Saturday, September 24, 2011

It’s Not You, It’s Me…

By Evan Mora

Parker is my patron, my lover, and my muse. I live with Parker in her beautiful three-story century home downtown. I sit at her antique desk, with the laptop she bought me, and I write her stories. Dirty stories. Because that’s what Parker likes. Sometimes I write about Daddies and their little girls, dirty little girls who like to be fucked. Sometimes I write about rock hard butches in low slung jeans and pouty femmes with short skirts and bright red lipstick. Sometimes, there’s even romance. I write about dominance and submission and bondage and pain. Because Parker is a sadistic fuck, and because you have to write what you know.

From “Writer’s Block”

Lisabet wrote earlier in the week that the heroes in her stories are often partners from her past, and that she’s never used any of her husband’s traits to fashion a character; Charlotte wrote that none of the specifics she writes about have ever happened to her. In fact, the consensus seems to be “but not my partner” when it comes to what gets mined for story fodder. I started writing this thinking I would tell you that for me, it’s the opposite – that I can’t seem to get away from writing about my partner. And to a certain degree, it’s true.

She is patron, lover and muse to me, and I do sit at her antique desk with the laptop she bought me and write her stories, a lot of them, like “Writer’s Block” with BDSM elements. It is what I know, and it’s probably also why none of my past lovers have ever shown up in my fiction – because I know without being told that she doesn’t want to read it. She’s also butch to my femme, and thematically, I’ve gone there a lot too, both because it’s familiar to me, and because personally, I think any kind of gender fuckery is just plain hot. There are pieces of her sprinkled throughout my stories: physical characteristics, mannerisms, things that she’s said. They’re never all in one place. I’ve never written her specifically, but if I were to gather all the pieces together, I’d have quite a detailed picture of her.

There are some places too where our life and our relationship bleed through more clearly than others, and some stories that are more akin to love letters to her than they are works of fiction. I’m conscious of the fact, as Jean reminds us, that there can be consequences to putting too much truth out there, but in these cases, it’s deliberate. Physically, the characters aren’t us, and the sex is never a past encounter I’m replaying, but the settings have been real, and the emotions…there’s truth in them. I want to look back in five or ten years and be reminded of how I felt, of the little shared moments that were so memorable but that I know will inevitably fade in my own memories with time.

I knew that day that what I felt for her was without equal. I knew
that the only way for me to live my life was with her by my side. I knew it with a certainty that had no credible explanation, but that I trusted implicitly. We hardly knew each other, and I knew that such a declaration would be viewed with skepticism from those who knew us until time proved otherwise. As it has.
From “In Your Pocket”

I think what I’ve come to understand in writing this though, is that it’s not my partner per se that I’m mining, so much as it is the intangible stuff that comes out of our relationship. That’s the stuff, to borrow from Garce, that I’m picking up and sticking in my head. I’m a very ‘bricks and mortar’ kind of girl. I want to know the size and shape of things. My partner is not. She lives in her emotions much more than I do, and quite frankly, I’m pretty bad at sitting and talking about that kind of stuff, like, deer in headlights bad. I need the time and distance writing gives me to really let it all come together, whether that’s exploring the mess of emotion that I feel when I can’t write like in “Writer’s Block”, or in exploring the mushy good stuff she makes me feel like in “In Your Pocket”. In other words, it’s not her (really), it’s me.

Not very long ago, we had to deal with a very real threat against her life (in her professional capacity she spends much of her time helping people who suffered terrible abuse as children; sometimes these people grow up to be very damaged adults with a lot of misguided rage, and sometimes, though rarely, it winds up directed at her). I wrote about it in Sacchi Green’s Lesbian Cops
anthology:
…[E]ven like this, held tight in the circle of her arms in the privacy of our bedroom, he was there. He was everywhere. His taint was like a mist curling in through a crack in the window, seeping under the doorframe, spilling through the keyhole. It was insidious, filling the inside the room until I felt like I couldn’t breathe again, until I felt like I was suffocating in fear and anger and despair.
Patrice was vibrating, struggling with emotions of her own. I knew I should say something about how everything would be o.k., and about how I knew she would catch this filthy coward, but the words couldn’t make it past the lump in my throat. I was determined not to cry – she didn’t need that from me right now, but when she said, “I put a copy of my will in the lock box…” the tears fell of their own volition, and she rocked me in the dark, and nothing more was said.

From “A Cop’s Wife”

My partner is not a cop, and the facts of that story bear no resemblance to happened to us, but for a couple of months our life was incredibly tense and overwrought with all kinds of crazy emotion. To this day she hates that story, but for me, writing about the experience was cathartic and frankly, cheaper than therapy.
At the end of the day, most of what I write is pure fiction, conjured out of the void by an image, or a “what if”, the lyrics of a song, or a half-remembered dream. But if there is something I return to again and again, it’s her; it’s us; it’s the things that are closest. I don’t know if that makes me a good writer or a bad one. I don’t know whether or not I’ll move farther away from personal experience as I become a more practiced and skillful writer or not. For now, I’ll continue to cobble together what inspiration I can from the world at large, but mostly, I’ll write what I know.

5 comments:

  1. Evan - Thank you for sharing this. It's a pity that you couldn't make it to the EAA Conference, but thank you for suggesting the Writing About Your Sex Life panel. It went really well.

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  2. Interesting post! I wondered about your inspiration for "A Cop's Wife." (I reviewed Lesbian Cops for 2 sites.)I'm glad your relationship is so inspiring!

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  3. That's interesting and cathartic that you are able to bring your lover into your work, including the difficult things like that incident with the crazy guy that made your life hard for a while. I'm not able to write about my wife, there just doesn't seem to be a way. I wonder if that's a woman thing.

    Thanks for being our guest this week! Come by often.

    Garce

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  4. Dear Evan,

    Having read your wonderful post, I'm sure about two things:

    - You've hit the nail on the head. The intense parts we borrow from our lovers and ease into our stories are our own reactions, the way our lovers affect us - not who they really are. We can glimpse that, barely, and reflect our perceptions into the prose, but it IS us, not them.

    - I've got to read more of your work! The excerpts are stunning.

    Hugs,
    Lisabet

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  5. Many thanks all for your kind comments, and for inviting me to post!

    Evan

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