Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Inauguration Day

Hello. My name is Selah, and I'm a smut-writer.

Now, see, if this were a Twelve-Step meeting? All of the rest of you would say, "Hi, Selah," and then I would tell you how long it had been since I'd last written smut (six hours, forty-seven minutes at the time of this Inaugural Posting) and talk about the point in my smut-writing career at which I'd hit rock-bottom (frankly, it hasn't happened yet, but check back after I've received the highly anticipated rejection on the novella I submitted to a sought-after NYC editor...10 months ago and counting.)

Then I would get a little plastic chip thingy, and all of you would clap and be very supportive, and we would drink coffee and go home. But if this were a Twelve-Step meeting, the rest of you would be smut-writers, too, and I'm assuming that's not entirely the case, is it?

Well? Is it? Don't be shy. Nobody likes to be the lone perv in the room.

You think I'm being flippant, but really, not so much. There are whole, vast communities of people in which the writing (and reading) of smut--or erotica/Romantica™/erotic romance, if you prefer--is considered at least as troubling and problematic as alcoholism or drug addiction, and sometimes more so. Many, many folks think what I do is the moral equivalent of prostitution. That's why so many authors of erotica and erotic romance--particularly female authors--use pen names. I do.

Someday, when my kids are grown, perhaps I'll proclaim in my own name that it takes just as much skill, grammar, blood, sweat and tears to write a sex scene that moves plot and reveals character as it does to write a chase scene, a grand ballroom scene, or a zombie attack scene that accomplishes the same goals. Someday, perhaps someone will explain to me why the realistic depiction of violent death is more morally acceptable than the equally realistic depiction of an act that often leads to birth. Someday, perhaps NASA will invent a gadget that will once and for all dislodge the huge stick implanted by our Puritan forefathers in our giant collective ass. Until then, Selah March shall remain pseudonymous. Call me cowardly. It's hardly the worst insult I've weathered.

I was in high school biology the first time I heard someone point out that sex was the reason every last one of us is on the planet. At the time, it was a shocking concept. All at once, every member of the class was imagining the parents of every OTHER member of the class "doing it." I doubt I was the only one who spent the rest of the day counting heads and adding up orgasms. (Male ones, at least.)

Decades later, I'm still marveling at the idea that every person I pass on the street is the result of something so startling intimate and, at the same time, so screamingly public. It astounds me how hard we try, as a society, to stuff sex down and pretend it doesn't exist, when it confronts us at every turn. And I'm not talking Victoria's Secret and Internet porn, either.

That bride and groom that came out of that church a few blocks back? Here's a clue: they're not in it for the gift registry at Target. The chick with the double stroller down the street? Pssst. I'll bet she's done it doggy-style. And if she hasn't, I'll bet she's thought about it. Everybody thinks about it, unless they're actually doing it, but only degenerates like me put the images into words and make them come to life on the page.

"Have you ever seen one of those books? Disgusting. I couldn't believe it. Page after page of nothing but filth, it just went on and on, right to the end. Eighty thousand words...and twenty thousand of it was pure sex. I know! I counted! Who writes that stuff, anyway? Whoever it is, she must be sick. She must need help. Maybe there's some sort of Twelve-Step Program..."

Hello. My name is Selah, and I'm a smut-writer.


Blogger Donald Francis said...

Hi, Selah!

Welcome to the Twelve Step Smut Program. The coffee pot is at the back of the room.

5/17/2005 3:54 PM  
Blogger Cyberbunny, the Writer said...

OMG -- came to your blog from the FFP post -- I'm ROLLING!! That was too funny.....I'm just trying to figure out what to use as a pen name if and when I get my ms accepted. Wouldn't want my mom to know I actually DO IT, even after being married 15 years.

5/17/2005 8:25 PM  
Anonymous ZaZa said...

I got a very similar reaction from my mother when she got hold of a story I had pubbed in an antho. She reported to me, after reading it quite thoroughly, that it was smut, nothing but smut, "and I read it all, so I know." LOL! Of course, I'd rather she hadn't seen it. And she still bragged to her friends that her daughter had a story published. Smut, maybe, but in print.

12/18/2005 1:55 AM  

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