Thursday, November 1, 2012

Monstrous Update Week 3

Goblin Girl Sketch
Hello, everyone! A somewhat shorter update this week as things like the aftermath of hurricane Sandy seem more pressing to me than any project, however well-intentioned. My family and many friends live back east so I've been following it all very carefully. I hope people to continue to donate to the Red Cross and other groups to help.

As for MONSTROUS: I've gotten about 50-60 submissions so far, running the gamut of prose, poetry, comics, and art. So far the theme that I'm seeing most is stories that deal with mirrors and the distortions they create. I can't say I'm surprised, mirrors and reflections are something most of us can't really get away from and we develop love/hate relationships with them for all kinds of reasons.

I would love to see more submissions that vary in genre outside of autobio, as well as LGBT, women of color, and issues of aging in their stories. Again: any genre is welcome, I just want to make sure the book represents a variety of pov's and types of stories. I'm really moved by the honesty and rawness of the submissions I've seen so far, so please keep them coming and share the word.

I don't want to do the whole "name dropping" thing, but I am really pleased to say that a lot of professionals I know and love have expressed interest in contributing to this, or already submitted an idea. Folks like Lora Innes (The Dreamer), Bonnie Burton, Kiala Kazebee, Ross Campbell (Shadoweyes), Leah Moore (Sherlock Holmes), Jenny Frison (Angel), Drew Rausch, Corinna Bechko (Planet of the Apes), Rachel Edidin, Jennifer DeGuzman, Blair Butler, Leigh Dragoon (Fraggle Rock), Rantz Hoseley (Comic Book Tattoo) and lots of Womanthology alumni. All of which is deeply humbling and lovely and I'm glad they feel as strongly about the project as I do. Of course, all of this is subject to people's schedules and such, but, I'm working out a reasonable publishing schedule so I can accomodate people as much as possible. The Kickstarter/Indiegogo whatever for this won't launch until likely late Jan, so, I'll keep doing these weekly updates so everyone stays informed.

And just to reiterate: Submissions are due Dec. 1st. You can go read my first post to find all the guidelines and email them to: monsterteatime at gmail dot com.

Something I should mention: similarly to Womanthology I'm happy to pair up writers with artists if you're looking for someone to illustrate your prose or draw your comic. Just let me know in the submission if you're looking for that and, if it's selected, I'll make that happen.

Last week I had a Twitter conversation that absolutely MADE MY LIFE when the writer of GINGERSNAPS, Karen Walton, re-tweeted about the project. We chatted a bit about horror and I kind of gushed about GINGERSNAPS and what a huge influence it is on this project. Aside from my personal struggles with body image, an eating disorder, and body dysmorphia, the way certain films/books/writers have handled the theme of "the female body" in different mediums and genres is really why I want to do this. GINGERSNAPS deals with some very visceral body horrors, and I would put it up there with CARRIE (the book) in terms of confronting the very taboo, but very essential, issue of menstruation and how we view it. It does that through the supernatural/werewolf lens, while also deftly handling a loving but dysfunctional sibling relationship, and the whole terror of female sexuality.

Another big influence for me personally: JENNIFER'S BODY. I love this movie so much I can't even tell you. I mean, just the title alone, speaks volumes about the themes at play. It doesn't hold back and there are lines in that film that made me gasp out loud in the theater, they were so familiar and haunting.  If I ever get to meet Diablo Cody I will thank her profusely for writing it and for being so incredibly fearlessly feminist in the work she does. And, of course, BLACK SWAN, which might be the most accurate portrayal of what goes on inside the head of someone with severe body/perfection issues.

I have other influences, of course. Some of this project comes from books I read during my Masters studies that gave me the context I needed for things I "felt" but didn't quite have the background to express. Lynda Neads "The Female Nude: Art, Obscenity, and Sexuality" was a big one, as it dissects the nature of the female form in art AND the nature of the criticism of that form as a subject. It addresses the issue of continually trying to "contain" the female body in art, especially in the way it is discussed by those who critique it. I think that's rather relevant in a larger cultural context, too. Then there was Susan Bordo's "Unbearable Weight" where I discovered every single thing I've thought about our culture and women's bodies was not "crazy" but in fact pretty scarily accurate. Last, during my treatment for ED, my therapist suggested the book "Life Without Ed" by Jenni Schaefer. It's an account of one woman's struggles with ED, her treatment, and a very compassionate way of looking at what's often an ongoing (sometimes life long) issue. My "brain goblins" partly came out of reading that book and finally being able to give the ugly, hateful, thoughts in my head names. It's been one of the most helpful tools in my recovery, as I am able to apply creativity to it and kind of...lance them out when I need to.

What stories have influenced you? Whose work do you connect to? Feel Free to share in the comments!