July 13, 2010

Triumph of the T


One of our favorite journals is featuring one of our favorite authors: T Cooper, author of the newly released Beaufort Diaries (Melville House) is featured here in the most recent issue of One Story Magazine. Check out the great Q&A with T wherein he discusses his short story, The Husband, writing, sex, and various body parts, here.

Here’s a teaser from the interview:

One Story: Where did the idea of this story come from?

T Cooper: Short answer: When my wife casually asked me to unzip her dress one night.
Long answer: Probably because I think about masculinity a lot, and with reference to this story, I recall thinking specifically about how women generally tend to be more fluid with their understanding and acceptance of gender, while men who are born male, they rarely seem to get beyond the dick/no-dick thing. I find that a lot of dudes refuse to accept female-to-male (FTM) transguys masculinity or maleness solely on the basis of there not being a natal penis present on the body in question–as though all the trappings and traits of masculinity are wrapped up in that one tiny appendage. It’s a lot of responsibility and pressure for any appendage to handle. I mean, following that thinking, I suppose the soldier who loses his little guy when an IED explodes under his Hummer is no longer male when he’s sent home on medical discharge. So it got me thinking about a character like the husband, an aging fellow whose masculinity (member) is failing him, what it would feel like for him to recognize he’s slowly and steadily being “upstaged” in the manly department by someone who wasn’t even born male–and his own offspring no less.

One Story: What is the best bit of advice about writing you have ever gotten?
T Cooper: Don’t be an asshole. It wasn’t necessarily specifically about writing, but I think it nevertheless applies.

Valerie Merians is the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House.