September 29, 2013

"Did This Really Happen?"

If you've been reading my blog at all for the past few years, you'll know the name Sommer Marsden. I've been working with Sommer for nearly—oh, my god—seven years come January 1. (Yes, I was working on New Year's Day when I accepted one of her short stories.) I'm so pleased to be part of her Disorganized Ball of Chaos. (I've run tours like that before, too!)

Sommer is a writer I can trust. Do you know what I mean? When she puts the words on the page, I feel as if they happened. To someone. Somewhere. I love that. Sommer tackles the topic here with a post about her book Restricted Release.

Did this really happen?

I dare you to find an erotica writer who hasn't been asked that. Double dog dare you. I once had an editor accept a piece and then proceed to share with me his very personal experience in that area because it was clear from my intense and magical story that I'd done what I'd written about.

I had not. 
But I still hear it. 

Did this really happen? Have you done this? Have you lived this?

Oddly, I don't think anyone asks horror and mystery writers how many bodies are buried in their basements or how many people are being held prisoner in their secret lairs but ya know...that's neither here nor there.
The point is, sometimes it's true. 
With Restricted Release, my new shiny novel of sex and love and a little bondage for flavor, yes, I did that. 
Now, before you get all excited and agog and vibratey with anticipation, the 'that' I'm referring to is the anorexia part.

My character Clara is a recovering anorexic. I say recovering in the blurb because like most addictions, anorexia is something you never really get over. You just learn to manage it. And it is an addiction. Very much so. An addiction to restriction, control, and power. Over yourself and food and what you allow yourself to eat (think, feel, experience). 
That's my humble take from having lived through it (with it). Yours might be different.

I remember reading my editor's notes when she accepted the book. The authenticity of my writing in the area of Clara's actual eating disorder was wonderful she said. So I confessed. It's easy to write authentically when you've lived it. When the actual *fear* of a piece of bacon cycles through your head for an entire day. When a cupcake is as terrifying as a machete wielding villain. 
Sounds ridiculous, I'm sure, literal fear of food. But it's true. I used to exist on 400 calories a day. And I resented every single one. I feared every single one. And unlike Clara, at the time, I was with a guy who compared me to airbrushed bombshells in men's magazines. No one can live up to being airbrushed.

Now I live with a man who has been known to chase me around when I was full-blown pregnant as if I were the sexiest creature on earth.

Do I think we should allow the significant other in our life to define us? No. But I do think they can go a long way in helping us transcend certain crappy things if it's the right kind of person. At the right time. With the right mindset.

My character Clara was ready. I really believe that. She was ready to change and Matt came in and gave her a hand up. But then Nadia showed up and taught her a few things along the way. Some hard, some good, some sexy, some filthy. Heh. The point is, Nadia offered another hand up. 
Now can't we all use a little hand up now and then? Even two? And sometimes naked? I think so.
As far as the other stuff in the book. Did I do it? Has it really ever happened to me? Did I live that? Well, on that front, I'm going to have to let you speculate. It's more fun that way.


I wanted to direct you also to a post I put up a few years back on a similar theme. And I also want to remind y'all to vote! Poll ends tonight!


P.S. For all of you who contributed to the anthology I'm working on for Sommer—thank you! I am knee-deep in the formatting. Hope to have word soon on when the book will be released!


Tamsin Flowers said...

Great post, Sommer!

Sommer Marsden said...

Thanks v much, Tamsin. And thanks to AT, of course, for having me :)

Madeline Moore said...

"Do I think we should allow the significant other in our life to define us? No. But I do think they can go a long way in helping us transcend certain crappy things if it's the right kind of person. At the right time. With the right mindset."

Yes. Perfectly put, Ms Marsden.

Laila Blake said...

Wonderful post and I so agree - I have an anxiety disorder, and yes, that also is the category of always having to managed somehow and I find it so important not only to surround myself with people who are good for me, but to be that person to others as well. Only way to live, really :). Can't wait to read this book!

Miz Angell said...

Ah yes, the infamous - did this really happen question.

I believe, with every author, some part of the story has happened at some time or another. Whether it's a fleeting moment or an outright occurrence, we somehow always write what we know.

Excellent post Sommer.

Sommer Marsden said...

Well, thank you muchly, MM :)

Laila, I will high five you because I am a fellow anxiety disorder owner. I say owner because I feel more in control that way. ;) It's a constant thing, but I think in some respects it makes the person (owner) a bit stronger. That which doesn't kill me...right?

Miz Angell, I know you've done all the things you've written. You dirty, dirty girl. Heh ;)


Lana Fox said...

Beautiful post, Sommer. Powerful and important. Thank you to both you and Alison! Very moved by Laila's commment too - amongst the other great comments, of course.