by Alison Tyler
Anyone who’s visited the Erotic Readers and Writers Association is familiar with Ashley Lister’s witty reviews. Two thumbs up from Ashley Lister is something every writer strives for. (Peek in the sidebar, if you think I’m lying.)
We’re extremely pleased to have Ashley with us today! As Ashley is the author (under pen name Lisette Ashton) of Original Sins (as well as more than twenty other novels), I thought we’d focus on the seven deadly sins for our questions—I have to admit, I had to look these up. I could only come up with four on my own (LUST, SLOTH, ANGER, VANITY). I’m guessing the others are SERVING DECAF COFFEE, WATCHING YOUR ROOMMATES HAVE SEX, and DRINKING MARTINIS WITH FEWER THAN THREE OLIVES. But I could be wrong.
So I asked Ashley to clarify what the sins are and to tell us how they fit into his own life. He poured me another four-olive martini and leaped to the task.
The Seven Deadly Sins
Let’s face it: the seven deadly sins are out of date. They’re not, and never have been, deadly. Since when are sloth or pride ever likely to prove fatal? It’s stretching credulity to believe lust alone could be a “deadly” sin – although it’s probably one hell of a good way to go.
And, now we’ve established that they’re not deadly, can we all agree that they’re not really sins? I think it’s more accurate to consider them as foibles or character traits. Surely we’ve all succumbed to one or more of these peccadilloes at some point during our daily routine? I think I’ve been through most of them today, and it’s not yet nine o’clock in the morning.
ANGER: Do I ever get angry? Why would I get angry when I’m watching the days fall off the calendar as I’m waiting for an editor to get back to me? Or when I read an Amazon review where some halfwit has publicly dumped on six months of my creative efforts? Or when the PC flat-lines half an hour before I’m about to perform my monthly back-up regime? Why the hell would I get angry about those damned things? Under the circumstances mentioned above, is anger really a sin? Or is it a wholly justifiable response to 21st Century life?
GLUTTONY: Oh dear. If this is a sin, it’s one I commit on a regular basis. I write most days, sitting in front of my PC, but I take lots of breaks for strong black coffee. And you can’t drink strong black coffee without chocolate. Or biscuits. Or a slice of cake. Or a ham, tomato and lettuce (with mayo) baguette. Or all of the above. With a couple of extra biscuits. And I do need that strong black coffee. I’m a glutton for strong black coffee.
SLOTH: This (alleged) sin used to be called sadness, which strikes me as a bit of a cruel judgment on the part of the person compiling the original list. To condemn someone as a sinner, just because they’re not jumping around, laughing, smiling and singing “I’m Walking on Sunshine,” is pretty harsh, and unlikely to brighten their mood. Am I guilty of sloth? Between watching Buffy DVDs, Angel DVDs, and keeping up-to-date with all that’s happening in the latest reality TV shows, I don’t have time to be guilty of sloth.
GREED: Isn’t this the same as gluttony? The distinction is supposedly that greed applies to material wealth whereas gluttony is for those of us who drink too much strong black coffee. The truth is, if I were greedy for material wealth I wouldn’t be a writer. I’d be doing something that paid money.
ENVY: This one’s mine. I’m such an envious person I could be a stunt double for Shrek and not have to use any make-up. I envy other writers for their talents. I envy writers who aren’t lazy or gluttonous and spending their days in either the kitchen or the TV lounge. I envy JK Rowling for her bank balance. I envy Eliza Dushku’s boyfriend for being Eliza Dushku’s boyfriend. I embrace envy and claim it as my own. But I don’t consider envy to be a sin. I like to think of it as a motivational tool.
PRIDE: Originally pride was claimed to be the worst of the sins. The punishment reserved for this alleged sin (in hell) involved being broken on the wheel. Tied naked to a wheel? Pain? Discipline? Severe retribution? I can think of worse ways to spend a Sunday afternoon. I think I’ll embrace this one as well as envy. And gluttony. And all the others I’ve mentioned above that aren’t really sins.
LUST: Lust is neither a sin nor a virtue: Lust is a vocation to which we all aspire – and a stepping stone to much better things.
All of which seems to suggest that the original seven sins are past their sell-by-date and in need of replacements.
Which is why I’ve compiled the following list of contemporary sins that are far, far worse than the originals.
Spammers. We live in a fantastic age of computers and chemically enhanced erections. Yet spammers, bombarding us with offers for Viagra and Cialas and every other damned penis pill on the market, have sullied this utopia.
People who say, “…but, at the end of the day…” This cliché means the speaker is saying, “I am a moron, with nothing left to contribute to the conversation, but some insecure need compels me to continue talking and talking and talking…”
Snipers on eBay. I admit, this has nothing to do with erotica or writing, but these irritating bastards should either be reading or screwing or doing something better with their spare time than trying to execute a last minute bid on eBay.
People who say, “I don’t like erotica…” and then go on to admit that they’ve never actually read any erotica. I used to work with someone who said this quite regularly. Once is irritating. Twice is infuriating. Three times and they should have their lips stapled.
Amazon Reviewers. Specifically those who start off their review with the words, “Amazon’s review system is flawed because I have to award this book one star, although I didn’t want to give it any…” As my mother always used to say, “If you can’t say something nice, then keep your damned mouth shut.”
Of course, this is only my list. If you’re reading this and think I’ve overlooked anything more egregious let me know what I’ve missed.
Post a comment, or a sin, for a chance to win a signed copy of Original Sins, as well as a set of super-swell seven sin bracelets for yourself. And ask Ashley any question that you'd like. He'll be popping in throughout the day.
Friday, July 20, 2007
by Alison Tyler