Well, the holiday seasons are approaching, and I have been a very naughty blogger. Grad school + interning at a labor union + running two organizations + managing a drag troupe/performing + national organizing boards + touring + cats + swing time + taking down the man + looking cute + sleep = one very busy genderfucking femme boy. I’ve needed to officially apologize for my sporadic blogging for months now, but I didn’t want to be one of THOSE bloggers who never updated because their life was too busy. Time for me to pony up, and seeing that I look very much like a My Little Pony, I’m going to pay my dues in a very fabulous way. Last night at drag practice, my twin, who also happens to be my very dear friend and fellow genderqueer performance artist/educator Ignacio Rivera, called me up and said, in so many words, “Hey, I’m doing this Blog Hop thing. You’re gonna do it too.” I aim to please, so here is the closest thing to a blog I’ve been able to write in the past several months (though I do promise I have about 6 drafts waiting to be released upon the world at any given moment). “The Blog Hop,” is a little survey of questions where writers can talk about their work, without having to actually do a lot of work via writing a full blog post. (You’re welcome for my minimal effort which, knowing me, will still be hella long and so not that minimal. So for reals, you’re welcome for this excuse to waste time and avoid your own work). And for all us folks who are old enough to remember the 90s, this will be very reminiscent of those AOL chain letter surveys that we LOVED because it gave us the opportunity to really express ourselves through listing our current favorite songs and the name of our latest crush. Well, we loved them until they got old… which for me took about a month….
HERE WE GO!
What is the working title of your next book?
Oh, there are several. The big one is something similar to the title of my blog: Midwest GenderQueer, Genderfucked in the Midwest, OR Musings of a Genderfucked Midwesterner (or something like that). I also have two collections of short stories which are usually what I read from when I perform; “Glamboyant” and “Bar Stories.” I also have a partnering adventures collection called “What the Fuck Are You, and Who Are You Doing?”
I have a children’s book series in perpetual draft form that follows a species of critter called the Tradupsi. Their adventures represent the experiences of oppressed trans* communities and their solutions can be aligned to methods of social justice organizing and community building. The first book is called, “The Tradupsi Went Down the Mountain.”
I also have a couple fiction novels and short stories that I once upon a time started, and sometimes like to revisit for fun. The longest, most extensive one is called “White Horse Dogs.” These book projects are mostly for me, and will likely never be printed or read by anyone.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
The Midwest GenderQueer book, and related collected essays, are coming about because I can’t really avoid it. I have always been big on writing about my experiences and as the passages collect, I figure I’ll need to do something with them.
The Tradupsi series came out of a particularly rough dealing with colleague organizers where the T was not only silent, but completely and outwardly rejected. I wrote the first book as a positive method of venting out the pain and isolation I was feeling as a trans person and how, as an organizer, I felt frustrated and completely unsupported. There is a reason this is a book series… :P<
White Horse Dogs is the combination of several different books which I had been writing since I was about thirteen. When I was nineteen I started to compile the various story lines together into one, organized story. It has no specific inspiration other than bored daydreams. However, it is the book I was writing when I came out, which was not a coincidence. The main characters are two boys, and as the story progressed, the more the lives of these characters blurred into my own sense of self. Working on the book was integral in my process of finding myself.
What genre does your book fall under?
Uh…. genderfuck? What else?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The Tradupsi series is illustrated in clay, so it would be a claymation movie. And…yeah, I think that my book would need to be an anime, cause I already look like an anime character and that’d be the most awesome thing ever. Hayao Miyazaki is standing by. OR Christian Bale OMG. How fucking baller would that be? He already knows how to rock out eye make up and a boa.
And maybe this is me being egotistical, but Christian Bale could totally look like the most handsome, sexy version of me ever. Here’s what I would look like after the sweaty, martial arts scene of my movie. Or perhaps I was just in some sort of explosion and the blast blew all my clothes off.
Right??????????????????????????? Now that sounds like a good movie. And if not Christian Bale, we could just hire Ignacio Rivera, cause again, we are twins (seen here with the fab Johnny Blazes while on our GenderQueeries Tour).
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Furious activist JAC; angsty genderqueer Midwesterner against the world. Now with more candy! – Too dramatic? Well, the one sentence description of my blog is “Queery musings of a genderfucking femme boy” and I think that sums it up pretty well.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Well it isn’t finished yet, and with my rate of creative productivity, possibly a billion years. The dino-space martians of the future are gonna love my historical document.
What other books would you compare this to within your genre?
Writing style-wise, it depends on if I am writing something with an activist bent, or something more like prose. Prose stuff, I think, is a little similar to Richard Brautigan “In Watermelon Sugar” meets Camus meets George Elliot… Or at least, I dare to dream, right? Similar themed works (but not really comparable cause duh, these authors are awesome) would probably be Kate Bornstein‘s “Gender Outlaw”, Scott Turner Schofield‘s “Two Truths and a Lie”, mixed with bitey activist attitudes like what you find in S. Bear Bergman and Mattilda Sycamore Bernstein‘s works.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Like I said, I can’t not write about what I’m experiencing, so the inspiration is in my life. Sometimes it is awesome, sometimes it sucks, but for whatever reason I find it is worth writing about. All in all, I would like to give some visibility to an experience I have found that many, many people have: being non-gender normative and trans in a conservative environment with minimal resources and community. It is a lot of people’s story. This particular one just happens to be mine.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I have really, really awesome hair. Maybe you think that has nothing to do with the book, but you’re wrong. My hair has to do with everything.
Here are the writers whose work you can check out next:
Well, I have given several shout outs of some favorites already (see above). And while I am able to write, I am not equally skilled at reading. So, the people I’m listing are necessarily “writers,” as they are artists who may also write, but they may do other things too! I can’t list every activist artist I like, so a short cut is to check out folks on Trans-Genre. Trans Genre is an awesome network of all kinds of artists, activists, musicians, and more who connect their performance to their trans* experience. It is a “showcase” of amazing folks, founded and run by AJ Bryce.
GenderCast is like an online radio station, talking specifically about gender related news and topics. For all you not-so-good-readers out there, it is a must!
Kit Yan is a great person, performer, and advocate (especially for youth). He’s recently blown up on the trans* performance radar, which is very exciting. His spoken word ranges from moving, to comical, to down right randy. Definitely a must when exploring trans artistry and activism.
The Lady Miss Vagina Jenkins: a fierce femme activist and burlesque performer. She is savvy, smart, sexy, and everything else that is wonderful. She and I have been friends, and worked together, for years now and she is always in the front when thinking about intersectional work, especially surrounding queer women, femmes, and race issues.
Gina De Vries Femme Dandy GQ activist, writer, and femme extraordinaire. Gina has been published in several queer anthologies and erotica, and has written for some well known queer blogs like the Bilerico Project. She also is a great sex work activist and co-runs a fabulous program series called Girl Talk where trans women and non-trans women get together for spoken word and community.
TransGriot blog, written by trans activist Monica Roberts. Monica Roberts is just as, if not more, no-bullshit about trans stuff in the media than I am. So, obviously, I LOVE everything she writes. She discusses a lot of intersectional topics relevant to our community, often without any sugar coating. She also talks about sports sometimes, a topic I know almost nothing about…
F to eMbody: Athens Boys Choir (Harvey Katz) and Rocco Katastophe‘s collaborative project of music, poetry, and trans* experience. Both Rocco and Katz are awesome folks and very dedicated to supporting the community.
Illdoctrine.com Ok, Jay Smooth isn’t queer to my knowledge. He’s the kind of activist who doesn’t feel the need to talk about it, but I’m pretty sure he is not. Despite this major fail, he is fucking awesome at analyzing cultural and political events with real humor, and real honesty.
Well, there you have it folks. Probably more than you ever needed, or wanted to know about my writing processes and progresses. BUT it is nice to be blogging again! See you in another couple months…. JK! (maybe)