A NON FICTION Selection On Writing.
Today, I was unsettled. I walked to clear my head and focus on a new story idea. I didn’t know it was a “walking meditation” until my aunt arrived at my side. I could have been traipsing down the grassy path to the pond of my youth, or the woodsy trail to the Big Rocks, at the creek, near the cemetery. But today, she and I walked on my new island path.
The last time I saw my Aunt, was in Spring 2006 before she died. She posed for me on an old brick pillar of the home house foundation surrounded by daffodils. I snapped her photograph. This past Friday, daffodils unexpectedly arrived in my life. Maybe they are responsible for the walking event and this writing lesson gift
As a child, when you visited your relatives, they gave cakes or cookies. Not with Aunt Virginia, her offering was the written word.
The words, the poem of the day, were always captured on an onion-skin carbon copy. I wish I had kept every piece of paper she gave me. Now, I find the poems printed in one of her fifteen books. They don’t hold the same energy as when she pulled the paper out of her typewriter and placed it into my hands. I knew then, they were important, but I have come to understand their significance, now.
Virginia never knew me as a writer because that occurred years after her death. But after my walk today, I wondered if she knew it would happen. Had I been in her writing class all those years? Did she know back then what would take me years to own?
Write. You have something to say.
So today, from my “kick in the pants” meditation, here are five points from her life lesson and the poem she picked for me.
1- Never doubt yourself. You have something to say. Be brave and say it.
2- Every day arrives with a clean, writing slate along with new thoughts and ideas. Pull one down from the universal consciousness and play with it. It was meant for you.
3-Sex is a primal, dirty, pleasurable, and a personal thing that we all can experience. Show it to us, Dr. J.
4-Listen to a story idea with an open heart. Take note of the life connection and the characters’ experience. If it resonates, then you have tapped into a universal truth. Give the account of it.
5-Embody the story. Feel it in your flesh, hold it in your heart, and then give it the words to fly.
Today’s lesson was based on her poem, Literary Footnote found in Stones of Silence
An early Irish triad
Three cardinal sorrows.
To mock a poet,
To love a poet,
To be a poet
Invites constant storm,
For over a half a century
I yearned to be a poet.
I was wrong, wrong, wrong!
Finally I have learned
I only need
To be the poem.
~Virginia Love Long~
As a beginning erotic writer, I am making exciting connections with others in the genre. These authors are wonderfully supportive, kind, and helpful. One of my favorite new writing friends hails from Australia, Adrea Kore. From the other side of my world, her lyrical style and use of metaphor intrigue and move me. I told her, that when my writing grew up, it wanted to be like hers.
This week Adrea made a comment on twitter about a blog post. Because no one left comments, she wondered why it was popular. I read and absorbed her profound words. I have a few thoughts on the post that were bigger than her comment box. I humbly submit this to you, Adrea, with gratitude and admiration. Comments to Adrea Kore’s post: The Story of O: Writing the Orgasm in Erotica
You give us orgasm poetry, otherworldly and ethereal. You invite us into that gap, the place where few women choose to fully expand into who they are. You provide a platform to seek that place. You offer us orgasms in their truest form, the height of vulnerability and the depth of power.
You take us to a place of joy and unification within the female self, acknowledging the political but giving us access to the personal. You embody the intricate layers of a woman and demonstrate how an orgasm can be lived, experienced, and appreciated, in all of life, not just sex.
Your own orgasm transcends the physical world of technique and efforts. This is best seen in your words, “…that they were more often delicious overlapping waves of different intensities through your entire body? What if, like me, you saw explosions of white light behind your eyelids…?”
You lead us on a journey where personal research and experience demonstrate we can do for ourselves, just as you did; creating what had yet to be made. From the fiber of your being, you crafted yourself for us to see, eloquently described by your words, “I chose to finally focus more consciously on drawing out my thoughts around this idea –writing myself
– the stories my body wanted to tell.” I recognize that sentiment. That’s how my first children’s book on sexuality was born. The vital force of a coupling with inspiration and permission births something new, just as you express.
As a courageous woman, you dared to make the journey into the self. In so doing you melded the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components to explore the vast magnificence of a female sexuality landscape and the power of orgasm. You went there and came back. This is what I believe makes this blog post popular, you provided the result; you delivered the elixir to all of us. May we all be so brave as to follow your lead. You not only shined a light on orgasm, you reflected its essence and beauty through you.
Throughout my career, people have asked how I became the sexuality educator and sex therapist, Dr. J. Most people who asked the HOW question, presented it in a naturally curious context, especially if they knew I grew up “in the deep south.” While the how question has dogged me throughout my career, my plan to write erotica upon retirement was met with a different question, WHY? It got served up as a main course of barbed judgment and a side serving of, “You write smut, what a waste.” It fascinated me that two separate words, “how” and “why,” rolled off a tongue with such different intent.
In my career, I was known as the fun professor at the university, the resource guru for everything sexual, and the go-to-person in the local community with sexuality know-how that was clear, accurate, nonjudgmental, and sex-positive.
Yet, my presence alone caused cognitive dissonance for many in my community. All I had to do was show up and sexual energy charged the air. People wrestled with the idea they held of what a sex expert was. But mostly, they were stumped that it could be someone like me, the farm girl next door, the partner of an attorney, and the community volunteer extraordinaire. Cognitive dissonance became my best friend.
Before I began erotic writing, I undertook one last single-subject design research. I examined the how and the why questions about my sexuality career. I guess I wanted to remember where I had been in relation to where I was going.
I launched with milestones: my first job (which was forty years ago last month) with Adam and Eve, my first human sexuality course in college, my first SAR, my first transsexual client, my first sexuality camp, my first Plato’s Retreat pin, my first Playboy Director encounter, my first AASECT presentation, and my first research presentation at SSSS.
I harkened back to my intense feelings at being asked to leave an upscale restaurant for discussing “sex business” with Wardell Pomeroy, chastised for breast feeding in public, and heckled when I went to work crossing abortion picket lines.
I recollected experiencing my cervix as a tester for new cervical cap designs, working with the local pharmaceutical company to create the first area herpes support group, and choosing to be an interactive model to teach physicians how to provide a positive sexual exam.
I remembered training professionals to answer sex information hotline calls and apply sex therapy models, while keeping their personal agendas out of the clients’ concerns.
I reminisced about meeting and working with sexuality pioneers, too numerous to name. They each instilled in me the spirit of positive sexuality and the politics of pleasure.
I relived my era in the evolution of US sexuality culture beginning with Roe v Wade, identification of genital herpes, AIDS and HPV, development of Viagra, the label of sexual addiction, the ebb and flow of contraceptive methods and ending with a gay marriage battleground, state by state until marriage triumphed throughout the land.
I recalled highly personal moments: my parents bravely adhering to the family dinner rule that everyone must share something from their day (even when at age nineteen-the oldest of three), I provided condom stories over meatloaf and mashed potatoes. I remembered the arrogant surgeon talking to my husband after surgery. When asked about the timing to resume our sex life, he answered, “Ha, if it’s anything like mine, it doesn’t matter.” I remembered attending countless couple’s workshops. I remained ever vigilant that I would never be a hypocrite about sexuality, I, too, did the work.
But at the close of my career, it was teaching human sexuality to adolescents and college students that stood out as what brought me true joy. When I showed them empathy with a genuine self, interested in their thoughts and feelings about sex, they blossomed into who they wanted to be. For many, they became the best versions of their sexual selves, integrated throughout their lives, not compartmentalized or ignored, but instead celebrated and shared. They were the inspiration embedded in the why answer for my new writing.
So in my sexuality analysis, perhaps the how provided direction into the answer of why I write erotic fiction. Maybe after all these years, I still had some information left to share. Maybe when I created a fantasy, I knew it might aid someone who needed additional psychological stimulus to attain an orgasm as defined by the Quantum Model. Maybe at my local beach tavern, when someone asked how I spent my day, I could tell them about my latest erotica story. I created cognitive dissonance one more time because I liked how it felt. Maybe I would stand as a reminder that one can choose to have MORE positive sexuality in life.
In the US, we continue to fight sexual ignorance.
We continue to fight for comprehensive sexuality education.
We continue to fight for sexual rights to be equal rights.
I believe that workers in the field of sexuality, no matter which sexuality profession, make sexuality visible and showcase it as an integral part of the human experience.
For me, human sexuality is a birth to death proposition. Maybe the last chapters of my life are about creating a new sexuality tool that celebrates the culmination of my work and continues to affirm sexuality within each of us, myself included. Maybe I found a new medium for my voice that I will craft and hone.
Maybe the short answer to why I write erotica is because I CAN.
This week's WICKED WEDNESDAY was about questions. To Check out the other writing CLICK HERE.