Metawriting: Straight Town Notes #4

It’s in the thick of these sorts of stories, barreling towards a climax and conclusion which has become clear, that I find myself wondering why I write these sorts of stories. The sort I am talking about is a broad category, but it doesn’t include all of my writing either. It also isn’t a category I feel like accepts an easy definition, either. “Straight Town” is in the category. “Into the Night of God” is another one. I would also say that parts of City of Bears, from the latter entries, would fall into this same category. There are other stories that contain elements of this category, but I think these are probably the most extreme examples of what I am trying to point out. It might not even be that the stories have all that much in common, beyond a sense that they contain a really deep, fundamental darkness that I try to isolate from my other writing as best I can. It is a darkness that makes it difficult to enjoy these stories in a conventional manner, I think–conventional in the sense that it gets my dick hard, and makes me want to jack off. 

It feels like punishment, in some ways. It feels like truth telling, in others. It feels like horror subsumes the pornography, coating it, keeping the form of it but corrupting it in a way that is no longer sexy, but now simply unsettling. I’ve called it anti-porn in the past, and I think that term still holds better than any other I can think up. The stories no longer feel like fantasies, but more like nightmares I am trying to dredge from some deep part of myself, but that sounds melodramatic. What I do know, is something separates these stories from the majority of my work. They are the stories I do not usually go back and read again, but they are the ones I remember writing, the characters I remember most, the ones that take the longest time to conceive and write, and the ones that I tend to mull over for a long while after the fact. But always, I find myself wondering why I write them.

They are not easy to write, for me. It is an exercise in (or exorcism of) some deep something inside myself, something I do not particularly enjoy accessing or acknowledging. Most readers–or at least the ones I hear back from, which is a small percentage of the total, I know, don’t seem to find them sexually stimulating, though some enjoy them on other levels, find that they resonate with themselves in ways they weren’t expecting. What I do not receive, are people telling me they found these stories “hot,” or “sexy,” or anything like that. They are hard to read, and they are hard to write, but I think they offer something more important than an orgasm–or at least, they feel that way to me. A more lasting sort of catharsis.

I’ve been thinking about flogging and pain play lately. It has been quite a while, since before I moved here to Portland, since I had any real intense pain play. It is not something that I ever really expected to enjoy, since my first experience with an abusive fellow was so negative–but with other, more caring doms, it is something—truly beautiful, what you feel under the paddle, or the flogger, or electro, or clamps, or whatever else. But one thing I do not do during pain play, is cum. Kills my erection, every time, for hours. Once I just accept this as something that happens to me, I discovered I didn’t particularly mind it–I was getting more catharsis from the pain/pleasure itself, a physical sense of pleasure that rose higher and lasted longer than any orgasm I’d ever had–so why should I complain about it, really? While not something I have done before, I’ve read anecdotal accounts that guys who are into fisting experience something similar. That orgasm is not the end of the play–the play itself creates sensations and pleasures beyond mere orgasm–the act of play itself is the pleasure and the release. 

This category of stories feels like that, when I write them. A sense of catharsis and release deeper and more resounding than an orgasm would be, a story that speaks to some deeper pain/pleasure inside me that requires satisfaction just as much as my cock might. I don’t know if this is something that readers experience–I imagine, from my conversations with some of them, that they do to an extent. 

So perhaps this story isn’t a blowjob, but a whipping. A really severe whipping. Or at least, it feels severe to me. The only story that has been harder to write than this one, I think, was “Into the Night of God,” and I am eager for it to be completed, so it can rest. So I can rest, for a while, before taking something like this up again. It also means that this story can’t be for everyone–because not everyone wants to get whipped, not everyone has the same pain/pleasure barrier than allows them to enjoy it, not everyone has the same emotional capacity and practice to sustain themselves against it–and I understand that, there’s no shame in not enjoying this. But I do, on some deeper level. I hope you can allow yourself a moment of catharsis too, as it comes to a climax, but if not, I understand.

Metawriting: Straight Town Notes #3

I suppose now would be a good time to take a moment and survey where this story is, now that we’re a little over halfway through it. Pick out some things I’m not happy with, sort out some of the feelings I have about it, and talk a little bit about my writing process in general, since some people have been asking questions about it lately.

I write very fast, and I write a lot. I generally shoot for a minimum of 1000 words a day, on whatever project I might be focused on at the moment, which doesn’t count administration, editing, posting stuff on various platforms, etc. There are good things about this model–it means there’s a lot of content I can pull from, and it means that I’m able to put out stuff fairly consistently–but there are problems too. Nothing that I put out, really, is edited to the full extent that I would like it to be–what you are all reading, constantly, are some decently constructed first drafts of stories that could all be a whole lot better if I took the time to rework them–but reworking them takes extra time, and extra time is not a thing I have very often, and most readers don’t seem to mind that I sacrifice some quality for quantity, so I’ve made my peace with it. However, when I’m writing something of this size and of this emotional complexity, this is the moment when I start to wish I could go back and start it all over again, but do it better this time.

This isn’t to say I’m unhappy with the story as it is turning out–it’s going reasonably well, for something that is largely being drafted on the fly, which didn’t have an ending at all, when I started it. But as is always the case, the story I started out writing–that I imagined when I started chapter one–is not really at all the same story that I have now, after chapter six. Initially, I had the first four chapters planned out pretty well in my mind, with some vague gestures at some possible endings down the road. Steve and Kevin would arrive in town before they are split up and transformed. One chapter each to explore their new realities, and then they collide again in a jail cell. Beyond that, I just knew I would figure it out once I got there, and once I got to know these characters and the setting a bit better.

This story was always going to be a tragedy, of one sort or another. Most of my thinking, as I barrel towards the end here, has been focused on trying to sort out just how tragic of an ending I can handle here. The sheriff, in particular, as taken turns lately which I am still unsure of–turns in his character that I can’t quite tell are good for the story, or me caving because I want to cushion some of the stuff I had initially thought of, in the beginning. But this is part of the problem, really, with every story–there has to be a balance somewhere, and this balance is harder in erotica than a lot of other things, I think, because the audience comes with so many expectations–and I think it’s safe to say that this story is going to confound them more than people might readily enjoy, if they’re just popping in for a good wank.

But this story was never really about getting off. One of my favorite comments I’ve gotten thus far, under chapter four on GaySprialStories from an anonymous someone, was this one (comment is lightly edited for clarity):

“Damn, it’s not like I can wank to this because it fills [me] with confusion and emotions. And that isn’t really sexy – I think I’d need more ‘silliness’ to a story for it to be actually a wanking material, even though i am into [the] gay-to-straight theme. Maybe when they leave this town together, still being all no-homo etc., being all rough and manly, then yeah, I guess it’ll get me hard.”

There’s something about the expectations here–that erotica shouldn’t be confusing and emotional, that there has to be some ‘silliness’ that allows us to dissociate ourselves from it. That anything too real or complex is no longer enjoyable in the same way. I’m also chuckling at this comment for a different reason, but that will come clear later, as the story progresses. But comments like this make me second guess myself as well–is anyone really enjoying this? Do I even want people to enjoy it? Who am I even writing this story for, anyway, besides myself?

Every story in this genre has to find a balance between being a story, and being a fantasy. I think, when that commenter mentioned ‘silliness’, part of what that implies is a certain wink at the audience that says, “It’s ok, this isn’t real–you can jack off to this, you’re safe, it can’t hurt you.” But this story is about safety–and giving it that sort of tone, that nothing that happens inside this world is particularly serious, would sap the story of a whole lot of meaning, and also of the power I’m trying to pump into it. But another thing that seems to be frustrating people, is that the story is confounding. It isn’t moving in the direction people are expecting it to go, following the rails of comfortable tropes we all know, and some of us love. Pushing people out of their comfort zone can be good, but it can also be alienating. I don’t know where the right balance is, but like everything else, I’ll be muddling through it all the same–but this is why, I think, chapter six is a bit…well, disjointed. Like two slightly different stories were joined in the middle of the chapter, and the glue that holds them together isn’t quite fancy enough, or well enough applied, to disguise the joint.

It feels like I pulled a punch in chapter six. I looked at the story I had been thinking about writing, and I flinched–and I don’t know if it was the best choice yet. I can’t be more specific than that, since it hasn’t been fully released, and that would probably make some people annoyed, given spoilers and all. It changed the story I had in mind somewhat–not so much in the eventual outcome, but it its tone, I think. But there’s always a chance to do things differently, later. Already, there are lots of things I would have done differently with this story now, if I was going to rewrite it from the beginning. Chapters one through three would hit the cutting room floor first, and the story would start from a revised chapter four. But I don’t know when I will have the will to go back to this, when it’s over–I know I won’t be ready for a while, but I feel, at some point, I’ll have to come back to it–because the story isn’t really about, Kevin and Steve. They started it, sure, but, well, we’ll get there soon enough. In any case, thank you for your patience with this beast of a thing. I think it’s important that we sit with our discomfort on occasion, that we explore the more difficult things about the world we have to exist in. Things will be more fun soon, I promise.

Metawriting: Straight Town Notes #2

Judging from some of the responses I’ve been getting, I think it would be good to take a little bit deeper of a look at the gay to straight trope. It’s…a messy and problematic thing, in all honesty, but that’s hardly new in the MC/TF genre, or really, any writing at all for that matter. But where some of the more questionable aspects of this genre get glossed over (like the fact that basically every story in the genre, my own included, are rape stories) this one struck a nerve, and for good reason I think, but I also feel that the trope itself can be, well, reclaimed isn’t the right word exactly, but I think that it has thematic value. I think it has important questions–about what it means to be gay, about the society we live in, about how we survive, about masculinity and femininity. So let’s try to set some boundaries first, figure out where so many of these stories have gone wrong.

A big part of the problem is that so many of these stories aren’t just gay to straight stories, they are gay to “straight homophobe” stories. Some of these are, well, hard to read. No, they’re more than hard to read, they aren’t even worth reading, to be honest. I don’t doubt that some people find them enjoyable and erotic, in the same way that gay skinhead/nazi porn is erotic for some people, but, well, there’s a similarity there, don’t you think? It’s an eroticism of rejection and division. A lot of people have said that the gay to straight homophobe stories are born of internalized homophobia, and I think there’s truth to that–but there’s more to it than that as well. This isn’t just self-hatred–this hatred extends beyond the self. It seeks to divide the self away from the “faggots” the “queers” the “etc.” It isn’t just hatred–it’s denial. 

I, of course, wrote a few of those stories, using homophobic themes, but they were, well…I tried to pull from something else. For my own interactive story, I tried to build that homophobia in as a curse, have it warped back around onto the straight men themselves. For the little addition I made over on CYOC, it was became less about gay guys becoming homophobes, and more about two gay men trying to find a way to survive and change within rules that wouldn’t let them be who they wanted–it was about trying to find a way to be happy in an impossible situation. Do they work? I can’t really judge that, that’s up to readers I think. Internalized homophobia is real. Conversion therapy is real. Heteronormativity is real. These things hurt people, in real life, every dang day. I don’t want to add to that hurt, but it is clear that a lot of authors don’t care if they hurt people or not. That, to me, is the real crux of it. Some of these stories are designed to hurt people, to make them feel bad about who they are–that’s what I want to avoid. Hopefully I’ll manage.

But here is something else I also feel–that the gay to straight trope is a whole lot larger than just gay guy becomes a raging homophobe. Every ‘twink to bear’ story relies on the ‘gay to straight’ trope, because honestly? In a lot of ways, being a good bear is about being able to pass as a man–as a straight man. Our look is stolen from straight archetypes (the biker, the cop, the lumberjack) and has a real hard time grappling with femininity. Of course, a lot of bears like to subvert those expectations–and they should! This is a good thing!–but I know I could talk to any bear about it, and the ability to not be recognized on sight as gay is, well, it’s can be a relief. I have never once in my life been catcalled or verbally harassed in public. I have no real doubt that the reason for this, is because I’m six foot, 260 pounds, with a big beard, looking like I probably have a wife and at least two kids. Being a bear is a way of being safe, in this heternormative society, and this is something we don’t talk about nearly enough. 

To me, the gay to straight trope is at it’s core about corruption, as I mentioned in my last piece. It’s about flipping the usual script, about rendering the gay as purity, and straightness as corruption. It presents straightness not as a norm, but as a horror that is inflicted on innocence. We find the good ones satisfying not because we want to be straight ourselves, but for the same reason we feel catharsis after a horror film–that the people who just suffered weren’t me, that I am safe. But it should also be a discussion about who gets to be safe, and what the cost of that safety is. That’s the part that hurts the most, to me, about the gay to homophobe stories–the subject gets to become safe–invulnerable really, to the heternormative society they exist in, but the price of that is that they become a danger to every still gay man around them.

So what would you do, if you could be safe? Would you grow a beard, and put on weight? Would you drive a pickup truck? Would you tell strangers that you’re married, but leave the gender of that marriage neutral? Would you buy a house, move to the suburbs, adopt children, blend into the white picket fences? Would you laugh at jokes that make you hurt? Would you assault someone you once loved? Join fascists, and beat a black man so they don’t beat you yet? Would you kill yourself, or a version of yourself? We do these things every day, all of us. We make ourselves straight, in the smallest or largest of ways, in exchange for safety in this society that would, honestly, happily see us dead. I want this story to make you question what choices you make, each day, so you can be safe–goodness knows, I make them every day, and I know you all do too. Are they the right choices? Are we willing to hurt others so that we can get safety ourselves? I don’t know if a right answer exists to any of these, beyond dismantling the very system that makes us all feel so unsafe to begin with–but this isn’t really that story. This story is about survival, and what we do to survive, in the face of this straight terror.

If you have questions you’d like me to address about this story, you can leave them below! You can also leave me anonymous questions over at my curiouscat profile here.

Metawriting: Straight Town Notes #1

“Straight Town” is far enough out of my usual sort of writing (kind of) and far enough out of my own comfort zone, to be honest, that I’ve been wanting to write some companion pieces giving a bit of context to it along the way. These are going to be a bit rough, and a bit rambling–they are honestly just as much about me trying to clarify my own thinking to myself, as much as they are about trying to clarify the story to all of you. I have some topics that I want to touch on–looking at the eroticism in the emerging “gay to straight” trope which is popular right now; talking about how I relate the setting of Straight Town to other settings of mine, especially Pigtown and City of Bears; a discussion of generation trauma,and how I see this story unfolding itself, and as a potential anthology; my own discomforts here, especially regarding children and the act of breeding. All that said, I do also want to address your questions too–if you have them. If there’s something you’d be interested in having me comment on, you can use my curious cat to leave an anonymous question, or leave a comment below. I might not find every question answerable, but they will probably open up ideas I myself hadn’t even thought about talking about.

This story started out as a commission. It is no longer a commission–it took on a life of its own, and the original commissioner was kind enough to let me ride it out and see where it goes. The initial request was for a story to satisfy something he calls a “breeder fetish”–a twist on an age progression story, where in addition to aging up, you also find yourself with children, a wife, a family, a new reality around you, which functions mostly as a prison, in essence. It’s about struggling to come to terms with a new life you would have never chosen for yourself, and trying to accept a new life, and a new reality, that you never wanted. From there, we batted the idea back and forth for a number of months, as I tried to create a situation that would satisfy my own desires for my stories, with his fetishes. The premise of “Straight Town” is what eventually stuck with me.

It is a town which, in many ways, is the shadow world of “City of Bears”. CofB is urban and suburban, while this is rural. CoB asks the question of what a gay bear society might possibly look like, while this story examines a society where breeding is the sole drive of every individual. They both have patriarchs and instigators–Tristian and Roger respectively–both of them also similar to Rod, from my Pigtown stories. None of them are characters truly, but rather the rules and drives of the settings given power and agency. Straight Town is a world that is about hiding, and stealth and passing. It is a world about survival, where CoB is about flexibility and change and personal identity. CofB is the dream, and Straight Town is, in many ways, the nightmare. Because of that, this has been one of the hardest stories for me to write and conceptualize, mostly because it took ages for me to understand how I could possibly take something that terrifies me, and twist it around into something erotic.

I don’t really know if I’ll succeed. I don’t really know if I want this to be a story you jack off you at all. Part of me wants it to be a story you jack off to, and then sit there wondering why in the world you just jacked off to that. I have used a term in the past called anti-porn, which I define as a story which possessed all of the characteristics of porn, including the eroticism, but one which is also deeply unsettling. A story that makes you question your own understanding of your fantasies. Do we want to be Steve or Kevin? Do we want to be Roger? Is it our own relief that we could never be any of them, what really satisfies us? I think the answer is different for everyone, most likely. There is, without a doubt, something deeply erotic about the “gay to straight” trope which has seen a resurgance of popularity recently, and that is something I am still struggling to understand myself.

I have written a few things with this trope so far–some interactive chapters over on CYOC, and an interactive story, most prominently. All of them feature gay sex, which makes me wonder if they even really count in the genre itself, but I have certainly lost a number of loads over those, and other stories using the trope by other authors, though the reason why I find the stories alluring is slippery. I enjoy the taboo of it, in the way I enjoy all taboos–pushing yourself to enjoy something that you know, rationally, you ought to shun (like scat, gore, snuff etc). I enjoy the characters and the transformations as well, because the outcomes, straight or not, are often my kind of sexy. There is something else though, I think, that thrills me more about them–that in these stories, straightness is read as corruption. It is straightness which is wrong, detested, avoided and resisted. For once, we see gayness as purity–as the way things ought to be.

In heternormative society, gayness is a flaw at best, and a contagion at worst. To the heteroworld, we might be accepted, but we are never understood as something that can be pure. There will always be something wrong, or broken inside of us, which has made us gay–whether it is biology, or nurture, or Satan, or whatever else they are coming up with these days. Heteronormative society will accept us so long as we do our very best to scrub those flaws out of ourselves, to adhere to the hetero standards of behavior, sex and gender that they demand, that they consider to be pure, as though there is a belief that, inside us all somewhere is a perfect straight man or woman (and certainly nothing outside the bianary) and our goal ought to be to strive towards that “perfection” at all cost.

But these stories are not written as purification tales. Gayness is never removed from someone–instead, straightness is added to them. Characters don’t become a “straight” version of themselves, instead they become a straight caricature–the jock bro, the gamer loser, the raging christian conservative, the ignorant redneck. Of course none of these stereotypes exist, just as these is no such thing as the perfect himbo, the leather slave, the muscle daddy bear. But while we watch these gay men corrupted–for once we get to place outselves in a position of purity. There is a real moment of catharsis here–a belief, for once, that we are the ones who were right all along.

I want “Straight Town” to feel strange. I want the presence of children to feel alien. I want this town to feel like corruption. In a horror movie, at the end, the most cathartic realization is that, despite the horror you just witnessed, you are still alive. You are safe. Straightness, like ghosts, and demons, and zombies, was never really real at all–just a story we tell each other to scare ourselves in the night.

Strange Fetish – Fungi

I’m going to be introducing some newer kinds of posts around here, because I would like to start using this space for some journaling and brainstorming, in addition to posting stories, because I have a lot of weird stuff rolling around in my head, and no real good place to try and put it all down–and not all of it is…immediately sexy. This sort of stuff is going to end up, for the most part, under the metawriting category over on the right there.

So I’ve had this idea rolling around in my head for a bit, trying to think of how I might be able to make it work as an interactive, or as a stand alone story, or who really knows what anything is anymore, at times. The setting is definitely science fiction, and was partly spurred by this article about the video game “Anthem” and it’s development, in particular it’s early concept as a procedurally generated survival game, where the goal is to leave your fort and push out into a super hostile world as best as possible. I don’t write sci-fi very often, mostly because I tend to prefer rooting my stories in settings that more or less reflect our own world (which is why the sci-fi I do write tends more towards technological dystopia than space opera) but the concept for this thing, whatever it is, is a collection of colonists working to set up on a new world full of lifeforms that all end up corrupting these colonies in different ways. This in turn got me thinking about fungi.

Fungi are fucking strange, and if you want me to be fully honest, a bit horrifying. First of all, we’re seeing a uptick in resistant fungal diseases, in addition to the other resistant bacteria that are already becoming a problem. Fungi are already fucking capable of mind control, if you happen to be an ant in the rain forest, and they are capable of wild fucking genetic stunts on top of that.

All of the right content is there, in one way or another, but what I struggle with, honestly, is the sexy side of it. For one thing, it’s hard to assign a motive to a plant beyond a basic drive, and so that can make it difficult to create any real interplay between host and fungus is a way that makes sense. Then again, symbiotes are nothing new in this kind of fiction, and there’s no reason that this sort of content couldn’t work in a similar way. It also is a bit of a challenge to filter this sort of thing through fetishes that make the whole thing…sexy. You kind of end up having to launder the fungi to operate in particular ways, so that the result ends up being sexy at all. In any case, here are a few odd sketches I have of the idea, as examples. I don’t think any of these are going to become anything larger at this point, and that sci-fi setting is still in the early stages, but it’s still fun to ponder on.

  • A guy’s cock becomes a literal mushroom cap. It no longer ejaculates, but the simple act of fucking someone deposits corrupting spores inside the other fellow’s ass, which spreads the infection. The guy no longer orgasms, but sex is still pleasurable–the fungus uses this to encourage the host to continue fucking as much as possible, because release can never be found. Eventually, the host destroys their cock entirely (it isn’t that sturdy) but no worries, it can grow back. In fact, he’s growing cocks everywhere, all over his body, be can fuck everywhere now.
  • Quite a few varieties of fungi look a lot like hair, and I love the idea of someone being covered from head to toe in a strange, furry fungus, including all around their mouth, in a thick busy fungi beard. It looks normal enough until you get close, but by the time you notice that it isn’t quite hair, the shit is already stroking your face, digging it’s way into your pores, dragging you closer, and either spreading onto you, or harvesting your meat to power it’s own host further.
  • They look human. They were human, once. They still think they are human, but they know that something is wrong with them, inside them. They’re so hungry, all the time, and yet, no matter how much they eat, or what they eat, they never seem to get…fatter, or not, exactly fatter. They are getting larger. Their gut is distending, there is something inside of them, but it isn’t fat. It feels spongy, and fibrous. It’s getting harder and harder to move, it feels like their entire body is eating itself now, until at last, something emerges from their belly button, a stalk, growing up out of their fungus filled gut, releaseing a shower of spores all over them. People who inhale them find the hunger consuming their thoughts too, and the subject realizes the truth–they…hadn’t been human for days now. It was just a trick, they’re a plant. They put down roots, they grow, but most importantly, they keep feeding on everything they can find.