I’m delighted to welcome Kyoko Church to my site today with this absolutely must read blog! How many of us out there in erotica writer world have struggled with revealing who we are. Even now- although I am ‘out there’ as Kay- I’m only half there; after all, Kay is not my real name… I’ll say no more- for Kyoko Church explains it all so much better…
Inside the Erotica Writer’s Closet
Erotica authors are generally like any other author, in my experience in the writing community. But there is one way they seem to be strikingly different. That is, authors fall into one of two categories: those who are out and those who are not.
By “out,” I mean writers like my beautiful host, Kay Jaybee, who proudly puts her photo next to her work to say this is me and this is what I write. By “not,” I mean writers like me, who are a little more timid about this whole writing sex thing, who remain anonymous behind pen names and book jackets with no head shots.
Accepting and embracing that I write about sex has been an almost twenty-five year journey. My beginning, fledgling sexy writings were to my first love at 16 years of age and in a moment that has lived in my mind as one of the most traumatic from my adolescence, my father found them and told me “You have gone from being the apple of my eye to someone I don’t want to know anymore.” As a girl who upheld her father as the be all and end all of unconditional love, I felt the trauma of those words echo through me for years to come. More recently I’ve only considered how that slut shaming experience affected my writing life, that is to say that I was terrified to write anything sexy for over a decade and a half after, and when I did and had it accepted for publication, I hid it like the dirty secret I had been trained to believe it was. I am beginning to realize though, that the implications of hiding what I write are more far reaching than just my career and indeed the shame has stretched out its bony fingers to touch the core of my life.
In the past two years, as I’ve worked harder at making a career out of writing, I have slowly looked to gain more acceptance of my genre, both from others and from myself. As I consider going more public, my final hesitation is around my children. We are new to Australia and to the community here, I am only beginning to meet people outside of my family, and I still feel I don’t have a handle on what the local reaction would be to an erotica writer. In the back of my mind I have wondered if going public could possibly generate a situation where, for example, my little girl would come to me and say, “Mama, Holly says her mommy won’t let her play at our house anymore because you write bad things.” Am I just being dramatic in imagining this scenario? Am I not giving my community enough credit? Is it wrong to want to protect my daughter from such a reaction? Or is it a chance for her to learn that sometimes people can be ignorant and cruel and we must have a thick skin and know and be proud of who we are regardless. That seems a pretty big lesson to learn at 8 years old, especially since I am still learning it at 40.
When the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomena happened last year, among the myriad of emotions and opinions I had about it, one of them was relief. Relief that a woman – a wife, a mother, a contributing member of society – who appeared to be “nice” and “normal” (whatever those things mean) could write a book that had some kinky, BDSM ideas in it and could by and large be met with acceptance on a world stage. Surely that has to be a step in the right direction towards sex positivity and even kink positivity. The more people see and understand that liking sex and liking kink is not deviant or bad or anything negative (okay, yes I realize Christian Grey’s traumatic childhood was used as the genesis of his kink and that’s not very kink positive – don’t even get me started!), the better it is for erotica writers and their careers, on a small scale, and for the general well-being of our sexual and emotional lives, on a larger one.
And then I ask myself, what am I doing to further that goal? Am I just going to sit back and let the EL Jameses, Kay Jaybees and Portia DaCostas of this world do the heavy lifting? By hiding in anonymity am I not just perpetuating the idea that what I do is shameful? Can I say I am sex and kink positive … from the safe little haven I have carved out for myself here in the closet?
Recently I have been working to put together a local reading event with Dymocks bookstore here in Adelaide called Sex In Words. It launches next week on June 25, 2013 and is similar to the In the Flesh event Suzanne Portnoy is organizing in the UK. Three authors will read sexy short stories or excerpts in front of an audience, of whom I will be one.
I have a huge fear of public speaking in general. Specifically, I have never read any of my erotica aloud to anyone. A part of me is terrified of the prospect. And I organized this event. I conceived of it, pushed for it, championed it. With all my reservations and fear, my gut is pushing me forward on this. My internal moral compass is making the decisions for me.
I’m not out there yet. But I’m headed that way. I’m trying to do it with strength, with passion, but with a little patience with myself as I wrap my head around the prospect.
And if anyone reading this happens to be in the Adelaide area on June 25th and fancies seeing a petrified little woman stand up in front of a crowd of people and say four letter words she’s never before said aloud for more than an audience of one, come on by! If you’re really nice, maybe you’ll offer me a drink. I’ll surely need it.
Find out more about Sex In Words, including where to RSVP, here.
Thanks Kyoko! I too struggle with public speaking- I go through nerve wracking hell before I do any reading event- and yet I always love them in the end! Good luck for 25th June!!!
Kyoko is a fantastic writer- here’s her bio, and a couple of her book covers to look out for-
Kyoko Church discovered the power of the written erotic word when she was 16 years old and penned a very explicit missive to her boyfriend detailing all the naughty things she wanted to do to him. When he received it, boyfriend was impressed. When he found it, father was not.
For the next 18 years she hid her naughty thoughts in shame, until she found a community where they were once again appreciated for the well-imagined smut they are. Her short stories have been published in anthologies by Black Lace, Xcite Books, Sweetmeats Press and HarperCollins Mischief Books. Book One, Nymphomania, and Book Two, Sapphic Secrets, in her Draper Estate Trilogy were published by Xcite in 2012. For Her Pleasure was published by Mischief in February 2013.
A Canuck by birth, she has recently made Australia her home. She is currently learning to drive on
the left and say G’day convincingly.
You can find out more about Kyoko’s work at-
Happy reading everyone!!