In Print: Corvid Queen & Everything Else From The Year That Wasn't

It has been rather a long time since I last checked in. It’s been a hell of a year (or two) and I have not always had the language or the energy to keep up these correspondences. 

Additionally, I just didn’t publish a lot in that time – which isn’t to say I wasn’t writing. Actually, I wrote an awful lot last year, including finally putting together a full short story collection, which is on submission to a few places as we speak. I decided to focus more on completing the whole than trying to get individual pieces out into the world, which was a very different process for me. More than anything, though, last year I wrote for me. I plan on writing a follow-up to this that’s a little less perfunctory and a little more navel-gazing, something about pain and bodies and jobs and the feeling of breath when it traps itself in the gaps between your ribs and refuses to budge, but for now, a run down. 

Here are the things I forgot to telegraph, in the year that covid swallowed up:

1. The Fox Bride

Printed in Sword and Kettle Press’s Corvid Queen, Jan 2020

A lighthearted, dreamy fairytale about falling in love in a world of animal transformation, a love letter to slavic fairytales, tough, boisterous girls and soft-hearted bisexual men. 

2. I Put On Some Indigo Trousers and Think I’m Girl Poseidon

Printed in Closet Cases: Queers On What We Wear, Et Ali Press, March 2020

A short and sweet poem about fashion and how that intersects with my queerness, written for Megan Volpert’s incredible art project. I’ve talked about this one already here but given it didn’t come out until 2020, I thought it bore repeating, Also notable in that when I wrote the piece I was single and feeling a little bit alienated from myself as a queer person since it had been so long since I’d had ANY kind of romantic relationship, and by the time it came out I’d been with my partner for months. Be the gay you want to see in the world.  

3. The Art of Compromise

Printed in Wicked Gay Ways, Autumn 2020

So. This is porn. Or, more accurately, its a lighthearted, silly, fun slice of lesbian erotica. It’s hard to say whether being in a sapphic relationship has influenced my ease with writing lesbian intimacy, but what I know is that I saw a call for submissions and really wanted to write something unflinchingly sexy and funny, which I hope came across. There’s this odd prevalence to lesbian fiction, where it often feels somewhat infantilised or sanitised, stripped of sexuality into this place of delicate feminine purity, which I have theorised might be in response to the pornography industry co-opting lesbian sex into fodder for the male-gaze. I wanted to, in my own, incredibly minor way, give a little push-back. I wanted to write something from the queer female gaze. There’s still some pretty prose in there because I don’t know how to not write a poem, even in the boudoir, but I’m really pleased that I took a chance and gave erotica a go.

4. In The Spotlight: Peer Support during Covid-19

Printed in Community Living Well Magazine Winter 2020

A brief interview I did for my real job about how talking about your mental health and finding a connection is vital to staying well in the midst of the pandemic.  

So. That was 2020 in writing. Let us never speak of it again. 

Now, however, I’d like to pivot towards my latest offering, another short story for Corvid Queen, this time about two girls, Saffie and Violet. A love story for grown-up weird little girls, embracing strangeness and cursing the people who bother you:

By the time she’s fifteen, two sweeping, side-fringed haircuts and a questionable beret habit later it’s clear that it’s not falling out on its own. It’s a darker colour, ridged and curving, curled around her cheekbone. Her own little ram’s horn, ending in a decisive sharp point.

She sprays it gold on Halloween with hairspray, calls herself a faun, then keeps it that colour for months, glitter on her cheeks and in her hair. She wears it, her strangeness, with a jaw tilted upwards, a dark sense of pride in her eyes. 

I heard that if you touch it you’ll start to grow one, too.

“Yes,” Saffie smiles, showing all of her teeth. “Would you like to try it?”

The girl laughs tentatively, her body the very shape of revulsion as she shrinks away, and Saffie growls, a little, to soundtrack her retreat.

stands on the table in the middle of lunch, once, throat tilted back on an animal howl. “One day, I’m gonna burst all the way through this human skin,” she says, eyes alight, pulling at the neck of her jumper, fluffing her hair into wildness. “I’ll be all monster, no girl, nothing left but the memories of everyone who wronged me.”

If you like mild body horror, magic rituals, hair braiding and snark, then Aries might just be the story for you, check it out for free on Corvid Queen today! 

That’s all for now, but watch this space for more meandering thoughts about surviving the world in the state it’s in, being in a body, being ignored by healthcare systems and adjusting to all that as one half of a couple.  

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