Posts By: Elly Blue

A statement about the Alex Wrekk lawsuit

On Friday, January 12th,​ 2018​​ ​Microcosm’s lawyer filed a complaint against Alex Wrekk, Joe’s ex-wife of nearly 14 years ago. The complaint comes after​ over​​ ​a decade of attempts at settlement, mediation, negotiation, accountability processes, and many other earnest attempts at resolution. It is our last resort and one we are not at all thrilled to have to take.

Our sole goals with this​ ​​complaint​​ is to resolve an old conflict so everyone can move on with their lives and end Wrekk’s persistent harassment of Joe Biel, Microcosm staff, and​ ​​people who believe in and support Microcosm.​ ​In 2006, Wrekk began publicly claiming that Biel’s literal communication style and disability to notice and respond to others emotional expression and nonverbal communication neurotypically were “emotional abuse.” Pathologizing of autism is common and if you’re unfamiliar here’s a story on Invisibilia about an autistic doctor who had seven medical assistants quit in one year due to, as she puts it, “over and over again the world didn’t respond the way she expected.”

Wrekk’s persistent campaign o​f ​​ bullying and​ ​neurophobic harassment has caused untold amounts of suffering to ​hundreds of people in the form of stress, ​trauma, ​poisoned​ relationships, canceled events, and ​friends told that they ha​ve​ to choose sides. We wish her no harm; we want only to be left alone to be able to go about our lives and our work without fear​, ​just as we leave her alone​.

We did not​ ​​want to continue having this conflict publicly ​​because our goal​ ​​has always been​ ​to seek an end to this drama. Howev​er, as she ​continues to harass us, we want to again push for resolution so we can all move on and do the things that we want to be doing. If you ​have questions, most of them should be answered here and if you have something pressing that isn’t, feel free to drop us a line.

Update – June 1, 2018 –
As you may have heard, in response to our complaint, Joe’s ex filed a motion to dismiss our case on first amendment grounds—stating that she has the right to continue to harass Joe and the staff and authors of Microcosm Publishing as a matter of informing the community about an issue of public interest. We disagree strongly, and contested this motion to the best of our efforts. Unfortunately, due to the statute of limitations, her motion was successful. We were simply too late in speaking up.

We are deeply disappointed by this outcome, but know that we did our best. From here on out we will continue to focus on our work, publishing books that matter to our readers and providing tools to build a healthier, more empathetic world. We ask that Alex and her cohort do the same: leave us alone as we leave you alone, so that we can all live and do better.

Call for Submissions: Bikes in Space #6

You’re invited! Our Elly Blue Publishing imprint has announced a call for submissions for its sixth anthology of feminist bicycle science fiction, with the theme of Dragons. The deadline is April 1st, 2018 (but it isn’t an April Fool’s joke, despite being a lot of good silly fun). Read the entire call for submissions and start dreaming up your story.

Take our Survey!

We’re not really big on “market research” here at Microcosm. In fact, as the “marketing director,” I can say with authority that most of our “marketing” work involves either submitting unspeakably mind-numbing spreadsheets to various distributor databases or giggling til our stomachs hurt over weird ideas and crass titles that tend to turn into stuff like our most popular books, our poster catalogs, and the most fun new events we get to attend.

But we’ve grown and changed a lot in the last few years (and definitely in the 12 years since our last reader survey in 2006), and we thought we’d check in with you all about what your needs are, how we’re doing, and if you have any wild ideas or pressing concerns that we can address.

So here it is. Please tell us whatever you like. If you decide to include your contact info we’ll add you to our monthly newsletter email list, but we won’t share it with anyone else. If you want to talk with us directly and get an answer to your specific question, feel free to email us.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

The Classic Bicycle Coloring Book

Color happily and reflect back upon the bicycles of your life with Taliah Lempert’s newest coloring book! The pages are perforated and single-sided for easy sharing. Enjoy this beautiful book of bike art!

Support Microcosm and Learn our Craft on Drip

a screencap of the microcosm drip pageRecently we were approached about starting a new thing on a new platform that was all very top-secret, and we jumped at the chance (we like shiny things). That platform is Drip, Kickstarter’s new subscriptions program, and our project launched today in its inaugural class of creators.

We’ll still be using Kickstarter to fund the production of some of our individual books. Meanwhile, Drip is a little different: it’s about monthly support—it’s similar to Patreon, which we also use. It offers various levels of support; you can get ebooks or credit for our online store. By backing at our core level, you can have access to regular posts with advice about all aspects of our publishing work. You can ask us anything and we’ll do our best to talk you through it. And we’ll share regular windows into the life of our office.

Some posts we have planned for the near future include:

  • How to judge a book by its cover (and make sure yours has a good one)
  • How to run an effective publicity campaign in an era when traditional review outlets are dwindling and reviews don’t work as well as they used to anyway
  • When you SHOULD self-publish and why (spoiler, we don’t think it’s very often, but it’s definitely not never)
  • How our marketing department informs our editorial decisions (controversy alert!)
  • Regular “from the desk of” diaries
  • Whatever YOU want to know!

We’ve been doing this a long time, and we love sharing our books with you. Now, let us share our knowledge and lore, too.

Thank you for your support!

Ask Joe anything! (Live now!)

It’s been more than three years since Joe went on Reddit to do an “Ask Me Anything” Q&A session, aka an AMA. The results were surprising… to us, at least. The above image is pretty representative of the kind of “question” he got the first time around.

Never one to be deterred, he’s coming back for another #ActuallyAutistic AMA on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at noon PST / 3pm EST. You’re invited to ask him anything you’d like about publishing, documentary filmmakingliving with autism, dealing with bullying, having a service dog, or how he gets his hair to do that.

Please join us!

Update: This AMA is live at this link!

New Kickstarter: A zine about bikes, class, and social justice

The new (14th!) issue of Elly’s feminist bike zine, Taking the Lane, is called Bikequity and it’s live on Kickstarter right now.

Inside you’ll find a mix of new and familiar voices, from Bicycle / Race (forthcoming from Microcosm 2018) author Adonia Lugo’s motivational tale of cofounding an iconic cycling event to a stunning personal essay by many-times Bikes in Space contributor Gretchin Lair. Writers tackle issues of how bicycling interacts with their identity and socioeconomic status in diverse and compelling ways.

Oh, and the project was selected to participate in Kickstarter Gold, a month-long initiative to bring back the creators of iconic past projects. We’re honored to get to be part of it.

We think you’ll like this zine-book. Please consider backing it!

the book cover

The cover of Bikequity

The Prodigal Rogerson

This is the first biography of Roger Rogerson, the original bassist and songwriter for the Circle Jerks. He disappeared under mysterious circumstances and then reappeared a decade later, instigating the band to get back together—and dropped dead two days later. J. Hunter Bennett’s oral history includes Rogerson’s bandmates and family and contains never-before-published history and photos.

Things That Help

Living in the margins of a culture she never felt comfortable in, Cindy Crabb touches on her experiences with feminism, girl-gangs, abuse, and gender identity. With stories, essays, interviews, and more, Cindy writes with fierce honesty and compassion, exploring subjects like consent, abortion, death, self-image, shyness, identity, and anarchism—embracing the complexities of each, finding her anger, her voice, and the things that help in her struggles with addiction, mental health, and intense loss. Along the way she travels the world, helps start a women and transgender health center, and fights against the social norms that made her feel so trapped.