mercoledì 29 luglio 2009


I thought the responses to this question were worthy of being brought front and center. I think I already knew the answer to it, because I have always been struck by the affection, tenderness, celebratory quality of the writing of the great majority of writers we work with. These qualities seem to be unifying factors that run throughout the work we share. There is depth and nuance, emotional connection. There is palpable character. There is recognition and often self awareness. If there isn’t HEA there is something thoughtful to be taken from the story. There is always story there that transcends the sex. There is often sexy playfulness. There is usually mutual respect. There is very little gratuitous sex. There is love of life, of sex and sensual pleasures.

This could have something to do with the editors we work with who choose carefully, edit and compile anthologies to reflect how they want sex portrayed, in a positive light. This may also have to do with other writers and editors who encourage and support our writing with positive comments and specific feedback.

Am I being too Pollyanna? No I don’t think so. The writers and editors I’m thinking of have little real need to help other fledgeling writers, they are very successful in their own right, they just do it.

It’s not always one big happy family, but it has been encouraging and very supportive of many writers, who deserve to be read, be it through blog tours like this and this, or flash contests like this. As well as the multitude of open interactive ideas and companion blogs.

So, love informs the sex and affectionate support encourages the writers.

For my part, a huge thanks to all who tirelessly initiate, organize, and participate in these creative exchanges, and thereby support each others writing.

Here are the responses which were just as I suspected.

As for love and lust. I think of the two as separate entities. There can be one without the other, but the blending of the two produces a powerful result. Like blending spices.

So I have written about lust without love, and love without lust for that matter, but not nearly so often as I have explored the blending of the two in varying degrees.

Love and sex, sex and love? Can you have one without the other? Um, hell yes, you can! My characters usually do, but damn, isn't it nice when you have both emotions working at the same time? It's like a well-oiled machine winding through the curves of the erotic highway.

I'm a big fan of love, but in the erotic arts I think a lot of mileage can be had from plain old lust. That being said, one would probably find that the central characters in most of my stories appear to be in love, or falling in love, or growing into love, or on the verge of what might turn out to be love, etc.

So, finally, lust and love. While I totally understand the appeal of sudden sex without all of the emotional entanglements, in my own life I've never been able to divide the two. Even with something as obviously one-dimensional as a pickup, I always felt at least a pang of tenderness for my partner at some point. Having tasted what a deep, long-time commitment can do to sex, I can't even really fake it fictionally when it comes to casual sex. I suspect I could nominally enjoy it, have an orgasm, etc, but it would always be the packaged cookie rather than homemade. I know other experienced adults feel differently, of course, but for me "pure lust" is more about falling in love with my own desire than another person.

Okay, now to lust/love. They are different. I think of lust as a very serious want. Sometimes blinding. Hehe, often blinding. It exists in my one-track mind. Ah, but love. I have to say that in my experience, sex without love is all-in-all rather unsatisfying. There may be electric moments, but something is missing. I think with love - real love - not imagined love - there is trust. And trust can enliven sex even after many years.

As for my characters - it's funny - I find that sometimes there is love and sometimes there is not. There's something else. I hadn't really thought about it before. I'm so little published that most of you have hardly read any of my stuff, so you don't know what sorts of things I've been writing (other than the Trollop flashers). This is actually quite fascinating to think about. I'll probably be back later.

Interesting question too! Fresh from the consciousness/spiritual retreat I attended this weekend, the answer in me is that love always is whether we are conscious of it or not. I would likely have given that answer anyway, but it seems especially fresh right now. :) In writing, it seems to me that would be there the same way (for me) — the love is there whether I or the characters are conscious of it or not. It occurs to me that may not make sense...but that seems okay to me right now. I'll leave it alone. :)

I hear you Isabel, there also must me an element of love in me for my characters as well or the story dies on the page. And the love doesn't have to be a grand passion or the result of finding the perfect partner necessarily. As Robin mentioned, trust is perhaps the even more magical component, which is why BDSM stories are so potent, even though I'm not exactly a card-carrying practitioner (just an occasional tourist). But Emerald's points really opens the whole discussion up into a kind of ethereal realm where it's all about love, whether we know it or not. I kind of like that.

I'm a hopeless romantic - my characters are almost always in love.

10 commenti:

Donna ha detto...

Thanks for the lovely recap, Isabel! It is inspiring to look over the comments again and see how they support each other. There is a whole lotta love in our genre, somewhat different from my experience in literary fiction, to be honest. And we also have to love the writing and the words themselves to struggle through all the obstacles every writer faces. Love has everything to do with it behind the scenes, too, as you mention :-).

Thank you again for a truly delicious and nourishing gingery (as opposed to "gingerly"--where did that word come from given the real ginger's heat and prickle?) feast.

Isabel Kerr ha detto...

as opposed to "gingerly"--where did that word come from given the real ginger's heat and prickle?

Excellent point Donna! Ginger is not subtle at all.

And you're so right I think we do need to be connected to what we're writing in this sense and perhaps more so than other genres because it has so much baggage, literarily and personally.

This makes me think of the recent exchange on Alison's harlot blog where Erobintica suggested "Fuck Shame" as a theme for a tag.

That is a huge part of it all as well isn't it. Not that we need to get into the deep meaning of what we do but I hink everyone is to be commended for going out on a limb and writing about what to so many (mostly American Puritan stock) is shameful.

It's a minefield, it's a tangled web, it's obstacle after obstacle.

Thanks Donna, looking forward to Sunday again.

Craig Sorensen ha detto...

It was great to see all the comments gathered together. Yes, the answers were true to the writers who posted them.

I hate the notion that sex is somehow dirty, something to hide away. I'm glad we're out there challenging that notion!

Isabel Kerr ha detto...

Well said Craig. As always!

Jeremy Edwards ha detto...

Intrigued by the curious meaning of gingerly after reading the comments above, I went to the Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology.

Ginger, our spice, is traced all the way to Middle Indic elements, via the Latin gingiber. Talk about ginger roots!

Gingerly, meanwhile, seems to be of uncertain origin but is possibly built on an element also called ginger, but which, it is speculated, is not the "ginger" traced above but rather a derivation of a French word for "delicate," gensor.

Jeremy Edwards ha detto...

That's Old French, mind you. Gensor will probably get you nowhere when hitting on art students in the Musée d'Orsay.

Isabel Kerr ha detto...

Merci, Monsieur le Prof! ; ) Would you mind holding this ruler for a moment. ; ) ; )

Donna ha detto...

Thank you, Professor J! I really think the two are not at all related and glad to know Old French bears this out :-).

Emerald ha detto...

What a lovely post, Isabel! I enjoyed this question, and how thoughtful it seems to me to gather the responses and post them like you did. Such a beautiful subject. :)

Thank you for this and again for the lovely ginger post!

Isabel Kerr ha detto...

Thanks Emerald! I'm very happy to hear you enjoyed it too.