When I originally asked if anyone would want to read a book of erotica written by me (and that was less than three weeks ago), the whole thing was a bit of a lark. I thought it would be fun to do. I thought it might even be relatively easy. I may have been wrong on both counts. The vignettes want to become actual stories. That's the main problem. No. That's not true. The main problem is that the Object of these pieces is sex (and, if I consider the reader as part of the equation, sexual arousal), and I never, ever write with an Object in mind. This is one reason I insist that I do not write "horror." I don't sit down to write a story which will evoke horror, or terror, or awe, or whatever. Evoking all those things is fine, and I hope my stories do it. But I sit down to write stories, and there's rarely more of an Object than that. Here, though, there's this thing that has to happen. A thousand words into "Los Angeles 2162 (December)" there'd been no sex, but some pretty good story, and I had to remind myself that this was erotica, which means that something erotic needed to happen. I got to it in the last 800 words or so out of about 2,200. And, of course, this is twisted stuff. Not just kinky. Twisted. So far into perverse that it might be mistaken for something else altogether, and I can't help but think, no one wants to read this. No one but me and Spooky and a few other polymorphously perverse Cthulhu fetishists. *sigh* Indeed, I would back out, but, at this point, I have challenged myself, and that can only ever end one way. I have to win. I have to make this book happen. I have to make it the book I want it to be.
And what about Daughter of Hounds? Maybe tomorrow.
I have only three days left to finish Skin and write my little essay on it for Stephen Jones. I keep finding so many wonderful passages, so many specifics that try to distract me from the whole I need to be concentrating upon. I'd forgotten how much I loved Tess, even though she makes me want to throttle her. I'd forgotten how much Bibi frightens me, because I see so much of myself in her. I'd forgotten what a jerk Michael is or how much I liked Jerome. But mostly, I'd forgotten the beauty of the language:
It's beautiful. —No it isn't. It's worse than beautiful.
I could go on quoting lines until I'd transcribed the entire damn book. I did find a couple or three scenes interesting in a new light (new for me), in regards to recent comments here about the role of sex in fiction, and with regard to my work on Frog Toes and Tentacles. There are three or four sex scenes in Skin, and they are heady things, but they are so seamlessly interwoven with the language and the narrative that there's never that moment I feel in most narratives that include sex, the moment where everything suddenly stops so that we can watch the sex happen, after which the story will resume. There's never a peep-show window cut into the story. The sex is truly part of the story, so deeply embedded it's almost impossible to tease it free of the whole. I wish I could do that. It's one thing I'm struggling to accomplish in these erotica pieces. And, in some ways, "Los Angeles 2162 (December)" might come close, except that it will appear as part of a book of erotica, so certain expectations will be attached a priori. What would come as a surprise, ordinarily, will, instead, be something the reader is waiting on. The story is defeated by the presentation. Indeed, ironically, the erotic element of the story could be defeated by impatience following from the knowledge that the story is in a book of erotica. I think this happens with "horror" all the time. Readers come expecting only "scary" stories and are disappointed if they get anything more.
I just want to do it right. Nothing else matters.
The eBay auctions got off to a good start yesterday. All our thanks. Please have a look, if you haven't already. I've noticed that the graphic for In the Garden of Poisonous Flowers isn't working. I'll try to fix that today.