I've written novels--Clown Girl and The Stud Book-- and a collection of linked stories, The Folly of Loving Life, which has been called "Portlandia without the bullshit," and I love that encapsulation, (thank you, readers). I once wrote an entire issue of The Stranger, a weekly paper out of Seattle. With my first novel, I took a chance on a small press when that small press was willing to take a chance on me. Together, we've risen and knocked down walls.
I'm honored to say that my work has appeared in the Paris Review Daily, The Rumpus, Longreads, Gay Magazine, Oregon Humanities Magazine, The Stranger, The Portland Mercury, and other publications, as well as in anthologies.
I've won awards and navigated rejection, like any writer, but the real truth of who I am in terms of my work might be more like this: In high school, circumstances lead to an early withdrawal, and I became either self-directed and intense, or a high-functioning drop-out, depending on who tells the story, with a high school diploma earned through the mail, sent to an address that I'd left far behind.
I went to college, mostly Portland State, a commuter school, where I lived in dive apartments, roamed the city and hit up punk rock shows. I'm the girl you'd see behind any and every counter: coffee, sandwiches, adoption agencies, real estate...I interned as a paid archivist at the Smithsonian Institution and then in animal behavior at the Oregon Zoo. I studied Art History, Animal Behavior, Psychology, Painting, Theater, Dance and more. Mine is a General Studies degree, with Honors.
When author Tom Spanbauer moved from New York to Portland, I took the first class he offered. I was a girl who was a woman, on a red coaster bike, with long hair and no plans. I paid thirty-five dollars, and even now, decades later, some part of my spirit is still fueled by that class and what I learned there, though I went on to graduate school at the University of Arizona. In Tom Spanbauer's workshop, eventually I met Chuck Palahnuik, who laughed at my stories when I wanted him to laugh, and who later showed us all how it's done when Fight Club busted out. He has said that the character of Marla is based on me, and that warms my heart. I've done one thing, then another: a flash of a body on a Toyota commercial, before Portland was cool; the face of population control, handing out condoms at art events; a girl in the crowd, a band, a day, a moment. It's all of a piece, being alive.
For now, I'm writing. I'm still writing, with books to work on. I appreciate you. Thank you, for being on this planet, and reading and perhaps writing, and thinking for yourself.
All best wishes, Monica