Everett Maroon is the wise-cracking author of Booktrope’s BUMBLING INTO BODY HAIR. Described as “A comical memoir about a klutz’s sex change”, it showcases Everett’s warm, self-deprecating humor as he details the ups and downs of transitioning. Ev is also a pop culture commentator, a writer of speculative fiction and a contributor to the blog I Fry Mine in Butter.
His hilarity is Joe-recommended.
In an effort to learn a little more about Everett and his story, I decided to ask him a series of questions…some of them serious, one of them stupid. We thought it would be fun if we threw them all on the table in random order and let you, the reader, decide which is which. I’m thinking we made it pretty easy. You’ll let us know once you get to the other side.
How did you come to be a writer?
My parents caught me using words when I was very young and locked me in a closet with a 1925 Royal typewriter. Okay, I’m lying. I like unreliable narrators. Actually I did have a metal Royal typewriter when I was a kid, and I’d type out terrible stories about sea creatures, mean middle school teachers, and maritime disasters, though not usually in the same tale. I went through a series of writing workshops in high school and college, one with Holly Riggenbach, who now writes as Holly Black. I’ve promised I won’t upload any of our teenager images to the interwebs, and I haven’t even asked for anything in exchange. But I suppose I’ve been logging and penning stories since I started reading.
What apprehensions – if any – did you have about telling your story?
It’s sometimes awkward to explain what the book is about if the person asking is an unsuspecting passerby, like a next-seat neighbor in a plane or a garden variety writer at a conference. Because if you say, “Oh, I wrote a memoir,” then the followup question is inevitably why I felt my life was memoir-worthy. Which is a big question anyway, and then there’s the whole sex change aspect that I bring up. That usually starts a long conversation or ends the discussion right there. But in terms of writing the story, it really pushed itself out of me. Like a parasite alien, or a flower, blooming after a frost. Whichever image works for you. I didn’t have any apprehensions about writing it, because I truly believe that it’s a story that will do a lot of good for people to read and experience.
Obviously humor is an important storytelling device for you. Did you find it easy to write in a humorous voice, or did that take some figuring out?
In going through the whole gender transition I found myself making jokes, as coping device, as companion through my journey, as a stop gap when things got frustrating or complicated. It was almost second nature to write the humor in as I was outlining the story. And if anything I toned down some of the jokes, letting the moments that happened stand on their own because whoa, people are funny, and gender especially is hilarious.
If you were offered the opportunity to have the physical feature of one mythical creature grafted onto your body, what would you choose, and how would you use it to its greatest potential? Think carefully…
Can I graft phoenix fire? I could make jokes about being flaming, or keep people warm in a snowstorm, and prattle on about my latest “comeback” after “flaming out.” And if an individual decided to shoot me in the face for making too many puns, I could rise from my own damn ashes. It’s perfect.
What did you find to be most challenging aspect of your transition?
Realizing that I’ll still never be any good at peeing my name in the snow. No, no no. Giving myself permission to go ahead and do it. Once I made it over that tall hurdle of self doubt, the rest of it was a breeze in comparison.
BUMBLING INTO BODY HAIR has been endorsed by Margaret Cho. How did that wave of awesome come about?
I saved her cat from a tower of fire and ever since she’s owed me a life debt. Silly me, lying again! Actually, my book manager at the publisher and she share a belly dancing instructor, of all things, so Margaret agreed to read the book. I presume if she’d thought it was craptastic she would have declined to endorse it or, in the parlance of famous people, email us back. I’m really honored that someone so funny and professionally known sincerely loved it. It means a lot to me. Now I just need to snag Ellen DeGeneres’s attention….
Do you consider BUMBLING to be a memoir, an autobiography, or something of both?
Do I have to give back my English degree if I admit I’m not sure what the difference is? It’s a theme-oriented real-life retelling of 5 years out of my life, focusing on my sex change and process of coming to terms with my gender identity, and it’s funny. I don’t intend for it to be all-encompassing of my life experience, but I wanted to talk about transition in nonfiction form because I wanted to highlight that this is just one story in a sea of different journeys that trans people may take. There’s a lot in popular culture—when we talk about sex change, that is—that is prescriptive. It’s hard for trans or questioning people to see themselves if they’re always asked to fit someone else’s model. So I wanted to say directly that gender identity comes in all shapes and sizes. Just like people.
Thanks for playing along, Ev - that phoenix fire grafting thing is a sure-fire bet. And yeah, I punned on purpose.
It's kind of what we do around here.
Now that your interest has been duly piqued, click on the link and grab a copy of BUMBLING INTO BODY HAIR so you can get to know Everett’s story. It’s a worthy read, folks, from cover to cover.