Asexual Authorship.

So, if there was any question that I’m the Venus of Willendork, specifically, (which for me at least, there wasn’t), I suspect the short story I’m currently working on puts it to rest.  I also suspect it’s a short story only an asexual would write, which intrigues me.  I know I’m not one to include multiple, drawn-out sex scenes in my fiction (and certainly, there’s no call for them in my non-fiction), but I feel like the asexuality of this particular story is evident in something beyond the absence of sex, something that has more to do with the lack of celibacy as a problem and the willingness to sacrifice a sex life for the sake of maintaining a nonsexual relationship.  The plot, which begins with a lesbian proposing to her gayboi roommate using a Ring Pop, – (did I mention it was dorky?) – and unfolds after the roommate accepts, strikes me as silly and fun and interesting, but it doesn’t strike me as illogical.  At the same time, a specific creative writing professor of mine, who constantly perches on my shoulder and who – in certain situations, including every time I write a spoken-word poem – I often tell to shut up and let me write my work, would insist that there’s a rather large elephant in this room that neither of the main characters seems willing to discuss.  I can just imagine the increasingly uncomfortable shift in atmosphere, as he pushes me in one of our workshops to explain why on earth these people do not care about sex.  This is the man who told me last semester, after reading another “relationship” story – (when, when, when did I start writing things so frightfully romance-oriented?  especially given that the closest I’ve ever come to reading such nonsense is the classics – Jane Eyre, Jane Austen, etc?) – that I needed to further “eroticize” the piece, a direct quote mind you.  That was the first time I flat-out rejected one of his suggestions to his face.  I may struggle at times to know what my voice is, but I know “erotic” isn’t it.

The irritating thing is that, when writing something vaguely realistic, most people expect sex.  This is probably further exaggerated by the fact that sex is the story told over and over again in the popular and mainstream genres, one of the many reasons I prefer indie music, indie movies, and basically indie everything.  Trying to convince someone that a person – asexual or otherwise – would willingly prioritize other things over sex, would “sacrifice” sex – to whatever extent – for the sake of something they find more important, feels like a losing battle to me, which just seems sad.  Given, for instance, the way I fall asleep smiling like a blasted schoolgirl after hearing from Elephant, it seems perfectly logical to me that two people like these characters would want to become each other’s legal family, even if they aren’t planning on having sex, and yet I know, folks like  my professor would insist that the characters are either bisexual, repressed/ insane, or simply poorly drawn.  Presuming they’d be willing to give up sex strikes that kind of person as presuming they would be willing to give up food, a comparison that irritates me beyond words.  I have no desire to take up sex, but speaking as someone who did attempt to give up food once (nearly seven years’ recovery from bulimia and anorexia, thank you very much), that ends with a hospital if you’re lucky and a coffin if you’re not.  So, please… explain to me how it’s the same?

I recognize that these characters are more celibate than asexual, but I love them nevertheless, just for being so thoroughly dorky (ring pop?  seriously?) – and queer.  I think starting to identify as asexual has intensifed the extent to which I identify as queer (as in, not the norm), which is interesting as people in the LGBT community seem so much more willing to adopt that term than many (straight) asexuals.   Whatever it is, I’m having fun writing stories like this one, and hopefully, they’ll mean that eventually people won’t have to scour bookshelves looking for characters who maybe, possibly, from one perspective could be interpreted as asexual.  (One of my fantasies, which will probably never come to fruition, as this is – in several ways – not the type of writing I do, is to concoct a piece of “fluff” fiction, similar to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books, in which the norm is to be gay.  I’ve been thinking lately that it would be fun to throw asexuality into the mix as well, but like I said, barring an advance from Scholastic, I’ll probably stick to the projects more suitably my style.  I just like that I’m seeing that style evolve into something noticeably queer, and that the asexuality, gray as it might be, is a part of that.)

Oh, and given that I’ve just written nearly an entire post on a lesbian who loves a gayboi, let me update you with the following news:  As far as I can tell, Elephant isn’t going anywhere; he still appears to love me, thankfully.  I heard back from him, and his response was largely focused on how my mom’s response could have been at all negative, given how liberal he knows my mom to be.  I don’t think it occurred to him that he had the option of being negative himself.  Lovely man, that “Elephant.”  So, yes.  I think I’ll rest a little easier from now on, knowing that.

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3 Responses to “Asexual Authorship.”

  1. The Gray Lady Says:

    Yeesh, what an irritating reaction. I think probably the only way you’re going to avoid it, though, is by either coming out to him yourself, or having at least one of your characters come out as asexual in the story. In which case, who knows what the reaction would be. Hopefully not anywhere near as stupid as the sex=hunger idea. But it sounds like a cute story, just the kind of thing I’d be interested in reading.

  2. theimpossiblek Says:

    I totally meant to comment on this earlier, but now I can’t resist- I just *love* creative writing! I even majored in it way back in college… I always expected to hear my professor’s or peers comment on the obvious “lack” of sex in my writing, but it never happened. What helped, though, was writing from a kid’s perspective- then it’s ok to be asexual… heh.
    Well, I know how private the writing experience can be, but if you ever want to share, I’d love to read a bit! I need to get back into that groove again- seems like I’m more into non-fiction writing though, these days.
    Ah well. 🙂

  3. willendork Says:

    The Gray Lady: I had intended, before I thought too much about the storye as an asexual mouthpiece, to have at least one character in the story sort of challenge the relationship, so hopefully that will help it respond to similar criticisms from potential readers. And I think I’ll just save myself the hassle and not show a draft to the creative writing prof I have in mind, at least, not until I have a strong enough draft that I don’t really care about that aspect of his response. 🙂 Thanks for the support.

    TheImpossibleK: Creative writing is such a huge part of my life. I love that it’s the same for you! You can’t major in it at my university, but English is one of my (two) majors, much more because of creative writing than literary analysis, although I don’t dislike the latter, necessarily. Also, I find it kind of hilarious that the stereotypes of children as asexual beings, even when all sorts of research has been done on the sexuality of (some) children, worked in your favor as an asexy writer. That’s pretty amusing. And hey, if I ever get a decent (or even finished) draft of this silly Ring Pop story, you can totally read it. Terrifying as it is to share my writing, I do love to connect with people that way. Thanks!

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