I’m quite enthusiastic about this guest editorship thing we have going on EAP: The Magazine. For those of you who’ve come in late, when we did our Indiegogo funding push, one of the surprisingly popular perks was said editorship. This issue is our second, with one more to go, and both so far have been unmitigated pleasure for the host editor (ie me).
Aside from the fact that Ken Womack, and Kate and Mark Tallman, are all affable, curious, and highly literary, there was a small surprise hidden in each collaboration.
Backing up, let me mention again the rather odd way EAP works. We’re a trade publisher, distributed, both domestically and internationally, by the wonderful Consortium Book Sales (cbsd.com). But we don’t just take manuscripts over the virtual transom, as I seem to never tire of politely telling writers and agents of said manuscripts: we develop relationships. We’re looking for like-minded writers, people who are passionate about their subject, whatever that might be…and whose subject is some aspect of our main question: why is our cultural default setting the one it is? What would happen if it were different? What would happen if we stepped outside of the seemingly endless circle we are socially churning in, the one that says the free market is the only motor a culture can have, the one that says someone’s always got to be on the top and someone always on the bottom, the one that says someone’s always got to win and someone’s always got to lose. That kind of thing.
We develop these relationships on the online magazine. We’re not just looking for the Next Best Thing…in fact, we have a great distrust of the Next Best Anything. We’re looking for serious but joyful, hard-working but playful, thoughtful but exuberant, creative but practical kinds of people. The ones, as EAP’s incredibly joyful, hard-working, and practical Creative Director Mike Madrid describes this way: “If you ask them which of the Seven Dwarves they most relate to, they always say ‘Doc’.”
I shouldn’t have been surprised when all our guest editors turned out to be ‘Doc’.
And so, no surprise, we’re exploring book ideas with all of them. With Ken Womack, a book about The Beatles, and all the unsung people and events that went in to making them the phenomenon they were (Ken, this year’s Penn State Laureate, is an expert on this; look for him speaking about it at a university campus near you). With Mark Tallman, whose work focuses on international security and disaster management, a book about the limits of what we can achieve in security…and why finding and acting on those limits could possibly be—could they?— a matter for celebration rather than fear.
I can’t wait to see what the collaboration with Pablo Kjolseth brings. Pablo runs the International Film Series at the University of Colorado Boulder, so naturally his chosen theme is “Beer & Movies.” Knowing Pablo, and how he seems to pack 48 hours of work into 24 already, I doubt we’ll come up with a book idea between us. But I know for sure we’ll have fun. And, as I pointed out recently to a very interesting writer whose book we, alas, could not afford to publish, “None of us is making any money, so we might as well consider ourselves free.” And free to have fun is one of the most creative positions I know.
(And MEANWHILE, speaking of my having fun, my second cookbook/memoir, Jam Today Too: The Revolution Will Not Be Catered comes out in June, and I’ll be meandering around the west to different indie bookstores talking about food and sharing a glass of wine with interested parties. Our kick off is on publication day, Tuesday, June 10, at the wondrous Omnivore Books, in San Francisco, from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. Come by, say hi, have a glass, tell me what you’ve been eating lately. I really want to know.)