I was talking with a kindred spirit the other night, and the conversation rolled around to people’s perceptions. She spoke of judgments she received because of her accomplishments, her age and her appearance, and I relayed to her the reactions I received from people when they found out I write erotica.
People are usually impressed to find that I write, but it’s not generally the kind of “impressed” you would think.
Sometimes it’s like, “Oh ok, you write” and they immediately toss you into the pile of every other wanna-be writer they know. Or, they make assumptions, like, “Oh, you write poems?” Or, they think you’re just really geeked about your new hobby. My all time favorite is: “Do you want to go somewhere with it one day… try to get published?”
I almost laughed in a woman’s face when she said that to me. Instead, I smirked, giggled and said, “Just Google me.”
An hour or so later, her mouth was agape and – “That’s you?”
Yes, that’s me. And because that’s me, I never lead with that tidbit of information.
I find that the misconceptions people have about erotica writers are many. A main one I’ve encountered is that people think I’m this super freak. That I’ve tried everything. That I’m willing to try anything. That I’m easy. That I’m promiscuous or sneaky.
And it’s sad to say that I’ve actually lost “friends” over it. One was someone I had known since high school. He Googled me, saw some of my lesbian erotica, asked if I was gay and never spoke to me again. Good riddance, but still. Judgmental much?
Some people I’ve had to willingly eliminate from my life because they had certain expectations of me that I simply was unable and unwilling to live up to. No, I won’t join you and your girlfriend or your best friend in a threesome. No, I don’t really want to blow you on the ride home, especially, if yesterday I was your smart, witty, compassionate and loyal friend Tenille, and today I’m Tenille, the sexual side show freak. No, I don’t have whips and chains in my bedroom (in the walk-in closet maybe)
The truth is, after all these years, I’m still kind of taken aback by it all myself, and I still get just a little embarassed when someone announces to a friend, “She writes erotica!”
And a lot of times, people who know me in real life tend to find out by accident. I had a friend pick up a book off my kitchen table wanting to borrow it. He looked at the back cover, looked at me, looked back at it, and well, you know the rest.
It can be draining trying to contradict everything that everyone could perceive of me from what I do. It’s like trying to convince someone that something is blue, when all they can see is red. So, I prefer to let people know exactly who I am first.
My name is Tenille. I’m married with two kids, one stepson, one turtle and one dog. I work in law enforcement. I enjoy writing, I’m damn good at it, and if I had my way, it’s what I’d be doing full-time. I was first published as a teenager, then I pretty much fell into writing erotica, and I never got up because I found it quite comfy down there. It was/is my niche.
My mother reads my writing. My boss and my husband are my biggest fans, but to them, I’m still Tenille. Their view of me didn’t change when they opened a book, saw my name and read what followed.
I’m not opening my chamber of secrets when I write. I am not writing a serial autobiography. I have no hidden agendas (well, mostly, I don’t). And the screaming irony is… I write under my real name. Go figure.
But, do I write what I know? I try, because my aim, first and foremost, is to be authentic. Do I write fantasy? Almost always. Of over thirty five published pieces of mine, only four are autobiographical (and I will never tell which ones they are ;).
I don’t have this incredible sex life. I do okay, don’t get me wrong, and I’m no prude, but as sex goes, I’m actually pretty tame in the bedroom. And with two small children in the house, I tend to be pretty fucking lazy in the sack these days. Just ask my husband.
Last night, we fell asleep at the foot of the bed after watching the Season Finale of House. I was in my bra and panties, too tired to strip any further, and for me, that’s about as freaky as I’m gonna get.