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A Deliciously Taboo Subject - Gerry Marsh

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

As a writer living in London, it’s a familiar sight for me to see commuters fixed to their phones, playing Candy Crush, accessing emails, living past memories or imagining numerous futures. Meanwhile their bodies are left connected to the real world, feeling the press of other bodies and the smell of newspaper and cologne. I was excited by Guts Publishing’s call for stories about penises because not only was it an opportunity to explore that mind body disconnect further through fiction, but also, even in 2019, anything about the penis is still a deliciously taboo subject to tackle.

Thinking about the subject matter included the usual reflections regarding the member’s significance in terms of potency, power, or fertility. Yet taking my observations back to those urban men on trains, I couldn’t help thinking how the anxieties of modern life have stripped men of feeling connected with much of that.

My story ‘He’ focuses on a man who only really experiences fleeting moments in the present, before being drawn back into his memories, or pulled into anxiety-inducing imaginings of future projections. He’s a man disassociated from his own life. Haunted by memories. Grasping at something flaccid and powerless which once was potent.

I’m very proud to have my story ‘He’ selected for Stories about Penises, due to be released on 28th November 2019, and look forward to reading it at the Word Book Shop in New Cross.

Gerry Marsh is a London fiction writer and author of Tales of Urban Encounters (2018), a collection of short stories set in southeast London. She will be reading from her short story 'He' on 28 November at The Word Bookshop in London. The event runs from 6:30-8:30pm and is open to the public.

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