I was at uni a few years ago, standing in front of my class of ten people. I was about to give an oral presentation. It was a stylistics class and I was going to read a short story I had written, based on a mixture of different writing styles from authors I admire. The story breakdown would follow, explaining the story and why I chose certain narrative devices and other literature mumbo-jumbo. I was reading Chuck Palahniuk and Charles Bukowski at the time, so I was ready to push a few boundaries. The story was about a middle-aged married father who was addicted to watching porn. He would sneak into another room when everyone had gone to bed, chuck some headphones on, and boot up his computer. The story was called Rut. It had a sweet ending; the story went full-circle. I won’t give it all away just now. I was the only male in the classroom. I stood in front of a room full of middle-aged, possibly married, women. I read my story out loud, holding back a slight giggle to my own jokes. My tutor at the back of the room, who was also male but doesn’t count towards the headcount, was holding back his own laughter, either to my jokes or to the uncomfortable situation unfolding towards him. As I got to the story breakdown, I could feel the heavy gazes of my fellow classmates weighing me down. They were not impressed. My story was quite different to their short fantastical pieces, or the hard-boiled crime stories they brought along. At the end of the day, I got a 6 for that story and I consider it to be one of the best stories I’ve ever written. But the memory of pushing those boundaries is still vivid in my memory.
This video reminds me of that moment, and my own stories I have yet to publish. Rut was rejected by certain Brisbane and Australian publications because of the explicit content — and is one of the reasons why I started Radio Friendly in the first place. Apparently, no one wants to read a short story about a grown man jerking off in the neighbouring room to his wife. No one wants to follow the social and personal relationship qualms that a situation such as that might bring on. Apparently. I’ve been planning some fiction writing, and this video seems to be the kick in the ass I need to get the ball rolling. Maybe I’ll even publish Rut here one time. It’s my own blog anyway, I can do whatever I want.