My first memory as a nubile young girl includes long hours spent reading and sifting through books in my father’s crowded library by the sea.
Hot and gently bent summer afternoons, bleak wintry mornings and endless tall weekends amongst dusty classic and rare books forged my longing for living an exotic and well-sung life.
While some girls in my neighborhood of sun and beach-combing played hopscotch and Jacks until dusk, I was curled up somewhere prizing the lofty diaries of Mark Twain and Frida Kahlo, and trying to understand why Franz Kafka and Anais Nin seemed so dark, so fallen, and yet so beautifully and intricately complicated.
Somewhere around four or five, I began to strand words together, and this is when I discovered true fulfillment, and even an erotic blend of intellectualism. Poetry is what I called the adjectives I first scrawled above my bed with crayons and sawed-off art pencils, and when I realized my gift of describing the world within and without my idyllically strange and absorbing world.
I was in love with my mother and father, so behind my Japanese comforter along the wall, you may have seen words that spelled out my youth-charged feelings of how I felt about them. I also attempted to describe the light and shadowy moments that filled our artistic home with a brilliance of sheer abandonment and forceful serenity.
As any writer knows, no thought or idea stands very long on its own. When writing a passage or a story, another one may suddenly spring into birth like the most honest of spring days, right into your desperate eyes. And then, just as suddenly, you are lifted into another emotional state of energy that propels an even greater movement of pulse.
As a woman, writing inspires my longing for exotic experiences and erotic ideas that may otherwise fail to fall into my being or spirit. And similarly but also differently, writing has nourished my female course of eroticism, as words excite me and bring me to a state that no scent, song, painting, man or other woman can arouse.
Describing the eroticism of a female writer is simply stated, and yet assigned full-bodied with absurd contradictions, but necessary to describe just the same. Throughout my life, I recall moments of utter tranquility and even an “afterglow” that can equally bask in the same erotic halo as lovemaking – tender and jolting, and yet ever present in memory and gaze-worthy stealth.
And yet, anyone who assumes that women writers have a consistently romantic existence has never been solidly and intimately involved with one. For example, while the few men I have shared intimate experiences with have found me deeply enjoyable on occasion, one may never claim my value was consistent as too many moments have been frantically spent in need of immediate and long periods to reflect and rebel on writing adventures that can only be described as cosmic and profound.
As many other female writers, when I am in the act of my life’s art, I am on a sort of religious mission, a quest, a search for soulful destiny if you will, and I am completely untouchable, at least emotionally and physically.
Sure, you can fondle me, and try and kiss me tenderly or even savagely while playing The Beatles, Erik Satie, Otis Redding or John Coltrane, but I may only be thinking about the next words I plan to make love with.
And yet there are moments when I am in the middle of writing a long, heated and verbose piece when I want nothing more than to be interrupted by sensual moves and careful caresses, just so that I can fire up my wordsmith female prowess that much more afterwards.
Erotic interruption can lead to some of the most creative dalliances, I have found through careful experience.
Even when I am not actively writing, I am perpetually involved with the universe around me, feeling everyone and everything out like a bee looking for the sweetest of nectar and honey . . . and even hoping for a sting once in awhile, so that I can write about it.
Being a woman gives me a few advantages over men, as a writer. First of all, there is the obvious intrigue from both genders and others that I would choose such an impractical and seemingly arduously daunting career.
I can in the eyes of some their bewilderment and curiosity as to why instead, not a nurse, a lawyer, an accountant, perhaps a fashionable real estate agent, or something else that seems more productive, reliable and sane.
A sensual experience can be had as well in simply partaking in various and even strange conversations about writing.
“What do you write about?” . . . Men like to ask while they part their lips and widen their eyes.
I can both “feel” and “tell” some of the answers they expect from me . . .
“I write about beauty and fashion”
“I research and write about pregnancy and female reproductive rights”
“I cover all issues pertaining to Hilary Clinton”
“I write about children and allergies”
In all seriousness, I have heard those precise presumptions and assumptions about my essence as a female writer.
But in reality, I can feel men stare at me sexually when I inform them that I am a writer as if it is yet another reason to suppose a naughty fantasy, and why not? I have often read their steaming minds hoping I may want to answer with the following:
“I write about men and what turns them on”
“I write about why beautiful women and fast cars arouse males”
I write about my own sexuality and why I am always seeking to know more about myself”
“I research the needs of men and why they should be treated better by women, especially in the bedroom”
These answers would of course excite them, and it is always interesting to tell the truth about what I really write about, and hear what they have to say.
My recent answers to a gentleman who was obviously interested in anything but my writing included:
“I write about the importance and mystery of grandparents past”
“I write poetry about the the female experience that is untold and somewhat frightening to men”
“I write essays about the cultural and artistic renaissance of the 1960’s and ’70’s”
“I write treatments about what it is like to be a Japanese Jewish woman who is somewhat confused”
“I write short stories about teenagers and the genius that is theirs, if for only a short time”
However, there are some securely artful men who actually get “more interested” when I give them these writing truths. And there are times when I have even been asked why a “beautiful woman like myself” would not wish to make an easier living.
With a deep and bright-eyed stare and a low voice, I answer . . .
“While writing can, at times, be a daunting, strife-ridden and exhausting experience filled with manic upswings and “midnight-blue downs”, with seemingly never a finished goal in sight . . . it is truly the most passion-charged and artfully fulfilling pursuit I could possibly endeavor, and besides . . . and to write is to breathe, is to live, and it is to be alive.”
Other women writers that I know will second these sentiments, and some with a blend of even more emotionally descriptive words of eroticism that would makes mine seem pale and lewd.
I also know that my fellow women writers share with me a brand of sisterhood that is spiritually and deeply felt when we read one another’s words, and hear our own voices in the sonnets of each other’s breast-deepened shouts of both murmurs and testaments of the heart.
As for myself . . .
I will continue to make love on winter mornings when the light hits the window just right with the pause of cold.
I will always beckon to the paper and pen that awaits my darkest moments of depression and unyielding fog.
I will dance barefoot and wild on spring grass as I recite favorite passages of love and pain written by long-ago poets who seem to have lived my “very life.”
I will not fear my own writing, but rather, I will fear the silence of my words, as I only truly discover what I believe when I am writing.
I will sing both loud and soft as I whisper stories to my children of my own childhood it seems a thousand long ago, while they watch me in wonder.
These things I know to be true, and I have written them down because they are necessary, just at this very moment while you are reading them.
They might not have been true yesterday, or even next year as I may change as life is fluid and unpredictable and beautiful . . . but right now these words are a miracle of present-tense, and their meaning is yours, as well as mine.
The erotic and exotic female writer is a breathtaking creature to behold, and one should approach her with caution, respect, wonderment and be willing to expect anything to happen while in her presence.
This I know to be true.
The following are some of my favorite quotes by women writers:
“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.” ~ Anais Nin
“I write lustily and humorously. It isn’t calculated; it’s the way I think. I’ve invented a writing style that expresses who I am.”~ Erica Jong
“I must write it all out, at any cost. Writing is thinking. It is more than living, for me it is conscious living.” ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh
“Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.” ~ Gloria Steinem
“Writers will happen in the best of families.” ~ Rita Mae Brown
“Write what should not be forgotten.”~ Isabelle Allende
“Writing is one of the few professions in which you can psychoanalyze yourself, get rid of the hostilities and frustrations in public, and get paid for it.” ~ Octavia Butler
“If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry.” ~ Emily Dickinson
“Women and fiction remain, so far as I am concerned, unsolved problems.” ~ Virginia Woolf
“Men like women who write, even though they don’t say so. A writer is a foreign country.” ~ Marguerite Duras
“A culture is made or destroyed—but its articulate voices.” ~ Ayn Rand
“To write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write is to write.”~ Gertrude Stein
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Editor: Bryonie Wise
Photo: courtesy of the author