Love Letters to YEG
Flash fiction zine, Jaime Alysha, 48 pgs, ghostsounds.bigcartel.com, $15
Most people harbour either a love it or hate it relationship with their hometown. Jaime Alysha’s connection to Edmonton (the YEG from her zine’s title) is considerably more conflicted. Her collection of stories may be titled Love Letters, but it’s introduced with: “Edmonton is the city which makes my heart ache.”
There’s little about these flash fictions that specifically places them in Edmonton, though Alysha does mention they’re built upon “obstructed memories.” They could conceivably take place in any city, and the everyday events at their cores should be relatable to anyone who’s lived through their twenties (or at least part of them) in Canada. Love Letters to YEG is divided into four seasons, starting with winter, and that’s probably not surprising from a Canadian perspective; we tend to define ourselves by our winter experiences. In fact, traces of winter manage to sneak into the fictions of all the other seasons.
Alysha clearly has a talent for this medium. Though Love Letters to YEG is a bit front- loaded — story quality decreases slightly as it progresses — she’s generally adept at painting lucid and memorable scenes and characters in just a few sentences. In the end, her memories of Edmonton tend to be more wistful than heartbreaking. (Scott Bryson)