💘 FALLING IN LOVE WITH L SCULLY 💘
Introducing our next PTK squatter!!
Hello to all our lovers (& haters)! We didn’t really set out to sell you commodified affection in various shades of pink and red (you know, like all the other mega-corp-poetry-LLCs are doing for Valentine’s Day). Truthfully, way back in the far away date of summer 2023 we received an intriguing email with the subject line “L SCULLY WANTS TO SQUAT” and the following pitch (abridged, for your pleasure):
“hello hot people team!
my name is L Scully and I'm a trans writer currently based in the ether. (…) I am emailing because I am interested in interweb squatting with y'all. I don't entirely know what to include as an elevator pitch so I'm just sending you my writery bio. please let me know if you would like to work together. I dig your vibe!”
“I dig your vibe!”…. that sentence is often followed by a) a very drunken threesome, b) being asked to join some kind of cult/mlm, c) an offer by a male photographer who is just like really into capturing the divinity of female bodies and is like asking to take some totally tasteful nude pictures of you for his portfolio.
We read the bio:
💘About L. Scully (as they pitched themselves):
L Scully (they/them) is a trans writer and double Capricorn currently based in the ether. Their debut full-length book, Fuck Me: A Memoir, is available from Gnashing Teeth Publishing as of April 2023 and their poetry collection, self-romancing, is forthcoming from Michelle Tea’s DOPAMINE press in 2025. L’s chapbooks, Like Us and I00 I Love Yous, are available from ELJ Editions and Ethel, respectively. They have recently completed their first bicoastal book tour, and have work appearing internationally in the UK’s WORMS Mag, the Dutch Simulacrum Magazine, and Finnish publication Almanac Press’s Journal of Trans Poetics, among others.
They have been invited to residencies nationally and internationally and have recently participated as an artist in residence at The Dylan Thomas Summer School in Wales, La Barre Artist Residency in France, and The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow, Eureka Springs, Arkansas. As cofounder of Stone of Madness Press, L has sought to create a digital space to uplift queer, trans, and neurodivergent writers.
They earned their MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge because they needed to take out student loans to pay Boston rent prices. L’s current community project is hosting queer literary events in Boston at [Working Title], a pop-up reading series featuring emergent local queer and trans writers as well as a series of open mics. They used to be a hot girl and are now a rescue dog parent and winter swimmer. If you fall in love with them, please take a business card.
We did fall in love with them. So here we are now, introducing them to you and letting you know that it was definitely option a) — get ready to watch our month long (intellectual and poetic pen-pal) threesome.
You’re gonna love it.
💘Our first date (aka THE INTERVIEW)💘
An interview with PTK’s next squatter, L Scully.
PTK: Hiii! Welcome to your PTK take over! Who are you?? Will you be our Valentine?? 💚
L: *sees you flagging from across the ocean and likes your vibe* hey little gay people in my phone! I’m L Scully (they/them). I’ll totally be your Valentine, but only if it’s one of those freaky vintage ones with a frog in a bonnet or something.
PTK: Describe the love notes we’d find in your Trapper Keeper (real or metaphorical) at age 13.
L: honestly you’d probably (definitely) find a love note to my middle school girl best friend. I was in a love triangle with her and her boyfriend. I spent a lot of time watching the music video to “Stolen” by Dashboard Confessional and writing her little notes in class. I still have the trapper keeper, actually, but I’m not telling you where to find it.
PTK: Your memoir’s very place-specific (it takes us from Hampton Beach, NH to Eureka Springs, Arkansas to Spain) but you grew up in Boston, left (for where again?), and are now back living in Boston. How has location affected your work and your identity?
L: I’ve lived all over the place, it’s been a weird life so far. Boston, San Diego, Ohio, DC, England, DC again, Madrid, Boston again. I’m not totally sure where is next. My loved ones are spread out all over the world. To be honest I used to think location was much more tied to my identity than it is in actuality. Not to be like quoting Lana del Rey but, “turns out everywhere you go you take yourself that’s not a lie.” I think I used to be running from a lot. Now I’m learning to sit with it.
PTK: There are so many great, sartorial moments in your memoir, such as the “I’m So Miserable Without You It’s Almost Like Having You Here'' t-shirt and this scene:
“I arrived at the hospital in my long fur coat from a vintage market in Valencia. I probably looked absolutely ridiculous. But it was nothing compared to my attitude.”
Your memoir has also been described as “a voyage through gender from high-femme-to-buch-to-femme-as-drag”. We got into a conversation recently where we were talking about how like, whether you dress butch or femme, minimal or maximal, practical or ostentatious from one day to the next… it’s like, any deviation from a singular concept of self is seen as a form of insanity? Like, it’s okay to (physically and emotionally) embody multiple selves. Breaking down the binary isn’t just deciding to be this “one” other thing, it’s a commitment to holding multiplicities within oneself, in relation to oneself. Sorry for the rant but like, do you relate to this? How has style functioned both as a form of evolution and memory for you?
L: In short: yes. A lot of myself, my image, how others perceive me, is related inherently to my Madness, which I think I was getting at in the hospital scene. I like eccentricity and I like being peculiar and I like being nonbinary. It’s like that “girl pockets” meme: we contain multitudes. In regards to personal style, I tried for so long to fit in and when I came out I was just like, fuck it. Queerness opened the door to so much self-exploration, emotionally, sexually, intellectually, presentation-wise. I feel like I’m finally going back to my butch kid roots and that feels weirdly healing. But don’t get me wrong, I love getting railed in a mini skirt.
PTK: In your memoir, you confess that you’re “Part of a long ass lineage of sex addicted pen-holders who can’t get enough of their own literary self-punishment. And I sort of love it.” Tell us more about how poetry has been both a mechanism for harm and healing for you?
L: This question! Is like the bane of my existence (non derogatory). I have pretty severe OCD, and writing has always been a confessional coping mechanism and safe place for me from the time I was a kid with a notebook to now. I realized when I was getting my MFA, and writing the book, that I was also using it as a form of self-harm. Call it growing up Catholic, or my truth-telling compulsion, but writing my “sins” down on paper always felt like sweet self-flagellation. It’s only been recently, after talking with a lot of writers that I admire, that I’ve realized that like writing, joy is a discipline. You have to fucking work at it. And you can’t just write when you’re sad, because then writing makes you sad. You have to write when you’re happy, too. You have to write no matter what.
PTK: At the end of your memoir, you talk about this interactive poetry event you ran called, “Pop Up Confessional: An Indirect Study in Forgiveness”. It sounded like it was supposed to be this form of collective healing (which we are very into atm 💅), but also, you really candidly admit that it was more for you than it was for the participants. Can you talk about creativity as a self-centered practice? What are some times when selfishness has been beneficial to you and the collective; in art, writing, or relationships?
L: I think this sort of goes with what I was saying before, that I’ve historically been seeking ~absolution~ through my writing practice. Writing can be solitary, can be selfish. I’m trying to move away from that. I am thankful in the ways that self-concern has helped me reflect, but I’m ready to move past the individualism of “talent.” My current projects are mostly collaborative. I have trusted writing partners and a community with whom I share creation, and the manuscript I’m working on is a sort of instructional manual for writing in friendship with my beloved collaborator, the poet Lucas Restivo (@louielibrary). I will say I’m thankful for my ability to set boundaries, advocate for myself, say no. But we’re living in a moment of revolutionary togetherness through culture and poetry and the dissemination of news and politics, and I think it’s important to take cues from that.
PTK: During the aforementioned performance, you read your poem “Masturbating to the Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous Basic Text on a Wednesday Night”. This confessional style of poetry reminded us of some of our PTK pieces we’ve published like Larissa’s, “The only thing worse than having sex with your ex is having zoom sex with your ex” and Kelly’s, “I’m the type of person who wakes up hungry”. What does it mean for you to not repent for your sins, but to perform them unapologetically instead? What roles do humor and irony play in repentance as performance?
L: Damn these questions are so like, smart. I guess in a way I’m getting even with myself. Yes I am airing my dirty laundry but it’s my way of saying it’s okay to be a person who is trying to be less shitty every day. I’m asked a lot about humor in my work and I think that in itself is so funny, because I was deeply un-funny growing up. My ex was like, wait you’re funny? And I’m like…boo! I think laughing is a way of being gentle with yourself. I truly have no idea what irony means when it comes to literature. I’ve been trying to figure that out since my gay eighth grade English teacher made us listen to “Ironic” over and over.
PTK: Speaking of performance, your instagram presence is incredible. It’s very much giving the PTK version of, “Am I crazy or is my online poetry alter ego just crazy? Nobody will ever know!!!” We loved your piece, “Archived Posts on Instagram: A Reckoning” where you share captions you’ve archived over the past years such as,
“January 27th, 2019: my heart: * is beating for masc women*”
How do you think of instagram as a space for (archivable) performance art and poetry?
L: I am one of those people that’s like, the internet is real life. Partially from a disability standpoint – it’s how a lot of us connect and build really meaningful community – and partially because my brand is just me, ass and poetry and lust and grief and all. I don’t want to sound sponsored by meta or anything, this platform is so deeply imperfect and imbued with censorship, but some of my most fruitful literary and interpersonal relationships have come out of this word/image shitshow. It’s also how I get pretty much all of my sexual partners.
PTK: In the prologue of your memoir, you open in this “Healing Masculinity” Zoom meeting from 2021, where you’re finally starting to understand the concept of a “fantasy addict” as it relates to sex and love addiction. By the end of the memoir, you’ve gone full circle and you’re asking yourself:
“Is sex addiction real? Can we quantify desire for human intimacy as a disorder? What’s the point of pathologizing love?”
And we have the same questions!!! What does patholigizing an addiction to fantasy say about how we value imagination and possibility in a capitalist society? Also, random question (not asking for any personal reasons or anything…) but like, what does it mean if you relate to most of the “Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction” but have not sex in years?? (Asking for a friend)
L: Honestly I don’t know. I wrote the book and I still don’t fucking know. Spoiler alert: I drop out of twelve-step because I don’t know how to reconcile any of this. And I’ve learned to be okay with that. I think the not-knowing might actually be the healthiest thing for me. I certainly recognize the way my behaviors change when my mental health dips, or I’m seeking tangible ways to cope, or I’m having what we call addict brain shit happen, but intimacy is what drives me, for better or for worse. And to your friend: in Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, they talk a lot about addiction being a spectrum…from being in active addiction to being sort of the opposite, reclusive and shut off from connection. So if you’re subscribing to the holy characteristics, you could be a sex addict. You could also just be you. Or both. Like me.
PTK: If you could give your tween self one piece of flirting advice, what would it be? Also, what was your object of choice to practice making out with? (i.e. pillow, orange, mirror, etc.)
L: My one piece of advice would be: you’re gay. Like whatever that means to you, just be gay. And I humped a lot of pillows.
PTK: As the Capricorn to our Leo and Taurus, you have an IMPRESSIVE list of stuff going on, what do you want to plug (not anal)???
L: OMG I’m a Leo rising. And thank you! Butt plugs aren’t my thing, don’t cancel me, but I am currently running my own workshop series, ABSOLUTION, that deals with confessional writing through supportive critique and generative prompts, and I’m taking on new students. I also have a second book, kind of a continuous poetry collection, coming out with DOPAMINE in 2025, so look out for that. It’s called self-romancing, and it’s actually a collection of long-form Instagram story poetry. I run Stone of Madness Press (@madness_press) with Olivia Braley (@o_t_b) which is a magazine for queer, trans, and neurodiverse writers – we just put out our twenty-fourth issue! It’s fucking good. Submit. Ok and if you happen to be a New England literary queer, I also run [Working Title] (@working_title_boston), which is a queer reading series and open mic based out of Boston. Get involved! You can also just hit me up to be lovers or friends.
PTL: Marry, Fuck, Kill - MARRYING, FUCKING, OR KILLING?
L: Fuck killing, kill marrying (unless you’re proposing to me, in which case, yes), marry fucking. Pro tip: do not play FMK with the options being the participants in the room. Weird shit will come out. ILY!
📓 SIGN UP FOR L’s ONLINE POETRY WORKSHOP 💻
Okay, as if all of that wasn’t enough, L is also going to be running an online poetry workshop on Saturday, February 17th from 6-8 pm CET (12-2 pm EST). There are limited spots, so sign-ups will be on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the investment is on a sliding scale between $10-20 (though we have a few scholarships available). Secure your spot now by tapping the button below!
🎙️ OPEN CALL: PERFORM WITH US & L AT LABYRINTH POETRY NIGHT!🎙️
Not to outdo ourselves or anything, but L is going to be coming to Amsterdam and hosting an IRL Poetry Night with us at proclaimed poetry/cocktail bar, Labyrinth on Sunday, February 25th (mark your calendars!!). And we’re looking for fellow hot poet performers to join us!!
💘 WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR 💘
✅ Poets, storytellers, spoken word artists, or comics (ALL LEVELS)
✅ Based in Amsterdam (or are able to travel to Amsterdam)
✅ Who can perform on the evening of Sunday, Feb 25th
✅ Queer/BIPOC voices with non-traditional takes on love will be prioritized
✅ Interested? Submit 1-3 sample pieces to apply. Please submit pieces that speak to the theme, so we can get an idea for the type of work you’ll perform.
This is a PAID gig. The application form will be open until February 5th. We will contact selected readers as soon as possible. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions!
💌MAKE YOUR OWN POEM VALENTINE💌
Save these templates and add your “roses are reds”, pick up lines, “I’m sorry—I can’t”s. Send us your love poems for a chance to get featured on the PTK instagram page!
Alright!! L is going to be taking over the PTK newsletter for the ENTIRE month of February (K and other L will be here too!). 🌟Watch out for their first piece in your inbox next week!! 🌟