I think I’m a man on the inside

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009 by Rachel

might be a man

Haha! Maybe not exactly. I hope you appreciate my attempt at turning myself into one though.


This is something that I never quite noticed I did until fiction workshop a few semesters ago. I’d submitted this story, “H2O Intolerance,” for workshop. Someone pointed out that because I’m a woman they assumed the narrator was a woman and was surprised when they got to the second page and realized that the narrator was in fact a man.


I never realized that people normally write from the perspective of their own gender. It just never occurred to me. My story needed a male narrator, so I created one. Even my long neglected novel follows a male professor. I knew from the moment I started writing it that my hero was, in fact, a man.


Last night, in poetry workshop, we had an in class exercise. It wasn’t anything fancy, just write a 10 line poem in 10 minutes following a set of certain stipulations (use some sort of saying/adage/proverb that you’ve manipulated in some way, then use five from a list of eight words that Laura put up on the board). I wrote it the way I do any poem, and I didn’t have a hard time doing it.



When I read the poem outloud, I began to see a lot of different directions that this poem could take as I keep pushing the dramatic monologue further. Luckily, we are revising it for next class, so I’ll have the opportunity to test out some of my ideas. I also realized that my speaker is…once again, a man—this one obsessed with food and pharmaceuticals.


I don’t know why I do this. I do write as a lady sometimes. Most of the poems in my M.A thesis, with poems about boys I used to know, illness, and family, are created with a female speaker. To say that I am the speaker there is a stretch. But even Barbara Anderson (my advisor) acknowledged some sort of maleness to my persona, as she recommended that I read Dennis Cooper’s Dream Police. Cooper, as a gay man, wrote a lot about boys, but what does that make me? Also a gay man?


Any ideas here? Does anyone else tend to favor the opposite gender when writing? I can’t be the ONLY one!


  1. heyyy. i really liked the picture of you in the banana hammock. i looked the the link of the kitty you put on facebook, then immediately felt ashamed because i haven’t commented on anything! but i do enjoy all of the food posts!

  2. o, and i’m sorry i can’t help much about opposite gender writing… i haven’t done much… if any of it. so i don’t really know.

Leave a Reply