Many thanks to Michael Wayne Hampton for 'Sex for the Quarantined', a short story in our forthcoming Sending Nudes. The anthology is an intimate collection of fiction, nonfiction and poetry about why people send nudes — out on 15 January 2021. Pre-orders are available here: gutspublishing.com/sending-nudes
In December, I asked Michael if he would like to add a blurb to the anthology with his thoughts about sending nudes. Here's what he sent:
“Increasing social isolation and eroding individualism beyond utility makes reasonable that many strip themselves defenseless in hopes of obtaining the simplest recognition: lust, indifference, or shame. Humans are not digital code. We are animal drives, not pixels or bytes. Each aching to taste honest emotion deep, true and new again.”
And many thanks to Michael for this interview:
How did you hear about the Sending Nudes call for submissions?
I'm not sure how I heard about this call for submissions, but it was most likely through Submittable.
Did you write ‘Sex for the Quarantined’ specifically for this, or was it something you’d been thinking about before?
I wrote this piece specifically for this anthology, although the constructs of it were in my mind beforehand.
You’ve described ‘Sex for the Quarantined’ as flash fiction. Tell us a little bit about your writing, and what genres you like to explore.
For the last few years I would describe myself more or less as a novelist and part-time poet, but I love flash fiction and its immediacy and thought the form most fitting for what I wanted to portray.
In terms of sex-themed writing, is this a one-off or is this something you explore often in your work?
In my work I try my best to honestly reflect the experience of being, and its drives which includes sex, but I often obscure the primal in my writing since it is too easy to go too far or be overly confessional.
Your piece touches on very current issues surrounding lockdown and covid-19. For writers, it has had either a good or not so good effect on their writing. How are things going for you, and do you feel inspired during these times?
This past year has shaped and changed sexuality and connection for so many, and I wanted to reflect that. To represent want and fundamental craving while balanced with fear that is so present today.
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Solitary. Raw. Dreaming.
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Michael Wayne Hampton is the author of five books. His criticism, essays, fiction and poetry have appeared in The Southeast Review, McSweeney's, and Rust+Moth among many others. He can be reached via his website michaelwaynehampton.com or via Twitter (@motelheartache).