April 27, 2011
Awesome Crazy Sauce
I know Eric periodically writes about being tired of politics, where people get inherently crazy. However, at least in politics you could argue our whole way of life - if not our civilization - might be at stake. Certainly money is, and money, ultimately is the most real thing there is, (since in our civilization money dictates where we live, what we eat, etc.)
HOWEVER I live in an even more interesting world than that of politics. In that world, being a writer is sort of like being a movie star, except with none of the high pay, fame or... well, okay, it's not at all like being a movie star.
I'm going to say several things about writers and, oh, yeah, about teachers.
Let me start with teachers. Public school teachers come under greater scrutiny by the parents. They dang well should. I know, I'm a parent and my taxes and various other circumstances dictated that my kids attend public school. (A choice that would probably be completely different if made today, but never mind.) This means that I watched the teachers very carefully and many (if not most) of them bear a close watching.
Mind you most of the reasons they bore close watching were petty and vague human sins not touching anywhere near felony. Things that can make a kid's life miserable, but would not rise to the level of "annoyance" in a normal office.
On the other hand, I am probably an unusual parent. I can't say I would have been upset if one of my kids' teachers had been a stripper after hours, provided she didn't talk about it in class. Ditto with a teacher who, I don't know, ran a phone sex line, or starred in adult movies. I'd only mind if she mentioned it on career day (depending on how much influence she had on my kid!) and/or demonstrated moves in class.
Yeah, I did freak out when I found out that across from my kids' elementary had been a kiddie-porno factory for the years they attended and that they rewarded the kids who participated by giving them candy. THAT was scary and I think I drove the kids insane until Robert pointed out they'd never EVER walked home on their own, so unless I'd dropped them off at the house, how would they have gone there. They had heard stories, but the prurient stories that circulate around any elementary school would given any parent who doesn't remember his own elementary school days gossip. My kids had figured they were all silly talk.
So, that's basically my position. School teachers bear watching in the classroom. Out of it they're their own people. They are adults and neither nuns nor monks. You might disapprove if it were known that they hit the bars every night and live in a commune with three guys and five girls, but really, unless they're bragging to the kids about this, it's none of your business.
At the same time, writers... well... I know writers. Most of us are not Stephen King or J. K. Rowling. We subsist somewhere between day job and starvation. Or in the case of my own career, like the caveman in Clifford Simak, between over-abundance and deprivation "we kill a mammoth" or sell a book "we eat until we're ill" or we pay all our bills and do that bathroom renovation. "And then there are months of nothing."
One of the fields a lot of writers work in to put food on the table -- usually under deep pen names and quite, quite hidden -- is erotica. Some well respected novelists made fortunes writing scripts for porn picture books. I'm not one of these. When I came on the scene it was too late - the internet had depth-bombed all the money to be had from writing salacious stuff. I did try, briefly, but could never finish the story because I got bored and halfway through he turned into a spider and ate her and all bystanders... Which they richly deserved.
I did write an "erotica" short story for a magazine called "Heat." We used to joke it was porn for Mormons, because the characters had to be married and there was a LONG list of proscribed actions. Anyway, they paid me something close to two thousand dollars for a short story, and then never published it as the magazine went under. (In a way I was glad, as I wasn't sure I could ever, ever write another, and what if it had done well? Not prudishness. I just found it difficult to create sexual tension between an already-married couple, on paper. In real life it's wonderful, but on paper... you want a big reveal and larger emotions, particularly in a short story.)
I'd probably never write erotica again, but depending on your definition, I'm not promising never to write erotic romance, which can range from soft to very hard core indeed. I have yet to feel an... er... urge to do so, but I'm not saying it won't happen.
If it does, does it render me unfit to ever teach school (High School!)? Which I was trained to do and, again, have no intention of ever doing, but am making no promises?
I confess the question never occurred to me till my friend forwarded this article from a very well known romance review blog
Go read that article. This is a woman that, as I understand it, teaches school and writes during her own time UNDER A PEN NAME for a well-known erotic romance site.
This is a quote from the article:
I recommend everyone read the comments because they restore some sanity and hope for what is a truly disgraceful and frankly stupid news segment.
WNEP, a television station from the northeast and central part my home state of Pennsylvania (OH MY GOSH I AM SO PROUD. NOT.) ran this lovely piece of crap story revealing the pen name of a local high school English teacher who writes for Ellora's Cave as Judy Mays. But wait, there's more: the news segment then assists these parents in holding her up for public ridicule--and, in the case of one class act of a parent, accusations of pedophilia.
To make this clear - this woman writes erotic romance UNDER ANOTHER NAME, so that her students can't stumble on it by doing a google search on her name. WHERE is the danger and the outrage? Do these parents have nothing better to do than to hassle an innocent woman for pursuing her dream of writing on her private time? Are they complete paragons who do nothing, ever that they don't want blazed from the mountain tops? Do none of the mothers read romance (a lot of which shades far into erotica) and have the books around the house, where the kids can get them? Have they never heard the parable about throwing the first stone?
Yes, the woman is a public employee, which I never thought I'd be defending. But in this case, it seems to me she's the victim of a clear violation of her privacy. What WAS the TV station thinking?
Like Eric I've been mildly depressed, in my case because the weather in my area is so utterly horrible. Because of this, I've been avoiding political news, so I don't go off the deep end. Apparently the writing field is not safe to read about, either.
Perhaps this teacher should have gone into politics, instead. Then she'd have had the power to bribe people, so her private life stayed private.
posted by Sarah on 04.27.11 at 04:44 PM
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