I don't have as much to say on this as I did several years ago when I first began writing here. There was a time, pre- Fifty Shades of Grey, when writing erotica - or porn - depending, could get you in a world of hurt if you were outed. There was a time if you brought marijuana through an airport in your suitcase no one cared, but if you had a paperback of "Tropic of Cancer" you could go to jail. People cared.
When my novella "The Color of the Moon" was picked up by Whisky Creek, my very first sale, Lisabet asked "What's your pen name?" "Pen name?" "You'd better have a pen name if you're going to write this stuff and you'd better protect it." So I made myself a pen name modeled after my literary hero Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. For years I cringed nervously in its shadow, guarding my writing and not showing it to anyone, not even my family. It was bittersweet when "Color of the Moon" saw the light of day, I was a published author at last, and I couldn't tell anyone. Not even my family. Especially my family, as if there were some dark shame instead of triumph.
Now these books are in supermarkets and public libraries. They teach Henry Miller and Anais Nin in college. "Ubiquitous" I think is how our more well mannered literary writers would put it. Which brings up the only remaining problem, "When are you going to write something serious?" I still get this. A story of mine recently won the Porter Fleming literary jury prize and the response became louder - "When are you going to write something serious (read: socially acceptable)?" even after I already had and was given a respectable check for it.
I don't think we're in the business of being socially acceptable. I think we're in the business of providing fermentable materials for more respectable writers. Ray Bradbury grew up on Buck Rogers and Tarzan then wrote space opera classics that people will be reading for a hundred years. Dostoyevsky voraciously read the blood drenched Police Gazettes and gruesome penny dreadfuls of Czarist Russia and wanted to create his own murder mysteries of axe fiends and prostitutes. Except of course he's Dostoyevsky. How is this possible? Fermentable materials. Feed your head Fyodor until something bubbles. I feed my head on pulp magazines, horror stories and erotica and so on until things in my head begin to bubble. That's how its done. Great literature doesn't ferment all that well.
I myself may never be all that respectable, but I think being Little Richard to someone else's Paul McCartney is a perfectly respectable profession. In its way.