Appreciate the beauty of all things postal with ‘The East Village Inky #64’

The East Village Inky #64

Zine, Ayun Halliday, 40 pgs,, $3


No matter how advanced technology becomes, one of society’s oldest work horses remains — snail mail. Even though good old fashioned letter-writing has taken a backseat to emails, prolific zinester Ayun Halliday reminds us that it’s never a bad time to celebrate the beauty of all things postal!

In The East Village Inky #64, Halliday reminisces about her earliest memories of receiving and sending mail. Turns out she did a stint  as a “Mail Lady” while also working at a sleep away camp in New Hampshire some summers ago. That’s how she’s able to let us in on a couple of cherished secrets to help us lower our postal expenses (media mail anyone?). Next, she introduces us to her father’s impressive stamp collection. We then learn about Halliday’s foray into the world of mail art, her interaction with an American collage artist named Ray Johnson, and how all of this ultimately led her to zinemaking. However, it’s an account of the author’s childhood pen pal from Japan that really resonates. She recounts this story with an endearing and delightful comedic flair that can only come out of two young girls learning about life with and from each other: “She drew me diagrams of her house & room, told me her height & weight (55kg ‘I am fat a little.’), her measurements (B 86cm W 66cm H 89cm), her optical prescription and her favorite band — The Bay City Rollers.”

With 40 handwritten pages sprinkled with illustrations and photos, Halliday ensures that The East Village Inky demonstrates the essence of a perzine through and through. While Halliday’s handwriting style stays mostly consistent throughout the zine, it can be hard to read sometimes. Even so, I’d keep it — the textured quality that her handwriting produces on every page still feels inviting, and compels the brain to slow down in order to take in the unique font.

The East Village Inky #64 provokes nostalgia that is easy to appreciate. For those of us who once had a personal bond with the post office, it’ll serve as motivation to buy some stamps, write a letter, and check our mailbox for old times’ sake.