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The Crowded Room

The last week of the year has always fascinated me. It’s not like the rest of the year. It’s almost like there are actually fifty-one weeks in the year, then there is the crowded room at the end, a place not unlike my grandmother’s living room was, all stuffed full of the bits and pieces and memorabilia of eighty-three years of living.

The last week of the year is a mini version of that living room, a mental version, a room that everyone has in their head. No matter how expansive the previous fifty-one weeks have been, this final week is the tiny space into which we crowd everything that has happened. Then we settle in to the one comfy chair in that room that’s not avalanching with memories and emotions and we reflect.

I used to ask my grandmother about the people in this old photo or that. I used to ask where she got this porcelain doll or that china figurine. Every item in her living room had a story. It was a gift from someone, or a souvenier from some marked event in her life, or something someone had made for her or she had made for herself. My grandmother’s living room was a storybook full of tales I only ever experienced through her eyes, stories that were lost in the mist to anyone but her and the few of her older friends who still remained, all with story book rooms of their own.

This time of year, in this last week, we all sit in our mental story book rooms and tell ourselves one last time the stories that have been our life for the past fifty-one weeks. We laugh at our joys, we mourn our losses and we nod our heads in satisfaction at our successes, promising there will be more, even bigger successes next year.

My grandmother lived to be eighty-three. There was a finality about her over-crowded living room. That last week of the year room we all occupy right now has its own finality. After midnight tonight, we can crowd no more into that room. We leave it as it is, papers strewn, boxes open, bed unmade, cup of tea half finished. Mind you, some of us spend our last hours in this room frantically trying to crowd just a little more into it. That’s me, sitting in the recliner madly tapping away at the computer trying to get another chapter written, another short story out before I have to leave this room and lock the door behind me.

It doesn’t matter if we are sitting reflecting on all that fills this room, or if we’re frantically trying to fill it fuller, at midnight tonight, we will all take a deep breath, open the door and walk out into the empty room waiting for us that is 2011. All we’ll take with us is our memories of the room we left and our hopes for how we’ll fill this bright new room that stretches promisingly before us. Some of us make New Years resolutions, some of us just plow in without a plan of action. But one thing is for certain, this time next year, if we live that long, we’ll be sitting in the crowded last-week room again reflecting on how the experiences of 2011 have shaped us, anticipating how we will take the experiences into the next empty room. 

My wish for you is that your reflections in your full room be good ones, satisfying ones, ones that bring growth. And at the stroke of midnight, that you will enter that bright new empty room with hope and joy and anticipation of how wonderfully you’ll fill it up.

 

Good Things, Now and To Come

As I write this, I’m celebrating good things, and I hope you are too. I’m letting those good things sink in and take root and get me all excited about the good things yet to come. I expect lots in 2011, and I hope you do too.

Among the good things I’m celebrating is my new website. Welcome! I’m very excited about expanding my ability to communicate with all of my lovely online friends and share my news and ruminations. I’ll do my best to keep the navel-gazing to a minimum and the cool stuff to a maximum. And amongst the cool stuff, I hope to hear a lot more from you.

At the top of the cool stuff list right now is that I’ve just finished the draft of my second novel, The Pet Shop. It started out fun and hot and sexy and has gotten more so right down to the last 48 hours of pressing onward to see if Stella will end up in charge of the Pet Shop. To see if she ends up with Tino or Vincent, or can have them both. The Pet Shop will to be published by Xcite Books in October 2011 on the UK and January 2012 in the US and Canada.

My predictions for the New Year: is that I will keep my laptop overworked and smoking with lots more lusty stories. I will walk lots of miles and see lots of gorgeous scenery. I will plant way more vegetable garden than I have space for. And at least once or twice I’ll end up with tunnel vision, caught in the web of my own story.

My wish for you in the New Year is that you’ll celebrate every day. Celebrate sex and romance and love and all things joyful and life affirming. Celebrate yourself cuz you’re really cool and deserve to be celebrated.

 

You Don’t ACT Like Someone Who Writes Erotica

Closely linked to the discussion of what erotica writers look like is the discussion of what erotica writers act like. Most of us don’t mind so much when people say we don’t look like erotica writers. What really bothers us is when people just assumed that we have DONE all the things we write about.

No one assumes Thomas Harris is a cannibalistic serial killer. No one assumes Anne Rice drinks blood and sleeps in a coffin. No one assumes Tom Clancy spent time being a terrorist. And yet, there are those who assume erotica writers have done everything we write about. For people who make that assumption, I have just one question; what part of the concept of FICTION don’t they get?

Fiction writers don’t have to experience what they write in order to write about it. In fact, that’s why it’s fiction. IT DIDN’T HAPPEN! At least not anywhere outside the fertile mind of the writer. Erotic fiction is no different.

Fiction allows the reader and the writer to experience safely situations and worlds that in reality would not be safe or even possible. In a world where safe sex has become a battle cry, even its own form of bondage, this is especially true with erotica. The erotica writer allows the reader to participate safely in a world that can be both very wonderful and very dangerous. It is no more necessary for erotica writers to have an orgy so they can write about one than it was for Thomas Harris to kill and eat a few folk before he could create Hannibal Lector.

Imagining an erotica writer who must experience firsthand her orgy, bondage, or sex in a bus before she writes about it adds another layer to the psycho-sexual fantasy. The fantasy may be very sexy indeed. But in reality, IT’S FICTION!

 

You don’t LOOK like someone who writes erotica…

‘You don’t look like someone who writes erotica.’

I get that all the time, and I have to smile. It’s a bit like being told, ‘you don’t look like you’re not wearing any knickers. You don’t look like you just had extra cream in your coffee. You don’t look like you’ve been reading Cosmo in the ladies room.’

Contrary to popular belief, most erotica writers actually do look exactly like erotica writers. In fact I look exactly like an erotica writer. Problem is most people don’t know what erotica writers look like. And, fair enough, I have to admit we’re a very difficult lot to recognize, so I’m going to give a very short crash course in how to spot an erotica writer. Not that it’ll help much. We’re masters of disguise. But perhaps it will give some idea of what you’re actually up against so you won’t feel so bad next time you discover that the woman checking you out at the pharmacy, or the bloke tapping away on his laptop at Starbucks, or the chick picking up her kids after school is an erotica writer.

First, you need to know what NOT to look for in an erotica writer. Unless said writer is doing a reading from her erotic writings and is trying to look like people expect an erotica writer to look, the person least likely to be an erotica writer is the one dressed in fishnet stockings and nose-bleed stilettos. Likewise don’t expect her to be the one with peek-a-boo cleavage and a leather mini, or the one with Dita Von Teese make-up.

In fact, the most outstanding thing about an erotica writer is that she doesn’t stand out. In fact it’s to her benefit not to stand out. She’ll be the one in the coffee shop in the corner in the back. She’ll be wearing jeans and a jumper because minis and tiny tops are just too damn cold and uncomfortable to sit around and write in, and erotica writers are endlessly practical. She probably won’t be wearing any make-up because the time it takes to put on a face is time that could be spent getting down the fab hot story idea that came to her while she was cleaning her teeth this morning.

Yep, chances are very good you won’t notice her at all, but she’ll notice you. She’ll notice everyone and everything around her, and she’ll filter it all through the mind set of possibilities, sexy possibilities, stories to be woven, and heat to be generated on the written page. She’ll have her head down, writing like a mad woman. And if she has a quirky little smile half plastered across her face, you’ll know she’s found the hot idea she’s been looking for.

Some erotica writers don’t stand out because they didn’t even make it to the coffee shop. They’re still curled up at home in their pajamas with a cuppa writing a story sparked off by a dream they had. They may be in their most comfy track suit, hair pulled back in a ponytail, feet snuggled in fuzzy slippers while they tap away on the laptop at the kitchen table. They may be scribbling away in a little purple notebook during their lunch break at the office.

It’s hard to say where they’ll turn up, or how they’ll disguise themselves, or what occupation they might take up to fit in to every-day, non-erotica-writing society. But it’s a pretty good bet that when they do decide to reveal themselves, you’ll still be picking your jaw up off the floor saying, ‘Wow, you sure don’t LOOK like someone who writes erotica.’

 

Fannying Around Equals Woman Power

I had the pleasure of attending the first meeting of the share and self-help group, Fannying Around at Sh! Portobello Thursday night. Fannying Around is the brain child of the indomitable Sarah Berry, editor of Foreplay Magazine, and all around fabulous chick. There were a dozen of us in attendance, all from varying walks of life, all bringing our various issues and personal relationships with our own fannies to the group.

It didn’t take much wine, or much prodding from Sarah before one thing became obvious; we women want to talk about our fannies and our sexuality. As we all laughed and shared, it also became obvious that we all remembered times in our lives when we felt alone, when we felt it wasn’t safe to share, when we kept our feelings,our questions and our thoughts about our sexuality to ourselves.

I found myself thinking about the ancient tale that rears its head in multiple forms, but the two most memorable are The Wife of Bath’s Tale in The Canterbury Tales, and The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnell. In both stories a knight is forced to marry a hideous hag. On their wedding night, the hag offers her bridegroom the choice to have her lovely in the marriage bed for his eyes only and hideous during the day, or to have her lovely during the daytime for the eyes of the world while reverting to a hag at night. In both tales the knight leaves the choice to his bride. Because he gives her the choice, she rewards him by always being beautiful. When I first read these stories, I remember thinking how interesting it was that the true beauty of a woman comes through when she has a voice, when she gets to choose. There’s nothing beautiful about victim-hood nor about being powerless. And when our voices are not heard, we are powerless.

Thursday night, the basement of Sh! was electric when female power, with female voices sharing and being heard and affirmed by each other. And the beauty was as evident as the power. Afterward, a good group of us took all that beauty and all that power right on over to the local pub and continued on.

The Fannying Around group will meet once a month starting in January. I plan to be a regular. I love being around powerful, vocal, beautiful women.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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