Erotic Writers: Are You Activists?

Erotic Writers: Are You Activists?

Posted by: on Jun 22, 2017 | 2 Comments
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This question has been coming up a great deal lately. Erotic writers say to me, “I love it that Go Deeper Press is an activist press. I wish I was more of an activist.” And I instantly think, “But you are, you are!” When I tell them this, however, they look surprised and say, “You think so?”

And I really, really do.

Let’s face it, those of us who are erotic artists—including erotic writers, performers, and visual artists—and are working for a more equitable, shame-free world, certainly are activists if we say we are. Sharing your erotic art in the face of society’s shame is gutsy and takes a ton of heart. Activists fight for a better world. And that’s what I see our community doing on a daily basis.

Of course, you don’t have to view yourself as an activist. Being an artist is a gift to the world regardless. But I’m writing this post for those who want to identify this way.

The question is: how do you know if you’re an activist? Sometimes, I wonder if the “depth” debate confuses things.

My erotic fantasy series for activists.

For example, I’m all for reclaiming the word “smut.” It’s a glorious word with deep joy behind it. But even now that it’s been reclaimed, I wonder whether some folks still view “smut” as being luxurious reveling rather than serious purpose. But we, as erotic artists, know it can be both. What’s more, there will always be those who say that books like Jane Eyre and Great Expectations are far more important art than erotica and porn. But given erotica’s potential for busting shame and promoting self-acceptance, I can’t agree. Whether your erotica is deep and literary or just tremendous fun doesn’t make it any more or less worthy of being called activism. (By the way, I’m a fan of Great Expectations! I recognize its activism too.)

My favorite example when discussing activism snobbery is to compare Shakespeare’s work with that of Joss Whedon. As Whedon seeks to tell stories (such as Buffy, Firefly, and more) that appeal to a popular audience regardless of their literacy level or educational privilege, so did Shakespeare. In fact, Shakespeare was often sneered at by his contemporaries because he saw fit to include servants, people of color, queers, and misfits in his dramas—powerful activism indeed. He even took the blank verse that was typical of esteemed playwrights back then, and added prose that the everyday viewer could access and find relevant. He really was the “pop lit” of his day. Likewise, Whedon had whole series chopped by introducing queer characters. He has shown us that even superheroes struggle in the face of society’s prejudices. He has fought as a feminist to reclaim female strength in adversity. Characters of color kick ass and help save the world in Buffy and Firefly, just as Shakespeare showed us the horrors of racism and the beauty of queer love. Many of us, myself included, credit Whedon’s work for helping keep us alive.

One way of crushing activism is to start comparing its worthiness. Whedon is an activist. Shakespeare was too.

By the way, pet peeve: So called “high art” like Madame Butterfly often remains unscrutinized because of its perceived spiritual/ethical purity. Yet Madame Butterfly is a notoriously racist opera.

Take the snobbery out and it’s easier to see the activism.

At Go Deeper, we are about to release two books by powerfully talented erotic writers. The first to be launched (on 7/11/17) is Roadhouse Blues by Malin James, and is as literary as it is explicit. (Interested? Read an interview or excerpt.) James names cock, cunt, and ass without any shame, and also raises deep questions about sex, love, class, abuse, and prejudice, and the power of authenticity. Her words are captivating, and filled to the brim with emotion and edge. Her characters, who live in the fictional blue collar town of Styx, strive secretly to live authentic sexual lives.

The second book we’re launching (on 7/24/17) is Oleander Plume‘s Horatio Slice: Guitar Slayer of the Universe, and it’s as glorious, whacky, and addictive as fiction gets. (Read an interview plus excerpts, if you like.) It’s also brilliant—so gleaming and impossibly clever that you won’t be able to even think of Trump or May when you’re rapidly turning its pages. Plume writes humor that makes me shake with laughter. Her world-building is delicious. And her story is simply stuffed with heart. It’s healing.

But to compare these two books, asking, “Which is deeper activism?” or “Which is more activist?” No no no. Some readers will prefer one. Some will prefer the other. Some will love both with equal joy. But both are activism, in my eyes. Quite apart from the genius of their craft, each of the above authors brings profound activism to their work, fighting for visibility, emotional healing, the recognition of love, the depths of community. Both the books are hot, hot, hot. And ultimately, I believe Plume and James share a mission, like many of we erotic writers do: To reach a society that needs, so profoundly, to shed its shame and be loving and authentic.

These authors comfort us, in the face of a desperate world.

Fellow erotic writers and artists, do you have similar aims of your own? And do you want to think of yourself as an “activist”?

If yes, I encourage you to accept that you are one.

I believe it. Do you?

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Passionate about erotica and activism? Check out this awesome article by Rachel Kramer Bussell in Rolling Stone. We at Go Deeper are delighted to be included, and I’m really proud of Jake who says some really vital things.

Trump Erotica – Go Deeper Press in Rolling Stone

Trump Erotica – Go Deeper Press in Rolling Stone

Posted by: on May 8, 2017 | No Comments

Jake and I are deeply grateful to Rachel Kramer Bussel, who generously included Go Deeper Press in this fantastic article about Trump erotica — erotica that’s anti-Trump. Also included in the piece are Alessia Brio, Editor in Chief of Coming Together, Debra Hyde, and talented others, not to mention an awesome quote from the one and only Susie Bright. Our Jake Louder is quoted as saying,

We knew we wanted to do something in response to the Trump administration’s imminent destruction of all things not white, cisgender, male and heterosexual…

Read the full article here. It’s inspiring — especially considering it was released on May 4th 2017, when so many of us sex-positives and liberals heard the terrible news about TrumpCare.

#TwitterNuts: Inauguration Lovemaking (aka The Snollygoster)

#TwitterNuts: Inauguration Lovemaking (aka The Snollygoster)

Posted by: on Jan 19, 2017 | No Comments

I once slept with a guy who said he didn’t like the term “lovemaking.” I told him I rarely used it, but was glad the term exists. “It has a poetry of its own,” I mused.

“I prefer fucked,” he said.

To take that line and screw with it a little, where the leader of the land is concerned, I never prefer fucked. That said, thank God for Twitter. Twitter’s where I go to say hi to people, to draw warmth from our community, to express, share, feel delight, hold hands with the sex-positive world. Twitter’s where I go for lovemaking. The sort that takes place with friends in 140 characters or less.

Or with myself in 280 characters by, you know, self-replying.

Anyway, you can imagine why, when the ever-perceptive branding expert Dorie Clark, author of the amazing Stand Out and Reinventing You, made the following 2017 prediction at BrandDrivenDigital.com, I lost my mind a little:

“Twitter will die, and Donald Trump will be the only person still left who is using it.”

Oh hell.

That said, if I have to tweet Trump myself to make sure there are at least two of us using Twitter, I guess I’ll be opening an Instagram account instead.

Now, I purposefully never seek out Trump’s Twitter feed. As a queer immigrant married to a trans man, I feel afraid of him. I know it’s not an ideal emotion, but it’s where I’m at right now. I watch the headlines from behind a cushion. Rather than say the word “Trump” I’m tempted to do a Pre-Potter Hogwarts and refer to him only as the Snollygoster. 

Oh damn. The Snollygoster is here.

But back to the whole Twitter thing, I’m tempted to get offended that Trump even knows about Twitter. I want Twitter to be safer than that. I want it to be for us only.

Big, old sentimental me.

Anyhoo.

As the inauguration of President Trump, aka the Snollygoster, bursts in upon us, I’m tempted to say that what we need is lovemaking. Not only the kind that takes place in the sack, but the kind that acts like a big, warm bath. So I’ve been looking to you folks on Twitter for that sort of lovemaking. Let’s face it, there’s plenty. Starting with greats from Oleander Plume‘s feed:

— Hend Amry (@LibyaLiberty) January 19, 2017

This, via Chrissi Sepe:

Beauty, as always, from August McGlaughlin:

Beauty and tremendous sadness, via Ella Dawson:

This from Dario Dalla Lasta:

Also, there’s knitting. And Alison Tyler.

Lastly, because there is seriousness here too, I want you all to know that Twitter really is still here. Our Twitter. Your Twitter. The Twitter we make. And just because there’s a Snollygoster in power doesn’t mean the human heart won’t win.

I’ll end with a tweet from Oleander Plume. Yes, another from her feed. Which really says why you should go and follow her.

 

For political rebellion in erotica, check out Maddie Aflame!

On that note, I send love to you all. I’m so grateful for you.

In fact, you know what? Let’s have an inourguration instead.

–Lana Fox

Hey! Check out my social media services, why don’t you? And follow me on Twitter:

Wanna Get Real About Queer Ghosts and Swallowing Mansions?

Wanna Get Real About Queer Ghosts and Swallowing Mansions?

Posted by: on Oct 5, 2016 | No Comments

If the answer is yes, go check out Malin’s amazing posts on Maddie Aflame! They’re beautifully perceptive about the series and I’m really honored by them. Some tasters:

From Queer Marginalization: Lana Fox & Maddie Aflame!

What I especially love about Maddie Aflame!, is that it features something that’s been largely lacking in erotic literature—queer-centered, empowering, inclusive portrayals of characters in their late teens and early twenties. Young adulthood is a challenge, even more so for people who may not conform to societal norms. The fact that Lana Fox tackles those issues here, and did it without sacrificing the book’s compulsive readable-ness is, quite frankly, fucking impressive. Like I said, I’m a fan.

From On Conformity & Compliance: Lana Fox and Maddie Aflame!

The antagonists go to great lengths, including kidnapping, murder, and torture, to impose a rigidly traditional social structure on the populace. And yet, beneath that structure, individual people reject conformity in favor of boundless self-acceptance and love. It’s that sense fluidity (in gender and emotional / sexual relationships) that ultimately helps our heroes counter the rigid traditions that threaten them.

From Ghosts, Tech, and Swallowing Mansions: Lana Fox & Maddie Aflame!

And then there’s the sentient mansion. While I don’t want to give too much away, it’s a metaphorical masterstroke that deserves a mention. The mansion, which, for all intents and purposes should be just a normal house, is a feeling, sensing thing, more creature than building, cognitively speaking, as it responds to the emotional state of its occupants. Like magic, tech and ghosts, the mansion bridges a gap and blurs the line between expectation and form to defy its own weaponization, making it not only a compelling character in its own right, but a powerful metaphor for the breaking of traditional worldviews in favor of wider possibility.

From On Hidden Power: Lana Fox & Maddie Aflame!

She has Combustion Syndrome, a disease that, when triggered, causes her body to combust from the inside out. While the ability to heal is part of the Syndrome, episodes leave her burned and weak, and are, quite honestly, a little terrifying … As Maddie progresses through the book, she learns to stop fearing the disease and draw strength from it. Sex plays a large role in this.

Thanks a million, Malin! And folks, please go and check out Malin’s own work. She is a huge talent! She posts stunning erotica and beautiful commentary on her blog and she also publishes widely with a variety of presses.

What’s not to love?

Check out Maddie Aflame! on Amazon and Go Deeper Press.

Birth of a Voice – An Activist’s Story

Birth of a Voice – An Activist’s Story

Posted by: on Jun 15, 2016 | 2 Comments

Picture credit – Oracle of the Shapeshifters (Lucy Cavendish) – click here or on pic to buy.

When I was eleven and living in England, I was sent to boarding school. I didn’t want to go, but at my previous school I’d been bullied ceaselessly for having extremely bad acne. For two years, I had begged my parents to take me away. The school — a private girls’ school — had a great deal of bigotry in it, and every time a student of color arrived in our year, or a student with a disability or a deep sense of shyness, I made friends with them. But they would only be there for a term because their parents took them away from the bullying. And then I’d be left alone.

What’s more, my parents were Christian Scientists who taught me it was sinful to defend myself against bullies, because they believed this “dragged me down to the bullies’ level.” So, being afraid of being “bad” in the face of God, I bore cruel words with tears in my eyes and never told anyone to leave me alone. Naturally, this only made it worse.

Then, one day, my parents gave me a choice. “Either you stay where you are,” they said, “or you go to Christian Science boarding school.”

I chose the latter.