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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wednesday Spotlight: Lisa Beth Darling

On Religion and Erotica Writing by Lisa Beth Darling

I'm often asked, "Why do you write this stuff?"

Normally the question is asked in a rather rude off-handed manner. When that happens my first response is always, "Catholic?"

The answer is usually one of the following:

2-yes, but I'm not anymore.
3-no, but my ____ was Catholic and I went to church with him/her.

If you're an erotica writer, the next time someone poses that question to you in that matter, try it out and see what happens. I'll lay 90-1 odds you get one of the answers given above.

I was raised Roman Catholic AND Baptist. Oh joy. I was allowed to leave the Baptist church soon after my Grandpa died (I was 6) and only to go to Sunday School at the BC when I stayed overnights with my Aunt Marge who was in the habit of getting up at the completely ungodly hour of 6am on a Sunday! Loved her to death but I don't think God would have minded if she slept until 8 or so and caught 10 o'clock mass instead of 8 o'clock.

So....six years of BC Sunday School combined with a merciless 12 years of Roman Catholic you see where this going? Or how it could totally screw someone sexually for the remainder of their lives? Do I need to draw a more detailed picture? I don't think so. Suffice it to say that NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE DID IT WAS A SIN...period...the end. Especially sex! Sex was horrible. It was evil. It was only for marriage. A nice Catholic girl didn't even think about such things and she approached them shyly for the very first time on her wedding night.


Not to mention the fact that the Bible is FULL of sex. It IS an erotic novel in many ways. It's a fantastic tale of power, faith, greed, sex, redemption and plain old survival. The RC and BC churches (along with most others) turn a disapproving eye to it. I believe with all my heart that Jesus Christ actually LOVED Mary Magdalene and that it's all together possible....most likely of all...that they had at least one child together. Ya know what? I bet they enjoyed the hell out the conception! I know, that's blasphemy! It's sacrilege!


All right...mixed messages more than abound within the Christian ethic. It's very easy to get confused.

Long about 7th grade I discovered I had a talent for erotic writing. My friends loved to read my stories and I would often sneak into the mimeograph room to run off copies of them rather than having to write them out over and over again or risk having my ONE copy confiscated by a teacher. Well, this particular story...copies of copies were made and, school's a small place, I eventually got called into the Guidance Office. It wasn't pretty though I was not suspended. I discovered that I had a talent not only for writing but for defending whatever I wrote as well. GC couldn't argue with me very much though my mother was called and she read the story. Although she probably wanted to say something, she couldn't say anything without adding in something like, "Well, I'm reading Looking For Mr. Goodbar right now and I did catch Lisa sneaking a peak…or three or it."

Of course from that point on, my mother was convinced I was going to "burn in hell" if I kept on writing that way. She wanted me to write "nice" stories if I "had to write" at all.

Being a typical adolescent on the verge of teenagehood, of course, I didn't listen to her. From that point on I dabbled with romance and where the line was between what was 'romantic' and what others might call 'pornographic'. I kept getting called down to the Guidance Office until my writing reached a level where it was clear I was being called down to be told how good it was but "don't pass it around on school grounds" and teachers and GCs alike beamed and nearly gushed.

For the last few decades, as I hone my craft and my style, I try my best to keep the sex (of whatever variety: one-on-one, threesome, group, non-con, even incest) on a Higher Level. I try not to put in more than the story requires. Sometimes it requires 2 paragraphs and other times it requires 12 full pages of non-stop sex. When it comes to multiples and kinky stuff I always struggle to keep it out of the muck; that's not easy to do. It's a very fine line to walk and difficult to properly illustrate with mere words. I hate muck. I hate smut. Above all, I absolutely abhor pornography. Call that Catholic Guilt if you want. I've never been sure if that's it or if it's the Real Me shining through telling me...and hopefully the Reader...that sex really is a sacred thing.

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Gabby said...

Um Ms. Darling? I was just wondering...and I really hope I don't offend you in anyway, but um how exactly were you able to continue what you love to do if you didn't exactly have support from your mom?

I mean I know that she "let" you write but she honestly didn't seem all that encouraging, how were you able to write when you did have a lot of support? I mean from you family.

Fiona McGier said...

It's not just Catholics, girl! I live blocks from the college that trains evangelical missionaries to travel the world and proselytize, which means beat the original culture/religion out of the natives. (Did I just say that out loud?)
I use a pen name so there won't be any burning crosses on my front lawn!

FYI, many Catholics I've known are the most rebellious sinners 6 days of the week, because they have that good old "escape clause" of "confession" that allows them to expiate their guilt, then do it all over again! Quite a good idea, actually!

Lisa Beth said...

Hi Gabby,

I don't require family or other support when it comes to writing. It's a solitary endeavor to begin with. My mother never actually got in my way--in her own way she was very supportive; she bought me a typewriter, ribbon, paper and all of that. years after I was married she bought me a word processor (by then I was making a little money doing articles for a local newspaper).

I just think she would have just liked it if I wrote happy fluffy little stories instead of hard-hitting ones. As I got older and my writing became less juvenile and more focused, I did let her read a novel I wrote entitled "Burning Embers" and she loved the story. Probably because by that time we were both adults and she didn't have to look at her young daughter as a porn writer or something. :-)

Lisa Beth said...

Hi Fiona,

You nailed that one! Screw 'em over all week long, get on your knees on Sunday & ask forgiveness, then come it all over again. The main thing I couldn't stand within the Catholic Church was all of the hypocrites!

For myself, I write under my maiden name...yes, Lisa Beth Darling IS my name. I had a pen name for ages for internet purposes but dropped it and reclaimed my name a few years ago. If no one likes it...tough.

I feel very sorry for the person who attempts to "burn a cross" on my lawn or anywhere else. I've had my dealings with people like that and such things don't bother me anymore. I guess I've either gotten an asbesto suit or a thicker skin. Either's working. LOL