Jane Eaton Hamilton on Risk

Jane Eaton Hamilton glasses upside downB+WProbably the biggest risk in writing Weekend was using they/them pronouns for one of my characters. I hadn’t read a book which had done that, and it can dazzle with confusion, both for the author and the reader (was that correct? Was that really what the author meant? Wait … who is the author talking about?) but I felt it was true to my character, Logan, who was between genders not in the sense of landing in the non-binary, but in the sense that they hadn’t come all the way out as trans yet for various reasons of shame and fear. Creating a character like Logan who hasn’t made it all the way out as trans, even as they pass as male, real though it is to life, seemed likely to offend pretty much everyone: people who are trans and have transitioned, along with lesbians comfortable in their identity. There are no lesbians in Weekend, although most reviews seem to fasten on the idea that there are four. And that too was a risk, leaving the concept of lesbians out.

None of the four characters in Weekend is young, but rather in their late thirties to fifty, a time most female-born people are put out to pasture in the popular imagination, although in reality a time of extreme fertility.

 

The characters have a lot of sex, and maybe that was risky, too, all that graphic sex, which is a little bit BDSM. Or maybe the B and D part of the equation. Can you have BDSM inside a literary titile? How do you write sex well? Well, maybe you can’t. Or maybe you can. Could I? I gave it a whack (as it were).

 

I have a postpartem mom in Weekend, having a hard first parenting week after a home birth. She’s also in a longterm relationship that is imploding around her just at her most vulnerable. As well, one of the narrators is very ill, and going through active experiences of illness while on her romantic weekend out of the city … it’s not even clear she’ll survive.

 

The entire idea of writing on Ray Carver’s What We Talk About When We Talk About Love was harrowing. What do we talk about when we talk about queer love? What is different for my community? What is the same?

 

WEEKEND COVER Jane Eaton HamiltonJane Eaton Hamilton will be at the Whistler Writers Festival on October 14th, 10 11:30am, presenting at the Writers of Fiction  reading event. www.whistlerwritersfest.com