painted skins, ungendered words, agender heart

The latest issue of Lackington’s is online for all to read now! You read my story, “Kin, Painted”, right here and see Likhain’s illustration for it, and there are other great stories and art to see. Ebooks are still available of course, and if you enjoy it then consider a subscription!

This story originated on a postcard in 2009. I was having difficulty getting back into writing back then, and I found that writing flash fiction on postcards meant I couldn’t agonise over words and sentences, what to do next and then after that. So I wrote a lot of them. Most weren’t that great but they were words, characters, plot, concepts that I managed to get out without a Word document driving me to anxiety. Last year I remembered this particular one and wondered if it could make a decent short story. In the postcard the narrator’s arc ended differently. Unique in its own way, but ultimately I prefer the newer version!


the origins of Kin, Painted

We painted our bodies.
My brother: gold like the ideal sun, rich like all the treasures of the world melted onto his skin. He went to the emperor, to be a measure man. If anyone gave the emperor a gift less amazing than my brother’s skin, it was to be melted down.
My sister: silver like starlight, as bright and glossy like a still lake had dyed her. She went to the …

I wish I could remember to whom I sent the postcard, see if they remember it and see what they think of its descendant.

And now I’m going to talk about being agender and writing ungendered and the stories and poems that I’ve had published this winter.

I have always been confused about gender. Society and presentation and theory, sure, but that’s all outside your skin. What was inside? How does gender inside people work? How does gender inside me work? Spoilers: it doesn’t. Earlier this year I had a series of epiphanic thoughts and was able to push through the “I don’t know I don’t know” that had always stopped me from progressing past “gender wh?” in the past. I mulled over it for a while, and it’s the only thing concerning gender inside my skin that’s made sense to me: I’m agender. Non gendered, rather than neutrois or androgynous. Gender is just not a thing that I have.

Yep, I’m a triple A. Aromantic, asexual, agender. My orientations and identity all default to “nope”. For the record, she/her pronouns are still fine, and I’m femme. UPDATE: I now use ou/ou or them/they pronouns.

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sky and kin

My story “Tanith’s Sky” is one of 50 reprinted in The Best of Luna Station Quarterly: The First Five Years! This anthology’s only in paper form but you can still read “Tanith’s Sky” online here. It’s about what happens after the world’s been saved, it’s about grief and non-romantic love and maths and astrology and gender.

And I’m in the new issue of Lackington’s with “Kin, Painted”, which is illustrated by Likhain! It’s about finding a way to be happy in yourself, in your family and in your life, it’s about paint and non-romantic love and romantic love and compromise and being different amongst the different and quite a lot of paint. In a couple weeks the issue will be online for free but if you can’t wait there’s the (very recommendable) ebook and subscriptions available!


Kan and the Corpse

Kan and the Corpse
fantasy, family, grief; 2011; postcard

Kan dragged her mother’s corpse back to town. Her brothers were waiting for her at the gates but did not help her with the body. They could not — they were dead.

“Where is she?” they asked and cluttered around Kan, for none of them had been separated from their corpses until cremation.
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Elie and the Ship

Elie and the Ship
fantasy, non-humans; 2011; postcard

It wasn’t the fact that the ship was conscious that bothered Elie. Nor the fact that it had developed a soul over the years — or had had a sailor’s soul grafted into it; the stories conflicted.

The thing that bothered — really seriously bothered, to the point that she was considering leaving at the next port — was that the ship kept trying to flirt with her.
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Tegan and the Queen

Tegan and the Queen
fantasy, non-humans, relationships; 2011; postcard

Tegan kills the King for the princess. She has always done everything the princess has asked of her, for better or for worse.

In better times, Tegan would have been tried and executed for treason — and lied for the princess — but with the King’s possession there are few people saddened at news of his death. Sad death was the only exorcism, yes, but not that the throne will once more be taken by a human.
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