This Writer’s On Fire: xTx -The Toast

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“A mixture of Mary Gaitskill and Kelly Link, she isn’t afraid to write about sex, violence, loss, or desire—no matter how dark it gets, or how real it feels.” —Richard Thomas at The Rumpus.

“She digs deep for those, into places that make her and the reader feel like monsters. She almost named the book I Am Not a Monster in part because she often feels like one. And that is it right there — we all do. Maybe we do not write stories about it. Maybe we pretend we do not have these feelings. But we do.” –Robb Todd on xTx’s book Normally Special at The Lit Pub.


Who she is

No one knows. Okay, probably people know. I don’t, but if I did I probably wouldn’t tell anyway. Here are the known things: xTx is a writer who lives in Southern California. If you want to know xTx I recommend reading her blog, or an interview, or her books and stories.

xTx on xTx: “I would say xTx is more of an extension of my real self. It’s sort of the ‘unafraid’ me, which is sad because I think xTx is still a very fearful person. I say more with xTx. Things I wouldn’t say or share in my ‘real’ life. Is that unhealthy? I’m not sure. It probably is.” —from her interview with Juliet Escoria on Electric Lit.


Why you should read her

Her style is quick and sharp like knives. It’s rarely soft, but when it is it still cuts into the meat. Maybe xTx is a butcher and/or surgeon. xTx cloaks her identity because she is writing about identity or what we think is identity. The people xTx inhabits are victims, perps, giants, bystanders, enablers, predators, objects, mothers, animals. Because we are never one thing at a time even when we try to be and xTx is writing about us. This writing is too honest to have a name attached. Names accumulate self. xTx sheds selves as she writes them into the world and back out like some sort of science fiction creature jumping from body to body. Sometimes the bodies stick around. Sometimes they just stick.

This is writing for people who love writing and people. People who aren’t easy, who aren’t a pile of the same old clichéd descriptions about how a person is supposed to be. People who have sharp edges and teeth, unexpected soft spots, terrible and beautiful thoughts, bodies that bleed and speak and weep and fuck. Writing that pierces and reveals all the mundane, horrifying, ecstatic things we’ve been taught to bury and horde. Somewhere she has written something of you.


Where you can read her work

Today I Am A Book, her latest novel, from Civil Coping Mechanisms.

BILLIE THE BULL from Dzanc Books.

Normally Special from Tiny Hardcore Press.

NOBODY TRUSTS A BLACK MAGICIAN (click to download the ebook for free!)


Selected Stories and Poems

‘Today I am a Lonely, Sexless Book Looking for Love and Understanding’ at The Butter.

Poems at Pank Magazine.

‘Because Seven Ate Nine’ at Wigleaf.

‘Standoff’ at Word Riot.

Abandonment‘ at Red Fez.

Things You Find on a Train’ at Everyday Genius.

Ready‘ at Necessary Fiction.


Interviews and Chaos

Interview with xTx by Juliet Escoria at Electric Lit.

Interview (’52 Weeks/52 Interviews series) with Edward Rathke at Monkeybicycle.

The Sunday Interview: xTx @ The Rumpus with Richard Thomas.

Today I Am: An Interview with Author xTx at Nerve.

Podcast: xTx interviewed at Other People w/ Brad Listi.

Chaos Questions #7 – xTx with Sheldon Lee Compton at Enclave.

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