Monday, December 11, 2006

Lunch with Julia and gay fiction writing

Quite a nice day at work today. For a Monday. Managed to look like a professional for most of the time and even get a few emails sorted. The good news is that I won’t have to come in on Friday after all, as the meeting scheduled for then has been postponed till after Christmas. Hurrah. Suits me, sir. And I looked like a young, cool person by taking in my new iPod and dropping it into the conversation every five minutes. Any conversation. At last! - I have a gadget that nobody else in the office has got. The sad thing of course is that any vestiges of coolness I might have been able to snatch at are washed away by the sort of music I actually downloaded onto the damn thing: um, that will be The Seekers, Tony Christie, the Monkees and a bit of Mozart. Ah well, I never was a rock chick. Even when young … Anyone want to know the way to Amarillo?

Lunch with Julia was grand, although Chancellor’s was packed with exam-demob happy students, so we were crushed into a corner on the bar facing the crowds. I had the same food I always have, but h. there’s a comfort in familiarity, you know. Actually, it’s been one wild social whirl this afternoon – I also popped into the Advice Centre’s Christmas do for a mince pie and a coke. Last of the great party animals, eh? In spite of being a social coward, I had a good conversation with the Deputy Dean of Students about writing and novels, and how the h. one does it all. I think I’m more of an organic writer than a high-powered planner to be honest; when I’m at the top of a page, I never know quite what’s going to happen at the end of it. What a contrast to my usual timetabled-to-the-point-of-obsession daily life indeed …

I’ve also been thinking today about why I write gay fiction – it’s a question posed by Clayton on MySpace ( and it’s certainly a good one. I can’t give a logical reason (sorry, Clayton …) but it’s simply where I feel most at home. I don’t actually know what girls think (query: did I miss that lesson at school?...) but the man in my head (ah hello, Michael – I wondered where you’d got to) knows what he thinks all the time, and why, and I feel most fully alive when I’m plugged into him and his concerns. I suppose that, once again, it’s something organic and instinctual. I’ve been asked many a time why I don’t write from the point of view of a straight girl – and I’ve tried to fit in with what people seem to want (believe me, I’ve tried!) – but I’m never really happy with it for myself, although “Pink Champagne and Apple Juice” has been well received in the small circles it’s found itself in. But, hell, even there I gave that novel a strong secondary gay male character to make myself happier. I just don’t feel comfortable doing “straight” as a genre; it’s simply not “me”. I hope that makes some kind of weird sense. And, yes, I do realise (I’ve been told often enough!) that the fact that in my everyday life I’m a straight female makes it almost impossible to sell the books I produce. But, in the end I’m writing for me first and foremost, and for self-expression, and the rest of the game will have to play itself out as it may. Brave words, eh?...

Tonight (back to the mundane here), it’s shopping at Tesco, and a TV slump. Thank goodness for a night in.

Today’s nice things:

1. Lunch with Julia
2. Thinking more deeply about why I write
3. Showing off my iPod!

Anne Brooke


Jackie Luben said...

But some of your short stories are from a completely different perspective, Anne. Your biblical stories, for example, and some of the lighthearted stories written for Writers' News.


Anne Brooke said...

Oh, yes, sorry, Jackie - I'm being confusing. The original question was about the novels, so I answered with those in mind. I haven't written any shorts for a while though. I think I'm happier with the longer stuff and poetry at the moment!

See you tonight btw!