It’s been a while since my last post, and I feel like it’s probably worth spending a bit of time talking about something. More specifically, Morning Star has been out for about six months now, and I wanted to talk about the protagonist, Alex. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest you do that before reading this post. You can find it right here, and the digital versions are less than three dollars. Get on it.
Seriously, there are spoilers in here.
So, there was something incredibly difficult about writing Morning Star, something which may not make a lot of sense to a whole lot of people, but I’m going to talk about it anyway, because it needs to be said. It will eventually be addressed in future fictional ventures, but I don’t want to wait that long to get to the meat of it.
Morning Star is a pretty silly story, a kind of romantic comedy about a guy and a girl and crazy antics and so on and so forth. That wasn’t all too hard to write, really. The difficult part was, it’s not actually about a guy and a girl, it’s about two girls.
I’ve known for a long time now that Alex is trans. After all, she’s based quite a bit off myself. Well, myself a long time ago. Like Alex, I spent a huge portion of my life identifying as a gender that made no sense to me, but not knowing any different. It took a lot of work and pain and struggling to get to the point where I realised I wasn’t the person I’d been told I was my whole life, and it felt amazing, and terrifying. Alex hasn’t reached that point yet, but she will. It’s important to me that she will.
But, knowing this, it was incredibly difficult to write an entire book with her as a male, without the faintest mention of who she really was. I almost didn’t do it; I considered not writing it, or writing her post-transition, or at least alluding to it in some small way. Instead, I went in the opposite direction. Alex defends her male identity, clings to it even, in a way that I never did.
Also, it was incredibly boring to write heterosexual romance, but more on that another time.
So why write it?
I’ve written trans characters before, and will presumably continue to do so. I’ve read a fair amount of trans fiction (with great difficulty because there isn’t a lot of it) and I decided something. I don’t want everything to be about trans characters post-transition, and I don’t want to write a story that is just about the transition process.
So Alex will continue her journey, and the reader will accompany her. Like the people in my life, they will be with her as she transitions from one identity to another, and like the people in my life, that won’t be the only part of her that’s significant. And that, to me, is what’s important. She doesn’t exist to be a trans presence or to talk about trans issues. Those things can and will happen, but that’s not all she is, that’s not what defines her, and that’s something I want to share.
And that’s it, really.
And one day he’ll say to me “Elphaba,
A girl who is so superior
Shouldn’t a girl who’s so good inside
have a matching exterior?”