Zoe Whittall is the author of two novels, Holding Still for as Long as Possible and Bottle Rocket Hearts. Bottle Rocket Hearts was a Globe & Mail best book of the year and was shortlisted for CBC’s Canada Reads. Zoe has also published three books of poetry, most recently Precordial Thump. She won the 2008 Dayne Ogilvie Award and was shortlisted for the 2010 ReLit Award. Zoe lives in Toronto.
Here’s how Zoe describes her piece for Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme: “‘A Patch of Bright Flowers’ is a short story and both a satire of the Canadian publishing industry, and humorous exploration of intergenerational queer relationships and butch-femme clichés.”
What made you want to be part of this anthology?
When I discovered anthologies about femme and butch identities in the 1990s, they opened up a whole new world to me. At the same time, because it was the 90s, the ideas seemed fairly limited, retro and over identity-politicky now. There is such a lack of content out there that is both current and high quality. I’m honoured to be a part of this book.
What’s one of your favourite lines from your piece?
“Julia isn’t sure what to do about aging. She loves that queers are granted an extended adolescence and don’t really expect to marry, have babies, or own property until they are well into their thirties, if at all. She used to see ugly babies or annoying children and think, Oh, thank god I’m not a parent. Thank god I can do whatever I want, whenever I want. Recently, when she sees ugly babies, she thinks, I would love that little monster SO HARD.”
If you could say one thing to future butches and femmes, what would it be?
Everyone has already said variations of love yourself and know your history, and I echo these sentiments. I would add - don’t throw away your journals, read many books before you try to write one, don’t police people’s politics and have a sense of humour about yours.
Via persistence anthology