Twitter Fiction

I hate twitter. I make no secret about that. I have no desire whatsoever to read inane posts about the minute details of people’s lives. I deal with that sort of thing enough when I live through the more boring parts of my own life. I can’t stand the fact that people can now export their twitters into their blogs because it means that to find the meandering, thought-provoking posts I love I have to wade through lists of mindless tweets. For similar reasons, I also hate facebook status feeds. If I want to know the minutiae of someone’s life, I ask them. I don’t want it popping up on my screen in feeds and blogs where I didn’t expect or desire it. The entire thing seems very hollow to me. I could follow someone’s tweets for an entire year without feeling even remotely close to them, whereas having one deep conversation with someone or following their (thoughtful) blog can foster a much more substantial connection than seeing them every day.

I read a New York Times Magazine article that explains how twitter, facebook feeds etc. can create a state of ambient awareness that makes people more connected to each other. I’m skeptical, but here’s the article:

NY Times Magazine Article

However, that’s not the point of this post. In the Jan 16-22 issue of The Boston Phoenix, there is an article titled “Novel Idea: Twitter Fiction, Post-Modernism, Post by 140-Character Post” that I found interesting. In the article, Mike Miliard talks about people who are writing novels with twitter. Some of those people are writing novels together, one tweet at a time. Now this is an idea I actually like. When I was a child I used to love telling group stories. My friends and I would sit around and make up a story together, each person contributing a chunk and then passing the job to the next, until we had reached the (usually crazy) ending. In recent years, I’ve tried doing this in livejournal comments and the results were similarly entertaining. I don’t anticipate joining twitter anytime soon, but perhaps my next blog post will be a group story…

Boston Phoenix Article

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Published in: on January 18, 2009 at 10:30 pm  Comments (4)  

Writing About Sex

I’m currently working on Rearrange The Sky and getting stumped somewhere pretty unexpected. Sex. Now, I’d like to think I know a lot about sex since I’ve had a lot of sex. [If you’re my mother: I was just kidding. I’m still waiting for marriage.] Despite this fact, I seem to have trouble writing about sex. And since I’m writing a quartet of love stories this is becoming a bit of a problem. I can’t avoid sex altogether because it’ll start to seem unnatural. Besides – it’s kind of important to my plot! I feel like I’m performing a delicate tightrope-walking act. One misstep and my characters have fallen into a bad porno full of terrible clich├ęs, another misstep and they’re back in 6th grade health class with its clinical language. Not to mention the difficulty writing about sex with trans men when the common terms used for their anatomy are often seen as offensive and upsetting to the men I am writing about.

What do I do? I’m at a loss. I’ve been reading as much porn as I can get my hands on (purely for research purposes of course) and it hasn’t helped much. I even got my hands on a copy of The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers by Elizabeth Benedict. It’s a good book, but I still feel like my sex writing is horribly mediocre. The biggest problem? I haven’t found much to use as an example for my writing. My sexual pairings are:

1. trans man on hormones with top and bottom surgery and cisgendered man with cerebral palsy
2. trans Daddy on hormones with no surgery and cisgendered boy
3. non-transitioning male-bodied genderqueer and pre-everything trans man
4. femme trans man on hormones with top surgery and non-transitioning genderqueerish female-bodied butch

The mechanics alone are enough to make my head spin, and then when you bring in factors of race and gender and privilege etc. it’s enough to make me want to scream. Perhaps that’s the point. Transfolks navigate a lot of difficult spaces – particularly where sexual intimacy is concerned. Sex with a trans partner is usually not an easy and unthinking “insert tab A into slot B.” It’s complicated. I want this book to show those complications but I also want it to show the beauty and sexual creativity that can result from them. I want this book to show my characters – trans men/genderqueers/men with disabilities/men of color – as whole people with average sex drives – not as the sexualized creatures of porno or the tragically celibate figures of medical textbooks. Unfortunately, as often happens with sex, my head is getting in the way. I’m so worried about how to write that I’m having trouble letting go and allowing things to progress naturally.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 10:53 pm  Comments (2)  

New Years & Anger

One of my New Years resolutions was to blog more often so here I am.
Remember how I got accepted for publication in Agenda Poetry’s Online Broadsheets? Remember how that was supposed to happen in August? Still hasn’t happened. I’m pretty peeved. If I didn’t know better I’d think they were a scam rather than a legit poetry journal. I think it’s time to send them another email asking why they’re almost six months late with their newest issue. The biggest lesson I’ve learned over this past year is that literature moves slowly. You submit your writing and you wait for an eternity just to hear back. You’d think they could act a little more quickly – especially for rejections since those are generally form letters and presumably it takes less time to send those. Ugh.

Published in: on January 6, 2009 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment