Interview with Scry of Lust with Darcy Hughes

Darcy Hughes aka Princess Skunkheart Photo Credit: Desiree Darling

The Author:

 

The book cover name listed is Merlin Monroe. It’s part of my queer magicks to have more than one name; I have fifteen.  The full list is: Christopher Douglas Salvatore Hughes, flurp, Tristissima, Grok Amiri, Staci Everheart, et alia laughing and weeping, Wizard Lizard, Princess Teacup. Pope Uncommon the Dainty, Gandalfina Ixtliyollotl Face-and-Heart. Merlin Monroe, Dionysia Sacredmirror, Kaleidoscope Eyes, Darcy Marie Salvatore Hughes, Skunkheart

I use either e/em/eir/eirs/emself or fey/fem/fear/fierce/femself pronouns.

Name of Stories in Scry of Lust:

  • Aduality{0≠2;1=108}
  • Bimbo Sutra #2
  • Tlazolteotl in the Language of Asatru and Hinduism, Or: Because I Do Not Know Your Language Well Enough Yet
  • Letter Found in the Wreck of a Pirate Ship Sunk in the Caribbean, April 10, 1947

Excerpt from Aduality{0≠2;1=108}

Skunkheart (photo credit: Dan Nicoletta)

Skunkheart (photo credit: Dan Nicoletta)

                An outline of a rectangle like a hexagon pulled upwards, formed by two metallic rods rising until they were connected at the top by a revolving steel shaft which supported a crosswise arm of harsh steel, reached up from the table surface.  Two large square bottomed pyramids of epoxy resin and metal shavings contained magnets and dangled from this arm’s two extremes.  Under each was that very curiously constructed fixture which so casually fascinates the eye, a sort of shallow oval bowl, formed of a peculiar layering of magnets, wood, and metals, filled with water, and above that a number of zinc and copper plates, alternately arranged; the two served as orgonic and electric reservoirs, respectively.  These were supplied with lofty metallic attractors that reached gracefully upward.  As with most ships, various metallic bars, plates, wires, magnets, insulating substances, peculiar chemical compounds, etc., adorned our Electric Messiah according to the doting arcane nuances of our New Mary’s incessant tinkering.  At certain points around the circumference of these structures, and connected with the center, more pyramids hung alternating with small, steel, magnet-enclosing balls.  A balloon structure hanging between the table legs inhaled and respired gently, like the chest of a sleeping lover, growing to delicious size and then lazily draining air into the rest of the machine.

I felt myself begin to be aroused, blood rushing to my cheeks and sensitive bits, the invisible shift as my cardigan accommodated tightening breasts and assertive nipples, the muscles of my hips and legs loosening.  My dress worried me, as my trinket pressed against it, ruining the line of its fall past my hips; I no longer felt the hem along the front of my thigh.  I wiggled my toes ~ a ritual of sensuous anticipation ~ and a giggle interrupted my enjoyment of the precision with which this ship part was made.

“Ummmm, okay, so how do we start?”

“I usually start with a moment of appreciation of the well-made machine we’ll be powering, Captain.  Gets me in the mood, as it were.  That being said, I suppose it’s time to engage with you.”

She pranced closer, steps too quick for me to track, and suddenly all I could feel was the sticky slipperiness of her latex, pink with her considerable features offered with pale blue outlines, as our closeness pressed its bulges against me in ways both random and predictable.

The Interview:

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Priestess (Francesca Gentille) and Darcy Hughes (Merlin Monroe)

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. I met Maustress Sumiko at a local kinky speed-dating event. On our two-minute speed date, she was bold and brash enough to offer me a taste of how her nails felt scratching the back of my hand.  I left her a note saying that I’d enjoyed it, which was enough to convince her to very shyly approach me soon thereafter.  Within a handful of minutes, she had me at her mercy in the dungeon, and a new D/s relationship burst into the world.  This was at about the same time that she was starting the munch, but she wasn’t the only founder I’d met before ~ Lydia had been a frequent attendee of the Elegant D/s Munch held at the same coffee shop by another Dominant of mine (Priestess, who is also published in this book).  I was pleasantly surprised by the efficacy of the model being used ~ most writing groups of which I’ve been a member keep the writing and the critiquing very separate, on different days of different weeks if anything.  But this group gave writers a reason to have to write, which is something many of us struggle with, and then allows for immediate feedback from writers at all expertise levels.  That last is super important, because the breadth of experience in your critiquers allows your work to be examined by many different angles.  Writing is a craft where the gross and the subtle, the macro and the micro, really do interpenetrate and interdepend, after all!

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 love the implication that one could be a writer who hates writing, or (worst of all!) is neutral towards it. It tickles a rare sadistic part of me to imagine someone who is compelled to churn out amazing work while despising every second of it.  Regardless, I grew up knowing that I wanted to write.  Sci-fi/fantasy was my first love, born from a childhood thinking that I was imaginary because I was both and neither boy and girl (I’m genderqueer for those who need to know what to call me).  That all shifted once I hit high school, the common hormonal transmogrification from prose fiction dreamer to shitty poetry writer.  I fell in love with the standard poets for disaffected teenagers to fall in love with ~ Lord George Gordon Byron and Allen Ginsburg, most prominently.  Then came the movie Slam, starring Saul Williams, and my literary life changed dramatically in a blink of an eye.  My first-ever attendance at a poetry slam was in December of 2000, back in those halcyon days before the PATRIOT Act and a second Gulf War and all the things that shaped people my age who are like me.  I went on to perform poetry on slam stages for a decade before turning my attention back to prose.  Ever since, I’ve been focusing on speculative prose fiction, graphic fiction, and writing for role-playing games.

As for loving writing ~ the word “genderqueer” wasn’t coined until I was thirteen (by Riki Ann Wilchins) and “nonbinary gender” took another ten years before it was coined. It wasn’t so much that I thought I was the only one who felt both like fey didn’t fit into either the boys’ line or the girls’ line and like e fit into both, but that I thought that was impossible.  I thought I was impossible.  But, as J.R.R. Tolkien said, “Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme/of things nor found within record time./It is not they that have forgot the Night,/or bid us flee to organised delight,/in lotus-isles of economic bliss/forswearing souls to gain a Circe-kiss/(and counterfeit at that, machine-produced,/bogus seduction of the twice-seduced).” ~ by engaging in acts of mythopeia, I was able to begin spelling myself first into possibility and then into existence.  My many fantasies were, in fact, a glamour that called me, weirld little ol’ me, into being.  Without them, I would probably have killed myself ~ or is it killing if the corpse was never real?  So, ummmm, yeah, that’s how I began to love writing.

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 is my first like legit book publication! WOOOHOOOO!  Before this, all of my publishing was performing on stage.  As I mentioned earlier, I performed slam poetry for about a decade; in the process of that career, I won a spot on two national teams, both from Palo Alto, attending the National Poetry Slam in Albuquerque in 2006 and Austin in 2007.

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. Hmmm… Well, see my previous ranting about my writing being a magickal spell to exist, for one. That’s true for my various fiction writings (prose, graphic, and RPG), at the barest minimum.  I want to throw Tolkien’s ideas about mythopeia (as demonstrated in the poem of the same name and the essay “On Fairy-Stories”), the anti-capitalist pagan/polytheist use of re-enchantment as a liberatory praxis (you can find a good start on this at https://finnchuillsmast.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/becoming-placed-part-i/), Willem Larsen’s conception of Mythic Cartography (http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/willem-larsen/the-college-of-mythic-cartography/paperback/product-21654330.html), and even the ideas from Aevee Bee’s “Toward a Cutie Aesthetic” (http://www.mammonmachine.com/mammon-machine-central-routing/2014/9/27/towards-a-cutie-aesthetic-) together into my stewpot, leave it simmering for hours like a broth or a good marinara, and feed the result to all of my readers, nourishing them.  It’s up to those readers if I succeed ~ writing is, to me, an inherently submissive endeavour whose success is dictated not by my efforts or will but by the reader’s.  This is erotic fiction with a wide variety of bodies and genders and sexualities and romances and neurologies, stories which understand and assert that sexuality need not look like genital friction but that lust and love can run in any number of directions.  I hope my attempt at science fictional objectum sexualis erotica works ~ I welcome any OS readers’ commentary on how to make my description of the Electric Messiah hotter!

My poetry is a broad selection ~ Scry of Lust contains two slam poems, one of which is also a prayer of praise and alignment, a devotional offering to the teotl I often call my Boss Lady, and an assemblage poem. In “Letter Found in the Wreck of a Pirate Ship Sunk in the Caribbean, April 10, 1947” I explore the inherent queer incoherence of language, step towards a second-order existentialism, the search for an image without a meaning.  My fiction is working to make me real, but this poem and its siblings are an attempt to claim citizenship by virtue of my gender in the nonsensical realms.  It was compiled by taking a collection of Pablo Neruda’s poetry in translation and welding together in order the first line of the first poem, the second line of the second poem, the third line of the third poem, et cetera.

Yes, I am, in fact, pretentious as fuck. Blame too much time spent in and among academia.  The non-pretentious version: my writing is me saying some shit and hoping it sparks new thoughts in your brains or something.  Or maybe it sparks joy; I dunno, go ask Marie Kondo.

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? (note:– you may consider

A. I am genderqueer, nonbinary, transgender, Autistic, crazy, and my primary sexual orientation isn’t straight, gay, bi, or pan, but kinky and submissive. I am also a religious minority, somewhere in the pagan/polytheist/occultist realm.

We’re well-represented in this anthology! We have multiple pieces in this work depicting each of these identities, with the possible exception of Autism.  Several of the characters in the book could be guessed to be Autistic, but as far as I can tell, mine is the only one that tried to make a point of it, subtle though it is in my story.  Though I am not multiple, a plural, or a system, I’ve many friends among a variety of systems and so was SUPER HAPPY to read a piece in this book involving sex with members of a system.  Enbies and ace/aro folk are starting to get some recognition, but it seems to me (again, as a singular person) that multiples are just starting to build the fondation from which they can really gain the recognition they deserve in our society.

More importantly than our presence, however, is how we are written. Much of the erotica, hell most of the literature, I have read objectifies the marginalized identities oresent in it, even when written by us.  The issue is that our identity becomes part of the buzz, part of the heat, part of the engine driving the work ~ it becomes not a story about trans folk having sex, for example, but about fucking trans folk.  As if us being trans or crazy is dirty, kinky, naughty.  We are not a fetish.  I made Awiti Autistic because disabled folk of all kinds, including Autistics, are very often desxualized in our culture.  I have literally had allistics tell me, thinking I was one of them because I pass well, that having sex with an Autist would automatically be rape.  As if we didn’t have the natural, human, sovereign capability to consent.  And if we don’t have that, what can we assume but that we are seen as less than human?  Less even than animals, since animalian consent is considered possible by wide swathes of the population?  Anyway *calming myself down* what I’m saying is that I would like to read more porn by Autists for Autists starring Autists.  Please and thank you!

What I was actually saying was that the stories in this book are, generally speaking, written from within the communities and having gotten over that hump born of internalized oppression and the need to beg for recognition. These are stories starring us, even about us, in which us being us isn’t the core of the tale.  We get to be humans, or pets, or fucktoys, or what-have-you in these tales rather than objectified representations of identities, and that has lifted my heart to the highest heavens.

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. Ooohhh, this is a thorny question. For the most part, I think, my answer is similar to my perspective on our culture’s trashing of gossip ~ is gossip/erotica bad/trashy because we associate with women, or do we associate it with women because it is bad/trashy?  I don’t have an answer, and I defy you to say that you do.  Erotica is the fancy name we give to pornography (a word, of course, that means “writing the female slave” in its Greek roots) because we want to think that reading is somehow more elevated a pursuit than looking, and pornography is an emotion-focused genre just as much as horror, thrillers, or psychedelic literature are.  We cannot talk about Westerns without talking about the (genocidal af) American West, and we cannot talk about science fiction without talking about science (even fantastical, made-up science).  What we say about one we are saying about the other.  Look at your perspective on erotica/pornography; look at your perspective on sex.  Are they different?  Why?

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. SO MANY! Like, seriously, most of the stories.  Not even lying.  Oh, wait, I have a limit of 3, and my Mistress is asking the question, so I better obey.  *sigh* What a sadist 😀   OK, let’s see ~ “Adona’s Feast” is a masterful capturing of the type of sexually ecstatic, sadomasochistic(ish) religious mood so often evoked in the mythology of ancient Greece, whence of course the harpy (to whom the ritual being depicted is dedicated) comes to us.  Part of that is the insightfully genius way Maustress Sumiko captures the ambiguity that creeps into modern readings of ancient rituals, seeming especially so when we are discussing the wild rites of the Hellenes.  It’s dedicated to Andona, but seems to be almost more about the mortals involved than about her, but it’s the maenadic loss of control that matters.  It’s sadomasochistic in that it is a kaleidoscopic admixture of pain and sex, but the feel of it, the mood of it, its essence, is so far from modern conceptions of even spiritual sadomasochism that it sets our brains on tilt.  As both a classicist, a Dungeons & Dragons player, and a kinky-ass submissive, the story lit me up.  I might even, as a bit of a follow-up, try to write a D&D setting taking elements of this story, another of Maustress’s and some of the other more fantastic bits of the book and at least fan-publish that (with consent, obvi).

“The Clearing” hit some deep sense-memories for me and stirred them together with my daydreams and fantasies for a simply intoxicating cocktail of a text. The blending of loving yet cruel non-monogamy, the comfortable assumption of Dominance, the ecosexuality and subject<=>SUBJECT consciousness with which the surrounding non-city environment is treated and how it is involved in the sex, and the romance of the whole thing was such a heady mix that it made this sentence less grammatical and more wordy than I intended 🙂  Not only did it have me squirming my cute little ass in the bed while I read it, but it drew the sort of sighs from my chest that can only come from one who has approached within sight of that which they long for, only to not achieve it.

Speaking of not achieving it, “Getting Hammered” is one of two stories in the anthology that directly address what it’s like to love and fuck real people with real traumas. That point out that the point of a fantasy is to reach for it, not to achieve it.  While the other story both hits one of my biggest kinks (bimbofication, for those playing the home game) and has adorably real moments of failure, both in the sex and in the dealing with trauma bits, “Getting Hammered” got the spot on my Top 3 because it gets closer to depicting my trauma.  The very easy and thus common trauma of a Dominant never quite being happy with your service.  Without even realizing what they’re doing, a Dominant can ravage a submissive’s inner landscape.  It has happened to me, and it has happened to the narrator of this story, and it was truly beautiful to see a Dominant recognize what was happening, understand it, and address it *within the dynamic*.  He doesn’t have to break his Dominance to help her heal, and that makes the healing all the more powerful for both character and reader.

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. Almost any mind control scene, honestly. The depth and level of the submission that is taken by the villain of whatever sort is exciting, and then the ways in which that usually results in the self-destruction of whoever’s controlled really tickles my trinket in the most pleasurable of ways.  If you want a specific example, I definitely got that vibe throughout The Craft, even in those scenes in which there wasn’t any mind control, somehow.  It helped that this was when I was at the age that many people discover witchcraft and that it was at the time when the teenage McWitch industry began to really boom, but I had many wet nightmares throughout my early first puberty of Fairuza Balik and the others mind-controlling me into doing things like driving a car at full speed into a wall.  If you’ve never had erotic nightmares, I do suggest you try sometime ~ I find them quite delicious.

Also, one way that my submissiveness can swing is towards a memetic image I have in my head that I can’t think of any actual example sof, but I’ll mention it here. It’s the image of, like, a demon (or Satan, I suppose) sitting on a throne in Hell or in a demonic stronghold or somesuch, with a broken slave chained and sitting on the floor next to them.  The cognitive side of the image is that slave has been completely broken and, thus, can always be used by the demon when the demon for whatever reason can’t let go and go as hard as they want on someone.  They can go as hard as they want on the broken slave, but ~ AND ~ that means the slave doesn’t get hurt as often anymore, but does get trusted and can thus serve as the most delicious sort of instigator, driving the demon to ever greater and more creative tortures of other beings.  If you can think of any examples in media that resemble that image even in the slightest, PLEASE send them my way ~ werd2thenerd@yahoo.com or (better) on FetLife as @Staci_Everheart.

As to whether it’s appropriate or inappropriate: fuck if I know.  Anyway, it really only involves me most of the time, so if I can’t collapse that waveform and come up with an answer, that seems OK.  I’m happier living in the question and the self-examination that requires, anyway.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on May 28, 2019.

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