Showing posts with label fantasies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fantasies. Show all posts

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Good Luck With The Pie

A work in progress...
I stood in front of the apples and tried to remember which kind the recipe called for. I wondered how much it would really matter in the end. Who knew there could be so many different types of apples? Were they really all that different from each other? My hand reached out to grab a shiny green apple, but it hesitated.
“Excuse me.” His voice was raspy near my ear. Close, but not quite close enough to be creepy.
“I’m sorry,” I pulled my hand back. “I want to make a pie, but I can’t remember what kind of apples the recipe called for. I guess I’m overwhelmed by all the choices.” Shut up! You sound like a damned idiot!  I looked up and saw that the man was smirking. His grey-blue eyes twinkled good naturedly.
“Pie, huh. Do you make pie often?”
I shook my head and just stared at him like some sort of fucking dope. He was one of the most beautiful men I’d ever seen. He was tall, six feet at least, and his shirt matched the color of his eyes.
“Do you mind?” he reached his hand out and brushed against my arm to get to the apples.
“Huh? Oh, sorry.” I moved out of his way and stood in front of the Red Delicious apples. I picked one up and examined it for bruises. Tried to act like I knew what I was doing.
“You don’t want that kind for a pie. Too mushy and not near enough flavor.” He was holding one of those green apples. He tossed it in the air and caught it. “This is the kind you want.” He brought it to his mouth, and the apple made a snapping sound as his teeth broke the skin. He chewed a couple of times, then swallowed. “Juicy. Sour. Sweet.” He wiped a little juice off his his lower lip and sucked ever so lightly on his finger.. “Delicious.”
My throat went dry and I imagined myself pulling that apple from his hand and taking a bite from the same spot he bit. It would be like kissing without the contact. A jittery giggle escaped my throat and I forced a cough to try and get myself under control. What was wrong with me? Why was I acting like a teenager?
“Thank you.”
He stepped closer to me and smiled that amused smile again. “You should always listen to your instincts. You were right.”
Listen to my instincts? My instincts wanted to push him against the apple display and kiss him, taste the apple he had just eaten and decide for myself if that was the kind I wanted. The last thing in the world I needed to do was listen to my instincts. Snap out of it!
“Did you get what you needed?” I nodded at the empty produce bag in his hand.
“Not yet.” His eyes caught mine and held them prisoner for several long seconds before I was able to tear my gaze away.
“Oh. Okay. You just asked me to move so you could get to them, but if you don’t need these..” I reached out and grabbed an apple at random. My knees were wobbly, and I dropped it on the floor when I tried to shove it into my bag. “Shit.” I bent over to pick it up, but he beat me to it. Picked it up and put it back on the pile.
“Avoid that one. It’s bruised.” he took two green apples put them into his bag, twisted it closed and walked away. “Good luck with your pie.” he called over his shoulder just before he turned the corner.
What was that? I asked myself.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fifty Shades of Responsibility

As an erotic writer, some people may see me as perpetuating stereotypes, of glorifying pornography and the degradation of women. No and no again. Women are strong and powerful and...sexual. We have desires and wants, fantasies and dreams. Sometimes we want things in our minds that we would never, ever, ever want in reality. It's fun to think about certain things. Those things can be as different as the women who think them, but we all think things we'd never want to really happen.

Here's the thing, though. I feel that authors owe a debt of responsibility to their audiences. Yes, it's important to be honest in your writing, but it's equally important to remember that your audience is placing themselves in your story and you never know what will send a message you never intended. And that is my problem with the Fifty Shades trilogy.

I feel that James did not take her debt of responsibility seriously.

Whether you love or hate her writing style or her storytelling skills, I think anyone who's ever read the books will agree that they are frequently cringe-worthy.

As a wordsmith, there were times I wanted to light the book on fire and then throw it across a room. As a feminist, my primary reaction was to take the main character in my arms and hold her. I wanted to tell her that she didn't have to take all that was being asked of her. I wanted to tell her that she has more worth than was being given to her by both her man and her creator.

Fifty Shades is a yarn. Hell, it could even be seen as a fairy tale for adults.  Beauty and the Beast, perhaps. It doesn't take a genius to see Ana and Christian as Belle and Beast, complete with a towering castle on a hill.  Like Belle, Ana finds herself entranced with a dangerous and controlling monster. Oh, like all controlling monsters, Christian shows signs of remorse and regret and even a glimmer of a person with a sensitive soul. He shows just enough humanness to keep her hooked and fawning. Yes, very Beast-like.

And the result is that this young and naive girl willingly enters into an abusive relationship and becomes the classic victim. Sure, James makes a point to let Ana question Christian from time to time and even to make demands of her own, like being able to control what and when she eats. Hardly a demand that needs to be made. Any person over the age of about 7 should be able to decide when they're hungry and to eat accordingly. But I give her credit for at least trying to give Ana a voice and backbone.  But it's simply not enough.

For three long books, this young girl bends over backward for her abuser. She tries not to ask questions, tries not to express her own needs, tries not to impose or make him upset. She tries to convince herself that if she just loves him enough, if she just accepts him enough, just sticks it out long enough, she will turn him into the prince she sees in him.

Did you read that? Read it again.

If she just tries hard enough and is a good enough woman, he will change.

What is the opposite of that? If he doesn't change, then she is not good enough.

That is a horrible, heart breaking, soul crushing message. But it gets worse. Eventually he changes just enough for her to feel safe. What's worse is that she starts to desire his controlling abuse and to convince herself that he's changed for her. Unfortunately, the only thing he's actually changed is threatening to beat her if she bites her lip. But that's enough for her!  She did it! She rehabilitated him! She turned her Beast into a very human Prince and they move into a brand new castle on a brand new hill.

The clear message is that you really can change an abuser with enough patience and love. If you go through hell and give up enough of yourself, you'll eventually reach your heaven.

My audience is women, and I take that very seriously. I don't know what is going on in the lives of the women who read my work, but I do know that I want them to walk away feeling empowered and stronger. I owe them a very real debt. My readers, and all women for that matter, deserve to read stories about characters who are true and strong. Even when I'm writing about a woman being tied up, I am aware that someone in my audience may be in a relationship with someone who is controlling or abusive. I want to give that reader a sense of freedom. I want her to understand that you can be tied up without being a victim and that if, at any moment, being tied up is no longer working, you can demand to be untied.

We are women. We are sexual. We are strong. We do not need to change for anyone. We do not need to accept someone's anger, hostility, or controlling attitudes. We can have all kinds of crazy kinky sex without subjugating ourselves to anyone. We deserve to be pleasured and we deserve to pleasure. But most of all, we deserve to know we can walk away from anyone who would demean us.

I have a responsibility to my audience to turn them on and to empower them. This is a responsibility I take very much to heart and that I will never abandon. It's the least my audience deserves of me.