I swear, I'm not blaming Jeffe for books I hate to love. This is about erotica. And I confess. This was a tough post, cause I don't harbor a lot of guilt over anything I read. Okay. Maybe the most sensationalist pseudoscience I consume for giggles - maybe that. Somewhere in high school when we had to do assigned reading (Dead White Guys), I discovered something remarkable. Some of those books were fabulously good. Most of them were a horrifying slog through a rank bog - but a few of those DWGs wrote some powerhouse stories. So much for my claim that I dislike literary novels. Dang. some illusions die hard. Then college and suddenly, assigned reading seemed to exclude the Dead White Guy club - I was reading Alice Walker, Carlos Castaneda and any number of other nonDWG writers. I loved how writers with very different life experiences from my own could so effectively make me think about the world and my place in it a little differently. Somewhere in there, it occurred to me that's what reading is about - challenging your nice safe paradigm, preferably in an enjoyable fashion.
Fast forward to me attempting to write romance and struggling to find my place in the genre. I read every kind of romance I could get my hands on, trying to find something that resonated - something I thought I could try writing. When I picked up an erotica anthology, it was mostly because I had no idea what 'erotica' meant. I'd heard a couple of other authors dismiss the books as nothing but porn. So with some trepidation, I picked up the anthology and to my surprise, found I enjoyed the genre - it didn't seem like porn to me. I knew porn - it was all about panting, no plot, moronic dialog, and squicky music. These stories actually had story arcs and character development. Sure there was sex. But the physical acts don't seem to be the point - the emotions and the people are. That resonated and intimidated - which is why it took me so long to attempt an erotica of my own...which techincally was a fail - it's hot, not really an erotica, but that's another post.
So why guilt? Because when I snapped up another erotica anthology at a chapter giveaway, one of my chaptermates said, "Oh. You like THOSE books." in a tone that indicated I had some horrifying disease and it might be catching.
I had nothing pithy to say in reply except, "Yep."
But I felt bad for her. Okay. So eroticas, when well done, evoke a sexual response in the reader. What a sad thing to believe that such a response is unnatural or somehow bad. We're a twisted enough culture without attempting to shame one another for biology. Is it some bad or dirty when a story is well written enough to make your cry? Or laugh out loud? Why would anyone want to deny themselves the fullness of being alive and of being human?
So yeah. I do like THOSE books. Kinda like writing them, too.