Hello! Welcome to a very special entry of The Typing Horse. As noted in my previous entry, I spent a day in Manhattan working on the 2018 Bisexual Book Awards. I pressed the attending nominees and winners for interviews for Pride post of Shelfies over at Underground Book Reviews and I received four responses, which was great.
Alas, my success is also my defeat. It appears to have been TOO LONG an article for UBR.
Monica’s interview has been moved from Shelfies to here, for your enjoyment, and as a bit of a sample for the upcoming Shelfies post with interviews from wonderful bisexual writers Julene Tripp Weaver, Mary-Anne McAllum, and Kelly Jensen.
What the Mouth Wants: A Memoir of Food, Love and Belonging (Dagger Editions/Caitlin Press) tied for Best Bisexual Memoir of 2017. It seems an interesting read, which I snatched up at the show after hearing Monica’s reading of an excerpt from it.
Monica was one of the first guests to arrive. She was kinetic, despite the June heat. She was thrilled to be touristing in the Big Apple. Her energy never waivered and she barely kept to her seat. She even surprised Sheela Lambert, director of the Bisexual Writers Association (the hosts of the event), with a heartfelt outpouring of respect and appreciation at the podium before Sheela could begin to wrap the night up.
I’m also thinking of making Interviews a regular part of The Typing Horse. Please let me know what you are think of the questions I’ve used for this interview.
- Who are you and how do you liked to be addressed? (Title/personal pronouns/etc) And what do you generally write?
I am a hinterqueer lexhibitionist, an erotonaut, a spiritual atheist, a woo-woo humanist, a creative soothsayer, and a faithful libertine. I am a white European settler and child of Italian immigrants. My given name is Monica Meneghetti. I adopted the online handle Monmen because folx have a hard time spelling my last name – even though it is basically “spaghetti” and “men” mashed together. Call me “she” or “they”.
I generally write whatever my intuitive process offers, in whatever genre presents itself. I’ve published poetry, fiction, nonfiction and a book of literary translation from Italian. In poetry and nonfiction, I write from truth and lived experience. So in fiction, I romp away from the real and enjoy a lot of speculation, magic realism, eros and the macabre. I have some spoken word and also a couple of unoptioned film scripts (anyone? anyone?). So I guess I’m literarily polyamorous, too eh?
- Where are you from and what is the literary scene like in your circle?
I am from fossils. Meaning the petroleum industry paid for my sustenance, from parents to polenta. On my dad’s side, I come from a line of fishmongers who fished the waters around Venice before it was polluted. On my mother’s side, my northern blood is spiked with Sicilian and saffron. I was born in the region of Treaty 7 (Calgary, Canada) and now reside on the unceded, traditional lands of the Coast Salish people (Vancouver.) We have a thriving queer writing community within an active literary scene.
- What is the LGBT+ culture like where you are?
Culture is vibrant in Vancouver. Apart from our fabulous Pride festivities, we have both a Queer Film Fest and Queer Arts Festival. QAF recently opened SUM, the only permanent gallery space for queer art in the country. I started a writing circle in partnership with them called Queerotica. The school system is educating kids and staff about gender identity.
- Did you feel you were risking anything with getting published? If so, what were the repercussions if any?
Yes. I wrote this book while living in a small town in the most conservative province in Canada. Publishing this kind of book while living there felt like too big a challenge, too risky for me and mine. My friends are amazing, but I had no community for any of my identities. We didn’t have the kind of support or the publishers who’d be interested. So, I chose to leave a place I loved in search of greater freedom of expression. And I found it on this Coast Salish land, with Dagger Editions. So to them I say, Chen kwenmantumi – I am grateful.
- Are you published by a publisher or are you self published?
What the Mouth Wants was published by Dagger Editions, the queer imprint of Caitlin Press. Having a queer-dedicated press proved invaluable at various times, in various ways. I can’t imagine a straight publisher having known how to deal with some of the things we faced with this book. Kudos to Vici Johnstone, the publisher who was bold enough to launch Dagger Editions.
- What’s your personal relationship with your bookshelf(shelves)? (ie: is it just a flat surface to keep your books or is it a curated star of your living-room?) Feel free to send pictures as I’m quite nosy that way.
It’s a blend of tsundoku and smorgasbord, curation and coincidence, sentimentality and intentionality. Bags of books in the closet, destined for donation but I can’t let go. Piles beside me, companions for writing, sex or meditation. Ours is a bibliophilic home. Even the décor is fashioned from old books. A while ago, I tried to institute a rule to regulate the influx. I would only buy books after borrowing form the library, and only those I loved and needed at my fingertips. It worked. For a while. But when you’re a writer with friends who are writers, books are a bit like opening the door during a snowstorm. Those darned flakes are always blowin’ in. And now the stock of my own books, too. It’s a silverfish’s mother lode.