Two weeks ago I wrote a post about storytelling and a savory sea urchin. It was a love story—or, rather, my way of relaying a story someone had told me. It was soft, slow and effective. The next day AJ wrote of bread, sex and writing. It was short, funny, and dirty. And effective. This month I’ve been reading edited submissions for the print journal, many of them touching on the same subject matter: relationships, love, sex, writing…

It got me to thinking about the differences between men and women and the ways in which they write—specifically, the efficacy of the ways we write about love and relationships, and if we are truly best when we write close to ourselves. I’ve written stories using a close third-person point of view in which my narrator was close to a man, but I’ve never attempted (or even desired) to write a first-person narrative with a man as my main character. I’m not sure how well that would turn out.

Now, it has occurred to me that as I write more, as I strengthen my “writing muscles,” I will be able to write farther away from myself. But that leaves me with the question: Is that even a goal I desire? Is it understandable, or acceptable, for a woman to write male characters that are not as acute as her female characters (or the reciprocal for male writers)? Am I just playing to the stereotypes, making excuses?

I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on the two blog posts I mentioned and how you, as writers, deal with these same issues.