Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Lesbian Fiction Appreciation Event: Teresa Wymore on Sex Matters

I've seen some strange things. First, it was the rise of the slashes. "Lesbian" became "f/f" and "gay" became "m/m." Then there came "m/f/m," leaving every publisher's erotic fiction section with 5,354 stories with penises and 2 without. Now, don't call me bitter (I am), because as a reader, I'm just happy to have so many niche markets, queer themes, and sex sex sex. And lesbian romance is becoming marketable, as this blog points out. How exciting is that? But I write and illustrate lesbian erotica. Let's just say I'm envious (and bitter).

Writing Sex

Darklaw - Novel CoverI write smut. I write it raw with no strings attached. Between women. Who aren't in love. Oh sure, you're as likely to believe such a thing in lesbian fiction as in lesbian life, but I've never been able to write a romance. Those stories sit unfinished in a folder, awaiting their happily-ever-after as I cross out one satanic sacrifice and vampire staking after another. I like tales of unfettered lust. And I like them about women because only women know endless eroticism. Men, you know, always "finish." Sex is character. Sex is conflict. Sex is self-discovery. The turn-on is secondary or, indeed, a result of the struggle. This is why even the best fiction gets better with erotic content. How much of our thought and action every day arises from intensely intimate encounters with our life force? This is why erotic literature should not be genre. Erotic experience should be part of every well-crafted character and her story.

Chaos Theory

Darklaw - Avestine and KamiOkay. I don't write smut. Not really. I write about struggle. It just looks like smut because the struggling people are usually naked. My characters struggle because one seeks control while the other seeks freedom. They find a momentary union because other people reveal who we are by showing us what we want. But more than character dynamics, this order/chaos difference is also the essential distinction between romance and erotica. Remittance Girl (that fabulous writer and thinker) has a concise post about the genres over at the Erotica Readers and Writers Blog. I'll summarize here. Romance resolves its plot with order; it's a conservative type of writing in that it preserves the status quo (the happily-ever-after ending praised by our culture). Erotica preserves the chaos. It's chaos I write about. I've been writing and illustrating stories since I was five. Without these imaginary worlds, I'd likely be an addict or died young. Instead, I went on to graduate summa cum laude and married terribly well. Then I kissed Laura. Desire shattered my life. It was the kind of desire that makes all kinds of crime and violence seem suddenly reasonable. I lost everything that made me feel safe and spent the next several years reading Kristeva and Foucault on a Florida beach. That's where I learned that everything is better when wet. Now, I spend my beach-time reading Bataille. The truth of a story is as good as the author’s transgression, he says. Eroticism is a refusal to limit ourselves to separateness by seeking another heart or body or soul. A mouthful of melted chocolate is a revelation of abundance. The wet electricity of human desire cleanses as no confessional can. Kneading warm bread dough is seductive beyond any meditation. The moment has a message. It doesn't need a promise. That’s why I write erotica. And because eating pussy turns me on. The poet Audre Lorde said the erotic encompasses more than sex. What is erotic brings new life. We feel our worth when we feel pleasure. We experience spiritual growth when we know joy. Sensuality of any kind liberates our senses, and passion for any pursuit expands our self awareness. In other words, sex matters.

Darklaw the Webcomic

Darklaw - Apotheosis Episode 9Lesbian erotica is a rather small niche market. Now imagine turning that lesbian erotica into a webcomic. Exactly. The comics market has always been heavily boy-centric, and while you might imagine boys would enjoy seeing women together, you should know there's no stylized eye candy at Darklaw the Webcomic. Just women who are strong and surly. And they're also gods. In life they were lovers. In the afterlife they're enemies. A successful webcomic needs a good story, good art, and a consistent schedule of releases. It's like producing any work of fiction, except you also have special website requirements because the story is serialized and told in images. We're living in the Wild West days of webcomics, when every creator has her own ideas about website layout, page presentation, and affiliated communities. Likely, standardization will reduce those options in the years to come. Darklaw

TeresaWymorePortraitTeresa Wymore has lesbian fiction in digital and print anthologies. She's an author, illustrator, personal trainer, feminist, lesbian, Mensan, and a mom. But mostly she drinks beer. DARKLAW THE WEBCOMIC is her current project. She's all over the web, and here's her directory: i> is still new and finding its place, though it cracked into the top 100 of The Webcomic List in December. I hope to acquire a dedicated readership and, one day, provide the comic in print. Visit me online!


Jolie du Pre said...

I enjoyed reading this Teresa, and your DARKLAW is fabulous. Everyone should check it out!

She said...

Great column! You are so right about what you say in it. The truth shines through your words. Thanks.