And Happy 2015!
Somehow I drew the card to launch the first blog post of the year for the Contemporary Romance Cafe. I’m one of those who tends to read omens into stuff like this, so I’m totally taking this as a good sign.
I’m looking forward to 2015 and all it holds. I get to do exciting things like teach fun workshops, host reader events, sit on panels with really smart writers and even be up on stage with a nomination for Book of the Year.
One of the fun classes I get to teach starts online just next week, on January 5th. I’m doing a workshop for Outreach International Romance Writers on Sex as a Tool for Character Transformation. Non-members can register here up through the 5th. (As far as *I* am concerned, you can sign-up anytime, but OIRWA might not feel the same way…)
At any rate, those of you who’ve read my work – either my books or my blog
rants posts – I’m a big believer that sex scenes should not be “gravy,” “desserts,” gratuitous or anything other than crucial to the storyline. This goes hand-in-hand with two of my major themes as both a person and a writer – the possibility of change and that sexual intimacy is a key part of the human experience.
That’s why I think this topic is appropriate to kick off the new year. Isn’t that what we’re all looking at, whether we make resolutions or not? This is a time for evaluating what and how we’ve done so far and what we’d like to change in the future. There’s always that debate – if people can really change, the endless articles on how to break undesirable habits and form new ones, the percentage of resolutions people *really* stick with. And yet, in our writing, our stories are built on the concept of change. Without that arc, the transformation of usually the protagonist, there’s arguably no story.
(Unless you’re writing lit fic, but we’ll just put them in the corner.)
If I were pressed to pick one central theme for all of my books, regardless of genre, it would be the concept of transformation. I believe that people can change. More, I believe that’s the purpose of our lives – to change for the better, to eventually transcend what we’ve been and become more than we were. It’s one reason I’m deeply uncomfortable with the death penalty, though I recognize the many good reasons for having it – it removes any possibility of redemption. Never mind the unlikelihood of such an event, a core part of me believes that anyone can redeem themselves. It’s also part of why I majored in Religious Studies in college. I’m fascinated by the concept of transcendence across cultures and philosophies.
It really turns up in my work a great deal, whether I intend it or not.
Just as sexual themes do. I don’t really intentionally go there either. But the intimacy of sexual interaction for me not something that stays in the physical and animal realm. It moves through the emotional self and edges into the spiritual and mystical.
Transformation and transcendence.
At any rate, though your personal ambitions for change may be great or small for the coming year – and sometimes the greatest are rooted in the smallest – I wish you all the best in your efforts for this new year, this blank slate, full of limitless potential.