Archive for Sex+ Writing: Mine

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

    September 26th, 2018

    Patriarchy, Unconsciousness, and the United States Government

    Like many people, I have recently felt somewhere along the spectrum of affected to triggered by both the accusations of sexual misconduct directed at Brett Kavanaugh and the response to them from politicians and the culture at large. Interestingly, I have perhaps felt most triggered so far by the insights in Lili Loofbourow’s article entitled “Brett Kavanaugh and the Cruelty of Male Bonding,” which resonates strongly with me.

    Why? Because this is the kind of man that has, for as long as I can remember, been the one that has seethed me to my core. The kind I have historically most dreaded, most despised; by whom I have felt most enraged and toward whom I have felt violent urges that surprised me. I have yet to come close to carrying any such violent impulses out, and at this point carrying them out no longer feels forthcoming or like the point. The point is that this is the kind of man I was always considering, always including, when I felt compelled to discount men as a whole, when I thought men and women were at intrinsic odds with each other. It was because I knew this kind of man existed.

    The first error in that perspective was that I was identifying the men in question rather than the behavior. I am relieved to say it is now obvious to me that the behavior (more precisely, the manifestation of unconsciousness) is what I despise rather than the human beings themselves. Continue reading

    May 24th, 2018

    Sweet as Candy Lovers!

    I am thrilled to announce the release of Candy Lovers: Sugar Erotica, the latest anthology to be published with a story of mine in it! I am especially excited that this happened right in the heart of baseball season, which has nothing to do with the anthology itself but has a definite relation to my story in it, “Out of the Park.”

    This anthology, which is not only edited but also self-published by Rachel Kramer Bussel, is all about sweet—candy, sugar, syrup, soda…and, of course, sex. It’s thrilling to share pages again with some of my favorite colleagues like Donna George Storey, Kristina Wright, Sacchi Green, Sommer Marsden, Shanna Germain, and Rachel herself. I’ve been on a bit of an unintentional hiatus from writing for a couple years, so it is really lovely to have something published again!

    The requisite treat featured in my story is arguably the most well-known of baseball sweet treats, as well as mentioned in perhaps the best-known song about baseball. (Hint: It’s also pictured right there to the right.) Longtime readers will be familiar with my love of baseball, and I am delighted to have this story be my third baseball-themed one published in an anthology (click for details on the first and second). While I wrote “Out of the Park” years ago, I gave it a heavy edit to incorporate and emphasize the sweet theme of this latest anthology of Rachel’s.

    Candy Lovers is, incidentally, Rachel’s first foray into self-publishing, so a desire to support that is an additional reason to check this book out! It is free for Kindle Unlimited readers and is available at the following links:

    Amazon US
    Amazon UK
    Amazon elsewhere

    Love,
    Emerald

    My breath caught as I followed his gaze. My favorite player was standing several feet from the dugout, talking to his teammates while they did a few last-minute warm-up stretches. He was our team’s catcher, the player whose name and number were on the back of the jersey I wore, and unquestionably my number one crush in baseball. I stared unabashedly for several seconds, adrenaline coupled with immediate sexual attraction swishing through me like a searchlight.
    -from “Out of the Park”

    February 8th, 2018

    The Closest I Get to Football

    I will be the first to acknowledge that I don’t follow football. I know very little about it, I feel even less interest in it, and I experience no desire for that to shift. However! I have, for some mysterious reason, been known to attend a Super Bowl party here and there over the years. Doing so had virtually nothing to do with football for me, of course, but I remember enjoying the food and company.

    I also have known numerous people who are football fans and follow teams and the game as closely as I’ve been known to follow, for example, baseball. All of this is to say that I happen to have written a story that opens with a Super Bowl party—a party that ends up seeming fairly important to the interaction that happens subsequent to it. :) This story happens to be the title tale of my short story collection Safe.

    As with many stories I’ve written, there is autobiography woven into “Safe”, though in subtle and interspersed ways that would be hard to explain. The one football-related autobiographical aspect of it is that it was inspired by someone I do know, and I have experienced him as a considerable football fan and someone who would be indeed thrilled were his team to play in, much less win, the Super Bowl.

    So in the vague tradition I seem to have started for 2018 of posting story excerpts that correlate to holidays, dates, or events currently occurring :D, I’m sharing here an excerpt of this story. “Safe” was the final story I wrote for this collection, and perhaps appropriately, it closes the book out. Like “Hers to Keep” (from my New Year’s post), this story was one of the ones that was previously unpublished. Continue reading

    December 31st, 2017

    New Year’s Eve with an Excerpt from Safe! #erotica

    Ah, my negligent blogging continues! First, I lament that I missed blogging about the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers on December 17. I did not personally forget about it (and deliberately wore a red long-sleeved shirt in support under the layers I wore to the no-kill shelter where I volunteer to walk dogs that day), but I did not manage to draw attention to it here.

    It is now New Year’s Eve, and I am blogging to offer an excerpt of one of my stories to celebrate the new year. “Hers to Keep” is in my short story collection Safe and is one of the four stories in that collection that was not previously published. As you’ll see if you read below, my posting this snippet right now is deliberate and timely!

    Writing the main character in “Hers to Keep,” Leslie, was an interesting experience for me because I don’t particularly relate to her in a few ways. She has shy tendencies, feels self-conscious around initiating sex, and tends to experience a lot of mental concern about the “implications” of almost every sexual encounter she has. Yet her character came through clearly to me when I started writing the story, as did the setting, which I could then and can still picture clearly whenever I recall it. Continue reading