Tag Archives: halachic erotica

Absence makes the heart grow fonder – when all you want to do is write

Two things have been happening recently in my life that have halted my writing: we have moved house and I have been sick for weeks. The latter has meant that the world of function beyond necessity has effectively stopped – so that we still have numerous unpacked boxes in the house and today is the first day that I have sat down to write anything creative in at least a month.

Being ill drains my creative energies but, as time progresses, does little to stop the  need to express them which builds like a swelling river at the walls of my mind. What exacerbates this situation is that I have been able to read and tweet and do all manner of low-intensity activities which, after a while, add to the pressure at the damn walls – because it is a constant reminder of what I am NOT doing.

It hasn’t helped that part of my reading has been going through The Indie Author Power Pack. It’s a fantastic resource which I thoroughly recommend for indie/self-publishing authors (I picked it up for 99c when it was first released, but it is still a bargain at $3.99). On the flip side, it has been causing me to go into conceptual over-drive about the things I need to be doing, how many different ideas I have and how exciting this whole writing adventure could be…if only I could do it!

My mind wants to sit and write but all my body wants to do stay horizontal in the warm embrace of bed covers.  This is where I start to feel sorry for myself – or go crazy…

But there is a bright side to all of this. Enforced rest and recuperation does give you time to stop and think about things in a quiet way. I won’t bore or frighten you with thoughts about my life (!) but I am happy to share that  so much time in bed has given me the conceptual space to reexamine some of the projects I have been working on.

529091_64006668 (1)In particular, it has helped me chip away at the concerns I have been having regarding my Tamar novella. Writing halachic erotica is fraught with unique sensitivities and considerations. I want to write a book that is fun, sexy and appealing, but I also need to be mindful that some of my readers can only travel so far along the road of erotic exploration. I need to strike a balance for Tamar and so far I have struggled with this.

Let’s hope, that when my coughing quietens and my energy reserves return, the reward of waiting will be that Tamar will finally have her moment in the sunshine.

What’s all this nonsense about halachic erotica?

I like to make a bit of a deal about how I created my own literary sub-genre: ‘halachic erotica’ (halacha is the Hebrew term for Jewish law). It sounds indulgent – and perhaps it is – but I allow myself to dwell on it for a number of reasons:

1. It’s true. I really did make it up and I am proud of my creation – in a nachas rather than ga’avah kind of way. (In other words, I am proud in a parental pride kind of way rather than the ‘I’m so great, look at me’ way.)

2. Talking about the stories in literary terms works to distract the minds of people whose stunned expressions betray their confusion/horror at hearing what I write about. These expressions articulate the shock people feel when they learn that these sorts of stories exist – and then five seconds later, the sense of bemusement that they had never before heard of their existence (mention Jewrotica and you get much the same response). Often, it’s as if they are offended at the possibility that they’ve been left out of a communal circle of confidence. Explaining that I made up this outrageous form of Jewish fiction seems, somehow, to make everyone feel more comfortable about a world in which halachic erotica exists – and their place in this newly reconfigured reality.

3. It’s like putting a ribbon around a gift. Giving these stories, which I try to make beautiful, their own special genus seems appropriate. Just as I try to create something that is a pleasure to read, so too do I want to honour them -and the characters that emerge from them – by giving them a formal place in the world. This might seem trite, but it’s how I feel.

With few exceptions, the stories that I write are about the intimacy that exists between a Jewish woman and her husband. They are about the sacred sexual power that desire and love can have for couples. They are about longing, tenderness, passion and obsession – states of being that are common to couples of all creeds and colours, including religiously observant Jews.

When I started on this creative path the lighting was dim. I knew I wasn’t going to write about anything that conflicted with mainstream halacha and I guessed that a lot of the stories would involve frum types, but I didn’t know much more. It’s been a surprise that the stories that have come to life from my keyboard so far have focused exclusively on religiously observant Jews – although from a distance this seems an obvious outcome. I am curious to know how things will develop over time.

In the meantime, it is exciting to watch these little tales of lust unfold before me. They contain elements of the unexpected that surprise and delight me as their creator – and I hope there will be readers who share my pleasure in glimpsing briefly into the lives of these characters.

Rich, poor, Jewish or not; we all share common human drives and desires. I enjoy showing that religious Jews, like the rest of the world, enjoy sex, share desire and dream of sexual reward. The only differences are the cultural and religious frameworks that govern how much of the broader sexual landscape they are exposed to (eg porn, popular discourse) and, to an extent, how far halacha will let them go.