Seminal works.

In the last few weeks, there has been a not inconsiderable amount of reflection around the notion of awareness. It has been combined with an exercise in grasping what I am and what I have come from, and two pieces of that I wish to share before we move onwards to more interesting diversions. Firstly, the picture we lead with (The Kiss, 1907-1908) was a significant visual influence in my early teens, and my first exposure to it coincided with my English teacher presenting me with a particular piece of poetry to read, with the two combining for a profound emotional response:

Her Song :: Brian Patten
For no other reason than I love him wholly
I am here; for this one night at least
The world has shrunk to a boyish breast
On which my head, brilliant and exhausted, rests,
And can know of nothing more complete.
Let the dawn assemble all its guilts, its worries
And small doubts that, but for love, would infect
This perfect heart.
I am as far beyond doubt as the sun.
I am as far beyond doubt as is possible.
Up to that point sex had been summat you learnt about in Biology. I’d never considered what it meant to me. Needless to say, after over thirty years, this is still very much an ongoing process.

I have been doing quite a lot of exploration in my fiction of late, especially in reference to the various sexual orientations of various characters. This has taken in the more conventional notations of preference, and thanks to contacts via social media I’ve been exposed to a spectrum of new dispositions which I’ve now begun to jokingly refer to as ‘The Sexuality Wallchart.’ There’s also a Glossary of Terminology that was, I have to say, something of an eye-opener. I’d always though of myself as being fairly progressive in my outlook, but my naivety has been quite staggering in the face of a generation who appear to have a definition for absolutely everything. What this has made me realise is just how far awareness has moved in such a short space of time. It has also made me sit and reassess where I live in this Brave New World.
Yes to both. For the record ^^

I have a lot of empathy with 007 in this situation, because it does to me feel like I’ve turned up from being drunk and lost to discover that somewhere along the line in the last decade everything changed and nobody told me. Playing catch up as a result therefore has been pretty fraught, and has resulted in, on a number of occasions, me being caught out over defining one word as one thing when for other people it does clearly mean summat completely different. Fortunately for me however, I am, like Bond, still required to pull the trigger to complete the exposition. My presence is no longer outmoded or insignificant, if I move with the times. That means, with careful consideration, I have to be VERY particular as to what kind of ammo I’m loading when I write anything of note.

As a result of all this, in the current work I’m serialising, some subtle but very significant changes have happened in the last few weeks.

Honesty? I think so.

I wrote the original draft of The Sayers very clearly with a cis mindset, because that’s how I originally envisaged it. However, over time, and with the inclusion of a particular scene in the early chapters, my characters have begun to develop more unique lives, and as a result I have found myself not wanting to impose my limited sexual references on what they are capable of. Once I took off the blinkers, events have moved in far more interesting directions almost immediately, and the narrative is beginning to diverge from its original path. I would be concerned at this if I thought that what I’d learnt and what I was deliberately exposing myself was negative, but as it transpires the effect is the exact opposite. It is giving me more avenues to explore, and is migrating the main plot off the more established track it had been taking and into areas I am finding fascinating to explore.

As an exercise in enlightenment, this has been quite the eye-opener.

Now I really begin to understand that the best writing comes with the widest possible frame of reference. It isn’t just what you want as consideration, it is how you take that and encompass everything else that occurs around you, how this then blends and shapes your final view of the worlds you create. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to gain these insights on my terms too, and in what is an extremely conducive environment for creativity at present. Long may it continue, and if I can keep the mindset and remain a grumpy old cow to boot, so much the better.

Some things may change, but others will remain reassuringly intractable.