Think back to when you started writing. What’s an earlier influence you outgrew, abandoned, or turned against?

I was very influenced by the Romantics, and the Beat Generation interpretation of a modern yet Romantic view of life. This led me, at first, to write a lot about idealist, lofty subjects, a veneration of corporeal beauty, a concentration on the alignment between aesthetics off the page turning up on the page. I wouldn’t say I’ve abandoned this tradition, but at the suggestion of two profoundly influential undergraduate mentors, I’ve ‘turned against’ it in the sense that I try to flip the subject on its head. I’m more interested in unraveling those issues, complicating them, rather than merely celebrating them.

In her book ‘The Queer Art of Failure’ Judith Halberstam offers alternative ways of knowing and becoming. Instead of valuing the conventional paths of belonging, achievement and completion, she thinks about and champions the ways of “failure”: losing your way, giving in, being excluded, forgetting, awkwardness, coming apart. Not just rejecting the “normal,” Halberstam shows alternatives to success as paths that have always been there, moving away from mastery and coherence. In this series of Q&A’s with contributors to our upcoming Queer issue, we play with these ideas. When we aren’t trying to finish first (or finish anything) where do we end up?

Think back to when you started writing. What’s an earlier influence you outgrew, abandoned, or turned against?

I love speculative fiction, fantasy, and sci-fi. I probably read more of it than anything else. And I figured out early on that I will likely only ever be a passionate reader and enthusiast — I don't have the dedication to world-building and allegory that has created my favourite speculative works, at least at this point. I'm still a fledgling fiction writer and would much prefer to read or watch sci-fi than create it. My average Friday night involves a jar of Nutella, a spoon, and Battlestar Galactica. I'm very okay with this.

In her book ‘The Queer Art of Failure’ Judith Halberstam offers alternative ways of knowing and becoming. Instead of valuing the conventional paths of belonging, achievement and completion, she thinks about and champions the ways of “failure”: losing your way, giving in, being excluded, forgetting, awkwardness, coming apart. Not just rejecting the “normal,” Halberstam shows alternatives to success as paths that have always been there, moving away from mastery and coherence. In this series of Q&A’s with contributors to our upcoming Queer issue, we play with these ideas. When we aren’t trying to finish first (or finish anything) where do we end up?

"I think I’m in the process of abandoning writing itself as an influence."

In her book The Queer Art of FailureJudith Halberstam offers alternative ways of knowing and becoming. Instead of valuing the conventional paths of belonging, achievement and completion, she thinks about and champions the ways of “failure”: losing your way, giving in, being excluded, forgetting, awkwardness, coming apart. Not just rejecting the “normal,” Halberstam shows alternatives to success as paths that have always been there, moving away from mastery and coherence. In this series of Q&As with contributors to our upcoming Queer issue, we play with these ideas. When we aren’t trying to finish first (or finish anything) where do we end up?

In her book ‘The Queer Art of Failure’ Judith Halberstam offers alternative ways of knowing and becoming. Instead of valuing the conventional paths of belonging, achievement and completion, she thinks about and champions the ways of “failure”: losing your way, giving in, being excluded, forgetting, awkwardness, coming apart. Not just rejecting the “normal,” Halberstam shows alternatives to success as paths that have always been there, moving away from mastery and coherence. In this series of Q&A’s with contributors to our upcoming Queer issue, we play with these ideas. When we aren’t trying to finish first (or finish anything) where do we end up?