I write about gay relationships between fictional characters. Here’s why other women should take that seriously.
My best writing, the stuff I’m most proud of, is also the writing that makes me the most ashamed. It shouldn’t have to be that way.
I’ve been a writer since I knew what the word meant: poems and short stories and unfinished novels litter first notebooks, then hard drives into my young adulthood. I’ve got bona fides to spare: half an MFA in creative writing, published poetry in my twenties, essays and book reviews on my CV.
But I didn’t find my creative voice until recently, when I started working in the least respected genre imaginable: fanfiction. Specifically, slash fiction — erotic stories about same-sex fictional characters. My slash of choice is Dean Winchester and Castiel, Angel of the Lord, from the TV show Supernatural, a pairing referred to in fandom by the handy portmanteau “Destiel.” In fandom parlance, I “ship Destiel”: in my stories, Dean and Castiel fall in love over and over again. Sometimes, their romance takes place in the world of the show, but often it’s set in alternate worlds where they’re firefighters or teachers or high school kids, baristas or bartenders or bakers. Wherever they are, whoever they are, they end up together, and usually have explicit sex along the way.