A friend who writes for a living recently shared a story about the publication of his first book, a very revealing memoir. Before its release, he gave his parents a ‘heads up’ to prepare them for what was about to become public knowledge. His mother never read the book. His father did.
When his father finished reading his son’s book, he called to share his thoughts. He liked it but he had two questions: how did he know so many words and “why in the world would you share intimate details of your private life like that?”
His father was asking a question shared by many. Why write anything personal for publication?
Author Bruce Jay Friedman says he writes stories based upon his personal experience so he “can puzzle things out” for himself. After completing his first story he found he simply was not as troubled about the events explored in his writing as he was prior to committing his tale to words. He felt “lighter” and really liked feeling that way.”
We also write to “puzzle things out” and to feel “lighter”, to allow people the room to understand and know our humanity. Writing helps to heal–from heartbreak, loss, disease, injustice–and to rekindle passion in our lives.
Writing creates a safe space to push boundaries beyond what feels comfortable. We write to have an impact upon different cultures and how they not only view eroticism, but how eroticism plays out in the specific culture. We celebrate Black voices usually pushed to the margins and to create common understanding across differences.
Writing connects us to others who might not think and feel like we do.
It creates moments when our words allow someone to experience the love that lies at the core of our writing.
We live for the joy our words can bring when someone finds themselves in our constructed reality, our words being the bricks of that space, our details become the light, our communicated experience becomes the door to a new reality.
Our words are evidence that we were here and provide hints of what we thought and felt, of who we were at at a particular moment in time.
We write because it’s a way in which we make love with the world.
Our writing connects us. We’re two kids on a sleepover under the covers still up long after our parents have warned us for the last time that we need to be quiet and go to sleep. Secrets are whispered to each other. Giggles that follow are suppressed. We share our dreams and feel chills that come with hearing your best friend say what you are also thinking and you try not to be too loud when you want to shout “Yes me too, I dream the same thing, I want the same thing, yes!
It shelters our dreams and offers entrance to others who dare to dream with us. Connecting with others completes the writing process, especially when readers share comments like: “I went through a similar challenge” or “you put into words what I’ve always felt but either couldn’t find the words to express it or was afraid to say out loud.”
We understand why we write. We need others to feel what we know and think to be true.
Did you really do all that?
When Ms. E shared excerpts of Finding Erotica Book One with her family members, the first question she received fell under the category of “did you really do all that?”
After she stopped laughing she said, “No! Our stories may be based upon real events but our imagination allows us to take them wherever we want to go.”
Another reason we write is because storytelling allows us to go to places in our minds where we might not dare go in our daily lives. We get to try on disguises, flirt with taboos, indulge in fantasies, smooth out rough edges of our past hurts and invite others to do the same.
Over the past five years we’ve authored thousands of words: Two novels, numerous blogs and many short stories. After reviewing our collective writings, we found a number that stood out as our favorites that we want to share.
FE’s Three Favorite Blogs
On Being A Chocolate Woman:
The backbone of many; carried on the backs of few is a phrase I hear when I speak with other dark women of color. We are the ones in the background encouraging, pushing, pulling, building up, lifting up, helping others realize their dreams. You know, we’re those riveting voices you hear but can barely see standing well behind the lead singer, 20 Feet from Stardom, making it all work from the shadows.
…No, the truth of being a Chocolate Woman is that we’ve had to make our own freedom.
The truth of being a Chocolate Woman is that despite not seeing ourselves held up as the images of brains and beauty in a culture we helped create, we know our own strength.
We live it. It’s found in the depth of our love, in the lives our children, the survival of our families, the history of our struggles, and in the triumph of our spirit.
Interracial Love, Racism and Fetish
None of us were on a Portuguese sailing vessel off the western coast of Africa in the 1500’s when race based cultural ignorance coined the term fetish. But, if white people interested in pursuing interracial relationships uncritically follow what they believe to be ‘normal’ behavior they run the risk of standing deckside with long forgotten sailors reducing the focus of their interest and desires on the distant shore to objects of fetish.
It’s time to leave the colonial view from the ship behind. The departure is long overdue. Listen to the voices of those still targeted by the manifestations of an unjust, racist historical legacy, voices like those of Black women whose present day experience echoes centuries old dynamics set in motion by long forgotten Portuguese sailors struggling to name what they did not understand.
Hear what the women are saying: Embrace me in my full humanity as part of my world not apart from it. I’m not interested in being anyone’s dark little secret fantasy, the eye candy for white men or for that matter, white women, who want to indulge in their fetishized image of me without taking the time to see who I am as a Black woman.
The Horror, Stereotypes, Misconceptions and Truth about Asian Women: Part One
”Being an Asian female is a uniquely interesting experience in the sexual realm. It is almost impossible, at least from my perspective, to separate the societal pros from the cons because they are so intrinsically linked.
On the one hand, we enjoy the benefits of being prized in society as sexual partners, particularly by the majority, i.e. straight white men, and because of that, we have the pick of the litter, so to speak. In the same breath, however, the reasons we are prized are repressive and based off of inaccurate and outdated stereotypes associated with Asian women—we are prized because we are considered to be meek, submissive, and obedient.
These are the reasons why we are so heavily fetishized. It’s quite disturbing to recognize the almost perfectly opposite position we occupy in society’s sexual hierarchy compared to the black woman. The reasons ‘men’ will list when they say they won’t date black women—that they’re too loud, too outspoken, too strong, too much to handle—are precisely the opposite of reasons why they prefer Asian women. The pro is men like us. The con is why they like us.” – April Y.
Finding Erotica Book One: Bloodlines
Ms. Erotica rolls over on her side, extends an arm across My’Kuyah’s chest and says, “Let me ask you something.”
“Please,” replies My’Kuyah, his hand caressing Ms. E’s naked shoulder.
“I’ll understand your boundaries if you prefer not to answer…”
“OK, thanks, I can’t wait to hear your question.”
“All that red between my legs last night got me to thinking…Have you had sex with a woman when she’s on her period?”
With no hesitation My’Kuyah says, “Yes, I have Sweet Beauty.”
“What did it feel like on your dick?”
“Warm, intimate, wet, very sexy. I’ve also licked women to orgasm during their periods and by most accounts they felt more aroused and had stronger orgasms.”
“Oookay!” Ms. E’s voice goes from cautious questioning to delighted curiosity. “During tongue stimulation…did they wear a tampon? Was it while their flow was light, not on a heavy day?”
“Some wore tampons, especially if it was heavy, some not, my experience was that their flow lessened during sex.”
“And you were OK with that? I’m asking to make sure you wouldn’t be grossed out if you saw some blood leak from me.”
“Grossed out? Never. To be honest, I’d love it. There’s something very intimate that happens.” My’Kuyah smiles and kisses Ms. E’s forehead, “I get hard thinking about doing it with you while you’re leaking some blood.”
“Cool. I just wanted to make sure. Honestly, I’ve never done it before during my cycle…I get really turned on hearing you say you want to fuck me and give oral while I’m on it. I’d like to try.”
”Hmmm, I just might have to make that happen.”
Mexican Shopping Spree
Ms. E looks around the room. Not much to see. No lights to illuminate any detail. Just as Ms. E says “OK” to herself, a door opens from what looks like a blank wall. Soft light surrounds an attractive young Mexican woman.
“Consuelo!” MK greets her like an old friend.
“El Jeffe! Buenas tardes senor, bienvenida. Como esta?”
“Bien, gracias, y tu?”
“Bien, muy bien, senor. Adelante.”
Wrapping his arm around Ms. E, MK leads her toward the open door. “Consuelo, I would like you to meet the joy of my life, the lovely Ms. Erotica. She is our guest of honor today. We want to treat her like the queen she is.”
“Mucho gusto.” Consuelo extends her hand and accompanies her shake with a slight bow.
Ms. E reciprocates the sentiment and gesture.
“We have things to show her, no?”
“Yes, senor, many things to show her today.” Consuelo smiles and invites the loving couple to pass by into a large rectangular room.
“Perfect. I know everything will be lovely.”
A dark red velvet curtain the color of burgundy wine covers the walls on all four sides of the room. Spotlights hang from exposed rafters. Their light focuses on a long table set out from the back wall. Consuelo, adorned in a white linen dress, turquoise jewelry and sandals, glides to the table and parts the curtain behind it exposing three full length mirrors. The mirror in the middle stares straight out to the room. It is flanked on either side by replicas that face each other at 45 degree angles.
A single overstuffed black leather chair sits opposite the table close to where they stand. Adjacent to the chair is a decanter filled with wine, two glasses, a box of cigars and an ash tray.
Deft hands free her from handcuffs and lead her to another part of the room. Her arms are extended overhead, her body bent forward, hands re-cuffed and secured to what sounds like metal. She guesses it’s the rack. Another slap explodes across her tender ass followed by more icy relief. A tongue follows the path of the ice cube and licks trace the trail of water left behind. A set of lips kiss every bit of her brown bottom. Hands caress and squeeze her ass. A tongue finds its way to her crack and runs its length pausing to penetrate her rectum every time it gets close.
Another set of footsteps approach. Lips kiss her vulva. A tongue circles her clitoris. She hears the purr of another vibrator. This one plays with her pussy, presses against her clit, and then slides into her wet vagina. Her breasts dangle towards the floor. A set of hands caress them; the hand’s squeeze her nipples.
She has no idea how many people are touching her, poking her and caressing her; no idea who they might be. She just knows that her body screams with sensation.
What We Learned About Writing
Starting a business is hard work. Making a living by writing is even more challenging. The silver living is that both endeavors, daunting as they might be, are extremely rewarding.
Many people warned us about forming a partnership. Our attorney said, “it’s like a marriage. A lot of risk is involved. Trust is essential to their success.” We have become not only strong partners but are best friends.
Finding Erotica is a great, trusting and productive relationship. We believe in shared vision and each challenge confirms our belief. Both are reinforced when someone reads one of our books, a blog or a story and they tell us how much they enjoyed it.
We learn new things all the time, many we didn’t realize we didn’t know.
At the heart of everything we do is a deep abiding love and respect for each other and all we do.
Belief in a shared vision coupled with a belief in each other strengthens us through challenging times. We’ve learned that we are very resilient people. We do not and will give up. Instead, we will do whatever it takes to bring our dreams to fruition.
Finding Erotica really does have something valuable to share with the world.
How We Write
In a society that struggles with cross-cultural dialogue, FE combines two very different voices—a Black woman and white man—on the same page. Our writing attempts to cross a historical racial divide. All of our writing is the result of extensive conversation. We have spent years getting to know each other and each other’s thoughts about most anything, especially about topics that are the focus of our writing.
Similarly, our blogs, stories and books are the result of initial drafts that are scrutinized, re-written, edited, re-written again until we create a final product we like.
The Writing Process
The writing process begins with honest engagement. You have to be immersed in the writing or else it doesn’t work. If a story doesn’t generate real emotion, it gets re-written. A good love scene has to move you close to tears; a great scene brings forth the tears. Comedic scenes have to make you laugh each time you read it. Writing has to be so good that you can’t wait to read it aloud to see if others share your emotional reactions .
Be inventive with your scenes, characters and words. Bring your scenes to life with colors, objects, smells, and sounds. Describe your characters in the same manner. Focus on what they look like, what they wear, how they sound, how they smell or how they move. Be detailed with your words, but don’t overdo it. Let the reader use their imagination to fill in the spaces. Tantalize your reader, bring just enough awareness, that it allows them to be present in the scene as if they were sitting right there. Make your character relatable. Again, it’s better to achieve balance between less and more.
Making the Ordinary Extraordinary
Focus on things that might go unnoticed. A scene might emerge from the way candlelight reflects off of the rounded curve of a woman’s hip. Inspiration is found in the way she throws her head back when she’s filled with heartfelt joy,her loud laughter celebrating a simple moment. Hone in on the man’s reaction as he takes in her beauty.
It might be the detail of a place, the sound of a breeze ruffling curtains of an open window or the scent of ocean air on a late summer afternoon.
Knowing Your Characters
Love lies at the heart of all writing. If you don’t love your work, you won’t do it with the passion the story requires. Characters demand the same commitment. If you bring them into our world, you have to love them like you might love your own children. Give them room to breathe. Let them grow as you feed and nourish them. Live with their choices, listen to the stories they tell and try to let the direction you provide be true to what you hear.
If you want others to like your writing you have to believe in your creations. How can you expect others to engage in your work if your heart is not in each word you offer?
Knowing Your Reader
Who are your readers? What’s their age group? What’s their ethnicity? Do you have a diverse readership? Does your writing focus on the experience of a particular culture? If you choose to write about a culture outside of your own, be careful not to project your experience upon theirs. For instance, you cannot automatically assume that every tradition mimics yours. You cannot assume every person within a particular culture experiences life in the same way. Do your research and ask questions. Make sure your story matches what’s true to life; whether your writing is fictional or non-fictional.
Why Write Erotica
Writing Erotica is writing what many people want to express but are afraid to admit they want. It’s trying to help folks get out of the dark secret place where they think something, desire something or read something they won’t read in public.
Erotica legitimizes both their desires and their reading choices. It strips away pretension and takes off the wraps. Good erotica is born of the moment when you’re across the table from someone you desire and what you really want to say is “I want to be kissing you right now. I want to feel your lips sliding up and down my neck and nothing else!” But you don’t say it.
Erotica puts into words what the reader is afraid to say because it’s taboo and risky.
A good writer says those words for you. They take the risk because Risk is what writers do. With each word comes risk. The same risk a reader might feel when wondering if they should reveal what they really feel in a particular moment is the same risk writers assume with every word they author.
Dare to love, dare to write, dare to risk and dare the reader to join you.