Listen, Mom, About The Pornography...byCockatoo©
It happens to me a lot these days. I've posted a story on Literotica that I've worked very hard on for a whole month. Laurel saw fit to give me the coveted green "E" for "editor's choice." When I logged in to my author's page to post it, I noticed my ratings and number of votes have risen a bit since the last time I checked. I've received praise from the feedback channel, and twelve more people have added themselves to my mailing list. I'm ten feet tall and puffed up like a peacock. Then, I'm on the phone with Mom, and she asks what I've been up to lately.
I'm at a party, chatting up one of the local honeys. She seems interested, she's holding her drink just so and has her head tilted at a very precise angle, carefully calculated to accentuate the degree to which she's cocked her left eyebrow. We've talked about our jobs, laughed at each other's clever remarks, and she asks what I do for fun. I tell her about the juggling and the music, and then she talks about her poetry and her painting. I decide to take a gamble on telling her about my writing. The word "writing" is a real hit, she lights up and presses me for details. Well… she asked, so I go for broke. I tell her how well-received my Bondage story has been since I posted it on the internet, and I'm just beginning to tell her about the anal sex scene I just wrote when I get a VERY polite smile and she sees a friend of hers who she's just GOT to go talk to, and she might see me around later, okay?
They're all around me. Co-workers. Casual acquaintances. Relatives. Strangers. Close friends I've known for a decade or more, but who have no idea that I'm a member in good standing of the National Association of Perverts and Pornographers. How do I talk to these people? I'm proud of what I do, and I like to think I'm halfway good at it. I like to share it, too, otherwise I'd just write it down and tear it up, the way I used to. It's been a long time since I resigned myself to the fact that I can't write to please Grandma, but I'm still not too crazy about this whole "double life" thing. It's like being Gay or something. I want to talk about it, but that's hard to do in prim-and-proper-polite society. I can't help feeling the need to keep it "in the family," around people who can understand and enjoy what I'm talking about. Any discussion of what I do requires a lot of careful probing to see if these people are cool. Will they be in on it with me? Or, will I scare them into yanking their children off the street as I walk past?
It would be easier if I wrote "erotica." I don't. I write porn. Some people go on and on about the distinction until they're blue in the face, but it's just the same as "lingerie" as opposed to "underpants." It's got nothing to do with quality or substance; it's all about attitude. Porn is dirty, erotica is not. Erotica can't be dirty; it's too busy being snooty. Half the time it's not about sex at all, and it's about as titillating as teatime with Martha Stewart. Have you ever looked at one of those collections of Erotica in the local Barnes & Noble? No, not the collected letters to Penthouse magazine, that's porn. I'm talking about the ones with diaphanously covered nude women on the covers, which have noteworthy editors proud to be associated with such fine volumes, and are full of supposedly artistic, serious, award-winning authors you've never heard of. The stories in those things deal with people's feelings about flowers or sunshine while they enjoy melancholy memories of long ago. Rainy afternoons, moonbeams through wisteria, and moss on nineteenth-century marble statuary are very nice, but that stuff is strictly G-rated. I've flipped through fifteen pages of those books at a time, searching in vain for something that's remotely possible to use when I whack off.
The porn I write is Dee-Eye-Are-Tee-Why DIRTY, not to be shown to children or parents. It belongs hidden under the mattress, behind the pipes beneath the bathroom sink, or in the locked drawer of the nightstand. If it isn't Dirty, I haven't done it right. On the other hand, if it isn't interesting, it's not any damn good and I wouldn't post it. I can't spit out those cookie-cutter tales of horny teenagers getting busy in the backs of their mommies' cars, or bisexual nymphomaniacs who want to bring the narrator home to play with their girlfriends. My characters don't carry strap-on dildos around in their handbags, and nothing ever happens in locker rooms, college dorm showers, or pool halls. And, I want somebody to smack me in the head if I am ever associated with one of those mere lists of names and contortions occasionally punctuated with sentence-long "OOOOOOOOOOOHH" orgasmic moans.
You see, this is exactly the kind of thing I'd want to say to somebody on "the outside," if only I could. I take what I write seriously, but not TOO seriously. I can always say "it's just porn," but I also see it as an interesting and dynamic artistic challenge. Real eroticism requires real drama. Real interactions require real characters. These damn things have to be worth reading even WITHOUT all the sex. And yet, if my readers aren't unzipping themselves after two pages, they're not happy and I've failed at my job. I've got certain mandates to fulfill, and a certain space to do it in. Can I do that while keeping it fresh and original and worthwhile? I'd like to think so. It's a creative project. It's an adventure and an exploration, and an expression of myself, just like any other part of my sexuality.
So, listen, Mom, Dad, and everybody else, about the pornography I've been writing… it's okay. I'm okay. I'm doing something that people read and enjoy. I try my best to engage them on more than one level. If serious fiction can be expected to move us to laughter or to tears, we should take it just as seriously when it moves us to arousal and orgasm. A wet dream is as real and as vivid and as legitimate as a nightmare, and it's a lot more pleasant. I just wish this was something I could talk to you about.
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