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A Magisterial Tome

My annotation of Joseph and His Friend got a great review today, calling it a "magisterial tome" that contextualizes a valuable piece of history. Check it out!

Out in Print - The Annotated Joseph and His Friend

The Smartest Man in the World - "Franklins"

Listen at the episode link above (starting at minute 13:50) to find out just how good my gay Sherlock Holmes book sounds when Greg Proops reads from it! Also listen to the rest of it to appreciate the blue wave of interesting news he rode into the red desert of Texas (where I currently reside against my preference and will).

(Pictured: Kittens McTavish with my gift of fluffy orange balls.)

Anthologies Abound

I've gotten my contributor copies of His Seed: An Arboretum of Erotica and THCock: Stoner Boys. Check them out to find my stories "King of Fruits" and "Lit Up" respectively!

The Annotated Joseph and His Friend

Out this month, a research endeavor that took me over a year to complete, and my ticket to being a 'rogue scholar'--find out the stories behind the story that is America's first gay novel, Joseph and His Friend!

The fourth installment of the Disorder Series is up for pre-order now. Just in time for Valentine's Day, get the penultimate Compulsion, the only book of the series dominated by an ugly break-up! You know, for any of you lonely-hearts or contrarians on what's meant to be the most romantic day of the year.

Be ironic for Valentine's Day, and check out this treatment of love's darker side: the back nine, the denouement, the end of an era.

The Mutual Admiration Society

Hello! Because I'm never too busy to talk to a friend, I've started a new podcast with my BBF, a PhD, called the Mutual Admiration Society. Conversations on writing, winning, and life in general, between two old pals who cover the waterfront of writing: academia, professional writing, blogs, diaries, and fiction.

We'll also be talking about our personal lives, like in episode 01.Being-ness in Austin where we discuss our recent reunion in Austin, Texas, and episode 02.Americana as Decor, which will post on January 22nd.

Join us every other Sunday for short ~20 minute podcasts from two writers in the wilds of post-college life. To subscribe, you can find us in the following places:


Editing Weekend

I've had an editing weekend, and it seems like a good time for an update:

0) The Joseph and His Friend Annotation

Two weeks ago I went through the nearly 500 pages of my annotation project, Joseph and His Friend. It took a year to research, nine grueling days to compile, nine relatively easier days to edit it. The manuscript was pretty clean the way I put it together the first time, thankfully. Some writers need lots of drafts (I hear), and a grad school would insist on lots of drafts if I was doing this scholarship in school instead of out, but it's not necessary for me, it never has been, which I'm happy about (and also happy to argue with professors about). This project was a lot of work, and a lot of information to mentally hold together, but all I had to do to account for that was stay sober while I was working (fiction doesn't require that much sacrifice). It was a daunting effort though, and all the rest of this stuff follows right on its heels.

1) "The Nightmare Pygmalion"

This was a commissioned story for a Dorian Gray anthology, and came with a request that it somehow involve Sherlock Holmes. Not a problem! I've already got a Holmes-meets-A.E.-Housman story for another upcoming anthology, and ideas for more in that vein, enough to eventually produce a collection of Companion Stories to My Dear Watson (but that's next year's project). I wrote "The Nightmare Pygmalion" within a week of getting the request, but took months getting around to editing it. Finally this weekend I read through it, and so did a friend of mine, and again it was put down clean enough on the first draft that it didn't need much tweaking. That has been submitted and is off my plate for now.

2) Compulsion

Set to be published either later this month or early November at the latest, I edited this 4th Disorder Series book already this year. That was in preparation for writing the 5th, which I'm now 1/3 of the way through on a careful deadline. I dreaded having to look at Compulsion again so soon, but thankfully another friend volunteered to help me by giving it a read in bookblock form; I'll rely on her notes, review them Monday, give the whole thing an overall look, and submit that too.

3) My Friend's Dissertation

The first friend I mentioned is coming up on her dissertation defense and just wanted someone to review the submitted copy in case I could see any weak points she'll have to argue later this month. It's reading solid to me, but it's another monster (about 250 pages of straight argument), and so I've been reading chunks of it between weekend activities like TV binging and laundry.

Interestingly, the whole thing is on the subject of diaries, and writing of oneself for public consumption, and a lot of it resonated with me. Firstly, in talking about the diaries of the dead, someone who wrote from age twenty-one to ninety-nine is impressive, so it's nice to remember that I started keeping an online diary at 18, and have been careful to preserve and archive it clear to today, at age 29. One solid decade! Not only does it always do me well to articulate whatever I'm feeling at the time (from victory to stress to sadness), it helps keep life in perspective, and it also serves as a valuable record. There was family drama recently with people trying to rewrite the past to cast themselves as victims in it, but that's hard to do to an archivist. I have Comey-style notes about every interaction, with names, dates, times, and specifics; people can talk inventions all day about what they felt in the past, but they can't change what they actually did, not without coming to my house to destroy the evidence. There's a point for diary-keeping right there.

My MFA program was very insistent on journal-writing, very insistent specifically on physically keeping a journal, which is just unadaptable old-school garbage if you ask this Millennial. They sounded a lot like the middle and high school teachers I had who graded us on keeping our planners up to date in the exact way they told us to, and nevermind that I had a separate notebook back then with columns and boxes and an ever-evolving To Do list with long-term projects on the side and homework kept in a square at the bottom. Their aim to make students internalize organization was lost in the rote check-boxing of grades and rules. I've kept a journal for years, but not the kind I'd bring in to read for a classroom of other people--that wasn't the part that made it useful for writing, it was the part that made it look like they were performing their jobs. If I still sound annoyed about grad school it's because I am: the measure of competence is performance. I've done so much more writing (in different styles and genres) with my day-job than I ever once had space to do in school; I was too busy trying to work around their assignment specifics, and too worried about my future and what I'd do for money back then (because that degree hasn't helped me once job-wise). My friend's dissertation really highlights what a value diary-keeping is for writers, for scholars, and for personal reflection, but it also highlights how well one man did when he shit-quit school, and how badly another did when he languished in school-teaching. We've got more rogue scholarship over here, it's part of why we're still such grand friends.

Current and Future Projects

I'm happy to report that I'm still up to schedule with the 5th and final Disorder Series book, Fixation, and in fact I'll have more time for possibly finishing it ahead of schedule after the end of this year. That is when the Gay A Day project completes (I was so far ahead on that one I had to re-organize my timeline so I wouldn't finish before my writing partner). With two stories already written for the Companion Stories project (and above 20K word count so far), I'm confident that I'll be able to populate more real-life-gossip-fictionalized stories with all the information I'm collecting through the GAD project. Dissertation friend is on the wind-down of that monster task, and so we're starting to discuss our upcoming collaboration too. We're even planning a podcast on assorted topics, and we'll be meeting up again to celebrate her dissertation defense later this month. I've never been so creatively busy in my life, and it's lovely. I can't wait to keep doing it, and journaling about it, for years.

His Seed: The Gory Details

One of my short stories was well-met in this review of His Seed: An Arboretum of Erotica:

One of the most creative pieces, and the only one that doesn’t imagine plant-based sex is L.A. Fields’s “King of Fruits,” which sees Perry, who lost his sense of smell and taste in college, in a heated affair with Art. Part of their foreplay consists of Art describing in gory detail the taste, smell, and texture of the most disgusting foods Perry can find for Art to consume. Century eggs. Corn smut. The meat of the story concerns a durian fruit, and I’ll just stop there.

Enjoy some inside baseball in that review on how Lethe Press books come to be (I'm working on another project right now that also started as a goaded dare), and please note how weirdly proud I am that even in a plant-sex anthology, I'm still the weird one for not taking it so literally! Good for me.

Well Speed, I'm Moved!

The facts are: LJ has Soviet Servers, which exist under Russian rule; Russia has been quite inhumane to gay people in the past and even more so today; I write gay content I don't want to suddenly lose forever. I can't take that kind of chance with my writing, I like the sound of my own voice too much, and this is the only diary I've kept through my entire 20s--I'll want this to survive so I can look at it later. My best friend pointed out when she resolved to start journaling again what Christopher Isherwood once pointed out: if you don't record this stuff, you're not keeping yourself from the world, you're keeping your current self from who you'll become in the future. That's bullshit; I love me all the time.

So: after a couple of false starts in trying to archive it or export it all, I started a Dreamwidth account that was able to import all of my content, comments, pictures, tags, etc, and it even has about the same old school layout. In the words of President Lincoln when he met his most intimate friend Joshua Speed, and immediately accepted an invitation to share his bed: "Well Speed, I'm moved!"

For public posts I can be found here: https://la-fields.dreamwidth.org

For private posts, come be my friend!