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Jess: Have you written erotic-themed material? Why or why not?
M.O.N.: Yes, a short work entitled ObliviOnanisM, which I describe as a “profanely mystical work of hyperpurple theory-porn.” It is fictional, and a little surreal, but I think the writing is more about the language and concepts than about narrative or representation. Not much happens in the book, but from another perspective, everything happens. Which of course is also analogous to the nature of sexual/erotic experience. A reviewer wrote: “It begins with a woman, Gemma, who inserts an ovoid object into her anus--and that's pretty much the entirety of what happens for the remaining 85 pages.” I wrote it for the pleasure of writing it, for my decadent enjoyment of the perverse textual fantasy.
Jess: Sounds highly original ;) How do you differentiate quality erotica (as an art form), from pornographic writing?
M.O.N.: I understand the erotica/pornography distinction as having everything to do with differences and modulations in the ontological status of the representation, in what a representation is. A photographic image of actual sex is different from an imaginative depiction of sex, which is in turn different from a concept or intellectual image of sex. On one end the spectrum the representation is materially of a piece with the event it represents. An original photograph is in fact a real impression of trace elements of the event, photons or whatever. On the other end the representation is more independent of the event, even impossible or sexual in an unimaginable way. Sex-thoughts, thank God, are not delimited by actual sex. How flat the world would be if that were not the case. Though of course there is also something torturous and intolerable in the way sex thoughts are bound to our bodies, senses, etc. Anyway, although these three levels (material, imaginative, intellectual/spiritual), which also turn up as a central theme in ObliviOnanisM, are interrelated and inseparable, there is a noticeable and palpable difference between representations which privilege one end of the spectrum or the other, or which put one end in the service of the other or vice-versa, a difference which is felt in connection to the style of our enjoyment of the representation, how we use it or let it resonate with the correlative levels of our being. This explains to some degree why ‘pornography’ is generically localized around the graphic depiction of actual sex and why ‘erotica’ is generically localized around the arts and writing. But it also helps us understand, and this is what most interests me, how the pornographic is not proscribed by explicit sexuality and at the same time how the erotic is not confined to implicit sexuality, or sex that signifies something beyond simple lust. For me the central question is the role of the imagination as the mediating term between matter and mind, specifically, whether the imagination is put in the service of restricting desire to the material or deployed to open desire beyond itself. That said, I am not in favor of hierarchizing erotica and pornography. As we know, a lot of erotica is merely dressed-up pornography, emotional pornography for instance, and conversely, there is something profoundly sublime in the shamelessly smutty and pornographic. So in the end I am favor of writing that somehow exacerbates the distinction between the two to a point of indistinction or at least confusion. Human desire is profoundly impossible and cannot mapped or regulated according the I-know-it-when-I-see-it kind of definiteness. So why not take writing to places where you explicitly do not know it when you see it, where you can no longer even ask, is this erotica or pornography?
Jess: Very interesting take on an age-old debate. I shall now ask how you would respond to the following statement:
“I am very put off by the notion of 'literate smut', as if any porn is intellectual, that erotica needs to have a high and low art distinction. I think this is just a pretentious way for people to excuse their taste for pornography.”
-- originally posted on http://www.barbelith.com/topic/925
M.O.N.: I would say that the person sounds like a snob, like someone is who is accusing others of his or her own pretentiousness. At the same time the statement does properly call attention to the banal bait-and-switch logic according to which smutty literature pimps itself to society. The elephant in the room here is the erotic and pornographic dimensions of literature and writing per se.
Jess: What inspired you to write erotic stories/poems/etc.?
M.O.N.: The thrill of escape, of spontaneously doing something outré.
Jess: Do you always follow the "safe, sane, consensual" credo?
M.O.N.: The credo is not an issue for me. My sexual tastes/aesthetics are not of the dangerous or harmful variety.
Jess: What do you think readers will find most notable about your book(s)?
M.O.N.: I hope that they find it enjoyable and unique. It was a delight when David Peak remarked on Goodreads, “frankly, it's amazing to me that this book even exists.”
Jess: In order to write on certain experiences, you would have to either research or live the life. Which describes you as the writer?
M.O.N.: The writing is the experience, the composition is the (real) fantasy.
Jess: Do you think erotica caters to a male or female market (or does gender of the target audience not matter)?
M.O.N.: I am not familiar enough with the genre to say. I do not think gender matters. Ultimately it is a game, because everyone is both male and female, and neither. A game that is to be played!
Jess: Oh yeah! Are there any topics you will NOT tackle, with regards to sexual behaviors and attitudes?
M.O.N.: Again this is not an issue for me. I only tackle topics I want to, and do not worry about the others.
Jess: Please share with us a short excerpt and blurb of your work (10-100 words).
“Naturally she wanted her spit to drip by itself through her diaphanous panties onto the top of her pussy and suffuse the outside of its swelling lips with the wet gloss of a virtual tasting and tonguing. Naturally she did not want to manually short-circuit the process by using her hand, the tool of tools, to merely and messily move the saliva there. But even more naturally did she want to happen what actually did happen exactly by virtue of her wanting it to, within the thought-feeling-action dynamism of her desire. Here there was no question and answer, no before and after, no cause and effect. As if the force of wanting really burst out of relationality and achieved total creative transitivity, as if the subject-object correlation sodomitically suicided itself on its own phallic vector, Gemma wanted her slippery wanton saliva right onto her clit, drew it there via ducts no anatomist could ever discern. Without a doubt, the terrible seed of self-love embedded within her was spreading differentially in unpredictable, pestilential ways. Virally, Gemma’s whole body was becoming haptic.”
Jess: Share an excerpt of your favorite author’s work (10-100 words):
"The Sun exclusively loves the Night and directs its luminous violence, its ignoble shaft, toward the earth, but finds itself incapable of reaching the gaze or the night, even though the nocturnal terrestrial expanses head continuously toward the indecency of the solar ray. The solar annulus is the intact anus of her body at eighteen years to which nothing sufficiently blinding can be compared except the sun, even though the anus is night." (Bataille, Solar Anus)
Jess: Thanks so much for sharing your perspectives on the art of erotic writing :) Best wishes with both life and literature too!
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M.O.N. (in his/her own words):
I use my initials M.O.N. because in French they mean 'mine' and 'name' backwards.
My work is published by gnOme books: http://gnomebooks.wordpress.com
JESS C SCOTT:
Jess is the author/artist/non-conformist behind jessINK (her indie publishing division). One of her specializations is erotic literature.
If you are reading this and you write, in whatever genre, and would like to share your views via a similar interview, just check out/fill out the form at Author Interviews. Jess will email you with the link once it is posted.
Jess is available for interviews too. Drop her a note at missfeyATgmailDOTcom :)