Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature (I)

Standard

erotic_art

Erotica: An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature (I), by William Wallace & Charlotte Hill (Amazon, Goodreads)

===

To a more cultured/discerning mind, erotica isn’t “literate porn” that’s cheap and obscene and meant to generate profits via arousal in the reader.

I like to promote quality erotica (where artistic aspects are a factor, which means beauty and/or some level of substance are inclusive), and this book is one of the best that I have (covers both visual art and erotic literature).

And I’d recommend this anthology to anyone interested in being introduced to the world of erotic art!

This book was/is worth every penny — the best parts of the book are:

1) the blend/presentation of pieces of erotic art, alongside excerpts of the finest literary erotica in the history of publishing/the written word

2) the scope of the selected works (which span over 2000 years of both Eastern and Western cultures)

I have a few other erotic anthologies (which are mostly either art, or textually-focused), and this is the one that I repeatedly re-read and/or go back to. It’s an excellent resource book (if you’re wondering which “great erotic author to check out next”), and there have been several times where I can attribute first seeing/knowing about a particular piece of sexual art to this book [such as “a Chinese nineteenth-century rosewood toilet box (with eleven concealed miniatures),” “Coloured wood-cuts by Utamaro,” “(the very beautiful) charcoal drawings by the artist known as ‘AL'”].

All of the paintings are erotic/sensual, as opposed to pornographic/degrading (with regards to both sexes in all sorts of sexual positions/situations). In this way, they are more representative/interpretative than offensive (and they’re certainly not offensive in an aesthetic sense).

The book is exactly what its subtitle says: “An Illustrated Anthology of Sexual Art and Literature.” I may have suggested adding the adjective “Fine,” before “Sexual Art and Literature,” if I were part of the editorial board for this anthology. I’d even have considered calling it “The Definitive” anthology/edition (…of Sexual Art & Literature) :)!

Books II and III in this series feature more visuals and prose that stimulate, educate, amuse, and engage. The authors/editors have exquisite taste, which shows in the selections they have included in this first anthology. I hope to check out the other two books in the series sometime in the near future.

P.S. In my “preview post,” WP repeated the first paragraph at the end of the post. I’ll leave the repeated section for emphasis, which is:

To a more cultured/discerning mind, erotica isn’t “literate porn” that’s cheap and obscene and meant to generate profits via arousal in the reader.

Casino Royale

Standard

casino royale

Casino Royale (the first James Bond novel) was written by Ian Fleming, largely from his own experiences and imagination; he also devised the artwork for the original cover.

I’m currently reading Casino Royale — one of the first things I liked was the fast pace and simple but eloquent language. There’s also a lot of dry wit and Ian Fleming’s attention to detail is astounding! I think a lot of these details were lost in the movie version starring Daniel Craig (not because of Craig’s acting, but because of radical story and character changes).

“You must forgive me,” he said. “I take ridiculous pleasure in what I eat and drink. It comes partly from being a bachelor, but mostly from a habit of taking a lot of trouble over details. It’s very pernickety and old maidish really, but then when I’m working I generally have to eat my meals alone and it makes them more interesting when one takes trouble.”
~ Casino Royale, Ian Fleming

Here’s a core difference between book-Bond and movie-Bond. And it’s one of perception. It’s just assumed that Bond is a snob about clothes, food, drink…everything. Actually, he’s a planner and works things out to the finest detail, in his work and private life.

My copy of Casino Royale shows a James Bond silhouette on a simple navy blue background with red and yellow text. The above is the book cover of the first edition.

I think wise sayings DO hold true, so I actually do subscribe to the idiom “don’t judge a book by its cover.” A long-lasting type of satisfaction can be derived from valuing substance > image + quick money + popularity.

===

john ruskin

The Elements of Drawing, by John Ruskin

“And I’m giving them dreadful elementary exercises at Oxford which they mew and howl over, and are forced to do, nevertheless…”
~ John Ruskin

I first started drawing around age 16 (late) — I remember going through several drawing books (the “how to draw/paint” types). I also remember a distinct sense of frustration — there was just something about the books that I felt I was “failing” to “get,” understand, and/or truly learn.

The only drawing book that was a lifechanger was John Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing. It’s a tough book to read. Ruskin makes the reader/student do some truly tedious exercises (such as very light and very fine cross-hatches that could drive even a patient person insane), and I think I took about 5 years (off and on) to actually read the book cover to cover.

I haven’t drawn much this year (too busy with writing), though I’ve lately had some time/energy/interest to fiddle around with drawing again.

I’ve concentrated on pens/pencils for some time. At the start, I used to get very confused with shading and lighting. I think I’m finally beginning to make some progress in that department, so I’ll continue to practice drawing diligently. I like to draw birds and people the most, though I occasionally switch to landscape/scenery/architecture because those are nice too.

I think the difference in Ruskin’s book is that he doesn’t really teach you “how” to draw (in terms of a step-by-step “technique” or method). He trains you to use your eyes and be observant and appreciative of nature. He also trains you to “dirty the paper delicately” (Ruskin said that “all art is but dirtying the paper delicately” in The Elements of Drawing).

savannah tree

turret

The above two drawings were done in pencil (my personal preference is mechanical pencil for the details). I’ll try some nudes soon.

I post some drawings on my deviantART account — I’ve always liked drawing because I find it calms the mind ^^.

I think I’ll stay a perpetual student when it comes to art/writing/drawing/etc. I think one learns more that way.

Post-Literate Society

Standard

knock offs

[Pic from Obsolete Gamer]

I did a Google search for “fan fiction knock-offs” and came across the following post: Amazon’s Kindle Price Punking | Mike Cane’s Blog.

I noticed the following quote in the original post:

I don’t know where the hell real writers go from here.

And the following comment in the comments section:

“Real” writers, that is, professional, competent scribes with impeccable syntax and a proven devotion to the printed word, will cease to exist. We’re heading for a “post-literate” future…that’s what some of the wannabes out there are insisting when they’re taken to task for their juvenile, inept scribbling. Phooey on stuff like good spelling, graceful sentence structure and all that muck (they say). Fan fiction rules the day, knock-offs of popular franchises, erotic fantasies of non-penetrative sex with a vampire.

Welcome to the New Age, populated by morons with only a superficial knowledge of anything outside their favorite vanity mirror.

Followed by a later comment:

I find that “among illiterates” Canetti quotation particularly vicious, and bearing little relation to reality.

It’s the kind of thing a boot-licking intellectual would use to put down people who, for all their foibles, are generally more sincere.

Speaking for myself and “in my own experience” ONLY (throughout this blog post) — I think both sides of the spectrum hold true. ‘Both sides’ referring to those who care about good art, and those who don’t.

A post-literate society can be defined as a hypothetical society in which multimedia technology has advanced to the point where literacy, the ability to read or write, is no longer necessary or common.

I do think we have “progressed” to being a post-literate society, but I also think that art (like humanity) has the power/capacity to evolve.

I don’t think despair and aggravation alone are going to solve anything. I used to be quite cynical in the past, till I started making a conscious effort to put my ego aside to see what it is I really wanted — and would like to — accomplish with my life and work.

I’ve stopped fighting “the artist” in me (it’s something that’s always going to be there, no matter what). Life is never easy for an artist. But I’ve never wanted to die a penniless artist, so I continue to view the whole situation as an interesting challenge for me to “keep up” with society, while still staying true to my inner artist.

The literacy level of society may change. The technological aspects of society may be different across various eras. The popular fads change and are replaced by new disposable fads.

But I think the underlying aspects of humanity remain the same (i.e. everything that the 7 deadly sins and 7 virtues cover).

For the artist in me, I derive fulfillment from engaging something that matters to a person on a deeper level. I truly believe people have become tools of “consumerism,” which is a perspective which perhaps allows me to operate with both sensibility and compassion (I work well with opposing forces).

The wrong (superficiality) has become right (the norm). That doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for humanity (quite the contrary, in fact).

Literacy represents the lifelong, intellectual process of gaining meaning from print. I think the real writers (those who write for some kind of purpose other than to make money) may have to shake off their attachment to the label of “real writer” so as to better be able to “infiltrate”/engage via a route/method that suits a post-literate climate. This way, the focus goes back to society on the whole (and what people hunger for on a deeper level — not on the level they’ve been made to believe “is right” as a result of the mass media + consumer capitalism).

Good art resonates with some innate truth. And it can’t, if the focus is on the artist’s ego, at the expense of a message that could be delivered to others. Yes, technicality and skill will always be important to an artist. But that shouldn’t be the sole area of focus, for the sake of being able to call oneself a “real writer/artist/etc.”

It takes talent to engage others, whether on a superficial or deeper level. I just happen to be more interested in the latter :) After all, bad art is forgotten by the viewer in the amount of time that it takes to look at something else.

Steve Jobs’ Advice

Standard

steve jobs

[Young Steve Jobs | Zillionarts]

I recently came across a very nice post by Kelly at The Maximum Customer Experience blog.

The post was inspired by the following quote:

I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.
— Steve Jobs (BusinessWeek interview)

Here’s what Kelly learned from Mr. Jobs, the iconic leader-guru of Apple Computer:

How to be like Steve? Just Don’t Do It!

Don’t go for the easy short-term dollars over long-term loyalty.

Don’t compromise quality to follow fads.

Don’t complicate your message.

Don’t overthink.

Don’t overdesign.

Don’t underprice.

Don’t make decisions by committee.

Don’t walk forward while looking over your shoulder at the competition.

Don’t pay staff one penny less than your company’s growth is worth to you.

Don’t abandon a fresh idea when you know the customer is ready for it—find a better way to communicate it.

Don’t scream when speaking plainly will do.

Don’t pay for flounces.

Don’t give up.

===

5 Oct 2011: RIP Steve Jobs | http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/10/jobs/ | “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Author Interview, RJ Palmer

Standard

Author Interview #30, with science fiction/psychological thriller writer, RJ Palmer!

* * * * *

Hi RJ! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Wife and mother of three.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Birthright is a science fiction and psychological thriller with surreal overtones.

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” intoned the soft, sonorous voice of the preacher reciting the timeless last prayer, jerking her abruptly from her sweet memories of a bright and happy past and depositing her unceremoniously back into the present and the bleak, lonely future that yawned before her.

Dragging her eyes down again to the cold marble headstone that stood stark reminder at the foot of the grave she whispered, “Goodbye, Raine,” and turned away, burying her girlhood dreams with the love of her life.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

My absolute favorite, most respected author is Dean Koontz bar none. The following is from a series of his about Odd Thomas and is among my favorite of his collections:

“MY NAME IS ODD THOMAS, THOUGH IN THIS AGE WHEN fame is the altar at which most people worship, I am not sure why you should care who I am or that I exist.

I am not a celebrity. I am not the child of a celebrity. I have never been married to, never been abused by, and never provided a kidney for transplantation into any celebrity. Furthermore, I have no desire to be a celebrity.”

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

The two are impossible to compare because honestly they’re about as alike as night and day. Both of them revolve around my work though one is far easier and more natural to me. The writing just happens from my point of view while the publication process has to be well thought out and planned accordingly.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

If it evokes emotion, even if that emotion is negative it has to have something going for it because one thing you don’t want in writing is ambivalence. In both the writing and the reading there has to be emotion else a story falls flat and since I’m a bit of a melodramatic soul, it has to have spice and flavor.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Be true to who you are because I know that the easiest trap into which you can fall is becoming so involved in trying to please everyone else that you lose sight of the love of writing that got you started in the first place. I’m not saying disregard constructive criticism or refuse to listen to sage advice, I’m saying don’t try to be the most popular author out there, be you and the rest will fall into place.

Great advice! Please let us know your websites/blogs/etc:

My Blog: http://rjpalmer.blogspot.com

Birthright is available on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords.

* * * * *

Much thanks to RJ Palmer for stopping by! Be sure to check out her blog for more info about her and the sci-fi thriller, Birthright ;)

Author Interview, Morgen Bailey

Standard

morgen bailey

Author Interview #29, with super-multi-genre (and multi-tasker) UK writer, Morgen Bailey!

* * * * *

Hi Morgen! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Live and breathe writing fiction.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

The footsteps are on the stairs now; painfully slow… he knows you can hear them and he likes to torture, only this time you’re not going to be the victim. A floorboard creaks and he laughs. It’s not the laugh you remember from the early days but a low, almost sub-human sound. He claps his hands together, slow, methodical, like applauding a concert pianist. You’re the one he’s listening to but the only sound you’re making isn’t audible to him. You swallow and your ears pop; a child-like sound drowning out your heartbeat – a brief distraction, like a fly buzzing around an empty room.

(I write anything that appeals, although it’s usually dark or humour; two extremes. And I especially love second person)

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

I’m a BIG fan of short stories and loved Kate Atkinson’s quirky ‘Not the End of the World’ collection:

If Eddie could have chosen, he would have been a fish. A large fish without enemies, free to spend all day swimming lazily amongst the reeds and rushes in clear, blood-cold water. His mother, June, said not to worry, he was halfway there already, with his mouth hanging open all the time like a particularly dull-witted amphibian, not to mention the thick lenses of his spectacles that made his eyes bulge like a haddock’s.

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing is the thrilling aspect for me, never knowing in advance exactly what is going to come out until I start writing. Once it’s out and edited (usually 3-4 times) then the hard work begins… and usually semi-ends with a rejection slip, although I’m fairly rubbish at sending things out – I only have 27 rejections vs 8 acceptances, although I don’t do badly in competitions.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Concise, plot-forwarding, imaginative without ‘telling’ too much.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Read, have passion and never give up. (sorry that’s three :))

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My website is http://morgenbailey.com and blog is http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com and they both have links for my Twitter, Facebook, Bailey’s Writing Tips podcast and other stuff I’m involved in (blog interviews, Radio Litopia etc).

* * * * *

Much thanks to Morgen Bailey for stopping by!

Check out her website for all the various projects she is happily busy with ;)

Check out Morgen’s guest posts on Crime Writing and her Debut Novel.

* * *

Author Interview, A.P. Fuchs

Standard

Author Interview #28, with “writer, artist publisher guy,” A.P. Fuchs!

* * * * *

Hi A.P.! Describe yourself in 5 words:

Christian, writer, artist publisher guy.

Share a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words):

Kissing Rose was like kissing blood: warm, smooth, sweet; a gentleness to her lips that made Zach cry out for more. When their lips met, his heart held hers and she his; her life flashed before his eyes and he knew her better than she knew herself.

As their lips playfully melded, separated, merged, he held her close, his embrace gentle and careful, yet firm enough so she knew he’d never let go. Her arms wrapped tightly around his neck, he sensed that if it was possible, she’d pull him deep into herself and make their bodies one. Instead, Rose’s hands tugged behind his neck, her fingers stroking its nape, letting him know how much she loved him.

Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):

From Stephen King’s On Writing:

“Talent renders the whole idea of rehearsal meaningless; when you find something at which you are talented, you do it (whatever it is) until your fingers bleed or your eyes are ready to fall out of your head. Even when no one is listening (or reading, or watching), every outing is a bravura performance, because you as the creator are happy. Perhaps even ecstatic.”

(This pretty much sums up my creative lifestyle — note from A. P. Fuchs)

Comment on the writing versus publication process, in your experience:

Writing the book is easy. You just do it. Getting it ready for publication is the hard part, that is, turning the story from your first draft upchuck into something palatable for the reader. From there, taking that finished story and turning it into a paperback or eBook is just a matter of formatting, which is a lot of fun.

What is your definition of “good writing”?

Whether fancy or simple, good writing is simply storytelling that makes you forget you’re reading and instead transports you into whatever’s happening on the page, Holodeck-style.

Please share your #1 tip for writers:

Perseverance.

Your websites/blogs/etc:

My personal website/blog, which I update 5 days a week, is: http://www.canisterx.com

I can be followed on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/ap_fuchs

My publishing company, Coscom Entertainment, where we focus on monster and superhero fiction, is at http://www.coscomentertainment.com, and its Christian imprint, Torn Veil Books, is at http://www.tornveilbooks.com

Coscom Entertainment can be followed on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/mrcoscom

* * * * *

Much thanks to A.P. Fuchs for the chat! Check out the Blood of My World series (Discovery of Death, Memories of Death, and Life of Death).