My skin feels flayed, and part of my soul has opened to the world. It's done, or at least started: I'm an author. Saturday, I pressed the submit for public reading button on my first story. A few hundred people have taken me up on the offer to read my work.
The vulnerability is intense: this compares to agreeing to lead the last Fires of Venus ritual, to accepting the mantle of priest, or to taking up the offices of Sacred Lover and Sacred Messenger.
The story is an erotic exploration of what it means to reject shame and embrace sexuality. It's my attempt to reclaim slut as a joyful openness to the moment rather than as a shameful brand condemning an openness to pleasure.
I do think I wrote some hot sex scenes, and I'm proud of that. However, one way I feel vulnerable is that to me, this is not "just erotica," whatever that might mean. The work I'm trying to do hear is as important to me as any writer opening themselves in hope that readers will find a slightly different, slightly broader way to see the world. So, I'm vulnerable to the work being dismissed as just porn.
I'm also nervous looking within the erotica community. Reading over the list of things that volunteer editors won't edit, I'm reminded how uncomfortable male homosexuality, the exploration of the taboo, the exploration of the very kinky, and the exploration of power dynamics make many people. I struggled trying to figure out whether to change the story and make it more accessible.
For me, this is much more than writing. I've had vivid worlds running around in my head, exploring other ways we might relate, and celebrating sexuality and our primal nature. I've always been afraid to share these. What if those I loved turned from me in fear and disgust? What if my fantasies became public and the reaction damaged my ability to be taken seriously as a priest working to learn and teach love. I remember after starting to do public Venus work telling a friend that while I sort of wanted to write porn, I never would because I had enough of an image problem without kinky things I had written getting out.
That was before Lovers Grove. How can I work with our clients and help them to take joy in whatever fantasies, they have no matter how dark, acknowledging their desires without shame? First I must face my own shame and proudly own my inner fantasies, even the parts that I acknowledge need to stay in the realm of the imaginary. Earlier when writing about the taboo I talked about how an experience can become a magical lever for self transformation. This story is such for me: by choosing to write it without holding back, I've chosen to be the Sacred Lover who can face his inner landscape with confidence and without shame. I can gain the strength to meet others and help them work past their shame. So, I have chosen to open myself and face all that. For me this story is no trivial matter.
On another level this is an offering to my gods. There's sure things to face both internally and externally with the idea that erotica can be a sacred offering. It can though, at least in my little corner. Venus at least has begun to show her hand and show the role she'd like to take in future writing.
The Lady Riding Atop is fully written and the first two chapters are available. The third chapter is ready to go. Chuck and I are exploring an interesting dialectic challenge in the fourth chapter. Once that is approached, I expect the final two chapters to be smooth sailing.