I have a thing about girls and deserts. I was having a rough week and had been reading a lot of Richard Siken’s anthology Crush. These two sentences combined to make swept up.
The final third of Crush is about two boys, Henry and Theodore, driving through the US after Theodore’s taken a bullet for Henry. You could call swept up thinly veiled lesbian fanfiction of Driving Not Washing and Wishbone, and you wouldn’t be far off.
Aquarium was carefully planned and thought through. swept up was made up of images I wanted and sentences jotted down during lunch: “she’s driving and the car is rumbling and there’s blood on your sleeves”, “the stars are thicker out here this far out”, “she gives you a huge wide bloodsmeared grin”, “you get out a packet of [gum] [cigarettes] [candy] and slide it out”.
That afternoon, in a rush of writing-energy, I wrote it up – then brushed up the prose, got rid of stray capitalisation I didn’t fancy, tested, got a Creative Commons photo and used the same layout as Aquarium with a few different colours, tested again, tried on mobile devices, uploaded.
I’m proud of swept up not just because it has queer girls enacting violence, and has a distinct style, and not just because I got my girls in the desert fix, but also because it shows I can make something I’m proud of speedily, and show it to the world without overthinking too much.