Here’s hoping I convey the connections in this rambling piece.
Earlier this month, I gave notice that I would be stepping down from my position as editor at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association, where I have served for over five years. It was something I’d been thinking about for a while. Time for new talent on the lists to take over in the new year.
It isn’t really an editor’s job in the strictest sense, but more an acquisitions editor-cum-policeman. No pun.
Well, okay. Pun.
During my November watch, a non-erotic story was posted on the Storytime list by our old friend and subscriber Henry Corrigan. He had written Money in the Mail for a speculative fiction call. It was a well-written piece with such a dynamite delivery that I conscientiously wanted to acquire it, even though a mainstream piece. So I asked my fellow editors whether non-erotic works had a place in the Gallery. In my five years tenure, the subject had never, to my knowledge, come up.
My concern was for the greater reading public who would go to the ERWA website for their dependable monthly erotica fix and find a story unwankable. We compensated by creating a special category for non-erotic works.
Henry was happy to grant permission.
Conscience clear. Temporarily.
Another story submitted was a quickie of 800 words by a different author. It also was non-erotic and quite well written, but had an additional problem. It was resolved with a very Christian sensibility. Unlike other religious-themed entries posted over the years, there was no sense of irony about it. The author had included a trigger warning for sexual violence, but should have included a warning one on full-blown, unapologetic religious zealotry.
Now here was a bigger dilemma. As I said, it was also quite competently written, both in style and power, especially for such a short piece. Did it deserve a place in the gallery as well? Would I allow my sense of repulsion to the subject matter guide my choice of whether or not to choose it for the Gallery? That felt unfair on my part.
So I consulted my fellow editors again, just to make sure that my hesitation wasn’t simply a personal issue and nothing more. Happily, the consensus was to leave it out. One colleague referred back to my original scenario—an erotica aficionado wandering in for their monthly heat—and now, not only finding something non-erotic, but also taking away an apparent attempt at conversion. She suggested that it would certainly compound the non-erotic experience: The specter that an evangelical group had taken over ERWA.
But it’s not like they don’t work that way. Years ago, when Momma X was on the local Sierra Club Executive committee, there was an under-the-radar right wing group that tried to insinuate itself into the environmental movement by claiming rampant population increase was a factor of illegal immigration. (Ironically they don’t mention their opposition to birth control.) They managed to pull the wool over enough eyes to secure a presentation meeting on their position.
One look at these guys said volumes. They were NOT environmentalists. They were obvious Neo-Nazis who even brought literature claiming dedication to population control and opposition to immigration. I caught one guy handing out pamphlets, got up behind him, leaned up close to his ear (I was much younger and imposing then, managing the toughest bar in the county.) and whispered, “Get your Fascist ass and your bullshit the fuck out of here.” I picked up his literature and stuffed it in his arms as he went out the door.
Well, the rest left the meeting (rather got run out) but continued trying to get someone into a position of power, not only the Sierra Club but other environmental groups as well. They insinuate themselves into a trusted organization then throw a monkey wrench into the works.
I’m not suggesting that the author of the religious piece had designs on a scenario like that. She seems like a sweet person and sincere in her beliefs. But there are times I will allow better judgment to override my sense of fair play.