a sensible woman

 

dailymail_co_uk

 

I dislike a certain sector of our population. I don’t act on this dislike, I don’t bully, harass or speak ill of this group (until now). But the prejudice and stereotypical assumptions are firmly in place. It is shameful and my apologies to any that I offend.

I struggle with the sixty-something, sensible woman—yes, my aging sisters. You know who I’m talking about. The one that drives a Subaru—slowly. The one with the pearly white hair, the one that wears shoes that some manufacturer told her were fashionable, the one that pops into all the trendy, little boutiques in all the trendy, little, shopping towns up and down the East coast while her white-sneakered husband spins circles on the sidewalk. Please, please, please, don’t let me be that sensible woman.

If you subscribe to the belief that prejudice is rooted in fear–fear of the unknown, fear of harm, fear of infiltration or infection—then you can maybe understand my aversion. I fear that I will be lumped into the sensible mix. Even scarier, I fear that I can easily become one of the sensible—the grandma in grandma jeans, struggling with the remote, writing poetry chapbooks and posting recipes on facebook. It could happen. It could happen to any female at any time. You wake up one day and decide to buy good walking shoes and it’s all downhill from there. Good God.

Not me. Nope, I’ll go out kicking and screaming least I find myself unable to parallel park the Beamer. I’ll write erotica and smoke weed and curse and gladly be the bad girl rather than the old girl. Senility yes, sensibility no. Every family has one, right?  The black sheep, the drunk uncle, the problem child, the crazy woman who decides to write dirty stories at age sixty—shoot, I’ll be her—makes sense to me.

 

p.s. And more apologies to anyone who drives a Subaru.

 

photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

yeah, I cheated

 

take your pant off

 

That’s right. I had a few smokes. Deal with it. I’m still quite pissed that cigarettes turned out to be so stinkin’ bad for you. And that my vices keep slipping away. I think giving up your vices is absolutely one of the strongest indicators that you’re aging big time. I must be a hundred.

 

photo credit: unknown

 

endings

 

flckr

 

“So, how does this end?” she asked him.

They had just returned to the hotel and she was the first to speak. He stood at the window with his back to her and she saw his shoulders tighten just a bit. He turned, slowly, deliberately, as if, she thought, he were trying too hard to be indifferent, trying too hard to show that her words had not penetrated him, that there had been no flinching of his body.

“Why does it have to end, darling?” he asked as he undid his tie, unbuttoning his collar. Again, the feigned indifference. His face lifted from his shirt cuffs and caught her eye. Indifference, my ass, she thought. He’s as scared as I am, afraid of whatever this is, afraid of letting go.

They had a fight at the bar that continued onto the street. It was stupid, she thought, I don’t even remember what it was about. Her husband, his son, politics, something like that—it didn’t matter, they had been fighting for days.

“Because we’re at each others’ throats, David. It’s too much. The lying, the logistics, the jealousy, the hurt. Too much.”

He knew the conversation, he hated it, it went nowhere, it fixed nothing. He sank into the chair, the only upholstered one in the room, stained with wine and soda and whatever had come before them. He stared at her softly, his indifference waned, he looked tired, older, much older then when she saw him several months ago. He had lost weight and hair and some of the arrogance—well, a little of the arrogance. There was all that time in the hospital. Who would have thought that David could be taken down like that?  So sad. She was all he had anymore, he used up all the favors he thought would last a lifetime, pissed off more than a few friends. Although he still had Philip—but that relationship was hanging on by a thread.

See? See how I’m thinking? What? He sits in a chair and looks sad and I want him? I fold because he’s old and lonely and sexy and he makes me feel like a fucking angel? Jesus.

She knelt before him and put her head in his lap. He stroked her hair, loosened her neck with his thumbs, her mind slowly and gratefully followed the path of his fingers. They didn’t talk for some time. And then he became aroused.

Their passion was not a drug, it was not an addiction. It was their lifeline, as essential as air and water. It fueled and fired them, sustained them, saved them. Their passion protected them from an entire world.

“I can’t ever imagine an end to us, Claire,” he whispered, and she moved off of her knees to kiss him.

 

photo credit: flickr.com

 

Good God, what a night that was

 

I love this poem and this post for a couple of reasons: 1) awesome title, coming from 2) awesome translation, 3) fabulous art, and 4) written in the 1st century! That Petronius, a voluptuary of Nero’s court, one devoted to luxury and sensual pleasure. I promise to get back to prose.

 

Good God, what a night that was,

The bed was so soft and how we clung,

Burning together, lying this was and that,

Our uncontrollable passions

Flowing through our mouths.

If I could only die that way,

I’d say goodbye to the business of living. – Petronius (1st Century A.D.) Translated by Kenneth Rexroth

 

photo credit: lovelanguageloveliterature.com

 

In the Desert

 

jastorama_deviantart

 

IN THE DESERT  by Stephen Crane

 

In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it

Because it is bitter,

And because it is my heart.”

 

I love the account of Stephen Crane found in Poem A Day, Vol. 3. While Crane was indeed the classic tortured soul, when you couple the brief account below with the poetry above, it seems to me that he must have been a particularly poignant artist.

“Stephen Crane is best known for his novel of the Civil War, The Red Badge of Courage. He became famous on publication of the book in the fall of 1895. Crane was just twenty-three and an impoverished newspaper reporter living in New York City when he emerged as one of the most innovative writers of the 1890s. That May he also published a controversial collection of poems, The Black Riders and Other Lines, which confounded many critics with its unusual typeface: Crane used capital letters throughout and exceptionally wide margins.

Little is known about the details of Crane’s life. He himself admitted: “I cannot help vanishing and disappearing and dissolving. It is my foremost trait.” As a war correspondent he covered the Greco-Turkish war before settling in England, where he befriended the writers H.G. Wells, Henry James and Joseph Conrad and ricocheted between poverty and wild partying. In his last tubercular years he wrote furiously in an attempt to fend off mounting debts; he died at age twenty-nine in a sanatorium in the Black Forest of Germany.”

And yes, I’m having a love affair with poetry right now.

 

photo credit: jastorama.deviantart.com

the diners

 

pinterest

 

I’ll have the filet she said

and rare he nodded as he held her hand

and drank her everything while the waiter

stood and waited for them to decided what to do with him.

The dining room smelled of fowl and flesh and her mother’s cologne

but no one really seemed to care, surely not the waiter

who walked away not understanding what they were saying,

even though it would have been in his best interest.

 

Their hunger was ferocious,

meat and liquored lips and sweetened senses,

the candy conclusion waiting in the waiters pants

nothing more than dinner chatter.

They feasted, they fasted, they feasted again

and again and always the empty belly growled

until their bitter blend put the demon to bed.

And no one, not even a seasoned waiter, could ever understand

what they were saying.  – pn

 

artwork: john gannam

 

coming back to center

 

caresearchcomau

 

“Write because you are a witness, not just to events, but to what mattered about those events. Not just to relationships, but to how those relationships exposed or celebrated a truth. Write because you are an explorer of yourself and of the human condition. Write to cherish what will otherwise be lost and to understand what has never made sense. The more personal your discovery, the more universal it is.” – Laura Oliver

The closing line of this quote by my mentor and friend, Laura Oliver, always intrigued me. I had a hard time buying into the notion that my feelings had any kind of universal connection. But as I continue to grow as a writer, as I keep digging deeper into my understanding of self and those around me, I can better articulate thoughts and emotions that resonate with others—when I write honestly about my bullshit, when I write about the pain behind my bullshit, when I write with gratitude about my joy, there’s a world out there that understands exactly what I’m saying. At least that’s my understanding of the sentence.

So, where am I going with all of this—to a personal observation, or more accurately, a personal experience that seems impossible to put into words with any degree of relatability—coming back to center—and I’m not even sure what that means.

Near the end of my drinking, I spent a week at a vacation rental with friends, good friends, friends that in no way deserved the crap I was flinging around that summer. I was one angry woman. A month or so after that disastrous week, I visited with one of the renter friends, and she exclaimed upon seeing me, wow, you are so much better, you are so much softer—softer, that’s the ticket. When I am angry, hurt, disappointed, lonely, I am hard as nails. And just this week, this same friend, this long standing and outstanding friend, just called me out for being that angry woman again. And I softened—again—almost as if there were an actual physical component, a literal release of my grip on whatever that nastiness was—and I came back to my center, back to where I could breathe.

What happened there? We have all been out on that limb, we have all stood at the edge of something—what shakes us, what wakes us, what opens the way back to center? Is it a word, a person, a song, a kiss, a toss of the hand, a tone? Is it a resignation of mind and body to the universe, a surrendering of all control, or simply, and most importantly, is it when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we find the way back to center, to soft?

Are these universal ramblings? Can you relate? Life gets crazy, my coping skills, both the healthy and the unhealthy ones, have often failed me. I’m a very excitable girl and I will find myself far from the base line again— and hopefully a good friend, or a friend I have disappointed or loved, or my vulnerability, or my letting go, will reel me back in, and reel me back me in, and keep reeling me back to center.

 

photo credit: caresearch.com.au

 

erotica vs. porn

 

shoulder

 

I was recently asked a question that I was not at all prepared to answer—what is the difference between erotica and pornography?  Hmmm. Well, I went with the fine-line between the two answer, but switched to the feminist angle that pornography is typically more violent, both in the act and in the language. While both answers were acceptable, I knew they were vague and felt that the question continued to hover above the room unaddressed, or perhaps in this instance, undressed. I definitely needed to look into this further, especially since I think of myself as an erotic fiction writer, currently tying to distance myself from what I consider to be pornographic books in the marketplace.

Responses to my query ranged from serious to silly, and most included the preface that the difference between the two was highly subjective, that one’s mans trash is still one mans treasure. The overriding consensus, however, was that erotica referred to works (book and film) with a more artistic bend—an appreciation of the human form, the pleasures of the flesh in a painterly voice—think Michelangelo’s David doing it as told by Emily Bronte. Pornography referred to activity that was carnal, often with misogynistic and violent undertones—think libido not love and lots of props.

I am comfortable in saying that my work is more erotic than pornographic, but would not go so far as to call it artistic. Nor is it anything like Debbie does Dallas. Somewhere in between, perhaps—again, subjective. The findings below are a very small sampling of what others have to say on the subject. My favorites, of course, are the humorous responses. If you are new to the genre, as I am, if you are curious, my suggestion is to step outside your comfort zone and give erotica a try—you can close a book anytime you want. If erotica is on your bookshelf, open it again and enjoy.


…The unabashed goal [of pornography] is simple and straightforward: titillation and immediate, intense arousal (skip the foreplay, please!). Or, to put it even more bluntly, an instantaneous stirring of the genitals.

Admittedly, the erotic might end up having the same effect. Still, the ideal behind erotica is to transcend its literally provocative subject–to add a third dimension, if you will. In aspiring to celebrate the varieties of sexual bliss, and the universal desire for carnal union (which, deep within, just might carry hints of the divine), the eroticist seeks to portray a vision of both human pulchritude and the potential ecstasy that humans–through sexually joining–can share.

psych today


The main difference is that eroticism involves feelings, while pornography does not. As a result, erotic and pornographic images do not have the same impact on the society and especially on women. In pornography women are opressed and violently treated like objects, while in erotic images there is not this kind of oppression and violence and it is more a demonstration of the pleasure felt by the two partners rather than a demonstration of violence.

the difference between erotica and pornography


“What the average man on the street finds arousing is “pornography,” and what the wealthy, cultured, or intellectual man finds arousing is “erotic,” couched in an artistic sensibility that surrounds his base desires in a nimbus of respectability. If the intention of the cultural artifact you are making is to arouse the sexual desires within the viewer, it is pornography.” Sovereign Syre

“The difference between pornographic and erotic is about the same as “promiscuous” versus “normal”: we tend to be more likely to label things that make us uncomfortable as “pornographic,” and things we’re turned on by as “erotic.” While, yes, we can broadly say that things that are more hardcore are more likely to be “porn” and things that have more artistry are more likely to be “erotica,” I find that the labels are very often subjective and say far more about the person applying them than the work itself.” Lux Alptraum

hopes and fears


He reads pornography, you read erotica, I read stimulating adult literature. JR

Erotica leaves something for the imagination, pornography requires no imagination. PG

One is crack for the addict, the other is morphine for the sensuous. DL

[the difference between erotica and pornography] The height of the bookshelf. TV

the guardian

 

Suggested reads:

Eleven Minutes, Pablo Coehlo

The New Urge Reader, New Urge Editions publisher

Fear of Flying, Erica Jong

The near Transformation of Claire, Pamela Naruta

 

 

photo credit: unknown

 

what are you wearing?

 

pin

 

What are you wearing?          Geez, I don’t know. I mean, I just wore that little black thing with the lace back to Harriet’s wedding and it’s pretty much going to be the same crowd and oh, Jesus, if I have to sit with Rachael, I swear…I don’t know. I look hot in that dress. It fits perfectly, doesn’t it? But I’m kind of bored with black at weddings, aren’t you? What about royal blue? Yeah, yeah, yeah, like that one there, no, on the next page. Yeah, right? Fuck. I don’t have anything royal blue. What are you wearing?

 

What are you wearing?          Really? That bad? I look stupid, don’t I? Damnit. I’m really trying to step it up, you know, turn a few heads. Yeah, like the exorcist, right, very funny. Too much, huh? What about the skirt, that can stay, right? It’s not too short, my legs look good in tights. Okay, good, the skirt can stay. And tights. So what’s so bad? Ah, the sweater and the shoes. Both of ’em? Damnit. I fucking hate this.

 

What are you wearing?           I’m wearing the silk, ivory robe, baby. Yes, the one with the ribbon sash. Yes, I still have the sash. The robe smells like sex and perfume, baby. Maybe. Maybe from the last time you had me. Yes, underneath is more ivory, that slightly pinkish ivory, you know, not the ivory with yellow in it, pink ivory like my skin. Yes, I’m wearing a bra—an ivory lace bra that is very sheer and the fabric and my skin both sparkle just a little. My breasts look good, baby. My nipples are screaming for a little attention. Yes, I’m playing with them, pinching them and then softly rubbing them through the fabric like you like to do, baby. Ah. Jesus. Yes, little panties with an ivory lace crotch that want to climb inside of me and start fucking me right now. Uh huh, a bow, pink like my pussy. No, baby, please don’t tear them, they’re so pretty. We can play with them later. I promise. Oh, Jesus. Yeah. Like that, baby. Like that.

 

photo credit: pinterest