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Revel HQ
April 15, 2022

How She Revels: Marcelle Karp

I've been writing since second grade.

Best thing is that I'm healthy. My closest friends are the women and men who have been on this ride with me for a long time. And being the mother to my daughter.

Age: 58

Location: New York City.

What’s your story? 

Hmm…I'm still writing it. 

My father knew I was a writer before I did; I've been writing since second grade, when I wrote my first "book," a fan fiction novella about Ginger from Gilligan's Island. He read that and beamed. "Mahhhce, this is what you should do. Be a writer," he said in his Queens-taxi driver, waving his Ray Bradbury at me, as he was a SciFi boy. 

So Judy Blume and Pippi Longstocking were my gurus. And then I was bit by Helen Reddy and "Bohemian Rhapsody" and Richard Pryor in middle school, and I carry those three inspirations with me, to this day: women, music, stand-up.

I worked--as a baby sitter, and as a cashier—throughout high school, always scribbling in notebooks, always with the radio on, hoping to save enough money so that I could backpack across Europe, which I did, at age twenty with a friend, and our only deadline was that I needed to be back in time to see Springsteen play MSG. 

I woke up at some point in my twenties, not having done much more than fall in love and drop ecstasy and get fired for the first time. I needed an anchor, and an a-ha moment formed in my mind: BUST Magazine, which eventually became a reality. I didn't know then what I know now, that I was filling this space that was necessary, this intersectional space where women were not erased, were heard, were felt. Our lust, our anger, our drive, all these truths holding the same space. 

Fast forward a few decades: I started writing my first novel Getting Over Max Cooper when my father was dying. I needed something to distract me from that horror. I was now a VP, but I was being gaslit on the daily. I was having no success finding another job, I didn't have a college degree which was often noted as I pursued the next-level jobs. I was in a "thing" with a man that would only ever be a "thing." So, I would go to a local coffee shop and just...write. I wanted the central surface  story to be this love story between best friends, and I wanted the symptomatic reading of it to be an exploration of the ethics of care, which was very much on my mind. 

What’s the best thing that’s happened to you lately?

I saw my mother for the first time since pre-pandemic. I graduated from Baruch College with a 4.0 GPA. My editor accepted the fourth draft of my manuscript, Getting Over Max Cooper, and sent it into production. And I landed my first staff job, which I'd been chasing since I was 51. All of this happened in a few short weeks, like one amazing thing after another. I'd been struggling for so long--emotionally, physically, financially--and then, like a click, things fell into a rhythm of good. 

Last Google search? 

"Shark deposited in Bondi Pools after storms." In 1998, I spent a Christmas break in Bondi Beach, my friends apartment was just up the block from the beach itself. Scarred by "Jaws" but compelled by the beach, being by the ocean is a dream of mine, to just be by it. I  was speechless in awe when I saw these beautiful pools in Bondi, filled with ocean water, without the threat of a shark.  I swam in there as much as I possibly could, not having to worry about being caught by that large scary thing.

Best thing about being your exact age? 

Best thing is that I'm healthy. My closest friends are the women and men who have been on this ride with me for a long time. And being the mother to my daughter.

Best book you've read recently? 

I just finished reading Natsui Kirino's OUT; her writing is packed with nuance and yet so sparse.

What are you most looking forward to right now? 

I'm most looking forward to being in Fire Island in May, which will come at the end of a busy time: my book coming out on April 19, my daughter graduating college, the completion of  my first year as a graduate student, where I'm working on getting my Master's in Women and Gender Studies.

If you could time travel, where would you go, and why? 

OMG. I'd go back to 1992 and buy a two bedroom apartment in New York City for 60K. Yeah. that's what I'd do. 

Interested in writing for our blog, The Reveler?
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