Each time I start a new book, I look for something new to explore. Almost all of them have, of course, dealt with gender identity, but with most of my books I start off asking a slightly different question, or exploring a slightly different scenario.
For the book I am working on now, I started with the question which serves as the title of this blog– does the soul have a gender? I have occasionally included religious dimensions in my work, usually Christian, but this time I am exploring the idea of reincarnation.
I know in some cultures the idea persists that the soul takes on a female form when it is less spiritually evolved, and that as one progresses in their lives they eventually get to be a male. However, I reject this notion, which I believe reflects patriarchal and misogynistic cultures and their fear of women more than any true spiritual understanding.
I believe that neither male nor female is a superior or more evolved gender. I believe they are different identities and that each has its strengths and weaknesses. I believe both males and females are capable of creating life and beauty, and both are also capable of destruction and ugliness.
The cyclops. The sirens. One crushes with brute strength. One lures you to your death with the allure of their beautiful voices. We need both the masculine and the feminine and all the gradations in between. The most evolved cultures honor all and live without fear of any.
I don’t know where any of my books are going as I write them. I just write and see where the characters take me. Sometimes, readers have complained about my endings, but I always feel like I am ending the stories where I need to. Right now, having started with my questions about the soul, I am just letting the characters go where they please, and I am really enjoying writing my mythic exploration of this idea as my main character slowly comes to realize that he has a female soul, and how that knowledge impacts him in his current life.
Here is an excerpt:
The water felt warm and scented oils clung to his smooth leg, the sweet odor of eucalyptus rising up to meet him as he stepped in completely, sliding down into the luxurious waters, and the candles flickered and he sighed as the water rose over his soft, swaying breasts, and he sighed softly, arching his back as he ran his hands his breasts, lifting them and squeezing his legs together as he remembered the way Chris had fucked him…
Craig opened his eyes, looking down at his hands on his flat, muscular chest. What the hell? He’d seen himself as a woman. Again. Had… loved seeing himself as a woman. It had felt so good, so real, so…. Right?
Everything was wrong. So wrong. What had Chris done to him?