The Blueprint is The Oxford Blue’s brand-new arts publication. Following in the footsteps of Creativity in Crisis, it showcases creative work in a range of artistic media, providing a space to share thoughts, stories and personal experiences.
Issue No. 2—Queerness
“The word ‘queer’ opens beauty’s floodgates, enables a serious consideration of aesthetics. We are not enemies of beauty. We want to speak, at last, about the beautiful.”Wayne Koestenbaum
In light of LGBTQ+ history month, this week’s theme offers a sincere exploration of being queer, and all the things it might mean.
Featured illustrators: Hannah Capstick and Harmanpreet Randhawa
Body & Soul – Francesca Duke
When I fall in love, it will not be with a man - strong steel flesh pulled tight over carefully sculpted muscles, wire tufts on chest and chin, and a voice that holds me fast in the grip of its pulsing bass. Nor shall it be with a woman - vanilla-scented, silken curves, all billowing lace and softness; a pair of velvet cushion lips into which I simply melt. Instead I could give myself completely to the feet that point towards adventure, to the mind that whirs as frantically as mine, to the smile that spreads across a face like butter on a crumpet, to the heart that beats a little faster when its sparkling eyes see me draw near. I shall not love an idea, a trope, a fantasy but rather the hand that feels right in mine.
Queer used to mean eerie – Pax Butchart
To be queer is to stand at the borders of what is And what can never be, and deny there is a difference. To carve out a space for yourself, Somewhere in the middle between one falsehood And another, To take the bloodshed and vitriol and decorate yourself with it. We sculpt our bones from cesspools and mothwings, The horror and the beauty, Sublime wretchedness. We live as if we were already Being eulogised, bright paint and flags, To ward off the cold nihilism of the grave That is plaited into our hair and inked on our skin. Teetering always on the edge of a love That could eat up the whole world and still be hungry, Commanding the oceans from a parapet. The mauve contortions of your pain are food for music, And your strength With my strength Builds a rage and a compassion that gilds our faces, Showing all the world what it means To be queer. To be queer is to say “I am enough.”
REmilia – Ruta
This image gives an insight into a moment of shared sapphic love, away from the judgement and noise of onlookers. There has been a tradition of wlw turning to nature for escapism, as in the emergence of ‘cottagecore’. Placing these ladies in natural surroundings puts the focus on their love, protecting them from intruding opinion. I also hope to bring to mind the associations nature has with female sexuality and power.
On A Year Since I Began Questioning – Susan Danim
“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.”—Rosa Luxemburg
“Even at an individual level, there are remarkably few of even the most openly gay people who are not deliberately in the closet with someone.”—Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
I have learnt so much about Facebook’s privacy settings.
Measuring myself in hashtags,
Curating celluloid impressions from a certain angle, Tailoring experience to fit expectation.
I am ventriloquist to the shadow-puppet of a man
Cast by the boy my parents, aunties and grandparents knew.
It’s a boy I knew too,
Who would never have foreseen this.
Maybe he could not see through the wooden door,
Closed in the closeted gloom,
I close that door with each doctored Facebook post,
But didn’t I used to be stood outside?
When did I step inside this space?
When did I enter the gloom?
It is a cultivated secrecy,
Seeds sewn by society
And reaped without thinking
As I clutch at fig leaves for fear of exposure.
Am I embracing my truth by learning to hide?
Or was I hidden away when I felt free?
Viola – Siddiq Islam
(based on William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’) My trusted page, my lost Cesario, Which blackened trailway didst thou undergo? I gallop now towards my heartless queen, And there thou art! Where has’t thou so long been? And what’s this? Dost thou beam so bright beside My cold and ne’er-responding future bride At alter, as her newfound groom and lover? Oh, what a foul betrayal to discover! ‘Astute Orsino, Duke of Being Wise, Canst thou not any subtle thing surmise? Behind thee stands thy favoured squire sought, Albeit now a little member short!’ My vile, vile Viola, thou deceiv’st me not. I have not fallen for thy girlish rot. Thou never wert a lady in mine eyes And touched me better in thy former guise. Discordant Viola, wilt thou not retire Into thy previous gentlemen’s attire? Then might I reignite sweet fantasy With my Cesario serving under me.
summer lethargy – Sofie Cristobal
drown out the faithless religion’s only here to teach them they can't bless us so wrong in their eyes but girl when i'm with you religion seems to smile irrespective of what we do think it's all just a lie could be morning could be night i'm still scared to hold you tight living shadow lives in the dark they question why it's a whole month "think of the traffic that gets cut off hope that glitter won't leave a mark" sitting on the sofa watching tv this summer lethargy is braindeath for free think of the days and nights i spend scared to kiss you one day there'll be a word where this won't be true mainstreaming our hurt it's only worth the money if they put it on a tshirt window shopping our pride but girl when i'm with you nobody seems to notice about how the feelings mutual there no stopping our fight all this time i was not told of a safe place for hands to hold but you're here now you brighten up these darkened days when life's a dreamy stormy haze and i ask myself how pour me a coffee though it's saturday night i won't regret this in the morning our lives entangled like sweet cherry wine i won’t regret it in the morning sitting on the sofa watching tv this summer lethargy is braindeath for free think of the days and nights i spend scared to kiss you one day there'll be a world where this won't be true one day there’ll be a world where this won’t be true
The form to submit your work to future editions of The Blueprint can be found here.
Alternatively, apply here to be our next featured illustrator.
Curated and edited by Yundi Li