Rationally, now; not very emotionally, not in the depths of depression, I am asking myself if I should quit writing. It wouldn’t be easy, I know, but I do have the capacity to ‘walk away’ from things if they become too great a threat to my peace of mind. It’s a habit I learned, apparently, from the father who walked away from me more than half a century ago.
The odds of winning the UK national lottery are, I’m informed, about 1 in 14 million. Not good odds. But then, it seems that Amazon hosts some four million e-books and, to me, 1 in 4 million doesn’t actually sound all that good either.
I’ve had two books published, of course. “Aphrodite Overboard” and “Islands”. Both have had some excellent reviews, in fairness, but it’s a long time since I heard anything about “Aphrodite” from her publishers, so it’s pretty clear she’s not selling, and the publishers of “Islands” have just offered to return the rights of the book to me. Seems it sold a whole two copies in 2015.
Writing in support of a particular Weltanschauung, or world view, my books have not stuck to one theme and nor, indeed, do my works-in-putative-progress. To the heterosexual castaway Aphrodite, the Lady Susanna, elevated to the status of goddess, comes routine cunnilingus from male and female worshippers, and endless intimacy with her lovely female acolytes and the man she ultimately marries. To the hetero Tom Carton, of “Islands” comes the affection of a co-castaway, a young, gay sailor, in a gentle touch of m/m, and an equally deep and profound affection for a liberated, black, female slave. MF/FF in the first, MMLite and MF in the second.
If my WIPP “Sword” novel comes to fruition it will be a historical action adventure, set in the early 1700s, with intimate MF and FF interaction, whilst that which I shall for now call merely “Angel” is a mid-19th century Victorian story with a fundamentally FF base.
So they don’t really hang together. Even if one of the few who had read “Aphrodite Overboard” were motivated by it to look for something else of mine, they would not necessarily look in the direction of “Islands”.
Where, then, from here? I could take the highly recommended Indie road, of course, but it’s a fact that I haven’t a snowball-in-Hell’s chance of being able to pay an editor or anyone else to write with me. And if I go it alone the fundamental facts remain the same. I have two novels which, given my own impostor syndrome, may not actually be that much good and which may, anyway, if various kind folks who have referred to them as ‘literary’ are correct may be too literary for the bulk of an audience which – according to one of my publishers – is quite content to settle routinely for work she describes as ‘sub literate’.
It doesn’t matter that my Weltanschauung is Feminist, pro-LGBT, pro sex, pro intimacy, pro kindness and all the rest.
So, is there really any point?
Strange Zander, alone, has never failed her. No lies, no excuses – only unfailing sweetness. No hint of another, no wayward glance, only compliments and kindness. Every day he worships her.
Her thighs upon his fluttering shoulders, his face deep-buried in pink and scent, moisture of tongue and pussy commingling, consuming fire dances, electric, in her loins.
Suffused and writhing, she begs him fill her, weeps come and joy and, coming, cries aloud:
“Zander! You are a fucking angel!”
As she sleeps, fulfilled, complete, the stars that once were him filter skyward, dust-motes in reverse, from her Heaven to his own.
by R V Raiment
Copyright 2004, Richard V Raiment
Not a young man, I noticed long, long ago that positive female role models were few and far between. Somehow I was exposed early to certain macho prejudices and learned to despise them, rapidly growing in the conviction that anything a man could do a woman could do – if she chose to – no less effectively. I decided that if I ever got to write, the females in my stories would be those I would want my daughter to read about.
I tried a children’s book which, in its draft form, a great many older female readers thoroughly enjoyed, but it was of a kind – my prospective publisher told me – that people no longer bought except as picture books, but it was in writing erotica that I seemed to find my real opportunity. I am wondering, still, if I haven’t taken some steps in the wrong direction.
The character Susanna, in my first novel, ‘Aphrodite Overboard’, set in the late 18th Century, describes her ‘assets’ as “a body barely twenty-one years of age and of comely proportions very appropriate to the latest fashions come from France”. She is blonde, has a blonde haired ‘quim’, and from the illustrations on the covers of the paperback and later ebook editions is clearly slender and lovely. I am not sure, now, how much I wrote her ‘slender’, how much it is assumed from other things in the text and how much it derives from our conventions as to how sexy heroines should look.
Zuri, the girl who will turn up in my second novel, ‘Islands’, due for imminent release, is black and African, is described by a male observer in the following words: “Even so one could tell even then that this was a girl who was normally plump and rounded and that her face, if not beautiful, was really quite pretty.”
Susanna and Zuri are strong, capable, courageous and intelligent women and, in their particular ways, sexually liberated women – the one because she’s given the opportunity to escape the conventions of her time, the other because those conventions have never been inflicted upon her.
I am not sure, at all, that I have managed in my writing to avoid following the conventional ideas of ‘beauty’ and ‘prettiness’ which Charlotte Bronte found troublesome so long ago, encouraging her to write ‘Jane Eyre’. I am not sure that I have not added to the conventional perceptions which currently drive girls and women to painful extremes in their attempts to emulate them.
What I would like to know – from women, for whom I principally write – is what their own ideal heroines would look like?