Susie Bright (sueb) Sun 17 Jun 01 19:50
I knew that for a publisher who was looking fora NYTimes Bestseller, this wasnt' an appropriate book. I knew that MILLIONS of readers weren't looking for an erotic writer's philosophy or guidebook. Very few writers books make the bigtime at all, Bird By Bird is the notable exception. I actually wanted to call this book Fuck By Fuck, that was my working title. But I never doubted that there was an audience for this book, how could I? I hear from erotic readers and writers every day.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 18 Jun 01 13:42
Actually, I want to know more about how to read a dirty story.
Bedroom eyes, dining room lips (drsmith) Mon 18 Jun 01 15:04
I can tell you what's worked for me, Linda: Practice, practice, practice.
Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 18 Jun 01 15:48
musing generally (satyr) Tue 19 Jun 01 06:26
Knowing where to look for the good ones might help.
Susie Bright (sueb) Tue 19 Jun 01 07:01
There's such a stigma about discussing or recommending erotic lit, that many people do find themselves on a "secret' campaign to find the "good stuff." I certainly try to poke a few holees in that. But my other motivation for using "read" in my title was to suggest that there is something worthwhile in thinking about what makes something erotic, why some erotic literature is historic and remarkable, not jsut because it was penned by an accomplished author, but it its very sexual nature.
Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Tue 19 Jun 01 07:03
What are some of your favorite erotic titles, Susie?
musing generally (satyr) Wed 20 Jun 01 06:36
Susie, has your writing ever been put to music? Some of the sauciest writing I've ever encountered has been in the form of song lyrics, and often done subtly enough to still be airable.
Susie Bright (sueb) Wed 20 Jun 01 14:40
Paul, I have so many favorite erotic writers Ilisted a couple hundred of them in the back of my book...not to mention that I pick a new crop of favorites every year for my annual Best American Erotica. I feel shy to mention only one or two because it would be such slap to everyone else. I'll tell you a couple people I was thinking about yesterday... one is Jane Smiley, who wrote a really excellent erotic passage in her latest book, Horse Heaven. I'm excerpting it in BAE for next year. It makes me smile because I think a lot of her fans will be surprised. She was thrilled that I wanted it for BAE, which also made me more impressed than ever. I've had one author who refused to be in BAE, because he said that he "knew" I was a supporter of Pat Califia, and that anyone who defended her was contributing to the genocide of women.quote, unquote. This is funny, I can't rmemebr his name now, it was Charles something, he wrote a great story for Yellow Silk about ten years ago. Someone else I was thinking of the other day was Terry Southern. There's a new bio about him just out, reviewed in last Sunday's NYT Book Review. The critic was lamenting how his later works weren't so great, blah blah, and mentioned his novel about the porn film biz, called BLUE MOVIE. that is one of my all time favorite stories! It uses erotic language and situations in a brilliant satire of Hollywood, and the nascent x-rated film culture. That's a good example of an author who used very sexual writing to do things besides arouse one's libido, per se. I know most people expect erotic writing to get them hot and bothered sexually, but I think it's successful if it gets you hot and bothered in any numebr of ways...anger, humor, fear, whatever.
Susie Bright (sueb) Wed 20 Jun 01 14:45
About that musical question: This just happened to me last year, it was really terrific. A modern orchestral composer contacted me, and said he was writing a piece for the Peninsula Women's Chorus, based on my essay, Blind Sexual. They debuted the piece in performance at the Santa Clara mission last summer, and I had NO IDEA what to expect. I dont' listen to this kind of music in my personal life, I've never been to hear a chorus outside of church services in my childhood. It was spectacular. I just bawled my eyes out. It was a hundred people singing my words, which was just a staggering expereince. The music itself was very unusual to my ears...it sounded like one of those classical Japanese tunes, with that kind of scale. On another tack, a fan of mine who loves to do samples, took my performace of Circus Whore in the CD Cyborgasm ( a spoken word erotic album) and overlaid it with a track from The Zombies, called "Living Dead Girl". He send it to me, and I think I sound like a totally awesome rock star. I played it for my daughter specifically to show her that I am capable of being cool. Needless to say, since this is just a homemade tape, no one else will hear it, but if you're ever in my car sometime....
rankincense and myrrh (vsclyne) Wed 20 Jun 01 16:02
There is definitely a link between sex and music. And, to have your own words set to music and sung by hundreds... awesome! >I know most people expect erotic writing to get them hot and bothered sexually, but I think it's successful if it gets you hot and bothered in any numebr of ways ...anger, humor, fear, whatever.< Nostalgia?
RUSirius (rusirius) Wed 20 Jun 01 16:07
Hi Suzie, That's Rob Zombie. The Zombies did "Tell Her No", great song but wrong message...
M. J. Rose (anewanais) Wed 20 Jun 01 16:09
Susie, I'd love to know what you think the one best peice of advice is in your book?
pooning tang; tanging the poon (viv) Thu 21 Jun 01 04:46
The best, so far, Susie has shared with me is to read aloud. Promoting the oral reminded me how provactive breathing is; how whispering, pausing, listening to the story's voice gives it the throb and ripple with which it was probably inked. My writing is mostly for an audience of two and reading it to him, to myself, always rewards with its unexpected gasps and sighs. I picked up the 93 edition of BAE and read it (to myself) on my morning commute yesterday: "Golden Boy" and "Milk." The travelling rhythm was enhanced measureably. Hope to be back and join the conversation more fully.
presumptively H&B (satyr) Thu 21 Jun 01 10:21
> I know most people expect erotic writing to get them hot and bothered > sexually, but I think it's successful if it gets you hot and bothered > in any numebr of ways...anger, humor, fear, whatever. Heinlein, nominally considered a scifi writer, hardly ever wrote anything without at least dipping a toe into the erotic. You might argue that his use of it was gratuitous, or for the sake of holding his audience's attention, but I think it illustrates how erotica is part of literature in general, just like sex is part of life, and we shouldn't be surprised if some work which is flush with it has other purposes besides being titillating, not that there's anything wrong with being titillating.
Gail Williams (gail) Thu 21 Jun 01 10:42
Brings up another side too. Heinlein's semi-utopian visions and erotic fantasies seem to be based on bizarre ideas about women, the poor geezer. Susie, your background gives you lots of context in how politics and meaning, just like sex, are part of life and literature. Any thoughts or observations on those sides of writing sexy literature?
musing generally (satyr) Thu 21 Jun 01 10:49
> bizarre ideas about women Yeah, there is that...
Bob 'rab' Bickford (rab) Thu 21 Jun 01 12:38
For a contrary opinion, please see Spider Robinson's essay "Rah, rah, RAH!" published in _Destinies_ sometime in the early 1980s and reprinted various times and places since then. Most women whom I've pointed at that essay have come away with a much clearer idea of both exactly what Heinlein really had to say about women and also which parts they agreed and disagreed with.
Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 21 Jun 01 12:46
He lost me forever when he contended that our nipples should always be erect 24 hours a day. Jesus the chafing.
Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 21 Jun 01 15:10
I know Heinlein's erotic p.o.v. drives a lot of people nuts, but I do know that he does follow his own heart on this, it's not for "commercial" reasons. A lot of sci fi writers have been very rebellious about erotica, from teh very beginning, because sci fi and smut were both sort of in the same barrel--- outlawed fromlibraries and respectable bookstores. They were both writing that were discredited and thought to incite anti-social behavior. I don't know what my best piece of advice is in the book, I keep marvelling at what people say back to me that they find memorable. Philosophically, i think sex is good for thinking, and thinking is good for sex, and reading and writing are just a couple of those manifestations. The books lessons all come from that point of view. As far as the politics of sexy writing, do you mean the issues of censorship or stigma? Erotica is def. having a heyday right now, and there's SO much moe room to publish in this area than even ten years ago. At the same time, I meet publishers and journalists ever day who are extremely squeamish, and doubtful about erotica's value. They really do expect me to act like Jessica Rabbit, and not even that smart. They question whether I do my own writing. They assume I'm very young-- that's getting funnier every year. And I get letters from people like this woman yesterday, who said she would like to writer erotica, but she's afraid of what her family would think, they'd be so shocked and dismayed. I asked her if she could just start writing privately, to see how it affectedher, and leave anypublishing decisions for later, after she sees how she likes it. But like many people, she protested that she "Couldn't do that"--- it's like her family is in her head, she can't even have a private moment in a diary, she can't express herself without hearing their voices, or what she assumes is their collective voice. I dont' think her family is what's stopping her, it's her own fear of how she'll be different, how she'll consider herself, if she lets these thoughts surface. And they could be the most innocent things... when people finally do break thru this garbage and start speaking their sexual minds, it's very basic stuff, nothing that would frighten any horse I know.
M. J. Rose (anewanais) Thu 21 Jun 01 16:50
I've always been curious about this question that someone once asked me about myself... after reading one of my novels.... she said, "You are so out there with your sexual fantasies - what things do you keep private?" This isn't the place for my answer - but Susie I would like to ask you the question.
Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 21 Jun 01 18:53
I keep everything private that I can't articulate yet... and that's a lot. Everything in my unconscious is so private even I don't know what's going on. When i get to the point of writing something, it has been thru quite a process of coming to the surface and being debated in my mind, and my dreams , for that matter. I think that's a false, sort of celebrity-driven question. I know alot of authors, and I've never been able to mind-read any of them just because i read their books. Many of my interests and preoccupations aren't in the public eye at all, not because they're taboo, but because there isn't any commercial interest in them....nevertheless, they're certainly a big part of my life.
Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 21 Jun 01 20:47
What about things you consciously do not reveal? Surely there are some of those...
<drift></drift> (satyr) Fri 22 Jun 01 05:59
M. J. Rose (anewanais) Fri 22 Jun 01 15:32
What I really meant, Susie, was what Linda asked: What about things you consciously do not reveal? Surely there are some of those...
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