The Pleasures of Discipline

Blog, meta, writing

In my time as a writer, one persistent myth I’ve noticed, which clings to even seasoned writers, is that one should wait for inspiration. One doesn’t need to force words out with something as tedious and dull as discipline. Just let the words come naturally, as if by magic which came from rainbows farted out of a unicorn’s asshole.

Just like rainbows farted out of a unicorn’s asshole, the idea that most writers can get anywhere without discipline is false.

Queer, Here (?)

Blog, meta

I’ve been getting back into submitting short stories and I am struck by the number of queer* journals and magazines handwaving their, well, queer content with phrases like “we don’t just publish queer content” or “it doesn’t have to be about that”.

qaf uk -- stuart oh yeah right

Okay mate, if you want to wuss out, be my guest. Because that is exactly what these magazines are doing. If I want to read queer content, I look to queer magazines and journals. Hello. By basically “watering down” their content, they betray the very reason they are supposed to exist, and they betray their core readers. And that last thing, to me, is one of the gravest sins a publisher or writer can commit.  You do not dis the reader. Ever.

If you publish queer content, publish queer content. Gleefully rub it in people’s faces. Don’t give a shit about people who squawk, queer or no. Just be out and proud about it. Like, “yes, we just published an explicit story about rimming, and next issue we have lesbian lovers working through parenting!” People haven’t died in a myriad of ways, from murder to AIDs, so you can wuss out and publish content that “doesn’t have to be about that” or whatever.

* Queer because it is the best all inclusive term, has been reclaimed since the ’80’s, and hints at radicalism.

ETA: I wrote a much more eloquent blog post on pretty much the same topic here. I guess it’s been bugging me for awhile?

Mood

Blog, meta, novella: the weight, writing

The project I’ve spent the last six months on, The Weight of the Impossible, deals with a fifteen year old protagonist, Zach, who is a junior level competitive figure skater. As all teens do, he has a very particular lexicon. I found a graphic (on Twitter, I believe) which lists Generation Z terminology and jokingly posted it to my Facebook, saying: “Lo, the language of my protagonist. Though he says ‘fuck’ a lot more.” I decided to go through that graphic and write the Zach version. For the lolz, as Millennials might say.

zach lingo

 

The Sense of a (Queer) Ending

Blog, meta, reading

I was digging through some of my old graduate school manuscripts. One of my instructors had commented that the story I’d submitted should have a more ambiguous ending. I have no doubt she was right, but this got me thinking about endings. I couldn’t help but reflect on my current work. Did the ending need more ambiguity? Could I make the ending of my novella more ambiguous?

I suppose I could. I suppose there could be more of the unknown or unknowable there. I suppose I could have some mystery hovering over the relationship of the protagonist and his lover.

But I think it would be more subversive to have an unambiguously hopeful ending. This is because the novel is a queer story; the protagonist is queer, and so is his relationship with his lover.

Queer stories, for anyone who knows, are impossibilities when it comes to endings. You have two paths and two paths only: the one which leads to a happy ending, and the other which leads to an obscene tragedy of some kind,

Guess which ending is most common, even today.

So I prefer the unambiguously happy ending. It’s more powerful, more subversive. And it gives queer people much needed hope. 

Ambiguity can have its place in fiction, certainly. But, when it comes to endings, I think queer people deserve more than tragedy or ambiguity.