The third thing I try to do, with my writing

The third thing is: clarity. 

Sex can be rough and tumble, with one person on top then the other, with their arms and legs entangled. That’s good when that happens, and sometimes you’re too busy feeling and doing to really keep track.

But as a writer, keeping track is your job. You have to know where your people are, and write it realistically and clearly. For example, if your characters are having rear-entry sex, the man cannot kiss his lover’s eyes. At best he can kiss one of her eyes, but you should mention, first, that she has turned her head. He will have to lean right down to manage it. 

If either of them has a tool in their hand, whether it’s a vibrator or a cane, it should be where it must be. If it’s in his hand, and the writer hasn’t mentioned him putting it down, then it’s still in his hand. If he has put it down to stroke his lover, then he has to pick it up again before he can use it. 

And the writer has to record that. And so on. 

I once read a book in which the hero has sex with the heroine at last. In the morning, the writer told me, he woke up naked, his withered hand resting on his thigh. So I leafed all the way back to the beginning, to see if he had a disfigurement to his hand. It turned out that the writer meant that his cock and balls, resting on his thigh, looked a little like a withered hand. Well, I thought, if you say so.

People often get metaphorical when writing about sex: waves crash, fires light, and trains even go into tunnels. Most of the best known metaphors are dead, really. Overuse has killed them, and they communicate a writer’s lazy boredom rather than sexual intensity. 

My preference is for saying what’s happening, in direct language that tells about the state and the action of penises, vulvas and mouths.

A note on metaphors and similes

Only after I’ve done that will I try to think of a good metaphor. Part of a metaphor being a good one is that it shouldn’t have been worked to death by other writers. The other part is that it should make sense, and communicate something specific to the reader.

For example, I once said a masturbating woman’s orgasm noise seemed “high and lonely, like a seagull’s cry.” Almost everyone knows what a seagull cry sounds like, so the simile communicates something about how it sounded, and also something about her emotional state.

Another kind of orgasm could be said to be like the sound a cat makes if someone rides a bike over its tail. That is arguably an accurate simile, for some orgasm sounds, but it’s a bad one because its too outlandish, too far removed from a sexual context.

Metaphorts and similes should be accurate, appropriate to the emotion of the situation, and not too outlandish, or too commonly used.

 

The fourth thing I try to achieve is… humanity.

 

The second thing Jerusalem Mortimer likes in his writing

The second thing I like when I achieve it in my writing, and try to achieve is: “no inflatable darlings”.

2. No inflatable darlings

An inflatable darling is a character who doesn’t have needs and drives and desires, except perhaps for the desire to please the protagonist. She – it’s usually “she”, though some people write male characters in the same hollow vein – has nothing inside. No doubts, no worries, no insecurities, only lust. So the hero, Tex Turisedmeattube, says to his lover, “We’re going to have a threesome with Mona next door.” 

“Goody,” she cries, clapping her little hands in glee, “I love threesomes.”

So, as it happens, does Mona, who has been sitting at home, crocheting sleeping bags for mice, and waiting to be asked. For ages.

When the threesome happens they are jolly and jovial throughout.

In fact, they’re more committed to Tex’s pleasure than their own. Despite that, they both come noisily and often. Out of the blue, really. 

But I’m going to come back to one of my stories soon. I broke it off just as the threesome was about to happen. And at the time I just found it too hard to write.

There’s a man and two women, each of whom have their own desires and fantasies, and their own fears. He’s afraid of hurting his regular partner, or their guest. He’s afraid he won’t be able to keep them entertained. He’s worried about seeming selfish, or bossy in the wrong way.

One woman is worried about her body, and worries that the man will prefer the other woman. She’s worried about the other woman, and just how far she’s supposed to go with her, because she’s a little bi-curious but she’s basically straight.

The other woman is worried that she’ll cause trouble between the principal couple.

Perhaps she actually prefers the other woman, and is putting up with her mixed feelings about the man because the encounter will only happen if he’s present. 

And so on. There are three agenda. They’re all trying their best to please the other two, and to be decent, and to give pleasure and receive it.

But it’s complicated, because they’re real people. Erotic writing is still a kind of literature, and it should capture some of that complexity. In fact the more it does the realer it is, and the realer it is, the more more sexually powerful it is. 

Even when one of the characters is submitting, and dedicating themselves to serving the other’s pleasure, that person is still a person, and there are reasons why he or she chose their submission, and there’s usually a history to the pleasures they take from it. 

 

So, when I’m writing, I try to make sure I know what each character is wanting and thinking. Even if I don’t say all of it, there should be enough to make it clear to the reader than these people are real, feeling, wanting and alive. 

 

The third thing I aim for, and like when I get it, is clarity. So I’ll talk about that next week.

 

Jerusalem Mortimer is an erotic writer, and here’s the first thing he likes about his writing

There are three things I value in erotic writing, and I try to keep them in sight as goals, and work to achieve them. 

1. Details

There’s a sort of proverb among classical music conductors, “If you want a piece of music to sound faster, play it slower.” 

The proverb means that classical music orchestral scores, if they’re worth playing at all, are full of little details that are passed over, undetectable, when you play it quickly, but that emerge and become part of the line, a more ornate line, if the music is played slow enough for the details to emerge.

Erotica is like classical music, if it’s any good, too. It moves slowly, and in detail. In one example, I wrote about a man and woman meeting in a kitchen, where he intends to interview her about a violent gang she once belonged too. They realise that they are sexually interested in each other, and that they are both kinky in complementary ways. At that stage they know that eventually they’re going to go upstairs to her bedroom. 

But they spend at least 100 pages in the kitchen, discovering each other, slowly getting more and more excited, before they finally leave that room. 

That’s because I’m interested in the erotic details of his and her reactions to the other, and the decisions that they have to make before they are committed to do something. By then they know that if they act on their desire it’s going to change both of their lives. 

For example, at one moment she puts her jersey over his head – she’s wearing nothing underneath it – and he admires her breasts, of course, but he also becomes fascinated by the pattern made by the sunlight shining through the weave and dappling her skin.

Erotic writing is a kind of poetry. The words should carry more than their usual weight of meaning. At the same time, of course, it should never sound “poetic”. You try for the art that conceals art, but reveals truth. And hotness. Well, I don’t know what you do. I mean, “I try.” 

 

The second thing I like about my best erotic writing, and that I always aim for, is “no inflatable darlings”. I’ll talk about what I mean by that, this time next week.  

Portrait of the author

 

I said I’d get rid of this picture, which I put up for temporary reasons. It was for some computer technology that would guess your parents (on the assumption that your parent were famous). So they checked out this pic, and their program said that I was the love-child of John Lennon and Christina Hendricks.

That seemed unreasonably flattering, but then that sort of program is intended to be flattering.

But actually that’d be bad news for me, since I can’t play guitar, so me and Dad wouldn’t have that thing in common. And Mum: well, I’d keep trying to shag her, if she’s Christina Hendricks. So it’d only lead to trouble.

Also, this is one of the last free images I’ll post on this blog, though I’ll continue with Sinful Sunday.

But I’m going to need to make this site more commercial soon. It goes against my grain, but it’s costing me money, this site. When actually I need to be making money, if I’m to pay the gas, electricity and rates.

I just need someone to do some software work for me, and then there will be books for sale and much else. Watch the hell out of this space!

 

Food for Thought Friday: The road not taken

I don’t like saying this, because it’s so unlikeable, but I am scarily intelligent. When I was 11, I was top of the school at Maths by a sufficiently terrifying margin, I’d read all of the surviving dialogues of Plato, and the books attributed to Aristotle, and I’d worked my way through Principia Mathematica and found the joke at theorem 110.643. I’d read more English literature than my English Lit teacher. I’d decided that I was going to be either a poet or a philosopher.

But the girls around weren’t exactly interested in any of that. And I realised, looking at the underside of Debbie Brown’s thigh when she crossed her legs, that I was really, intensely, focussedly interested in girls. So I tried to talk to them more and make friends. And I hoped I’d get a girlfriend, and we could kiss and hug and stuff.   Maybe I could stroke her thighs. 

But I had no small talk at all. I only knew how to talk seriously about big topics. I didn’t watch TV, and barely knew anything about pop music, except that the Beatles had been good, and kind of unusual. I was a Beethoven, Mozart and Wagner guy. I couldn’t dance.  

So I bought a stack of albums so I knew Bowie from Beck, and both from a hole in the ground. I bought some magazines that talked about people on TV as if they were real people, and studied them. I learned to gossip. I had my hair plaited. I learned to say mildly amusing things, without trying to be Oscar Wilde.

It took about a year, because the girls at my school remembered the little professor, and he wasn’t boyfriend material. Also, I still couldn’t manage to pretend interest in sports or belief in any religion, and I sometimes let it slip that I thought both were boring and stupid.

So my first girlfriend was a new girl, who’d just transferred from another school. I made some missteps, like taking her to a film society screening, but next time we went to the beach. And she, bless her soul, taught me to kiss, which was a head-spinning sexual revelation.

And she taught me how to be interested in everything she thought and felt. So I was 13, with a girlfriend.

I should say that it’s not that I thought girls were dumber than me. It was that my IQ was off the charts. At that school, everyone was dumber than me. But I didn’t care about the guys. I know that saying so is not very likeable. 

So I had transformed myself from an intellectual who was never going to get laid, or at least not for years, into some sort of would-be hipster, who was obviously faking it but who could usually more or less pass. There were rewards, obviously. Sexual desire has always been the most important motivation in my life, and the new version of me, the new guy, got laid.

But there were costs, too. I had to hide, or at least tuck away, quite a lot of who I was and what interested me. At university I had a lot of wonderful sexual adventures, but not marks that identified me as all that smart. 

I don’t think I regret the self-transformation. But who knows what would have happened if I hadn’t done it?

I think I’d have spiralled further away from people, becoming more and more eccentric. And maybe become famous for solving some abstruse intellectual problem. I can’t imagine which one, now. I’m not that man. 

 

Mild discouragement: A personal note

I’ve been working quite hard to get literary agent representation for two novels. There’re non-erotic novels, of all things, and they’re not written by Jerusalem Mortimer. Or they are, but under another name. 

You know what?
Hang In There Cat can fuck right off

I have sent them to about forty agents now. The pitch is pretty good, I think. And when I check them, even in discouragement, I have to admit that they’re good books. Beta readers have likewise liked them. They’re funny, scary, sexy, dark novels, the kind I like reading.

Still, I’m getting no love. 

Many literary agents don’t even write back. A writer just has to assume, after hearing nothing for three to four months, that that agent must have rejected their books.

I must admit that the level of disrespect that comes with not even bothering to fire off a standard rejection notice just amazes me.

It’s a kind of arrogant, lazy contempt that makes me wonder why those agents are even in a business that has anything remotely to do with books. 

So… I’m still plugging away. I’m writing a third non-erotic novel right now. But just at this moment, a certain amount of joy and hope has run out, like sand out of a toy octopus. I will send the sample chapter, pitch and synopsis off to a new agent today. 

But right now, my life is not joyous or triumphant. It’s an endurance event. 

India!

What I find particularly lovely, and particularly Indian, about this work of art, one of hundreds on the walls on the temples at Khajuraho, is the expression of happiness and pleasure on the elephant’s face. He just happened to find these two people, a woman and a priest of Shiva, I think, taking pleasure with each other. Their happiness made him happy too. 

Dante talked of the love that moved the stars and the worlds in their orbit. But I always found that thin and inadequate because he meant “divine” love, or humans wasting love on an imaginary and rather nasty entity. 

In this Indian world-view, love is between living things, where it belongs, and it unites all species and all people and all the world. 

Dawn breaks over the Ganges.

(I got up at 5.30AM to get this photo, which is not my favourite time of day, but I’m so very, very glad I did it. It was magical.)

It got even more magical a few seconds later, when the dawn was greeted with bells and chanting from this side of the river. It was other-worldly, an utterly different world. 

I can’t pretend I didn’t notice that Indian women are beautiful. I didn’t take many pictures because of consent issues, but I asked these girls if I could, since they were sharing my Ganges boat with me. 

They’re just women, I know. Not supermodels. But they affected me enough that when I took this photo I paid them a gauche compliment (“this is the most beautiful photo I’ve taken in India”) and then felt stupid immediately after. So they were good-looking enough enough to make me feel like an idiot of about 18, all over again. 

India! Yes, I’m going back.

Happy anniversary to this blog!

This blog began on 1 March 2012. It will soon be coming up to its seventh anniversary. 

Primitive style in 1,000,000 BC. Or so Hammer Films claimed, in 1967.

What have I learned in all that time? I think I’m a better writer. I’m certainly better at fixing up typos. Blogging has helped me, by imposing the discipline of writing every second day, that has to be ready for an audience whether I want to be ready or not.

Though I write all the time anyway. I’m currently finishing a novel, and as soon as that’s done I’ll be working on the next one. But there I have the luxury of polishing and revising, over and over, before anyone else gets to see it. 

Today, however, I’m working hard on making money before I go to Eroticon and India – partly because I need to, to pay for that trip. I’m going to have to keep today’s post pretty short. So I’m going to run the picture – Raquel Welch in a fur bikini – that I used in that very first post on this blog, back in 2012. 

That first post began with these immortal words: 

People always talk about the opening sentence of a novel, but no-one ever reads the first sentence of a blog.

My book about bdsm opens with: “About twenty-one thousand years ago a tribe crunched across white grass in the frozen landscape that is now Russia.”

I do like that first sentence. You may recognise the rhythm of it, which I stole from Jane Austen. 

Anyway, I’m going to spend time over the next few weeks, celebrating this blog, and pointing out some highlights, and taking you behind the scenes in its production. Seven years, eh? Who’d have thought? Well, not me, that’s for sure. Not on 1 March 2012.

Invasion Day in Australia

I live on land stolen from the Darug and Gundungurra Nations. 

I hope Australia confronts its past soon and comes to a treaty with the Aboriginal nations.

That treaty, I know, won’t involve full restitution, the “give it back” option. But it will involve political recognition of Aboriginal voices.

Not “the Aboriginal voice”, since the Aboriginal nations, and the Aboriginal people who are not associated with a nation, are as far as you can get from being a monoculture. 

It’ll involve recognition of certain traditional hunting and gathering rights. And so on. And serious, non-bullshit government-driven moves to reduce the differences in education, health, imprisonment rates and life expectancy.

Do you know that the average lifespan of an Aboriginal Australian is 15 years less than for a non-Aboriginal Australian?

That’s why an Aboriginal Australian can claim the Age Pension from 50, while for non-Aboriginal Australians the age is 66. Ask the average Australian why that is, in a pub, and they’ll probably say it’s because those fucking Abos get all the perks, and so on. 

Anyway, Australia hasn’t even started its first step. In a way, Australia has been very lucky in its image, with its beaches and maybe the GLBTQ Mardi Gras makes the place look more inclusive than it really is.

I remember the horror with which the rest of the world viewed Apartheid-era South Africa. If people looked Australia with a cold eye, they’d think, Fuck, that’s horrifying: some of the conditions here are worse than the apartheid era. I’ve been through places in Australia that looked a lot worse than photos I’ve seen of apartheid-era Soweto.

I’m not an expert. I just know that a nearby country, New Zealand, sorted this out in 1840, with Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi. Which was imperfect in many ways, but it was a crucial start. As a living document it’s being developed all the time to fit with the modern world, and post-colonial ideas of justice.

When the day comes, and there’s some sort of treaty with Aboriginal support, I’ll be proud to become an Australian citizen. 

Until then I can’t join “Team Australia”. It’s just a conscience thing.

I’d like to think that improvement will come when the current racist, incompetent, corrupt shambles currently in government in Australia gets the arse. Which will happen as soon as they have an election, and they can’t put that off much longer.

But the hopes I have for Labor are very, very low and muted. 

Anyway, nobody in their right mind cares whether I join Team Australia or not, I know. It’s just me.

Still… shout out to anyone else in the same position. And muted hopes for a less racist Australia after the election.

Fitness, fucking and domming

Right now, I’m the most unfit I’ve ever been in my life. 

This is a very bad thing. I’m used to being thought of as good-looking, and what I see in the mirror at the moment is not that. I see a man, probably with a nice enough face, with a gut on him. 

I have a feeling that this is worse for doms than for most men. There seems to be two competing factors:

1 Women are, by and large, more forgiving of not-great male bodies than men are of women. But – 

2 A dom is expected to have his act together. If he can’t discipline himself, how can he claim the right to rule and discipline someone else? 

Because of Rule 1, I’ve seen a lot of men in pubs, trying to pick up women and often succeeding. The men are beer-gutted hoons, or bogans.

These are New Zealand and Australian terms, but I don’t think I need to translate them. They’re onomatopoeia.

The girls are fragrant, pretty flowers ranging between elfin-slender and pretty-girly-plumpness.But Rule 1` empowers the men to at least try it on. 

The disparity in attractiveness doesn’t seem to do the men much harm. 

I think it matters more for doms. I’ve heard women submissive complain about soft-bellied doms, and… at the moment that’s me.

I played Saturday morning footy in the park today. It was a hell of a shock to the system, because everybody was fitter than me. But I am a proud man, so I pushed myself and tackled people, and tried for goals, and so on. I think I scored one. Everybody else did better. 

Then I went home and gasped for an hour before I could rouse myself to have a shower.

Anyway, I’m reducing my stomach.

When a woman is across my knee, the only fleshly thing around should be her ass.