Archive for Sex+ Art

May 10th, 2019

Guiding Into Creativity

I recall with certainty that when I was in grade school, A Wrinkle in Time was one of the books a teacher chose to read out loud to our class (a chapter a day). I don’t remember whether it was in fourth or fifth grade, but I remember that that book was read to me.

In what seems to me both a strange and simultaneously typical circumstance, I have remembered exactly one specific scene and line from the book. That line I could quote almost verbatim. The rest of the book was entirely gone from my conscious memory, including the general plot, characters, beginning, and ending. I can say with confidence this is not likely due to anything about the book itself, since I have experienced such circumstances with numerous books and movies I know I read/saw as a child: frequently, I remember almost nothing about them except one specific line or several-second scene, which I can often quote exactly and/or describe in minute visual detail.

Why has my memory worked this way? I have no idea. I mention it simply to introduce the fact that a few days ago, I found myself drawn to read A Wrinkle in Time again. Even though it is a children’s book, and even though I know I was exposed to it when I was at the age for which it was intended. (Perhaps, in fact, especially for those reasons.)

In the back of this edition was a short interview with the author, Madeleine L’Engle. I noted that the two of us have in common that when we were kids, we wanted to be writers when we grew up; we started writing at a pretty young age (she at 5, I at 7); and English was our best subject in school. I also appreciated noting her response that A Wrinkle in Time was rejected 26 times, and she had just asked for it back from her agent when she was introduced to the publisher who ended up publishing it.

L’Engle’s acceptance speech for the Newbery Medal for the referenced novel followed the interview in this edition. And there were things in this I truly found striking. (To be clear, I found the book itself striking and can easily see why it has become a classic and was so highly awarded.) The first quote I highlighted in the speech was,

“Because of the very nature of the world as it is today, our children receive in school a heavy load of scientific and analytic subjects, so it is in their reading for fun, for pleasure, that they must be guided into creativity.”

While she was speaking specifically about children and children’s books, of course, I immediately felt a parallel with the writing of erotic fiction.

What I write is specifically not for children and instead exclusively for adults. However, similarly to the way that their “reading for fun, for pleasure” may “[guide chidren] into creativity,” as I experience L’Engle as so appropriately lauding and encouraging, I feel erotic fiction may “guide” adults into sexuality—not the superficial and often artificial “sexuality” that is so exploited and used in commercial culture, nor the tyrannical and puritanical oppression of it leveraged for political or social purposes, but a true appreciation of, respect for, exploration around sexuality. An invitation to align with how we truly experience it uniquely and individually and what resonates with us about how we relate to this energy that is responsible for our being here.

Harkening back to part of the very plot of the novel I had just read, L’Engle’s acceptance speech goes on to describe the “forces working in the world . . . for standardization, for the regimentation of us all. . . . [T]he drying, dissipating universe that we can help our children avoid” by providing them with writing that invokes and encourages both imagination and creativity.

In the way that reading for fun and pleasure reminds kids to tap into these things, erotica may remind adults that sexuality is an intrinsic force in their lives and in our collective existence, not to be dismissed among the world of production/competition/frenzy our culture seems so oriented to at this time. That the connection, the awareness, the relaxation and pleasure that sexuality can espouse is as important and deserving of attention as such other things contemporary society seems to place so much emphasis on. L’Engle’s statement that, “Very few children have any problem with the world of the imagination . . . it’s our loss that so many of us grow out of it,” speaks to me of the importance of retaining the understanding of the significance of fun, relaxation, pleasure, play as we grow into our adult understanding of sexuality and its place in our lives.

As most who have ever read this blog or my erotic fiction may have gathered, I truly consider sexuality and eros important subjects, both for literary exploration and also in our everyday existence. I do not choose to write about them frivolously or lightly. In L’Engle’s acceptance speech for one of the most hallowed children’s fiction awards in the US, her proclamation of why she finds writing for children important resonated deeply with me in relation to why I have found writing for adults important.

And yes, in referencing erotica and my own writing I am speaking about actual sexual acts, but the sexual energy I have also referenced is far, far more than that. When L’Engle says, accurately as I see it, “A book, too, can be . . . ‘explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly,'” I perceive sex as also literally this, but ultimately, I recognize an inextricable link between sexual energy and the creative impulse, and I also recognize that they represent far more than any specific acts or connections with any particular person(s). Sex, after all, is the impetus for creating life. Sexual energy, far from being only about sexual acts or personal connection, is the foundation that manifests all creation and creativity.

In speaking specifically about A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle states that, “it was only after it was written that I realized what some of it meant.” I both include and close with that quote because it articulates something I find, simply, one of the most magical things about writing.

Love,
Emerald


  • “Even the most straightforward tales say far more than they seem to mean on the surface.”
    -Madeleine L’Engle

    November 15th, 2014

    I’ll be at the Philadelphia Erotic Literary Salon on Tuesday!

    ELS imageIn case you’ve missed my announcements on social media, I want to share here that I am delighted to be scheduled as the featured reader at the forthcoming November Erotic Literary Salon in Philadelphia! This will be my third time as the featured reader at the Salon, and I am honored to be invited as such.

    You can find all the details about attending at the press release, but the quick and dirty is that it will be on Tuesday, November 18 (the Salon is regularly held the third Tuesday of every month) at TIME (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge) in Philadelphia. If you’re unfamiliar with the Salon, much of the evening is comprised of open-mic readers offered five-minute increments during which to read. Anyone is welcome to read at the Salon as long as you sign up in advance.

    If Then for siteSafe for siteAs far as my time slot, I’m not sure yet exactly what I’ll be reading aloud, but I’m leaning toward dividing my segment in half in order to read an excerpt from both If… Then and Safe. I’m really looking forward to being there!

    If you find yourself in the area, please feel welcome to join us! :)

    Love,
    Emerald

    “Won’t you stand up, stand up, stand up, won’t you stand up and use your voice?…”
    -Sugarland “Stand Up”

    November 10th, 2014

    Playing a Little Catch-Up!

    You may have noticed that things look a little different here at The Green Light District. I’ve recently completed a bit of an update to the site, offering more prominent access to my new single-author short story collections, Safe (erotica) and If… Then (erotic romance). Though the blog is no longer the entry/landing page from the splash page, it is always accessible via the “Blog” tab above. :) (The direct link to the blog has not changed, so no need to update bookmarks, links, etc. Thank you!)

    RLF-BadgeI’m a little bit behind on announcing a few things, so this post is going to serve multiple purposes! First, today I am honored to return to the Romance Lives Forever (RLF) blog with an interview about my erotic romance collection, If… Then! I am delighted to be back at RLF (I first appeared there last year with an interview about Lustfully Ever After), and I so appreciate the generosity of Kayelle Allen, proprietor of the RLF blog. An extract from “Shattered Angels,” one of the stories in If… Then, is included in the post.

    In addition, last week the fabulous K D Grace invited me to come to her blog to talk about my erotica short story collection, Safe. It was a pleasure to be back at A Hopeful Romantic, and I so appreciate K D’s inviting me! In this post I ruminate a bit about story endings (happy, not-so-happy, otherwise…) and share an excerpt from one of the stories in Safe, “To Make It That Way.”

    This Friday, November 14, I’ll be participating in the virtual book tour for Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s new single-author essay collection, Sex and Cupcakes. Watch this space!

    Lastly, I’m quite excited to share that I am scheduled to be the featured reader at the November Erotic Literary Salon in Philadelphia! I have attended the Salon a number of times (twice as a featured reader), and I am so flattered that Susana Mayer, founder and proprietor of the Salon, invited me to come back in November to celebrate the release of my books. The Salon will be held the evening of Tuesday, November 18, and I will probably split up my featured reader time and read a bit from both Safe and If… Then. :) Please see the Salon’s press release and website for any details about attending!

    Thanks so much, as usual, for being here, and be well.

    Love,
    Emerald

    “You run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking, racing around to come up behind you again…”
    -Pink Floyd “Time”

    November 20th, 2013

    Talking About Labels at Adriana Kraft’s

    Some labels are more helpful than others. :)

    Some labels are more helpful than others. :)

    I’m really delighted to be appearing as a guest today on the blog of Adriana Kraft, the husband-and-wife writing team with whom I’ve been acquainted online for years (Adriana and I both had stories in 2010’s The Cougar Book) but actually got to meet in person a few weeks ago at the inaugural Hot Mojave Knights! For my guest spot, entitled “What’s in a Label?: Subjectivity in Art and Life,” I wrote a bit about my experience at the event, as well as a not-so-new question we were asked on the erotica panel and an unexpected insight that resulted later.

    I’d love it if you’d stop by, and big thanks to Adriana for hosting me!

    Love,
    Emerald

    To be sure, there are requirements that writing labeled romance must fulfill in order to take on that label. And my work sometimes doesn’t. For one thing, rather than the happily-ever-after ending imperative in romance, many of my stories do end up with happy characters, but it has much more to do with sex that just occurred than with any purported ongoing relationship between them. In some stories, the ending might even seem more ambiguous than happy. But I have also written stories that seem to fit the general erotic romance delineation, and perhaps my own wariness about whether I’m doing that “right” is less significant than how readers experience it.
    -from “What’s in a Label?”

    September 13th, 2013

    Five Weeks from Today…

    HMKBanner

    Regular visitors to my site may have noticed the button to the left that features quite lovely-looking knights and mentions the dates of October 18-20. If you follow me on social media, you probably saw the links to my post on the Hot Mojave Knights blog talking about the event a couple weeks ago.

    I will admit I have been remiss in not specifically blogging here about this extraordinary event—until now! I could use the excuse that social media seems faster and easier (translation: laziness :) ) or that I’ve known about the event for so long that I was waiting until it got closer to do a big announcement about it; both of those are true, but since the event is now exactly five weeks away (five happens to be my favorite number, ha), the time has now come to give the forthcoming Hot Mojave Knights event its highly due attention here on my blog!

    Hot Mojave Knights (HMK) is a romance reader weekend packed with interactive events and opportunities for readers to connect with writers they love, as well as meet new ones. Also (and very importantly)—it is going to be held in Las Vegas!! I was deeply, deeply honored when organizing committee member Siobhan Muir, with whom I’ve had the pleasure of being acquainted ever since the Erotic Authors Association conference in 2011, asked me some time back if I would like to be one of the Authors of the Court at the inaugural Hot Mojave Knights event (you can read more about my delighted but slightly nervous response here on the HMK blog). I am so delighted that Siobhan asked me and that I accepted, and I am becoming more excited about the weekend by the day!

    First, a few months ago I found such a delightful item to include in my author raffle basket (which will be auctioned off to benefit the local-to-Las-Vegas Adopt A Rescue Pet, a cause I am very, very happy to support) that I was rather beside myself. Yes, sometimes it’s the little things that excite me. ;) I was going to have it be a surprise, but I’m just so delighted by it that I’m going to share it now. It was made by an artist who custom-designs and -engraves items such as keychains, money clips, etc. And guess what else she makes? Condom holders! I was so thrilled when I discovered this and wasted no time in placing an order that included a green background and a gemstone design (get it?). Here is the final result:

    condomcase

    Isn’t it lovely?? My website url is engraved on the back. :) My raffle basket will also include such items as a $25 gift certificate to the delightful online retailer My Secret Luxury, a small set of Godiva truffles, and signed copies of a few anthologies that feature my work, including Best Erotic Romance (with my story “Honey Changes Everything”).

    HMK also features intimate encounters with the Authors of the Court. How to fill the half hour I and anyone who would like to come see me are allotted is still in the planning stages for me…but I do hope to do the opportunity justice. :D In addition, there will be a masquerade ball on Saturday evening, for which we are all invited to dress up as our favorite book character. Authors are invited to dress as a character of their own creation, and while I know which of my characters I plan to emulate (in appearance anyway), my outfit has not been completely determined yet. I chalk that up to one of the many enjoyable tasks involved in preparing for my attendance at HMK. :) I do love planning outfits!

    In addition, the HMK organizers have arranged for four charming, and, um, as far as I’m concerned, easy-on-the-eyes knights to mingle amongst us all weekend aiming to earn chivalry points and be awarded the coveted title of Mr. Mojave Knight during Saturday evening’s proceedings. :)

    In short, the organizers have provided this list of what is included for those who choose to join us at this highly anticipated weekend:

        Hot Mojave Knights Swag Bag
        Access to the hospitality suite and bookstore all weekend

        Admission to Intimate Encounters with Court Authors and Sponsor Events

        Intimate Rendezvous event with Scribes of the Realm – “speed dating” event

        Catered Costume Ball/Banquet with two drink tickets on Saturday night

        Admission to the Hot Mojave Knight Crowning event on Saturday night

        Continental Breakfasts both Saturday and Sunday mornings

        Admission to the Featured Authors Book Signing on Sunday

    As I hope would be obvious to anyone who has ever visited this blog, I would be utterly delighted and honored to see any of you who have read and/or enjoyed my work there. :) Please see this page for everything you need to sign up, and if you have any questions about the event, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me and ask. Lastly, please follow Hot Mojave Knights on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with all the news and info leading up to the event!

    Five weeks from today…so the countdown begins!!

    Love,
    Emerald

    “Hey baby let’s go to Vegas, bet on love and let it ride…”
    -Faith Hill “Let’s Go to Vegas”