Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Guest Blog: M. Christian!

When I was first becoming familiar with the landscape of the contemporary erotica scene, I quickly learned that one of the preeminent masters of the genre was an intriguing writer and editor called M. Christian. And it was obvious why M.C. had such a status: his work was not only extraordinary in quality and originality, but also in its versatility. This was clearly a writer who went beyond the familiar challenges of writing convincingly from different genders and orientations and psychologies and walks of life, in different settings, subgenres, moods, and tones; this was a writer who seemed to take all this one step further, to thoroughly reinvent himself, as a voice, every time he picked up the pen—and with glorious results. I'm sure I'm not the first to use the word "chameleon" in describing the man's genius: yes, M. Christian is a rock star of a chameleon.

Nothing about that has changed since I first became acquainted with M.C.'s work. After all, masters of a craft, as a rule, only become more masterful as time goes forward. Here are just three tastes of what this master has been up to lately:

Coming Together Presents M. Christian

Rude Mechanicals

Licks and Promises

But literary brilliance in an incredible range of voices is just part of what M. Christian is about. I have also observed, and indeed repeatedly experienced firsthand, his dedication to supporting other writers. For example, he uses his Frequently Felt blog to showcase our work, generously using his time and bandwidth to curate.

How typical it is of his spirit that when I invited M.C. to make an appearance here, he chose to use this opportunity, in part, to praise me. But I can't let you go without reprinting his bio, because my message here is a twofold one: M. Christian is a great guy AND M. Christian is a rock-star chameleon.

"M.Christian is an acknowledged master of erotica with more than 300 stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Bisexual Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many, many other anthologies, magazines, and Web sites. He is the editor of 20 anthologies including the Best S/M Erotica series, The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, The Mammoth Book of Future Cops and The Mammoth Book of Tales of the Road (with Maxim Jakubowksi) and Confessions, Garden of Perverse, and Amazons (with Sage Vivant) as well as many others. He is the author of the collections Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, Licks & Promises, Filthy, Love Without Gun Control, Rude Mechanicals, and Coming Together: M.Christian; and the novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll."

P.S. On the editing side, M.C. has a couple of exciting anthologies in the pipeline--watch this space!

Friends In Need

by M. Christian

It's funny that Jeremy asked me to write a little something for his blog here – funny because being asked to write something for this blog is exactly what I immediately planned to write about.

It's a song I've sung may times before but it 's always worth repeating: writing is a very tough life. The money is negligible, chances of fame are slim, and even respect from non-writing friends is far too rare.

Then there are other writers.

It's unfortunate but other writers – the very people you'd think would understand, be supportive, be caring – are too often part of the problem and not the solution. Sadly, it's understandable. Did I mention the low pay? The lack of respect? The complete lack of acknowledgement from a culture that's more interested in what celebrity is sleeping with what other celebrity than the fact that you, a writer, just finished a short, a novel, a script? With that type of pressure it's completely comprehensible that some writers would collapse into neuroses, arrogance, pathological competitiveness … in other words turn into total jerks.

Which is where Jeremy comes in … and no, he is not part of the latter. Instead, Jeremy is a stunning example of what brings tears to my so-jaded eyes: a writer who understands what it means to be a writer, who understands the battles we all have to fight, the pains we all have to suffer. But instead of letting the barrage of slings and arrows transform him into a "what can you do for me" hack he, instead, has been supportive, conscientious, and empathetic friend. The kind of friend everyone – especially writers – need.

I consider it a kind of personal mission to try and make (one) non-writers try to understand how hard it can be to be a writer. Yes, there is the zero dollars and the slim-to-none chance of ever becoming famous, but beyond that a writer is a supremely brave soul: with every story, every essay, every script, every novel they reach into their minds, their souls, and craft something the world has never seen before, something totally unique. And then they send that part of themselves out into a far-too-often uncaring world.

And (two) to make other writers understand that we are all in this together: there are no 'successful' and 'unsuccessful' writers. If you write, if you do that downward reaching into your soul and put it down onto the page you are the same as someone who gets million dollar advances and shows up on best seller lists. I can't say that enough or loud enough: We. Are. In. This. Together.

Sure, it was a small thing for Jeremy to ask me to write something for his blog – but it was a gesture all writers can learn from: reach out to other writers, try to understand that your pain is their pain, and – most importantly – we are not alone.

Thanks, Jeremy, for this opportunity – and thanks for being a true writing friend.


Jeremy Edwards said...

Thank you so much for those very, very kind words, MC—and for dropping in here at the Socks & Fedora (that's meant to read like the name of an English pub)!

I feel the same way you do about writers who are collegial—it means so much to me to experience that support and friendship.

By the way, I have Coming Together Presents M. Christian open again as I write this. I think I may have to reread "Smile, Mona" before breakfast! So beautiful! (And CTPMC benefits Planned Parenthood, folks!)

Madeline Elayne said...

Wow. You guys are both amazing examples of people who have been in the craft for enormous amounts of time but who are still everything that those of us who are new to the game aspire both to be and to become associated with. Please keep up the great work!


Emerald said...

What a sweet, delightful post. :) Thanks Jeremy, and thanks M.

I also remember seeing the name M. Christian predominantly when I started exploring the realm of writing and publishing erotica. I found (still do) the ERWA site such an amazing resource, and it seemed so lovely that they had regular writers such as M. Christian who were willing to share their knowledge about publishing and writing.

Thanks to both of you. Xoxo

Donna said...

M. Christian has been a literary inspiration for me since I first started writing erotica, and he's become an even greater personal inspiration for his ability to keep a sane and soul-nurturing perspective in a very crazy business.

This line is going to hang by my computer:

If you write, if you do that downward reaching into your soul and put it down onto the page you are the same as someone who gets million dollar advances and shows up on best seller lists.

Thank you, Jeremy and M. both for your positive energy and for this wonderful post--a celebration of what's good about the writing life!

M.Christian said...

Thank YOU, Jeremy - and thanks to all you great folks to commented. It means so much to me ...

Jeremy Edwards said...

I second that (e)motion—thank you, everyone!

Janine Ashbless said...

Love this "Friends in Need" post, and I agree with every word.

All my best to both MC and Jeremy!

Jo said...

What all round loveliness there is here :)