When the World Starts Stinking this Much, We Must Art Ourselves Some Potpourri

“Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.” ~ Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence

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I had an interesting conversation with a friend, who wanted to know why my writing has “gone from blood and guts and dead things to love, love, love, and sexy things.” He is not complaining about the change. He has been reading my words since before I shared them with anyone else, from when they were wee scribblings on the margins of schoolwork… He’s just surprised that in a time of much turmoil, I’ve “chosen to go freaky sweet.”

He’s not the only one asking. In the last couple of weeks, some of you have messaged me with similar inquiries: “Your writing’s so sexual lately. What’s going on?” And, “I wish I was getting some of what you’re getting. All I do is watch the news and scream bloody murder. Share, dammit!” And my favorite, “Why aren’t you writing about dismembering things? Dismemberment feels adequate. You haven’t gone romantic? Don’t scare me.”

My answer to these questions is short: I’m a child of balance, a soul who believes that what we feed grows. Right now, I believe we must feed what makes us feel good.

You see, my Wicked Luvs, I delight in writing that is passionate, that heats up the blood, that makes muscle want to move bone, writing that digs deep, deep, deep… and makes the mind feel things (or, at least, that’s my intention *cough*). Tales that are sexy, dark, and bloody have always been my favorite to write and read. They touch all the right spots in my brain. Writing them into the world makes my darkness deliciously bright. I love it.

But…

…right now, the world is a raging mess—people are drowning in the results of climate change, nations are being led by dangerous idiots, groups are feeding monsters we hoped dead, people around the world (and the Web) are dismembering each other’s hopes.

But (thank goodness)…

…there are also people trying to spread pretty spells, individuals trying to feed emotions that relax the body, that nudge the brain to release serotonin, oxytocin… and other happy hormones that conjure up smiles… even, if for just a bit.

I can’t go to the streets and rally against injustice and bigotry. I can’t donate millions to help those who need it most (I’ve done my wee monetary bit, but it’s not enough). There is so much I can’t do. But I can write of happy, happy, happy love in lust. And share it.

I will spell lusty words, let them feed on what burns in my flesh and bones, infuse them with love (the way I know it), and then send them into the world.  As I said to my dearest Rommy, on a post she shared on Facebook (about a man whose beliefs should make most people a bit sick), “when the world starts stinking this much, we must art ourselves some potpourri… if we can.” And I can. So, I will write sex… in love.

If Women Were as Good as Men They’d Be Better

I’m enchanted by writing that dances wittily with language, with meaning, and with critical thinking. It is one of the reasons why my reading affair with the works of Sir Terry Pratchett began the moment I finished delighting in Equal Rites.

Consider the title of this post as an example, taken from the first of Pratchett’s Witches novels: “if women were as good as men they’d be better!” Can you see the brilliance of the phrase? Not just the social implications contained within the statement, but also Pratchett’s delicious use of punctuation and all what can be deduced from his choices.

With one sentence, Pratchett tells a story true about his Discworld and about our society. As it is, the phrase can mean several things. I asked different people to write down what they believed the words wanted to say. Some wrote “if women were as good as men (then women would) be better”; others jotted down that “if women were as good as men (then men would) be better”; a guy and a girl got into an argument about commas, intent and subject-to-object proximity, which nearly ended in blows…

When I was asked my opinion, I said that considering that someone was repeating one of Granny Weatherwax’s philosophies, only the old Bad Ass witch could ever really know. When the glares began to heat up the room, I added, “I choose to believe that Equal Rites suggests that if women and men saw each other as equally valuable, then they (both women and men) would be better.”

Doesn’t it make sense? I think it does. In fact, the whole novel is about what a horrific place the world can become when one sex (or group of people) believes biology, geography, or mythological affiliation makes them better than those different from themselves.

Equal Rites “is also a story about sex, although probably not in the athletic, tumbling, count-the-legs-and-divide-by-two sense unless the characters get totally beyond the author’s control.” Also about edges, as in… “the modern wolves were the offspring of ancestors that had survived because they had learned that human meat had sharp edges.”

So, my Wicked Luvs, what do you think the title of this post says about men and women? And what are your thoughts on evolved wolves and sharply edged humans?

Equal Ritesdetail from the cover of Equal Rites, Transworld Digital edition