amongst books

amongst books

Friday, November 30, 2012

My smutty letter to Santa Claus now on line at ERWA

My smutty letter to Santa Claus complete with kinked up xmas carols & excruciating puns that will make you groan & possibly moan is now on line in  the Erotica Readers & Writers Gallery for the special holiday issue. Thanks to Santa's little helpers aka the ERWA staff & to the Storytime editors who made excellent editing suggestions as usual. It's a great group. I'm honoured to have work included once again this month.
Also in the gallery this month is feature Greg Herren who has some delicious gay erotica for you & more sultry holiday tales by a wonderful selection of ERWA's finest.

I hope these stories get you into the spirit of the season. May your xmas season be xxx.
Stay tuned for two new stories on the site in January. My smut cup runneth over. Have I told you how much fun I'm having writing erotica again…because I am!

As usual, I welcome your comments, secret e-mails & winks.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the ritual of book shelf arrangement

recently Charles & I purchased more book shelves. this was necessary because our books were spilling out all over the place & many of them were relegated to our en suite storage & closet years ago. to closet a book is a cruel & dastardly act. they've been crying to come out of the closet.

new shelves necessitate some rearrangement. in our office we have a set of four tall IKEA Billy bookcases that are filled primarily with books of poetry, fiction, dictionaries, memoires & biographies, essays & reference books of all kinds plus literary periodicals that I have been in or that I subscribe to. in our ensuite storage we have two tall shelving units, devoted primarily to Bywords storage. My vast library of poetry is steadily taking over our office shelving & that's ok, good even.
the new shelves are short Billy book cases & have been placed in the front hallway, the living room & the bedroom. the bedroom houses our prodigious smut collection & my journals, which go back twenty  years. the living room had only one set of shelves beforehand & much of that is filled with Charles' photography gear & I am grateful that this means I am not completely monopolizing the shelves & besides this enables him to house some fantastic toys such as several Polaroids, which inspire his creativity. in the living room up to now we've also kept cookbooks, photography books, short story collections & health books, but now I can move all the fiction to the front hallway so that guests can see what's available to own or borrow, depending on how precious it is to me.

I am oddly particular about where books can be placed. for instance, I moved John Lavery's books to the living room. Since two out of three of them were short story collections, I put all of them in that section. I couldn't bear the idea of separating them into novel & short stories. Also, since John recommended to me the wonderful novel "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy, I always keep her book beside his. I cannot bring myself to change that placement. It is the only book that he recommended to me.
My precious Robertson Davies collection of novels & essays remains in my office, including the copy of the Cunning Man that he autographed for me here at the National Library just a few short weeks before he died. Robertson Davies is the reason I wanted to write fiction. I love his wit, his puns & his ability to spin a good yarn, particularly in "the Depford Trilogy." There's no way I can put those books in the living room with the other fiction because I need him here, for inspiration.

Books are more than just something I read, they are a life giving force of imagination, play & insight that I need in order to be creative, heck I need them in order to be. I love having this Kindle e-book reader, it is very fun to be able to read any book I want, anywhere I go, but the accessibility of its infinite virtual shelves will never cause me to stop buying physical books, nor will it take away my desire to be surrounded by them.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Orgasmic Aspirations in Erotic Literature

It took 3 months after my near death in 2009 for my libido to reawaken. This should come as no surprise to anyone since my body was covered in dressings and still in excruciating pain much of the time. The first time my husband and I made love, we were tentative & gentle & afraid. Afraid we would cause more pain & damage to my fragile body. It was painful because my body was still swollen inside from surgery. It was also a highly emotional experience. There were tears. Tears of gratitude because I was alive. Tears of shock because hell, that was close. Tears of love because we could finally, finally be intimate after not being able to touch one another for a long time. I was no longer in ICU attached to a ventilator. I was most definitely alive. I was breathing on my own.

My libido, which has been wild and strong since my mid 30s, awoke gently and slowly.  The first orgasm I experienced was small, not powerful, but still, it was there. I probably cried at that point too. This was a sign that I was alive, that I was somehow going to survive. It was also an indication that I could think about something other than my dire frightening health situation. A distraction from that shadow of death that still loomed over me & caused me to shiver with the fear that I would die at any moment.
My recuperation was a time of both fear and joy. After having a close encounter with death, the concept that death can come along at any moment and obliterate us is very real to me. An orgasm is life-affirming. It is also a fuck you to death. I will love life. I will pleasure myself and others. I will celebrate each moment despite or because I know that our time alive is arbitrarily decided or controlled by forces outside of our control. The orgasm is something we can, to a certain extent, control.

For a writer to be able to facilitate or inspire or somehow be a collaborator in someone's ability to achieve orgasm is a beautiful thing. There are those who minimize the importance of being able to help someone achieve orgasm through erotic fiction. I do not. I see it as a valuable and enriching mission, and it's one I take seriously.
I don't see intent to cause sexual stimulation in a reader or the exploration of sexual dynamics to be any less deep or meaningful than any other aspect of the human condition that we attempt to explore through fiction. The orgasm is an essential part of the human condition. An orgasm is about understanding oneself and one's desires and by extension, about understand others, ones lovers and about intimate connection with them.  

The role of literature is to attempt to make sense of the human condition in the world, as part of the world, to address its foibles & imperfections and to celebrate its triumphs, to explore human nature in all its complexity. The orgasm is an intrinsic part of human nature, of nature. Sex is endlessly fascinating to me. Its dynamics, the trouble it causes, the depth of guilt and shame society has attached to it…all of these are reasons to write erotic fiction, but for me, to be able to arouse a reader sexually, not with all of my stories, because I don't always focus on that, but to be able to do it, is a powerful & important motivator for me and one of the reasons why I write erotica and not mainstream literature or any other genre of fiction.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Charter for Erotic Fiction or Manifesto, if you will

whereas erotic fiction is the production and creation of fiction with sex as its central theme, whether the desire for sex, the sex act itself, the delayed gratification of sex for the purposes of arousal of the reader, where arousal is a physical or psychological state & in the context of erotica can refer to the arousal of thought, emotions, sexual response and activity.

in keeping with the above, the work should achieve a high standard of quality as a work of literature.
in keeping with the above, the creator of erotic fiction acknowledges the legacy of both the literary canon & contemporary fiction.

within these principles, there is much room for variation, tolerance & support for diversity of styles & intent.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

a response to We Deviants, We Happy Deviants by Remittance Girl

as a writer of erotica, I very much appreciated this recent ERWA blog entry from Remittance Girl, particularly this closing excerpt:

"Like pathos, like nostalgia, like joy, terror or sadness, eroticism is a way-station, not a terminus.  However, unlike those other human experiences, our culture has not found ways to explore its depths or heights comfortably or unflinchingly. We turn its subjects into objects and depersonalize them because the spectacle of the real experience is thrilling, utterly intimate, and overwhelming. 

But our challenge, as writers of the erotic, is to take that on. Not to flinch, not to look away, not to cheat by reducing the acts or the characters we write to caricatures or myths, or take refuge in the more socially acceptable sanctuary of romantic love.  And that's why, unless our culture changes radically, we will always be transgressors in the literary world when we pursue the task of writing the erotic."

BUT…I have a confession…
I masturbate while reading erotic fiction or smut, as I like to call it.  I take out a book or my Kindle & one of several vibrators, (usually the Hitachi Magic Wand, but lately my vibe of choice has been a smaller bullet vibe with a tighter clit coverage,) & I wank. sometimes the story is the worst written thing I've ever read, but it appeals to my particular fantasy of the moment & it's rare that I can find well-written stories that deal with some of my darkest most unspeakable fantasies.

a lot of erotica writers seem to have an issue with causing physical arousal in the reader. is it because mainstream literary critics mock such a goal? is it because erotica should have a loftier goal to satisfy snobs? I don't give a rat's ass. I like turning people on, either in person or from the distance of a story of mine on line or in print.
does that mean that the prose has to be poorly developed with wooden characters & riddled with clichés? nope. it can still be a good piece of writing, can still contain all of the elements of a well-written story, but it must also be able to help me achieve an orgasm. if the imagery or transgressive nature of the fiction is particularly effective, it will result in arousal again, it will cause me to return to the sexiness of the image in my mind & revisit the image & the story with vibrator in hand.

I do have a destination in mind with smut & that's a climax.
And so I will even read crappy sex fiction to get there. Yep, the kind full of bad clichés, excruciatingly poor grammar, pendulum swinging head hopping, poor language use etc. because when I'm in need of a wank, I'm thinking with my little head.

I'd prefer reading lush, beautiful stories with excellent writing & in the long run, they are more effective because they stay in my head longer; however, sometimes you just need the instant gratification of a potato chip. & whether you're the potato chip maker or the eater, there's no shame in that. there's no harm in trying to make a better chip either.

Friday, November 09, 2012

November Litapalooza

hey kids, have you seen all the great literary events coming up in the next wee while in Ottawa. just looking at poetry alone…
on Tuesday, November 13, the Tree Reading Series hosts Oana Avasillichioaei & Glen Downie. having enjoyed Oana's collaborative book with Erín Moure, Expeditions of a Chimera & her commentary on experimental writing over at Jacket 2, I am particularly excited about hearing her read in person for the first time. I haven't heard of Glen Downie, but am always interested to hear a voice new to me.

Thursday, November 15 marks the start of a Factory Reading Series /above/ground press/ SPAN-O (in other words all activities under the impetus of rob mclennan) three-day marathon of events, starting with talks by Cameron Anstee, Stephen Brockwell, Pearl Pirie at this fundraiser for the wondrous annual poetry festival VERSeFest, Mercury Lounge, 7:30pm - $10.
Apparently the renowned poet Paul Muldoon is also reading at Carleton that night for the annual Munro-Beattie lecture I shall miss because science has not been able to clone me yet. probably a good thing.

on Friday, November 16 there's the ottawa small press book fair's pre-reading with Rachael Simpson, David Blaikie, Christian McPherson, Michael Lithgow.

Saturday, November 17 is the ottawa small press book fair, a fabulous full day of small press & indie author goodness. followed by the James St. Feed Co post-mortem. always a good time.
on Sunday, November 18 there's the Dusty Owl at the Elmdale Tavern at 3pm with fiction by Spencer Gordon & poetry by Mark Goldstein.
I've left off a host of other events, including the Storytelling Festival, which is on next week & the Plan 99 Reading Series which has a fiction event this Saturday. madness. get thee to a reading, signing, book fair, lecture this coming week. if you see me, buy me a drink (i can handle a half pint of Guinness or a wee glass of good red wine). how else am I supposed to know whether you're reading?

obviously you should check out the events calendar at right now.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

BQJ Fall Launch & Editors' Reading

as part of Sunday's BQJ Fall Launch & Editors' reading tomorrow (2-3pm, Collected Works), I will read two short poems which are part of the 2nd half of my ghazal manuscript. the poems will be from the section with the working title "Hafiz: an unforgiveable translation & response."

thank you to the City of Ottawa & the Ontario Arts Council which has funded "ghazals against the gradual demise" & to the recommenders: Arc Poetry Magazine, Book Thug & Palimpsest.
the event is going to be a lot of fun with brief readings by 7 poets & music by Jesse Rose. Jesse plays baritone guitar & sings in this gorgeous low sultry voice.
this is a great way to let a  little light in during a dark month.
afterward we'll repair to the Royal Oak across the street.  please join us for poetry, music & conviviality.

don't forget to account for the time change!

Bywords is grateful to the City of Ottawa for funding us once again this year.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Daddy Complex - new smut on line

I am chuffed that the Erotica Readers and Writers Association has once again chosen a recent story of mine for its gallery. Thank you, Adrienne et al. Thank you also to the members of ERWA's Storytime listserve who made editing suggestions & commented on the story. My salacious little number is in good company this month with stories & flash fiction by fellow members Sean Ollie, Big Ed Magusson, Remittance Girl,  Robert Buckley, Daddy X, William Crimson, & Nan Andrews & featured writer Janine Ashbless who says, "I write sex because I love sex." Hear, hear, Janine!

In my story Daddy Complex,  a legal secretary is threatened with exposure over a taboo kink. Warning: age play fantasy, power play, humiliation, a carrot. This one is definitely NSFW.
Please enjoy this filthy little tale & the other stories on the site. I had a lot of fun writing it. it will be on line until the end of November only.