Blog/ Dad zines

In which my dad is cranky about circuses to Marion Zimmer Bradley.

It’s about to be Father’s Day. My dad died in 2008, and I miss him all the time, but especially now, when the media is incessantly suggesting things I should buy for him, and other people are talking about what they plan to do for and/or with their dads.

I miss him, but I have some coping strategies. One of them is to read his writing. I’m fortunate to have a lot of it, including all the science fiction fanzines he produced in the 1950s and early 1960s.

I’ve posted several excerpts from his zines over the years. They really are proto-blogs, and at least in his case, the content is about evenly divided between original material and what would now be posted as comments on other people’s blogs. As you might expect, it’s tricky to find selections from his comments that don’t depend on being able to read the zine on which he’s commenting. I think the one below can stand on its own, though. It’s likely that this issue is what he was responding to; it’s interesting that Marion Zimmer Bradley reused the title of her zine for a novel that she published significantly later.

I love how unimpressed Dad is with circus; the irony of the fact that I’ve written, to date, four stories about circus performers, and hope to write more in future, does not escape me. Here he is, from Bandwagon #6, summer 1960:

Catch Trap (Bradley) : For some reason, trapeze artists, high-wire walkers, jugglers and trained animals bore me to tears. And I lump them together because they seem all of a piece — all part of the gaudy-tawdry circus milieu. Kids are supposed to be/have been fascinated by circuses, but I don’t recall ever having been. I went to a couple. They stank. Moth-eaten animals panting inside cramped, hot cages; clowns in cheap outfits practising broad “humor;” over-priced, wormy peanuts; dirty narrow seats; and the constant, cynical importuning. I lamented the passing of the circus about as much as I would the passing of the Ed Sullivan show.

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  • cathy
    June 16, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    This is beautiful, Sara, and I also have an unusual relationship with a cranky dead dad. At the farmers market today, I saw a lot of dads trying to “enjoy” being thought about or given to in ways that men often don’t like. I reminded myself that there were perks to having a dad that couldn’t stand any attention whatsoever.

  • Sara
    June 19, 2012 at 10:45 am

    My dad did enjoy some sorts of attention, but was more inclined to reading than talking, small groups than large, quiet than noise. Except when it came to football; he was a loud and avid fan. It always confused me when I was a small child, because it was so unlike the way he usually was.