SELFIE INTERVIEW | Jeffrey H. MacLachlan

Jeffrey H. MacLachlan also has recent work in New Ohio Review, Columbia Journal, the minnesota review, among others. He teaches literature at Georgia College & State University. He can be followed on Twitter @jeffmack.

Eckleburg: What captures your interest most in your work, now, as a reader of your work?

Jeffrey H. MacLachlan: Jessa Crispin recently said that good literary work requires the writer to “control their darkness.” I never had an issue with producing dark imagery, but often struggled with the implementation of that imagery to explore deeper meanings. The discipline of the texts I produce is what interests me most.

Eckleburg: What are you working on now?

Jeffrey H. MacLachlan: I recently finished a poetry manuscript about Socialist Realism that I’m submitting to various publishers.

Eckleburg: Who and what are your artistic influences?

Jeffrey H. MacLachlan: The two poets who initially inspired me to change majors were Gertrude Stein and Russell Edson. David Lynch looms large in a lot of my work. Frank B Wilderson III is what I aim to achieve in my lyric essays.

Eckleburg thanks Jeffrey H. MacLachlan. Do you have new work published here at Eckleburg or elsewhere? Add your Selfie Interview and share the news with our 10,000+ reading and writing community. If you have a new book out or upcoming, join our Eckleburg Book Club and let our readers know about it.

SELFIE INTERVIEW | Mercury-Marvin Sunderland

Mercury-Marvin Sunderland (he/him) is a transgender autistic gay man with Borderline Personality Disorder. He’s from Seattle and currently attends the Evergreen State College. He’s been published by University of Amsterdam’s Writer’s Block, UC Davis’ Open Ceilings, UC Riverside’s Santa Ana River Review, UC Santa Barbara’s Spectrum, and The New School’s The Inquisitive Eater. His lifelong dream is to become the most banned author in human history. He’s @RomanGodMercury on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Eckleburg: What captures your interest most in your work, now, as a reader of your work?

Mercury-Marvin Sunderland: I don’t write prose poetry pieces like this much anymore, but what I like about them is that they’re just a collection of thoughts I had for an hour. I first started doing this as an assignment for my screenwriting class and I realized that I really enjoyed it and started doing it more often. My professor told me that what I wrote for that assignment was one of his favorite things that I’d written for that class because it held so much emotion with simple observation of my surroundings. The point of the assignment was to show that I could write a good screen-style setting, so I’m proud of that. What I try to capture with these pieces is mindfulness and meditation combined with observations of nature. Lately, I’ve been submitting my academic essays more for nonfiction, but once I run out of them I think I’ll go back to writing these.

Eckleburg: What are you working on now?

Mercury-Marvin Sunderland: I’ve always been very multimedia — but now that I’m an adult, most of what I do is creative writing and visual arts. I like to write lots of things so I can have more to submit to literary magazines — nonfiction, flash fiction, poetry, comics, etc. However, I would say that my artistic forte is definitely poetry, probably because I end up writing that the most because that’s definitely the form of writing that is always in the highest demand from literary magazines. I’m trying to get more into writing comics lately because I want to work in animation and comics are essential for getting jobs in that field. In November I got to have a meeting with Rebecca Sugar (she/they), the creator of Steven Universe, to discuss my future in animation and she told me that what I need to do is draw fiction comics, print them out and make zines out of them, and then go to lots of cons and trade them around. That was how Sugar themself was hired to work on Adventure Time. So I’m using the pandemic as an opportunity to get started on those comics. Once I graduate undergrad, I’m going to move back to Seattle and get a membership with the Emerald City Comic Con, which will give me tickets to Emerald City, New York Comic Coin, and two other cons every year. That should be plenty of networking per year and I’m very excited about that. It will take at least a few years of that (that’s how it was for Sugar), but it’ll be so much fun.

Eckleburg: Who and what are your artistic influences?

Mercury-Marvin Sunderland: POETRY:

Sappho, Rupi Kaur, Anastacia Renee


Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker, The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, Keith Haring


John Cullen (@nellucnhoj on Instagram), Calvin and Hobbes, Bunny Meat (@bunnymeat on Instagram)

Eckleburg thanks Mercury-Marvin Sunderland. Do you have new work published here at Eckleburg or elsewhere? Add your Selfie Interview and share the news with our 10,000+ reading and writing community. If you have a new book out or upcoming, join our Eckleburg Book Club and let our readers know about it.

Why I Write

In 11th grade creative writing, my poetry dissolved. The overwhelming crush of criticism and the realization that I had no talent stole my brain. When I tried to compose poetry, I threw up my hands with esoteric senseless gibberish. My first husband-partner-lover Scott was a poet. His poetry collection of Apricot was astonishingly clear. He filled each word with a fragrance. It was published in 1973. When he read in public, I knew I could never compete. He was the writer in the family. I was the accountant money-man. I let it go. I descended into the closet about writing.

When Scott died in 1989 after our 16-year tumultuous era together, my voice continued to be silenced. I could cry but I couldn’t express vocabulary. My growth emerged when I wrote my first going-away speech for coworkers. I followed with a birthday chant for my beloved work-friend Tessie. At Florence’s Chinese funeral, I did the eulogy. I loved the acclaim.  But I remained inadequate. My soul still felt vanquished with no voice. I refused to write about being gay. I couldn’t face being a sissy.

When I was hit with spirituality at my gay temple, I flashed upon doing a sermon. I spoke about Intimacy, Unconditional Love, Spirituality, and Do You Believe in God? I strutted across the bimah. I gripped the attention of the congregants. I waved away the boring aspects of ritualized religion. For the first time, I was able to integrate my gayness through writing.

When my friend Charlie insisted I go to a poetry workshop, I couldn’t even remember why I would be scared. Instead of crumbling, I horned in on the darkest holes. The shame I felt when I put my Scott into a hospice weeks before he died ripped the page. I was flabbergasted when I read this poem out loud. I shivered.


I believed in fidelity
My lover Scott didn’t
Together 15 years, like a married
Couple in our East Hollywood bungalow
We were the perfect couple
Except he slept with others.
Our friends and family never knew
Until Scott received the news in 1986.
Diagnosed with AIDS
Ashamed to admit to anyone
That he cheated on me
I never told anyone at work
I didn’t think they’d
Understand why I didn’t leave him
Or worry that I was sick
He was going to die and
I took care of him but I
Never told my boss
Never took a leave of absence
To spend the last few months with him
Remained in the closet about AIDS
During the last few weeks of his life
I didn’t take care of him
My therapist said
I couldn’t “handle” him dying in our condo.
Scott went to a hospice and two weeks later he died
I was left alone
Ashamed that I wasn’t with him until the end.

I was drawn to writing. I fretted about always searching for the worst. The blockage didn’t stop me from writing. It just scared me about being a monster.

I welcomed retirement without any preconceived bucket list. When I entered the “What is Your Life Story?” class at the Village, I was transformed into a writing machine. I took my life into a memoir. I exploded with “showing” and not telling in my prose. I had withdrawal when I didn’t write.  I exposed my secret sexual fetish. I shared my father’s hounding me about “walking straight.” I took my relationships under a blunt knife. I found pride in being a Sissy. I came out as a writer.     


Image at the top of the page: Iris 04″by jolynne_martinez is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.