Queer Bodies

The end of the year posts are coming, I assure you. There’s still the retrospective, resolutions, and uncapping the memory jar. Let’s just say that I am optimistic about the new year and that is coming from me. Where are my Daria glasses?

I almost don’t want to look back at all.

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Although it is nearly the end of the year, I just wanted to let you all know that my short story, “Dysmorphia,” is featured in the BODIES issue of Cactus Heart. You can order a copy for yourself here. It’s quite a diverse offering. You will find many writers across the LGBTQ spectrum, voices from the margins. Stories about self-image, gender, coping with illness. I’m happy to be in such good company.

Permafrost also wants to publish a poem of mine in an upcoming print issue. It’s dedicated to a long-time online friend who quietly suffered through drug addiction. I’ll post that when the issue is out.

If you’d like to follow, I now have an Instagram account: @lettersforburning. My sister made me get it. There will be no letters on fire, but you can look forward to books, book quotes, and probably food.

See you all soon.

The Matter of Bodies

A simple fact: we are our bodies. This fact was one I tried my hardest to escape especially in adolescence, which of course, led to complete misery. Detachment of the flesh, asceticism: these seemed worthwhile goals. Buddhism was the only world religion worthy of my time. The rest of that time was spent anguishing about bodily things that simply couldn’t be changed. All the energy of youth, so uselessly spent.

It was a process to some semblance of acceptance. It’s always a process. You learn: the mind is the body is the mind is the body.

We try to escape our blemishes too. This past month, my sister and I have been participating in a university study on skin. It’s quite an experience having someone actually count out your flaws to you. We had to be the appropriate amount of blemished in order to participate. I’m receiving blue light therapy – which consists of some kind of alien technology half-surrounding my head for about 15-20 minutes – and my sister is having some kind of electro-therapy done. So far, I haven’t felt anything except slight tingles on my face. My sister says she tastes metal. Somehow, these treatments are supposed to help in ways that topical potions cannot.

It’s for science, you see.

Our pictures have been taken for BEFORE and AFTER. My sister and I always have a good laugh at those TV advertisements where the BEFORE pictures are always of pretty faces with maybe two or three blemishes. No scarring, no boils, no cysts. My heart truly bleeds for the miserable lives they must lead.

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But the prom’s tomorrow!

Maybe not so coincidentally, my fiction writing has been all about the body: how it’s a prison, how we may attempt to escape it, how it is perceived, how these perceived images can become so wildly distorted. It’s obviously personal. How appropriate that one of these stories found a home recently at Corium Magazine. Their tagline: “beneath the skin.”

Now, I’m working through dysmorphia, fascinated by all these monsters we see in the mirror. Maybe it will just turn into a small project of similarly themed stories, or maybe it will turn into a whole body of literature itself. The distortions can be truly endless.