These are things I think about often but today’s thoughts are brought to you courtesy of Remittance Girl’s most recent post on rape fantasies.
This bit from the end of her entry struck me:
So, although the fantasy or the fiction may contain elements of non-consent, the fantasizer and/or the reader are fully in control and consent to either imagine or to read. This has nothing to do, ultimately, with non-consent. It is all about the permission to imagine.
I’m not talking about rape right now but the Awful in the things I write sometimes. Often in the past few years I have explore more emotionally and psychologically dark place. As RG pointed out a lot of erotica authors write what turns them on.
I am the kind of writer who writes what turns me on in the larger sense. In my head whether I’m writing erotica, horror, whatever it needs to turn me on in that I need to get that feeling, either the sexual excitement or my pulse needs to change. Something has to happen or I am not going to keep doing it.
One of the frequent criticisms I have gotten over the years is that I tend to like going bad places. If you read a lot of my writing aggression in various forms is a common theme and emotion I like to work with. I like digging into varying ways aggression happens and feels.
That coming from a female writer seems to make some people very uncomfortable. More so when the protagonist is also a woman and isn’t battered or otherwise clearly “damaged” as the Lifetime movie trope goes.
My story Bloody Knuckles as it was published in The Flash Fiction offensive was one that was rejected about seven times before it was picked up. One editor sent me a very kind rejection saying he was unsure about publishing a story that hit so many sore point. I had a bit of back and forth with editor and asked what part was the roughest for him.
I have also gotten the same rejection for erotic stories. When I write kink it usually isn’t whips and chains. Often it’s eroticized aggression because I am fascinated and turned on by that.
…I’m not sure what my point is.
I should back up.
Basically what I am getting at here is that the subversive, the dark, the things that make people cringe in literature whatever kind it may be, are not the things to be afraid of.
Fiction even when people are writing clearly autobiographical fiction, is fiction. You don’t have to like, get turned on by OR as RG astutely points out read it ever.
One of the joys of reading is that when you disapprove or don’t like something you don’t have to keep reading it. School assignments not withstanding.
If you want to write about Nazi’s butt fucking their way across the Plains for Christ do the damn thing.
Publishers, need not be so afraid of the taboos. I realize how difficult that is for many but not everything needs to be wrapped up in pretty packages to sell or even be good.
To writers I say don’t be afraid it won’t get published by whatever publishing house. Don’t be scared. You may have to search and search to find someone to publish your work or you might put it out yourself. Never let people shame you for your subject matter
I think I’m done. I’m very tired and I hit 10,000 words on my novella. I reread as I was heading home and god damn it I like this story. I like it because it’s one I haven’t read before. I am pretty certain I’ll finish.
Under the read more tag a tidbit-
The last thing I remember was Mama kissing me all over my face tenderly, I opened my eyes and smiled at her.
“Hi Butter Butt.”
Her voice was sweet and I felt her soft hands moving around me tucking my blanket in and smoothing the scarf wrapped around my hair.
“Everything is okay?”
I was so sleepy I could only whisper the question.
“Yes baby, everything is fine. Jorge fixed you all up. Go back to sleep.”
I smiled at her, forgetting everything that had happened that day.
“Lay down with me?”
She climbed into bed with me, spooning me until I fell back into the last good sleep I think I ever had.
What I didn’t know was that Mickey had a phone number to reach Daddy in an emergency and he was calling while Mama was tucking me in. He never told me what he said but Daddy was home the next day when I woke up and Mama wasn’t.
By the time I stumbled out of my bedroom yawning Daddy was sitting in the kitchen with his head in his hands, immediately everything from the day before came rushing back and I stood in the doorway already crying, afraid she was dead.
He jumped up and I started sobbing when I saw that he had a black eye and a split lip.