Oh, Katie. I love your zines so much and the latest issue of White Elephants possibly even the most of all, because it's your most personal. Like much personal writing, zines can be full of complaints, insecurity, and calling people out on their evil ways, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it's rather nice to read a mostly happy zine. The framework of WE4 is Katie's descriptions of her yard sale & flea market shopping, but as she asks near the end "Is this zine even about yard sales anymore?" It once was, and probably will be again, but for issue 4, something happens that eclipses Katie's joy over finding weird textbooks to repurpose into stationery, knickknacks with the previous owners' history attached or imagined, and vintage clothing items whose worth or potential can be ferreted out only by artisan shoppers such as herself. What Katie finds in this zine is love, revealing a little bit more about it with each section.
The zine isn't all starry-eyed bliss, though there are lots of moments that will make you smile to yourself, happy for Katie, or remembering your own falling-in-love story. Katie shares her continuing sadness about her father's passing eleven years' prior, always worse in the anniversary month, but even that I found heartening as my spouse navigates his grief over his father, who died much more recently. If Katie can be taken over after so long, then others who have lost someone can be reassured that their feelings are normal.
It should be noted that Katie crafted WE4 during her residency at the Roberts Street Social Centre Anchor Archive Zine Library. She tells a sweet story about her experience there, and her zine benefited artistically from wacky things she found in closets and drawers of the Centre. It's stab-bound and has clip art elephants throughout and also a few hand-drawn illustrations.
Katie is your favorite old lady with lots of interesting things to look at and discuss, but reading her zines, you get to know her while she's young and collecting all those interesting things.
Cat report: To my memory Trixie only makes one appearance, which is disappointing, but since I happen to know that the cat is more than a supporting player in the story of Katie's life, I'll forgive her this time.