Yes, I’m having one. A crisis of… genre?
I’ve been writing for a long time. A quarter of a century, give or take. I don’t feel like I’ve been here long enough to make that claim, but that’s how life slips up, and slips away on you. And I never wrote for anyone but me. Till now.
Until I was forced into a genre, a brand. Branding yourself is as painful as it sounds. For a rural-raised farm girl like myself, it conjures images of bull calves being driven into chutes, clamped into head-gates, and having that red hot iron pushed into their hip. I would surmise it isn’t as painful as the castration and de-horning that goes along with it, but what does the calf know? It’s all the same. Entrapment, pain, and I’d also reckon he’s pretty sore afterward, too.
So the branding we’re talking about isn’t as painful as all that. It’s more like… wearing a shoe that’s a size to small. Or, ladies, a bra that pinches and binds and crawls up your back all day. Yes, we can live with it. Makes us a bit cranky though, and we take that deep breath when it comes off and we’re freed the irritation. It’s kind of like that.
When I began writing and I wrote for me, it was an exorcism. A way to deal with things I had no control over or power to change. Frustrations, peeves, fights with parents and siblings, and the desperation every living person experiences at that stage of physical and sexual development. But what I wrote then was not erotica. It was very often erotic. But it was more than that. Look at Dominoes, The Demon Matiste, Euphoria, Of Life and Death, Ollie… all stories and poems written back in those days. I wrote for the joy of expressing myself.
I find eroticism in many things. To some degree in everything. In the words themselves. Watch the way they fit together, they dove-tail, they flow and fight and tell the story. One of the most erotic things I’ve ever heard is a line from Born to Run, from the Jersey poet himself. He said, “Come on, Wendy, I want to be your friend, I want to guard your dreams and visions, Wrap your legs ‘round these velvet rims and strap your hands ‘cross my engines…” Wow. Even at 15 that made me stop and wonder. Just the beauty of the imagery, the power of the choice of words. I hear it now and it still physically excites me.
So, Felicity, you ask. What is this crisis of which you speak?
I think I’ve lost my way. I’ve wandered off the path. The brand I’ve become, while it is okay, and even good for what it is, is not all I am. It’s an identity crisis. And the tragic part of it is, it’s taking so much of my creative energy to write for the genre that I’m losing the sensibility of voice I once had. In my quest for eroticism, I’ve lost the eroticism. A conundrum, a paradox, and a tragedy rolled into a single neat little package. Put a ribbon on it.
There’s good news, though. A friend challenged me to sit down and write a first draft. He said, “It will probably suck. That’s okay. And maybe no one but you will see it, and that’s okay.” I looked at him like he’d grown a second head. Fortunately, he didn’t know this because we were chatting on screen, but I did. But then I started doing it. And Stella (a working title) is on her way to being born.
The most important part of this first draft though is not in the doing, but in the re-discovery of that old voice. It’s still in there. It isn’t lost. And I don’t know what will happen with Stella, whether it will ever see the light of day, but it will forever be the thing that brought me back.
Don’t look for any big changes around here. I will still provide those erection-inducing, clit-tickling smut-nuggets. Hey, it’s the least I can do. Just know that’s not all I am. I’ve got a whole bag of tricks. And if you play nice, I might show them to you.