Today’s post isn’t a story, but rather about them. I wanted to expand a little on what I posted in the “On the Art of Erotica” page. As this is a first “discussion” post, I beg your indulgence if I ramble. I have questions for you and for myself in here.
I sometimes find myself multiply conflicted with what I’ve written. This hardly ever happens during the process of writing itself – at that time I’m too busy being in it to think at it from the outside. But it’s in the aftermath that I sometimes get one or another flavor of writer’s remorse.
Clearly, to me, sometimes it’s because what I’ve written turns out to look just bad, in the light of day. Or a theme which I wanted to explore really didn’t play out as interestingly or engagingly hot as I’d originally thought. And then there are some times when I have to sit back and think “where did that come from?”. On the lighter side, I can often ask that about the SF/F themes/settings/monsters. I’ve got a non-human/alien/monster/tentacle fetish (hello, Id) about a mile wide. On the darker side, some of the things I write can be bothersome.
When I was an adolescent I remember being extremely upset and angry that there was any part of me that could not be made to listen to reason. I never felt that those parts threatened to rule me – I just hated that they existed; whispering mean or hateful or whatever things to me. Some of the darker sexual fantasies are borne from that side. Again, they speak only in the imagination, and I could be upset at their mere existence. But instead, I write them down and, sometimes, look at them later for meaning beyond forbidden libidinous entertainment.
As a writer, especially one looking to grow an audience, perhaps become slightly better known, perhaps get something I’ve written into some kind of “legitimate” anthology, I wonder whether that stuff – that darker stuff – makes me damaged goods. Over the years I’ve received good feedback, which has been one of the main motivations to make these new steps (like blogging). But now that I have these higher things in my sights, am I already trying to fly with lead wings?
As I wrote in the “On Erotica” page, I also think rape, in the real world, should be a capital crime. I don’t care for any violence, and rape is one of the most abhorrent kinds of it. And yet I write, among other things, rape fantasies. I don’t feel conflicted about this, since I know where the bright line lives. The exploration of fantasy – even the darkest kind – is still just that. However, I have read and been told that could make me untouchable to the world of mainstream erotica. But then, perhaps, that merely means the mainstream is not where I’m looking to go.
And it’s not just the nonconsensual that I wonder about. I write some d/s themes even though I’m neither D nor s. I write bondage without owning so much as a pair of handcuffs. I write control fantasy in many many forms, though happily live the most vanilla of lives. There’s the question of authenticity. Are the voices I imagine anything like real? Am I simply fooling myself and readers who don’t know those worlds intimately? And even if so, does it really matter? Of course, it is the nagging feeling that the answer to the latter is yes that has me writing this thought down to begin with.
That’s all for now. As you can see, my thoughts on these issues are still going ’round. They have been for at least 20 years, and likely will continue. I’d love to hear yours.