Oh, there have been hundreds.
If there hadn’t been books that were meaningful to me as a person, I would never be an author. Books have always been my best friends—always. I could start listing them, but there are seriously so many of them that it’s just impossible for me to do that.
The books that drove me to be an author, though—the ones that specifically made me say “I can do this”? Happened to be the books that pissed me off. They’re the ones where I got enraged and stabby and annoyed, because of something that set me off, and made me think, “Well, if I were going to write a book, I would…”
That’s pretty much the story of how I decided to write books. I was driven to it by rage.
In the journal I do not just express myself more openly than I do to any person; I create myself. The journal is a vehicle for my sense of selfhood. It represents me as emotionally and spiritually independent. Therefore (alas) it does not simply record my actual, daily life but rather—in many cases—offers an alternative to it.
—Susan Sontag, Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.
Like, if a girl gets hanged for fucking Jaime Lannister, she should at least get the chance to actually fuck him.
Yes! And I bet he’s good in bed too because I bet Cersei made sure he knew how to please her ;)
As much as I agree with the general sentiment, this would probably be the most awkward first time ever: blushing virgin with body issues galore and emotionally confused guy whose sexual experience consists of fucking his sister.
I can’t articulate why, but I really want to read that.
I have loved a lot of Jaime/Brienne fic, but I have NEVER EVER read a sex scene between them that was as awkward as it needs to be.
And that makes me sad.
I always end up cutting out the sex scenes when I write them because I can’t bring myself to make it as awkward/uncomfortable as makes sense… so I just have thousands of words of unfinished Jaime/Brienne porn on my harddrive.
“What are you thinking, Doctor?” She asked, holding her breath and feeling the growing tightness in her chest.
“That I am almost a thousand years old and I know better, but I can’t help hoping that we are rewriting history, because I don’t want the future you lived to be the real one.”
“Don’t say that.” Martha told him, choking on tears and laughter, “I know you need to save the world, more than anything.”
“Not this time.” The Doctor promised her, “Not if I have to lose you.”
“I’ll still be here.” Martha argued, hollowly, “You just won’t remember or care.”
It was almost funny, how easy it was to tell the Doctor things she couldn’t make herself believe when she was alone.
“I’m going to find a way.” The Doctor insisted, “Time can be rewritten.”
Dear “The Doctor”,
Sometimes when one decides to write porn about you, one finds it awkward inserting your title in descriptions of sex acts, because you don’t have an actual fucking name.
PS. At least in this case I am not writing slash so I can abuse pronouns more.
Husband is still perturbed when I make him help me block story scenes out because I need to figure out how body parts would line up in certain positions.
(Even when I don’t have to stand on a stack of D&D books because this characters have a 9” height difference to our 10”, which is pretty much the same in practice, as opposed to 2”. The benefits of writing het.)
Correction: Apparently the weirdness was because he felt like I was being cagey about my purpose in having him do this.