Way back in the 1990s we, Zoe Zolbrod and Martha Bayne, decided to publish a zine. For months we zipped editorial ideas back and forth on our brand-new AOL accounts, and then, shortly after Martha emigrated from Brooklyn to join Zoe in Chicago, we produced our first issue: a hot-off-the-presses publication called Maxine, with a print run of 500 that emptied our meager bank accounts. We put out five issues at the rate of about one a year before the burden of designing and printing and dealing with distribution and throwing illegal loft parties to pay for it all started to outweigh the thrill of publishing. In the years since, as we’ve watched would-be zinesters and journal editors establish online literary communities, we’ve often volleyed what-ifs. Respectively, we’ve each been busy with things like writing novels and cookbooks and organizing community food projects and doing theater and having kids and working jobs and talking to each other, but we haven’t worked together on anything. We missed it.
So you can imagine how excited we are to take over as Sunday editors of The Rumpus from the inimitable Gina Frangello, who has done such great work here that it is taking two of us to replace her. Gina and The Rumpus have offered us both homes for some of the recent writing we’re each most proud of, like this piece of Martha’s on an unexpected pregnancy and this piece of Zoe’s on loving Chicago . We can’t wait to share the work of others with this community, starting with this week’s essay by Amy Jo Burns, whose new memoir Cinderland caught our eye right away and is out from Beacon Press this month.