“Look on Them I Dare Not!”

Back at Eroticon Live in May I was one of the readers for the closing erotica slam on the Sunday. When I took the microphone I explained to the audience that, despite urgings of several friends, I wasn’t going to read the explicit bits of a story (one that, incidentally will appear later this year in an anthology edited by the adorable Leonora Soloman).

This raised one comment that suggested it was ironic that I was hesitant to read mere words when the previous evening I’d happily had my buttocks on display and received a spanking in front of a room full of writers. It was a comment that baffled me for two reasons.

Firstly, I didn’t see any contradiction. My body simply is and, whilst I’m actually for the most part pretty happy with it, I don’t feel that anyone judging it is really a judgment on me. I’m not ashamed of the meatbag that is Charlie Forrest. Whereas my words, that’s something different. The words I trick myself into pouring onto the page, the honesty, bluntness, sheer unadulterated lust and greed and desire I express. That’s me, and that’s me in a way that I’m far more scared of being judged on, because then it means something, then it’s based on a real tangible aspect of me as a person.

The other thing that baffled me was that, despite not reading the explicit sex bits at the end, I did something that, even by my own logic, was a lot more daunting; I read the really hot bit. You see, this particular story is focused on the idea of humiliation and, in that regard, the absolute peak of it, the realisation of the narrator that they are in a very very bad place, comes right at the beginning.

So I guess I can stand in front of a room full of people and do the scary dangerous stuff; it just might not be what you expect.