By Lisabet Sarai
It's three AM, that bleak, endless stretch of time between midnight and dawn. I hunch over my keyboard, my head pounding, writing and rewriting a single sentence, struggling to capture the elusive truth that I feel so clearly but somehow cannot express.
I've been here all night.
The desk lamp creates an ellipse of brightness in the otherwise dark apartment. My glass sits forlorn and empty on the desk next to my laptop, among the sticky rings from previous drinks. My cigarette has tumbled out of the tuna fish can that I use for an ashtray and charred the cheap composite surface. The room smells of scotch, smoke and frustration.
I should get some sleep. I've got work in the morning. But the story won't let me go. It has me in its jaws. It worries me back and forth, threatening to tear me apart. I've got to get it out and onto the page, to set it free, before it destroys me.
The scenario above, the tortured author driven to write, hounded by his own stories, has a romantic quality. Alas—or maybe I should say, thank heavens—that's not me. I'm not one of those authors brimming over with stories that won't let her rest. My characters do not in general scream and rant in my head, imploring me to write their tales, pursuing me until I'm dangerously close to the edge of sanity. I don't write in order to search for or reveal any kind of upper-cased Truth.
When all is said and done, I write to amuse myself.
When I can't write, I do miss it. I do love the creative effort involved in weaving webs of words into a final product that may excite, intrigue or challenge my readers. However, I don't delude myself that I have much to say that is of enduring importance. The one serious message that I have to impart (and I've done so again and again, in what are arguably my best stories) relates to my view of dominance and submission as a sort of communion. Other themes that I like to explore include the flexibility of sexual orientation and the healing, enlightening, maturing possibilities in sexual relationships. Overall, though, I'm just creating characters, letting them interact (sometimes in extremely lewd ways), and telling their stories in order to entertain and arouse.
There are secondary reasons for my writing, of course. There's nothing like the satisfaction that comes from receiving an enthusiastic acceptance—no matter how many times you experience it. (And rejections still hurt, regardless of the fact that my rejection to acceptance ratio is really low.)
Monthly royalty statements make me feel that some people, at least, really do enjoy what I write. I'll never support myself with my writing; I'd never try as I'm sure that if I did, whatever creativity I possess would immediately vanish. However, I'd be lying if I pretended that the slow upward trend in my writing income doesn't delight me.
I also really appreciate the friends that I've made, among writers and readers, since I began my authorial “career”. The erotica romance genre, in particular, seems to provide opportunities for me to communicate with readers. I love blogging and reading the subsequent comments. I had a release last Monday, and on Tuesday I received an email from a reader, asking me if I had a sequel planned because she was dying to know what happened to the characters. Yes, that had me smiling all day.
Finally, for me, writing erotica offers a way for me to experience new sexual adventures. I definitely arouse myself when I write—if I'm not turned on by my sex scenes, I know that they're no good. I can relive past experiences, cloaked as fiction, or imagine outrageous scenarios I never got to try.
My erotic thriller Exposure begins: “I strip for the fun of it. Don't let anybody tell you different.”
Just substitute “write” for “strip”. That's the truth about Lisabet Sarai.