MEMBER PROFILE: Lux Alptraum



MEMBER PROFILE: Lux Alptraum

When and why did you become a member of PEN Center USA?
The organization’s staff graciously invited me to join this year, and I was honored to be included in such a fantastic organization.

What is most meaningful to you about PEN Center USA?
Writing can be such lonely and isolating work; I appreciate anyone who wants to bring writers together into a community.

PEN Centers share a Freedom To Write mission, which means we believe that people should be able to read and write freely. What does Freedom To Write mean to you?
As someone who writes frankly and honestly about sex and sexuality, I’m always aware of how easily my words could be silenced by censorship. Advocacy for uncensored discourse is deeply important to me.

Writers are using their digital media platforms to engage with readers and other writers on serious topics. Can you give an example of a writer or organization that is doing this well?
I’m always impressed with Ann Friedman’s digital media skills.

What is the one book you wish you had written and why?
This is a hard one for me to answer, because while there are many books that I think are masterful, and that demonstrate a level of skill I can only dream of one day achieving, they all come from a perspective that’s quite different from my own—so it’s hard for me to say that I wish I’d written that book, or wish those words were mine.

What is your favorite quote?
I’ve always enjoyed “I don’t like to write, but I love having written,” which I originally saw attributed to Gloria Steinem, but apparently has a much more complicated attribution history than that (not surprising, given the universal appeal a quote like this has to writers).

Who would be your ideal literary dinner guest (living or dead)?
Mary Roach. Not only am I a fan of her work, I appreciate her endless curiosity and willingness to explore topics outside the bounds of polite society; I suspect she’d be an amazing conversationalist (particularly since I’m not all that squeamish, and would be more than happy to discuss Elvis’s megacolon over dinner).

What are you working on now?
A pilot script, a book proposal, and a seemingly endless list of pitches for articles—just like any hardworking freelancer.

Lux Alptraum is a writer, sex educator, comedian, and co-founder of Out of the Binders, a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to advancing the careers of women and gender non-conforming writers. Formerly the editor and publisher of Fleshbot, the web’s foremost blog about sexuality, she now regularly contributes to Vice, The Verge, Fusion, and many more. Follow her on Twitter at @luxalptraum.