concrete queers #2

I co-edit a zine called Concrete Queers and our second issue is being launched on Saturday the 8th! Issue #2 is the comedy issue so it’s got has got comedians talking about their craft, people talking about what comedy means to them, as well as queers just bein’ plain darn funny and producing fabulous artwork.

cq2For the first issue, we asked our friends to help us out with submissions and it was amazing. This issue, we opened up a general submissions call and we got some AMAZING stuff from people we haven’t met!!! and now we get to show it all off.

The launch is at the ever-perfect Sticky Institute in the Degraves Subway in Melbourne on the 8th of August from 3-5pm. The Facebook event is here.

Cover image by Mitucami Mituca, design by Tiffany Street.

Long macchiatos and monsters

geekoutSo I have a book coming out today! how neat! It’s part of a collection by Less Than Three Press called Geek Out. Every story is about geeky trans people so naturally it is literally the best collection ever probably.

My story, Long Macchiatos and Monsters, is about Jalen, who is a cute non-binary person who really really likes bad sci-fi movies and is our narrator. They meet P, a too-attractive-for-his-own-good trans man, in a cafe one day after deciding whether or not to skip uni.

The whole story is secretly a love letter to Melbourne.

Melbourne is basically one giant cafe. You leave one cafe and then after a few minutes walking, you stumble into another one. This is why my two main characters meet in a cafe, because there are legit no other places in Melbourne. Everything is a cafe.

lmmb8We in Melbourne are obsessed with coffee for reasons I don’t quite understand, but I am very thankful because it means the coffee is generally great. Even if you don’t drink coffee, you are probably an expert if you live in Melbourne.

A long macchiato here is two shots of espresso with a circle of frothed milk on the top. I also work as a barista, and this is my least favourite kind of coffee to make.

P’s coffee order is a long macchiato because he is a pretentious asshole (In a good way. I do love him). Jalen’s order is a plain an’ simple latte, because they’re not a jerk.

“Can I try it?” I ask.

He raises an eyebrow, grins. “If you’re brave enough.”

We swap coffees and I smell his. Bitter, warm. I take a
sip and oh, god, this was a mistake. It barely touches my tongue before the taste is everywhere. I scrunch up my mouth and we swap back.

“You’re disgusting,” I choke out before  drinking some of mine to wash down the taste.

“You can talk, you milk-drinking pleb.”

We are very serious about coffee here.

You can buy Long Macchiatos and Monsters right [here] if you would like! Less than three dollary dos for a story about super cute hilarious trans cuties kissing that is all secretly about my love of coffee and Melbourne.

ps. Cecil Wilde’s story in the collection, Defying Convention is legit super cute.

Trimester as an arts student

First week is pretty exciting. It’s the week where you always vow to actually do the readings, read up on topics after class that sound interesting. Maybe then you could actually get over that crippling fear of public speaking and participate in class discussions. Maybe you could actually make more than one friend a year! Maybe even two friends.

It’s when you say you’ll actually buy text books this semester, even borrowing some extra books from the library on occasion, because learning is pretty fun sometimes. You like learning, right? Uni is for learning, even!

First week, you’ll attend all your classes, maybe even all the lectures. Try and remember people’s names, because they look interesting and you like interesting people.

And then second week comes around, and sleeping in that extra ten minutes is worth walking into class half an hour late, clutching terrible coffee and cursing the sun because it’s just too bright. You forgot to buy textbooks, but you’ll buy them next week as soon as your youth allowance is transferred. There was that lecture you missed too, but you can totally catch up online. Yeah.

Fifth week, and classes are starting to get in the way of your assignments. And sometimes the library is for sleeping, alright? That book is overdue, though, and you haven’t read any of it. Should probably return it on Friday when you have that class, but then you don’t go to that class. Next week.

Soon it’s week ten and you’ve got no idea what subjects you’re actually enrolled in … something to do with books, maybe. Everything is due all at once and you can’t see anymore because you’ve consumed so much caffeine you’re seeing sounds.

Then it’s week twelve, somehow even more things are due. Library books need to be returned but you have no idea where they are. The cafe staff know your name and your order. Classes, what are they? You’re pretty sure lectures aren’t actually real, anyway.

But for now, week one is ahead and the trimester looks pretty shiny from here. So good luck, young arts traveller. May your trimester be bright, for at least the first week.

(Originally published in Wordly: O-week edition, DUSA)

Comic happenings

So my friend is super good at drawing and we decided we wanted to do a thing together, so a webcomic is happening! We’ve planned out the first year of storylines and I’m in the process of writing chapter one.

The basic premise is that a vampire, werewolf, fairy and ghost have just moved in together. Now, that’s been done before a few times, but what we’re doing is a lot of silly nonsense, really.

None of this dark vampire underground business, none of these grisly murders, just a bunch of twenty somethings living together trying to live, really, just with some added features like fangs and monthly transformations into hairy beasts. Y’know, whatevs.

I’m not sure when this’ll all be up, but if you like comics that are:

  • hilarious (hopefully my jokes are funny to other people)
  • set in Melbourne
  • full of queers
  • and diversity!!!!
  • free to read

… then you should watch this space!

NaNoWriMo again

My novel so far:

cloud

… in word cloud form. I guess that the don is from all the don’ts that I leave the t’s off, because STRAYA.

In all honesty I thought fuckin would be there a whole heap more (but there is also fuck, so I guess that counts for something). This year, I’m extending the zombie story that I got published a few months ago, and it’s more explicitly YA. I’ve also got another MC in there, so there are two main narratives that will merge at … some point.

As of 15,000 words in I only have two more chapters plotted until I’m winging it. So I assume the two groups will meet, who knows.

Onwards!

Poetry competition

Lovely readers, if any of you are poets, here is a competition for you! The 457 Prize in Poetry.

This competition revivifies these ancient links between poetry and politics by calling for submissions on a topic that draws together many different and pressing political issues of the present: the Australian 457 visa for skilled immigrants.”

Closing date is the 18th of October.

Here is the .pdf or you can go to their website here.

Block

The thing that I think is the worst for me is when I try and write something and it’s nothing at all like how I imagined it in my head, and then that feeling is the thing that makes me blocked. I know what I want my words to be like and I’m not there yet.

I want them to be like that feeling when you’re scrunched into a ball and you plunge into water, and everything’s dark and cool and you can’t open your eyes yet but the water is everywhere around you.

I recently read The Sopranos by Alan Warner and I think that his style is something that I want to emulate in my own work for now because I guess that’s the closest thing to what I want my voice to be like but it’s not quite there yet. And it’s super frustrating because I know what I want.

It’s kinda like the Ira Glass video I posted last time. ‘It’s going to take a while. It’s going to take you a while. It’s normal to take a while. You just gotta fight your way through that.’

Just gotta keep on keepin’ on, I guess.

Stylin’

Writing style is something I never really worried about until this year until someone pointed it out to me. Some vague amount of time ago, I decided that I’m was going to be a YA author. I’ve always liked YA and recently I’ve been reading a lot of terrible YA for my thesis project (not all of it is terrible), and so I’ve unconsciously absorbed a lot of terrible, lazy habits.

So I go to uni and study creative writing, but I think that I don’t really have a writing style to call my own. I can kind of manage one in my short short stories, but I find this much harder when writing anything above 500 words. Sustaining that style just becomes too hard and so I get lazy. I tried to start my thesis story a while back, got to 5k words and then saw it was just a reproduction of the YA that shits me up the wall; my story was flavourless.

I think this piece, called Salt and published in Deakin University’s writers’ club’s publication (phew), Wordly, is the beginnings of what could be my own style, but I don’t know.

photo

Right now I can’t write like that for very long, the piece above is only 300 or so words, but I want to have my own voice. So that’s a side-goal for my honours year, I guess.

(Also, what a cool font my story is in. Whoever chose that is a genius, I say!)

Adventures in honour(s)

Reasons I have not updated this in a long time include uni! So I’m doing honours at the moment and we have to write a story and an exegesis and they make up a thesis (which is a terrifying word).

Interrogating heteronormativity: pansexuality and gender variance in young adult fiction is what my project is called at the moment. It has a nice colon and many keywords in it, so I am quite happy.

(Titles are hard and I hate them. I’m fairly certain that my story will also need a title, so the week before it’s due I may just be crying in a corner somewhere because titles are hard.)

So basically what I’m researching is heteronormativity in YA fiction. Books that try and avoid it often end up perpetuating it anyway (not all of them!) and I want to know why. Because I do it myself, in ways that I don’t realise until I read through my first draft and see all these icky things in there. The way I’ve tended to go lately is just completely ignore heteronormativity because I just got sick of dealing with it. If I give my protagonists a limited pool of characters they deal with, then I can gloss over the issue.

But if I ignore it, is that somehow irresponsible? And I don’t know. And I’m not making a judgement on other authors here, this project is really just about me and my own writing. Other authors can do what they like.

Maybe after this year I’ll just go back to my old way of ignoring everything. But examining my own writing is something that I want to do, and honours is providing me a structured way to do it.