is posted in the Summer 2015 Gallery of Poetry at ERWA – The Erotic Readers and Writers Association. That and Hic Sunt Dracones were picked up. More importantly, I wrote about the process of drafting the poem on my May 11th blog entry on revisions. It’s wonderful to have a venue for explicitly sexual work.
I’ve been writing about aging and sex for awhile because, well, I’m aging. Sex does not belong to just the young and the beautiful. And my very wise husband once asked why the men always had to be bossy and responsible for shooting a load the size of a cannon. So, I enjoy writing works which don’t fit the tropes. The cliches in erotic poetry are easy to break out of because the grooves are so well-worn that you can see to avoid them. There really is so much material which has never been covered poetically with a high degree of craft so that explicit poetry could compete with non-sexual, or less explicit work of literary quality.
Yet, it’s difficult for me to write erotica when I have such limited experience – and frankly – will continue to be limited for the foreseeable future. There are topics I seem to be able to write about through others eyes. I particularly love working with M/M work because I do find the idea of that arousing. D/s – I’ve really only been able to do ekphrastic works, like robert and Robert. BDSM, I’ve done a little bit, but I find this difficult because I, myself, have a hard time understanding the pleasure of pain and I have no experience.
It’s during periods like NaPoWriMo where I feel I can let myself explore, just let my imagination go. Other times, I know there are so many rules that it becomes inhibiting. I can read and read and read, but my head still gets filled with the criticism of “not knowing” what I’m talking about and fear of backlash. This is a big reason why there’s freedom in being anonymous. I’d have to pay someone to write my defense. I doubt I could keep up with the way arguments fly across the internet, the way reputations tumble and fall.
So while I’ve “mildly” come out – i.e., I’ve posted pieces under both my pseudonym and “real” name because I’m not ashamed of what I’ve written, I can’t say that I have successfully engaged in internet arguments. I also don’t interview well. There are other writers who can clearly argue. I can only empathize.
My one passionate point would be the necessity of clear critical commentary as an important literary tool for improving work. I’m not saying, “kind,” or “compassionate.” Actually, I’ve found through moderating and being on the poetry boards for the past fifteen years that kindness does not help the writer kill their babies. It’s an interesting paradox for the writer – what to keep, what to edit, what to outright kill. It’s the writer’s responsibility to take in the advice, but to keep their cool. Remember their manners. Especially these days and times where a shitty response will get you notoriety – and not the good kind.
Having been harshly reviewed myself, I know how dismaying it is. Yet, it’s been necessary for me in the development of my own writing. On the receiving side, it’s helped me internalize what others find offensive by virtue of being bad writing. Just as importantly though, by learning to write criticism, I’ve been able to look at my own work through the drafting process and “see” what needs to be tossed, rearranged, reworded, and what I’ve chosen to save. By learning how to express myself to others through critical commentary on their pieces, I’ve been able to focus on someone else’s work and try to describe how to make it stronger, better. I might not be right. But I do spend my time trying to understand why I was bored, why I didn’t believe, why I didn’t like the piece. And frankly, I find that I needed more support learning to write criticism than writing a poem.
And so I do respect those who know more about topics like BDSM, or D/s than I ever will. I think I need to find an instructor to talk to before I leave the draft stage. hmmmm….