This Sunday I introduce a workshop on Erotica Writing at The Hive. My interest in sexual and sensual writing was probably sparked off when I first read The Vagina Monologues. That book is a more clinical look at women’s relationship with their gender and sexuality but it was a door. A little later, I met Chuck Palahniuk’s visceral writing, first with Fight Club and then with Snuff (both of which I enjoyed tremendously). Fight Club twisted you inside out as a reader and brought you face to face with your mental and physical demons. Snuff took that to another level and met the fears and shame we all place deep within our cells, with dark humour.
Then 50 Shades of Grey burst on the world. I’ve written about what I thought of the books. But it did more than tell a particular story. It forced readers and writers to think about sexuality in stories. And after that, I think, how can you not? Sex, sensuality and gender are such integral parts of the living experience, how can a writer whose job it is to hold up a mirror to our humanity, ignore it?
I’ve explored the genre in a more focussed way after that, with famous works like those of Anais Nin, less popular ones like L Marie Adeline and a lot of amateur writing. And more and more I became convinced that it would be impossible for me as a writer to proceed, unless I faced upto and overcame my inhibitions and shame about writing about sex and sensuality. It continues to be a journey but I feel certain that I wouldn’t struggle as much with writing a first kiss scene as I did, in my first book back in 2009.
This workshop is an attempt to bring other writers to tap into that vital source of inspiration and material — their own senses. I think it’s also important to open up a conversation about what erotica is. As reactions, I’ve received some versions of “Hahahaha, are you going to teach people sex positions?” But there has been a lot more cautious interest than I had thought. People are curious, watchful. And that makes it possible for me to see the first kind of reaction for what it is — fear/discomfort disguised as humour.
This Sunday ought to be interesting. Here’s what I have planned for the workshop:
- Tapping into sensation for inspiration
- Imagining characters as feeling, sensual beings
- Describing physical impressions in a vibrant manner
I will be doing this via a series of writing and visualisation exercises. The goal for my workshop is that participants find it easier to write about physicality, sensuality and even (but not limited to) sex in their future work.
The workshop is open to people above 18 only. The event details are here.
Erotica Writing with Ramya Pandyan
On: October 11, 3pm to 5pm
At: 50-A, Huma Mansion, Chuim Village Road, Khar (W).
Cost: Rs 1000
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