Ghost Pine-All Stories True

Jeff Miller (Invisible)

Before blogs there were zines. The two co-exist today. Blogs seem highly specific, newsy, opinionated. Zines reflect opinions, passions and zinesters build arguments, though they come across as less argumentative---more reflective, evocative of a longer-term universal condition. They’re generalists and necessary ones at that. Jeff Miller is a great example. In 1996, at 16 and growing up in Ottawa, he started a zine called Otaku. It became Ghost Pine. Through these selections now collected in a book, the Montreal-based Miller slows that progression, or process, as some call it, of growing up to examine its transformative passages: the role and meaning of grandparents, the necessity of youthful anger, a sense of outrage, which precedes but never fully defers to reason, the thrill of travel (no matter how inconvenient), the idea of home (however provisional) and the complicated relationship to one’s hometown. Though we can’t re-inhabit the place or the version of ourselves that occupied that space, we can remember the moment, such as when Miller joins his brother for a matinee by country singer Lucky Ron at Chateau Lafayette House in Ottawa’s Byward Market. In bygone days, as a lad, this reviewer participated in many beery burlesques in that same establishment with his own brother and their friends. It’s through such experiences and memories that the self is discovered.

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