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Lusty Lady

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Watch me talk about my debut as an author, Sex & Cupcakes: A Juicy Collection of Essays, in this Q&A with my publisher Thought Catalog Books

Saturday, May 07, 2011

From the bondage erotica trenches

I have a giant pile of pending and overdue writing, fiction and nonfiction, as well as reading and editing for anthologies, awaiting me. Sometimes the to do lists get so big and scary that I feel instantly paralyzed. Writing even one word feels hopeless, and yet that's what I have to do, and that's what always makes me feel better. I've seen the results of not writing, both the money I didn't make but even worse, the lack it causes inside me, faced with the book I hold in my hands without my essay and photo, or that space on the bookstore shelves where I know my book could've been, if only. It's why I'm such a devotee of Justine Musk's blog Tribal Writer and why I just ordered Steven Pressfield's book Do The Work. Sometimes I need a kick in the ass or, ahem, slap in the face, to force me out of my worst thoughts about myself and into the writing. Money, sadly, is not a motivator. By now, failure looming should be, but it isn't.

I've realized that I like to set goals where I give something up. I'm hoping I can go this year without drinking a drop of alcohol, both because I think it's healthier for me, and simply didn't live up to that goal the last few years. I just decided not to do any more readings, save for Seattle and London, until I finish the YA novel draft I'm working on. That felt like a proactive, good decision, in that being surrounded by people who have, in fact, written a book, only serves to remind me of my lack, and it feels wasteful to me, of both time and money. But that is only half the equation. Giving up doing certain activities will only aid me if I take Pressfield's advice and spend 2 hours a day writing. Or more. I rarely do.

So one of the things I'm working on, that should be no big deal considering how many erotica stories I've already written in the last ten or so years, is for Best Bondage Erotica 2012. I will release the table of contents once it's finalized in a few months, but I can tell you that for the first time for a kinky anthology of mine that wasn't specifically about the topic, the majority of the stories I received, and that are currently in my manuscript, feature male bottoms/submissives/bondees. Which I think is a wonderful and welcome change, but means my story needs to fill the other side of the equation. I am working on two, actually, and one is the kind of story I often write. Playful, cute, fun, kinky. There's feathers and tickling and sadism. And that's great. I like writing those kinds of stories but they feel "light" to me in a sense that the other one I'm working on doesn't. I won't say frivolous, because I think the point of erotica is to arouse and entertain and I think my story will do that.

But the other type of story, the one I am trying to write more of because it makes me feel more "like a writer" is the deeper, darker kind, the ones like "The End" or "Espionage" or the upcoming "Punching Bag," which will be published in Tristan Taormino's anthology Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica. They're intense, dark, heavy, which is perhaps ironic, or perhaps fitting, since the story I'm working on is called "The Weight." It taps into what I love about writing erotica, which is figuring out certain aspects of my kinks in fictional form and articulating them. But no matter how open-minded I try to be, and considering I have a tattoo with the word "open" I'd say I strive for that as much as I can, it's still daunting and unnerving to go there. The lighter, breezier, more playful stories, like "Monica and Me" or "Doing the Dishes," the ones that will get laughs at a reading, are easier on some level because they don't push my buttons. They don't make me uneasy. They don't ever make me wonder, in the deepest recesses of my mind, "What is wrong with me? Why would I fantasize about that?" And one is not better than the other, but I will admit that I'm prejudiced, when it comes to my own writing, toward the darker kind of story. It's where I'm trying to go in my nonfiction too; does this make me look flawed, imperfect, foolish...because I am, and I'm human? Then yes, put it in.

I know that, and I know that's what I gravitate to in pieces I read, the people who, at least, on the page, are unafraid to go there, even if they too have to fake it til they make it. So that's where I'm at this weekend on that one teeny tiny piece. Maybe I'll scrap it, save it for another time, go back to the long, lighter, funnier piece for the Major Media Company that wants my fiction rather than my mini memoir. But I hope I will push myself and try to forget about all the what-ifs, the who-might-read-this-and-think-x, the what-does-this-say-about-me, and instead just bottom to the story and give it all of myself, as openly and guilelessly and freely as I'm capable of.

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