Tai’s piece, Nine True Facts About Hearts, is a gut-wrenching tale of heartbreak and heartache. It is intense and deeply evocative. We particularly loved the structure of this essay and how so much emotion is packed into a relatively short essay.
How much of your life do you give to writing?
Honestly, this is something I think about a lot because there's such extraordinary gatekeeping in the writing community. But I feel like we're finally leaving the era of - write every day. I love writing and it's a critical part of my happiness. I give a lot of my life and energy to writing. Still - I strive for balance. I don't do it every day. I'm not at a place yet where I can make writing my full time job. And, like Whitman said, "I contain multitudes." Writing is a big piece of that but it's only a piece.
Your story Nine True Facts About Hearts almost feels like nine tiny stories stitched together with a common thread, each one striking in its own way. How does this piece fit with your wider writing? Do you write in other genres?
My two main genres are CNF essays and young adult. My book is young adult, but my essays (usually in the list style) are how I process through a lot of my thoughts and messy emotions. Eventually, I'm hoping to compile the essays into a collection around the numbers - "Five Things Big Girls Can't Do," "Seven Times I Came Out," "Nine True Facts About Hearts." The list essay is my favorite style. I'm currently working on one called, "The Six Life Stages of a Strap-On."
What made you write this piece in particular?
Oof. The break up this piece is about was a real shitshow. I was in love with this woman but I was also very in love with the life that we'd planned together. There was something truly cruel about how she'd participated in this dream with me while building a life with a different woman behind my back. It's not an uncommon story, and I wasn't unfamiliar with heartbreak, but this experience was surreal and traumatizing for me. In the months leading up to our break up, when I thought we were on track to marriage and kids, I'd been struggling to write our love story. But within three days of learning her betrayal, I wrote this piece. I felt like that was really clarifying. I couldn't write our joy because it was transient. Somewhere inside of me I always expected her to be chaos.
How can readers further support your writing?
I post writing updates on my Instagram and Twitter. And also lots of plant pictures and cute gay things. My young adult book is about a girl whose boyfriend dies and the grief leads her on a path to self-discovery. As of about a month ago, my agent, Savannah Brooks, has been submitting it to editors and we have high hopes. So - some day in the future when that's released, please buy it! I promise it's very funny and you'll cry but in that good, cathartic, kind of way.