufan on the Road.”


A postmodern herbal.

~ August 2007 & may 2008

What’s an “herbal”? It’s a written list of plants, that, specifically, deals with their medicinal properties. The only herbal i own right now is A Modern Herbal by Mrs. M. Grieve (Dover, 1982), and it also talks about each plant’s history (if it’s known) and how to grow it.

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