We came to writing at an earlier age, from an urge to release a scream that had stuck in our throats. Then we worked on our screams until we thought they were something someone might want to hear.
We are so excited to make our first contributor announcement: founder of The Rumpus, author of The Adderall Diaries, (Time Out New York’s Best Book of the Year for 2009!), and the man who tells me I am not allowed to read his first book because I am too young and innocent: Stephen Elliott.
I first met Stephen a few months ago when he was visiting New York on his epic “DIY book tour”, but I’d been aware of his work for a long time. He e-mailed me before he came into town asking if he could interview me for The Rumpus— he was conducting interviews of “normal” people he met in each of the 33 cities he was visiting. According to the intro of that interview, Stephen chose me because, “a few months ago for some reason I started following Meaghan O’Connell’s twitter posts.” Well, fair enough.
What he didn’t know is that I, too, was involved with 826 and had heard about his writerly poker tournaments out West, that I worked at Tumblr (still working on getting him signed up!) that I knew his old friend from San Francisco, Melissa Gira Grant, with whom I was in the early stages of developing a book project on the more complicated side of sex— a side of writing that he had always lingered in, was never afraid to work from, and had dealt with in a way that has inspired us both for a very long time.
Maybe this project would exist without Stephen, but I know that he has been generous with his encouragement, and with his own writing, in a way that has allowed me to dare to think of myself as A Real Writer through talking to me like one.
He also told me that I had to jump on any opportunity presented to me to work with Melissa Gira Grant. Many days I found myself doubting this project that thought came back to me.
We made this video the other night at the 1st Anniversary of The Rumpus— it is hard to believe it’s so young!— Melissa and I were drunk and happy and feeling so inspired listening to the readers and talking to them after and rallying everyone in support of this project. We asked him about love and writing and the more complicated parts of sex (and how it all intersects). If anyone has something of value to add to this conversation— if anyone has been having this conversation with the world, it is him. You can see the longer version here, on Vimeo.