Friday, May 4, 2012

Remember the First Time?

Today I am remembering the first time I typed the word "clit" into a story. It was an experiment -- a thrilling and dangerous one. I wanted to know what kind of story I most wanted to write, and had made a promise to myself -- I would allow myself the freedom to write what I wanted for a year, without worrying about the future or whether I could publish it, or any of that.

The seminal moment came with a story called "Robot Lovers Prey on the Lonely." The title came to me first, and I had a vivid sense of the first scene. Quickly, it became clear that to tell the story right, I had to write about sex explicitly -- not just behind a closed door. For this story, I needed explicit sex to have proper characterization. Pulling back from that would have meant betraying the story.

I typed "nipple." Then a while later, I typed "clit." I felt good about the sex scenes as I wrote them -- they felt expressive and clear.

But pretty soon, horror hit me. What was I doing? This was a good story. By adding all this sex, I was dooming its chances. I would never be able to sell it anywhere respectable. If I could publish it, it would be caught in a ghetto somewhere. No one would read it.

I had to finish the story -- it was one of those special cases in which I truly felt compelled. But I was afraid of the implications of what I had done and the line I had crossed.

That first story turned out to be one of my first published erotic stories (and the inspiration for the name of this blog). It came out in Experimental, an anthology published by Ravenous Romance, and I'm incredibly proud of it to this day.

It amazes me to think of how frightened I was when I wrote those first "forbidden" words. I'd love to grab my younger self by the shoulder, give her a kiss on the cheek, and say, "Baby, you ain't seen nothing yet."

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