|« AIDS Activist Sean Strub Stops Through Town with a New Memoir||Chicago Humanities Festival Hosts a Read so Rich it's Filthy »|
Author Mon Mar 10 2014
For the last five years March has brought the Chicago Zine Fest, a celebration of independent self-published work. Being the fest's fifth anniversary, the programming commemorates other zinesters who have been publishing zines for a even longer. The festival begins with a Friday afternoon panel entitled, In it for the Long Haul: A Discussion on Longevity in Zines. Among the panelists is Tomas Moniz, writing faculty at Berkeley City College and publisher of the zine Rad Dad. He has been putting out that title for 10 years. In it, he deals with the ideal of radical parenting from various perspectives outside of the societal norms of parenting. And he should know what he's talking about, Moniz is a father of three. He has a new novella Bellies and Buffalos, a tender though chaotic story about friendship, family and Flammin Hot Cheetos.
I got to talk with Moniz and ask him a few questions about his writing and his upcoming visit to Chicago.
What was the initial motivation that prompted you to write Rad Dad?
I was going through a difficult time with my then teenage son, and reaching out for information that didn't repeat the same conversation around punishment and discipline all the books were talking about. Then I discovered The Future Generation by China Martens, a zine about parenting and anarchism. It changed everything. I wrote a letter, she answered, and then I just started a zine for fathers to talk about fathering in meaningful, feminist, anarchist ways. I started the zine I longed to read.
Recently you've decided to re-launched Rad Dad. What did was that process?
Rad Dad is relaunching as a full-color, large-format magazine to push past the patriarchy with even more stories from the frontier of radical parenting. There is so much more than the mainstream representations of fathering, which are mostly white and middle class. I've learned so much from queer fathers, from trans fathers, fathers of color. Through Rad Dad, I am trying to represent fathering as a holistic, vulnerable thing. Fathers need to change--not just diapers.
You are working with other contributors for the new re-launch, like Chicago zinester Jonas Cannon. How has working with new voices helped strengthened Rad Dad?
Rad Dad has always been about community, never just me. So the more people involved the stronger, more vibrant, more import the project.
Being a parent is a full time commitment. What was your writing process like as a parent, juggling fatherhood and finding time to be a working artist?
That is the challenge. But I think modeling for our kids the choices we make to stay inspired, stay active, stay creative is so necessary. We often encourage kids to follow their hearts yet so many adults forget to follow theirs when the "grow up." So I really try to get what I need done, dinner, homework, chores, but then also say, now it's time to create. And I welcome my kids to create with me.
You've now got a new book out, Bellies and Buffalos which is a departure from slef-publishing zines. Can you mention a few words on that project?
Bellies and Buffalos is a departure. It is a touching story about Sonny Gutierrez, a pudgy high school counselor from suburban San Jose, who goes on an unexpected cross country trip with the 20-year old pregnant Julia Camarone, who has recently split up with her boyfriend. Along the way there are escapades with police, the robbery of a Git-N-Go store, the story of the decline of a brand new suit, and musings on burps and bowel movements.
I wanted to write something entirely different than my normal style, so not something in the first person, not something explicitly about politics, and something that didn't have a lot of sex in it. I wanted to write something tender.
What prompted you to put out this title as a book rather than a zine?
I still do zines. It's my favorite form of public distribution. But I was offered a chance to publish through a small publisher, which provides a different kind of audience to connect with. But being a zinester, I hope to build bridges between the publishing and zine communities.
You'll be doing a Midwest tour to support the book. Where did the idea of setting up a reading tour stem from?
I love reading tours. Ian MacKaye said once, you make the record to do the tour. I feel the same way. I love meeting new writers, reading new zines, and engaging with communities throughout the country!
You are also an invited guest at Chicago Zine Fest. Are you looking forward to anything particularly while at zine fest?
Getting some new zines, enjoying Chicago and meeting new and old friends.
See Moniz as he stops in Chicago for his reading tour, Witches, Bellies and Writers Traveling Road Show, Thursday March 13th, 7:30pm at Chicago Publishers Resource Center, 858 N. Ashland Ave. Joining him will be other zinester with new books including Taryn Hipp (Heavy Hangs the Heart), Sage Adderly (Invoking Nonna) and from Chicago Jonas Cannon (The Greatest Most Traveling Circus).
Then catch Moniz at Chicago Zine Fest. On Friday March 14th, 1pm he will be on their panel at Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.
Then on Saturday, March 15, he will lead the workshop, Beyond Poop and Puberty: The Politics of Parenting Zines during the festival at 1:30pm, at Columbia College Chicago, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.