Everett Maroon is a memoirist, pop culture commentator, and speculative fiction writer. He has a B.A. in English from Syracuse University and went through an English literature master’s program there. He is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association; Bumbling into Body Hair was a finalist in their 2010 literary contest for memoir. Everett writes about writing and living in the Northwest at trans/plant/portation. He has written for Bitch Magazine, GayYA.org, I Fry Mine in Butter, a blog about popular culture, RH RealityCheck, and Remedy Quarterly. He will be writing for Original Plumbing in 2012 on popular culture and trans civil rights. He has had short stories published by SPLIT Quarterly and Twisted Dreams Magazine.
He has faced many challenges in his life – and bested them all! Yet now, another awaiteths! Welcome to 11 Questions of Badassary, Mr. Maroon!
Now that you put it that way, I’m wondering if it shouldn’t have been titled “Bungling into Body Hair.” But sure, I bump into stuff in the book, most notably a bench in a mall.
Oh, because the title made me think that you bumped into stuff. Bumping into Body Hair, right?
What? Burping into body hair? That’s not the title. I mean, you could make a case for that, but mostly I just burp into the air. Kind of like a smoke ring, but with stink.
Really? Because I didn’t get that at all from reading your book.
You must have missed that paragraph.
2. You say in your official bio that you write ‘speculative fiction’. I had to ask KSears what that meant and she said something about how I’m not supposed to be talking to you and that it meant science-fictional kinda stuff – like stuff that doesn’t exist. So you’re a fan of that stuff? Me too! (bet you had no idea from how many times I mention how I never got laid in high school and played lots of Dungeons & Dragons). Can you extra-pointicate some about what sorts of fantastical type stories you dig?
Speculative fiction just means that I’m like a day trader speculating on what I should write someday. And I don’t know what D&D group you were hanging with in high school because all the role playing folks I knew were some of the most active daters there. But okay, yes, I write about near-realistic situations and more “magical realism” setups, mostly as metaphors or satirical statements on contemporary culture. I’ve definitely read my share of sci fi pulp and classic sci fi, and I know who Gillian Boardman is.
What sort of stuff can you tease a brother with regarding some of the fictatious stories you’ve written in the genre realm?
I’ve got a short story on loss over at
and one on regret at
. But I am working on selling some funnier spec fic. I’ve got a story about a color-changing alien lost in a drunken street party. It’s a hoot.
3. You know, body hair is in the title of your book – when you go get a haircut is it from one of those general barber type dudes, the ones that wear those cool-assed shirts, or do you hit the saloon?
I get my hair cut by a Korean woman named Sung, who is nice enough not to nick me when I start making jokes about past participles. And I have hit a saloon before, if fake saloons at Disney World count.
Nah, I think it’s Saloon… You’ve never gotten your hair cut in a bar?
So far I’ve only cut a rug in a bar. My god, I’m sorry, that was terrible.
Do Russians make the best barbers? Cause I used to go to this place in LA and these Russian dudes drank vodka while they were cutting my hair. They’d always have Russian TV on and Russian TV is a lot like Telemundo in that everything from news to laxative commercials involves hot chicks. I don’t guess that’s a question…
All I can say here is that the Korean television I’ve seen at Sung’s barbershop is pretty much the same way, but with a lot of really bright writing on the screen.
At those fancy ‘salons’ are you supposed to tip the girl that washes your hair? Cause I’m not really sure…
Yes, you tip them $2 for washing your hair. It’s like valet parking, but soapier.
4. You live in the Pacific NW where you’re raising a family. Doesn’t it concern you living in a place like that when there are Yetis all over the place up there?
I’m pretty sure I scare any proximate Yetis away when I’m out in nature. But I’m a big believer in bear bells, so maybe that’s it.
Have you ever been Yeti hunting, cause I’ve been organizing like a Yeti Safari and I’m thinking you should probably go with us. I think you’d be a badass on a Yeti Hunt, especially with an elephant gun.
Unfortunately I’ve only been trained in going on turkey shoots, in which you wear whatever “hunting” gear you may have around the house–for me it was a pair of cargos from Old Navy, a hooded sweatshirt, and some fingerless gloves my sister’s friend knit that itched like a social disease. And then you lie on the ground before sunrise in wait for the turkeys and then shoot them when they wander by, or rather if. If they wander by. So if hunting Yeti is anything like that, I’m your man.
Do you think that Witches VS Robots is a cool idea for a book?
If not a book, certainly an app. Have you seen the bank that Zombies vs. Plants is making?
5. Your book manager is Christi Price, were you aware that her nickname is #dancedancedancemachine? Who do you think would win in a dance-off between you and Christi? I’m not gonna throw my name into that contest because, for a large man, I’m a surprisingly good dancer.
Let’s see, I failed a ballroom dancing class and I blew out my ACL dancing to “Billie Jean” at my own wedding reception. So I’ll just forfeit, okay? A person’s gotta know their limits.
Oh, this reminds me – what kinda music do you listen to?
I have a ridiculously wide-ranging set of music; everything from Nina Simone to Zero 7, Tom Waits to Amie Mann, strange ducks like Harvey Danger and “classic” 80s crap that reminds me of Jersey. About the only stuff I don’t have on rotation is death metal and Christian contemporary. Anything else is fair game.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Like 95 percent of the time, yes. But I tend to revise without music, now that I think of it.
6. Was it tough to write such a personal story? I totally respect the fact that you did, because putting yourself out there like that is not something that most of us could do.
Writing about leaving my job and finding homes for my cats were the hardest parts to actually write. But so much of the memoir was funny enough to me that writing it really felt great. It’s sometimes awkward when a stranger asks me what the title of my book is or what it’s about, but the actual writing and putting the book out there has never made me blush. It’s like I’m leaving something behind and I don’t have to be there when people go through all of the details, if that makes any sense.
What do you hope that people take away from your book and apply to their own lives?
Brother, if I can figure out how to have a sex change, you can get past your own self-doubt. We can all find our ways through the difficult crap and move on to something better. Seriously, I say this to myself on a weekly basis–”this isn’t as hard as a sex change, so shut the hell up!” And then people notice I’m arguing with myself, and they step away.
Did it take a long time nailing down how you were going to tell the story – because telling it with humor and making it your own thing isn’t something you see very often in such a personal memoir?
I’d written about enough of these events in email and in journals that I could sit down and come up with a timeline for everything, and then it was a matter of filling in the details to each scene. That’s when the humor of the whole process really started taking shape. So much about gender in general is hilarious. And then to switch from one way of identifying to another? There’s endless material there for humorists.
7. What’s your favorite thing about being just one of the guys? For me, it’s doing math in my boxers, my automatic weapons of the former Soviet Block trading card collection club meetings, and playing Words with Friends against Vegas Showgirls. You’re more of a family man kinda guy though – so you probably aren’t into any of that stuff – well, maybe the math in your boxers part?
How did you know I wear boxers? Have you been spying on me? I will say I do enjoy my much improved upper body strength. Raking leaves is totally easier, not that I’m a big fan of raking leaves. Nearly every time I do it I get some kind of sinus infection, so then I raked leaves once with a surgical mask on, and my neighbors got nervous. But good thing I can get 5 cubic feet of leaves in one rake, because the loss of neighborly affection would suck even more if it was a slower process. That doesn’t really answer your question. I guess I like screwing around with stupid facial hair designs. Nothing really out there like waxes moustaches or anything, just goatee, no goatee.
8. You’ve got a snazzy English degree and have been a contributing writer to some pretty important scholarly type publications. Through writing and advocacy you’ve done more than your share of speaking out for the GLBT community, especially when it comes to transgender issues. What is something that everyone can do, especially guys like me who flunked out of junior college, to help others and make the world a more tolerant place?
Ah, the $64,000 question! Support trans writers and artists by buying their work. Be open about voting for civil rights initiatives. Respond with “Congratulations!” when someone tells you they’re going to transition. Write an op-ed to your local paper talking about tolerance and acceptance. Host a fantastic queer-friendly D&D group. Go to a gay film festival near you. Laugh at the expectations people place on you regarding your gender.
9. “Originally from Hightstown, NJ” so says your bio – so tell us, did you ever Jersey Turnpike-it at the club?
Exit 8, Represent! I actually didn’t club in Jersey, since I was still underage. It was poor Syracuse, New York that bore the brunt of my riotous party days.
10. Bumbling into Body Hair is getting great reviews, it’s probably going to sell more copies than that book that that chick wrote about those Wizards with those Warts at that BBQ’d Hog place. You know what happens when books sell tons of copies and get great reviews? They make movies about them. Don’t believe me, they’re making Milton Bradley’s Battleship – anyway, let’s not get off topic – you ready for that kinda fame, my good man?
If Bumbling hits bestseller status I will hire a doppelganger to represent me at parties in NYC and West Hollywood. All I need is a 6-foot-tall safe to house it in, like Dick Cheney used to have in his Vice President’s office.
Who do you think could pull off playing you in a movie?
Well, it won’t be Adam Sandler, because his movie Jack and Jill sucked ass. Maybe Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal, because the LA versions of real people are always more attractive. But Jake has weasel eyes…I can’t have anyone with narrow eyes playing me. Could George Lucas weigh in on the technologies needed to “transition” someone in a movie? I really don’t see any good options out there. I bet I get someone like Jonah Hill.
Would you let Vangelis do the soundtrack – because that’s what was playing in my head while I was reading. Fucking Vangelis!
It’s a sex change process, not a marathon on the beach! I hear the Propellerheads, mostly. For this book, not in my general waking life.
11. What in the ‘Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego’ is next for author and badass, Ev Maroon?
I’m trying to find an agent for a time travel YA novel about a boy who winds up stuck in Prohibition-era Kentucky, in a girl’s body. It’s gone the distance a couple of times, but so far, no offers of representation. And my current work-in-progress is about teens in an alternate universe who are in school to learn how to manage their abilities to transform into different lifeforms, many of which are cribbed from D&D. Take that, Gary Gygax and J.K. Rowling.
Billy Purgatory is Jesse James Freeman’s first novel. He’s also studied psychology and film and scripted comics. When he’s not writing books, Jesse James trains falcons to kill Leprechaun Robots, and will continue to do so until the world is relatively safe.