Tuesday, December 21, 2010
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is the book that gave me the most enjoyment this year.
It seems to be in a genre of its own: violent and whimsical, fantistical and grounded in reality, funny and soaked in sadness.
This is the second volume in the Kalix series and it is even better than the first. What more can you ask of a sequel?
It seems to me the title refers not just to Kalix but to all the femal werewolves. They are all cursed in one way or another.
This is a book bursting with memorable characters and with a plot that makes you want to keep turning the pages (which is just as well -it's a big book)
At the heart of this book is a deep understanding of dysfunctional families and the bonds and enemnities they harbour and a belief in the power of freely given friendship.
My personal favourite in this book is Vex, the fire elemental. At first she seems to be the airhead incarnate but it becomes clear that her optimism is a choice not a habit and that she is loyal and brave as well as being completely off the wall.
Kalix remains self-abusive and damaged but she is portrayed with an empathy and compassion that beats anything I've seen in mainstream fiction.
Do yourself a favour: buy this book and then buy a copy for your best friend - you'll need someone to talk to when you've finished this who will know what it is that you're so excited about.
View all my reviews
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The first piece of text to snag my eye reads:
"15 Minute Satisfaction Guarantee"
How many men can offer that 365 nights a year? I asked myself.
Then I saw what they meant was that they'd take care of any maintenance problem in the room (my specific problem is that the TV remote is now so remote it's no longer in the room).
But what they said was:
"Got a problem? We promise to take care of your problem within 15 minutes or you will be our guest."
So now I'm sitting here wondering if I get a free night's accommodation if I ring Reception and say "My problem is global warming. You have 14 minutes and 45 seconds remaining" or perhaps it needs to be more personal to be "my" problem so I should say, "My problem is that I'm bored, tired, too far away from home and I think that this is normal?"
Because I know my problem is... my head runs off like a hound following the scent of a bitch in heat every time an extra meaning grafts itself on to some else's prose.
Thursday, December 02, 2010
I have the Thursday slot
This week's theme is Writer's Burn Out
If you want to take a look, go here
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Contractors to the DoJ have apparently leaked specifications for a new technology being prepared for use by the TSA.
T.R.A.P - the Tissue Recognition Anti-terrorism Protocol - is designed to track foreign nationals who may potentially pose a threat to national security.
TSA agents will be issued with custom designed biopsy kits that will be used to extract small tissue samples from foreign nationls at their point of entry into the United States. The samples will then be analysed, recorded and used to validate the identity of foreigners against fresh samples that will be taken each time that a foreigner travels by plane or train.
Homeland Security has made no official comment on this story but a senior TSA official is believed to have expressed the view that "T.R.A.P. may be a pain in the ass but it could save our butts."
This is all fiction of course.
But who knows, it could catch on.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
my story, "Need Leash" is in Rachel Kramer Bussel's new anthology of 69 quickies (stories of 1,200 words or less that grab the attention immediately).
Check the table of contents below. You'll see plenty of name you know.
Introduction: Short, Sweet and Totally Sexy
Seven-Letter Word Heather Lin
No Blame, No Shame Jeremy Edwards
Wasn’t It Good? Andrea Dale
The Things a Woman Will Make a Man Do for Her Isabelle Gray
Special Collections Fiona Curtis
Wonderland Madeline Elayne
Red Light Angela Caperton
My Femme Evan Mora
Genesis Shanna Germain
Serious Moonlight Michael A. Gonzales
Too Wondrous to Measure Salome Wilde
Hors d’Oeuvre Stan Kent
Missed Connection Tigress Healy
Ties That Bind Daniel Burnell
Eat Me Marina Saint
Jarret Shane Allison
Lucky Number Fifty-One Jennifer Peters
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler Tara Young
Spunk Sylvia Lowry
Time Cecilia Tan
Dining in the Dark Elizabeth Daniels
Need-Leash Mike Kimera
Crushed Satin Organza Carmel Lockyer
Not on the Mouth Cole Riley
Hot Buns on a Sunday Afternoon Erica Rivera
Feel the Burn Thomas S. Roche
Trixie Jen Cross
Police Dogging Elizabeth Coldwell
Tip Me Kiki deLovely
Marxist Theory Elizabeth Hyder
The Dirty Things She Says Sinclair Sexsmith
Laughter in Hades Teresa Noelle Roberts
The Quick Stop Shashauna P. Thomas
Pain Surfer Cate Ellink
After Ten Years Christen Clifford
Over His Shoulder Maximillian Lagos
Manners Rachel Kramer Bussel
Veronica’s Ass Matt Conklin
Punishment Befitting the Crime D. L. King
Lies Kristina Wright
A Forced Witness Vampirique Dezire
Consensus Denise Hoffner
Don’t Struggle Valerie Alexander
Intercept Burton Lawrence
Not a Bang, but a Whimper Jacqueline Applebee
Hands Free Effie Merryl
Remembering the Wrinkles Penelope Friday
Leaves Elise Hepner
The Copilot Mike Bruno
Pierced Kirsty Logan
Last-Time Lesbian Geneva King
Anal-yzed Donna George Storey
Independence Day Kate Pearce
Going Bald Craig J. Sorensen
Continuing Education Anya Levin
Meet Me in the Kitchen Giselle Renarde
Over the Line Helia Brookes
Not Just a Myth Heidi Champa
Hunger Maria See
The Tipping Point Lolita Lopez
The Advantage of Working from Home Kay Jaybee
For Dessert Jordana Winters
Good Neighbors Mercy Loomis
Laugh Sommer Marsden
A Good Stiff One Kathleen Bradean
Vacation Pictures Robert Peregrine
Friday, November 12, 2010
I'm reading Lorrie Moore's "A Gate At The Stairs". I first encountered her via her short story collection "Birds of America". I'm only a few pages into her novel and I've found myself sighing in admiration at her use of language.
It seems to me that there is a tendency in novels to have a lot of the text there simply to move things along. The text is mechanical,sometimes sleekly efficient and admirable in its own way, but not inherently beautiful.
Moore's novel is written with the same attention to language as her short stories. This is not to say that the novel lacks pace or structure but rather that the pace fueled by a strong sense of place and character and the structure has beauty etched through every strut and brace.
Here's an example:
Our narrator is a twenty year old college student, a country girl with little experience of life beyond her farm, who is interviewing for a part time job looking after children. She is meeting a prospective employer
"I'm Tassie Keltjin;" I said thrusting out my hand.
She took it and then studied my face. "Yes," she said slowly, absently unnervingly scrutinizing each of my eyes.Her gaze made a slow , observing circle around my nose and mouth. "I'm Sarah Brink," she said finally. I was not used to being looked at close up, not used to the thing I was looking at looking back. Certainly my own mother had never done such looking, and in general my face had the sort of smooth, round stupidity that did not prompt the world's study. I had always felt as hidden as the hull in a berry, as secret and as fetal as the curled fortune in a cookie, and such hiddenness was not without its advantages, its egotisms, its grief-fed grandiosities..
Text like this I can taste. I sip at it the way I would a good wine. Recalling it makes me smile. This is how I would like to be able to write.
Sunday, November 07, 2010
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a short novel, (less than 300 pages) dealing with big themes at a brisk pace that shows a discipline I wish more writers in this genre would share.
The plot line is pure graphic novel (a plus from my point of view; I’m a long time fan of the genre): The Angel of Death is missing, the apocalypse is coming and Remy Chandler, PI and former Seraphim has to find the Angel of Death to prevent the end of the world. The downside (apart from the blood and pain needed to achieve the task) is that success will mean the death of the woman he loves.
The book brims with new ideas that capture the imagination and old ideas artfully redrawn that give the book a context. The feel is as Film Noire as the characters name suggests and all the better for that.
Sniegoski handles the big issues here not by rambling discussions of ethics and philosophy but by bringing us to the basics of humanity: the overwhelming impact of being loved, the inevitability of death, the optimism it takes to keep going in the face of pain and suffering, and the acknowledgement that there are no short cuts when it comes to emotions; knowing grief is coming won’t protect you from its bite.
The linchpin of this book is Remy’s desire to put aside the angelic nature that he has become ashamed of and embrace the physically fragile but emotionally and spiritually rich existence of humans. This allows us both an insight into the inhumanity of Heaven and the things about our own lives that define us as human.
The various non-human entities here are described succinctly and with a clarity that enabled me to see the movie that this book would make.
The book truly comes to life in Remy’s relationship with his young Labrador dog, Marlowe. Anyone who has ever had a Labrador as part of their pack will recognise Marlowe. They will also be jealous of Remy’s ability actually to hear Marlowe’s voice rather than having to work out what is being said through gestures and body-language; few things are more humbling than realising that your dog is being patient with you, waiting for you finally to figure out what he has already told you three times.
The book would have been stronger in my view if there had been a little more visibility of the back-story between Remy and his wife, but this is a minor nit.
I look forward to the next in the series.
One last thing: don’t be put off by the title. It is definitely the worse thing about the book.
I suspect there’s an editor out there somewhere who should be blushing for having insisted on this title and the even worse cover art.
I imagine the editor saying: “It’s a wonderful title, honestly. We’ll maximise the appeal to the target demographic if we have the word Kiss and Apocalypse in the title and let’s make sure the dog gets on the cover, oh, and give him a sort of Harry Dresden grim-in-a-leather-duster look (yes I know it isn’t in the text – this is cover art, darling, you don’t have to be so literal) and remember to give him a big long sword, gotta love the symbolism in that.”
View all my reviews
Monday, November 01, 2010
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
On the surface this is a slight tale about a man in his sixties who is trying to simplify his life. The characters are ordinary people and nothing much happens except the everyday things that all of us live through.
But Anne Tyler's gift is to make us look again at all those things that we take for granted and see them differently. In this case, she shows us that passivity may not be a virtue, that life is what you remember and that memories are made and preserved by the people who you are connected to.
Liam Pennywell is 61 and adrift in his own life. Liam trained in philosophy, taught history, is once widowed, once divorced and has three daughters but he has somehow contrived barely to experience his own life.
He turns the loss of his job as an opportunity to downsize his life. He seems at peace with the passive path he has chosen. Then something is stolen from him: a few hours of his memory, the result of a concussion suffered in an attack he cannot recall.
Liam's efforts to retrieve his memory lead him into a situation in which he finally understands that the most important thing he has forgotten is the impact that his first wife's suicide had on. He is forced to confront that even he is connected to others and that his choices have consequencews and that he must choose how he will live.
The humanity and compassion in this most unromantic of books matches Tyler's earlier works and that alone would be enough to make this book memorable but what captured my heart was the quiet grace of Tyler's language and the subtle skill of her unobtrusive storytelling.
View all my reviews
Monday, October 25, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
I'm not allowed to drive in. I'm not allowed to walk along the quayside. I'm not allowed to get the ferry there.
Armed soldiers patrol the streets. Jets and helicopters criss cross the skies and
Swiss patrol boats roam the lake between Switzerland and France.
The francophones are in town.
Fourty heads of state, including my personal bête noire, Nicolas Sarkozy (the first example I can remember of a French president with no sense of culture and who brings to the office an energetic arrogance combined with the petulant but dangerous aggression of a minor warlord. To me, he is a stain on the French nation - but I
The aim of the conference is to re-assure French speakers that theirs is not a 19th Century language sliding into decline down a ramp created by their own inflexibility but rather an important international language.
The press is full of statements such as "French is and remains a universal language because alongside English, it is the only language spoken on all five continents," "French is now spoken by 220 million people in more than 70 countries" and so on.
I love the French language but I have never had sympathy for France's inflated view of its imperial heritage and its role in international politics.
I've been unable to verify the claimed 220 million francophones.
My understanding is that French is the first language of only about 77 million people (about 10 million less than the population of Germany for example).
French does not make it into the top 10 languages world wide even if you count all the Chinese languages as one language.
English has about 340 million native speakers and is the mostly widely spoken second language in the world, with another 165 million or so speakers. (see here for details)
The arrival of the French in Montreux was being discussed on World Radio Switzerland (the state sponsored English language radio -there's also one in German, French and Italian) and was the occaision for a little piece of humour that stuck with me:
Two Brits backpacking around Europe are in the train station at Montreux when an elderly man comes up to them and says, "Parlez vous Francais?"
They stare at him blankly so he tries again
"Sprachen sie Deutsches?"
More blank stares from the Brits
"¿usted habla español?"
Faced with more blank looks the old man departs to find someone else to ask whatever question he had in mind.
One Brit turns to the other and says, "You know, maybe we need to learn another language."
The other Brit replies, "Why bother? That bloke spoke four and it didn't do him any good, did it?"
And this is the problem the French speakers don't want to acknowledge.
Theirs may be a language of philosophy and poetry but is not and will not become a global lingua franca.
Normally this would not be a source of humour to me, but when I think of how much that much annoy the execrable Sarkozy, it makes me smile.
My current assignment is with a French speaking company. This morning one of the managers took one look at my haggard face and said, "You have had a week of Métro, boulot, dodo, unh?"
This is a piece of French slang that roughly means "Subway, Work, Sleep"
Like the rest of us, the French are being pushed into longer hours. It pleases me that they continue to see this as an abberation to be regretted rather than an achievement to be proud of.
There has to be more to life than "Métro, boulot, dodo".
So, this weekend I am reclaiming my life. My wife and I will stay in a good hotel on Lac Léman on Saturday and go to the Christophe Mae concert in Geneva.
Sunday morning will be leisurely, with someone else preparing breakfast and nothing on the agenda but spending time together.
The French have a phrase for that too: "Trouver votre bonheur" - to find your happiness.
Of course, it is easier to find something when you make the time to look for it.
Monday, October 04, 2010
As usual, work is keeping me busy, so I’m having to make a trade off between writing and sleeping but it seems a reasonable exchange to me.
This month, ERWA has chosen two of my stories for their galleries:
“Pentimenti” is a story about a man following his obsession with a portrait in the National Gallery to understand the workings of his own heart. If you enjoy this story then you might also enjoy “The Last Taboo” or “Photographic Memories”
“Box 127” is a bank heist story with a dash of humour, a splash of violence and a drop or two of hot spicy sex. If you enjoy this story then you might also enjoy “Till Death Do Us Part”
If you pop over to ERWA, take the time to look at the other stories in the story gallery this month. My favourites are “I Waited For You By The River Of Time” by Remittance Girl and “Julie’s Ankles” by Bob Buckley
Monday, September 20, 2010
Is it a bad sign when you feel like Michael Bublé is writing the lyrics of your life?
Tonight I feel as though I'm living someone else's life. If it was my life, surely I'd feel more at home in it?
I'm alone in a hotel room again. This time it's a posh hotel room, a small suite in the brand new, so-cool-I-feel-they-shouldn't-let-me-in Park Plaza at Westminster Bridge in London. I'm here for a conference, together with a few hundred other management consultants and technology managers. Can you feel the excitement?
I know how I should be feeling becuase I know how my colleagues would feel – pleased to be here.
The hotel is ultra modern: light boxed walls, bold art, dramatic colours and futuristic shapes carved in glass and chrome and marble. The carpets still smell new. From here on the 9th floor, I can look down the atrium, along Westminster Bridge and see the tower of Big Ben gilded by sunlight. I have a good story to tell. I'm amongst my peers. The food and drink is free and plentiful and I am surrounded by people I should be either selling to or hiring.
So why do I want to hide in my room and do email? Why did I skip the corporate lunch to walk to McDonald's on the river front. Why did I reject room service and bring back a takeaway pizza to my five star suite? Why does a room full of relatively happy, relatively friendly people, make me want to turn around and walk away?
I can see my own eccentricity in the faces of those around me. If they were a bit more working class at least one of them would have said: „Cheer up, mate. It might never happen.“ Instead I find that my body language is so negative that I never actually have to speak to anyone.
By this evening, I was feeling invisible and inadequate. I know that part of this is that I have a cold and I'm tired. Part of it is that I'm a grown man and yet I've never learnt how to do small talk or mix with a crowd. I now anticipate failure before it happens, wallow in the anger and disappointment that that brings and then beat myself up for still being stuck in this same pattern all these years later. It is, I know, pathetic.
I think it is made worse because I'm back in the UK and not at all sure whether I want to move back permanently or never visit again.
This weekend, I walked along the coast in the rain, near the town I grew up in. It was cold and grey and dauntingly beautiful. When the week sun hit them, the runnels of water on the mud flats looked like liquid lead. The sky was mist and melancholy, gilded with hope. I was passed by families on a sponsored walk for the dead and the wounded in Blair's wars. They wore T-shirts with pictures printed on them of the men they lost or who had come home broken.
In Switzerland I watch the politics the way a meercat scans the sky, looking for threats that might require flight.
In England I feel rage at the politicians at a level so deep it takes my breathe away: the Tory minister who believes that the poor are poor because they are stupid; the British National Party front men who exploit the fear and discontent of the powerless to promote hate and who have the gaul to dress themselves in symbols that the working men of this country died to bring meaning to; the pundit on the radio who uses half-truths and flawed to statistics to push the idea that the National Health Service is „probably“ not a good idea. I want to rail at them, to grab them by the neck and shake them like a dog with a rabbit.
And yet I choose not to live there.
Perhaps it is Dido, not Bublé who's script I'm following. Maybe the problem is that my life is for rent. I need to make a commitment to people and to a place.
If you can't imagine your future, your present starts to detach itself. Your identity fades. Your are neither 1 or 0 but on a journey towards something yet to be defined.
I can feel a storm coming.The air is heavy and tense. It is hard to see even to the horizon.
Still, I've always enjoyed storms. I hope this one arrives soon.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
I choose not to take this kind of occurance as a sign of the imminent onset of mental illness, but rather as and invitation from a character to writer his or her story.
Occaisionally the charater will tell me their story in one intense session and it feels like I am channeling them rather than writing fiction.
In most cases, the character provides hints and clues, almost is if he or she was letting me over hear parts of a conversation.
This latest voice was female, Canadian, educated and unafraid despite the knife at her neck.
Those were the only clues she gave me, the rest I had to work out for myself.
It turned out that this woman had not crawled inside my ear so that I would understand some aspect of her arousal. Instead, it turned out that she wanted me to tell the story of a bank robbery.
I’d never had a knife against my throat before.
All my attention was on where the horribly sharp blade kissed my neck. If the guy with the ski-mask behind me pushed any harder, my flesh would part and blood would flow, then my new blouse would be ruined.
Damn, why did I pick today to wear something silk and hard to clean?
So now I knew that this was a self-possesed woman with a wry sense of humour. Now all I had to figure out was why she was there, what she wanted, and what she'd have to do to get it. That's pretty much the same for every character who talks to me.
The challenge this time was that this story needs a plot. It would have been easier, I suppose, to start with the plot and then create characters that will move it along, but I've never been able to do this. I had to think backwards from the character to the plot and then add just enough spice to both to keep me and the reader interested in what was going to happen next.
The story is called "Box 127" and you can find it here
Take a look and let me know what you think
Not every story get's written within a few days of a voice arriving in my head. Last year Remittance Girl, asked us to imagine what it would be like not to be able to be touched. The idea caught my imagination. “Untouched” is the result.
As you might expect, the man in this story has a unique "voice" - dry, urbane, and just a little bit scary - mainly because he cannot quite comprehend how strange he is.
Being a difficult character he actually gave me Part 1 of this story and Part 3 almost immediately. Part 2 is still in progress, so only Part 1 has seen the light of day so far. I believe there will be four parts in all.
Here's a sample of how our hero sees himself
It is fair to say that my sexual experience with other people has been limited. Very limited.
Arousal is not the issue. From puberty onwards my body became a lust-furnace, greedily demanding to be fuelled each day. Yet, although my mind flared with need and my eyes sucked in erotic images as if they were oxygen, it was always my own hand that stoked the flames.
I am, by preference, a wanker.
Yes, I know the politically correct response: wanking is a pejorative term, we all masturbate, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, it doesn’t define who we are, blah, blah, blah. Except, in my case, masturbation is not just the fast-food, self-service option on my sexual menu, it is my entire cuisine. It’s been more than twenty years since I last had any physical sexual contact with another person.
I'm pleased to have the voices in my head, even though it means I have to find the time to get them to the page before the noise becomes unbearable. I suppose this makes my writing a sort of metaphorical trepanning.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
As usual, I found that the best way to deal with the tangle of emotions that were strangling my happiness was to write. This attempt at poetry was the result.
(c) Mike Kimera 2010
When the wounds of the day
And the sleep-debt of the week
Tap in to my bone-deep well of sadness,
Fierce anger ignites
Bringing momentary warmth and light
At the cost of a mouthful of ashes
Afterwards, in the cooling dark
Rocking slowly back and forth
I wrap myself in a thin blanket of regret,
Mourning the delight life once brought me
Finally, in the still quiet of my exhausted mind,
Words, unbidden but welcome, flicker into being
Little fireflies of hope dancing in the dark
Dispelling gloom with evocations of past happinessand the promise that joy will rise with the sun.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
To me, a story without a reader is incomplete. I want my stories to be read. I want to *know* they are being read. I want to understand the impact of the stories on the reader. That is why I keep my stories on a website that allows comments and part of why I’m a member of the Erotic Readers and Writers Association forum.
Writing is a solitary occupation (not a lonely one - there are too many voices in my head for writing and loneliness to share a room -it's one of the reasons why I write - to keep those voices alive). It takes me weeks to get through a story unless it's one of those "channelled" stories that come from nowhere once in a while.
To keep at it, i need to fall in love with the story. I also need to be able to take the story apart and reassemble it: language, characterization, tense, point of view, plot, pace, tone, timeline etc etc. Both of these activities get me so close to the story that I am incapable of knowing how it will come across to a new reader.
Being in love with the story means I sometimes assume that more is on the page than I've actually put there (backstory that's still in my head, emotions behind the words that haven't made it to the surface, missing details of time and space that will trip the reader up). It also means I read my story with a generous heart and a knowledge of what it aspired to that I cannot expect the reader to share.
Taking the story apart sometimes means I can no longer see the whole. I can't judge the pace or the tension or the level of emotion. I believe that a story read for a second time is no longer the same story. The reader cannot "unknow" the story. Each subsequent reading changes the knowing. So taking the story apart over weeks denies me the experience that a new reader has.
Comments from readers put me in touch with the reader's experience.
No. Stop. That sounds way too academic for what I really mean.
Let me give you a very male analogy here: after the laughter of foreplay, after the fierce heat of the first deep penetration, after the slipping and sliding and groaning and biting, after the thighs tensed and the back arched and the rush of sperm stripped his mind of function for a second or two, at just the point where she is thinking of love or sleep or whether he can do it again, or how he can be done already, he has only one question that he wants to whisper in her ear: "Did you come? Did you come good?"
Stripped of the academic gloss which argues that interactive media enables a creative discourse between writer, written, read and reader, this is the egotistical question the writer-lizard wrapped around my hind-brain want to know the answer to - Did you come good?
I grew up in that "Joy of Sex" generation who poured over drawings that seemed to suggest that a man needed a beard to have good sex but which left me wondering if men washed their beards after oral sex or wore their woman's scent like a cologne - hey, I was sixteen with nothing but hormones, imagination, fear and excitement to guide me- so perhaps my second question is inevitable: "How do I make you come better?"
When I ask this question of readers I want the equivalent to "well that felt nice but if you moved your tongue up a little and used a little more pressure I'd be bouncing against your face".
When I ask this question of another writer I want the equivalent to "if you want to stay hard a little longer, put a finger, yours or hers at the base of the penis just here and press like that."
So what I want from comments ranges from: "this is how your story made me feel" through "this part of your story had my toes curling but around about here I started to compose my shopping list" through "You use language and imagery like whore with a long tongue and lots of practice but your characterization has the authenticity of a blow-up doll with a slow leak."
What comments mean to me is that someone read my stuff and took the time to tell me about what it meant to them. The generosity of that never ceases to amaze me. They help me take a fresh look at what I've written and they help me to improve my craft. Most of all, they keep me writing.
So, if you’re in a mood for commenting or even if you’re just wondering whether my writing would make you come good, pop over to Mike Kimera’s Erotic Fiction, browse the story categories and read something that brings you pleasure.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
This week's topic is "Why Does It Work" discussing examples of novels, fiction, film and stories and asking why it works or why it doesn't work. Chris Garcia invited offered me a guest slot. I've looked at my story “Photographic Memories” and talked about how I wrote it and why I think it works.
Head over to Oh Get A Grip and take a look
Sunday, April 04, 2010
The kneeling whore holds her tongue still
Letting my yellow-tinged cum
Dribble across it
Simultaneously pleasant and repellent
Not waiting to swallow, she engulfs me
The trained eagerness of her mouth
Neither reaching her eyes
Nor rousing my lust
Frictionless motion with no destination
She lets me pull back her painted face
By roughly-grasped hair
Forcing my softening sex
Will and habit warring with reality
Tongue now stiffer than the flaccid flesh it works
Her nose held against my thrusting pelvis
She waits stoically for me to recognize
What she already knows
That I am spent to the point of bankruptcy
Friday, April 02, 2010
I recently Robert Harris' latest thriller, "The Ghost”. The narrator in the novel is a ghost writer commissioned to write the autobiography of a British Prime Minister who bears a strong resemblance to Tony Blair. Like “Enigma” and “Fatherland” before it, "The Ghost" has been made into a movie. both of which were made into movies. "The Ghost" has also been made into a movie. The film is re-titled "Ghost Writer" and stars Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan. It was the last movie Polanski made before the Swiss sold him out to the Americans and arrested him at the Zürich film festival.
The book was, on the whole, a disappointment (see my review on goodreads.com) but, Harris, who was once a prominent journalist, has some interesting things to say on the process of writing and what it means to be a “real writer”.
I’d like to share three quotes with you that resonated with me.
“Of all human activities, writing is the one for which it is easiest to find an excuse not to begin – the desk’s too big, the desk’s too small, there’s too much noise, there’s too much quiet, it’s too hot, too cold, too early, too late. I had learned over the years to ignore them all, and simply to start.”
This is something that I think all of us who try to write will identify with. There are times (usually when I have no time) when nothing will stop me writing, but give me deadline and suddenly all other forms of human activity are more easily engaged with than writing.
“A book unwritten is a delightful universe of infinite possibilities. Set down one word, however, and immediately it becomes earth bound. Set down one sentence and it’s halfway to becoming just like every other bloody book that’s ever been written. But the best must never be allowed to drive out the good. In the absence of genius there is always craftsmanship. One can at least try to write something which will arrest the reader’s attention – which will encourage them, after reading the first paragraph, to take a look at the second, and then the third.”
The goal of leading the reader from one paragraph to the next and keeping their attention, seems to me to be a worthy one and not always easy to achieve. I'm writing a longer piece of Victorian Erotica at the moment and my constant anxiety is "Is the reader still with me"
“I was still smarting at the crack about not being a proper writer. Perhaps I’m not. I’ve never composed poetry, it’s true. I don’t write sensitive explorations of my adolescent angst. I have no opinion on the human condition, except perhaps, that it’s best not examined too closely. I see myself as the literary equivalent of a skilled lathe-operator, or a basket weaver; a potter, maybe: I make mildly diverting objects that people want to buy.”
This frank and disarming statement made me think about how I would describe myself using the same metaphor.
I write little bits of erotica. I try to do it well. I try to pack some truth in there and make it memorable. I try to reach people's emotions and have my characters take up residence in their heads, at least for a little while.
I see myself as a cabinet-maker, working slowly by hand, to produce objects that people are initially attracted to because of what they do and which they come back to because they value the craftsmanship.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
When I started this story, I was in too dark a mood to continue the story of Mrs Prendergast and her offer of enlightenment. I decided she would have to wait.
I was having one of those death-ridden days when I wished I was a theist, but the only spirits that moved me were the ones who came and whispered their stories in my ear.
This story began with the voice of a woman saying “He always starts by brushing my hair.”
She wouldn't go away, so I started to write.
I initially thought she would lead me into a story of dominance and submission. The working title was "The Bone Cage" and was meant to be about how she transcended the constraints of her mortal flesh.
As I wrote, the story started to change. Firstly the female narrator was a stronger, more up-beat person that I'd imagined. Secondly the man in the story demanded a name. "He" was no longer good enough, he wanted to be a character in his own right and not just a foil to make the woman more interesting. I christened him "Owen" and suddenly I had a tale about a couple. My mood lightened and instead of a gloomy doom-laden story, I produced a piece that is about a small woman and a large man who are fascinated with each other.
I put the piece through the writers' workshop at the Erotic Readers and Writers Association - (ERWA - a great list if you want to improve your writing - you can join here). The feedback on the list was that I'd written a love story. This was a first for me, so I was a little bit surprised, especially as the word "love" is never mentioned, but I read it again and discovered that they were right.
So, if you want to add a little love to your life, drop in at Clean Sheets and read "Sex With Owen".
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Do not select a gadget called "Amazon Cloud" as a widget in the gadget section of Blogger. Although it's available via the blogger site, it is actually malware that redirects your visitors to a different site (who knows what else it does)
This malware plays upon the fact that you can't delete a page element in Layout without going into Edit. Edit triggers the divert before you can delete the gadget.
The only way I found around this was to find the widget in the HTML and delete it there.
It's a know issue at Blogger but it still pisses me off. Here's the address of the webpage I got diverted to. If anyone out there knows a way to send these guys a server-killing virus, you'd be doing the blogsphere a favour.
The next part of this piece of Victorian-era erotic is now up on my story site. In this chapter, Tom Thornton discovers what it means to be "purified" before the ceremony that promises him enlightenment
You can find the story here
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Ket me know what you think.
Flasher: Unoriginal Sin
© Mike Kimera 2010
There was a time
When my flesh saluted every young girl
Who smiled at me
Or absent-mindedly lifted her hair off her neck
Or rested a pencil on her plump lower lip
When all my blood raced for one woman
With dark, serious eyes
Who saw who I was and chose me anyway
Opening herself like a flower beneath a bee
When laughter was the soundtrack to our sex
Every bed, sofa, and table
Risked collapse under the weight of raucous ruts
That left us inextricably entwined
There came a time when
My lust-noose tightened for the forbidden
Flesh I had no right to knowledge of
Offered ripe and ready and without restraint
Swallowing me whole and leaving us broken
My heart held tight to forgiveness
Unspoken and undeserved
Dispensed with gentle touches and sad smiles
That left me drowning in her hurt-filled eyes
My mind marveled that my body could betray
All that made it sing
For some moments of intense release
That were not escape but panicked flight
My atheist soul whispers a prayer of praise
For strong, tenacious, abused love
That held me when I let go of myself
And daily grants me redemption
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
It's about a young Colonial Administrator, on his last night of Home Leave in London, who is introduced to a woman with a mysterious gift.
"Had it not been for a chance meeting with Carstairs on the steps of his club, I might have left London without incident and returned the Colonial Civil Service with a greater quietude of mind than that which I was subsequently able to achieve. But tranquillity is not all of life. Chance led me to Carstairs, who brought me to Mrs. Prendergast and her acolytes. She opened my eyes to a world that I had previously only brushed against blindly in half remembered dreams and I remain thankful to her for that."
I had intended this to be about 3,000 words or so but I hadn't reckoned with the pace of Victorian life. I think I've gotten inside the head of the narrator but in doing so I've discovered that he is not to be rushed. This means that the story is likely to be in three or four pieces and becomes almost a novella.
The first two pieces are written and the third is on its way.
You can find the first part on my story site here. I'll post the second part in the next few days.
I'd be delighted if you let me have your comments on the story on my site.
Friday, January 22, 2010
Words come to me when I have no time, when I'm under pressure, when I'm tired, when I'm locked in a plane, or trapped in an airport. They race across my mind like bitches in heat, willing to be caught but determined to make me work for it.
Words do not come to me when I clear my desk and my mind and set aside time to write. Then I have to go to them. I seek them like a dog looking for rabbits in an empty field. I work at it, poking my nose into one empty rabbit hole after another. When I'm tired, and almost out of time the words will pop up out a hole I've already looked in, right on the edge of my vision, and make me chase them with what little energy if have left.
Sometimes, when I have left the chase behind and turned my mind to real life, words will come to me in dreams, pouring themselves across my consciousness like spilt ink. To catch them I must wake swiftly and work hard and at the end it seems to me that the best of them escape to haunt me another day.
I may never write a catch enough words to write a novel but I have learnt that I will always be chasing words
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tonight I am more than a little drunk.
This is an unusual condition for me; my control needs are normally stronger than my desire for alcohol.
Tonight marks the end of several too-long days in the service of winning business through the display of words, finely tuned to bring a carefully balanced sense of warmth and opportunity, threat and courage, challenge and achievement to our clients. I have been spinning proposals the way a spider spins silken thread from her arse. I am tired, a little ill and in much need of energy and joy.
In a few days, I will be fifty three. I've been doing consultancy of one kind or another for sixteen years. On the whole it was a mistake – too many nights away from home – too much time spent spinning dreams others will live, too much commitment to something I do only because I'm good at it and it pays well.
If I could go back to my thirty seven year old self, yet to embark on a consulting career, what would I say?
The answer seems simple to me now: there is no business goal that merits missing a night in my wife's bed.
I do not normally drink. Does this mean that the truth is not normally mine to hold or does it mean that normally I lie to myself with enough skill to live with the compromises that have shaped my life?
Tonight I shirked my duty. I should have been at dinner with my team in the heart of Brussels, making them feel valued and special. Inspiring them to strive harder. Validating their belief that what they do matters. But I have been mildly ill since the beginning of the year, I have not had enough sleep, I'd just learnt that my father in law, who I have known for thirty four years and who is fading fast from cancer but suffering more from the dignity-robbing blight of dementia, has lost the top of his thumb courtesy of a slamming door in the facility we thought would grant him safety and care.
So, I shirked my duties as a leader and did what I always do under this kind of pressure, I took my self and my book (Jim Butcher's “High Lord's Fury”) to an Italian restaurant.
I love Italy. It is all the things I am not: friendly, expansive, family orientated, passionate, certain of its own endurance. It also has the best cuisine in the world.
The UN should declare Italian restaurants to be world heritage sites. Wherever I travel, I seek them out. I look for small places, where the tables are too close together, where Italian is the mother tongue, where the ping of the microwave is never heard and where peasant cookery is treated with the respect that so much haute cuisine does not deserve.
To me, Italian restaurants are refuge, a place where I am welcome, where being a vegetarian is not an issue, where the food fills the belly, refreshes the spirit, and stuffs the heart to bursting with a sense of being home.
Then there is the wine. Nothing, absolutely nothing, matches the intensity of Italian wine: Amaroni, Vino Noble, Brunello de Montepullciano, all are works of magic that prove that passion can be bottled.
Tonight I went to a small Italian restaurant in Waterloo, in the French speaking part of Belgium. I had a minestrone made from scratch from whatever vegetables where left over from yesterday and a penned al pesto where the spinach is fresh and the aroma is enough to make me sigh with pleasure.
I tried to order three decilitres of Montepullciano but they only had bottled wine available and I settled for a bottle of Tuscan wine. Two things were bad news about it: it told me only that it was bottled in Tuscany but not where in Tuscany. The Tuscan are fiercely and rightly proud of their wines. Normally I would know which vineyard the wine came from and whether or not it was worthy of being a reserva. To know only that it was Tuscan was to tell me it was strong, cheap and suitable only for foreigners. The second thing that was wrong with it was that it was a 2009 wine. This means that it was at least three years too young to be worth drinking.
I sampled it. Raw, intense, ragged around the edges and completely lacking in sophistication. It matched my mood so I drank the bottle. Alone. Even with a litre of water, this is more than I would ever consume on a normal day.
The harsh vibrance of the wine blended perfectly with plain, solid confidence of the food. I started to feel as if life was, on the whole, better than the alternative, and that tomorrow might prove interesting enough to be worth living through.
I was also completely and passionately convinced that the book I was reading was profound and that crying while reading it was a sign of my own humanity.
The older, well only slightly older than me, couple who had carefully not commented on the fact that I was drinking a whole bottle of not very good wine by myself, left the too-close-to-me table next to mine and were replaced by two women in their twenties They were French Belgians: thick dark hair, long symmetrical faces, broad shoulders, narrow waisted and relatively short. They ignored me completely, which showed good judgement, and engaged one another in a conversation that spoke of strength and confidence and long familiarity.
I like watching women together. I don't mean in the porno girl-on-girl action to get the men hot kind of way (although it is impossible to resist -,let's face it, men ruin porn). To have two women doing everything a man could do only with more grace and a lot more sex appeal, what could be better?
I like watching women because it seems to me, in my present drunken state, that I understand more of how women interact, what they expect of each other and what they are willing to offer each other than I do men.
Men have always puzzled me. I rarely know what they want or why and how they want it.
I think I have some form of guy-dyslexia. Men look at me in a way that clearly has some meaning for them but which leaves me baffled. When I was young, high cheekbones and slim, a proportion of those looks were offers to have have sex. Now that I'm older, wider and look more like a thug, those kinds of looks have dropped away and I'm left only with those “you know what I'm talking about” looks that I have no frame of reference for.
So what veritas did I get from my vino? Firstly I need a job where I can go home at night; secondly, that I would prefer to sit silently among women than be in the company of men; and finally, that 2009 Tuscan wines are much stronger than you might expect and cause you to spew words at your keyboard that you have no ability to evaluate.
Friday, January 01, 2010
Have you ever seen the dry stone walls that divide the fields in the North of England? There's an art to building them. Each stone is a diffent size and shape. No mortor is used and the stones are not cut or reworked. The trick is to lay the stones in such a way that they fit together in a patterb that allows their weight to add strength to the wall.
Although the walls are sturdy, sometimes they will start to sag either because of the slow but inexorable action of the rain and the wind or because some external event puts them under pressure. When this happens, the wall can't just be patched up, it has to be completely rebuilt. The stones have to be rearranged. The strength-giving pattern has to be re-established taking into account the changes in the stones over time.
It seems to me that my life is like a dry stone wall. I've built it with the materials that I had to hand and I've tried to make it as strong as I can.
In 2008 I realized that the pattern of my life had shifted. Stones that who's weight had once added strength had slipped so that all they brought was a pressure that put the wall at risk.
So I've been rebuilding. As part of this process, I put my writing and my Mike Kimera persona to one side.
Now I find myself with the "Mike Kimera's Erotic Fiction" stone in my hand and needing to decide what to do with it.
I realized that I couldn't discard it. It's not just that I need to write, it's that I value what I've already written (at least some of it) so, with help from a friend who's good at this stuff, I've set up a site on WordPress.com to hold Mike Kimera's stories. I thought this might be enough but it turned out I was wrong. I have stories in my head, some new, some that have been around for a while, that won't leave my imagination alone.
It seems that writing erotic fiction is still going to be a sizeable stone in my wall. I just have to put it in the right place.
I've bought myself a little netbook that I will use only for writing. I've put time aside to be Mike Kimera. I've rejoined ERWA. I've started to write again.
I'm aware that this is a stone with sharp edges. I will still write under a nom de plume. I will still not share what I write with those who know me, not even those who love me. But I will not let this be a source of shame. I'll just accept it as part of the shape of this stone.
On the other hand, I am keen to here from those of you who read my stories. I want to know what you think of them and how they affect you. That's why I selected WordPress rather than continuing to post stories here. Please take a look at the site "Mike Kmera's Erotic Fiction" and feel free to leave comments on any of the stories.
I will continue to use this blog and I will place the links to new stories here.
Happy New Year to all of you.