It has been a while – take solace in the knowledge that sometimes people have to disappear so they can come back better and louder. WordPress cashed in on an embarrassing percentage of my income a few weeks ago, so at the very least I am going to be doing this to amortise that cost for the next twelve months.
One of my 2017 objectives was to spend more time creating. To date, my major takeaway from romantic ‘love’ has been that men channel their experiences and thoughts into writing and get to call it art. From sexual exploits to Big Ideas, only too rarely do [straight in particular] men write about womanhood and the complexity of their relationships with women as individuals in depth. In mainstream narratives they are sailors and, at best, we are lodestars. Mostly we are just pining by the port, fragile hearts slowly dying. And whatever challenges these notions is deemed subpar. This has drawn me away from writing that features women primarily in relation to men’s affections.
It is censorship, how one gender is viewed as the scribe of the universe. My writing rejects this, not as an intellectual aspiration but as the truth around and in me. I once bore the brunt of this ‘I make, you gasp’ dynamic. After being ridiculed by a male romantic partner over a ‘hispter’ music taste and ‘weird’ writing, I did not go to concerts, play or write music, or commit pen to paper for two years. It was not an overt directive but it was enough of a tacit policy for me to live by it while I was the head that nodded at angsty 160-character poems.
But in my silence I found moxie. I have come back, better and louder and creating things is something I can never compromise on again; ‘love’ be damned. Still, crafting stories takes an awful amount of simultaneous grunt work and self-assurance – taking unaccounted time for ourselves is still something women must fight for. Writing about works in progress only adds to the pressure of making something worthy and I still struggle to push all other expectations away. But it’s done now: you can read my fiction in print, the pinnacle of writing in the twenty-first century. My latest creation, the short story “SuperGlu in Summertime“, is in Token Magazine’s second issue (on bodies, buy it HERE).
This is the only fiction I have put out into the world in 2017, but I have been enlightened by writing classes and soaking in others’ writing. Fiction in particular has a gestative quality to it, especially for women who too often are interrupted by the care they are expected to give others. This year I have been observing more than talking, mostly out of exhaustion but also out of choice. Hopefully, eventually all those lessons will come out of me. I was elated to read the following quote a few days back. It helped me, and I hope it helps you too, or failing that, that it stays with you for as long as you need it.
‘The whole culture is telling you to hurry, while the art tells you to take your time. Always listen to the art.’ Junot Díaz