I read Susie Bright’s Three The Hard Way (Susie presented the three novellas, which were written by different people)… and I was a little surprised that this is considered “erotica.”
I mean, yes, there was sex and a lot of it, but the stories didn’t seem designed to titillate the reader. In fact, the first novella, “The Motion of the Ocean,” was rather gross. None of the sex scenes were arousing; they were scary and sad and desperate and disgusting. But the novella itself was superbly well written and I felt bad when Collette’s story came to an end. I enjoyed it so much I’m going to check out more writing from Tsaurah Litzky.
The next two novellas were written by men… and I didn’t enjoy them as much as Litzky’s. “The Widow” by Greg Boyd had an interesting device ~ sort of a story within a story ~ that was kind of interesting, but the entire thing was a set-up to a predictable ending. Not that this is so terrible (it’s what I expected from erotica), but since I read Litzky’s first, I was hoping for more.
The last story, “Shadow of A Man” by William Harrison, was too political and erratic for me. I wanted to read about love and sex and I got apartheid and death. Wha? OK, there was plenty of sex in there, too, but eh. I couldn’t really care about the main character enough to fully appreciate the story.
The takeaway though is this ~ erotica isn’t necessarily a bunch of mindless sex, as I had thought. There can be plenty of solid, meaty (sorry!) good storytelling along with the more salacious sections.
It’s bright, it’s light, it’s The bad cop, not The good one. I’m in A small stuffy room Without a lawyer, Without any water. Every mistake is on the table, Spread out like a deck Of jokers, Every one the death card. The questions bullet; I have no answers. Water comes, I remember medication Or meditation. End of Interrogation. Twilight begins. Welcome silence. Not black, Not a dog.
These empty, faceless days Pass in a nameless haze; A smorgasbord of news bites Leaves our minds eaten away. Should we be grateful or afraid? Tomorrow promises the same; Isolated from routines, We adapt to this new distance– Please stay six feet away. Flower children, pressed inside Our individual pages: We remain solitary, Confined, safe, waiting To be allowed to play Once again. To hold hands, To hug and dance! Will it ever be the same? I wonder what The history books will say About us.
Like a reprieve Comes the soft morning breeze; An unwrinkled sheet between us, Bisecting yet connecting Blazing dreams And cold quotidian chores. We’re given a chance once more To drift weightlessly, Aimlessly, In apricot-tinged hope On an undemanding tightrope. The thin glimmer of Love’s gold shimmer Becomes a carousel of birdsong In this rose-petaled dawn. Almost here, Almost there— We toss our hearts in the air, Suspended, Unrepentant. One last shuddering streak— Violet periwinkle pink— Soon dissipates In the bright eye of day.
I’ve been swimming alone For a long time… The water First too cold, Now sublime; I slide, I glide Through the darkness, Blind. My wounds smoothed over Are all on the inside. When I bump up against you, All buttery sleekness, There’s nothing to hold onto, No pain, No weakness. Two circling seekers Float on unmolested, Swallowed by the vastness, No point of connection. Bubbles of potential Drift along indifferent, While stars shine beyond This sea of solipsis.
“Bloom where you’re planted,” they told her. And she did. She adapted and persevered, thrived and blossomed. She was a country girl with the greenest thumb, but she could sparkle with the best of them under the city lights. She grew herbs on a tiny terrace in Queens while listening to Johnny Cash. She took a tract house and made it her own, with purple paint in the bedroom and a vegetable garden in back. And there were always flowers wherever she roamed. She gave bouquets of kindness to everyone she met.