Hi, I'm Elayne, the writer half of the family. I've been writing since I was about 13, and am still convinced the stuff I did as a teenager was probably better than anything I could write today (for instance, one of my first poems won a high school journalism award). I've amassed a couple songbooks, some poems, lots of unfinished stories and story ideas -- most unpublished. Stuff I've done that has made it into print (under the names "Elayne Wechsler," "Elayne Wechsler-Chaput" and sometimes pseudonyms like "Kid Sieve" and "Kip M. Ghesin" which everyone knew were me anyway) includes: work in some issues of the newsletter that was put out by my alma mater's chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (where I served one year as historian); a 10+-year stint writing for, editing and self-publishing INSIDE JOKE, "a newsletter of comedy and creativity" (well back in the days before websites, and I haven’t yet had the time to scan ‘em into PDF format); and a semi-concurrent 10+ years on Four-Alarm FIRESIGNal (the official fan newsletter of The Firesign Theatre through much of the late '80s and early '90s). I also wrote from time to time in other fanzines and apas (amateur press associations), turning out both solo works and joint "zines" with my first husband Steve Chaput. For about a year and a half in 2007-08 I had an actual paying gig as an online columnist for ComicMix; before that I’d only been reimbursed once, when the Utne Reader reprinted a review I'd done for IJ of a performance by Ladies Against Women, but I tend to believe a published (even self-published) writer is every bit as much a writer as a professional one, and writing for fun rather than profit does tend to take the pressure off.
I've always been something of a joiner; I've found great appeal in groups and clubs and hobbies which seem to overlap like Venn diagrams in ever-increasing concentric circles the older I get. In elementary and high school it was everything from B'nai B'rith to the drama club to 4H to marching band (I played flute there, and guitar in the "jazz band," such as it was). In college, in addition to the aforementioned APO I sang in the Queens Chorale for four years, co-founded a science fiction club, wrote for my freshman year dorm's poetry chapbook, and hung out with my late buddy Bill-Dale Marcinko as he created zines (AFTA was pretty hot in fan circles for awhile; one issue featured actual raisins in it, and guess who dropped the raisins between the pages?) and amateur TV shows and general mayhem. I also got involved with groups like NOW and started developing something of a political consciousness, continuing to this day mostly in the form of lefty-liberal blogs as well as reading material like Extra!, In These Times, the Progressive and so on. My sense of absurdity was honed, particularly in the '80s, by phenomena like Firesign, the Church of the SubGenius, Discordianism (in fact, I'm maiden-name-checked in the introduction to the Principia Discordia and co-founder Kerry Thornley was an IJ staff writer), Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre (home to Dr. Science, Randee of the Redwoods and Ian Shoales, among others), even the Uncle Floyd Show (IJ started out as a Floyd-oriented fanzine).
I started reading comic books regularly in the mid-'80s, and during the '90s I got pretty heavily into the comic book fan and pro scene, first as a convention attendee, then working with Friends of Lulu. For a few years I maintained the Women Doing Comics and Industrial Strength Women lists on their national website, as well as helping update their links page, and was President of the New York chapter in 2001-2002. Still involved in comics, now as one-half of Soulmate Productions; all three short pieces I've written that Robin's illustrated have been published in various charity comics, one for the CBLDF and the other two for Lulu. In fact, Friends of Lulu's Storytime anthology also features a story I lettered and co-wrote with my late best friend, artist Leah Adezio. My other major non-work-related time-sucker during this past decade has been Internet activity; I ran weekly comic reviews entitled Pen-Elayne For Your Thoughts (I've had the Pen-Elayne pun as my fictitious corporation name for decades) on the Usenet rec.arts.comics groups in the mid- to late '90s, and was voted rac*'s Favorite Contributor in their annual Squiddy Awards two years running. Lately I can mostly be found online blogging and not much else, since the servers at my day job block all such activity and I can only go online for fun on evenings and weekends.
My other hobbies, not counting sleep, include sushi (I co-founded the New York Sushi Society, which had been meeting quarterly for some fabulous banquets), my cats Datsa on the left ("male cat" in the language of the family that used to own him) and Amy on the right (named for the comic book "Amy Unbounded" by Rachel Hartman), and travelling with Robin everywhere from the various sites here in the Bronx to visiting the respective in-laws in Merrie Olde and Vegas.