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No Buts About It — bring on the semi-colon

Honest, I wasn’t trolling for this one.

I was innocently noodling around on my laptop to try to keep myself calm during last night’s theater-of-cruelty extra-innings Giants game on TV, when a wave of web-surfing picked me up and deposited me at The Daily Beast.

Whereupon, well… if you were me, would you have resisted the urge to see if Carrie’s Story had made it onto their list called “Sexier Than ‘50 Shades of Grey’: Naughtiest Bits From 12 Other Erotica Bestsellers“?

Maybe you would have. Or maybe you would have eschewed the agonies of teeth-gnashing I typically put myself through, imagining getting to the page and not finding Carrie there, my beloved wisecracking heroine overlooked and under-appreciated, yet again, by some biased, tasteless, shallow….

Oh. There it is. Number 11, book-ended by two juicy-looking collections edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel, in a most… ah… balanced, tasteful, even discerning of lists, including work by various erotic romance writers and others.

The “naughty bit” they chose, in case you’re wondering, was from the novel’s opening paragraph.

And their assessment? “A very explicit sadomasochistic novel, but the writing is actually quite good.” Which all in all I liked (you’d always have me at some combination of the words good and writing). Though when my online friend Megan tweeted tha t the actually made her “peevish,” I could see her point: there was something a little grudging there.

But perhaps the problem word wasn’t actually. Because take it away and you still have “A very explicit sadomasochistic novel, but the writing is quite good,” which isn’t exactly fulsome either. No, the problem is but, the logical syntactic indicator that very explicit sadomasochistic novel and the writing is actually quite good must exist in some contrary relationship to each other. Which is not only logically absurd, but — duh, Story of O not actually quite well-written? Just about anything by Mary Gaitskill or Stephen Elliott? Or the wonderful gay male pornographers Simon Sheppard and Aaron Travis?

It’s okay. I’ll take it as it is. But I’ll think of it as, “A very explicit sadomasochistic novel, and the writing is actually quite good.” Or even as “A very explicit sadomasochistic novel; the writing is actually quite good.” Yeah, the second version. Love the sexy semi-colon.

And love that I’m going to meet Megan in person next week, when I hang out with a few romance-writing friends before they troop down to Anaheim for the RWA National Conference. I’m not going this year — sometimes it’s more important to write than to talk about writing for a big exhausting whirlwind half-week. I’ll be back at RWA National when I have a new book.

(Oh, and the Giants won last night. Fingers and toes crossed for Timmy).



  1. Sweet of you to write, Tracey. And I love the blog post — which I’m happy to say I missed the first time around. (Not that I wouldn’t have enjoyed reading it, but it’s reassuring to know that I’m not always out there checking the web for stuff about what I’ve written.)

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