I Have a Song for You
I am so excited to be reviewing a zine this month! My love of little magazines and homegrown self-publishing began as soon as my level of dexterity allowed for scissors, paste, and a stapler to be wielded with semi-precision. This love of writing, crafting, and publishing blossomed into a passionate obsession during my first year of college, when I edited the school literary journal and stayed up all night making chapbooks. So it was with especial glee that I received Bucket Siler’s second zine, I Have a Song for You.
This collection of six stories, three letters, and one piece of “miscellany” is beautifully made with delicate thread binding that should be handled with care. Each cover is Gocco handprinted (Gocco is a home screen printing device) and bears a sweet, cheerful, hand-painted balloon in one of varying primary colors. Other whimsical, comic-style object illustrations are sprinkled throughout the zine (in black and white) and made me think of the comfort that can be found in ordinary things, like public school-style chairs, a pair of dice, cup of black coffee, or a swing set.
Known to be the first page many browsers flip to when deciding whether or not to purchase a magazine, the final page is one usually dedicated to bold and compelling content. In this case, the final page of I Have a Song for You is the single item of “miscellany”: a collage of quotes that are funny, imaginative, sad, and kind of crazy. It’s the perfect window into the flavor of this zine and Bucket Siler’s writing.
The opening story, “The Sun Shines Forever,” has a teacher who risks her job to connect with a troubled student because it seems the teacher may need that connection to the limitless possibilities youth can dream. In a story about a marshmallow creature who becomes the “secret friend” of the protagonist, the marshmallow could be a metaphor for a tender, lonely heart, or it could be that the character is crazy, or maybe little marshmallow creatures really might come in and out your window someday, when you need them most.
Of her own stories Bucket says her “one-shot zines” are a mix of “some nonfiction, some fiction, some magicalness.” Until reading this description of her work I couldn’t quite put my finger on the quality Bucket calls “magicalness,” but yes that’s it! While there are strong threads of loneliness and confusion throughout the collection, I also picked up on a voice that held hopefulness and youth. Bucket Siler has songs for the lonely, the lost, those most in need of something to believe in.