[...a] thoughtful, highly literate and very smutty piece of writing, with[...] no monogamous ending; no ultimate sorting [of characters into happy coupledom]; no cozy, well-protected final retreat back behind the gates of Pemberley. And yet (I hope) no loose ends either[.... A] way of bringing together all the stuff I’ve been meditating on during my loopy journey from erotica to romance and now, perhaps, back.
A collaboration, as I see it, between Pam Rosenthal and Molly Weatherfield target="_blank" -- an exploration of mean(ing)s and end(ing)s, where we get to play close to the edge of the provocative margin between romantic and (if we must call it that) erotic (with a wink and a nod, here, to Celia May Hart and her funny recent post at this blog).
Is my collaborative idea saleable? I have no idea. I'm not far enough into it yet, and I'm not even going to try to shop it around to publishers until I know more about the shape it will take. So I'd be grateful for your comments about the distinctions between romance and that other thing -- and what role ultimate monogamy and the marriage ending plays in all of this.
And if you're interested in the topic, you might also want to go over to Tracy Grant's blog post about the popularity of courtesan themes in recent romance novels, which I think is related to this issue. What does the widespread recent interest in erotically experienced heroines tell us? Does it widen romance fiction's purview or does it ultimately domesticate the question of erotic experience? Also and always germane is anything our own Jane Lockwood has had to say on erotic pairings and happy endings (or not) in in Forbidden Shores. (What's a good post you did on this, Jane, from the vast archives of your web-hopping?)
Other examples from the huge mess o' online discussion would be appreciated as well... Links to other readers' and writers' cherished beliefs, prejudices, and finely (or even not-so-finely) drawn distinctions are all good. Monica McCarty's opinionated post about Romance and the One True Love a few months ago at the Fog City Diva blog is a great example of taking a position (not my position, but an enduring one), and stating it with impressive clarity.
Let me know what you think, if you've got a mind to.
And meanwhile, here are some closer-to-home messages from the material world.
- Sending my thanks first of all to Lacy, whose post on dildos a while back has evidently been inspiring some action in my back brain, to surface in the scene I'm writing right now in the new collaborative project (I'm stealing one of her fabulous illustrations, but there are more where that came from).
- And adding an update from my own real life and times. Because the little anniversary present my husband bought me at Good Vibrations last autumn (when I read there with Lacy, Eden Bradley, and Lillian Feisty) turned out to be of shoddy workmanship. No, I'm not going to tell you what he bought me, but I will say that -- for my birthday this month -- he replaced the shoddy original with a terrific little number from the Xandria Collection online. And that at least from our experience, Xandria seems like a pretty excellent site. Have you used it? Anybody else have some consumer info to share?
- And... oh, this old illustration? Well, some of you may know a certain sex toy scene from Safe Word. And some of you may not. I may post the scene on my website when I have time for that, but it's not there now, so you just may have to employ some lateral thinking to guess (though I couldn't have). I will tell you that it does work: unlike some of the more farouche stuff in my erotic books, I tried this one at home -- and so did a happy reader. It's subtle, though. You might just have to read my Molly Weatherfield books...
Happy consuming, everyone (the inner nerd insists that I tell you that the word "economics" comes from the Greek for "household"). And happy theorizing . And do tell me what you think about the erotics (or not) of the marriage ending.