I want to take a bit of time to express a perspective I have when writing, whether it’s alone or interacting with others through text. In my mind, the act of writing is about two things: Voice and Conveyance. Voice is that ability to write as if you are speaking. It’s capturing those subtle inflections which give away your true emotions, like a second form of body language. Conveyance is a bit more external. In a way, conveyance is the body language of nature and goes well above the perceptions of the five basic senses. It isn’t just about invoking sight, sound, touch, taste and smell; it’s also about proximity, activity, kinetic movement, contour, and a lot of other things which play into abstraction. Writing with conveyance is like showing someone how to exist in the form of something else.
When people call a work “powerful,” it is because they are on the receiving end of an artist’s strong voice and conveyance. They are being coached on what to experience as they digest the work. The common misconception, however, is that the quantity or arrangement of those words determines the strength of the message. Not only is this overwhelmingly false, it’s a very disingenuous assumption to make.
Now, if that were the long and short of the matter, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Not everyone is a writer, not everyone wants to be; I’m not out to criticize others for having other indulgences in life. Yet I do become critical – vehemently, in fact – when people willfully ignore their own voice, and/or the conveyances of the people and places around them. Not sure what I mean? Well, let me give you an example.
Recently, I watched a Let’sPlay of a story-driven game called “That Dragon, Cancer.” It narrates the true story of Ryan Green and his family. The game opens by introducing his five-year-old son Joel, who during infancy was diagnosed with cancer. Scenes play out which depict the stages of diagnosis, treatment, remission and recurrence. The point-of-view constantly shifts between Ryan, his wife, one of Joel’s brothers, the doctors, and occasionally Joel himself. There are also points of omniscience during the story, where the point of view is more abstract, as if to illustrate God is watching. It’s a very deep and unique experience; according to the game’s site, it sells for $15 so if you want to check it out, I highly recommend doing so.
Even if you don’t, I want to place emphasis on the example of Joel, the child with cancer. In his introduction, it was explained that Joel suffered developmental problems as a result of this deteriorated health. This worsened as the cancer progressed, communication becoming increasingly difficult. As a viewer watching this, I could only see two possible outcomes. The former was that if the child survived, he would still have those developmental problems impairing his ability to both interpret and express his observations and feelings. The latter was that if he died, it would be a moot point because there is no voice or conveyance after death (regardless of whether or not there is an afterlife, we can all agree communicating with the deceased is relatively impossible). Again, if you want to know the actual outcome, I urge you to look into the game.
My point here is that we as adults fail to recognize that not everyone gets to this point in life unscathed, and many tragically leave this world before they can get here at all. So I believe that if you have the health and ability to perceive the beauty of this world in any or all of its forms, then you have an obligation to do so for the people who can’t. If you willfully ignore or take for granted your ability to intimately interact with the reality in which you live, then you are selfishly moving through life in ignorance of all the people who will never have the chance to do so.
Regrettably, this is something I see all the time in people who are involved with erotica. I am not sure why this is the case, but it is terrifyingly epidemic to the medium of smut writing. I’ve seen two common variants of this, so I will go through one at a time.
The first hearkens back to the “quantity and arrangement” misconception I mentioned earlier. Roleplay (RP) is a type of writing people do together. One person starts the scene with a setting or a context through which dialogue can be exchanged. The recipients – one or many – respond with words, actions, emotions, alternate settings, alternate contexts, and so on. It becomes a back and forth through which a full narrative can be created, but its depth need only be as vast as the context surrounding it.
With Lewd RP, the context can be anything from a full-fledged relationship to a one-night stand, from post-coital cuddling to marathon sex. Each back-and-forth response is dictated both by the context of the responses prior and the overall change in tempo during the narrative’s progression. Thus, a response which says too much can be as detrimental to the narrative as one which says too little.
Many of my responses are 50-100 words, or about standard paragraph length. It is enough to convey a complete chunk of voice/conveyance (V/C) before moving on toward the next major V/C chunk. Remember, this is a roleplay, meaning the next chunk should be provided by the other person or people. Also keep in mind that, like in stories, some “paragraphs” are simple dialogue to provide further information for the scene, and may be only 10-30 words in length. That is not only acceptable, but situationally ideal.
Unfortunately, you may come across the kind of person whose “requirements” are that roleplay starters and responses must be 10-15 Twitter tweets (300-400 words) in length. What is wrong with this picture? Either the person wants to convey three chunks of V/C before you have a chance to give input, or the person wants to convey one V/C in three times the average length and expects the same from you. If it’s the former, this person is intentionally steering the narrative. If it’s the latter, this person is adding tons of unnecessary words to artificially lengthen the work (and again, expecting you to follow suit).
Nothing about that is good writing. In fact, most of the people I see with this behavior are more interested in their reputation than the intimacy they’re supposed to be sharing. When the scenes you write come off as a formality rather than true passion, you’ve effectively drowned in your own narcissism.
The second type of person for whom this selfishness exists can be described as “TFWNGF.” Shorthand for “That Feel When No GirlFriend,” it refers to those who turn to erotica as a means of escape from loneliness. While it is more often invoked by men, there are plenty of women guilty of this as well. What it generally boils down to is the subject of ideals.
A person might convey themselves as the type of person they are most attracted to (another form of narcissism), or they may convey themselves in a manner most desirable to the type of person they are most attracted to. In nearly every case of this I have seen (and let me tell you, have there been dozens), those ideals are very aesthetic, very superficial, and have no deeper connotations with which to derive true passion. There is no V/C, so there lacks any solid foundation for growth. Worse yet, a person could become trapped into ignoring all possible substitutions because they trivialize alternatives as lacking contribution to the ideals they are foolishly chasing.
It breeds a complex in which the one involved feels that since they can’t get exactly what they want in reality, reality has somehow wronged them. It manifests as this cycle of both self-loathing and outward hatred which can result in severe emotional problems and aggressive behavior. Yet at the same time it is both self-inflicted and self-treatable. As such, one cannot justify that kind of behavior. Like I said, it is very insincere to the people who will never be able to intimately experience the beauty of this world. Even at that point, you who exists in a sound mind and body still have the ability to indulge in the V/Cs of others. You still have the ability to express your own V/C. There is no excuse.
So that was really my thoughts in a nutshell. I’m not a fan of chastising others for their behavior, and I understand that my words may not change a lot of minds on the issue. Still, it is something I want people to think about, especially when they go to read my own writing, or to listen to the recordings I post here. Everything I have done and will do is genuine. Writing is a way for me to experience transcendence, but it is also a way for me to show others what transcendence can look like. I want people to read content and see more than just the erotic side to it, because there is also something rather spiritual to it. I want to voice that. I want to convey that. That is why I am here.
Thank you so much if you took the time to read all of this. In terms of the blog, I am hoping to keep a loose schedule of two pieces per week. Sometimes it will be two short stories, sometimes two recordings, and sometimes one of each. If you liked this “Real Talk” article, please let me know and I might do more of them in the future. Latexa Out.