Sunday, April 14, 2013

Precious Moments of Perfect Beauty

I was reminded this morning, while browsing through Facebook posts, of something special I discovered many years ago, courtesy of a favorite writer - J. Michael Straczynski.  I'm a huge fan of Babylon 5, but it's been a while since I treated myself to a marathon session. I'd forgotten one of my favorite scenes  - "A Moment of Perfect Beauty".

I won't go into the setup, it would take too long and unless you're a fan, it wouldn't really make sense even then. But the concept, moments in our lives that possess that perfect beauty, stayed with me. I began to amass some of my own - and I invite you to do the same.

What is it? It will be different for each of us because it is, to me anyway, intensely personal. It is a tiny slice of time, during which something, someone, somewhere, some image, scent or sound...whatever... that something slips past the everyday existence we accept as normal. It burrows into our brains, and for those few moments it swells our soul and shrinks our ego. We become aware of our place in the cosmos, how we fit into life. For a second or two, we are part of something so massive it should overpower us, but it doesn't. It brings joy with that realization, the pleasure of just "being"... linked invisibly to something safe and immortal.

None of this makes sense unless you've experienced a moment of your own. And perhaps you have. That moment on vacation when you finally realize you're relaxed. Or that instant when you realize the only thing you can hear is the rain against the windows and your own heartbeat. For many of us, holding our children while they sleep is a perfect moment. Or simply sinking into a favorite chair and closing our eyes. It's nothing huge, but its impact can be enormous.

For me - I have several moments of perfect beauty. One poignant one I enjoy again and again is of sitting on my couch years ago, one spring morning. The windows were open, the wisteria outside was in full bloom, the sun was warm and my dog lay next to me, her head on my leg, sound asleep. I was running my fingers over her silky ear, my eyes closed, surrounded by the scent of my flowers and listening to birds sing as the breeze rustled through the tree over my driveway. For those few moments there were no cars, or other noises. It was just a few seconds...but there it was. Imprinted on my soul forever. My darling pup has gone on, I no longer have that couch or live in that house. I won't see or smell the wisteria this year. But I have that moment of perfect beauty to sustain me. And I'll hold onto it forever.

I have others. Personal ones I won't share. I do love the ocean, so being there at sunrise, on the East coast? Wow. Yeah. The chill of night being chased away by the colors of dawn. Truly amazing. Much better, IMHO, than sunset.

(Chatham, on Cape Cod, Massachusetts)
And I'm dotting this blog with images that are beautiful. Because perfect beauty in this instance isn't about makeup or poses or supermodels. It's about what hits you someplace where you're not expecting it. Where you suck in a breath of surprise or lose it completely. When your day sucks and yet there it is...the urge to smile and cuddle a kitten. Those can be moments of perfect beauty. I'm sure there are lots of fancy phrases within the field of psychology for this phenomenon. Maybe it's a form of meditation, or self-hypnosis. Escape? Absolutely. All I can say is that recently I've found myself very glad to have my own moments. Stress is always there, but so are those tiny seconds when I just AM. 

They've kept me going, helped me through many a take off and landing (not a great flier, I'll confess) and sometimes at the end of those days you think will go on for ever, they've helped me drift off into much-needed rest.

So I invite you to explore the idea if you haven't already. And if you have, please go away from your computer now, find yourself a favorite spot - and enjoy your own Moment of Perfect Beauty.


(I found these images on Google, so I hope I'm not violating anyone's copyright. If I am, please let me know and I'll remove them.)

(And in case you're REALLY curious about the Babylon 5 scene that started all this for me, here it is. Just go with it.)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mommy Porn - Redux

From the desk of a writer who did NOT hang naked from a chandelier last night after doing tequila body shots with the defensive line of the New England Patriots. Sorry.

My last blog was a rant about the pervasively stinking odor many continue to attach to the genre of books known formally as Erotic Romance. NOT, as I pointed out at length, Mommy Porn.  However, after reading comments, browsing discussions and wandering through the social media, I've realized that it's time to administer a polite bitch-slap to the other side of the aisle.  No, not the Republicans, although God knows they need it sometimes... this bitch-slap goes out to some of my peers. Read on and see why I might well be about to piss off a few people.

We loudly denounce the title of "Mommy Porn". And there are many sound reasons already mentioned for doing so. But in the midst of our emphatic protests, what do we continually see? A number of erotic romance writers publicizing and promoting their work by offering up salacious details about their own sex lives. By thrusting naked penises into our Facebook feeds (over coffee? Puhleeze. I check FB in the morning. I prefer a spoon in my coffee, thanks.) and by rehashing every little slurp, squeak and squish they experienced last night in bed.

I know I write fiction. If I talk about having twenty-seven orgasms in a row, most folks will raise an eyebrow and give me the "oh really? Yeah, sure, Sahara's yucking it up again" look. Rightfully so.  But what do people think of the author who discusses the intimate details of her sex life? The writer who apparently modeled her hero after her man, a gentleman possessed of assets that might well incur envy from an Arabian Stallion? Or the author who complains about male pubic hair getting caught in her teeth? That little gem being presented after delivering an intimate description of the oral sex she gave her husband the night before.

These are not meant to be humorous anecdotes - at least if they were, here's a hint. Epic fail, guys. I'm a private person by nature, and I tend to believe that what happens in the bedroom should damn well stay there. That's just me. If it WAS just me, you wouldn't be reading this blog because I don't really care what the hell you do in bed. BUT...and here's the big one... let's think about this situation from a new perspective.

Suppose you've never read an erotic romance. Suppose you're curious and you happen across an author who promotes herself as an erotic romance author. You check out her blog, her Facebook page and her website. And what on earth do you find?  You find pages of descriptions of her sex life and more than a few photos of nude guys who bear little resemblance to anyone you've ever met. Excerpts from her work that feature endless f**king. Apparently she and her heroine have a lot in common.

So you, the naively curious reader, are now gathering an impression here, from this writer's on-line promotion of herself and her work. And what impression do you think that is? Yeah. Oh GOD. This woman writes nothing but sex. She has nothing but sex. She wants to teach me how to suck off my husband and show me penises that aren't anything like his. Urp! do the math. Doesn't that kinda sound like porn to you? Especially if you're like the majority of regular folks, and only have a slight passing acquaintance with actual porn...if that!

I thought back to Lora Leigh's Reader Appreciation Weekend in Pittsburgh last fall. There were a couple of "incidents" involving an obviously conservative group which was meeting at the same hotel. It's not an unusual situation and many of us have come across it one time or another.  In this case, a woman with two children wouldn't enter an elevator with some of the authors. Her words to her kids were something along the lines of "Don't look at those women. They write filth." [Hearsay. I wasn't there at the time, thank heavens.]

It was very nasty, rude and inexcusable. But let's step back and put this comment next to the points made above. Has this woman ONLY seen the sex-crazed postings? Has she accidentally found the comments about how one erotic romance author can come from just having her nipples gnawed? Or her neck bitten while she's getting it up the ass? (Fictional comments, folks. But not that far off ones I've read myself, sadly!)

I will never understand people with such biases, but I am coming to realize that there might just be some excuse for their opinions. And some of US are perhaps a little bit responsible for fostering that dreaded "Mommy Porn" label. Does this make me a Victorian prude? Maybe. <shrug> Call me whatever you like, but I will not surrender my privacy, the details of my sex life, or get into any kind of intimately sexual discussion online. If you've got a new way of making a guy come, good for you. But keep it in places that are restricted. Not just by a "click if you're over 18" but by password protection. These days, it's not that difficult.

We are, first and foremost, writers. I plot, I plan, I craft my characters and my story with every bit of skill I have. As do most of my peers in this industry. We're proud of what we produce. But at the end of the day, I am still just a writer. I'm not a Sex Goddess, an expert on the forty-three variations of navel nibbling, or a woman with an entourage of well-hung pool-boys ready to satisfy my every whim. (Whim number one? Wash my car, FFS.) See? An ordinary woman. Pretending I'm not doesn't get me anywhere I want to be. Writing the best book I can and having fun with promoting it does. I wish those writers who apparently want folks to believe they LIVE their work would just CUT IT OUT!!!!

Thank you!!  And truly, no offense intended. Just my two cents...


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