Saturday, January 06, 2007

Interview with a Pornographer (me?)

From a recent IM interview (bold type is the interviewer):
-As I mentioned in my email, I am working on a master's thesis on pornographers, particularly purveyors of written pornography / erotica. I have read your stories and your blog. I would like to ask you some questions, if I may?
-You may ask. I may even answer :)
-Fair enough. How long have you been writing erotica?
-I remember writing some fantasies down when I was 16 - 18 years old, then I stopped. I don't remember why. I started again, about 18 months ago.
-Do you consider what you write 'erotica'?
-Yes... much of it. I try to write about the sensual and the sexual in a way that allows people to feel positive about their sexual arousal, rather than 'dirty' or 'bad'. I've gotten feedback on one of my stories, in particular, that it was one of the few erotic stories out there that did not depict the submissive in a negative, simplified, or objectified manner. I was very pleased to hear that.
-Do you consider what you write 'pornography'?
-The word 'pornography' has pejorative connotations. As I recall, this is a compound word that derives from the greek or latin word for 'prostititute' combined with 'graphor' to mean something like... "one who depicts prostitutues and what they do." I am not associated with any prostitutues, I do not depict any prostitutes, nor am I one. That said, I would remind you that in Greece and Rome, and many other ancient cultures, temple prostitutes were highly regarded and thus it is quite likely that we've twisted the word, its original meaning, and the depictions themselves from something sacred, into something profane. Its all subjective, isn't it, wavering as it does in the winds of collective morality?
-Would you consider yourself a pornographer?
-I suppose I could. I suppose on some days I might. I guess I would be in good company: It wasn't so long ago that works by Vatsayana, Hong ji, Ovid, Sappho, James Joyce, DH Lawrence, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Mark Twain, etc were considered 'pornographic. '
-Based on my criteria, you qualify as a 'pornographer'. How do you feel about that?
-I suppose it is apt. *shrug* It is a word. Your word. I don't really care. What is important is not how I feel about it, but how you or those who use the word with derogatory intentions feel about it.
-Ok, lets get back to your writing. Why do you write?
-Ah. Now that is a question I have not been asked before. Very astute. I write because I feel compelled to, I suppose. I was reading and writing by age 4. I wrote my first story when I was 5. I still have it somewhere, my grandmother saved it for me. I have noticed that writing helps me think, helps me organize my thoughts, sometimes even helps to purge my mind. I have a memory for details and a systematizing mind... sometimes I just have to get the stuff out of my head by writing it down.
-I've noticed that what you write tends to be 'sensual' as you noted on your blog, and yet your style is very peculiar. A single entry can contain spiritual, sexual, and psychological elements that are elegantly expressed on the one hand, and dissonantly coarse on the other.
-Yes, this is something several people have pointed out to me. Someone recently told me that my writing is "refined and raw at the same time". Apparently this style of expression tends to keep people off-balance, particularly in person. I'm not quite sure why I communicate this way... perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most people find my voice very soothing, often hypnotic, andmy using an occasional jarring word keeps them awake?
-So your writing style is similar to your conversation style?
-I think so. I suppose you would have to ask my family and friends if the way I converse and the way I write are similar if you want an objective opinion. My speech and my writing are both expressions of the same thing: my thoughts/feelings. While I occasionally filter what I say, I rarely edit what I write. I can say that I do tend to make people shake their heads during conversations. It is not unusual for me to be told I am outrageous.
-Why do you write what you write?
-Why... hmm... I write what I write because it turns me on, and because I hope in sharing it, it will turn others on, perhaps even give them an opportunity to vicariously explore things they otherwise would not experience. What I write on my blog is generally my thoughts on my daily life. When I have the time and a thought that might be worthy of sharing with others, I sit down and write it. Failing that, I write about something most people forget about.
-What is that?
-The sensual immediacy of every day life. I've been told that I seem to experience my senory input more intensely than most people, and that I express it in a way that makes people more aware of the sensuousness of their own lives.
-Ah yes, I should have expected that: your subtitle. So... you write about sexual and sensual topics because... why?
-Because I am a sexual and sensual being. Because we all are, only I seem to be more aware of it myself... Because too many people are hung up on sex. They have made pariahs of their sexual selves, rather than integrating their sexuality into their daily lives. And by that I don't mean daily sex. I mean... hmmm... people are socialized to think that there is a correct time and place to be sexual, and that 'feeling sexy' at any other time is inappropriate. That is bullshit. That is the kind of socialization that creates sexual psychopathology. Feeling sexy, feeling sensual is natural. We are human animals, we have senses and flesh. We evolved to avoid pain and seek pleasure. What sick fuck decided that controlling another's sexuality not only socially but intrapersonally, was a good idea?
-Interesting... so would you say that you consider writing erotic stories and sensual diary entries a sort of public service?
-Heh. I suppose so. My therapist once told me that I have the healthiest attitude towards sex and my sexuality that she had ever come across. It made me sad to realize how many people are so hung up on sex. It made me think. It made me want to change things. Between that and conversations with some friends whose opinions I respect, I decided to 'go public', so to speak.
- That is a good lead in to my next question...How do you chose what writing you will make public?
-I dont really know. I write for me. Anais Nin said " We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection." Sometimes I want to share what I write with a select few, sometimes with the public, sometimes with no one.
-Do you read erotica yourself?
-Oh yes! The first naughty book I was given was Little Birds by Anais Nin. I was perhaps 10. From there I read Delta of Venus, Lady Chatterly's Lover, The French Lieutenants Woman, Twain's 1601, and Janet Morris' Silistra series. As an adult, found and read the Fanny Hill story, Ovid's Art of Love, Anne Rice's Beauty series, and Anne Bishop's Dark Jewels series.
-Why did you start reading it so young?
Well, it was partly environmental. I grew up in a free-love environment. The act of sex was no mystery to me, but the reasons behind it were. Also, where most people have a fundamental desire to be understood, I have a fundamental desire to understand. I wanted to understand what made people want to do that with each other.
-Do you think that having access to erotic material made you more or less likely to be promiscuous growing up?
-Oh less so. But again, 'promiscuous' is one of those pejorative, emotionally- and morally- loaded words. In general, what is considered promiscuous is defined by the society one is in. I am not prone to indiscriminate sex --which is my definition of promiscuity--and I never have been. And since my curiousity about sex was both tickled and satisfied by the material I read in my youth, I wasn't all that interested in 'playing doctor'. I'd seen the real thing often enough, and I'd read enough to understand that it really was something best left to 'grown-ups'.
-Do you sell your erotica?
No. I've not submitted any of my stories to any organizations that pay to publish. A friend has a couple of my audio stories for sale on his site, but I don't think it has enough of a market share to generate many hits. I've been solicited by a few people wanting to work together, etc, but its been a hectic year for me personally, and I've not had much time or energy to put into it. Its been more of a hobby for me, than anything else.
-Do you think you would find more time to write erotica if it was lucrative?
-Of course! Writing and recording erotic stories is quite a lot of fun. They come very easily to me, once I set aside a block of time to write them down. Its just that there are so many other things I like doing, too, and though they don't make money, either, they are much better for my social life :) Seriously though, it would be great to make a living at producing erotic material. I'm too practical to do the starving-writer thing, but I may yet try some e-commerce / e-book / digital download venture -- if I can determine there is a market out there that would pay enough to make the effort worthwhile.
What would you like to see happening in erotica in the next decade?
I'd like to see more material out there for women and couples. Women can be quite raunchy. We like our romantic, sweet, hint-at-but-don't-describe-the-details fiction, but--just as we like to be bent over the couch and fucked hard and fast once in a while--we also like to read hot, steamy stories that make us want to reach into our sex-toy stash and play. And the stuff out there for the general male audience is just too... dry. Or too short. Or too unrealistic. Its funny, I'v had several men contact me, asking for help with their wives. They say their wives are frigid, or reluctant, or too perfuctory in sexual relations, and they wish there was something they could do to make their wives more like me. c Sometimes I recommend sensual massages or discission of fantasies. Sometimes I tell them to try to find a way to introduce their partners to one of my stories, like Check and Mate. Or one of my audios, like Picnic Beneath the Willow. I've heard back from some that the stories have gone over very well, much to their surprise. I think people would be surprised to know how many women would enjoy erotica more if they could find good erotica, with the right balance of romance and raunchiness. So, mainstreaming quality erotica for women and couples is something I would like to see, sometime soon.
And, with that, I've got to call it a night. I'm tired and I've got a long day tomorrow. I hope you don't mind?
-No. I understand. You've given my far more of your time than I had any reason to expect. Thank you.
-My pleasure. May I use a portion of this interview for on my blog? I think it would be interesting reading.
-It is mostly your material... I just asked the questions, so I don't see why not. Sent me the link if you do post?
-Sure. Goodnight!

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Blogger kujmous said...

We have been able to transmit that which can be made out of waves. We can digitally store light and sound, but very little has been done for the other senses. Just think how amazing erotica would be if we could integrate scent, taste, and touch!

6:45 PM, January 06, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been away from you site (and away from home) for two months or more. I logged in the other day with my morning coffee and found a tray of delicious sweets. I didn't know which to choose so I just ran down the page and lifted my finger at this one.
As a nocice eroticer I enjoy and reflect on your evocative detachment. I find my writing either like a dry stick or too hot and purple.
I'll dip into the pastry tomorrow and select another of KR's sticky buns.


11:46 AM, January 18, 2007  

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