Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sex Sellout

A billionaire dinosaur forced a strapping young man with oiled pectorals to become gay, and as a side effect I have decided to become a best-selling author of adverb-laden erotica.

 I love it when the page beckons, but it doesn’t happen often enough to make me a millionaire. My hope is that this has more to do with commitment than talent, and that the more I sit myself down in front of the writing machine, the more material (and therefore money) I will produce. The trouble is, however, that I write about things that strike me, topics that mean something, and moments that should matter as much to the world as they do to me, but don’t.

I must be as out of touch as my children sometimes think I am. Not only do I like corduroys and listen to singer songwriters that can write and sing and play music without auto-tuning, I can't tell you whether a yellow circle emoticon with closed eyes and tears denotes laughing or crying. But worse than all of that, I am also clueless about what matters to the world, and what people living in it want to read. The human condition has in fact, nothing to do with family struggles, personal insecurities, falling in love, winning or losing at life, and toilet paper. No, it’s all about shallow, musky, animalistic rutting...and that’s what sells books.

Hunter Fox learned this while still at UCLA, and has self-published more than fifty novels based on the concept of dinosaurs, unicorns, and just about every character you might find in Tolkien, turning men gay. His titles read like something out of Mad Magazine in the eighties, if Mad Magazine in the eighties had been as dirty as every boy that read it had wanted it to be, and if every boy that read it had wanted to be turned gay by mythical creatures. There’s even a saber-toothed tiger (not mythical) thrown onto the title pile for good measure, while my favorite title includes an alien hound, whatever that might be.

I checked the Amazon rankings for Mr. Fox’s books, and while the Amazon ranking system is not a clear indicator of sales and income, there is no doubt that this guy is making money at this. Sure, the titles are funny and bizarre, and if you belonged to a fraternity (shudder) or were homophobic (shudder) you might give one to a buddy as a “joke” gift, but does anyone read these books all the way through, and without laughing?

No, I can’t go out tonight, guys, I just downloaded “Dark Pegasus Made Me Gay” to my Kindle, and I can’t wait to snuggle up in front of the fire with a cup of cocoa and get started on it!

And lest anyone that is straight think that their attraction to the opposite sex affords them a lofty look down their nose at the smut preferred by some LGBT readers, I’ll mention Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight, anything written by Danielle Steel, and the complete Harlequin Romance collection. All of them relative smut when it comes down to it, all of them laden with adverbs and descriptors that can’t be read without imagining heavy breathing and the popping of bodice buttons, all of them selling millions of copies. And those are just a few of the mainstream mentionables; many authors have made small fortunes by churning out series of formulaic filth that no one has heard of, or at least will admit to hearing of.

A bad day of writing at home beats a good day inside the corporate grist mill, and while I would be happy just making a comfortable, anonymous living by writing, I can admit that a part of me would not reject a sellout opportunity to become an international sensation, churning entire forests into pulp and putting endangered owls into owl retirement homes. I sometimes wonder, however, can that happen writing short stories about moments that matter? Should I sex up the telling of my best friend and me boiling our own urine on his mother’s kitchen stove to make gunpowder, just to land on the bestseller list and extricate myself from corporate America for good? Maybe some sexually frustrated neighbor girls stopped by to borrow the very pot we pissed into, and maybe the oven glove that I used to pull the pot of the stove caught fire, and the girls ripped off their shirts in order to smother the flames and save my life, and in doing so they ignited the lusty pressure keg of passion trembling within a sinewy, pale-skinned, virginal teenage boy.

It could have happened that way. No wait, it did happen that way, I swear...

Elizabeth and I joke about me becoming an erotica writer all the time. We imagine book titles, all of them weighted with innuendo and vice, taboo titles that suggest sensual struggles between wealth and poverty, daring and innocence, pleasure and pain. These titles lead to a discussion of racy cover photos, glossy images of men with naked, oiled, capable chests taking tragic women with bulging breasts and desperate eyes into their arms for lessons in lust while holding uncomfortable, even physically impossible poses sure to bring about deep vein thrombosis.

And I know what I'm talking about; I used to spend hours hiding in my aunt's basement thumbing through her romance novel collection, drinking in lusty covers, wondering at racy titles, and reading about heated embraces and throbbing passions. All of it made me feel funny inside, but I didn't completely understand why.

Well I understand now, and I think it's time to cash in on that realization.

Of course, in order to write erotica, I will need to choose an appropriate pseudonym, something like Dick Foxhunter or Richard Stonewood. Being a righteous family man that has never once let a lustful thought linger, and has worked for years to earn an untarnished reputation for knightly valor and virtuous gallantry, I would not want to risk the public knowing that I earn my stacks writing such filthy books.

Especially those members of the public that are my friends and family, more specifically the ones who would secretly not only read my dirty books, but also dog-ear their favorite pages.

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