42, The Big Ocean 😉
As part of this issue we asked Monet P. Thomas to be our first ever special guest editor. Last year, Monet ran the hugely popular Blowjob Challenge, a workshopping challenge which unleashed much fantastic writing about blowjobs unto the lit world! Her second challenge was The Big O Challenge – and when we found out it was running we asked her if she would curate some of the stories produced under its umbrella for publication with us. Monet did a wonderful, wonderful job. Here she be!
Monet P. Thomas
A few years ago I published my first piece of fiction called “Sky So Blue” with the inimitable and generous Split Lip Magazine. It was also the first piece of flash I wrote that was in no way related to my own life, in no way autobiographical. The story cuts back and forth between a real time moment of a woman performing oral sex on a man after a first date and her internal thought process about an event earlier in the day. I remember worrying about getting the specifics right, because there is an art to the blowjob: where are her hands, is she skilled or not skilled, and what signals does a man give that he’s enjoying himself? But in the process I never felt a differentiation between writing the sex and the rest of the story.
The original challenge was simple and free: in a month’s time, write a thousand-word flash story or essay containing a blowjob. At the end of the month I compiled everything I received into Google Doc folders and participants could vote on which they thought was the best until the final round where a winner was determined from both the nonfiction and the fiction categories. There was no prize except the pride of knowing your story or essay was selected by peers who had also completed the challenge. It was up to each writer to interpret the topic, to make literature out of what could easily slip into smut. Organizing this kind of group activity required more time than I thought it would and I found myself wondering what the hell I’d gotten myself into, but seeing the drafts that writers had crafted in just a month’s time was so rewarding that, a few months later, I issued the second challenge: orgasms. I called this challenge The Big O and I charged $5 because time is money!
When Chris asked me if I would pick from the best of those stories, I actually didn’t want to. The challenge was never, to me, about publishing. But later I thought that if I could highlight the range of what these amazing writers could do and show other writers that writing about sex is so necessary, then I should do it. I picked these four stories, not just because I love them, which I really do, but because they show the humor, the intensity, the absurdity, and the joy of sex, which is what any good literature achieves. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
The Big O stories and interviews
Issue 42 – the full list!
Allie Marini I endured it, it was fine
Megan Pillow Davis In the In-Between
Eli Barrett Winter Cleaning
Meghan Phillips When You First Meet the Telepath
Melissa Goodrich Subject left blank – are you sure you want to send?
Alex DiFrancesco The Apartment Building
TJ Fuller Hotel Sex
Sean Gill The Naked Foundation
Jenessa Abrams When the Train Lurched
Kathryn McMahon Bone China
Nicole Baute Sliced: A Retrospective
Johanna Dong How to Shoot Somebody Who Outdrew You
Maureen Langloss Pictures of Larry
We love awards news!
Myfanwy Collins’ story Euthanasia has been selected for
Best Microfiction 2019 Anthology
Santino Prinzi’s story Upon Discovering that Cows Can Swim has been selected for
Best Small Fictions 2019 Anthology
An exciting new feature!!!
Now, if you want, you can give us cash! Yay! Moolah, lolly, dough, cheese. It would help a lot, so I’m just going to leave this here…
Art (modified): Katsushika Hokusai Public Domain (please click on link for more details)