I owe a lot to the Rumpus—specifically, the Self-Made Man column and the writing community I met there. Self-Made Mancame about because I moved from San Francisco to New England a few years ago and started my transition the next week in terms of hormones. So pretty immediately I was in a space where I felt very alien because I had left a whole life and community in San Francisco and moved across the country. I had a major transition physically and socially and it was just a lot to deal with at once. One thing that was really hard when I started my transition was that normally in that kind of situation I would look online or in books and find myself reflected back to me but I was having trouble finding that. I wasn’t seeing a lot of stories about people who transitioned after 30, but I was also interested in having a different kind of conversation about not just transitioning but about gender in general. I’m a really spiritual person and a universalist so what I was experiencing was a lot of points of connection. I was really connecting to pregnant women who were also going through massive changes physically and who weren’t sure what their identities would be on the other side. I was also talking to people making massive career and life changes. I was talking with people who were coming up against ideas about what it means to be a man or woman in the world and navigate the world socially during huge life moments and I was finding a lot of solace in those connections in real life, but I wasn’t seeing that reflected in larger narratives about my experience. In general, I was seeing a lot of cleaving, othering narratives about being trans. I started Self-Made Man because I wanted to write about what it was like to go through a real-time transition, and navigating the world from a place of finding connection with all kinds of people and exploring that in a meditative way. Everyone at the Rumpus was really great about all of it and got behind me the whole time. The whole community connected to the Rumpus is wonderful and it’s such a labor of love. Everyone writes for free which I think is why everyone is so committed to everything that goes on the site and the relationship with the site and each other. The concept of the column was that these connections exist and transcend our bodies and that’s what my experience of the community at the Rumpus has been.
The Rumpus Interview With Thomas Page McBee
Lemony Snicket’s alter ego, Daniel Handler, wrote:
Whether or not you are an author published by Hachette (as I am), you may lately feel as if you are engulfed in a rather unpleasant flood—as if the fate of your books is whirling dreadfully out of your control, battered by the waters of some enormous South American river, the name of which I cannot remember at the moment.
He’s launching a new program called Upstream to connect authors and independent bookstores.
The idea is to connect authors with their local independent booksellers to offer signed books as an alternative to, say, larger and more unnerving corporate machinations.
The Heyday of Malcolm Margolin
The Damn Good Times of a Fiercely Independent Publisher
Northern California’s book publishers are idiosyncratic, uncompromising, funky, forward-thinking, often brilliant, but largely unheralded beyond the state’s borders. Here’s the perfect book to shift that paradigm. Malcolm Margolin’s story of creating and sustaining Heyday Books, a vital Berkeley-based press celebrating its 40th anniversary, will inspire, confound, amuse, and amaze readers, and is highly recommended. —Recommended by Stacey, City Lights Publishers
Today’s recommended read!