P. Carl Recommends...

“On most days I am up to run the dogs by six o’clock, so by eleven in the morning when I know for sure there are no new words for the page, I head out to the gym. In the men’s locker room I quickly slip on my bathing suit facing a corner locker, shielding the parts of myself that others might question. My phone is in the locker, there’s a laptop at home, and this trans body, my body, is here at the gym with my restless mind. The pool is posh, like the fitness center that holds it. Finding my quiet mind means listening to naked men in the locker room talk real estate prices in a neighborhood where a famous football player lives. I can’t afford the houses around here and I’m not into the Patriots, but I pay the exorbitant monthly fee for a place that reassures me, yes, this is my body, a body always in the process of becoming, like my writing. I drop into the pool, intent on breaking through the surface. My body bobs above and below the water, shoulders, arms, and hands rotating right then left, I breathe. I come into the turn, push off from the concrete wall, my trans body fully extended, and in the mechanical and fluid nature of the freestyle, the next sentence almost always comes.”
—P. Carl, author of Becoming a Man: The Story of a Transition (Simon & Schuster, 2020)