Tagged Microcosmonauts

A New Microcosmonaut Enters…

Say Hello to Lydia Rogue!

Lydia Rogue was an intern back in Spring 2018 and, a year later, recently accepted a position as Marketing Associate, helping us keep all these books safe and managed!
You might recognize Lydia as the guest editor of Taking the Lane #15: True Trans Bike Rebel, and the upcoming Bikes in Space #6: The Great Trans-Galactic Bike Ride.
A few weeks in now, I asked Lydia a few questions about what it’s been like to return.

A black and white rat sniffs a small book with a blue van and punk cat on a bicycle on a pink background
Lydia’s pet, Queek, sniffs out True Trans Bike Rebel

How are you enjoying your first week as staff in the office? How does it feel?

It feels great! I’m so thrilled to be back in the office. I’ve been working a variety of jobs since my internship – not necessarily bad or even unfulfilling jobs, just ones that I didn’t necessarily care about. Now I’m doing something I love and something that I’ve been wanting to do for many years. 

Has anything changed since you left?

So much!
When I was an intern, we were all crammed up in the upstairs office, with room for just a couple more people downstairs. Now that the back area is open to us, we’ve got room to grow – and not everyone is trying to fit into a tiny room.
(Also, we have a microwave now. I’m so stoked!)

What do you wish more people knew about… you? Microcosm? publishing?

I’m completely obsessed with RWBY – and yes, I’m that Lydia Rogue, if you were wondering. I also love table top RPG and video games and drink more tea than is probably healthy. 

One thing about Microcosm that’s taken some re-adjusting to is remembering that a company that publishes books like Unfuck Your Brain doesn’t really care if you’re blasting the explicit version of a song on your work computer!

Last day at Lydia’s last job — on to new adventures!

As far as publishing goes, it’s that, No, I can’t help you get your manuscript published. No joke, had 3 of my coworkers ask within about 24 hours of announcing my departure from my last job!

What are some of your hopes and goals for your time and work here?

I’m hoping to expand my skills and knowledge of the publishing industry, as well as get back into my writing groove. Right now, I’m coming off a long run of jobs that just weren’t working for me – not necessarily bad jobs, just ones that weren’t for me – and so being back doing the thing I love most is completing one of my biggest goals right off. 

I’m hoping in the long term to help people find their voices and help promote them, particularly people who often don’t have a voice in the publishing world, or are only allowed to write in a specific niche. 

marketing associate Lydia Rogue with their pet rat, Queek
Lydia & Queek

Tell us about what inspires you these days.

Is it cheesy to say my girlfriend? 

Real talk, though, right now I’m mostly inspired by the people around me. I love doing collaborative storytelling and being able to bounce ideas off of other people. I’ve also been reading a lot of poetry collections lately, which has been wonderful.

What was the last book that brought on some serious feels?

Oh, jeez. I’ve been reading so much nonfiction lately, I can’t really remember the last fiction book I read…
Probably American War which… I’m processing. As a queer white person from the south, it elicited a strong reaction from me, but I’m still not sure what that reaction was, or how I feel about it in the end. It’s a good book, just elicits complicated emotions. 

the princess saves herself in this one and the witch doesn’t burn in this one also were very powerful and gave me some serious feels.

Where can people find you online?

On Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Last, what does your bookshelf look like?

A wooden bookshelf covered in books and home items, with a small rat on one shelf
Lydia’s bookshelf at home, with bonus rat!

New Faces in the New Year

The new year brings a new batch of friends around the office and shop. What kind of people volunteer at a publishing house? Well this season’s interns come from all over the country, with a love of books, writing, and stories that brought them, like so many of us, to this cozy green shop.


What do you like to be called? How would you describe yourself?

Neil (he/him): I’m pretty quiet, creative, and curious. I think of myself as an observant little rabbit. I’m very passionate about spreading kindness and learning self love. I spend most of my time drawing or knitting!

Kellie (she/her): Creative, quixotic, and adventurous.

Briana (she/her): Easy going, flexible, creative, fun, and adventurous.

Noah

Noah (they/them): I am a queer, trans, disabled whirlwind with a passion for books, writing, and medicine.

Chris (she/her): Quiet and friendly.
[Chris has been with us since the fall season, you may have seen her book review of This is Your Brain on Depression last month.]


What do you like to spend your time doing?

Neil: Knitting is my very favorite activity. It’s like a challenging puzzle where you can choose colorful materials to make something warm and cozy and once you’re done you feel super accomplished!

Chris’s dog, Cat

Kellie: Drawing, writing, reading, making other people happy

Briana: Either reading a good book or taking pictures around the city. Most of my photography has revolved around activism in Portland.

Noah: I love to write, read, and sometimes draw in my free time. I also dabble in photography and crocheting, although I haven’t done the latter in a while now.

Chris: Coloring! And spending time with my dog, Catawba.


Where are you from? What do you miss/not miss most?

Neil: I go to school in Vermont; I really miss my friends and living in the beautiful mountains, but I’m fine without the heaps of snow.

Kellie: California. I miss my family, the thriving entertainment industry, and the sun.

Briana: I’m from sunny Southern California. I miss my family, the beach, constant 70 degree weather, and my friends. I do not miss the smoggy air and LA traffic.

Chris

Noah: I grew up in Ohio, then went to UW in Seattle for four years before moving to Vancouver. I miss the extreme seasons in Ohio (and the decent air conditioning!).

Chris: I am from North Carolina. I miss my family the most.


What’s your favorite thing about where you live now?

Neil: My roommate brings home donuts every night and my other roommate has a very sweet and cuddly cat named Deidre.

Kellie: Being closer to my boyfriend and the beautiful environment.

Briana: Besides Portland’s blend of urban living with easy access to nature, I’ve always been drawn to the fact that it’s one of the most literary cities in the country. I’ve spent many hours perusing the shelves of Powell’s.

Noah: I live in Vancouver, which is nice because it’s near friends and my husband’s family. That and the parking isn’t as difficult as it is in Portland.


What brings you to Microcosm?

Neil: My goal is to create and publish my own comic books! I knew that Microcosm could teach me a lot about the industry and I was drawn to the topics/goals that Microcosm stands by!

Noah

Kellie: A thirst for knowledge in the area of publishing.

Briana: I was drawn to Microcosm after seeing their selection of books at Portland’s Book Festival. I was impressed by the array of zines and books that were geared towards empowering its readers through self care, activism, and building healthy relationships.

Noah: Books! More seriously, I wanted to test the waters of the publishing industry, and this seemed like a good place to do so while also having my identities respected and recognized.


What do you want to get out of your time here, now that you’ve seen the basics of what we do?

Neil: I’m hoping to strengthen my skills with group work, problem solving and time management! I’ve never had an office job before and I can see I have a lot to learn, which is exciting!

Kellie: Information about the back end of publishing. I wish for my own book to be published in the future and so am interested in the ins and outs of this business.

Briana: I’d like to learn more about editing, and the relationship between author and publisher.

Noah: I just want to learn as much as possible, really.


What’s your favorite or least favorite thing about Microcosm so far?

Neil: My favorite thing is how kind and welcoming everyone is! I felt right at home on my first day. My least favorite thing is that the office is sometimes cold, but I’ve learned to bundle up a bit.

Kellie: I really like the atmosphere and friendly employees.

Briana: Microcosm has so many empowering and informative books, it’s amazing to be part of a publishing company with strong integrity and hard workers.

Noah: I’m editing a zine on accessibility in queer spaces right now, and that is RIGHT up my alley, so I’m really enjoying that kind of work. I also really like the atmosphere of the open warehouse.


Curveball: What is your favorite thing to watch/read/enjoy in the world right now?

Neil: Bob’s Burgers.

Kellie: Animated films; uplifting and atmospheric music. I’ve been really into the movie Smallfoot, for some reason. Does that count?

Briana: Now that it’s winter, I’m spending a lot more time binge watching Netflix, I just finished “You,” a pretty terrifying show from the perspective of a stalker. I’m also reading “Borderlands,”  by Gloria Anzaldua.

Noah: The Adventure Zone, The Good Place… so many more.

Chris: The Good Place. (many of us in the office would like to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th this one)


Where can people find you online?

Neil: Instagram: @spicy_s0up

Briana: Instagram: @brianaybanez_

Noah: Twitter: @noahyouknow

Chris: Instagram! @alexandria.vale


For information about volunteering or interning at Microcosm, check out our FAQ.

A Day in the Life, last day edition

This piece was written by our wonderful intern Kedi on her last day at Microcosm. We asked what she’d enjoyed about her time at Microcosm, as well as what she didn’t. Her response is quite charming and passionate, like her. Find Kedi and follow her work on twitter.


Hanging out at PRIDE

My internship with Microcosm Publishing began on June 4th earlier this summer, and my final day, August 10th, has officially caught up with me. That’s 10 weeks for those of you who weren’t counting, or, in internship measurements, 249.07 hours. And yes, I am the type of person to measure hours in hundredths of a decimal.

There are a lot of things I’d say I’ve learned over the course of my internship, though I’m not sure I could exactly say what those things are. I think this might be the easiest to express: there is a difference between liking something and thinking it’s a fit. There are certainly lovely and well-written zines and books out there in the world waiting to be published that will never fit with Microcosm. There is a humor and an energy in Microcosm that is missing in a lot of things. I’ve also learned that there are times where someone can be slow and take their time to make sure a project is finished with the utmost care, but also times where smaller details must be let go in the wake of an oncoming due date.

I’ve learned that the people working at Microcosm enjoy working here, and that they each have a level of dedication that keeps them all pushing forward on their projects, whether they come to the office or not. Most days, of the fourteen people who work here, I’ve seen four or five. Sometimes there were as little as two people in the office, besides the interns. Following that, I’m certain I’ve learned almost nothing of any of them. I’m positive there’s at least three people who work here that I’ve never actually met. But even of the ones I have met, the only last names I know are Joe’s and Elly’s. That being said, I’ve learned that the people working at Microcosm are kind and patient and fun. No one has gotten frustrated with me for asking too many questions (or at least no one who showed it), no one has acted as though I am “just” an intern, and not only do they ask for my ideas and my opinions, they listen. They follow through and dig deeper to see what could work. They also work to keep me included. What I have learned of the people who worked here, I learned from the times they invited me to have lunch with them, or the from game night the company hosted. I think my favorite memory of Microcosm will be when my manager Sidnee and I left the office in the middle of the day to meet Cyn, the publicity director, at a snow cone truck on the next block.

And though that will be my favorite memory, it will not be my proudest. I am proud and honored by the trust placed in me by the team of Microcosm during my internship. That same urging which made me mark the last .07 of my hours here at Microcosm helped me make a name for myself within the office. In my midterm meeting, my manager likened me to a duck. On the surface I am often quite passive and serene, but under the water I work quite diligently, with great care for where I’m heading. She meant that I’m a bit of a slow worker, but I pore over each word, each mark of punctuation, each spacing and pattern in writing until every mark of ink on the page is exactly as it should be.

I have edited three books in these past 249.07 hours, and each opportunity was more difficult and more demanding than the last. The first, a book in Dr. Faith’s This Is Your Brain series, was a simple (simple for people like me who read about comma rules for fun—have I ever told you about the Oxford Comma?) typo search. The second was a read through of Joe Biel’s (the owner and founder of Microcosm) own book on publishing. It was my responsibility to make sure all titles, subtitles, headers and subheaders were appropriately capitalized, as well as looking for typos. The amount of time I spent researching capitalization rules to complete this task would make a math major cry, but it paid off. This research helped me to impress Joe and Elly, so that they trusted me with editing on the master document directly. I shared this with my mom (so she would be proud of me too, of course) and she was proud enough to share it with my grandmothers. The last project will stick with me even through the ending of my internship—literally, because I’m still working on it! For my last project they have trusted me with a developmental edit, and the work I have put in for the past three weeks has been frustrating, agonizingly slow, often bewildering, and completely satisfying. I enjoy the slogging through of information. I feel almost like an archeologist making a discovery with the ways I’m helping to pull a book out of the mess of ideas. (Is that too silly a comparison? Don’t tell anyone I said that.)

Kedi and the spring/summer ’18 intern crew.

 

There are things about this internship I won’t miss. I won’t miss the hour drive between the office and my home. I won’t miss the publicity projects I am absolutely terrible at (Sorry, Cyn). I won’t miss that the very nice woman working in the NICU still hasn’t called me back so we can finally give them their free books—and after we talked three times, no less!

But I will miss eating lunch out on the patio of the office. I will miss the friendly atmosphere. I will miss texting Sidnee to let me in, only for Ben to open the door. I will miss gif conversations with my manager, and I will miss the other interns, and the frustrating, bewildering, satisfying work I have done here. I think I’ll even miss the mailing.

Regards,

Kedi

 


Are you interested in volunteering or interning for credit at Microcosm? Let us know with this form and be a part of the punk rock publishing revolution!

22 Years and Counting — Where Were You?

This month Microcosm celebrates its 22nd anniversary — can you believe we’ve been growing small worlds for over two decades??
Yeah, us either. 22 years is a long time, so out of curiosity, I asked some of our staff what they were up to when Microcosm was just beginning.
Some of us were young rebels or struggling punks; some were bookworm romantics; some were babies!
Check it out all the juicy personal details below, and tweet us @microcosmmm to tell us where you were 22 years ago.

Joe in Joshua Tree

Joe

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
At shows + parties in Cleveland. Young, drunk, angry, anxious rocker.
What was your life like? What were you up to?
It was chaotic and unpredictable. I was riding my bike with a gallon of homemade alcohol on the handlebars to the next adventure.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
I’m no longer angry, anxious, or drunk but I’m still young and I’ve achieved the specificity of my vision more than I ever dreamed possible and shared it with the world.

Elly

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was 17, a high school dropout with serious wanderlust and a lot of idealism.
I was making zines in my bedroom, reading books I found out about in the Whole Earth Catalog, working, and preparing to run away and hike the Appalachian Trail later that year.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
In the past decade, a lot of what’s motivated me is wanting to make the sort of books and resources that saved me when I was a teen. Young me had some pretty intense values and I’ll always try to live up to them.

Baby Kayla

Kayla

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was in a suburb east of Seattle, being a baby.
Eating, crying, pooping, laughing, etc.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
I would like to think I’ve become a much more capable, interesting person, but not nearly as many people tell me I’m cute. So, you know, you win some, you lose some.

Trista

Young Trista’s diary comics

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?

I was 5 and growing up in the south. I was mostly a ball of hair and daydreams.
What was your life like? What were you up to?

Young Trista’s diary comics

I think I was in kindergarten or first grade then so I had school which was really cool cuz the place I went to we sign language and french was part of the curriculum (sadly I didn’t retain much of it over the years). Other than school stuff though I was pretty much in my head all the time, drawing and reading. I didn’t really need supervision because I could occupy myself for hours with some pencil and paper. TV was pretty new for us, AC was more of a priority, so when we did have it I was watching the best of the 90s cartoons haha.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?

I’ve moved a lot, been through college, came out as trans, was homeless for a short period, met some wonderful people, struggled with mental health, and now I get to work around books all the time so life is pretty good at the moment.

Kristine

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
Literally: Oakland/San Francisco. I was a book-loving nerd, like I am now.
What was your life like? What were you up to?
Lots of art openings and poetry slams and substance abuse. Here’s a pretty good scene report. I didn’t have sex with Daphne Gottlieb, but I kissed Michelle Tea, and hung out with Bucky Sinister all the time.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
Better: I don’t do drugs anymore. We had a fun kid so I hang out with my family more often.
Same: The books are still terrific. I will read anything by Beth Lisick or Bucky (check out his new Black Hole novel) or Michelle, and I heartily recommend the Kapow! poetry/comics anthology that just came out.
Worse: I don’t get to see as much live music/art shows/poetry/performance art as I used to, but am working to improve that. It’s hard to bring a kid into a nightclub, so thank heavens for Gilman St.

Nathan

Young Nathan

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you/your life like?
 1996 was a turbulent time for me personally and a lot like Joe’s big decision to start his own company, I also made a huge decision which monumentally altered the course of the rest of my life. I had graduated from high school in 1994 and started college, but then dropped out to work full time and then after a year I quit after an argument with my boss. I was dealing with a lot of inner turmoil due to some childhood trauma between my father and I which manifested itself in lots of rudderless wanderings between work and school, and arguments at home were frequent, despite my trying to work things out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. It was also around this time my mother, who had previously been my ally, made a comment to me about not being able to get a job due to drug use. In a moment of desperation I went to my previous boss at my former job for advice and mentoring, she suggested joining the military. Based on that one recommendation and my mother’s concern, I went to a recruiter station in defiance to show her I could pass a drug test, but the strictest drug test of any employer. Unfortunately, even after I joined, they weren’t ready for me to start basic training, so I had to continue to live at home with my parents for an additional three months before leaving for basic training in September of 1996. Military life was rough because as a result of running away from an abusive father I was suddenly surrounded by what felt like a hundred abusive adult men all yelling and screaming at us privates to try harder and push ourselves further. It was the most micromanaged I’d ever been. It felt like I had traded one male adult over stepping their bounds and attempting to control every aspect of my life to a hundred adult males attempting to run me into the ground. It was a very important time for me as I attempted to reconcile with the hard truth that I had dropped out of school, quit my job and ran away from home because I had serious issues with authority figures as a result of that childhood trauma, and it was going to continue to follow me no matter where I went or what I was doing, so if I wanted to truly be free of my fear of those in authority I was going to need to find a way to surround myself by people who directly opposed authority in all its forms whether it be in government, the workplace or personal relationships I could finally see power and the abuse of that power to be the true source of all my pain and suffering.

As a result, and after several years of soul searching, I finally found Microcosm Publishing and a place where my pacifist, punk rock ideals could be encouraged. Every day I reminded of this by a poster I walk past each and every day that gives me hope in humanity and the role I can play in bringing it to a better place, “i will not rule and also ruled i will not be.”


Cyn

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was an 8 year old bookworm and an early Romantic, feeling quite displaced in North Carolina after moving from south Florida not long before.
I was obsessed with Sailor Moon, and magic, and fantasy books, horses and unicorns, and feminist pop/rock music like the Spice Girls and Alanis Morissette. I helped take care of my brother, a toddler at the time, and spent a lot of time at my family’s workplaces. I had a Sega Genesis and played Sonic and Ecco and played Doom on our cobbled-together PC. I spent lots of time imagining or in books, my mom reading the Wizard of Oz series to me, my dad, The Hobbit.
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
I’ve moved across the country — one coast to the other — which has changed virtually everything. I traveled a lot before now, which I actually blame on a wanderlust my mother instilled in me with sudden roadtrips and activities throughout my childhood. (Having driven across the country three times now, that wanderlust has mellowed out quite a bit.)
I didn’t know it at the time, but I grew up poor, and my parents spent years working to build a better, more stable life for us all, so by the time poverty was something I could understand, we weren’t dealing as much with it anymore. As an adult I’ve re-entered this cycle, but every year things get a little bit better financially, and mentally for that matter. Growing up I also had a lot of basic, unfixable health problems — anxiety, dismenorrea, insomnia, ulcers, etc — that I learned to put up with, and eventually learned to manage more functionally with cannabis, which (growing up in an opinionated Puerto Rican family that said NO to drugs) I never thought I’d do, and things continue to be on an up-swing. These days I feel fully independent and capable, and supported by my workplace, which I love. 22 years ago, this is not the life I would have expected, but I dig it 🙂

Sidnee

Looks like someone took away Little Sid’s book…

Where were you 22 years ago? What were you like?
I was hanging out in my teen mom’s womb, waiting to come disrupt her life in the best way.
What was your life like? What were you up to?
Life was chill, just developing limbs and organs!
How have things changed for the better and/or worst?
Things have just changed, period. I think I’m due for a rebirth soon. I’m really glad I was born, and I’m really glad Microcosm joined me in the endeavor of existence.

 


 

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