Saying Goodbye to Corey Alexander

Saying Goodbye to Corey Alexander

It’s hard to even write those words. I found out yesterday that Corey aka Xan West, had died over the weekend. I’m grateful to have received word via my sweetheart, who saw a post online and knew I’d be hit hard by this loss. Only a few days ago, I’d been sharing at length how much I enjoyed one of Corey’s recent works and how much I appreciated them as a writer and a person. A person who made the world a better place by their kindness, their compassion and thoughtfulness, their bravery in writing the truth about so many things: being trans, kinky, fat, disabled, nonbinary. Being a writer who strove to create deep and interesting characters who encompassed many of those identities and more. A writer who pushed others to be better because of how good they were.

I met Corey online somewhere in the early days of Twitter, back when I was very actively part of the sex blogger community with my blog Butchtastic. Corey was noticeable by their thoughtfulness, the articulate and patient way they wrote in a medium that doesn’t always slow down for thoughtfulness. I began to read their work via a blog on LiveJournal, I think? I soon found them within erotica anthologies as well. Corey wrote in a way that I envied and aspired to. Truthful, sometimes painfully awkward, their characters were people I could imagine meeting in real life. I always looked to Corey as a role model of integrity in writing, someone who wouldn’t let their characters down by not digging in as deep as necessary to get to the real, messy good stuff. Whenever I read something by them – a story, a post a tweet – I felt challenged in the best way; challenged to be the best writer and human being I could be.

The book I read most recently by Corey was ‘Their Troublesome Crush’. This is the story I gushed about with my sweetheart, Mol. I was so delighted and inspired by the whole thing – characters that became real to me within a few pages, a polycule that was realistically complex and relatable, wonderfully modeled conversations about consent and boundaries and how to build a relationship from the ground up. Corey put a lot of their own experience as an autistic person into the main character and the result was that I learned not just about their particular experience of autism but more about that way of being in general. And the story was wonderful, loving, joyful. I was looking forward to reading more about these characters.

Sad sigh. I will miss Corey and their storytelling. I will miss their presence online. I am sad that I didn’t complete the email I wanted to send to let them know how much I’d enjoyed Crush and express my gratitude for all they have written and contributed to my world view over the years.

If you don’t know who Corey was, or what they contributed, here are some links. I may not be able to thank Corey directly any more, but I can provide a doorway for others to walk through and discover them.

Corey’s Book Corner – book reviews and recommendations. Especially great is the page on trans and nonbinary work reviewed by trans and nonbinary reviewers.

Kink Praxis is the Xan West erotica-centered blog.

Xan West Goodreads page – find a list of Corey’s books and anthologies they have stories in.

If you are an erotica reader, I highly recommend Corey’s anthology Show Yourself To Me, for a collection of excellent erotic writing with characters that you won’t find in mainstream erotic writing. For me, reading these stories is like being among friends and the people I meet at queer kinky play parties and kink conferences. You will also find Corey’s work in a bunch of erotica anthologies. See the Goodreads page I referenced.

Corey made friends in a lot of different spaces – trans, kink, and an area I wasn’t as familiar with, Romancelandia. Someone who knows Corey through their romance writing and community involvement started a remembrance page. It’s comforting to see how many people Corey touched and who are mourning now. They left an indelible mark on many of us.

Thank you, Corey. I’ll miss you and the world is a little less bright and kind for your absence.

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