Craft Notes- Deconstructing Desiderium*

Okay.

Buckle up.

It is fixing to get super nerdy today.

First, open this entry from the other day so you can see what I’m talking about.

I did one last Yeah, Write for the year. I posted a little erotic flash story I wrote on my phone titled Desiderium.

I’m going to take it apart and show y’all what I was doing and why I made the choices I made with it.

First the title.

Desiderium is in the group of Latin words relating to desire.  I am a major nerd about things like where words come from and while I was perusing wiktionary for inspiration, I found this:

Etymology[edit]

From dēsīderō(want, desire, wish for; miss, lack, need).

I had bookmarked the entry for desiderium, I have had the word, knocking around my brain for a little while. The other thing that is always rumbling in my brain is the concept of limerence as it was introduced to me by Remittance Girl a few years ago. I can’t remember the context of how it happened, but I do recall that conceptually limerence interests me as a thing to explore.

What the fuck is limerence?

For simplicity, let’s work from this definition from wiki:

Limerence (also infatuated love) is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person and typically includes obsessive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship with the object of love and have one’s feelings reciprocated. PsychologistDorothy Tennov coined the term “limerence” for her 1979 book, Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love, to describe a concept that had grown out of her work in the mid-1960s, when she interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love.[1]

In the context of themes I want to play with, I wanted to explore what I call Dark Limerence.

The place where things get weird and bloody. That said, I didn’t want to explore it from a kind of typical Dude sees girl, dude stalks girl..y’all know.

I like to explore lust and limerence through the lens of a female perspective that lives firmly in the taboo. Violent sex, aggression, predation. The very typically “masculine” methods of seduction as presented to us as romance or erotic.

While I’m playing with these themes, I also want to avoid the rape fantasy. Not because I dislike or disapprove. I have zero opinions on whether or not women can have them.

I want to avoid it because often, women are presented only with rape fantasies as a means of exploring eroticized violence and I don’t like that. I think it’s limiting and silly.

I also like to play with the erotic being presented in such a way that maybe it’s erotic but it’s not really explicit but it is absolutely grown folks business.

This narrator, she is in the throes of the kind of memory that makes you wriggle around in your chair because your crotch is tingling. In writing it I wrote it to appear like this:

I want.

I need.

Black wings, a flutter against my skull. I see you and can’t stop the thoughts. Is this mania? When I see the skin beneath your ear, all I can think about is how soft it is, how vulnerable. Teeth or blade? Kiss or bite? Predation. Lust.

I use the two short phrases: I want. I need. To give the reader a moment to start to understand what is happening, the narrator is telling us that she needs. I used the right justification in order to give a visual to almost hearing this in dual voice. The Id “Id rattling the bars. I am a shell.” is almost fighting with itself. We have the simple but powerful phrases: I want. I need. And then we have the poetry of black wings and these questions.

This voice is a secret voice. It is the sort of voice we tend not to see women have in literature erotic or not. This isn’t performative sluthood, this is desire-need- with a big bold face.

I use italics in a few places more for visual aesthetic reasons than any other.

At the end, I bring it to where you the reader know what she’s thinking of. Rough sex. But, I don’t give you enough to figure out the context. Is it make up sex? Hate fuck?

Later, when we are spent, bruised and battered we will weep.

Drop salt tears on my breast, your cock hard again in my hand.

This isn’t a desire we often get to see from women. We see her move from talking to herself, to talking to her lover. She’s talking to both of us and at the end again, tells us exactly what she wants and who she is.

I am want.

I am need.

*I am longing for what is lost. 

A few things about the end here.

I very purposefully used a vague sense of time in this piece. We don’t know when any of this happened, if it happened, if it is fantasy or what? This could be playing out in her head on the subway, in traffic. She might be washing dishes and having this fantasy/memory.

I did that on purpose. I had a more concrete ending to the original version of this piece. The original ending was that she got home and beat up/fucked her partner.

I scrapped it because in terms of when I wrote prose poems/flash fiction, I love leaving it wide open. I know a lot of readers hate it, I hate it sometimes, but when it works, it leaves things that crawl under your skin and I like that.

The last line with the asterisk is also an easter egg if you’re a nerd. You’ll notice that the title is asterisked

Desiderium*

And the last line *I am longing for what is lost.  

The last line gives the meaning to the title if you hadn’t already figured it out.

So there you go.

If you would like a writing lesson for the day here it is.

Tuck away things you learn from other writers. There are times when while other artists talk about their work, what things mean to them it might help you identify something you like to play with.

And play.

Play with themes, play with what words make happen in your head. Play with tropes and commonly held ideas about how people are supposed to be.

Have some fuckin fun y’all.

Flash Friday- Smutty edition.

I have had a hell of a week. So how about some smutty flash fiction to start the weekend?

I have a terrible and wonderful love/obsession with Vagina Dentata.

Here, have this little dreamy piece about it.Next week, I’ll do a sample from my writing classes I’m working on featuring this piece and an exercise.

Enjoy.

Gia’s Secret

I blame my loudmouth roommate for this entire situation.

When JJ got home from her date with Gia.

I heard her say-

“Goddamn Gia is a toothy cunt.”

I think that is what she said. I don’t know I was too busy being drunk and low key in love with Gia.

What I heard was-

“Goddamn Gia has a toothy cunt.”

Had I not been so drunk I would have understood.

I was drunk because I had just broken up with my girlfriend and upon hearing that my roommate was going on a date with my crush I did the sensible thing. I bought an enormous bottle of cheap wine and took the couch.

JJ stopped to lean over the couch to look down at me.

“You should call Gia and ask her out on a date. She is way more your type than mine. And you should probably go to bed. You’re really drunk.”

I don’t remember JJ putting me in bed or stripping me. I do remember her taking my bag of chips away and putting a bottle of water on my nightstand.

After she left me, I lay there turning over the idea of Gia in my head.

My cunt started to burn, I felt the blood moving, my lips swelling and wanting to be touched. I waited, thinking about JJ’s comment.

“Gia has a toothy cunt.”

Toothy cunt, toothy cunt. I closed my eyes and pictured her fine, lean brown body. I’d seen her naked before. Shit, I’ve seen almost all of my friends naked. We have stripped together, tricked together, been photographed together. Yet, I could not remember if I had seen teeth or not.

Gia is sleek where I am not. She is muscled and tight, catlike and androgynous in a classic kind of way. I wonder if she still has that precision trimmed bush, verdant in a tightly controlled way that is beyond sexy. My fingers move between my own thighs as I imagine the topography of her cunt.

Are her lips dark like the ones on her face? Do they have that petulant mean curve, do they fold soft and wrinkly as wilting fern fronds? Could I get them to swell and spread with just one finger? Just one finger dragged slowly just where they protrude, just a tickle. Just enough to promise more but not enough to deliver.

I saw myself with my face between her strong thighs, dipping my tongue into the crenulated secrets of her cunt before peeling her lips open to tickle her sharp secret teeth.

Eyes closed I imagined dipping my tongue just inside her, just enough to feel the slick of teeth on the tip of my tongue.

Unwise as the desire might be I wouldn’t recoil from the slick smoothness, I would smile against her. I could almost taste her, feel her lithe, muscular body twisting, warning me of the danger to come.

Against the backdrop of my closed eyes, I tried to paint her, lips full and dark, slick and revealing the barest sliver of deepest wet red. Wet as a screaming mouth full of danger.

I’d want her fuck hungry, ready to devour me whole.

I neared orgasm the world grayed out around me, I must have passed out because I woke up with a fuzzy mouth and my hand wedged between my thighs.

I couldn’t remember coming or not, but I did remember vivid dreams of a flash of teeth, old ivory buried inside hot wet red.

The beauty of my fixation is that I have a date with Gia tonight and I hope to come home tongueless.

 

Oh my.

I’m just finishing up a few pieces of erotica.

They are filthy, kinky gender fucking madness.

They are not romantic.

They are not sensual (fuck I hate that word).

They are not stories I would be okay with having arty airbrushed White people on the covers of.

They aren’t really “ethnic” enough for arty airbrushed brown people.

Two of them are pants scorchers. They are similar but one is marginally hetero flavored the other one lesbian.

There is a lot of crying, spanking and big dicking lady Leather Daddies.

From the time of my first erotic publication about what now 15 years ago or so? The market has been heavily romanticized and homogenized.

Frankly the erotica that is to my taste (I’ll give links and suggestions later) is rare.

As I’ve said before, the covers bother me. I’d rather have a plain cover though I know that’s a bad marketing move.

But, I can’t bring myself to submit to some of the few places I might sneak in because I don’t see me being marketed to.

I was just checking out one press and every category except the ‘ethnic” one was oceans of White people who are all very conventionally attractive in a stock photo kind of way, unchallenging and for me as a reader not really a turn on.

I’m in that bitter place where I feel edged out because what I think is romantic and makes me tingly in the crotchal region isn’t what brings in the big bucks.

Or maybe this is one of those angsting author things.

I don’t know.

What I mostly feel as I do my market research is this:

  • Uncomfortable (pick a reason. I’m not heterosexual, I’m not White, I’m not into that being all there is)
  • Transgressive in my queer up all the things attitudes towards how I write sexuality.
  • Unmarketable.
  • Disquiet. Where (as I believe Remittance Girl has asked) is the edge? Where is the fuck you (no that’s not how she put it) in all these nice romantic with some spanking things?

All that said, I don’t care if that’s what you like or what you write.

Shit go on with your bad self. Write it like a mother fucker and make that money if you can. That’s awesome.

What’s not awesome is that every time I go to maybe submit some smut someplace, feeling all those feelings that are not good.

When romance started filtering into the industry and there were fewer edgy (I also hate using that word in this context) markets I stopped writing a lot of erotica.

We know I don’t generally write for profit.

But I don’t want to let them molder.

I’m tempted to self publish them.

However I am not the best at that.

Self promotion isn’t my strong suit.

So I’m going to collect them up and maybe shop it to some of the more adventurous presses.

I don’t know.

I suppose the part that always gets me is the fact that there’s room for all of the things.

From boot licking in an alley nasty to the sweet sweet romantic.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

So okay what do I like? Let me show you some of my favorites. These are classics in my head:

Rough Stuff: Tales of Gay Men, Sex, and Power edited by Simon Shepphard and M. Christian.  Uh fuck this book is so hot. SO hot. Raunchy, filthy, nasty and everything I love.

If you like erotica and don’t know M. Christian’s work come on son. My favorite way to be a M. Christian pusher is his collection Dirty Words. Just get it.

Best Bisexual erotica. Get all of them.

So yes those are pretty queer but if you look at even the descriptions you’ll probably get what I’m talking about.

I’m tired and emotional. I should get my contacts out and calm down. It will be fine. I will figure it out.

In the meantime go buy a dirty book you won’t be sorry.

Am I allowed?

I am very very tired. So please excuse anything overly obvious I say or that I may ramble more than usual.

I have been working on this little loosely themed collection of erotic/explicit/literary stories. All flash sized, between 250-1000 words.

As I’ve been doing these I have all these um, let’s say academic flavored thoughts about the purpose of what I’m doing. About what I am playing with and exploring not because I think it’s commercially viable (as in publishable) but because I need to walk the land and see what’s going on.

I was listening to Junot Diaz speak (I KNOW I am kind of obsessed ok, listening to him talk about writing and reading is very soothing to me)  and he said something about art and play and I had a boom holy shit moment.

This little nerdy thing I am doing is art.

This is my art.

Holy. Shit.

For as much as I believe other writers make art, Remittance Girl, M. Christian, etc etc they make art.  In my head everyone but me makes art and is an artist and that in my head is this big beautiful lofty thing.

It is a penultimate thing to me. The height of what makes me happy.

I haven’t ever been comfortable allowing myself to try and inhabit that place. the idea that I could be an artist or that anything I do writing, crocheting, photography etc could be art I get very anxious.

I feel nauseated and weird and generally like I am some fake ass dilettante or similar low rent poseur.

And then if I let myself think about it more I shut it down and tell myself to shut my shit mouth and get to work. I am a worker. I put my head down and get to it. I work/commute for 12 hours of my day and I go home and I fucking work.

I work.

Someone like me (poor, worker) can’t join the ranks of artists because in my head, artists are above. I am not up there.

I know that part of this is my upbringing, part of it is the depths of admiration I have for art. How much I value and respect everything I consider art.

I tell myself I can totally write and I can create and I am a creative person. I am a writer. Sometimes I think I’m a pretty good writer.

But I couldn’t consider anything I was doing art.

I wouldn’t say it.

I have had no problem personifying myself as the Rocky archetype or the laborer.  I know that my roach brain survives  I can work through everything (see me being so exhausted right now my hands are shaking but I’m at work) , My War by Black Flag is playing in my head. I am the Mother Fucker. I am a fucking Beast. I can’t be stopped.

Rawr. Flex. Be afraid.

the moment I think this is art, this is beautiful. I have a total fucking meltdown.

Okay so about a half hour ago or so I said to my best friend that my little dark end of limerence and playing with (fuck that word that starts with a J that I learned from Remittance Girl)- anyway this little thing I am doing is art.

it is my art.

It is me exploring these things. I am doing it.

Maybe because I am so tired, I don’t have the energy to put up the labyrinth in my head to let myself step out of the role I’ve assigned myself and just do my arty shit.

For me art does things. It hurts me, it makes me happy, it arouses me (yes sexually), it terrifies me, it makes me want to crap my pants, it makes me want to cry, it makes me think about it two weeks later,  I want to talk about it and chew on it.

These stories do that for me and I want to share them. Maybe they will do it for someone else.

I am making art.

It feels so strange but I want it to be okay. I want to hold my head up point at something I’ve done and be able to proclaim my artiness. If only to myself.

This is a new adventure.

Under the fold here, have a bit of one of the new things I’m working on from the collection.

At another time I might ask some questions for all however many of you read this. But not today. today I just want to enjoy feeling arty.

Continue reading “Am I allowed?”

When my teachers are speaking my language.

We all know I follow pretty much everything Remittance Girl writes with a creepy determination.

Recently through her blog posts I have learned the word jouissance.

Go read some of what she has to say about it here.

We all know I like learning things about writing and how those things relate to or express things about my writing I’ve not had words for previously.

This bit from her entry speaks to me on a huge level about how I write erotica.

The sexual aspect of the word jouissance, and the one which would seem initially to be of more use to us comes from the verb form:jouir, which is the verb to ‘enjoy’ but is also used as a term for reaching orgasm.

Also this part.

Now, of course, I get to tell you that jouissance, in the sense I’m using the term, really isn’t about orgasms, but a state beyond that sense of physical relief. It’s about the climb towards and experience of all ecstatic ruptures.  They are all exhilarating, frightening, and bittersweet.

One of the themes that has been in my erotica from the beginning is the idea of the climb to use her phrase. The ways the climb happens. For me when I write erotica, outside of yes the arousal there is that climb and I like it messy.

I write these things in ways that are often difficult for others to get into.  Just recently (I’ll post it at the bottom of this entry) I’ve been digging into threat, danger, fear as part of the climb towards orgasm, release.

I read some about jouissance and via wikipedia found the link to limerence.

In my brain there were fireworks and an AHA moment.

In my mind, romance is often not hearts and flowers. It’s not necessarily about alpha male protagonists who are forceful but not scary, good looking with good jobs and nice teeth and six packs who are after heroines with long flowing blond hair, perky tits and a go get em attitude.

Here is where I find my trouble with a lot of erotica.

Those things don’t’ turn me on.

The standard very Western do they don’t they, hand wringing over things like but I want to travel and he wants a stay at home wife (yes I’m being hyperbolic) etc are not my jam.

The love in my stories is often depraved, it is criminal, sometimes it is violent. I like to walk the back alleys with it and my characters often don’t walk in the light because they don’t want to.

That turns me on.

Thus that is what I write.

I am enamored that there are words I have learned, that bring these things into a tighter focus in my head.

I feel like there are more than enough heteronormative gorgeous people who do cool things or whisper sweet nothings to each other.

Those are not my stories to tell.

In terms of eroticicism in my little universe in my brain, there are dangers. There is blood. There is fatality and cellulite, hairy assholes. Periods. Laughter. Superficial I only want to fuck you because I can type arousal.

These are the things that make me happy and turn me on.

Okay enough yammering and wriggling from me for the moment. how about some smut?

First theme music. This is the playlist I was listening to last night while I was writing. Unfortunately my raggedy old computer at home has puked her soundcard so I had to listen to it via my phone. I need my office.  Under the fold find a tiny smutty story. Unedited.  Presented to you as it came out of my head. I’m thinking as I am writing these little things, I will probably wait a few months and put them together in a little collection. Until then, enjoy.

Continue reading “When my teachers are speaking my language.”

Confessions of a petulant submitter.

I have some confessions to make.

Sometimes, I am a snotty ass unfamous has no right to be such a snob submitter.

For instance.

I have a thing about ugly websites. I have read some fantastic lit mags on the internet that have atrocious eye searing websites. Sometimes I have Angelfire flashbacks. Sparkly text, super bright, multi sized fonts. I won’t submit.

It’s not nice of me since I am neither paying for their sites or being the admin for them.

I just, hate it and can’t stand to see my words all uglyfied.

Yes I make up words.

I’m also finding as I’m doing some more genre specific work, the formatting. Gods, the formatting.

I have to confess. I never use indentation in my work unless it’s for effect.

I don’t mind it in books and whatnot but I don’t use it. I hate the idea of either doing it to get published or yanno not getting published.

I realize this is stupid.

I know, it is not my place to be so snotty about these things. I can’t totally help myself.

I need to do something about that. Remind myself I have no control over these things and I need to bring it down a notch.

I’ll get over it or learn to subdue my snotty tendencies.

I won’t say this is all bad. I did withdraw an erotic story once because the art that was supposed to go with it was of a thin white lady and the story had no thin white lady. I was offended.

There have been other I won’t say racist but let’s say deeply racially insensitive moments like that where my Spidey sense about editorial choices has proven correct.

Therein is another issue.

One of my problems in the erotica markets is the sea of skinny white ladies with their buff white dudes. This is why I tend not to participate in writing challenges in groups because 99% of the time I’m given the mainstream easy perfect porno lady pictures and I just can’t. I’m  not inspired by them.

I don’t want to have stories that are explicitly not the Thin White Lady ideal or thin body centric thing, lost in a sea of tiny assed women in weird positions.

See also why, I’m still kind of not comfortable shopping a book of erotica.

I know that if you put the torso or back view of a skinny white lady on the cover of a book it will sell. I know that. More often than not I see covers that interest me about as much as the idea of douching with Pine Sol and yes I might like or love the author but, I don’t want that to be what goes on with my work.

We see why I will probably never be famous.

I am interested in more self publishing. My ideas about cover images do present a problem. I am not a photographer and don’t really want my picture on every book with a Black person in it. Nor do I want arty air brushed six pack abs on a cover either.

I am thinking of coming up with a cart system for my website that won’t require me to manually send download links to customers. I dunno. I’m kind of frustrated. Not really by low sales but because I can’t come up with a more viable solution.

Or I should just swallow my distaste for the going manner of cover and just get together my erotic chapbook and shop it.

Fuck I don’t know.

I drive myself crazy. This is an aspect of my personality that I have yet to learn to effectively deal with. So I blog.

That’s all. I’m working on my first sci fi flavored thing. I will probably make it a free download at some point.

 

 

Smut.

If you haven’t read it already go read this piece by Steve Almond in The Rumpus.

My favorite one is this:

14. Because I believe literature’s central purpose is not to pretend we don’t have bodies and their consequent needs, but to make us feel less alone with these needs.

Outside of my frequent emotional hand wringing about literature, one of the things I treasure about literature is access.

I pick up a good book and I live in another skin. And when those skins seem to never eat, shit, or fuck I get very suspicious.

That isn’t to say that I find all of those skins necessarily interesting. There are many that don’t interest me at all, the more important thing is that there are more of them to read and taste.

Speaking of skins I like, I started listening to the audio performance of The Black Echo (also having an Audible subscription is kind of the best thing ever) by Michael Connelly. If you’re not familiar with it, this is the first book in the Harry Bosch series.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before but, I am a HUGE fan of this type of detective novel. It all started with me snagging a paperback Ed McBain novel off of my Mother’s bookshelf. I am an absolute sucker for detective novels and police procedural novels.

I think Harry Bosch might be my favorite. He’s a chain smoking semi asshole and I find his progression through the books very endearing. The women in these novels annoy me at times, always so perfectly beautiful but it goes with the territory.

I feel like Audible is the perfect device for me to indulge my polyamory relationship with books. I’m also listening to the Count of Monte Cristo but, the reader for that one his voice is so soothing it makes me sleepy.  Next I’m listening to the Jack Reacher books again. I don’t even want to discuss the movie. Fuck Tom Cruise.

When I was getting the Bosch book  I realized that the reader is the same for the Reacher books and that makes me really happy, I really like how he performs.

And so I continue my self indugence and richness in books I love.

Tomorrow I will finish my review of Bodies Made of Smoke.

Also this week I want to talk about (mostly to myself) the urban fantasy/magic stories I have been working on and how I feel about them.  And maybe a new list of books I recommend reading since I haven’t done one in a while.