I was sailing the mighty Los Angeles River on my golden barge ala Cleopatra, being fed grapes by a scantily clad dancing girl while watching the broad backs of my oarsmen glisten with sweat, and thinking life was pretty damn sweet, when I received a message from The Serious Writer.
Occasionally, The Serious Writer goes on a mission to save me from myself.
TSW: "I saw your latest story." *long email sigh* "So, you're still writing erotica."
TSW: "You could be writing, you know, serious stuff."
ME: "Are you talking Thomas Hardy makes-you-want-to-slit-your-wrists serious? No interest."
TSW: "At least his stuff is literature."
This is the heart of any conversation with The Serious Writer.
ME: "You mean like the collected works of Anais Nin and the Story of O? Not to mention deSade. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Story of the Eye, Lolita..." (Few of which I like, but that's beside the point here. We're discussing merit in the eyes of a certain group of people.)
TSW: "Those are classics, not literature."
ME: "I concede that there is a difference." (Gone With the Wind might be a classic, but literature?)
TSW: "The point is, you should be using your talent to create works that have some literary merit, not, as you keep calling it, wank fiction."
This is the always the conversation. It never varies. I suppose it's a back handed compliment in a way. The Serious Writer feels I have talent, but that it's somehow wasted. I, on the other hand, feel that The Serious Writer is a pretentious genre snob with deep seated sexual issues.
ME: "I see that you also had an erotica piece published recently."
TSW: *if it's possible to sputter indignantly via email, TSW writer is doing it* "That's an old, old piece. I submitted it a very long time ago, before I got serious about my writing. I would have pulled it, but I'd already promised it to them."
ME: "That makes it perfectly all right then." *Thinking maybe TSW isn't selling the literary works.* "So, bottom line here. What are the perks of being a serious writer?"
ME: "Yeah. Perks."
TSW: "Well, for one, you're taken seriously."
TSW: "What do you mean, 'And?' That's it. People take your writing seriously."
Ah, but I already take my writing seriously. And I seriously don't care what other people think of me, especially some mysterious and fabled group of intellectuals who are self-appointed arbiters of 'what is worthy' and 'what we sneer at.' Besides, I'm not ready to give up my glamorous erotica writer's life just yet. I doubt Thomas Hardy ever got fanned on a hot day by a Chippendales dancer wearing a sparkly thong.