How a Penis Got His Voice – Molly McLellan
Updated: Dec 17, 2019
When I first read the concept for the Stories About Penises anthology I was very intrigued. I love tackling quirky and unique subject matter in my writing so I leapt at the opportunity to give it a go. My writing tends towards the dark and often has historical basis. So I started researching stories about penises and came across one where a woman severed the penis of her long time abusive husband. I started to mull over a common phrase I've heard amongst men: "I don't always think with the head on my shoulders but rather the one in my pants."
What if penises did in fact have a ‘head of their own’ and what if they could reflect on the horrible actions of the ones they're attached to? Thus my story ‘Field’ started to form.
But first I needed to know the ending. It’s something I have in common with one of my favourite writers, John Irving (Avenues of Mysteries). We can’t write our stories until we know the end, and tone of that ending. And I couldn’t agree more with what Irving says about being ‘a worst-case scenario person’. He says: “I'm only interested in a story because I kind of go, like a magnet, to the worst thing that can happen.”
All my stories tend to come from the ‘worst-case scenario’. For instance, in my short story ‘Morai’ in the anthology Normal Deviation, I took my main character and sealed him in a suitcase after being gunned down for trying to assassinate Hitler near the end of WW2. My character is stuck in this dark claustrophobic space awaiting his trial by the three fates: Klotho, Atropos, and Lachesis. Before I started the story, I could picture the ending in my mind perfectly – when Lachesis finally delivers his fate. This character is loosely based on Colonel Stauffenberg who was gunned down with his fellow German soldiers who took part in several plots to end Hitler’s life. What few know is Stauffenberg’s history, in particular that he supported the imprisonment and forced labour of the Jews in Germany and France. When I imagined his fate, I imagined it being a cruel and tormenting event as he was judged for every single action he had made throughout his life.
In ‘Field’, the story begins at the end. Like ‘Morai’, it is based loosely on a real-life person. The man in question had his penis cut off by his partner of ten years after she could no longer take any more of his sexual abuse. When I read this story and the subsequent court case, I found my brain wandering back to that saying: “I have two heads, the one on my neck and the one in my pants.”
That’s when it hit me. What if penises really did have a mind of their own? What if they were witnesses to a life and not merely an appendage which belonged to a person? What if a penis were its own entity, with thoughts, and morals? What if it disagreed with how its ‘owner’ treated it, or those around it? What if a penis were an unwilling weapon to a set of crimes against a woman?
Thus, the main character of ‘Field’ was created: A penis, with his very own thoughts and opinions.
Molly McLellan is a fiction writer from Invermere BC, Canada. She has a BFA from University of Victoria in Creative Writing and a Master's from Oxford University, UK. We are delighted to have her short story 'Field' in our Stories About Penises anthology. Click here to order a copy from Guts Publishing: www.gutspublishing.com/product-page/