First Times: An Interview

Continuing the trend of my former roommates’ undertaking cool extra-curricular projects, Maxwell Bevilacqua ’12 has plans to publish First Times, a collection of short pieces on firsts (not just of the sexual variety — though sharing those stories is strongly encouraged). Good news if you missed the deadline the last time we featured this project: he’s still seeking submissions. Want more details? Here’s a brief gchat interview I held with Max last week.

Wesleying: So, Max, what’s this I’ve been hearing about something called First Times? Does it have anything to do with Wescam?

Maxwell Bevilacqua: Wescam might have something to do with first times but First Times, a collection of short stories I’m putting together, probably has nothing to do with Wescam

(I can still be found as a graduate student btw)

W: A collection of short stories you’re putting together, huh? Sounds like Stethoscope Press. Is that true? I should add that I’m not exactly sure what Stethoscope is.

MB: This is not a stethoscope press publication (though the wonderful Piers Gelly ‘13 gave me some great advice) but it is an independent, supa creative, trendy thing I’m doing just like Stethoscope Press

and hey – you should see a doctor for that!! 

W: Groan. Where did you get this kooky idea?

MB: I was sitting around with a couple of friends and we were sharing our “first time” (in the classical sense) stories

1. they were hilarious and 2. I had no idea about some of the most amazing stories from people I knew very well

and i think that these stories are hidden in our memories and sometimes kept out of normal conversations

so I am simply trying to unearth them

W: But, Max, surely you don’t envision a collection of purely sex stories! I’ll wait for Unlocked, thank you very much!

MB: I am so glad you mentioned this misunderstanding

while the collection was inspired by my friends’ early sexual experiences, I am looking for any first time experience — in fact, some of the most wonderful submissions have nothing to do with sex at all

W: Nothing to do with sex at all?

MB: You heard me: something at wesleyan that doesn’t have to do with sex at all!

that being said

a good story about tugging the towboat is absolutely encouraged

W: What’s so special about these stories? Just because they’re dormant doesn’t mean they need release…right? RIGHT?

MB: I think there are many dormant thingies that need release

but you are right it is not their dormancy that makes their release necessary or exciting

it is the fact that they are (and future submissions can be) moving stories from people in our community (and beyond)

the fact that they don’t get heard is just adding insult to injury

i also think it is a wonderful exercise for wesleyan students for two reasons

W: Please enumerate them.

MB: 1. i think that it is hard for many wesleyan students to submit something less than perfect

I think submitting to First Times (deadline pushed one more time to May 31st from May 15th because I would really love to get more submissions) is a great opportunity to just write the way that you would verbally tell a story and not worry about craftsman/womanship — and focus on pure content, which can then be fun to craft

and 2. I think that wesleyan students are insecure about their writing

but some of the most imperfectly written still convey unique voices that sound great paired with and in the context of/other stories in the collection

W: I’d really be interested to know how your time working as RHAF (Russell House Arts Fellow) has influenced you in terms of wanting to undertake a project like this.

MB: please don’t take letters off of my title: it’s actually SCRHAF

W: Gesundheit.

MB: Basically I have gotten to work with a lot of professional and student writers

and I have been inspired by the former to draw on the latter and to create a capstone project of my own creation as I wrap up this fellowship

W: What form will this collection take? Published online, in print? When can we expect the finished product? These are the tough logistical qs.

MB: I am designing and laying out the book with an online publishing site in order to produce physical copies

in short these will be real books

i hate to extinguish any kindling of excitement you had for an online version

if that’s your nook

then this is not your book

W: [Speechless]

MB: finally

amiright readers ;)

W: Anyscrhaf… can we graduating seniors expect to see a copy before shipping off to such exotic locations as home for the summer?

MB: that all depends on how many submissions (less than 1000 words to firsttimes2013@gmail) I can get!

again I have extended the deadline to May 31st in order to have a more voluminous volume – it is therefore more likely that they will be available in early June. However, there are many ways to get your hands on them even if you are far away, like ordering a copy from the online publisher. More on this at a later date.

W: Okey doke. Well, that about does it for us here. Anything you’d like to add?

MB: thanks to wesleying! To everyone else: share your stuff by May 31st!! And watch this.

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