Saturday, November 6, 2010
Our guest today at Three Wicked Writers Plus Two is R. Paul Sardanas. He is a true wordsmith with an incredible voice. His erotic romances and poetry are unlike any I've read. His poetry speaks of love and the struggles and empowerment of women everywhere. His romances are about strong women and the men who love them as their equals. When you read Paul's words, you'll come to know his deep respect and appreciation of all women.
And now for his thoughts on erotica.
Who would have thought that erotica could change the world? Who could have imagined that this, of all mediums, could evolve into a place where intelligent, sexually-empowered women could be portrayed without some form of demonizing, censorship or punishment? Where men could actually embrace and celebrate such women? Who could have believed that enlightenment could be this much fun?
Okay, let’s roll these thoughts back a bit.
When I began to write erotic poetry and literature, I was impressed by a number of things, but by nothing more than the fact that it is a medium filled with creative and professional people who are brilliant, strong, motivated, insightful…and almost entirely women. Yes, there are a few men too, and even they seem far more open minded than most of my fellow males. Of all the places I have sought for the company of men and women just like that, I wouldn’t have anticipated the world of erotic literature being the place I would find them.
But after all, why should that be a surprise? To go on the record, I’ve been appalled my whole life by the derogatory, often demeaning stereotypes and social roles applied to women in our culture. I grew up in a world where “good” women had no interest in sexuality, unless accompanied by a frivolous, swooning form of romance, which their male partners considered annoying but harmless. And what culture abounds with more sexually-tinged epithets for “bad” women? Consider this quote from Diana Rose Hartmann, in her article “Sacred Prostitutes”:
“Sexually empowered women are called bitches, dykes, ball-busters, etc., by both sexes. Sexually independent women, once respected as sacred vessels of the Goddess, are degraded as evil temptresses, obstacles between man and a sexless heaven.”
So to my mind, as men and women, we have a choice. To perpetuate the narrow, joyless vision embodied in that quote, or to embrace a life where our sexuality can be fulfilling, adventurous, fun, spiritually satisfying and exciting. Which is a reasonably accurate description of the world of erotic literature. And so we come back full circle, to changing the world.
The world I’d like to enhance with anything I write is that world of aware, empowered men and women. So in my erotic poetry, recently collected in a hardcover volume of works called “Touch in the Bed of Light”, I search with all the perception I can muster to lay bare the ways that lovers tragically fail in communication, mutual awareness, and pursuit of shared joy—and more importantly, to illuminate the ways they succeed. In one poem from the collection, I went all the way back to the “first couple”, Adam and Lilith (he had a wife before Eve, and not one crafted from his own rib).
The Black Lotus
She looks at it, mound of night-petals,
color of satin black, the flower of dream,
It floats in a vessel of water,
waiting for the moment when her lover comes to her.
It was, they say, the first flower made in Eden,
when man and woman were meant to know
epiphanies of vision divine, knowledge complete.
In its fragrance, dream is walked in flesh,
and the darkness that waits at the base of every
nerve is known, to feel and choose,
to flee, or yield to, and embrace.
So Lilith breathed the fragrance
of the black lotus, and looked at her mate
as a fount of blood, and hungered for him
beyond thought, wanting only to taste, drink,
suck, devour, and to have the same done to her.
Every daughter of Lilith carries that lust,
and as she waits, the scent brings her deeper
and deeper madness, coiling into her nostrils,
her mouth, until every fiber of her
cries out against the boundaries of the flesh,
yearns for the exaltation of the flesh,
for the scourging and grappling and insane
rushing hunger of the flesh.
He comes at last, and she lifts it from the water,
cupped in her hands, to hold before him.
She knows he sees her then with the eyes
of Lilith’s mate, and she laughs,
the fragrance of her own breath, a song
of need beyond enduring, beyond resisting.
His hands become iron heat,
closing around her throat when she wants
to scream her pleasure.
His cock impales her again and again,
until she is sure that her body must
shatter apart, for nothing could contain
such shrieking rapture.
He has torn the lotus from her,
crushed it in his hands, and the broken
petals cling to her, welded by sweat
across her breasts, across her eyes.
She doesn’t care; sight has been given,
sight enough for this, to see the torn flower
whole, in her mouth, to swallow at last.
The Adam that I portray here is, sadly, the figure I see around me all too often in the everyday world. A man who can’t handle the concept of a woman of knowledge, a woman with sexual and intellectual equality—in short, a true partner. He tries to silence her, to overpower her, to tear apart the symbolic flower that embodies her equal awareness.
In my first novel for the erotic literature field, “The Order of the Golden Rose”, I wanted to portray a man and a woman who actually possess the strength that comes with open minds and open hearts—who have the potential and the desire to become that object of hope and fantasy—to become true partners. So I created Siobhan Bishop, a book expert, a practitioner of nature and sex magic, a woman secure in her strength and sensuality. In a way, the same woman from the Lilith poem above, updated to the modern world. Her lover in the book, Professor Richard Blake, has all the qualities of the strong alpha male that so often dominates the sphere of erotic literature, but he is not threatened by Siobhan, and welcomes her as an equal.
The first time they make love in the story they are not in their bodies at all, but join in a mystical vision, becoming images of awareness and passion. Here is the beginning of that scene:
Focusing again on the image of Richard in her mind, she envisioned his clothes falling away, followed by a further metamorphosis coming to his flesh. It began to glow from within, the surface of his skin growing lambent with light. Once again, if he had hurtful or destructive energies hidden inside him, they should show, becoming lesions or areas of shadow disfiguring him. But no hint of malevolence appeared. Confusion, uncertainty, weaknesses…those might be present, but those weren’t taints; more the legacies of being human.
Siobhan placed herself in the picture, allowing her astral self to shape its own appearance, taking whatever form would be in harmony with his. She could see herself from within and without. Before the image of Richard stood a woman rippling with golden flame, black hair alight with tiny halos like stars.
The intense sex that they share in the continuation of that scene, and throughout the flowering of their love that follows (despite the troubles, confusions and doubts that are inevitable and natural in any relationship), Siobhan and Richard are filled with respect and admiration for one another. As lovers should be.
Enlightened erotica, I hope.
Just think, what the world would be like, filled with such lovers. Lovers like the ones in erotic literature, who in their own way, give readers entertainment and delight—and with that, a changing view of what we can be with those we love. If it is mostly women writers bringing us this vision through their stories, then men would do well indeed to listen to their message, and in their own way, join them, as I have. Changing the world, with a kiss.
To view more of R. Paul Sardanas’ work, including excerpts from “Touch in the Bed of Light” and “The Order of the Golden Rose”, as well as previews from the second Siobhan Bishop novel “The Blood Jaguar”, please visit www.rpaulsardanas.com.