inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #26 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #27 of 91: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 18 Jun 01 13:42
    

Actually, I want to know more about how to read a dirty story.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #28 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #29 of 91: Linda Castellani (castle) Mon 18 Jun 01 15:48
    

Ha!
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #30 of 91: musing generally (satyr) Tue 19 Jun 01 06:26
    
Knowing where to look for the good ones might help.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #31 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #32 of 91: Paul Terry Walhus (terry) Tue 19 Jun 01 07:03
    
What are some of your favorite erotic titles, Susie?
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #33 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #34 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #35 of 91: 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....
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #36 of 91: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #37 of 91: 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...
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #38 of 91: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #39 of 91: 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.  
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #40 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #41 of 91: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #42 of 91: musing generally (satyr) Thu 21 Jun 01 10:49
    
> bizarre ideas about women

Yeah, there is that...
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #43 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #44 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #45 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #46 of 91: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #47 of 91: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #48 of 91: Linda Castellani (castle) Thu 21 Jun 01 20:47
    

What about things you consciously do not reveal?  Surely there are some of
those...
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #49 of 91: <drift></drift> (satyr) Fri 22 Jun 01 05:59
    <hidden>
  
inkwell.vue.114 : Susie Bright: How to Read/Write a Dirty Story
permalink #50 of 91: 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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