Perv Jungle was chosen by Sam Lipsyte as this year's winner of the Lit Pop awards (by Matrix Magazine.) I wrote this story as a way of "conversing with" Forever Overhead, a gorgeous coming-of-age story by David Foster Wallace. It took me years to figure out why I couldn't let this little story of mine go, despite draft after draft that just languished. But I think I just figured it out: while I love coming-of-age stories, my unconscious wanted to talk about the double burden felt by girls at this time. We're feeling the shifts in our biology the way boys are, but that same biology puts us at risk. Our bodies start to become the object of male fixation, even grown men. Therefore, our coming-of-age automatically includes an element of danger. I couldn't give up on this story, and I think it's because I needed to say something about this.
I can't believe it!
Sam Lipsyte— the Sam Lipsyte— chose my story as the winner of this year's Lit POP Award. I'm honoured and ecstatic and can't think of smaller words right now. My stomach feels like it's hosting a mariachi band.
I know it's not about the accolades or the recognition, but hot damn, sometimes it's a nice feeling to know that something you wrote resonated with someone.
To celebrate: burritos for dinner, and a Jays game.
I'm so excited that "Kitten" found a home with Matrix Magazine.
This story has been around for a couple of years, but its needs eluded me for a long time.
Yet, I couldn't quite give up on Barry. I kept coming back to him, hat in hand, every few months.
The whole story dances on the head of a pin: this small moment where Barry walks in on something he was not expecting.
I hope you like it. Here's a little taste:
The youth began to snore and more than anything Barry found himself craving the Good Old Days he’d been born too late for. The days he had only ever inherited nostalgia for, from books and films. Back when daughters slept in thick, wrist-to-ankle nightgowns, made preserves, and essentially stayed in their bedroom brushing their hair until they got married. And how, when they’d hear a scary sound they’d creep down the stairs with nothing but a tiny nub of a candle, and at first they’d feel brave but they’d ultimately call for their Papa, who’d spring from his bed, boots already on and musket already in hand because men used to be like that, ready for confronting anything, but the sound would only ever end up being the wind riling up the trees or creaking the outhouse door and so they would hug and each go back to bed laughing like loons.