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The Guardian: ‘Like moving through water while everyone is on land’: the writers exploring sexuality through sea life

It’s a novel for anybody who’s ever dreamed of transcending their bodies and their selves into a truer state of being – truer to ourselves, not true to whatever standard society has set in us,” adds Song. “Which is, I think, what we all long for, and I think is inherently queer, because it might not be what we’ve been told how we should be.”

Song was not “necessarily conscious” of their decision to explore LGBTQ+ themes in this way – but on reflection, it makes sense to them. “I do think, looking back, being queer feels like moving through water while everyone else is on land, because you have to learn how to swim, you have to learn how to move your body, learn to adapt your lungs,” they say. “But at the same time, that’s what’s really beautiful about it, because being queer is so wonderful. You learn how to be.”

The book also resonates with the pride Song has in their identity. “I am an Asian queer femme in America, and in a way that makes me a monster,” they say. “A sexy monster, just like a mermaid, but a monster nonetheless. But I think being monstrous is far more fun than being a normal, boring human.”


Fantasy Hive: An Interview with Jade Song


"I didn’t intend for Chlorine to be horror because many of the horrors in the novel—for example, blood pouring out of a girl’s body because of menstruation; body horror because of self-harm; stalkerish shadows because of abuses of power—already exist in real life. These horrors are real! I suppose Chlorine is contemporary horror because the novel is gory and creepy and disturbing, but I think reality is gory and creepy and disturbing. I’m not sure how to sugar-coat these experiences or pretend it doesn’t happen. People bleed, people self-harm, people are abusive. People hurt others even when they’re trying to love. So, to me, Chlorine is both contemporary horror and contemporary literary fiction. To be honest, it kinda makes me giggle when people are like, oh, this was really hard to read, because in my head, I’m just like, well, many of my friends and I, we lived it. Sometimes it’s really hard to live. Life is the horror genre."


Dirt: Novel as meme page


Jade Song, author of the forthcoming novel Chlorine, began constructing an “artistic lineage” for her book while completing the manuscript. Chlorine’s Instagram page is a scrapbook of film stills, prose passages, and art exhibits, loosely related to the feminine grotesque: painter Cecilia Vicuña’s Angel of Menstruation, a screencap from the coming-of-age body horror film Ginger Snaps, and an aqueous passage from Jackie Wang’s poetry collection. 

“I created [my novel’s Instagram] account before I finished the manuscript, before I had an agent, and before I knew what I was doing (I still don’t),” Song told me over e-mail. “My agent and publishing team congratulated me for it as a fun publicity move but that wasn’t my intention … No art piece or artist works alone, even if they try to pretend they do. There are always traditions and lineages to pull from and be inspired by, and I wanted to highlight and celebrate and share them through the page.”



Writer's Digest: On Thinking in Images Before Sentences

"Do you want to write, or do you want to be a writer? Because I’ve learned that they’re two different things. To write is to focus on the work, and to be a writer is to focus on the community, the success, the end product. There’s no wrong answer. Just figure out which answer fits you best because it makes everything else come easier."

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