Thursday, February 12, 2009

Eliciting Eros

Fire from ice.

Wanting to turn someone on - get them hot and bothered - that's what we want to do when we write erotica - isn't it? My little dictionary widget gives this definition of erotica: literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire. 

But what arouses one person doesn't necessarily do diddly-squat for another. Okay - today it's windy out. Wind Advisory level windy. The bare branches are tossing around and the trees are straining against each other. The sound of wind turns me on. Don't ask why, I don't understand it. But it does. If I had the time today I'd write myself a wind story. (Note to self: write some wind-based erotica.) I understand why the weather forecasters just love to be outside in a hurricane - they are getting off on it - no doubt about it. Why didn't I go into meteorology? We don't have TV - I miss good weather porn.

Last night I hosted an erotic poetry evening. In my opinion it fell flat. Maybe it was the audience, maybe it was the venue, maybe it's the economic climate. Being worried about your livelihood is one hell of an anaphrodisiac. Of course nobody (well, with one exception) there knows about this new erotica thing I've got going on. So it was a weird evening for me. I don't like hiding what is an important part of who I am. Did it for most of my life. Thank Eros I've gotten past that for the most part. But not completely. For instance - I'm a little nervous mentioning what I did last night. Notice I didn't link to it. Hahaha.

So I'm finding it interesting what I'm drawn to write. Longer stuff. I've been doing Alison's contests without missing one since I started in December. I view them as writing prompts. But I have trouble with the 250 word limit - hahaha - I regularly have to edit edit edit (I'm a bit anal about not going over the word limit). As a result I've realized that most of what I write in the future will be longer. I like the build-up, the exposition, the foreplay. And that's hard to get with a quickie. Which is so different from my poetry - which tends to be short and concise - for the most part. 

Being so new at this, I'm fascinated with the whole process of writing something designed to elicit eros while at the same time being a pleasure to read just because. I still keep thinking about the story that EllaRegina wrote that I enjoyed so much that I was inspired to write my first flasher contest entry. 

So, I'm wondering - what AM I wondering? - Haha, was just interrupted by my husband asking me if I was having internet issues because he was (he works from home too) - and my train of thought was derailed. 

Okay, here's my question: What inspires you to write a piece of erotica vs. something else? Is it a conscious decision or does it just happen? 

This is my way of easing into something some of us newbie erotica writers are thinking of doing - sharing a discussion through our blogs about what all is involved in this erotic whateveryoucallit (I just tried to google for fetish names to find the one that would be appropriate but there are well more than 9 million entries - don't have the time - hahahahaha). 

I've got an admission to make. I've never read a book-length erotic novel before. Have pretty much stuck to short stories. And so I'm hoping to find the time soon to read some - especially seeing as how a number of recently "met" erotica writers have novels out or coming out (I'm not going to link to them all because I'm sure I'd miss somebody and then I'd feel like shit,  hahaha). 

Well, I'd better finish this up since I still have way too much to do today. But at least I got a chance to write this! Hope it didn't jump around too much. I'm not very focused today.


Neve Black said...

I'm very fortunate to live in neighborhood that's very, very artsy; therefore I feel like I'm right at home with my people: people that see the world the way I do. I'm surrounded by painters, writers, photographers, musicians, etc.

I do venture into the burbs from time to time for my excercise and I work at a part-time job in the burbs too. I really feel culturally shocked by others that don't mix art into their daily lives. I'm not saying everyone that lives in the burbs is like that, but I find more people that are less culturally evolved don't seem to be living in the urban environment I live in.

They think I'm a rebel or something. Ha. How funny is that?

I love ertotism because for me, the essence of a person has a lot to do with their sexual makeup. I like to explore the psychology of that more than anything else.

You should read Kirsten Monroe's blog comments today, because she's touched upon this subject too. There must be something in the air?

Go write about the wind and those, amazingly sexy tree limbs and their fingers and toes, Robin!

Erobintica said...

Neve, you're lucky - you might think I live in Stepford, hahaha. I've actually liked living in smaller, more rural towns because then the artsy folks find each other. Here it's big enough that you really have to go looking. Can't say more, LOL.

I did read Kirsten's post right after I finished mine. Yup, must be something in the air.

Donna said...

Robin, it's funny but back when I first started writing seriously about 12 years ago now, I naturally found myself writing about sexual themes. I couldn't seem to avoid it. It took a story or two before I could aim for what we'd call sexually arousing material, but once I crossed that barrier, I knew I'd found my home.

But, I still remember that it was a difficult process, although exciting as well, to write with the intent to get a particular physical/emotional reaction from my reader. Now it feels natural, but it wasn't always so. And occasionally, when I'm reading a story I haven't read in a while, I blush and think "I wrote that?!"

But really, the purpose of literature is to express things that aren't part of our ordinary interactions. Eroticism and sexuality are so ghettoized and ill-served in our society, any honesty or celebration is an important act. And showing people who think it's all porn that it's not is a real service.

Btw, I get turned on by wind, too. Especially when I'm sitting inside listening to it, but even outside it brings a nice rosy flush to the flesh!

Keep writing!

Cyn said...

I'm not a published author or anything but since I've been writing erotica for some time now I figured I'd share my point of view.

Honestly when I write erotica my goal isn't to turn the reader on. My goal is to write what inspires me and pour the emotion I feel into my work. Maybe it comes across, maybe it doesn't; but that's all part of the fun of writing it (and hopefully reading it).

I've had people who normally aren't turned on by the subject I choose to write, but admitted that it was hot and that they really enjoyed it.

And as far as choosing to write erotica I feel like it chose me. I've been writing it since before I knew exactly how it worked, because the subject fascinated me.

Well that's my perspective. :)

EllaRegina said...

Glad to have helped push you over the edge, Robin! And flattered! (I'm the same way about wind, btw.)

I get ideas for stories. The impetus can be a call for submissions, one of Alison's contests, or just something I overhear or see. There's no telling where things come from -- they're all over the place.

As I'm mostly in the erotica track these days it's usually a clear and conscious decision that the final piece will be erotica.

Other times I might decide that, no, this is going to be a "straight" piece. Yet, erotic stuff somehow usually manages to find its way into the story. My pet theory here: sex is a part of life -- an important part. And it's intertwined with everything else.

I see a piece of erotic writing not so much as compartmentalizing but rather as a magnification of that particular aspect of being human, which in itself is very complex to begin with.

Craig Sorensen said...

I'm not sure I can add too much to the excellent comments that have already been given, but I'll throw in my $.02 anyway!

I write a number of different sorts of things, but my deepest passion is for erotica. I tried to force myself to stay away from erotica for a time.

It didn't work.

Emerald said...

I really see a lot of perspectives to which I relate as well as ones I feel I deeply appreciate in this comments section.

I love what EllaRegina said about sex being an important part of life and intertwined throughout it. I agree completely. And I appreciate what Cyn said about not actually aiming to turn the reader on -- I would say I have experienced that applying to my erotica writing (sometimes) as well, mainly because I frankly don't know what would turn every reader on so I am basically just writing what comes to me.

I don't know if I consciously choose to write a story as erotica now or not. As Donna said, I feel like it seems to come naturally at this point. I have felt a special attention to sexuality that I have enjoyed expressing through artistic media. It seems like it has just been a subject that has interested me and so I have written about it, much like someone interested in nature may tend to write about nature.

Thanks for the question and for this lovely discussion, all. :)

Erobintica said...

Wow. It's 1am, I'm just home from NYC and would love to respond (and answer my own question which I don't think I did) -but I have to be up too soon. I'll write in the morning (the proper morning).

Kirsten Monroe said...

I think perhaps that it's the passion present in erotica that I love because I feel a lot of passion about life -- it's just a perfect expression for that energy.

Sometimes I write what is considered porn and actually have a lot of fun with it, but the erotica is simply "there" and often has nothing to do with sex at all, but the richness of life.

Robin & Donna, wind totally turns me on too and I live near the mouth to the Columbia River Gorge, home of the windsurfing capital of the world -- so you can only imagine -- I'm pretty much horny day and night :)

Erobintica said...

Okay, I should be doing other things (like getting ready to go again) but I want to comment on all your wonderful comments. When I got home last night - this morning - reading everything made me feel like maybe, just maybe, I'm on the right track.

But first to answer my own question. To put it bluntly - I'm drawn to sex - and it shows up in my writing - always has. As soon as I started writing, sex showed up. But at the time I was ... ashamed of that. Won't go into why. But I was. And I fought it - for years. But I'd write erotic poetry and often those would be the pieces that folks seemed to like best. It wasn't until recently that I got the courage up to write out & out erotica - or whatever you want to call it.

Donna, you're so right. Eroticism and sexuality are so ghettoized and ill-served in our society, any honesty or celebration is an important act. And showing people who think it's all porn that it's not is a real service. And it's so cool to hear I'm not the only one that wind gets to - when I told my husband this a couple of years ago I'm not sure he got it.

Cyn, Welcome! I saw your comment over at Violet Blue's blog (I still haven't had time to read that whole article - I didn't want to get myself all riled right now). Maybe when we write what we want to write - rather than what we think we should write to please others - our writing 'works' - be it erotica or any other kind of writing. It's so cool - you have a head start (I'm thinking of when I was your age - ack!) - keep it up! :-)

EllaRegina, another wind person! I'm always fascinated where the seed for a piece of writing comes from - it's so often something that has nothing to do with the finished piece. And it seems to me to try to keep sex out - just to keep it out - of some writing just doesn't make sense to me. There was a conversation the other day (can't remember where or when - maybe with friends) and I mentioned that when I was a kid I honestly believed that people on TV never had to use the toilet, because you never saw one. That somehow they were "special" and didn't shit and piss like the rest of us (of course I didn't think of it in those terms when I was a kid - it was more like tinkle and ... gee, did I even have a term for #2? hahaha).

Craig, an excellent two cents - I tried to force myself to stay away from erotica for a time. It didn't work. Let's hear it for uncooperative muses!

Emerald, yeah - there's no way to know what will turn on a particular reader so might as well write what works for you. And I have another comment, but it's not forming completely. Maybe later.

Kirsten, another windy person - hmmm, maybe a collection of wind porn is in our future? I find I'm actually using the words erotica/porn interchangeably - not sure why - it's just that I do believe that saying "one person's porn is another person's erotica" - it was funny - in the class with Rachel KB last night someone asked about about "romantica" vs. erotica and when she answered she said she was glad it wasn't the erotica/porn question because that could go on forever.

Okay, well I really must be tearing myself away from the computer. Thanks all for commenting! (Umm, I love to talk - can you tell?)