META POST:WHAT I WANT FROM WRITING IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.BY STEVEN BENSON.

Why/for whom (but myself) do I write?  If it were JUST to be for myself, I would write in a private notebook; not on a public blog(however sparsely read!)………

This thought has been brought to a head, recently, by the publication of 2 of my pieces in an Anthology, “Made Up:An Anthology of new LGBTQ+ Writing from Liverpool and Merseyside” {available here https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Up-anthology-Liverpool-Merseyside/dp/1542462959/ref=sr_1_1? and https://www.amazon.co.uk/Made-Up-anthology-Liverpool-Merseyside-ebook/dp/B078XRT94P/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1518643390&sr=1-1&keywords=made+up+lgbt+kindle

ie=UTF8&qid=1516655579&sr=8-1&keywords=made+up+lgbt }.

This was produced by eight writers in our local, Merseyside LGBT Creative Writing Group; produced by the group facilitator; and edited by him and others (of the published writers). I am the Organiser of the network of groups of which the Creative Writing Group is part. These are the 2 pieces of mine  published in that anthology: https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/the-hotel-and-the-guest-a-story-of-sebaldian-malaise-and-an-essay-in-psychogeography/ and https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/05/22/terra-incognita-by-steven-benson/

I had already had another piece-memoir dressed up as (performative) third person (called “Steps to Freedom”)- in “What’s Your World Pride Story” (2017): https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/for-pride-story-writing-group-steps-to-freedompauls-gay-start-in-life-reflections-by-steven-benson/

In 2016, I had my first (hard copy) publication: a cyclostyled Liverpool 2016 Biennial workshop zine called “If these Walls Could Talk:Writing from ABC Cinema”. Any copies of extant are probably very few(it was a small print run); but versions of this piece are here https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2016/07/18/the-smell-of-mildew-in-movie-theaterseugenides-middlesex2002-an-odeelegy-to-the-abc-cinema-lime-street-by-steven-benson/

and here https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/biennial-2016-part-1-what-has-been-formerabc-cinema-lime-street-by-steven-benson/

My very need to advertise these pieces, again, on this, in effect, reblog, testifies to some need to get my writing public!

So what is social construction and/or status angst; and what is genuine self-motivated internal need? Or, is the ACT of publishing -blog/hard copy/whatever- ITSELF a non-binary manifestation of the fact that it is neither EXternal forces nor INternal ones; but, BOTH.

Well, firstly, as an out gay man in a predominantly heterosexist and heteronormative society/context, the need for {“words are slippery, Eliot} self-promulgation (remember Thathcher’s evil “promotion{of homosexuality} line?) is there to tell the world who I am/I am here; in a structurally different way to the fashion in which non lgbt people announce{Oh dear, I used the “announce” it word:P} their heterosexuality by dint of their constant references to (obviously opposite sex) partners/spouses/children; because we are often hidden, we have to “promulgate” (yeah, LET US promote it !!!:):)). So, I want it out (or “out”!) there, including my writing (by a gay man, lgbt content or not; it is a BIG-yes, big{deal with it!} part of me). That said, exhibiting myself thus, as a gay man, CAN, sometimes (oftimes?) be dangerous, in physical or psychological ways {another post or 100} so a safe space/forum is needed to express myself, sans fear/reality of judgement, marginalisaton or-every gay man ‘s fave!- being accused of “shoving it{sic} down their/our throats”{!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!}. Hence, my friend and I set up the LGBT Creative Writing Group as just such a (successful!) safe space https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/freedom-written-on-forming-an-lgbtq-creative-writing-group-a-sort-of-poem-by-steven-benson/

 

In other words, writing in a jotter is lonely; as an lgbt person, in the closet, or in the wrong gender, it is, well: beyond words: annihilating. So, definitely, an extra need and urge in a member of a marginalized/invisibilized group, to publish… ” I am here; I am queer/gay; so I WILL publish(myself and my writings)”.

 

So, this is ANOTHER parallel thread in the tapestry of social construction/status angst versus(or, more accurately-and queerly- ATHWART) personal catharsis or self-expression.

There is something POWERFUL and reclamatory(of self and voice) in reading aloud in a supportive (but not without constructive feedback!) group :). Actually, even the lgbt safe space issue cannot be taken for granted: in a group co-run by an lgbt organisation and a non-specifically-lgbt one, the editor (from the non-lgbt-specific) organisation recommended I strike out my word “hetero-normative”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I figure they worked out the layers of (homophobic) irony because they upheld my complaint and let me leave it in the published text (“Steps to Freedom”).


Of course, there is the stab against mortality thesis/argument: the privileging of writing (particularly getting it, in some form, published) over speaking/reading; like a relic , or, more positively, a trace or inheritance: sort of metaphorical reproductive futurism. I get this; and I FEEL some of it, personally.



The above has been quite freeform/freefall; and in that (anti}structure, there is a kind of effective  setting down of one’s complex, often contradictory thoughts/positionalities.

Freeform/”freeform” gives me a rhizome: the importance( or not) of “clear”/clear language, correct/”correct” punctuation; how much this matters to the reader and how much to the writer… which leads me, by a circular route, to:… getting it out there(or not), viz{archaically parlous useage} who is this, and my other writings, written FOR; is the style/format a barrier? It certainly isn’t to me, but then I am consuming my OWN creations; does it matter for the reader? which reader?Do I care? NO………

 

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About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in "Pride", alterity, Barthes, Birth of reader, Death of Author, ecriture cuir, gay, gay affirmative writing, gay archive, gay hermeneutics, gay literature, heteronormativity, parlous loftiness, queer, queer hermeneutics, Queer wrting, Re-envisionning, safer spaces(guidelines), safety for marginalised groups, Self-actualisation, Uncategorized, Utopia, working outside hegemonies. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to META POST:WHAT I WANT FROM WRITING IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.BY STEVEN BENSON.

  1. Michelle Julia Donovan says:

    Enjoyed the read Steve. It certainly gives one reasons for self reflection. I’m yet to explore the cathartic aspect of writing. It’s a rich source of inspiration but yet feels too raw and contemporary to risk being dragged back into that dark quagmire. I suppose it’s why I prefer my fictional worlds rather than my autobiographical. As you say it’s a writer’s raison d’etre, write what you know and write what has touched you, figuratively speaking or otherwise 😁

  2. decayetude says:

    that is interesting,Michelle:) .At times, I too struggle with the myriad issues around self-disclosure in writing (some of which is readiness to self-disclose WITHIN myself!). I think what we know and experience comes out anyway, in our writing, but behind fictional layers/masks; but is, nonetheless, there, whether we choose it or not; eg my psychogeographical decay writings started after mum’s death . Thx for taking time to read and comment:)x

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