Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Can Erotica be more?

I have nothing against a good wank story. I love to read them, hope to write them. A debate rages among erotica writers about "literary" versus "non-literary" erotica and the value of it. I'm not sure exactly what non-literary erotica is. Porn? Whatever. I refuse to get pulled into the quality debate. It's too subjective. With the exception on non-consensual sex (anything with minors, rape, non-sentient beings, etc.), I support all erotic writing as valid creative work and as an expression of human sexuality. (Not to mention First Amendment rights, which are under seige.)

That being said, I've been striving for a bit more in my stories. Part of it is my internal debate over the validity of erotica as a separate genre. Sometimes I feel as if erotica writers raised the walls of our own ghetto, and then lamented that we were stuck inside. WE call it erotica. What if we didn't? Topping From Below was a mystery/thriller. Lofting and Raw Silk, it could be argued, were stories about women questing for Self. Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake stories are shelved as horror. So why should I limit my stories by labeling them erotica?

My story Kells is an attempt to push the boundaries of erotica into the world of literary works. Don't call this a vampire story. The characters are vampires, but the story isn't about being a vampire. It's about that moment where you realize your first crush is a complete loser. Intense infatuation turns on a dime.

Tell me how well I did. Is it literature? Wank? Horror porn? Or do me a real favor--drop the label and simply tell me if you liked it.


Anonymous said...

Kathleen, I loved that story. I don't really get into vampire stories, but I liked these vampire characters, particularly when he met Lee and saw himself in a new light. That and the sun tats. Nice touch.

It was also the best kind of erotica, IMO, because it was a story first. The erotic part was interwoven and part of its nature by not the only thing the reader gets out of it.

Kathleen Bradean said...

Thanks Nan. I appreciate you taking time to comment.
Love to you.

Anonymous said...

Your line "Sometimes I feel as if erotica writers raised the walls of our own ghetto" rings so damn true that sometimes it breaks my fucking heart.

Why DO we do this to ourselves?

You know, I only joined ERWA because I tried posting on a straight fiction list and they kicked me off for being too explicit. At first, it never even occurred to me to call it erotica.



Kathleen Bradean said...

I dont suppose you remember the ERWA writer's list where a poster asked, "Should I mention my erotica publications when I talk to publishers," and the answer from a writer who has e-published many 'romantica' stories was, "No! They'll never take you seriously."

On one hand, that's probably reality. On the other hand, what if she didn't call it eroitca when she mentioned it? What if she called it paranormal fantasy? I hate the idea of doing a tippy-toe around a word, but if we broke down the walls and simply called what we write 'literature,' who would pay attention to the arguement that it wasn't?

Anonymous said...

Great story Kathleen! I agree that literature has a strong place in all the genres -- and here you've managed to create a great lit story that is also in double genres. Really lovely work!