Interview with Scry of Lust author Serena Toxicat

Serena Toxicat, author of The Leftist Appendage

Photo Credit: Serena Toxicat and Isis, by Karen Stanley

Photo Credit: Serena Toxicat and Isis, by Karen Stanley

San Francisco-born and bred Serena Toxicat scratches out dark fiction, lyrics, plays and poetry in English and in French. She sings in a Black Catwave band called Protea, and her parallel recording projects include Starchasm. An actor, model-turned-designer, former-pro Domme, NLP life coach, and literary translator, Toxicat leads a scattered, sketchy life and delights in showing her paintings, taking part in LGBTQ+ and kink-focused activities, traveling and collecting tattoos. Serena is a psychic reader, healer, priestess and feline Tarot deck creator. She lived almost 8 years in Paris and traveled to Egypt, where she recorded vocals in the King’s Chamber.

Scry of Lust

Scry of Lust event poster tabloid

The Leftist Appendage

Teaser (Sample)
 “This new survey shows that women dress for each other, not for men. What’s sad is that we women don’t include ourselves in the women we dress for.”
As it dawned on Lyra that she was in for another spat with the emotional baby she called a boyfriend, she started to second-guess her breakup with her girlfriend.
“Are you saying it’s better to dress for women than for men? I mean…what are you getting at? Do you think women are more worthy of being catered to?”
“No, Moran, I’m not.”
“Stop pronouncing my name moron!”
“I said Moran. Not my fault the two are so close together. I just brought up the survey because it made the news. Most people still assume that women take time shopping and primping to impress men. We don’t.”
“Everybody’s different. I just wanted to make sure we’re on the same page with the whole gender thing. I was alienated from the restaurant where I worked because some 90s riot grrls didn’t want anybody with a penis around.”
“Any gender can have a penis.”
“Ha-ha. I know, I’m just saying…”
“What do you mean? The owners fired you because you were a guy? Isn’t that illegal?”
“No, I was friends with a lot of the customers. They were mostly people from the music scene. But this girl clique got all into Courtney Love and Bikini Kill and turned into a gang of feminazis who ordered me to serve them their veggie burgers and soy shakes and shut the fuck up.”
“Feminazis?’ Wow. I don’t mean to be PC, but couldn’t you find a better word? I’m sorry that happened, though.”
“They told me to stand there and look pretty.”
“Well, that is less labor-intensive, at least.”
“Har-dee-har. It’s not so funny when you live it.”
Lyra heard the irony in that male angst and chose to keep her pesky woman-thoughts to herself.
“Well, I won’t make you feel less-than because of some silly appendage hanging between your legs,” gushed Lyra playfully as she side-hugged her manchild.

The Interview

me milano smile

 

Q. How did you find out about the Kinky Writer’s Group or Munch at Wicked Grounds? Was it online, in person, through a referral, and how well did it meet expectations when you arrived?

A. Sumiko invited me! The first event was on my birthday, and she had just taken me out for some Japanese food. The group was fun (they say your first is always meaningful—for better or worse) and draining, for a variety of reasons. It was the two of us, a girl named Leeloo, and my slam poet friend, Russell Gonzaga.

Q. When did you first start writing? Do you feel it was your purpose to put writing in the world – or do you view writing as a hobby, and how did you begin to love writing if you do love it at all.

A. I’ve often viewed writing as my first real discipline, even though I was already painting. It is a calling, I suppose–unless what I answered was just somebody in the next room blowing their nose. It started out with a play I wrote in iambic pentameter, a 5-heartbeat/10-syllable-per-line rhythm, and staged at Bannam Place Theater in North Beach with the NOMA troupe we put together. I also won a poetry contest at my school. This is was when I was 17, and that was when saying “groovy,” “keen,” and “grass” was only barely ironic. I’m not sure why I love writing so much. Authors bring friends, rivals and all manner of events into being through the living power of thought. That’s certainly a part of it. Writing has an emotionally and energetically regulating quality, too. It tunes my mood, turns my switch, and makes me feel like a badass witch!

Q. Before Scry of Lust, had you ever put your writing out into the world in any form and if so, how and where (links, if available)

A. This should have everything. Here’s my Amazon Link.  I ended up with a slew of books with my name on them–you know, stacked cat furniture. My full-length novel about a middle-aged woman with anorexia nervosa is called Ghosts in Bones, and my Evangeline and the Drama Wheel novella is already long enough to convert to a novel.

Q. Some of the pieces in the anthology are sci-fi leaning; others are fantasy, real life scenarios, poetry, or transgressive fiction. How would you describe your own brand of erotic fiction?

A. This one is probably close to a real-life scenario thrown back to the 90s when riot grrls were still subversive. I was going to say “when riot grrls were still a thing,” but calling a thing “a thing” wasn’t yet “a thing.”

Q. Many of the people in the anthology are marginalized in one way or another. Women are underrepresented in horror while men are underrepresented in the romance literary genre, queer people are under-represented in literature and disabled people and ethnic minorities are more often written about by others than able to self-represent. Do you view yourself as a member of any marginalized communities and if so, how do you feel about the representation of those communities in both this anthology and in erotica in general?

A. I’m female, an ethnic minority on one side (Jewish heritage), neurodivergent AKA mad/crazy/mentally ill, pan, kinky, a feline-alien hybrid…a few things like that. I seem to fit pretty well within this anthology, and quite possibly in erotica, but I don’t know enough stats on writers in the greater genre, which may already be a privilege. A fact that seems obvious in mainstream circles is that there is, as you said, an abundance of women who write. Whether many of them self-identify as queer, kinky, trans, disabled, and so forth, I don’t know. They don’t seem to do so publicly. We have creative legends like Annie Sprinkle and Carol Queen–these are the types of authors and personalities we hear at the Center for Sex & Culture and overall in our strong community of Bay Area authors– but we’re spoiled.

Q. Erotica seems to have a bad name in certain circles as a trash genre – do you think that is true? Anne Rice said that erotica and romance are maligned because they are genres written mostly by women for women, do you think that is valid? Finally, do you think people view male-written erotica like John Norman’s Chronicles of Gor as any more or less trashy?

A. I don’t think of erotica per se as femme, but that’s just me. Romance, yes. Most of us aren’t Anais Nin types, although she had her own brand of brilliance. (“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” anyone?) I don’t associate it with trashiness, but that’s me being a product of both my Bay Area and Parisian cultures. When I put myself in the shoes, or underwear/lingerie/terrycloth bathrobe, of readers in other parts of the US, for example, I can feel that imputation. Hell, the word “trashy” goes with “novel” like the word “strident” goes with “atheist.” Godless friends will know what I mean. Women+sex=devaluation. I remember those Harlequin romance novel covers from the 70s, but I think they went for trashy/campy/kitsch on purpose.

Q. Which of the other writer’s stories did you like the most and want to recommend that the readers check out? I know you loved the whole book, but this isn’t the question. If you wanted to entice the prospective reader to buy the book, name 1 to 3 works that you didn’t personally write that you would point them at to read first. And why?

A. I have only read Charlee Verette’s The Penetration of Albion, because I did the line editing. I thought it was pretty cool and very inventive, especially for a first professional publication. I want to read Sumiko’s Andona’s Feast, since she’s a remarkable writer, but I’m kind of scared after hearing a brief description of it! Looking forward to Sara the Black’s story because it will be a first book for her, as well, and because she’s a manul/Pallas’s cat sister Also Mimi, since she’s helped out Sumiko, and, by extension, all of us, so much.

Q. Finally – since this is horror blog – what is your favorite scarerogenous hot sexy scene in a horror movie, and do you think it is appropriate or inappropriate to be turned on by this?

A. The Hunger. For one, because the movie itself features David Bowie, and two, the scene between Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon was very hot and rather groundbreaking for a mainstream film in 1983. The effects were pretty naive by today’s standards, but it was a symbolism-and-platelet-rich scene, so that’s OK. I’m thinking of the blood artwork, if you haven’t guessed. Seems pretty tame to take much offense with myself.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on May 18, 2019.

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