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Live, Love, Learn

So there I was, last night, enthusiastically spritzing about my list of Erotic Writers’ Tools for Taking it From Arousal to Art. I was giving a workshop on writing BDSM, in, of all places, Pink Bunny, a lingerie and sex toy store on San Francisco’s upscale Union Street, and (as I tend to do) I was working up a head of steam about my material.

Point of View, my notes said. What Jane Austen can teach the erotic writer! Time and space, setting and story! Power: the personal is political! (yes, I really still believe this, even in the benighted times we live in). Talk dirty to me, but not in cliche! Basically, I try to give an overview of those writers’ tools you’ll need to sharpen, and those personal attitudes you’ll need to explore, to give your personal erotic vision the form and substance that will make that “one little roome” in your head “an every where,” as John Donne put it.

It was going great, and I was swinging into one of my favorite parts, perhaps the heart of the presentation, on Fetishism, Symbol and Substance, and how it’s more like metaphor than pathology when we substitute the part for the whole, or an object for a person, in order to spend some quality creative time with our insanely wonderfully convoluted sexual imaginations. Fetishism as a kind of language parsing our subjectivity and objectivity, sex balanced on a delicate fulcrum between nature and culture… I love this stuff, and my audience always seems to like the moments of discovery, of connecting the dots between erotic and literary creativity.

So I was going great guns, feeling myself very creative indeed — when I happened to look up from my notes to a rack of amazing embroidered, seamed, black stay-up-by-themselves stockings, to some elegant little whippy thing with black feathers, and of course the extraordinary selection of vibrators in colors to die for. And suddenly I’m like duh, what else is new, Pam? Because here I am in the heart of the hallowed halls of fetishism, surrounded by shelves full of this and that adorably hard or soft or silky or feathery item, trying to make my wonky little point about the importance of objects to interesting, expressive sex.

Oh, I say, a bit abashed, as I turn to Tovah and Jewely, the workers at Pink Bunny who were so welcoming to me. Oh, so I guess this isn’t exactly news to you, it being what you do for a living.

But they were cool, because after all, it’s what I do for a living too (or try to). And so, wonky points were made, debated, and clarified, and a lovely time was had by all. And I’m loving that you can find Carrie’s Story and Safe Word sold among dreamy satin underwear.

Of course, I also like to talk about this stuff in conferences, meetings, and other more conventional venues. So do invite me, if you’re interested. And if you want to read the passages of fetishistic writing we studied, drop me an email at, and I’ll send you a copy.



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