intense sensations

I surrender

Posted on: April 30, 2012

Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2)Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nora and I do not usually give each other expensive presents but I made an exception at Christmas when I bought her a Kindle. It was getting embarrassing because she kept borrowing mine and commenting on how much porn I was reading.

I asked her all through January and February, “Have you used your Kindle yet?”

“No, I’ve been too busy.”

“Too busy even for my shorter stories?”

“I haven’t figured out how to download any yet. What I want to read isn’t on the Kindle.”

She was reading the letters of the Mitford sisters. It was taking her an age. So in March I stopped asking. I never expected that in April she would go behind my back and figure out how to download Fifty Shades Darker. A paid version. Not like the free Fifty Shades of Grey I gave her.

“I hope you’re not becoming addicted to bad writing,” I told her.

“Is it bad writing?” she asked innocently.

“Susan Hill says so.”

“Who’s she?”

“She’s an English novelist. She says women who read it should be ashamed of themselves. It’s not just porn. It’s badly-written porn.”

“I don’t think anyone should feel ashamed. All women have desires. But the sex in this one isn’t arousing anymore.”

“What? You’ve grown tired of it already? You need something more hardcore now?”

“Well, it’s like in a horror film that starts off with a very scary image. But then you keep on seeing it and it stops being scary.”

“Isn’t it also because it’s badly written?”

“No, I don’t think it’s badly written. Well, I can’t judge. I can’t write English. I can’t write a sex scene. I can do it but I can’t write it. How do you write it without repeating any words?”

“But you’re still enjoying it?”

“I enjoyed the story. I wanted to know what happened.”

“Enjoyed? Have you finished it already?”

“I’m reading the next one now.”

“What!”

“I’m a very quick reader.”

“No you’re not. You were reading that Nancy Mitford book for months.”

“Well, this is different. It’s full of clichés but you want to know what happens next. Every chapter ends on a cliffhanger.”

“Oh no!”

“Don’t worry. I’ll read another of your stories eventually.”

I ran straight to my room, fell onto my bed, shoes and all, and howled. I curled up, desperately clutching my black silk blindfold, and surrendered myself to my grief.

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4 Responses to "I surrender"

Well, nothing sells like porn or military hardware. In my other life I’m an illustrated book publisher and I refuse to go the porn or military route. That’s why we don’t have any money. I’m not sure that spiritual health pays the bills but I guess it counts for something, somewhere…

I don’t think porn does necessarily sell. I have read some very fine erotic works which sell in very low numbers, if at all. If you go downmarket and still get no sales, it’s a double blow. I don’t know why Twilight became such a big seller but I think it had very little to do with the reasons why I write. Other big-selling authors have exploited Twilight’s success, targeting the same readers. This is a form of media hysteria that has nothing to do with literary value. I’m not sure what you mean by military hardware. If you mean in books, I never read those kind of books.

Hi, I wasn’t trying to criticize you. I think that by appealing to the lowest common denominator it is generally easier to sell. Good-writing-which-happens-to-be-erotica is a different phenomenon altogether, and from your blog that’s what you do. Good writing per se is self limited to the people who value this as a method, notwithstanding the subject matter. Perhaps my distinction is between prurience (which is badly written because its focus is on exposure) and erotica (which is often written well). The former sells by itself because of its media potential, good writing of any sort has a tougher time.

That’s all right, I didn’t take your comment as a criticism of me, but thanks for clarifying.

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