Reflections on Writing and The Past Year

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* Note: Slightly Rambling Blog Post *

Hello Readers,

I’ve not written a personal blog post in quite some time, but thought I’d write one to share some thoughts I’ve had with writing/publishing/blogging and my other interests.

2014 was the first year I spent more time reading and writing non-fiction. This happened as I continued noticing a gradual (and sometimes, not-so-gradual) decline in eBook sales.

My heart has never been in commercial fiction, and it probably never will be. For that reason, I am unlikely to continue eBooks publishing as a business (because as a business, it’s commercial forces one has to consistently observe and adapt to). I have some other personal reasons for no longer having the drive for writing fiction as I used to several years ago when I first ventured into digital publishing.

Towards the end of last year, I had a very strong need to switch directions entirely in terms of profession. I’ve listed some of the things I’ve been / am involved with on my about.me page. It’s a refreshing change and I’m grateful for the new work experiences. I like doing things that have some level of originality/innovation/analysis, and I felt indie publishing was not the right place for me anymore.

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‘Reflection’ photo by Arthur Davison, used under a CC License.

I should add that I almost gave up my interest in socio-political blogging for the sake of a close friendship/relationship (let’s just say that my views were “very divergent” from the other person’s). Regardless of the topic, my personal belief is that people who respect each other would be able to sort out their differences. At the end of the day, I concur with activist Brooke Axtell, who said during the 2015 Grammys:

“Authentic love does not devalue another human being.”
(– activist Brooke Axtell)

To me, a friendship/relationship isn’t worth it if either person feels no guilt/shame/remorse in belittling or disparaging the other person, because they disagree with the other’s views and sentiments. (Perhaps this is partly due to the “Venus Scorpio” in me that highly values self-respect and mutual respect.)

I guess quitting self-publishing (or “turning my professional attention elsewhere” for the time-being) gave me an additional sense of closure to that whole chapter in my life. It just felt like everything had reached a dead-end and that it was time for me to try something new, on both the personal and professional level.

That being said, I’ll always like writing, so you’ll see some of my copyediting material online this year along with socio-political blogging book reviews when I can get down to it (once my current schedule has settled in a little bit more). Writing socio-political blog posts helped me access an “analytical” side of my mind I hadn’t really accessed before, which is why I’m keen to continue those independent/unsponsored blog posts.

I’m thankful for the readers/customers I’ve had and heard from over the years, particularly the readers of my earlier erotic material. I guess that’s a part of my life I’m leaving behind too, in a way (since my early erotic fiction was largely due to my own sexual neuroses!).

I appreciate others’ appreciation of my writing — somehow it feels like that will be something which will inspire me with future projects I get up to. It gives me a sense of comfort/satisfaction to know that my efforts were not completely wasted on meaningless things, since I like to focus on one thing at a time and give my all to it if I’m passionate about something.

I guess my main website (jessINK) may “morph” over the next few years, to reflect my personal interests and projects I’m involved with along the way. I initially branded myself as an “author/artist/non-conformist,” a label I’ve since updated to “writer/blogger/analyst” (the practical Virgo in me loves anything of an “analytical” nature…).

Side Note: It is also this practical Virgo in me that keeps me from enjoying the label/lifestyle of “starving artist” (a label my artistic Pisces moon doesn’t quite mind)…I guess I have a rough idea re: career path (I do best with something that combines creative and analytical skills).

Have you had a similar experience where you just felt you needed to drop (almost) everything and try/do something new? Send me a note via email! (I’m keeping the comments ‘off’ on this post in the spirit of intimacy/privacy.)

Stay happy and healthy in the meantime.

— Jess.

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Happify

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1. Interview

I did an interview for Open Brief on “Erotica in Singapore” — click on the link to check it out!

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2. Happify

I had an email from one of the co-founders of Happify to take part in their beta-testing. The description of the website piqued my interest (“Happify is a NYC based company with a vision to bring the science of happiness to mass market in an entirely new way”).

The quizzes can be quite addictive (I took a lot of the personality quizzes back when www.emode.com was still around).

I was clicking around the “social gratitude” section.

These were the instructions for a quick exercise titled “Savor the Small Stuff”:

Are you savoring an incredible meal, a hike through the woods, or a gorgeous sunset? Whatever it is, focus on the details, let yourself get totally immersed, and use all of your senses to intensify and prolong your positive experience.

Here’s a screenshot of my response.

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The Plan: A great intimate encounter (physical, mental, spiritual).

How it went: The ultimate bliss in life ;)

P.S. If you’re on Happify, say hi (here’s a link to my profile).

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3. Quotes for each book of Wilde Trilogy (my first psych thriller project)

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I was looking for three different quotes for the start of each Wilde book (my psych thriller series featuring evil twin serial killers — the trilogy follows them through their lives as kids, teens, adults).

The three books in upcoming series are titled: Playmates, Bedmates, Soulmates.

I might go with these quotes for the opening pages (in order for the 3 books, respectively).

1) “All things truly wicked start from innocence.”
~ Ernest Hemingway

2) “We live in a world where we have to hide to make love, while violence is practiced in broad daylight.”
~ John Lennon

3) “The older I get, the more I realize how rare it is to meet a kindred spirit.”
~ Ethan Hawke

I selected the quotes based on how closely they summarized/represented the main storyline of each book.

Now to continue with Book02 and Book03 of the series (first drafts).

Real Love and Romance

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The above eBooks are freebies available at jessINK ;)

Some Thoughts:

Included below is a 2,700-word email I received from somebody (I’ll call the person X19 here) who read Real Love Vs. Romance (my freebie eBook of informal essays  on real love vs. the messages sent out by the mainstream media).

I have some outspoken and “controversial” (because they’re very “in-your-face” honest) freebies floating around because

(a) I do feel very strongly about certain things re: media & society, and

(b) I find some of the messages in massively popular works to be absolutely appalling and unhealthy (in particular, Twilight and 50 Shades).

No, not everyone has to agree with me, but I can’t expect anyone else to “state their own honest views” if I don’t do so myself first.

I’m not against romance novels per se. But I am against toxic messages packaged as “harmless” entertainment.

As a very good/sensible/intelligent/talented/capable/mature/respectable/noble friend of mine recently said to me:

“Also remember: when people get defensive it is often a sign that they sense that the object of their adoration is not as good as they try to convince themselves. So calling it like it is, is only fair.”

I’ll be doing some (non-explicit non-taboo) psychological thriller/suspense projects soon.

I still intend to call it like it is, in those new works :P

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Email from Reader / X19:

Dear Jess,

I enjoyed reading your essay on real love versus the mass-media ideals/concepts which exist to further an idea, control your thoughts/feelings (mould you), and make a profit: the modern ideal of “romance”.

I was wondering, do you think that the institutionalisation we undergo via the education system has anything to account for in regards to some people’s notion of positive approval equating to worthwhile-ness (personal and of their actions/thoughts)?

In primary school, you are “taught” to conform. You are taught to consider the aim and “good” of the group (classroom/school) in favour of your own personal feelings and aims. You obey your teacher (just because) and look at them as your leader and the person you go to for direction, instructions and children often end up feeling like their teacher is their second parent or something akin to a good (older, wiser) friend. Plus, when you do good work, you might get a sticker or a stamp, which is the signal that you conformed/met expectations/did good, which is both attuning you to aesthetics (pretty stuff) and materialism (things you have) in unhealthy ways. You don’t just feel good because you achieved something, you don’t even think of it that way unless someone else tells you it’s okay (or to feel good). In relations to romantic relationships later on in life, I think the systematisation/institutionalisation of places like schools have a lot to answer for, and that’s not even going into the dynamics of the interactions between the students and what is seen as appropriate/okay and what isn’t, or the structuring according to ages (and/or gender), or any of that. It’s just something I was wondering about, really. Because school is such a large part of our interaction with others at that age, it has to have some kind of effect, and I, personally, never really realised how large an effect it had had on me until I left (high) school and then it just felt like a huge slap over the face (or a bucket of cold water was thrown on me).

Anyhow, I went to a public school, in which I imagine there isn’t as much pressure on you to do well, as an individual. Like, we didn’t really have guidance counsellors (in high school) or anyone who’d get on our back if we were falling behind, loads of the students did, we only had a school nurse who wasn’t really approachable if you were old fashioned and believed you went to school because that was what you did and pretty much the law. The school nurse wasn’t someone I could see as a friend or fellow equal and I now have a flinch about people like that (because I felt it my duty to be honest when they asked questions, or stayed quiet to allow you to say something, and I didn’t know about this thing called selective truth which would have made things easier and less stressful in the sense that the school nurse (in my opinion) didn’t want to help so much as do her job the way she’d been told to do it so she could get whatever she wanted out of the position, e.g. money, perceived respect, authority, feeling like she’d done “good”). Though I didn’t respect her so much as obey because it was what you did (she actually frightened me because it felt as though she was more into her own agenda as opposed to helping me, which is frightening for a young person with no experience at “bending the truth” or just telling people enough so as to keep them happy).

My opinion is that school is where a lot of damage you don’t really realise has been done is done because it’s where a lot of interaction with other people happens (as stated above) and also you “learn” to “navigate” the system there, to some extent, or at least you learn if you’re going to be someone who falls down, who floats somewhere in the middle, or who excels above the others. The problem is — or was, for me — was that nobody said (to the best of my recollection) that that was what it was, that it wasn’t just the academic stuff we were learning but about our people/life skills too, and about the person we “wanted” or “could” be. A lot of the time, I didn’t even know I could have my own opinions, because your own feelings were supposed to be left out of it all. And there was no real discussion about morals or spirituality (as in spiritual/personal growth): other people told you what was right and wrong and you were expected to parrot it back to them with a reasonable level of conviction, I suppose, if you agreed or not because it wasn’t your place to make those sorts of judgements.

I’m rambling; I’ll stop. I don’t know, it’s just some stuff I was wondering about in the sense of how it all affects the “finished product” as system would most want you to be: a decisive, productive member of society/the community, who didn’t drag other people or the system down for any reason but conformed in all ways (= least hassle).

I guess the big thing could just be that I wasn’t a big socialiser, but I don’t really know because nobody who is/was a real “people person” really talks to me and some of this stuff is just tedious to talk about with other people when they don’t see the reason why they should even think about “society as a whole” and “where it’s all going”, because, I don’t know, that’s not the done thing for young people these days. Or if they think they are entitled to their slack attitude and uncouthness because “older” people don’t consider them “real” people and equals anyway, so why should they bash their head against the wall for a losing cause when they can do something else, or act out instead (as they don’t have any other option or it’s just not as appealing and generally more taxing and “uncool”/boring). (Attitude of the young people I talked to in a course I was doing last year who were inconsiderate, rude and seemed to enjoy being so.)

I know they like to say it’s parents who aren’t “policing” their kids, or “teaching” them right (and right from wrong), but the parents aren’t allowed in the classroom, are they, and they’re not even allowed to discipline their child these days (legally, even, for instance, telling them they did something wrong and that their “extra” privileges were being revoked for a time, because the kid could say anything and get them in trouble for it without realising that if they were taken away and placed with some other people who actually didn’t care about them (but the money/system’s ideals), they’d probably have it a lot harder). I don’t believe in brutalisation or psychological or emotional harm, but if someone does something wrong and nobody says it’s wrong, how are they supposed to know? Or if people just let them get away with it time and again because it’s too hard, too much effort, a waste of their time, or not their business? And I think it’s also the same with helping the person develop individualism and their own sense of ethics that are going to stick with them. They have to know they are individuals and the avenue exists for them to decide for themselves (within the parameters of the law), and schools don’t really accommodate for that, in my opinion. Even if the parents do, the kids go off to school and are told they have to fall into line, so all of that goes somewhat out the window if the kid doesn’t wanted to be branded a nuisance, troublemaker (unless they already have a very solid grasp of themselves and feel safe, secure, ethical with “bending the truth” some of the time, to please the school).

Eesh, but I’ll stop now.

It’s a relief to know there are people really thinking about the issues today, even in today’s fiction. You have to open people’s eyes somehow, so they can decide for themselves the person they want to be rather than being merely forced into it because that’s the way it goes and always has. Fiction seems a good medium for this because it enables the writer to engage the readers’ emotionally and in a lasting way and a way that, when they come across similar incidents in their own lives, the ideas set in motion in the stories they read will resonate in their mind and a realisation will dawn. That’s why it’s so dangerous when people/groups manipulate the popular (fiction/film/music) market/supply for their own ends which may or may not be unscrupulous or deliberately inconsiderately frivolous, AKA “light”, numbing, or brain-washing.

I agree. Something does need to be done about the general public’s lack of awareness of these fundamental issues that underpin a lot of other, “bolder” issues even if they aren’t generally thought of as affecting such things. The fact is, they do, and that’s where the great possibility for harm lies.

Sadly, increasingly the young people of today with some level of “opportunity” are in such as mad dash to get their “money’s worth” that they don’t realise the sort of person they are allowing themselves to become, or who they might otherwise be, as opposed to the glamour-filled “ideal” that they are told to strive for at very turn in today’s modern societies.

Sincerely,

X19 / Only slightly disillusioned, more or less anti-social, but still “one of us”… I think… Well, I try. Though sometimes I just get “sick” of being a “robot” and “shut down”. :) (I realise I have “real”, “serious” issues that require work, but sometimes it’s hard finding the motivation/courage/wherewithal, especially with the negative pressure of one’s former indoctrination (initiation into the “whole”/system) adding to the mix of woes. You sometimes just think, Ugh, I can’t!/am too tired. Worse is when people actively oppose you: Why are you even thinking about that? That’s not the main focus here, et cetera.)

PS: In your opinion, is there much hope for a “brighter” future for humankind – a more spiritual, enlightened, attuned future, that is? I am in two minds, myself. I’d like to think there is hope (to still hold hope), but with everything you hear/see/read about these days, it seems to be a losing battle in many cases. To me, not that I think we should merely conform or surrender because “it’s a losing battle anyway”, but just out of interest’s sake and to know where a person stands in the world, it would be good to know and to be kept apprised to the world outlook. I guess they must have television programmes, forums, magazines et cetera that deal with just this kind of thing. Perhaps you might know of/suggest a few?

PPS: I am also interested in alternative health care/management, though I don’t know a lot about it. I’ve heard of naturopathy, ayurveda, herbalism, et cetera, and I have some of Hulda Clark’s books (some people actually “hate” her, I’m getting the sense), but there’s still a big push by the (crazy-rich) pharmaceutical companies to “gloss over” or “shun” other forms of treatment and lifestyle choices.

PPPS: The psychological aspect of your stories is often rather enlightening to a certain character’s “being”, though I guess some people read for “entertainment” rather than knowledge or to provoke their thoughts. This is where it can become hard for a writer to walk the line between what a reader might see as too much “clutter” (which is boring) and getting the “meat and bones” of the story’s underpinning message across. Sometimes it’s necessary to “expound” because not all readers are inclined to “think deeper”, e.g. they read primarily for the “romance”, the adventure and the distraction (escapism) and to relive memorable/fun experiences they may or may not have had yet but have been told to want and strive for, thus making them even more confused when reality lands in their laps in a slightly different way to the manner they’d always imagined/expected (e.g. been deluded into believing).

PPPPS: (Twilight rant) / In regards to Twilight, this is one of the problems, I think: It *is* a story for entertainment, but for the people who really connect with it for whom it becomes more than merely a story, how healthy is it when you wonder what would have happened to Bella had Edward not come along (what sort of person/zombie would she have (perhaps unwittingly) allowed herself to stay) and what kind of quality of life would that have given her, in the long run? Although, arguably, she’s still as much a zombie but merely with an addiction she is now slave to (Edward) and believes her quality of life is improved by (not to bash on men/Edward is rather her “slave” also, to the exclusion of other “matters”). The effort he makes isn’t because he wants to, but because Bella needs him to (and makes him, in a way). He thinks he’s already damned and therefore it would be ludicrous/disrespectful/monstrous to pretend to be anything else, though why he can’t see that the world doesn’t end with one damning, and neither does one’s personal connection with the universe/life/towards redemption or the becoming of a “better” person in one’s own eyes as much as other people’s (e.g. quality of life/morality), I guess I’ll never know. Are Bella and Edward good for one another, in more than just the sense that they “make each other happy”? I’m not entirely sold. Am I interested to see the outcome of their “story”?

Well, yeah, I can admit to being a puppet/probable instrument of moral decline too. Maybe Edward should also learn to admit this, and forgive himself, so he can move on to more constructive pursuits in regards to the rest of his “life”, and that of his “soul mate”. Heck, he is the elder, and Bella certainly needs (helpful) guidance. / I was quietly appalled when Bella merely allowed the Volturi to “murder” Bree. Yeah, because that’s justice/justified! It seems to me Bella is blind to anything she doesn’t really want to see, that would clash with the ideal/romantic life she imagines for herself, which is only all the more romantic for *her* personal tragedies/uphill battles. Bella is selfish and shouldn’t Edward know better, having seen so much of life? If he loves her so much and cares about her “soul”, maybe he should chew on that. Who is this person that he loves/would do anything to protect? Never mind the child, what about his precious Bella? Sometimes I think Edward is being hoodwinked and Bella is also hoodwinking herself along with Edward (and Edward’s “parents” allow that because they want him to be a good little vamp and member of the family/society. Am I being too mean? Probably. But heck!, they need to engage and interact in a more thoughtful manner, not just making crazy sacrifices for one another just because they “feel” like it’s right. Then they don’t really “see” one another, only the image/ideal they want to see, and how can that be anything like “real” (or “true”) love? Dangerous devotion, obsession, and worship maybe, but not true love. I think they both just live a little too much “in the moment” and for themselves and keep looking back at their own individual/minute experience for fulfilment and a sense of purpose rather than encompassing the wider picture in their thoughts/sense of self. We do not only experience the world/life through the things we can control, but also through those that that we can’t (which don’t always have to be negative/bad things).

Lastly: In today’s (so brave, and so new) world, we are not all intended to be thinkers; that would just mess everything up. We are, however, intended to conform, assimilate, and “act” / “be” human.

Anyway, thanks for offering the chance for your readers to connect with you online and chat about various things, and I wish you all the best with your work, works and personal journey in the universe and life.

I have officially stopped. So proud of myself. :)

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Happy New Year (major baggage clearance)

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My last post was sometime in October. A lot of stuff happened in November because I was in Singapore for a couple of writing events (yes, too busy to blog and/or be on social media “all the time,” LOL!).

The first event was part of Singapore Writers Festival 2012. I took part in a debate with five other people (so each member had around 5 minutes to speak).

08 Nov /2012
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Pillow Fight – Women Write Better Sex than Men
Venue: Chamber, The Arts House
Moderator: Carolyn Camoens

Martin Amis fired the first salvo: He said women write better sex, In a debate that is best left to the experts, two teams put forth their case and try to smother their opponents in a Pillow Fight. What titillating evidence will the speakers present to boost their argument? What would Freud have said? Who will win this face-off?

With Cyril Wong, Grace Chia Krakovic, Jess C Scott, Kirpal Singh, Marc Nair and Sharon Ong.

(Note: Fringe programmes are suitable for SWF Festival Pass holders 21 years and above)

I am glad to say that the female team won (yay!), and the prize for each member of the winning team was a soft, satiny red pillow (good choice of gift). The guys did very well as they pretty much “winged it” (the female team sort of got together at the last minute to swap/compare notes and come up with some kind of structure as to who was going to say what, who’d be going first, etc etc).

Made some new friends and enjoyed checking out the semi-hidden small writers’ lounge at one of the pavillions (the last evening was a slightly tipsy one, but filled with good conversations and a flurry of name card swapping).

My second event was a dialogue session (so I had to speak for around 45-60 minutes). I was a bit nervous beforehand about the “time frame” — it felt really long, and I hate to bore people! — so I did a quick PowerPoint slide (for some not-too-distracting visuals in the background), and deliberately “talked very slowly” so as to procrastinate (and ended up having to speed up the last part of the talk so that we could do a little bit of a Q&A thing with the lovely members of the audience).

This event was at The Arts House for their New Word Order programme. I particularly liked the copy they came up with for promotional purposes:

JESS (guest speaker): Bold, fearless and always original, Jess C Scott blazes her own trail in the literary world. Writing in a variety of genres, including erotic fiction, urban fantasy and cyberpunk, Jess dares to bring to light some of our darkest fantasies. Join her for a no-holds-barred evening as she discusses the decision to self-publish, why she writes about such risqué topics and her infamous book, Wicked Lovely, that was banned on Amazon.

TANIA (moderator): This session of New Word Order was moderated by Tania De Rozario. Tania is an artist, writer and curator who has exhibited in Singapore and abroad. She is also the co-founder and curator of Eliquette, Singapore’s first ongoing arts event/collective focused on feminist issues.

Included two pictures below (the album is on Facebook, where there are more “smiley” pictures — I like these two in particular ^^):

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Looking back on the year…2012 was a bit of a mess for me, but in a good sense.

I spent the first half dabbling around in a few different genres, as I was interested in doing something else other than “just” erotic fiction (where I was having some “issues” with some of my taboo-themed provocative “dangerous” eBooks being monitored/flagged in my Amazon KDP account).

I kind of slowed down in the middle of 2012 (around the time when Lisa Lip — the very nice/hip programme manager from The Arts House — contacted me about whether I’d be keen to take part in SWF: 2012 — I jumped at the chance, of course). I thought it was slightly ironic that I was going to be taking part in the fringe component (the SWF: Fringe focused on sexual literature), since it was the “thing” I was moving away from at the start of 2012.

I didn’t intend to not ever write erotic fiction again. But I was a bit tired/jaded (on the personal level). I have been frustrated for a long time (at intervals) between trying to find some kind of balance between casual sex versus a very real type of intimacy that is not at all easy to find.

So the writing events in November were a really nice “break” from the staleness I’d been experiencing for quite a while. I also made it a point to not “over-think” things and just slow down and enjoy life / interacting with others (it’s been a habit of mine to over-analyze things — I’m a Virgo Sun — I ANALYZE)…so I’m glad that November gifted me with a lot of “new things” on both the professional and personal level.

I’m not really one to gush about or broadcast details of my private life in public (astrologically-speaking, I have an active 8th house…), so perhaps I’ll let some of my work do the talking instead. Although I’ll always enjoy mixing fact and fiction so as to throw other people off track as to what truths are being veiled or revealed ;)

I’ll leave you with three recent comments/private messages to glean some information as to the outcome of my November trip. I don’t make up these reviews because I won’t get a kick out of faking things this way (the same reason why I don’t fake sexual pleasure — though that’s another thing for another time…):

“My pleasure to read these writings of yours. . .your ideas are really great! Is this about your love story? (just give me ideas about you).”
— Facebook private message, Nov 2012 (Mystery Person #1)

“Peace be upon you, Jess. You are so zheng ah (means “good” or “great” in Cantonese). Bought your book Wicked Lovely on Amazon and it’s in my Kindle Library. But the exams are nearing… hoping to read soon. You are so sweet. P.S. I wish you were my sister.”
— Private message, Dec 2012 (Mystery Person #2)

“…it’s one thing to learn about your woman’s past, and it’s quite another to be put right there. It was really good writing, Jess. I know because I had to run from it. I had to rush through the last ten pages [of Jack in the Box] like they were on fire, grasping the meaning and avoiding as many details that would put me there as I possibly could, feeling that the end couldn’t come soon enough. Details can be harsh! It was one hell of an experience. I love you regardless.”
— Private message, Dec 2012 (Mystery Person #3)

P.S. I’m currently working on some newer erotic fiction projects (now that my “stale sexual internal tension” is mercifully out of the way — hence the title of this post, “major baggage clearance”). They’re written in a slightly different style from my earlier work (my earlier work is more “high-brow”), so I might stick a sexy avatar on the covers of the newer pieces for some kind of differentiation (though they’ll all still be under the jessINK brand).

So I hope to enjoy being productive (work-wise) once again after getting a lot of baggage out of my system. That sexually stale feeling was really beginning to do me in so I’m eternally grateful to everyone/everything/action and circumstances that made some kind of difference to my situation :)

And to anyone reading this, best wishes for 2013 (success, good health, and all that — oh, and good tidings on the love/sex/relationships side too, of course).

P.P.S. I’ll probably be adding the following text (or variation of) to the product description section on my upcoming erotic material. Looking forward to getting some new material out.

Publication Date: —–, 2013
by JESS C SCOTT / jessINK

“Passion, intensity, and intimacy turn me on. There’s more to the erotic life than explicitness.” ;) — Jess C Scott

“Jess hits the sweet spot between SUBSTANCE and ENTERTAINMENT.” — XP, Book Doctor (Asia) (review)

Erotic Books: Poetry

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* This post is part of a short series:

QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

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Jess’s erotic stash / “sex education”

[PART 3: Erotic Books / Poetry]

I’ve loved poetry since a really long time ago (of all subject matter and styles). It combines succinctness with wisdom/clarity, beauty with spirituality, so on and so forth. What’s there not to like?

AND when the topic is about sex or erotic love…

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11. Erotic Love Poems of Greece and Rome | Amazon.com

Blurb:

A taste of amour in the ancient world-newly translated. From the famous erotic poetry of Sappho to love scenes from Homer’s The Iliad, as well as works from such eminent Roman poets as Virgil and Catullus, this enthralling collection taps into a range of passionate, timeless emotions.

Excerpt:

Seeing someone incredibly beautiful can leave the timid observer speechless. So it was twenty-six centuries ago. In this poem, Sappho describes what she experienced when, from a distance, she saw a young man sitting close to the young woman she loved.

(Tongue-Tied, Page 27)

The beauty of ancient Greek/Roman culture and mythology are things I’ll never get tired of. A very concise + tasteful book.

Link: Amazon.com

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12. Love Poems from the Japanese (Shambhala Library) | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Drawn from classical, medieval, and modern sources — including the imperial collections of the Manyoshu and Kokinshu — the poems in this collection are some of the greatest love poems from the Japanese tradition. The poems range in tone from the spiritual longing of an isolated monk to the erotic ecstasy of a court princess — but share the extraordinary simplicity and luminosity of language that marks Kenneth Rexroth’s (the translator’s) verse style.

Excerpt:

Since “the pillow knows all”
we slept without a pillow.
Still my reputation
reaches to the skies
like a dust storm.

(Lady Ise / Page 43)

This is the most expensive of all the poetry books here (bought from Singapore at Kinokuniya a long time ago — I won some book vouchers). Money well spent. It’s a perfect book — nothing superfluous.

Link: Amazon.com

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emily_dickinson

13. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Though generally overlooked during her lifetime, Emily Dickinson’s poetry has achieved acclaim due to her experiments in prosody, her tragic vision and the range of her emotional and intellectual explorations.

Excerpt:

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port, —
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

(XXV, Emily Dickinson)

Wow, Emily Dickinson. A poet before her time, I think (with regards to style / mode of expression). But with reading her poetry, what I remembered the most was how she captured the sentiments/moments of our existence. I got this at the same time as the Japanese poetry book above, by the way.

Link: Amazon.com

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baudelaire

14. Baudelaire | Amazon.com

Blurb:

Modern poetry begins with Charles Baudelaire (1821-67), who employed his unequalled technical mastery to create the shadowy, desperately dramatic urban landscape — populated by the addicted and the damned — which so compellingly mirrors our modern condition. Deeply though darkly spiritual, titanic in the changes he wrought, Baudelaire looms over all the work, great and small, created in his wake.

Excerpt:

Eyes glowing like an angel’s
I’ll come back to your bed
and reach for you from the shadows:
you won’t hear a thing.

(“Incubus” / Page 102)

Baudelaire was a French poet, essayist, art critic, and pioneering translator of Edgar Allan Poe (!).

Links: Amazon.com | Wikipedia

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erotic_poems

15. Erotic Poems | Amazon.com

Blurb:

These poems, selected from most of the cultures and histories of world literature, provide magnificent witness to the fact that love is as much an act of the imagination as it is of the body. From fourth-century Li Ch’ung’s “Parody of a Lover” to John Betmeman’s “Late-Flowering Lust,” they re-create, through the revelations of language, that experience of the erotic. Other poets include Theodore Roethke, Robert Graves, Octavio Paz, Joseph Brodsky, Sylvia Plath, Frederico Garcia Lorca, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and many others.

Excerpt:

…but I won’t call
Her ‘beautiful’. She has one fatal fault —
No sex-appeal: there’s not a grain of salt
In that big dish to stir the appetite.

(“Many Think Quintia’s Beautiful,” by Gaius Valerius Catullus)

Never know what I might find in this eclectic collection ;)

Link: Amazon.com

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QUALITY EROTICA (aka “Jess’s Erotic Stash”)

PART 1: Introduction + Erotic Art Books
PART 2: Erotic Books (Non-Fiction)
PART 3: Erotic Poetry
PART 4: Erotic Books (Fiction)
PART 5: More on Love/Sex/Relationships

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One-Line Definitions (and Happy New Year / 2012)

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Universum

Universum | C. Flammarion, Holzschnitt, Paris 1888 (one of my favorite woodcuts)

* * *

1) I had an email about a couple of months back from a male reader/customer around my age.

EMAIL:

“Jess: as we all know, you are a very talented writer. On my request, please describe all these in one line as you think — Jess C Scott, Old Man, Old Lady, Young Woman, God, Marriage, Evil, Gentleman, Woman Fantasy, Rape, Adult, Pleasure. Go for these and I wish you a lovely future.”
— reader/customer email, Nov 2011

I added two more in my answers below (Sexuality, Spirituality). I took longer than I expected to fill in my answers.

2) I completed a short story recently (Age of Aquarius), and have completed about 1/3 of Kylie. I’ll provide coupon codes for these newer pieces once I’m finally done with the latter (will post info on my social media accounts + newsletter).

3) I am not on Twitter or FB much these days so apologies if I take a while to respond — I’ve been quietly focusing on spiritual > financial goals (I’ll be following the same route in 2012). It keeps me focused/productive (due to a happy/healthy state of mind). Happy New Year in the meantime :)!

* * *

JESS’S ANSWERS TO ABOVE EMAIL:

Jess C Scott: Author/Artist/Non-Conformist, http://www.jesscscott.com, Venus Scorpio.

Old Man: One who should be respected for his experience and practical advice.

Old Lady: One who should be respected for her experience and caring wisdom.

Young Woman: One who should celebrate/enjoy her youth/vitality without wasting it.

God: Love, peace, consciousness.

Marriage: Official record of the union of two souls “till death do them part” (not to be taken lightly).

Evil: Malevolent forces that harm, manipulate, exploit, and/or de-spiritualize.

Gentleman: A gentle man with manners and sincerity.

Woman Fantasy: To submit to what they envision as the perfect man (a “horny but sensitive” man, perhaps).

Rape: Non-consensual sexual intercourse; also a common sexual fantasy.

Adult: Someone mature who takes responsibility for their thoughts, words and actions.

Pleasure: A moment of mental/emotional/physical/spiritual ecstasy.

Spirituality: How attuned one’s spirit is to living a life with passion + purpose.

Sexuality: One’s sexual being (beliefs, attitudes, behavior with regards to anything of a sexual nature).

Update: Primal Scream

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bdsm

20% through with my BDSM-themed s.story collection (-_-‘!)

* * *

I think the BDSM article I wrote over at jessINK sums up most of what I’d like to do/explore with BDSM in erotic fiction (I am basically taking a more subtle/implicit > violent/explicit route).

I’m going to title the full anthology, Primal Scream (full erotic anthology = step relations, BDSM, and “factual fiction” content). I’m not sure what I’ll title the BDSM-themed short story collection yet [either Primal Scream (BDSM), one of the individual BDSM short story titles, or something else].

I’ve spent most of the past week planning outlines and doing some writing, for two and a half of the remaining four stories I have left (I’ve only completed the first story — first in the above image). The stories were/are tricky to handle, because of the subtle complexities involved in the dynamics of a BDSM relationship/lifestyle…but I’ll do my best.

I’d like it to be one heck of a deviant (but not legally obscene) anthology ;)

Tentative deadline: By June 2011.