I wrote an annoyed short post on my Tumblr after reading several comments in a cis m/m romance novel that left my skin crawling. There’s nothing like biphobia or bisexual erasure to drag me out of a story, these days. Well, save for transphobia and non-binary erasure, of course. Or misogyny and slut shaming. Or … well, there’s an awful lot of things that drag me out of a story, but of late it feels as though biphobia lurks everywhere I turn, and one post on Tumblr isn’t enough for me to feel I’ve done my frustration justice – not when bi and pan representation means as much to me as a non-binary reader as it does to me as a pansexual one.
That’s right. I, as a non-binary reader, need bi and pan heroes.
What, you think I exist in gay and lesbian literature?
(I’m going to need a minute to stop laughing. Maybe two. Or ten. How about you come back in half an hour?)
I’m writing another post about depression, self-hate and the expression of self-hate via the tyranny of list-making. It’s a post that is just about killing me to write; yesterday it took me until 2 AM (so, technically, today) to wind down from the crying jags provoked by a mere nine hundred words. I will finish it. I have to finish it, because there needs must be a dialogue about the lack of love inherent in the concept of the list of things left undone, especially if our (my) nature is such to tick off the last item accomplished without so much as a breath of celebration, but writing this has much the same effect of an emotional backhand to the face. I don’t want to touch it. I’m cringing and tearing up just thinking about adding another sentence or paragraph. My stomach knots, my feet cramp, my head spins. No, my body tells me. No. Not yet. I’ve been doing therapy for too long to miss the significance of this pain or the way it touches me with such physicality, but I think this post will be written in short doses interspersed with words that don’t hurt: I need those spaces to survive a pain for which any possible anesthesia is worse than the agony itself.
There’s a reason therapy is a process that happens over a period of time as opposed to ten sessions in a fortnight. I can’t survive all that pain all at once. Nobody can survive all that pain all at once. No living being is hero enough for that, no matter the lies books and films and video games tell us about heroes. I will survive this hurt, because I am a hero, but with time, patience and time, and I’m allowed to listen when my body and heart tell me that, today, that pain just might break me.
Tomorrow, though? I can’t speak for tomorrow, but a tomorrow will come when I can pick up those words and survive them.
(Warning: long post ahead!)
I have done two things today. They both revolve around the attempt to make some kind of income from my words.
One: two of my three self-published books are now up on Amazon. Yay! However, I want to apologise to all Amazon customers for the fact that I can’t put my free reads (Crooked Words and Death is Only a Theoretical Concept) up as free reads on Amazon … so if you’re an Amazon reader, you’re going to have to either pay 99 cents US (or whatever the local equivalent is) or go over to Smashwords/Apple/Kobo/Scribd. I can’t blame anyone for not wanting to buy something that’s free to read elsewhere. I should state that I have no intention of price-matching: I released those books as free reads for a reason and mean to keep them that way.
I just discovered that I can do custom menus. (I didn’t realise this because I came to WordPress from LiveJournal, and while LiveJournal might have a great community, as a blogging platform it is actually fairly blah in terms of what I can do to build my piece of the net. I actually didn’t expect WordPress, for a free service, to have this many options – I was happy with pages, to be honest. But drop-down menus with direct links? LOVE.) So I’ve spent a day building custom menus, finding better ways to arrange my links and getting rid of extra pages I don’t need because I can directly link. I also properly categorised everything (LJ doesn’t have categories so I didn’t know how to use those, either). Now I just have to link the older posts on their respective pages (I still want those because I think the summaries might be useful if one doesn’t read the whole blog, although those people who come in and read ten or twelve posts at a shot make my fucking day) so people can find them. Voila, I might have an organised quasi-professional blog where things are easy to find!
(I want to apologise for the lack of cuts. I didn’t realise how fucking annoying the lack made navigating long-form writing until I was scrolling back through the posts looking for posts that weren’t categorised – my thinking was that because everything is automatically cut on Reader, I didn’t have to do it, right? No. Wrong. I realise I could have done that checking far more easily from the posts menu because WordPress actually has useful backend – this is how used I am to working without backend – but my ridiculous scrolling taught me that my blog was a fucking pain to read if one doesn’t intend to read it sequentially. I’ve now fixed this, and I’m sorry for not doing this sooner.)
So please enjoy, I hope, an easier-to-read blog.
I realised in all this that I write a lot about creativity, these days. Or creativity as it relates to other things. That makes sense: I’m a creative. I didn’t quite realise how much I was writing about it, though, until I started categorising those posts. It’s interesting in the sense that until a year or so ago I’m quite sure I had next to no opinions on creativity as it intersects with representation, personal growth and one’s minority status, and now it’s apparently all I think about.
Today I’m going to talk about sex.
Or, sex in fiction and why, in fiction, we need to discuss sex.
Trigger warnings because sex, but also because I discuss rape culture with examples.
I think you know, now, that I’ve been writing creatively for the best part of the last fifteen years. I’ve written and completed about eight novels (first drafts, trust me) and who knows how many incomplete novels and stories. The vast majority of this is never going to see the light of day, as is right: it takes millions of words to get really good, and while I still have plenty to learn, I have my current skill level because of the millions of words I’ve left in my wake.
Over that time my style and creative focus have changed such that I look at the person who wrote my earlier stories and don’t quite recognise them.
Some of the more recent stories, though – some of the things I’ve written in the last five years – are not terrible. They need work, yes; I’ve learnt a great deal in PWE. They are also, topically, not what I’d write today, which usually involves trans and non-binary identities alongside a collection of female characters with feminist leanings. They belong to the period of my life where I wrote about men because I was forced to live the life of a girl, a life that chafed me to the bone, and there was a great deal of liberation in being able to pick up the keyboard and step into an imaginary world where I could live, via proxy, the life I wanted. I read them today and shake my head at the absolute lack of women, at the overwhelming majority of cis male characters (writing a cis male majority means writing everyone gay/bi/pan, because I wasn’t interested in writing about straights even then) and the lack of understanding with regards to social issues.
I also read them today and realise something else: they’re still pretty damn funny.