June 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm EDT | by Juliette Ebner
A young professional finds inspiration

It’s a problem that millions of American workers have faced in recent years: What to do after being laid off.

For one local gay man, the answer was to stop waiting for a job offer and start a new business. The result is The New Professional, a literary magazine that recently made its D.C. debut.

“[T]he morning I was laid off … I flipped out a bit,” said Matthew Biedlingmaier, 26, in his first editor’s note. “I had expenses … and beyond that, I had created a life that required financial stability to maintain.”

Biedlingmaier spent the next few months trying to find another job.

“I literally blanketed the city with my resume,” said Biedlingmaier.

It seemed like every job he applied for yielded the same response. Although he had the education, he did not have the experience.

“I knew I was capable of doing the work, but there were people with so much more experience than me, and so much more seasoned than me vying for the same position,” said Biedlingmaier.

So, he decided to create his own experience. As a graduate of Kenyon College in Gambler, Ohio, Biedlingmaier was familiar with literary magazines and was a writer himself.

“It just seemed to fit,” said Biedlingmaier when asked why he chose to create a literary magazine. “There aren’t a lot of 26-year-olds who have done something like this.”

But what does The New Professional mean?

“Several people have told me that they really dislike the name,” said Biedlingmaier with a chuckle.

He’s been told that the title sounds like a business journal, as opposed to a literary magazine, but there is meaning behind the title.

“One of the points of the magazine was to provide an outlet for other people in my position — young people who are smart, who are great writers … but, who are having trouble in D.C. and elsewhere finding outlets by which to express themselves,” said Biedlingmaier.

Many of the articles and stories in the first issue came from personal connections and networking. The short stories are from former friends and classmates of Biedlingmaier’s from Kenyon.

“Gavin Broady is becoming pretty well known in the literary circle,” said Biedlingmaier about one of the short story authors. “He’s got a really big play premiere next month actually at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont.”

“The big piece in that issue is the interview with David Levitt who is a gay writer. He’s one of my idols,” said Biedlingmaier.

The introduction to the Levitt interview reveals how personal the article is to Biedlingmaier; he tells of sneaking off with his teacher’s copy of Levitt’s gay-themed book.

“I was reading his book, The Lost Language of Cranes, the night before I came out of the closet to my mother,” said Biedlingmaier.

Biedlingmaier praised several contributors to the debut issue. Nancy C. Bell, a graphic designer for the Discovery Channel, is one of those people who were “instrumental” in producing the first issue.

“She laid the entire [magazine] out,” said Biedlingmaier.

Benjamin A. Goodman, a photographer, is another contributor Biedlingmaier felt lucky to work with. All the photos in the first issue that are not stock images or featured artwork, were shot by Goodman.

“It’s really the three of us doing this as a team,” said Biedlingmaier. “[They’re] doing it because they love it.”

Biedlingmaier wants the magazine to be published quarterly, but it all depends on ad sales. He intends to keep the magazine free; it’s currently available at various bookstores and coffee shops in D.C.

Some big names are lined up for the second issue, but Biedlingmaier did not want to reveal any names, as nothing has been finalized yet. He hopes the next issue will be published in September.

For more information, visit tnpmag.com.

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