Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dreams, Russ, and Personal Voice

This morning I woke up with a dream.  I only remember the tail end of it -- something about Mark and me walking in Northfield/Astoria along old closed storefronts... 

In the dream, I awoke in our bedroom.  There was classical music playing from KWAX on the radio.  And on the floor of the bedroom, still glowing from last night, was the iron teapot with a tea light in it.  

I'm not sure how I was able to see light through the tea pot, which was pleasantly warm to the touch.  Good thing I didn't start I fire, I thought.  Mark was still asleep so I took it out of the room.  

And then the dream turned into a gardening dream... I was weeding early in the morning.  We had a (not existent in real life) plot in front of the house.  I was using a plastic claw or rake to uproot weeds and snag out dead leaves from around the roots of a small ?maple? and ?flowers?.  I had a brief conversation with with a dream amalgam neighbor, probably about weeding.

I woke up for real with the image of a warm glowing teapot and gardening.

I read more Joanna Russ this week, and her other works aren't speaking to me as strongly as her Kirk/Spock papers.  I was hoping to click with her Lovecraft essay, but I didn't, perhaps because the alien voice interests me more than horror induced by depression caused by the realization that chthonic forces will return the self to the void.  

The work of Russ that I have read is mostly from from 1985, and a lot of it is (surprise!) feminist theory.  The conversation about feminism has changed from thinking about a specific end goal  to thinking about a process or journey, and essentialist notions of discrete genders and orientations have become continuums.  And, although she reports about trying to get a gay male perspective on Kirk/Spock, it feels like she wasn't able to talk to many gay men.

On the plus side, Russ's papers have reminded me that stories have a latent content (heart or symbolic meaning) as well as a manifest one (rockets and dragons).

Russ's image of Kirk and Spock as divine male-male lovers spoke to me very strongly, and while Russ claims her story is written by a woman speaking to other women about egalitarian vulnerability in romantic relationships, her symbolic imagery speaks to this gay man.

Which leads me to questions about my own direction.  Do I need to write gay speculative fiction?  I think the world does not need Yet Another Coming Out Story.  Do I need to write male speculative fiction -- or, better question:  how do I write male speculative fiction as a gay man writing in (as "Women Destroy Sci-Fi" reminds me) a male-dominated speculative fiction market?   

Do I write a story about future men-without-penises, or male AIs, or a fantasy country called Tiresias, where the inhabitants may switch genders?  Oh dear, I think I'm being pulled into writing what Russ called "a dreadful Amazon Utopia" story.

I think the answer is "just write what you're interested in."  Like gardens and glowing, warm teapots.

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