Writespiration : The Non-Binary Prom


I’m taking part in Sacha Black’s Writespiration writing prompt. https://sachablack.co.uk/2016/07/27/writespiration-93-underwater-ballroom/

Here’s what Sacha asked us to do this week:

Your challenge this week is to set a piece of flash fiction under water. Write a story in less than 200 words. Paste in the comments or use a pingback and submit before 7th August.

I couldn’t wait to write this, the prompt was just so perfect. I love the idea of setting the flash under water… What could I do with this? I decided to play with the prompt  a bit placing the main character’s emotion under water rather than actually setting the flash fiction under water.

I won’t say anymore about this until the end of the flash other than to say this is not a subject that I’ve ever written about on my blog before. Or even thought that about much until recently….

So I am a bit nervous sharing this piece of flash:

The Non-Binary Prom

I’m underwater, or I might as well be. The sun’s shining but I can’t feel it on my back. All I can hear is everyone whispering, a waterfall of gushing laughter presses against me.  Ed swims through and signs my tee-shirt. Nobody else comes near. I have my back to him but it doesn’t stop me from imagining his face creasing into a confident surfer I know who I am smile. He scribbles something, and his mates laugh. I tear my tee-shirt off, exposing my ripped body, and tiny almost bikini top. He’s written girl and then crossed it out and written boy with this ugly question mark.

‘What you wearing to prom, Les?’ he asks. He’s laughing, because he knows that I can’t make up my mind whether to wear a suit and tie, or a fucking dress.

Non-binary. That’s me. I’m not on the prissy Prom committee but if I was I’d plan an underwater ball with us all swimming, skinny dipping, no clothes, no fancy ball gowns, nowhere to write mean things. Just floating, tattooed skin, splashing I’m human. That’s who we really are. What’s inside counts but Ed can’t see that.  He’s drowning in binary.

© Marjorie Mallon 2016 – aka, Kyrosmagica. All Rights Reserved.


The idea for The Non-Binary Prom piece of flash came from several recent events.

Firstly, my daughter’s T-shirt signing, (last day at secondary school,) and the big event of the year – her prom. She absolutely loved dressing up, wearing the fancy dress, high heels, getting her make up done….. and it was lovely. But …. a person who identifies as non-binary would have a different experience. (Any non-binary people reading this do comment below.. I would be interested in hearing your opinion on events such as Prom.)

Also,  we’ve been talking about gender issues at home – a friend of my eldest daughter is non-binary. I have to say when my daughter first told me about her friend I found this really hard to comprehend. How can someone not identify as either male or a female? OK, I can see why someone might think of themselves as male but be in a female body and vice versa, but non-binary is much more fluid and its very fluidity makes it much more difficult to understand. So that gave me the idea to link it with being underwater pushing against a tide of same aged pupils who are secure in their birth gender and don’t understand you.

Then, quite by chance I came across a Vegan blog entitled Cooking on A Boot Strap – Self Love Stew written by Mx. Jack Monroe who is non-binary. As an aside the Self Love Stew recipe looked delicious, so I decided to check out Jack’s blog some more. Curious, (writers always are!) I read through Jack’s account.. I Have Something To Tell You

Jack’s account is so well written that I began to understand a little more about what it means to be non-binary. I’ve always considered myself to be a very open minded caring sort of person so that got me thinking… and that got me attempting to write from the point of view of a non-binary individual for the above piece of flash. Not sure I did it justice… Let me know what you think.

Hope my piece of flash got you thinking too… Are you, or do you know someone who is non-binary?

Do comment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on gender issues.



My fun (totally not serious but nevertheless 90% true,) author bio on Wattpad – Link below.

Marjorie Mallon was born in Lion City: Singapore. She grew up in a mountainous court in Hong Kong. Her crazy parents dragged her  spotty soul away from her exotic childhood and her much loved dog Topsy to the frozen wastelands of Scotland. There she mastered Scottish country dancing, haggis bashing, bagpipe playing and a whole new Och Aye lingo. 
As a teenager she travelled to many far flung destinations to visit her abacus wielding wayfarer dad. On one such occasion a  barracuda swam by. It stopped to view her  bikini clad body, longing to take a big bite. With dogs' fangs replacing barracudas' teeth, she returned to her mother's birthplace: Kuching, Cat City. There, Blackie, a black-hearted dog sniffed her frightened butt, whimpered and ran away! Shortly after this extraordinary event an angry female Orang-Utan chased her unfit ass out of the Malaysian jungle believing that she was a threat to her babies! She still monkeys about, would love to own a cat, or a replacement Topsy but refuses to entertain  murderous dogs, or over-protective monkeys.
It's rumoured that she lives in the Venice of Cambridge, with her six foot hunk of a Rock God husband, and her two enchanted daughters. 
After such an upbringing her author's mind has taken total leave of its senses. When she's not writing, she eats exotic delicacies while belly dancing, or surfs to the far reaches of the moon. To chill out she practises Tai Chi and Yoga on the crest of a wave. If the mood takes her she goes snorkelling with mermaids, or signs up for idyllic holidays with the Chinese Unicorn, whose magnificent voice sings like a thousand wind chimes. 

She is a child of the light and the dark. Her motto is simply this: Do what you love,  stay true to your heart's desires, remain young at heart, and  inspire others to do so, even if it appears that the odds are stacked like black hearted shadows against you...


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34 thoughts on “Writespiration : The Non-Binary Prom

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  1. Wow, Marje. This is such a powerful piece of writing. Just goes to show how powerful words can be regardless of how many of them there are. I’ve never read anything quite like it. You should certainly use this in anything you send to agents, publishers, etc.

  2. I wanted to say what a powerful piece of writing this is Marje, but I see it seems to be the only word that’s come to mind for many commenters here, lol. Congrats, and I agree with Hugh. Keep it in mind for a submission. <3
    PS Thanks for telling about the cute bitmojis. I'm hooked! <3

    1. Thanks Debby. So glad that this has been popular as I was a bit unsure about this one. I am thinking of possibly developing this into a future book idea …. I find gender issues quite fascinating! But it would need a lot of research. Oh and I’m so pleased that you like the bitmojis – I’m hooked too!

      1. Marje, I would have to think that in this time of the world, books involving gender issues are becoming hot tickets. 🙂

  3. Wow, I just left you a long comment and it evaporated in thin air, lol.:) I believe I said a powerful post, as seems to be the national consensus here, lol. And thanks for the Bitmoji tip, I’m having fun with it. 🙂

  4. This is an issue very close to home – and you handled it wonderfully well. Powerful is indeed the right word, and sensitive. it is a topic that can be fraught with all sorts of perceptions, but you wrote it as directly as if it came from you. The part about “I’m human. That’s who we really are.” – this is the concept that I was only talking about this week. Well done.

    1. Thank you so much. I’ve had so much positive feedback regarding this piece of flash that I’m really beginning to feel that I’d like to explore this idea further and perhaps develop it into a longer piece of writing. Thank you so much for commenting, I really do appreciate all the feedback.:)

  5. It’s a whole new world out there. As a nearly 70-year-old lesbian, I’m still struggling to get my head around it. It’s the privilege of each generation to baffle the ones that came before. May they use that privilege well.

  6. Never heard of ‘non-binary,’ nor do I know anyone who is…it seems that people want to create new terms daily, because who they are just isn’t ‘special’ enough for the Twitter-feed or Instagram pic.
    People aren’t accepting of others, solely for the colour of their skin…so this ‘non-binary’ stuff is completely off of my radar.
    Interesting post, at any rate!

    1. Yes I hadn’t a clue about it either. It is interesting but I can’t say I have any trouble with my own gender but obviously others do. So much so that now there is a Mx, instead of Miss,Ms, or Mrs. Who would have considered that…

  7. Wow Marje, what a stunning piece of writing, I adore the ending, truly. I think you tackled this issue amazingly and with such grace. I have spent many hours thinking about this topic. I often wonder about gender and what really makes us ‘woman or man’ beautiful writing.

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