Monday, August 20, 2007

What If...

Shakespeare wrote that the courageous die only once but cowards suffer a thousand deaths - in their imaginations, of course. Something similar could be said of writers. We might not imagine our own deaths with any great frequency but what about la p'tite morte?

If I’m asked where I get my inspiration from the question makes about as much sense to me as being asked where I get my air. It’s all around me, noticeable only when it’s absent.

For instance:
This morning’s mail brought the usual bills and flyers, plus a deckle-edged cream envelope addressed to me in what looked like real hand-writing. Felix and I have never been to a munch, which is what a kinky brunch is called in Southwestern Ontario. But surely if we received a handwritten invitation he'd be willing to don his tux and I could wear...oh any number of gauzy trifles and...I slit open the envelope to discover an offer for ten percent off a gym membership. WTF? If I want to be stretched, folded and twisted, it won’t be in the interest of exercise, in which in fact I have very little interest.

Yes, the impact of reality can be a shock, but nobody said writing erotica is easy. In this case my error led me to a story idea about a subbie who has a little too much fun at her first munch, due in large part to a misheard (dare I suggest misspoken) directive from her Dom. In a vanilla relationship, this might lead to a big fight, but in the D/s world, it can be downright dangerous.

Last week, while I was walking down Yonge Street, a big raindrop splattered on my forehead. Another hit my instep. I darted into the nearest entranceway just in time to avoid a major soaking. As it happened, the entrance was to my regular pharmacy – chemist, to those on the other side of the pond. But what if it’d been the doorway to a sex shop? What if, while I waited the storm out, someone, a large, distinguished gentleman with slightly sinister but handsome features, (OK, it’s Felix Baron) opened the door and hooked me inside, chiding me for being late? What if he’s planned a kinky fashion show? I find myself in leather boots with six inch heels and a transparent latex dress. Or maybe it’s an auction! Interesting, maybe, but hardly new. Unless it’s a story about the particular challenges a D/s relationship faces in its final days. How do Master and slave end an arrangement that can be more binding than marriage? She finds out her Dom (no longer Felix) is auctioning her off and is torn – on the one hand, it will free her from him which is what she secretly wants but could never arrange by herself. But is she of so little value to him that he’d really sell her to the highest bidder? And what if no one wants her? Hmmm…

Or what if there had been no handy doorway, and I’d got so drenched that my dress turned transparent and clingy, so by the time I got inside the pharmacy the a/c made my nipples hard and I sneeze and a distinguished baritone, no, make it soprano, says, ‘Bless you.’ By now I’m not exactly me, I’m Madeline Moore, author, and I’m not exactly daydreaming, I’m a writer at work. The soprano isn’t exactly the sexy cosmetics gal with the spiky blonde hair, she’s – OK she is the sexy cosmetics gal with the spiky blond hair but now we’re talking story, not idle fantasy. A Cure For the Common Cold? I like it.

Naturally books and pictures are an easy way to turn on the tap. But reruns on TV? A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to catch the CSI Las Vegas episode in which Grissom first meets Lady Heather, the professional Dominatrix. It was the fourth time I’d started to watch that episode. I still have no idea how it ends. Once those two meet, the plot goes one way but my mind has gone in another, entirely different one, and I’m a happy little mental voyeur till long past the closing credits.

Speaking of Lady Heather, in the last episode starring the fearless Domme she made a deal with an evil client that entitled him, for a six figure sum, to choke her to death. That was one story during which I definitely didn’t daydream. It was not only verrrry kinky, without any sex, but gave us a peek into the tightly-wound emotional makeup of Gil Grissom, and, as an added feature, showed the maturity of his relationship with Sara Sidle. ‘Do what you have to do,’ she said when she found out Grissom had spent the night with Lady Heather. Later, he told her, ‘I was being a friend.’ Good stuff, CSI! With prime time TV like this, who needs...but...I digress...

Just about anything can veer off, in my mind, into erotic realms. Any new place I go could be the gateway to some wild sexual adventure. Any piece of mail – any new acquaintance – or just a clear starry sky.

Weather is a particular source of inspiration for me. Snow conjures up dreams of being trapped in a log cabin with a stunning ski instructor or a devious snow bunny, or both. Cold hands on hot parts, in real life or in my imagination, are always a turn on. Hot sunshine evokes Hawaiian beaches, and hula dancers in grass skirts, and muscular bronzed lifeguards, for a start. Hot blood, temperatures rising, sweat… Rain is particularly evocative. It figures prominently in my story Hurting Hugh in editor Mitzi Szereto’s anthology Getting Even: Revenge Stories,coming in October 2007 from Serpent’s Tail Press.

‘Some things are so damn beautiful you have to be happy just to see them. Like Northern Lights. Or a train crossing in the rain, with the bright beam of the engine lighting up the rain like a spotlight, and the red lights of the crossing bars flashing and the blaring whistle of the train competing with the clanging of the crossing bells. It's surreal.’

And later:

‘But it was the rain that really tipped the balance. I knew he probably couldn't tell who was behind the wheel, not with his poor night vision and all that rain streaming down the windshield. Plus, I knew the rain would wash away the gore so I wouldn't have to get my hands dirty hurting Hugh.’ (I love that last line.)

I’ve never, in real life, been ravished at midnight in torrential rain, but in my mind I’ve sucked enough rushing streams of rainwater off naked skin to fill a swimming pool.

When I find myself grocery shopping, after the initial shock wears off, not only are there all those people I don't know to fantasize about, strangers who could be incredibly depraved under their mundane facades, but there’s a ton of femme fruit, like melons and peaches, and all those phallic vegetables like cucumbers and parsnips. This sort of musing led to my first published piece, a little story called Breakfast With Tiffany that was included in a 'confessions of everyday women' type tome so I'll say no more lest the ruse be uncovered.

Here's how it works: I take everyday life and put it through a mental process I call The Eroticizer. This mini-distillery vapourizes the mundane, exhaling it in a misty cloud while isolating the sex-essence into a liquid pool of gold at the bottom of a Pyrex beaker. I mix this extract with other essential elements, like description and characterization and verisimilitude, and the result is released into the world like a new perfume, eau de erotica, or Essence of Madeline. My erotic fiction.

It has been said that to the pure, all things are pure. Likewise, to the prurient, all things are prurient.

Comment on today's blog and win a copy of Wild Card, by Madeline Moore.


kristina lloyd said...

Ha, great post, Madeline! I love your Eroticizer. I have one too but mine's a cranky, slightly broken model that only I know how to work. Its setting is stuck on 'image processing'. That's usually how a story starts with me: an image, usually non-erotic, embeds itself in my brain and somehow, eventually, it swells into a story. The 'narrative' setting is knackered.

Here's an example: I picked up a flyer advertising a London exhibition of artists' responses to environmental damage in the Arctic. Nice photo - a blue and white image of an iceberg, all huge, fresh, powerful and still. I liked it, pinned it by my desk, thinking WTF? No one would have sex in the Arctic. It's too cold. A few days later, my editor emailed saying, Hey KL, do you fancy writing vampire erotica? And bingo! I had it - Arctic vampires! (Aka The Vampire's Heart) The images started jumping - blood on snow, dark sunless days, ice sparkling under starlight, vampires frolicking in summer dresses, chasing humans in their clumsy boots and parkas. (Shameless Plug! Out in November!) The story grew from the images.

And yes, rain, weather, landscapes. I love rain! Kissing in the rain is the sexiest thing. Wet skin, oh my! I might, um, mention this on Friday in my Wet Men post. Just, you know, a little mention and a couple of pictures.

Ally said...

"I’ve sucked enough rushing streams of rainwater off naked skin to fill a swimming pool."

Oh Madeline! Yes, those hot, rain filled thunderstorms, that rage through Southern Ontario's humid summers has brought back some awesome memories. Thankyou. It's been far to long since I enjoyed kissing in the rain and more on those steamy nights, or stood naked in a field watching it all crash down around me, (lightning storms were always an automatic sexual charge for me).

Kissing in the rain here on the West Coast just doesn't feel so great. It's fuckin cold...
and where the hell is the lightning and thunder? In the 6 years I've been in Vancouver, I've seen close to 6 bolts of lightning total. I miss the storms caused by the humidity.

The storms here, although they are wet, they are more like a dry fuck when compared to sexual excitement, unless cold and dry is your fetish of course.

I wish I had an eroticizer like yours, that sounds so much cooler.

My inspiration comes to mind in flash fantasies when I'm horny and alone ... or horny, not alone, but just bored. Today I was in the passenger seat of a car with a friend, was bored with the ride, so I lay the seat back and next thing you know I had this hunky man behind me sucking my neck.

I love how the back of my eye lids can become an instant playground.

PS, I'll pass on the draw. I already have your book and I loved it.

Deanna Ashford said...

Kissing in the rain as it lashes down, warm and wet,on your naked body. That sounds so great but I've had enough rain the last few months, in the damp and slightly chilly UK, to last me a liftime at present.

Give me Hawaii anytime. It's my favourite place. I could fantasise about making love in the moonlight on a sandy beach, the sound of the sea crashing against the south shore in my ears.(as it's Hawaii, I'm hoping it is James Sawyer who is making passionate love to me)

My Eroticiser, or whatever it is, seems to be stuck on reverse. It mostly seems to stir up sexual fantasies that happen in the past or in some unidentifiable fantasy world, filled with muscular warriors, beautiful women and evil sorcerers.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Excellent, Madeline!

My Eroticizer is one of the models that has various settings. I've often used the lowest setting when I've encountered situations that didn't need much juice to be transformed into erotic fantasies--an art gallery in which I'm alone with the sexy proprietor; a hotel restaurant where we're told an employee must escort us if we want to take an open bottle of wine up to our room; a cute little clothing shop with particularly endearing mannequins in the window.

The Eroticizer has become such a habit with me that one time I accidentally fed it a wonderful sexual experience I'd had with my wife. I got an error message, of course: THIS SCENARIO HAS ALREADY BEEN EROTICIZED.

Alison Tyler said...

Delicious to see where all of those sexy ideas come from. (I was specifically wondering about your Arctic Vampires, KL!)

I collect images, as well. My file cabinet is overflowing with folders of postcards, photos, advertisements (especially for Grand Marnier and Levis, for some reason)...

Thanks for the lovely post, MM,


P.S. My best ideas probably come from real life turned on its head. I wrote Tiffany Twisted because I fantasized about spending one month in a boyfriend's body, just so that I could clean his apartment and fix his life.

Madeline Moore said...

Thanks for the posts, everyone. So far, so good... It's great to hear about all the different models of Eroticizers that are out there...or in there, I suppose. They all sound like they have terrific features - very specialized, these mini-distilleries. Although of course any talk of mini-distilleries just gets AT thinking of Grand Marnier. Not the same thing, Alison.
I had hoped this post would encourage others to explain how their stories come to be, so I'm gratified that that's what's happening, so far. Arctic vampires? Yes, of course, it all makes perfect sense - once you've come up with the idea. It's great, isn't it KL, when the pieces come together into - yes! - an idea that you just know is a good one.

'I love how the back of my eye lids can become an instant playground.'

Deanna - the 'historical' model of Eroticizer is much in demand these days, you're lucky to have one!

Nice, ally! I love that, too. And okay, I will take you out of the Wild Card're in good company, as none of the LBs are eligible.

Jeremy, I could've guessed your Eroticizer model would come with the 'error message' feature. Actually, that would be very handy. There are times when I've worked for awhile on a story before suddenly realizing, with the same clarity described above at the moment a good idea hits, 'This story will never work.' For instance, a little tale in which a woman goes searching for the Mad Cow of her dreams. It just ain't sexy Mad, it ain't interesting or literary or simply sucks. I guess I do have an error feature, it's just a little slow to kick in.

Thanks for participating, everyone.

Anonymous said...

Orson Sott Card wrote something like: 'Everyone passes a thousand plot ideas a day. Writers notice half a dozen of them.'

angell said...

Madeline - you're a Torontonian too??

Freaking sweet!

I know exactly what you mean about walking down Yonge St in the rain - I used to work on Church and I'd do the Yonge walk daily during my lunch break.

And yes, all sorts of wonderful images can be conjured up on the streets of our fair city.

As for "I’ve sucked enough rushing streams of rainwater off naked skin to fill a swimming pool."

HOT IMAGE right there.

angell said...

PS - LOVE the CSI episodes with Lady Heather and Grissom. My imagination always plays for about an hour after the show is done - and man does Grissom look seriously yummy when he's naked in my fantasies.

Smut Girl said...

I am so relieved! Feel better knowing am not the only person who starts a show, has a dirty brain diversion 1/2 way through and comes out of her fugue at the end of the show and says, "What happened?" Whew. :)

Great post. Loved the examples and all the comments. And I got super excited to see one of my favorite CSI moments up there in a photo. I adore Lady Heather and the dynamics between her and Grissom (who I have an older man crush on, yum). That was a very intense scene and I was irrationally giddy to see the photo :)


Madelynne Ellis said...

I think my Eroticiser is better known as YouTube!

Okay, so maybe not always. Phantasmagoria came about because of a visit to Stokesey castle. I knew that's where a particular character lived after just a glimpse of the place from a distance. Mind you, I think Ms Madden had been planting erotic seedlings just before that about how I really wanted to write a sequel. Ack, sequels! Now I have about seven of the buggers in my head.

Madeline Moore said...

Angell in Toronto? Cool. And Smut Girl and Angell, I am irrationally happy to see that others find the whole Grissom/Lady Heather relationship hot and fascinating. By the way, for those who may not be familiar with the moment captured in the CSI picture on the post, Lady Heather and Grissom's tug of war is with a bullwhip... uh huh...uh huh...

Ally said...

Oh NO! Here we go with Grissom and the Lady Heather. You forced me to go on a quest.

So for us Lusties, Lusting for a bite of Grissom or just a chair to sit back and watch with lust. Here's a little treat.

Grissom and Heather parody

By the way Jeremy,
Thats why I close my eye's during sex, it can be new everytime. LMAO

Kate Pearce said...

I usually catch an 'emotion' followed by an image of the person/character in my head who is producing such a strong set of feelings that they leech into my conscious mind from the big murky swirl of my subconscious. Quite often this happens just between waking and sleeping.

So that's my starting point-that extremity of emotion-then I build on that, let my mind ponder, build up an image and a scene and then that leads to other characters and scenes and then a book.

Gawd...I wish I could explain it better. That first glimpse is usually something to do with that characters ongoing sexual experience or the repercussions of that sexual act, but not always.

That's all I need to get an idea for a story!

Shanna Germain said...

I loved this post! It's very similar to the experience that happens in my brain. I'm not a big image person, however. For me, it usually starts with a scenario or a person. Traveling often jump-starts it. So do objects.

Recent examples:
-Walking by a knife shop and seeing a sexy man inside became my knife story, "To the Hilt"
-A while back, I wanted to write a spanking story, but was totally out of ideas. I unloaded our car, pulled out a wayward tent pole and there it was, the perfect prop for "Into the Woods."
-The story I'm currently working on came to me after I read one of those "please save the animals" brochures.

Ideas ARE everywhere. Sex is everywhere too...or at least, I like to imagine that it is :) s.

Madeline Moore said...

Shanna - 'Sex is everywhere too...or at least, I like to imagine that it is :) s.'


Madeline Moore said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacy S said...

It's interesting to see were writers get their ideals.

Paul said...

I've only caught a piece of one episode of the first Lady Heather meets Grissom episode, but I was surprised at just how the two bonded.

Janine Ashbless said...

Lovely post Madeline!

Right now I wish I could eroticise and write a story about, say, someone whose goddamn internet server keeps going on strike.


Boo to Orange.

Jeremy Edwards said...

Right now I wish I could eroticise and write a story about, say, someone whose goddamn internet server keeps going on strike.

Do you think you really might? I just dashed off a little joke one--but right before I posted it here it occurred to me that you might actually do it for real, and I didn't want to steal your idea.

Janine Ashbless said...

God, no. I'm in a crabby mood Jeremy. Please post your story and cheer me up!

Jeremy Edwards said...

It had been going on all night. She was hunched in front of her computer, watching her favorite Phil Collins videos, taking herself right to the edge. Shoulders aching, task chair creaking, fingers going numb in her knickers. It seemed that every time she was about to explode, the connection would lapse, YouTube would freeze, and Phil would linger in mid-note, unwittingly keeping her poised for ecstasy yet just this side of it.

Finally, she knew she had to come, with or without the lead singer from Genesis. So she did what any sensible woman in her position would do.

She eased her stiffened body away from the workstation, and made her way to the bedroom door. She peeked inside.

"Dear, could I trouble you for a quick shag?"

"Glad to oblige," Sting replied.


My spam word is jngelwd. So if your connection keeps misbehaving, Janine, perhaps you should take the day off and have a magical romp in the Jinglewood. (Alison may want to tag along--I believe, per her blog, that she's having similar problems.)

Janine Ashbless said...

Pffffffft!!! Hee hee hee!

Oh god...
Thank-you Jeremy.
Feel better now.

Anne Tourney said...

This mini-distillery vapourizes the mundane, exhaling it in a misty cloud while isolating the sex-essence into a liquid pool of gold at the bottom of a Pyrex beaker.

When I'm writing authentically, not simply turning the smut-crank, this passage describes exactly what writing erotica does for me (though not with such alchemical beauty, I'm afraid). Ideally, I've always seen smut as a way to transform daily experience -- the simple, repetitive routines of the flesh -- into something vivid and sensual and vital.

So do you ever have Eroticizer parties -- sort of like Tupperware parties, only with naked guys who serve the guests cappucino while they Eroticize on their laptops? If so, I'd love to attend!

Shanna Germain said...

--sends her rsvp in to wherever it needs to go so that she, too, can join the Eroticizer party--

--and then checks to see if Jeremy's wife is attending too. Yes, but damn, there's that other SG girl again. Maybe this time we can just share?--


Karl Friedrich Gauss said...

Jeremy, your internet trials remind me of the proposition put forth in ye olde Mondo 2000 magazine, that the fixation with technology, trying to bend computers and such to your will, is essentially the domain of masochists.

And Madeline, nice to see my home town of "Toronto the Good", as it used to be called, well represented among the lust biters. Your thesis of the ubiquity of eroticism reminds me of one of the stories of Tor Kung (from one of the QPB's Olympia Readers), the one in which he subverts Gerard Manley Hopkins' idea that "the world is charged with the glory of God" and putting it through his own early prototype of an eroticizer, comes up with the realization that for him, at least, the world is suffused with what he calls "quim". But that may be less of a subversion than one might think, seeing as how much of pagan "cult-ure" was appropriated by the early christians. Maybe it's really more a "recrudescence of Pan" or an "archaic revival" than a true Chistian heresy, although, if I may suggest yet another edge on which you lust biters have yet to plant your flag, have a look at the role of religion in developing what we now enjoy as Sado-Masochism. The Inquisition comes to mind, as do those several sects (pronounced like "sex") which prominently featured mortification of the flesh. We all know what that's about now, don't we?

Jeremy Edwards said...

No worries, Shanna! My wife and I spend most evenings at home, but we never miss an Eroticizer party.

And, hey, I always say, "The more SG's the merrier"--and I know my wife agrees. After all, SG's are So Great! Plus, with all those Eroticizers around, I think we can be confident that sharing will be technically feasible.

(Madeline, will you have enough electrical outlets for all the Eroticizers? We are doing this at your place, yes?)

Madeline Moore said...

Karl - thank you for a terrific glimpse into the history of kink. I think at my next Eroticizer party, I will ask you to be the keynote speaker.

Yes, Jeremy, of course it is at my place. We have many outlets. All battery operated toys are welcome. WE have many battery rechargers. No worries in that department. In fact, no worries in any department...

Madeline Moore said...

...and of course, I will be selling little plastic containers that burp when you put the lid on...but please don't feel obligated to buy.

Just Craig said...

I'm thinking of a career change:

Eroticizer Repairman.

Think of the fringe benefits!

rachelr said...

When I'm in the right mood, almost anything can be a trigger for a fantasy. So nice to know that writers can take an image or feeling and give us readers a
fantasy or adventure we can all share! Thanks for the great entry!