DAY 19 – Book that turned you on

My biggest fear here is that I may come across as a prude. I have never read any Mills and Boon (a fact that I’m proud to admit), Danielle Steel or any other famous romance novel for that matter.

I once attempted to read one of those ‘penny-dreadful’ (my own term) erotic novels only to descend, 5 minutes later, into fits of laughter. Hardly a turn-on.
I’m of the firm belief that when it comes to sex in any art-form, less is more. The less graphic it is, the more exciting it tends to be. The power of suggestion and the power of the imagination are completely underrated, which is why gratuitous scenes in books, debase themselves to farcical proportions with its aim lost to the reader. Unless the reader has no brains or imagination off course.

Written in 1872, Carmilla predates Dracula by 25+ years and is described as the first lesbian vampire story.

Getting back to the topic…

My choice here is based on a memory going back more than 10 years. When I picked up Carmilla, I was very young and this choice is influenced by my initial reaction to reading this novella. I don’t remember the exact details of the story but I do know the gist of it and recollect these two very important facts:
1) I recall admiring Le Fanu’s style of writing and 2) I remember giggling like a virginal school girl who has yet to be given the ‘Birds and Bees’ talk.

As a juvenile-minded young teenager I found certain passages to be highly suggestive. Suggestively lesbian that is. Yes, Carmilla is a vampire whose only victims are young pretty girls. I’m sure Sappho would have loved this book.
Because I read this book so long ago, I wondered if my reaction now as an adult would be the same as back then. Would it still be so hot? Or would it be as erotic as a picture of a puppy?
Unfortunately because I had borrowed this book from the library, I don’t have a copy of my own. Thankfully we have the internet. Searching the net I found this passage:

Sometimes after an hour of apathy, my strange and beautiful companion would take my hand and hold it with a fond pressure, renewed again and again; blushing softly, gazing in my face with languid and burning eyes, and breathing so fast that her dress rose and fell with the tumultuous respiration. It was like the ardour of a lover; it embarrassed me; it was hateful and yet over-powering; and with gloating eyes she drew me to her, and her hot lips travelled along my cheek in kisses…

I can hear a few men screaming “More! More!” Sorry boys that was it.

Okay, so not exactly PG18 material, but it’s still hot in its own way. Or is it? What do you think? Was I being young and naïve back then? Or is this enough to make a straight gal question her sexuality?
Hmmm I wonder……

NM 😀

Muses, Vampires And Just Plain Boredom

I’ve been offline for almost 2 weeks now due to my Internet contract expiring. I had to wait to get connected again, hence my long absence. Believe it or not there is one good thing about not having the Internet at home: you get loads more done than you would have normally, even if you didn’t mean to.
Dancing around to J-Lo’s Papi like a crazy clubber high on E might not be considered productive in any way, but I did start a new short story. And what a start it was.

In between the hectic dance moves and the dreary ennui (otherwise known as no internet) an idea struck me; or rather it pervaded my thoughts and inspired me long after the fact.
Most writers refer to this sort of thing as the ‘awakening of the Muse’ or whatever. But as far as I’m concerned this was no Muse. The Muse is like sudden divine inspiration, a remnant of some arcane piece of Hermetic wisdom that’s being passed down from higher powers, vertically filtering itself through a light tube into the top of your head.
This idea of mine was not the result of the Muse. It was more the result of a daydream gone astray. The Muses call for action. Daydreams call for…well just that, daydreaming.

Hours had passed. Hours that most would have been considered a waste. I brought myself back to consciousness just before the daydream turned farcical and nonsensical, and instead of just pondering about it, I decided to turn it into a story.
Usually for me an idea comes in a flash, in a moment of minute clarity. In this case, the spark came not in the form an idea but in the actual thought that this might make a cool story; the idea seemed to be there already, stewing.
As a result the story was easy to write. Within 2 days I outlined, drafted and began writing it and now with only a week having passed, I’m two-thirds of the way to completing it. For those couple of days I was working at such a frenzied pace I was convinced that my brain was high on… (okay, now I’m convinced our local municipality is adding Ecstacy tablets into our drinking water!)
Anyway I thought it was fun to reflect on how moments of sheer boredom can actually result in some thing creative.

Carmilla likes getting to know her lady-friends. Illustration by DH Friston, 1872

By the way, did I mention that this new story is about vampires? I made a promise a long time ago that I would avoid writing about vampires (Bride of Corinth doesn’t count as I had rehashed an already established legend). Not because I have no interest in them, on the absolute contrary. They are the stars of the horror genre and it’s purely out of respect that I refuse to write a vampire tale. The days of Le Fanu and Stoker are over.

But here I sit eating my words, disgusted at my own audacity to think that I can pull off a brilliant piece of work like Carmilla.
Well I’m here to tell you that it ain’t no Carmilla (sorry about the double negative, I’m trying to make a grand statement here). And while Peter Haining will never consider it for any of his anthologies, I’ve enjoyed writing it and that I suppose is what really matters.

And if nobody likes it, I’ll just blame it on the drinking water.

NM 🙂