“Do what you love…” and other canards.

Catapult is a platform founded in 2015 by Elizabeth Koch, with the mission of publishing “stories that celebrate life…Stories that reveal all the layers—the sinews and hairy knuckles, the iron and meat of history and influence…stories that land us squarely, concretely, in someone else’s shoes.”

My first essay for the platform was a chance to unpack my distinctly non-linear career path, to contextualize sex work as labor, and to outline how my stint as a traveling salesman has fueled my creativity.

Having serpentined through many art/finance divides, I find that this unlikely gig sustains my writing practice in ways large and small. I love traveling through my territory, and the places and spaces it affords for writing: Amtrak and commuter rail cars, airplanes, small-town coffeehouses, anonymous motels. I feel something akin to Maya Angelou, who said of writing in hotels, “I go into the room and I feel as if all my beliefs are suspended. I value the perspective on my environment I’ve gained from getting to know the 400-mile radius around me.”

Thanks to Stella Cabot Wilson for many prompts and thoughtful editing process.

Lemebel feature in the G&L Review

My feature on Chile’s queer performance artist/writer renegade voice, which he once characterized as “mariconaje guerrero” (“warrior faggotry”) appears in the May/June Gay & Lesbian Review, under the issue theme of “Unsung Heroes.”

The below excerpt describes a performance by Lemebel and collaborator Francisco Casas (as Las Yeguas del Apocalipsis entitled La Conquista de américa:

At the Chilean Human Rights Commission, Las Yeguas danced the cueca, Chile’s national dance, on a map of South America littered with broken Coca-Cola bottles, until their commingled blood stained the map in dance-step patterns. They each danced the female role alone, signaling the absence of the desaparecidos (political detainees who were “disappeared” by the state). It was a haunting appropriation of the symbolic dance as much as a rebuke of colonialist violence. 

La Conquista de américa, 1989

Many thanks to Chilean-American artist Ignacio Salas for his unwavering guidance and support, and to Richard Schneider Jr, for his scholarly edit.