5.15.2012

Succeeding Means Believing in Yourself, Part 2


My latest release, DOVER TO VICTORIA STATION, is an erotic short story appearing in the Cleis Press Anthology entitled Going Down: Oral Sex Stories. This story almost didn't see the light of day, and it's a good example of why believing in your art is important. 

Some people don't consider erotica to be art, but that's another discussion. The purpose of art is often to push the boundaries of what we think of as normal or to push our limitations, and that can show up in so many different ways.
 
For those unfamiliar with the train lines going into and out of London, this story takes place on the train going from Dover in County Kent into Victoria Station in London. Incidentally, I wrote the first draft of this story on that exact rail line, but I was going in the opposite direction (from Victoria Station out to Dover) at the time. When I first gave the draft to my critique group to read, I received mostly negative feedback. This was partly because only one member of my group wrote erotica (she liked it) and partly because it was a work in progress, and it hadn't yet become the story that it is now. I put it aside while writing other things but I believed in it and the emotion that went with it. Several years later I returned to the draft and immediately realized I was trying to go in two different directions with the heroine's journey. One was her inner journey and the other her outer journey. Surprisingly, most people think erotica is about sex. Well, yes, it is. But, no, it also isn't. The most powerful erotica, especially short, that I've read is about the emotion or the internal experience. Sex illustrates that, underlines it, gives it more power. At the very least the story hinges on the emotional or psychological dynamic between the characters. (If you've read my previous entries you are beginning to sense a theme here with my repetitive mentions of emotion). WARNING: Mild spoilers ahead...

Once I realized how I needed to shape the story, it rewrote itself around the heroine's inner journey. The story was really about her struggle to master herself and keep her identity in the face of what promised to be an ideal situation with a lover. She was completely petrified of losing herself in the face of having the relationship she wanted. Haven't we all felt that way at some point in our lives?

I finished polishing the story and submitted it to an online market, which bought it immediately and then promptly went belly-up before it was released. I had to wait 5 months according to contract until the rights could revert back to me and I could resubmit it. I then sent it to the editor of the anthology above, Rachel Kramer Bussel, who bought it. But another snag occurred...the publication was delayed from the fall of 2011 to this month, and I recall finding out and wondering if this story was really ever meant to see the light of day. But I'd believed in it long enough that I wasn't giving up hope it would be released. Well, it's finally out! I'm totally delighted to have my writing in such wonderful company as the other authors whose work is appearing in this anthology. So, lesson learned: here's to believing! If you'd like to read the anthology, it's available in bookstores now and online at Amazon and other major outlets in both print and eBook format. Just click on the title above or on the book cover in the banner to your right.

Wishing you all that's green,
ROXY

2 comments:

  1. Yay! Congratulations, Roxy! I can't wait to get my copy!

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  2. Thanks! I'm excited to finally have this out... thought it would never happen... sometimes the best things in life take time. This business is teaching me patience, too. :) Can't wait to get a copy of your newest at AZ Dreamin! xo

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