Tagged Microcosmonauts

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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