Repressing Erotica

I first wrote erotic horror when I was a teenager and went on to share some of it when I was studying fiction writing in college. One of my teachers said that my writing style seemed like a cross among Stephen King, Clive Barker and H.P. Lovecraft, but I think that was more of a suggestion of a direction to go than a comparison of quality. I hid much of that writing away and even burnt my only copies of a few stories (back before the computer age). Coming from a religious family, it somehow seemed wrong to use my ‘gift’ to stimulate the ‘dirty’ chakras (so-to-speak). Talk about naiveté and puritanism—I repressed the one aspect of my writing that may have made the most money.

Erotic writing is usually pretty bad and that’s why people like it. It’s like peaking beneath a black veil at a funeral. For the writer, it is baring your sexual soul a little bit, while also facing the naiveté of people who think you are confessing your sins when you are really sharing your fears. I think of my erotic writing as trying to catch the divine femme fatale running free in my mind before she manifests in the real world because if she ever gets loose there will be hell to play. Mostly though, once I write an erotic piece I hide it away. I don’t want to get pidgin-holed as ‘that kind of writer’.

Earlier this year I released WildCat Branch—a story that was born out of some teenage experiences and eventually became a screenplay (that didn’t sell), so I turned it into a cinematic novel. There’s erotic horror scenes in there, mixed in with some good dialogue and action scenes. I feel like the erotic elements kind of drag the story down, but that might be more about how I feel putting it out there than the quality of the writing of those scenes. I had hoped the story might get some love and be found among the massive amounts of self-published stuff out there, but so far no luck.

Now I’ve got some decisions to make as far as what to include in my short story anthology tentatively titled The Ponds of Expatria. I’ve got some erotic horror from my early writing years that will definitely be included—and there is more written recently that I am wondering about—some of it rewritten from memory of those old stories I threw out. The question is whether to include an erotica section in this book or to create a whole other anthology dedicated to my erotic writing. There’s pros and cons to both approaches, and I think I will figure it out as I get The Ponds of Expatria ready for press.

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