We Have a Bunch of the Autistic People You Should Know

NOS Magazine, the go-to magazine for neurodiversity culture and news, has released its annual list of the 50+ autistic people you should know, and we are happy to see that most of Autonomous Press’s partnership has made the list, including:

  • Dani Alexis Ryskamp, our legal partner. They edited Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber, which is now available in ebook and will shortly be available in paperback too. Dani also contributed to The Spoon Knife Anthology last year, and they run Autistic Academic on the new Neurodiversity Matters blog network. Dani also writes as Verity Reynolds, and will be releasing their first novel Nantais under that name in late spring or early summer.
  • Nick Walker, the coordinating editor for Autonomous Press and the blogger at Neurocosmopolitanism. Nick also co-writes the Weird Luck webcomic, and his work has been featured in both Spoon Knife volumes.
  • The Teselecta Multiverse, of which N.I. Nicholson, the coordinating editor of neuroqueer books, is a member. He edited The Spoon Knife Anthologyand the whole Multiverse blog at Neurodiversity Matters, where the literary journal Barking Sycamores has also found its home. N.I. Nicholson founded Barking Sycamores with his partner.
  • The Puzzlebox Collective, of which Athena Lynn Michaels-Dillon is a member and spokesperson. Athena was AutPress’s production coordinator for almost two years before the board voted to make her Chief Operating Officer in February. Athena has published 5 books under the name Michael Scott Monje, Jr., including The US Book, which was co-written by the rest of the collective. She also wrote the Lambda Literary finalist Defiant.

AutPress Authors from Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber

On the NOS Magazine list, you will also find several AutPress authors, including Sparrow Rose Jones, the author of The ABCs of Autism Acceptance.  Sparrow also contributed to Spoon Knife 2, and so did the following members of the list:

  • The Teselecta Multiverse’s N.I. Nicholson
  • Every member of the Puzzlebox Collective: Athena Lynn writing as Michael Scott Monje Jr., Athena the Architect, Lynn Vargas, Monday Dillon, and Clay Dillon
  • Dani Alexis Ryskamp, writing as Dani and as Verity Reynolds
  • Amy Sequenzia, who also edited Typed Words Loud Voices
  • Nick Walker
  • Alyssa Hillary

Collectively, these writers are responsible for more than half the word count of the book, so if you discovered them through the article about autistics you should know, this book gives you a one-shot chance to get a taste for all their writing styles, and since many of them have also authored or edited full books on their own, this volume is a great introduction to a highly influential body of work by a cadre of autistic writers who have worked together for half a decade to develop the conversation around neurodiversity and representation in the media.

AutPress Authors Who Did Not Appear in Spoon Knife 2

Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu also made the list, and we would be remiss if we did not mention her good works in the activist community as well as her contribution to The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic ChildrenShe blogs at Who Needs “Normalcy” Anyway, and we hope to see more work from her at the press in the near future.

Congratulations to All Our Autonomous Press Authors

We want to give a warm and hearty congratulations to all of our Press authors, both those who made this list and those who did not, for helping to contribute to the development of our company. The partners and authors who did make this list might have been on it without these accomplishments and contributions, but there would most definitely have been fewer of them. We owe it to everyone who helped build this company that so many of our partners and writers made the list, and we also owe it to our readers to remind them that while we have strong autistic representation, we are not an all-autistic press. Spoon Knife 2 and its predecessor also feature a wide range of allistic neurodivergent voices, to help make sure the conversation is as inclusive as possible.

 

Open Letter Concerning Texas Senate Bill 6

Senator Nelson,

My name is Bridget Allen. I am both a constituent and founding partner in a business headquartered in your district, and I am writing to express my concern over the ill-advised Senate Bill 6.

The creation of new laws regulating the minutiae of human bodily elimination may be the very definition of governmental overreach.

Laws already exist regarding predatory behavior and sexual assault. SB6 does nothing to improve public safety. It exists to regulate against a non-existent threat that cannot be backed up by substantive evidence. The fact that there has been no increase in public safety incidents in Texas cities that have ordinances that allow everyone to use the restroom appropriate to their gender speaks to the pointlessness of the proposed bill.

One group particularly endangered by SB6 is the very group the bill purports to protect, children. As a parent, grandparent, and former professional working with school age children, I am gravely concerned about the risks this bill poses to transgender and gender non-conforming children. If we truly care about children, we care about all children, and research has shown that acceptance, not marginalization, leads to the best outcomes for trans kids.

This bill is bad for the Texas economy. One need only to look at the billions of dollars North Carolina has lost since passing HB2 to see the future of a once robust Texas economy.

When my business partners and I founded Autonomous Press, we had several options of where to locate, and we chose Texas. Laws like SB6 not only go against our ethics and mission, they hurt our business. We need our LGBT authors and customers to know we stand on the side of acceptance. Sadly, the risk of losing potential sales and future book deals may force us to relocate.

Please don’t let pointless discrimination become the law of the land.

Sincerely,

Bridget Allen
Logistics, Autonomous Press

Call for Submissions: Spoon Knife 3

Call for Submissions

Autonomous Press is seeking submissions of short fiction, poetry, and short memoir for our upcoming anthology, Spoon Knife 3: Incursions.

Spoon Knife 3: Incursions will be published in Spring 2018. It will be the third volume of our annual literary anthology, following The Spoon Knife Anthology: Tales of Compliance, Defiance, and Resistance (Spring 2016) and Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber (Spring 2017).

The Spoon Knife anthology series is published under Autonomous Press’ NeuroQueer Books imprint. All submissions should in some way touch upon or be relevant to the themes of neurodivergence, queerness, and/or the intersections of neurodivergence and queerness. These themes can be engaged with either directly or through metaphor.

For Spoon Knife 3: Incursions, we’re looking for pieces that focus on the theme of incursions by one reality into another.

Authors are encouraged to interpret this theme broadly and creatively. An incursion from another reality could mean a great many things, including but definitely not limited to:

•  Experiences such as hearing voices, hallucinations, visions, or so-called “psychotic breaks.”

•  Possession or visitation by spirits, ghosts, angels, demons, gods, or other otherworldly presences.

•  People or things (like artifacts or creatures) showing up from another world in the literal sense – from alternate universes, for instance.

•  People or things showing up from another world in the more figurative sense – for instance, the impact a visitor from a foreign culture has on a relatively homogeneous community, or the impact a forbidden book has on a sheltered mind.

And these are just a few examples of the vast array of possible interpretations.

 

The Editors

Every volume of Spoon Knife has a different team of co-editors. The editors for Spoon Knife 3: Incursions are Nick Walker and Andrew M. Reichart.

Nick Walker is an autistic genderqueer author, educator, and aikido teacher, and one of the founding editors of Autonomous Press. He is a faculty member at California Institute of Integral Studies and Sofia University, and senior instructor of the Aikido Shusekai dojo in Berkeley, California.

Andrew M. Reichart writes books, stories, and comics that blur the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and horror. New editions of his books are forthcoming from Autonomous Press, starting in 2017. He lives in California with his wife and a couple of dogs.

 

Format and Length

Fiction and memoir pieces must meet the following criteria:

•  12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced.

•  Indent the first line of each paragraph, and do not put blank lines between paragraphs.

•  Make the first page a cover page with title and author contact info.

•  Author’s name and page number in the top right corner of every page

•  Use Oxford commas.

•  The entire manuscript should be thoroughly and carefully spell-checked and proofread (we recommend it be reviewed multiple times, by the author and by at least two other readers who have a sharp critical eye for detail, punctuation, grammar, and clarity of writing).

We will not accept manuscripts that do not meet all of these criteria, or that contain multiple spelling, grammar, and/or punctuation errors.

Fiction and memoir pieces should be 10,000 words or less. If you’re an author whom we’ve previously published or whose submission the editors have specifically solicited, and you need more than 10,000 words to tell your story properly, we may be able to make an exception about the word limit for you – please contact the editors about it.

If you’re submitting poetry, you may submit up to 5 poems of any length and style, provided all the poems are consistent with the theme of the anthology. Poems should also have the author’s name in the header of each page, as well as a cover page with author contact info. Poetry does not need to be double-spaced.

All submissions must be in .doc or .docx format, or in a fully Word-compatible file format like .odt or .rtf.

 

When and How to Submit

We are accepting submissions now. All submissions are due by Saturday, September 30, 2017.

Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection no later than November 1, 2017.

Payment for accepted submissions will be 1 cent per word, to be sent by check during the first quarter of 2018.

Email all submissions to nick@autpress.com.

The title of your email must be either “Spoon Knife 3 Submission – Fiction,” “Spoon Knife 3 Submission – Memoir,” or “Spoon Knife 3 Submission – Poetry.” Using one of these three email titles ensures that your submission will end up in the right place.

Please include a cover letter that makes it clear exactly what name you wish to be credited under, and that gives a 3-4 sentence bio written in the third person. The name and bio should be typed exactly as you want them to appear in the book.

 

 

AutPress Just Made Your Gift Giving Easier. You’re Welcome.

Chances are, you’ve got a bibliophile or two (or perhaps 15) on your gift list. Thankfully, AutPress has rolled out four new gift bundles for the book lovers in your life. (Or, you know, you could gift them to yourself.) Just in time for your gift-giving (or book hoarding) needs, we’ve put together these bundles and discount deals, each available in both paperback and ebook format. These themed collections were crafted so you can easily select the perfect one for your intended recipients in mind.

activist-bundle

First, we’d like to introduce our Autistic Activist Bundle. As one of our gift bundles containing some of the press’ most groundbreaking releases, it features three books that are great introductory texts for anyone seeking to understand the realities of Autistic people. The ABCs of Autism Acceptance by Sparrow R. Jones is an excellent guide, discussing and expanding on topics that change the ways in which autism is perceived. Also included is Typed Words Loud Voices, one of our debut books featuring work by a coalition of writers who type to communicate. Finally, The Real Experts is one of our top sellers, containing insider wisdom on autism written by Autistic adults.

shaping-clay

Next among our bundles and discount deals is Shaping Clay: The Elementary Trilogy. This gift bundle contains three works in the Shaping Clay series: Nothing is Right, the Lambda Literary Finalist title Defiant, and the epic Imaginary Friends. If you have yet to read Clay Dillon’s saga, you’ll want to start with this collection of books. And with the next book in the series Gaslight Village soon on the horizon, you’ll want to grab this bundle now to catch up on the story. By the way: if you want to support Gaslight Village and read it as a serial subscriber, visit Michael’s Patreon.

nq-poetry

Poetry lovers will want to snag our NeuroQueer Poetry Bundle, which contains all three of our poetry releases this year at a substantial discount. This gift bundle includes Adrift in a Sea of M&Ms, the Summer 2016 collection released by Michigan spoken-word artist and activist Fable the Poet. Also in this collection is The US Book by Michael Scott Monje, Jr., which provides the backstory for both Clay Dillon’s and Lynn Vargas’ universes. Finally, Barking Sycamores: Year One pulls together the poetry, short fiction and artwork published in Barking Sycamores’ first year of publication.

nq-horizons

Explore new worlds in which neuroqueer voices are centered with the NeuroQueer Horizons bundle. Before our NeuroQueer Horizons chapbook series launches, you’ll want to immerse yourself in this collection of neuroqueer fiction, memoir, and poetry. Included in this gift bundle are the first Spoon Knife anthology, the science fiction thriller Mirror Project, and Monje’s Imaginary Friends, a surreal exploration of Clay Dillon’s childhood from the Shaping Clay series.

We’re proud to offer these bundles and discount deals as both paperbacks and ebooks. Whether you’re seeking to treat yourself or you want to put smiles on the faces of your book-loving friend, you don’t want to pass up these generously discounted collections containing our landmark releases, engaging fiction works, and pioneering poetry. Happy gifting!

Special Deal on AutPress Books for CCCC Attendees

Autonomous Press is delighted to announce a special deal only for attendees of the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication.

While Autonomous Press will not be selling books at this year’s conference, three founding partners of Autonomous Press, Elizabeth J. (Ibby) Grace, Michael Scott Monje, Jr., and Bridget Allen will be in attendance.

If you order any of our books online between now and 12:00pm CDT, Friday, April 8, and enter the coupon code HOTELDELIVERY, you get $3.25 off (the cost of economy shipping), and AutPress partners will deliver your books to you in person. Just enter your room number in the shipping information, or meet us during our “lobby hours” at a public location at the CCCC hotel or conference area.

Copies of Fading Scars and Defiant will have limited edition Lambda Literary Awards finalist stickers. Any books purchased with writings by Grace, Monje, or Allen will be signed by the authors. As always, your print books come with a free instant download ebook copy.

To recap:

  • Coupon code: HOTELDELIVERY
  • Discount $3.25
  • Code works one time per email address. You can order multiple books, but make sure to buy them all at the same time/checkout.
  • Offer is only for attendees of the 2016 Conference on College Composition and Communication in Houston.
  • Offer expires 12:00pm CDT, Friday, April 8

We look forward to meeting you at CCCC.

Call For Submissions and Guest Editor Announcement for Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber

The Editors

We are happy to announce the editors for the second volume in the Spoon Knife Anthology series.

Dani Alexis Ryskamp is an editor and the Legal Coordinator for Autonomous Press and the author of “My Mother GLaDOS,” which appears in The Spoon Knife Anthology.  Her research on neurodivergence and poetry also appears in The Hilltop Review.  She actually wrote her own contributor bio for this post, which is a first.

Sam Harvey  is a graduate student in rhetoric and professional communication at Saint Cloud State University.  He begins his Ph.D. work in rhetoric and professional communication at Iowa State University in Fall 2016.  Sam is also the author of “Journey to Self-Love in a Culture Demanding Self-Hate,” which appears in The Spoon Knife Anthology. He is feeling very odd writing his own bio and is going to proceed to go hide now.

The Call for Submissions

We are seeking submissions of poetry, fiction, and memoir for Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber.  This book will be the second in the series, following The Spoon Knife Anthology, released in March 2016 by NeuroQueer books.  As part of the NeuroQueer family, Spoon Knife 2 focuses on neurodivergence and disability as they intersect and interact with queer issues.  This includes queering disability and neurodivergence, as well as discussing how neurodivergence functions or fits with other aspects of a queer identity.

The phrase “test chamber” may be read in myriad ways: as an adjective + noun denoting a place (“the subject was placed in the test chamber”), as an imperative verb + direct object (“to find weakness, test (the) chamber”), as a compound verb (“test-chamber a round to check that your slide isn’t jammed”), and others not imagined here.  These meanings are dynamic.  That is, they coexist, interact, change, and complicate one another in various ways.

For the second volume in the Spoon Knife series, we seek to feature works that focus on one or more of the meanings of “test chamber” as it/they relate to neurodivergence, disability, and/or queer issues.  What does it mean to be inside (or outside) the “test chamber”?  To test the chamber?  To test-chamber or to be test-chambered?  More importantly, how do we approach the boundaries of neurodivergence, queerness, or both in a way that questions, subverts, blurs, or even embraces them – forcing ourselves and others to question the existence or permanence of the “test chamber” itself?

Or, if you prefer an alternate way in: play Portal.  Write accordingly.

While we will consider any submissions that are on-topic and we do wish to solicit voices from a broad range of neurodivergent and disabled perspectives, preference will be given to authors who clearly identify as neuroqueer and whose work demonstrates a neuroqueer point of view.

Length and Format

Fiction and Memoir: 10,000 words or less of fully-polished prose, submitted in standard manuscript format (title page with contact info, double-spaced Times New Roman 12-point font, pages numbered with either title or author’s name in the header.)

Poetry: Up to 5 pieces of any length and style, provided they use the prompt above as a touchstone.

All submissions need to be in a Word-compatible format (.doc, .docx, .odt).

Deadline and Terms

Submissions are due by Monday, August 22, 2016.  Authors will be notified of their acceptance or rejection no later than October 15, 2016.  Please include a cover letter that makes it clear exactly how you are to be credited – we will reproduce these exactly, including punctuation and spacing.  We will also need a 3-4 sentence bio for the contributors.

Submission email: dani@autpress.com

Please put “Spoon Knife 2” and the genre (poetry, fiction, or memoir) in the subject to help us distinguish between anthology submissions and book proposals.  Thank you!

Like its predecessors, Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber is a funded anthology.  Precise payment details will be available shortly.

Presales, Overstock and Changes at the Company

Hi everybody! Michael here, but I’m no longer your loyal leader of the NeuroQueer Books imprint. Nope. I got the thing up and running, but I’ve been saving a seat for my good friend and longtime editor (through Barking Sycamores, the journal that takes most of my work), N.I. Nicholson. My last act before moving behind the scenes to supervise our labor assignments and workflow on book production is going to be a good one, though: I’m giving you a sale, some pre-sales, and a song. First, the song, which celebrates everything I got into publishing to do:

Next:

AutPress Direct Overstock Sale

We do a lot of events and because of that, we wind up sending a lot of books out to make sure we have inventory. Over time, the extras make their way back to the press store from our partners, and as a result, we can accidentally wind up overstocked. When that happens, we need to recoup our storage space and make sure our books make it out into the world, and we’re doing that with an overstock sale. From now until St. Patrick’s Day (just because), we’re offering 40% off on two of our titles: Corbett OToole’s Fading Scars: My Queer Disability History and Michael Scott Monje, Jr.’s Defiant.

Fading Scars, on display for saleFading Scarsif you have not encountered it yet, is a gripping, close-up autoethnography covering several important events in the history of disability rights, civil rights in the U.S., and disabled communities. It takes a close look at the way they have been constructed, the way research in disability studies impacts communities, and the way communities work to impact research that affects their lives. It is an important read for anyone who seeks to understand how the current landscape of the disability rights and disability justice movements came to be.

Defiant is part of my Shaping Clay series, alongside Nothing is Right and the soon-to-be Defiant Front Coverreleased Imaginary Friends. In it, we join Clay Dillon shortly after he finally receives his autism diagnosis–at the age of thirty. As he seeks to navigate a professional life that finds his labor marginalized and devalued and a personal life thrown into turmoil by the collision between disability and a lack of access to basic medical services, Clay’s body begins to remember other divergences, and to force them into the foreground of his personal development. On top of its careful examination of the ways that adjunctification and workplace access impact disabled populations in the United States, the novel also takes an unflinching look at the violence that transgender individuals perpetuate against themselves when they attempt to deny their own nature.

Pre-Orders for New Releases

On top of our inventory reduction sale, we are also offering presales with instant ebook delivery for our U.S. customers. Like with our other titles, international customers are welcome to purchase the ebooks as long as they have a valid payment method, but we can not ship abroad. This March, our new releases include two anthologies edited by our new NeuroQueer Books coordinating editor N.I. Nicholson, as well as my (Michael’s) newest novel, Imaginary Friends.

Barking Sycamores Year One front cover, featuring all 4 issue coversBarking Sycamores published its first issue in the spring of 2014 and from the beginning, it dedicated itself to providing a medium for neurodivergent voices in literature and art. In partnership with Autonomous Press’s NeuroQueer Books, the journal proudly presents its Year One anthology. Collected in this volume are its first four issues, first published online in 2014 and 2015.

FEATURING WORK BY: Sarah Akin, Mikey Allcock, Samm Almester, Amy Barlow Liberatore, Matthew Brown, Cathy Carlisi, Ellie Castellanos, Tasha Chemel, Deanna Christian, Robin Como, Allen Davis, Melissa DeHart, Heather Dorn, fayola, Leila Fortier, Kimberly Gerry Tucker, Jessica Goody, Elizabeth J. (Ibby) Grace, Michael Lee Johnson, Duane L. Herrmann, Madison Kallisti, Jillian Koopman, Thomas Krampf, Craig Kurtz, Savannah Logsdon-Breakstone, Chris McLean, Laura Merleau, David Mitchell, Michael Scott Monje Jr., N.I. Nicholson, A.J. Odasso, Emily Paige Ballou, Thomas Park, C.F. Roberty, Miss Roberts, Maranda Russell, Barbara Ruth, Giorgia Sage, Phillip Sroka, Lucas Scheelk, A.D. Stone, Bethany Tap, Jonathan Travelstead, Candy Waters, Angela Weddle, Christopher Wood-Robbins

Imaginary Friends cover featuring an armored helmet lying on its side and a lego skylineIn Imaginary Friends“The strange and terrible saga of Clay Dillon begins with the books Nothing Is Right and Imaginary Friends,and also includes Defiant (which takes place when Clay is 30 years old). The whole saga should be required reading for anyone who works in any capacity with the sort of young people who are often described asgifted, disturbed, troubled, oppositional, defiant, or exceptional…

In a way, Clay himself is an “imaginary friend” to the adults in his life, insofar as when they look at him they don’t see him but instead see an imaginary child, a product of their own misconceptions and projections who has no resemblance (except in the external physical sense) to the real Clay Dillon. Every adult in his life is consistently one hundred percent wrong, all of the time, about Clay’s motivations, needs, feelings, thoughts, and perceptions… They can imagine neither the extent and nature of his difficulties, nor the complexity and sophistication of his thinking.

In this respect, Imaginary Friends constitutes a warning to any adults – especially those in “helping” professions – who are so arrogant as to presume that they can truly understand the realities of their young charges.” – Nick Walker, from the Afterward to the book

Spoon Knife Cover Final art by Selene DePackhLast but definitely not least,  The Spoon Knife Anthology collects the work of over 25 authors, including Autonomous Press partners, disability studies scholars, established prose and poetry artists, and emerging storytellers from a variety of backgrounds. Together, these writers deliver a series of meditations on compliance and consent that are simultaneously intimate and alienating.

“This jewel of a collection had me crying, laughing in parts, and becoming outraged. I hope that everyone in the care-taking communities of medicine and mental health reads these rare and wonderful first hand accounts for their own education.”

– Judy Grahn, author of A Simple Revolution, Another Mother Tongue, and Love Belongs to Those Who Do the Feeling

We hope you enjoy them! And I’ll be back in a couple of weeks with some announcements about our June books! You can check out the pre-orders and the whole back catalogue at shop.autpress.com!

Michael Scott Monje, Jr.

Production Coordinator, Autonomous Press

We Liked It, So We Put A Paycheck On It (#CrippingtheMighty)

Autonomous Press is proud to have Dani Alexis Ryskamp aboard as our newest editor and your future curator for Spoon Knife 2: Test Chamber. On top of her work in activism an blogging, Dani’s writing includes fiction, research and academic essay writing, and a variety of freelance genres. Joining our press isn’t her first job in the industry, and because of that, her experience will help us bring our mission into focus. For instance, when she says:

Your time, effort, and attention are valuable.  When you focus them to produce a piece of writing, that writing has value.  When you give that writing away without being compensated for it, you are giving charity.  It’s a gift.  And like all gifts, you are notobligated to give it.

Naturally, a lot of companies realize that simply asking people to give them charity doesn’t fly.  So “write for us for free!” is often (though not always!) masked with other terms, like “on spec” or my personal favorite, “for exposure.”

Which is why we’re also glad that she was able to say this, without even having to prompt us to try it:

Autonomous Press, founded in 2015, has published only one book containing the works of disabled writers who were not paid cash money for their contributions.  The writers were, h0wever, compensated with at least one physical printed copy of the book apiece (to my knowledge, The Mighty does not print copies of contributors’ submissions for distribution).  Contributors to the press’s second compilation, The Real Experts, were paid with contributor copies and cash; contributors to its third, The Spoon Knife Anthology, will be paid in similar form.  Every single-author book Autonomous Press has produced to date is also paying royalties to its respective author.

(Incidentally, AutPress’s payment to me for my own contribution to Spoon Knifeis the most I have ever been paid for a single fiction piece.)

If AutPress can produce physical, printed books with a four-figure startup budget and compensate our contributors, The Mighty has no excuse for running a digital-only realm on a seven-figure startup budget and not paying its writers.  And as for “exposure,” a print publication outranks a digital one on a CV every time.

And that’s why we’re also happy to announce one last thing:

There’s a blog network coming. And we’re paying.

For now, please check out the rest of Dani’s post about The Mighty, along with her advice about spec work and “exposure.”

 

What is a Spoon Knife? (+Contributor Roster)

On behalf of Michael and The Puzzlebox Collective, the Autonomous Press partnership would like to invite you to read the rest of the post with the benefit of a soundtrack. The embedded video is electronica (seizure sensitivity warning), but it is more in line with a World style than a heavy, warbly Dubstep beat. The visual is simply the band’s album cover art, a distorted logo, and their name, Laibach. The video should not autoplay.

From the Introduction to The Spoon Knife Anthology, “What is a Spoon Knife?” by Michael Scott Monje, Jr:

The first question I got from my partners and blogging friends when I started talking about spoon knives was “What is that?” Every one of them had heard about Christine Miserandino’s “The Spoon Theory,” of course, and they could tell I was referencing it, but none of them seemed to be familiar with traditional woodworking tools, because they didn’t see that reference or its connection to activist work. Not at first, at least. Once I posted some pictures of various spoon knives and the bowls they were used to carve, the idea caught fire. …

… [T]he spoon knife, that old woodworker’s companion that looks something like the tool it is used to make, only sharp and nasty and quick. A spoon knife is used to carve the bowl, which makes it curved, like a melon baller. It shaves away the unnecessary parts of the wood in layers, too, so it has to be sharp and strong, to keep slicing and slicing until it has peeled enough to make a depression in an otherwise smooth stick. It looks thin, like something made from an old beer can, but in a master’s hands, it rewards patience and precision.

If we’re keeping with our extended metaphor, though, then we still have to ask the question: What is a spoon knife? We know what our symbol does, but what in our community is capable of doing that thing—cutting away layers of what shouldn’t be there, to leave us with the ability to do more, reach further, and nourish ourselves more successfully. What looks thin and weak, but nonetheless digs deep channels into reality?

My belief is that the spoon knife is a story. For some, it’s an expression of solidarity that refills our emotional reserves even as it bolsters the morale of the one who offered support. For others, it might be an example that provides the cognitive scaffolding needed to get out of an abusive situation, or even just to recognize one in the first place. It’s also possible for it to be a confrontation, a reality that will not yield to our need until we learn to wield it and to control its damage with unwavering precision.

NeuroQueer Books is proud to present the roster for the first volume of The Spoon Knife Anthology.

You heard that right, folx. First volume. In a few months, you will see a call go up for next year’s edition, and it will be edited by Autonomous Press’s newest partner, Dani Alexis Ryskamp. She currently blogs at Autistic Academic and manages NeuroQueer. Before we can start taking submissions, though, Dani has to select her out-of-press editor because the book needs 2 people on it, and then they need to write a specific call that fits the second volume’s title.

Next year’s edition will be called The Spoon Knife Anthology 2: Test Chamber. After that, we plan on rotating the editorship until every NQ Books editor has a chance to take on at least one volume. After that, who knows? It all depends on you, our readers and writers.

Here is the list of contributors:Spoon Knife Anthology Cover

  • Alex Conall
  • Alison Kopit
  • Alyssa Hillary
  • Amanda Sleen
  • Andrea Abi-Karam
  • Andrew Reichart
  • Athena the Architect
  • Barbara Ruth
  • Bridget Allen
  • Cara Liebowitz
  • Dani Alexis Ryskamp
  • E. Lewy
  • Elizabeth J. Grace
  • Emily Knapp
  • Harriet Grace
  • Jessica Goody
  • Kassiane A. Sibley
  • Leah Kelley
  • Lucas Scheelk
  • Luis Lopez-Maldonado
  • Marc Rosen
  • Marcel Price, a.k.a. Fable the Poet
  • Marshall Edwards
  • Michael Scott Monje, Jr. (ed.)
  • N.I. Nicholson (ed.)
  • Nick Walker
  • Nina Fosati
  • Sabrina Zarco
  • Samuel T. Harvey
  • Sarah Caulfield
  • Selene dePakh
  • Stephanie Heit
  • Thalia Rose
  • Thomas Kearnes

The Spoon Knife Anthology: Thoughts on Compliance, Defiance, and Resistance will be available March 15th from NeuroQueer Books. Stay tuned for preorder and early ebook sales on the AutPress Direct store.

[Image description: Mechanized flesh and architecture combine in a dystopian landscape that evokes depersonalization and desolation in this art from Selene Depakh. Over top, the title of the anthology and the editorial credentials stand in stark white.]

TASH UPDATE for Wide Release

Autonomous Press and TASH had a very encouraging meeting this morning on the topics of Communication Justice and research.

TASH reaffirmed their powerful commitment to human rights and quality of life for people, which puts us clearly on the same side, and so we look forward to a fruitful partnership.

Stay tuned for more detailed news about future developments soon.