mud howard, whose poem ‘techno songs about heaven play on the radio’ is published in the second issue of Lucent Dreaming, is a non-binary trans poet from the states. mud is co-editor of the blackout queer zine project pnk prl & was the first inaugural youth fellow for Transfaith. they write about queer intimacy, interior worlds and the cosmic joke of the gender binary. they have been published by THEM lit, Cleaver Magazine and The Lifted Brow. they are currently enrolled in a Creative Writing MA. Read our interview with mud where they talk about how writing is a political act and the importance of freewriting.
What inspired your piece, ‘techno songs about heaven play on the radio’ and how did it find its way to Lucent Dreaming?
honestly, i am tired of living in this world of shitty misogyny and self-care recipes and toxic call-outs on the internet in the name of social justice. in this poem, i wanted to give the reader permission to exist in whatever complicated ways they do. inhabit your life, or don’t. it’s okay to be shy in the revolution, to introvert. i wanted the reader (you) to be able push back against the pressure of this world and imagine a new one. a lot of my poems are written from a place of youth, interiors worlds and contradiction. i wanted all of us to know that it’s okay to do the things we do, the things we’ve done. let today be what it must. rest. spend your energy in these dark times preparing for what you will do, who you will be when the light comes rushing in.
What does writing mean to you?
writing is a very political act. political movements need artists who will make people listen. as a young person, i relied on my art and writing as a tool to survive what i was experiencing. i think art takes on new, larger than life meanings when you are a marginalised person. art and writing (especially underground scenes) are often the only places where you are able to see yourself reflected, to see other people who look like you and talk about the things you go through (the shit no one else wants to talk about). they are some of the only realms in which outcast people are able to make their pain and joy and messiness legible. these scenes can imagine new spaces outside of consumerism and normativity, spaces where real community resistance and political love are the axis points. i write for my seven year-old self who didn’t know gay people existed. i write for my fifteen year-old self who made fun of queer people because i was afraid that if i didn’t, everyone would know i was one of them. i write for my twenty year-old self who believed i wasn’t trans enough because i had never seen a non-binary trans or femme person who looked like me. i write for all the past versions of myself who never got permission from the world to exist. i cant stop other people from having to go through what i went through, but i can help them know they are not alone.
What writing/creative projects are you currently working on?
the novel i am writing is taking up the majority of my creative space. i am trying to finish a collaborate zine called “On Opposite Ends of Hormones,” which chronically trans and non-binary experiences navigating / not navigating decisions to go on hormones. i am always writing and submitting poetry. i have a few essays & short stories coming out, one about astrological international love in a book called “Trans Love,” and another about the compromises we (non-binary folks) make with our blood families in an upcoming book of essays.
What are you most excited about right now and for the future?
i am most excited about finishing my magic realism project for my Master’s dissertation. i am writing a book in the structure of a tarot deck, 40 chapters, 10 sets of symbols, all infused with trans magic. i am working really hard to do right by trans and non-binary experiences in this book about sex, the internet, fractured communities and escapism. i’m also very excited to do a limited 100 copy re-print of my last collection of poetry, “Second Puberty Blues,” which you’ll soon be able to buy online. as far as the future goes, i am most excited about all the queer and trans literature that will be written in the upcoming decades. i am excited to see more stories that reflect more realistic, messy, and nuanced experiences of gender diversity. i am also excited for the day when i have the resources to create a trans and non-binary writers retreat, and subsequent publishing press.
How and where do you find inspiration to write?
it’s going to be the most horribly predictably answer ever, but i truly write best when i read and consume other people’s work in high volume: poetry, speculative fiction, sci-to, gallery visits, cheap theatre shows, zines, anything i can get my hands on. the more creativity i expose myself to, the more creative i end up feeling. i always return to octavia butler, james baldwin, kai chen thom, queer classics. if you want to be inspired, should structure your environment to mirror the type of work you want to create.
What advice would you give those who want to do what you do?
write everyday. force yourself to write. find your ritual. morning or night or early afternoon, find it. make a coffee, tea, whatever. force yourself to write the story even if you think it sounds terrible, or is pointless. more often than not, you will write the most brilliant lines you’ve written all year at the end of some horrible freewrite that was going nowhere. you have to stick it out. and submit submit submit. collect rejections like trophies and keep submitting. never pay a submission fee. find other writers who will meet with you regularly and challenge your work. break all the rules of genre and don’t get stuck in your own voice. but mostly, don’t overthink it. just keep writing.
Where can people see more of you and your work?
i am currently living in London and performing at a range of venues over the next few months. i’m starting a monthly Trans Writer’s Workshop in the city, and we are always looking for more trans and gender non-conforming folks to join. you can catch me on the gram @transsexualdreamboat or read more of my writing/ book me for shows & workshops at www.mudhoward.com
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Our aim is to encourage creativity and to help writers reach publication! Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.