Thursday, September 19, 2013

Five Questions: "The Mary-Jane Effect"

It's a big release week, so it's time to bring PT out of the closet and let him ask the (hard? weird?) questions.

AF: You, PT you awake.
PT: Zzzzt huh, what? You doing something?
AF: Come on you, you keep talking like that, I'll start counting those against you five questions
PT: Whu? Five Question time again? *sproing* Alrighty then! I'm awake, I'm your internal blog voice, I'm on the case, yeah! What we talking about?
AF: "The Mary-Jane Effect", released in audio and text format at Wily Writers this week. And I won't count that as a question.

PT: Alrighty!! Ummm, what? More gay characters? Can't you write anything else?
AF: *side eye* Sure I can, and do. But there are plenty of other writers, they are legion, who write from the hetero perspective. To paraphrase Joss Whedon, I write queer characters because you're still asking me that question. And hell, I probably would write queer characters even if that question wasn't important anymore. Because, ya know, the beautiful depths of humanity.

PT: Right, sorry. Getcha. So, the story is really sad and a little bit terrifying. What did you like about writing it?
AF: I don't enjoy writing about shitty things that happen to women, but it's gotta be done. I did like finding the narrator's voice, and I very much enjoy the challenge of learning how to write without gendered pronouns. The really fun part was writing the satirical media snippets. Some of it people might even recognize, or recognize a familiar tone. The "Girl Guides a hot bed for lesbian sluts (and Mary-Janes)" I pulled directly from Rush Limbaugh. The news article about the 13 year old kept in preventative detention used language I've gleaned from reading many such articles about the TSA and racism/sexism at borders. The terrorist's speech I tried to make as nonsensical as possible, with just enough smattering of emotion and truth (to that reality). It was all about the "War on Terror" rhetoric, and brand management on the Brotherhood's part.

PT: Brand management? Are you saying the Brotherhood aren't the terrorist group you make them out to be?
AF: That's for the reader to decide, given the filter of the media (of that reality) in play. How much of a monster would teenage girls have become if their sexuality could not be weaponized? How much of a monster would the shadow of the Brotherhood have become if the media didn't give them the attention they craved?

PT: Speaking of monsters, there's some really creepy insinuations about "fertility rites"...
AF: Oh sure, just like any Men's Rights Activist group, the Brotherhood was about sexual power control. In a hundred years, I'd like to think less and less people will see women as a walking uterus, but if some rhetoric, some position or positions (it's never one thing) got in the way of that - disempowering abortion rights and women's health, or women's freedom of movement about the world, human trafficking - some women may seek to maintain what power is available to them, even if their options are really shitty ones. A devil's bargain, really.

PT: Men's Rights Activists?! But...the symbol of Mary-Jane was about empowering women with brute force.
AF: A reminder, without being too spoilery, that the story was not just about how the Mary-Jane affected women - patriarchy affects all intersections of life. And what sort of equal rights activist empowers women by blowing them up?

PT: Uh, right. Point. Dang, you're really creepy sometimes.
AF: I'm not creepy. The world is. And that creepiness needs sunlight to disinfect.

PT: I want my blankie...
AF: There there *pat pat* Have a donut.
PT: Ooh, donut....

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