I’ve got a new story out: “Last Ocean Tide Lost in Sand” is available in Capricious #11! It features an aromantic family, a depressed spaceship and a magical fox all seeking a better life on a planet that’s un-terraforming into contagious, deadly sand. Every person is non-binary, there’s multiple sets of neopronouns, and it’s sort of Space Australia!
The kernel of this story is about a decade old and I was only able to finally figure out how to tie it all together in early 2018 when seeing Sword & Sonnet, so it’s really nice not only to have actually written it, but to have it published as well!
There is also an interview with me in this issue. I talk a bit about “Last Ocean Tide Lost in Sand” and a bit about some weird Australian animals.
Additionally, next month Sharp & Sugar Tooth is being released and you’ll find my short “Red, from the Heartwood” in it! There’s also an aromantic, non-binary family… but none of the other things! It’s set in modern day Perth and features arospec questioning, vegetarian cannibalism, polyamory with both a queerplatonic relationship and a romantic one, and weird apple stuff.
I meant to do a 2018 summary but I ended up too busy in December because I got top surgery!!! It went well and I’m really happy! Dealt with a lot of anxiety about Am I Queer Enough and Do I Deserve This and Can I Afford This, but the recovery so far has had some rough spots I have not for one single second regretted it. (Also I went back to full-time hours halfway through last year and that’s been a rough adjustment…)
Sometimes I wish I weren’t aromantic. At various points in my life, I have wished this. Unspoken, because it is unspeakable: I would that I were not, that I were something else. I have fought so hard for so long to create understanding and pride and well-being about myself as an aromantic in an alloromantic world, and yet this is a secret that I have never shared: sometimes, even as an adult, even more than a decade after I first called myself aromantic and realised I wasn’t broken, realised I didn’t have to dread being broken or un-broken or broken in… sometimes I wish I weren’t aromantic.
“Kin, Painted” has been reprinted and podcasted at PodCastle! It’s narrated by Julia Rios. If you’ve had a hankering to listen to a story about an aroace middle child of a queer-normative and supportive family trying to find out how to fit into the world and how or whether to paint, well now you’re in luck! Hooray!
It is so wonderful to me that so many people like this quiet little story.
The Kickstarter for Broad Knowledge: 35 Women Up To No Good and Sharp & Sugar Tooth: Women Up To No Good (edited by Joanne Merriam and Octavia Cade respectively) has relaunched! My arospec love story “Red, from the Heartwood” appears in Sharp & Sugar Tooth and features a non-binary arospec dryad, who bakes desserts with apples plucked from her own body, juggling her long-term queerplatonic relationship and her new romantic relationship with a woman who’s having a little bit of difficulty with the idea of relationship anarchy. It’s got body horror and good food and weird food and questioning arospec wonderings about romance and puns and getting to know your girlfriend and aroace metamour over Star Trek and, don’t worry, the queerplatonic relationship is still strong and happy at the end of the story. You can read the opening of it here! Please have a look at the line-up and the other sneak peeks, Sharp & Sugar Tooth is looking pretty mouth-wateringly good.
The latest episode of GlitterShip contains a new poem from me, “Cucumber”! It’s about a queerplatonic sword & sorcery adventuring couple fighting against the idea of “just friends”, and it’s a spiritual sequel to Zucchini.
New story: Issue 9 of Capricious, The Gender Diverse Pronouns Issue, is available now in ebook and paperback! It contains my story “Walking the Wall of Papered Peaces”, featuring a (sex-repulsed demiro ace) cis clockmaker engaged to a (allo) non-binary plumber, both of whom end up on a weird quasi-magical quest to find a wall made of origami animals because of communication problems in their relationship. I have some things to talk about regarding this story, but that’ll come in a later post. As you might expect, the other stories in this issue feature gender diverse pronouns and a lot of non-binary characters! Please check it out, and thank you to everyone who supported its fundraising and who has talked about it!
New poem: earlier this month my poem “Penelope’s body looming” was accepted by Strange Horizons! It’s inspired by Greek myth and my gender journey, and it’s the first poem I’ve written in two years so that’s very exciting.
New calendar: well this is a bit late now but at the start of this year I was convinced by some friends to make a calendar of my bird photos for them, and I did so, and now you can buy this bird calendar if you’d like! The individual photos are also available as prints and cards. I have been told I’ll be making another calendar for next year, which I’ll hopefully get organised before next January… :p
New page: I’ve added a wallpaper page to this site! It currently has a few 1920×1080 wallpapers of my wildlife photography (at present, black cockatoos and other native Australian birds) and I’ll be adding more birds to it soon as well as some bees and architecture and flowers. All the wallpapers are and will be free to download. If there’s any specific bird (or other) photos I’ve posted on Twitter that you’d love as a wallpaper, let me know and I’ll prioritise that!
New focus: the last few months I’ve been grappling with an issue that took up a lot of mental energy and time. An issue I started thinking about in 2016 but put off because of the toxic job/unemployment situation. An issue I have, as of this week, partially resolved in that I booked a date for top surgery.
I’ve written before about the Korra finale, about how my elation at Korra and Mako not getting back together turned into my stomach bottoming out when Korra and Asami held hands, that I immediately felt guilty about being upset by something that would be groundbreaking for so many people, that I wrestled with whether I was allowed to feel upset that the ever-increasing hope of Aang’s successor finishing her show single was suddenly dashed. And I decided that I was allowed to feel upset, and I decided that I was allowed to talk about being upset, but only if I paired this with being explicit about how important it is that Korra and Asami held hands and stared into each other’s eyes, how important it is to me and to my friends and to strangers across the world that there is canon bi rep. There was zero possibility that Korra was aro and yet I had built up this hope that she could be happily single for the final episode because that is all I can ever hope for on television and that is fucked up.
But you know what? If in the comics Korra and Asami weren’t together, if the cartoon canon were changed and they had never held hands, they had never stared into one another’s eyes in a direct mirror of the wedding scene, if they were platonic besties? I would not be happy with that. I would not celebrate that. I would not call that a victory for female friendship rep. I would not say “isn’t the fluidity and journey of sexuality so important?” I would not tell women who are attracted to women that they should be happy about this. I would not tell them to shut up, I would not tell them “but this Korra is not that Korra”, I would not refuse to hear and boost their concerns, I would not write articles about how wonderful and important and nuanced this female platonic-only friendship is to me and to everyone without even mentioning that this is queer erasure and that this has hurt others. I would not go “fuck you got mine” at the erasure of a character’s canon queerness.
And you know what? If Jughead in Riverdale turns out to be aromantic and allosexual I won’t proclaim that a victory for aros. I won’t call that a win. I won’t tell aces that their pain at being erased doesn’t matter because fuck you got mine. And if Jughead in Riverdale turns out to be aroace but touch-hungry and romance-hungry, that’s not a victory either.
• Do think about why. Why do you want to write an arospec character? Are you questioning or have you identified as aro in the past? Do you have aro friends or acquaintances and what to do right by them? Did you accidentally create an aro character and realise something that an aro wrote resonated? Do you want to be inclusive and raise awareness and educate your readers about us? Have you read about the aromantic spectrum and thought it was interesting? Did you decide not to write a romance and then thought “well, in for a penny in for a pound”? Have you been thinking your writing’s getting a bit formulaic and that it’ll be an invigorating challenge to write an aro character? Are you collecting characters of different identities like they’re Pokémon? Do you think it’s the new craze to make you stand out amongst the crowd? Are aro readers just easy advertising and money? Do you think being aro is more palatable than other queer identities? Is there some plot block that you can only solve with an aro character?
Just like with any minority, there are better reasons and worse reasons to write an aro character. I’m not saying that if you have some particular reason then you shouldn’t, but you perhaps should think more carefully about the character and whether the reason for their existence might lead you to negative stereotypes and upsetting real life aros with this representation.
• Do open up your search engine of choice and start researching! Use search terms like aromantic spectrum, aromantic identities, aromantic terms, myths about aromanticism, aromantic stereotypes, aromantics in fiction, aromantic representation, aromantic fiction recommendations, realising you’re aromantic, might be aromantic, writing aromantic characters, aromantic resources, aromantic relationships, aromantic relationship hierarchy, relationship anarchy, what does aromantic feel like, am I aromantic…
I’m touch-averse, though not repulsed. I do not enjoy the vast majority physical contact, it does nothing for me, I have no desire to touch or be touched, I read about skin hunger and I’m just baffled. I don’t feel violated or experience sensory overload or have a physical reaction to being touched, the idea of it doesn’t make me feel ill except when it’s in sexual contexts; I just don’t like it. I’m pretty asensual.
I had a short Twitter thread on this topic several months ago and have finally been able to expand on my thoughts!
I’ve been interested in attraction magic for a long while. Succubi, love spells, seduction magic, manipulation, enthralling—all that kind of stuff. I’m interested in thinking about how they would work, or how they would not work, on acespec and arospec characters. So whenever I see a piece of fiction where attraction magic and asexuality/aromanticism coexist I’m always excited to see how the author’s chosen to think about this intersection. And so far… So far I’ve always been disappointed. There’s just “this asexual (usually also aromantic) character is not affected, that’s it”.