I am thrilled about this review of Best Lesbian Erotica 2014, which names the juxtaposition of the prior piece with mine as a stroke of editing genius on the part of Kathleen Warnock. It has been such a pleasure working with her over the past few years, as a writer and being part of her NYC based reading series DCW.
When I read this edition of BLE I was struck by the way some of the pieces ended without climax, and have been thinking about what it means to do orgasm denial for the reader, to tease and taunt and bring you to the edge and not deliver. (And, after reading Nevada last month, re-reading The Fault in Our Stars, and thinking about Roving Pack again recently, I’ve been wondering about what it means to leave the reader in the middle of things, in a novel. Especially given that I’m contemplating writing my first one. What does it mean to leave in the middle, to not bring to a clean close, to not end the scene, so to speak, or provide aftercare? I like what Imogen Binnie and her reviewers have to say about the ending for Nevada. And…leaving en media res is not generally my choice. Though I do often start there.)
Orgasm control is a deep kinky love of mine, but I have been more of an overindulge, forced multiple orgasm kind of sadist (and sometimes a delay delay delay and make you keep on begging for it til you go crazy and then give it to you type), rather than one who is into outright denial. Perhaps that’s why I have a habit of bringing in orgasm early in a piece of smut, sometimes in the first paragraph, sometimes waiting til the second page, even if that orgasm is not the main show, so to speak, of the story.
“What I Need”, the piece printed in BLE14, is a piece that definitely starts in the intensity of desire and need. This most recent review sees it as a lovely answer to the unfulfilled yearning in the piece printed directly before it.
“Arabi focuses on the messy relationships between ethics and pleasure. It resonated with me on so many levels, as the character repeats her intense want of women and her simultaneous fear of ever making an unwanted advance toward a woman. She presents these tensions, makes them a part of the erotic content and ultimately, never resolves them. I love it.
This is where I find Warnock’s work as an editor to be quite remarkable. The piece following “Tongue in Cheek” begins with an unforgiving, relentless drive:
I need to be inside you. This minute, no waiting, no preparation. Fucking taking off any clothes, fuck finding an appropriate place, fuck finishing this conversation; I need to pull my dick out of my pants and be inside you immediately (140).
Xan West’s “What I Need” begins with the crazy intense climax Arabi denies her readers; relieving the frustrations encountered by our last hero. West’s piece is a bold BDSM scene that manages to be so full of intense sensations and images, yet vulnerable and loving and comforting at the same time. It’s one that I re-read often.”
What a wonderful review. It made my day.