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“I’m a one-night-stand kind of publisher,” says editor/writer Debra Riggins Waugh, who created an imprint for the purpose of publishing one book. In the finished volume, Ex-Lover Weird Shit, 45 writers and cartoonists chronicle the antics of estrangedlesbian and gay couples. The short selections, which range from the silly to the sorrowful, apply to most every dumper or dumpee; the purple paperback’s cover is adorned with torn photos of former couples—some authentic, some posed, and four including Waugh herself. If there’s a cheerful way to look at a bitter breakup, you’ll find it here. In fact, Ex-Lover Weird Shit—in combination with a black rose, perhaps—could make a fine Valentine’s gift.
The volume was five years in the making, says Takoma Park, Md., resident Waugh. Gay and lesbian presses didn’t want it because it combined women’s and men’s perspectives; Waugh surmises that they feared bookstores wouldn’t know where to shelve it. Another publisher objected to the term “shit” in the title. So Waugh formed Two Out of Three Sisters Press, otherwise known as “TOOTS.” Why two out of three? Waugh abruptly says she’ll call back, then hangs up the phone. She rings again several minutes later. “I had to call my sister before I outed her,” she explains, then tells how she—a lesbian—and her bisexual sibling cooperated in the publishing process. Ex-Lover Weird Shit is available at Lammas Women’s Books, Lambda Rising, and Chuck & Dave’s Books. Waugh and contributors Lorrie Sprecher, Mary Beth Hatem, and Jennifer Murphy read at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, at Lammas Women’s Books.