Wednesday, January 1, 2003


Xerography Debt #21, Review by Dan Taylor
FERTILE GROUND #14 August 2006
This spring my wife and I will welcome a baby into our lives and I've recently been wondering what kind of impact she'll have on, well, every aspect of my life. My parents were around my age (40) when they had me, but they'd already had four kids. Me? It's an all-new experience and I'm just hoping that I can be the person that I am while I raise a kid who will, hopefully, have all our good traits and minimum of our bad ones. Zines like FERTILE GROUND give me hope on all fronts. Not only is it a zine made by people who have kids, but it's filled with stories about getting kids to listen through humor, gender issues, weaning kids off breastfeeding, enjoying music with your kids, the contrariness of children, and much more. You know real world stuff, not the filtered information you see in mainstream books and magazines. Over the last 20 years I've published about the things that were important to me like horror movies, punk rock, video games, thrifting, fast food, beer, and travel. Can a kidzine be far behind?

Xerography Debt #20, Review by Noemi Martinez
I haven't read an issue of FERTILE GROUND in quite some time and issue #13 was an enjoyable read. I like reading about the other experiences of moms. I can't say I ever could relate because it seems that the life I live as a mom and those of other mom writers is totally different. I have never hired a babysitter, simply because I can't afford it, and my children don't attend Montessori. Nevertheless, we share a desire to raise revolutionary kids. I enjoyed reading Stacey's "You Are What Your Kids Eat" and Cindy Heffron's piece on her son having Asperger's Syndrome was informative. Amanda Soule writes a piece on a banging wall that sounds like something awesome my kids would love--if we had a backyard.

Xerography Debt #18, Review by Stephanie Holmes
FERTILE GROUND #11, August 2005
Fertile Ground is a social platform for modern parenting. Fertile Ground doesn't give much advice or pass judgments or debate "spanking vs. not spanking" instead it offers support through stories about the shiniest moments of parenting and tells tales of the less desirable times to keep it real. In addition to editor Stacy Greenberg's own stories of motherhood, there are two exceptional essays. One is by Slug and Lettuce columnist China Martens, who talks about the irritable yet pleasant journey of raising a teenage daughter. The other is a bittersweet essay about being barren by Wendy Sumner-Winter. This is a great read for active aunts and uncles, parents-to-be and parents already in the trenches.

Xerography Debt #16, Review by Kathy Moseley
FERTILE GROUND #8 October 27, 2004
This is the first "mamazine" I have read. The cynic in me wanted to not like it and be all annoyed at the crunchy hippie earth mothers, but I wasn't, really. There are a lot of different stories in here, most by relatively new mothers. Kathleen Lopez contrasts her easy-breezy first pregnancy (midwife-delivered) with her second, high-risk pregnancy with twins (inducing labor, epidural, the whole nine yards). Jaala Spiro bemoans the gender stereotyping of baby clothes (girls get flowers and butterflies, boys get vehicles and sports motifs). Stacey Greenberg tells an anxious tale of her two-year-old son taking a bagel from one of the homeless men who hangs out in their park. She has to confront her internal conflict between giving the man the benefit of the doubt, and the whole "stranger danger" thing. Something most of us could relate to, I imagine. The most moving, heartbreaking piece is by Stephanie Hartman, whose baby was stillborn. It's so raw, angry and full of despair. I don't know how she wrote it.

Xerography Debt #14, Review by Gaynor Taylor
Fertile Ground is one of the most thought-provoking mama-zines out there. Parenting can bury you under an avalanche of conflicting emotions. Writing about this often deteriorates into cloying sweetness or ugly self-righteousness. FG sidesteps a lot of these pitfalls, favoring instead wry work like Andria Brown's essay on surreptitiously finding out her unborn child's sex and struggling not to blurt it out to her husband, or Traci Burn's writing about the family rituals that connect mothers past, present and future. I was totally gripped by Vanessa Ross' first hand account of her San Francisco City Hall marriage to her wife. She really captured the excitement, the optimism and the "stand up and be counted" activism of the month long wedding spree.

The thing about "thought-provoking" is that some of the thoughts are negative. I absolutely loathed an essay about a scheduled caesarian section. We all know that c-section is scandalously overused in the US just we know, at the same time, millions of women and newborns are saved by this surgical procedure worldwide. My problem with the essay was that it was such a sorry piece of self-justification. That the medical profession could so effectively sell a scheduled c-section to an intelligent woman on its convenience factor shows how tragically out of kilter obstetric practice has become. What a depressing, unwitting social commentary that this particular mother has worked out that having a scheduled c-section will guarantee her her full precious 12 weeks at home with her newborn whereas labor, and an unpredictable due date, will not. I totally support her right to speak about her decision just as I insist on my own right to be appalled.

Zine World #22 (Winter 2004-2005)
Fertile Ground #6: "A parenting zine with a variety of contributors expressing sometimes opposing points of view. Includes the thoughts of a mother who is opting for VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean), a mom who planned to have a second cesarean, and the experiences/thoughts on same-sex marriages from two different angles. I very much like that Stacey provides a forum for parents to voice differing opinions instead of promoting just one point of view. Well balanced, honest writing, this is parenting in the trenches. Snapshots of the Second Child is laugh-out-loud funny. Lots to read; a good value."

Xerography Debt #13, Review by Gaynor Taylor
Fertile Ground Issues #4 and #5
Stacey Greenberg's high-end mamazine continues to go from strength to strength. She has a strong voice and is not afraid to take on the flash point issues like circumcision, intervention free hospital birth (now a rarity) and breastfeeding. Unlike most mainstream parenting rags, which provide limp 'for and against' arguments and sit on the fence, Stacey makes her case with passion. She gives other writers a chance to write about the realities of life after the double blue line. The zines look great with beautiful photos of women and babies, and keep a good balance between the highs and lows of pregnancy and motherhood. I recommend giving a gift subscription to any pregnant, or newly delivered friends.

Mothering (March/April 2004)
"Fertile Ground: For People Who Dig Parenting is a funky zine that showcases the creative ramblings and drawings of its founder, Stacey Greenberg, and her friends. Printed on a copier, this homegrown rag offers playful, earnest reflections on the realities of attachment parenting."

Xerography Debt #12, Review by Gaynor Taylor
Fertile Ground Issue #3
This is a mama-zine containing some good, solid essays on the experience of parenting. It's a bit sad that in 2003 we still need essays redefining a mother's role and affirming that being a stay at home mother is a job in its own right; but we absolutely DO, because the prejudice and bullshit are still pounding mothers from all sides and the essays in this issue provide a vigorous antidote to discouragement. Ashley Harper writes a warm and wry essay about the fine line between raising an eco-warrior and an eco-neurotic, and the inevitable crossover between the two. In Unbirth Stacey Greenberg writes honestly, and with heart-breaking detail, about the loss of her unborn son, Yoshi. It's a very moving, well-written essay, and I hope I won?t sound patronizing if I applaud her bravery in writing it.

Utne Reader (Nov/Dec 2003)
"[Stacey] Greenberg creates a space for friends to write about sleep, poop, breasts, singing, cooking, decorating, and prenatal workouts for those who don't like to exercise."

Mamalicious (Winter 2003-2004)
"Stacey Greenberg shoots out this zine four times a year. "For people who dig parenting," it's an absolutely solid read-through of first person parenting experiences that tickle, sting and support."

Slug & Lettuce #78 (Winter 03)
"Fertile Ground #3 has articles surpassing the basics covered in its debut. A broad range of contributors provide a broad range of topics including breast pump love, the anatomy of a supper club, redefining family, and an interview with 23 month old Herbie ("Bite. No bite. No bite him.") Of particular interest is the birth story told by the zine editor's mother and Stacey's heartwrenching account of losing a pregnancy. Recommended, and I'm looking forward to what comes next." (-Carol)

Slug & Lettuce #75 (Spring 2003)
"This zine has a community feel to it. Several contributors share stories and information on topics ranging from homebirth to snot. Hysterical drawings of the family bed from both mom and dad's perspective. A good first issue, and I think it will grow into a great resource for parents left of center." (-Carol)

Xerography Debt #11
"The best of this batch, in my opinion. Fertile Ground is a parenting zine full of earthy metaphors and friendly tales of birth, breastfeeding, and the continuing adventures of parenthood. Its first issue is sweet and open in a way that is very engaging..."

No comments: