Saving your life is important, to say the least. So is saving other human lives whenever possible. Every human life is precious beyond measure, especially when it’s someone you love. But numbers-wise, there are more than enough humans inhabiting the planet Earth right now, and we keep multiplying.
Let’s finish this review with some of the most powerful ecological parts of this book, since they cover some of the most urgent and pressing needs right now. You wonder about the warnings 20 years ago about overpopulation, the wars we will have over dwindling resources, and how our planet is becoming an ever more crowded pace at a faster and faster rate. You see the refugees streaming over borders in massive crowds, wars and provocative moves to claim resources, the over-fishing of our oceans, and you take a moment to wonder if this is the future we were warned about.
This will not be the same Earth 20 years from now, and in all likelihood, it will be something worse than we can imagine. We lived in denial as this happened, and we live in denial at the nightmare we live in now.
In contrast, there are very few bonobos, and their numbers keep dwindling. The tragic irony is that just many of us are discovering our kissing cousins, we are that close to losing them forever. Your BLC (Bonobo Liberation Challenge), the most ecologically important, immediate, critical challenge facing all of us right now, is to keep Pan paniscus from going extinct.
And then, this…
“As we work to heal the Earth,” writes eco-philosopher Dr. Joanna Macy in World as Lover, World as Self, “the Earth heals us.”
If we don’t care about those who cannot help themselves, then we cannot help ourselves. And conversely: in helping those who cannot help themselves, we help ourselves.
Part of why I started the self-help columns on this site were to help those writers who did not know where to begin on that road of self-improvement. I read so many books that were labors of love, but fell short of even the most basic rules of communication and grammar it was disheartening. I could have stopped right there, called the entire genre trash and a get-rich quick waste of electrons, and moved on.
I saw through the less than eloquent words, and saw the love. People poured their hearts out into these books, even the worst formatted and put together ones, and they gave it their all. You can see and feel passion, and it isn’t always delivered the most beautiful and perfect way. There are those honestly wishing to get rich, and some that have, but so many dreams were being spilled forth in one place I decided this was my place.
This was where I was going to help.
Even if I never sold a best-seller, had the most expensive and cultured of educations, or had any right to do so, I was going to start helping in a small way, and let it go from there. I had no right to help anyone, nor was I asked. Nor did I think my words could help, you know, who was I? What right did I have to help anyone? What difference could I make anyways?
But I did, with some of my early advice a little different, but sound in my own logical way and view of the world. I built upon the things I saw, the problems everyone seemed to have, and then the community educated me as I educated myself. Nobody comes into this world or any profession knowing much, and we all in a way learn as we go – especially here in erotica where the rules are partially borrowed from romance and still being written for 90% of what we do. Grammar and the rules of English make the foundation, and everything else comes from observation and comment.
And a thousand reviews later and over a hundred-fifty workshops here we are. Writers have told me the words I shared have helped. Some say their reviews have improved. I do not take credit for anything, nor should I, as the advice I give is free and should be treated as such. But I have this feeling in some way I have helped some, and my words will keep helping others.
But when I started, I could have thrown my hands in the air and said, “I can’t help. Nothing I do will matter.”
And that is the same sort of denial people have when they refuse to become involved with ecological causes, like saving the bonobos. What can I do to help? Nothing I do will matter.
What does it matter anyways?
I don’t expect anything in return, nor should you. Giving is something you do for yourself, not so you can increase your “environmental credit rating” on some social media site and brag about how better you are than others – like how many followers or friends you think you have.
Helping others is helping yourself. An occasional ‘thank you’ is reward enough.
The second thing, even something little makes a huge difference. Even something you think as inconsequential makes a great impact. If you find a dime on the street, give it to a cause you love. Tweet that out, if you are so inclined. Every penny counts. Every bit of attention counts. It is the mass of support that matters, not the singular contribution of the individual. As long as you are ‘in the game’ and involved, even if it is pennies of support or an occasional tweet of the cause you believe in, it matters.
Speaking up matters.
Helping others helps you.
Silence here is death. Death for endangered species, one day closer to that sad announcement on the news that another species is gone forever, and well, if you only knew you could have done something about it, right?
Well, let’s not live like that. Let’s not wait for that sad news story. We have the power to make that day never happen with a little love, and a little support now.
And the thing that blows your mind is, we have the power to make this happen for any cause we believe in, today and right now. Oh, the results and positive social change we seek won’t be here tomorrow like some package delivered from Amazon, but the time and effort we waste on social media could be put to better use.
Find a cause and believe in it. Put your money where your mouth and posts are and put a couple coins in the jar. Speak up when something pisses you off, and better yet, support those on the same side of your feelings. Organize. Learn. Reach out. Spot injustice and cruelty and speak up. If you enjoy something, do not stay silent while it is taken away.
It is one of the greatest ironies of today’s world.
Even though we are the most connected and we have the greatest means of communicating with each other the history of the world has ever had, nothing great is ever done.
You would think that communally, we as citizens of this spot in the universe would find common things to agree upon, work together on social change, and make this address in our galaxy a better neighborhood to live in – we would.
By coming together, telling the vast majority of people in the world “this is the way it is going to be” and then make that better world happen. As all of us, together.
But we don’t.
Because every one of us believes “what I do makes no difference.”
We are divided into groups that are told “you think alike” told “the other side hates you” and then marketed to by those who could care less what each group believes – as long as we have the money to buy we are important and oh yeah, “your opinion matters.”
Well, it’s all one boat and we are all in it together. And to the divisive voices who seek to control us, your opinion really doesn’t matter. Only your money. Thinking for yourself, joining causes, and standing up for the things you believe in is probably the best survival skill you will ever learn in this new world and for the world of the next 20 years.
The good news is that you don’t have to journey to the Congolese rainforest to see bonobos. You can visit them at one of the eight zoos in the United States or at one of the 20 zoos around the world.
I will leave that thought there for you to ponder on and get back to the book. The second half of the book is a wonderful journey of self-help and discovery about improving your love life. Now, if you are a writer and think you can skip this 12-step section, think again.
A book giving advice to couples about improving their sex lives is something which could help you write for your characters. You could use the book to give you inspiration about how and why a couple’s sex life isn’t all it should be. You could use the book to spice up a couple’s sex life in your book. You could use the book to inspire you to research real-world relationship problems and incorporate those into your stories.
Everything in this book applies to you as a person.
Everything in this book could apply to the characters you write for.
Think about that for a moment. Let’s just look at one.
So…to share or not to share? It depends on you, your partner and your desires. In general, proceed with caution, but by all means, do proceed. If you’ve never shared a fantasy with a lover, and you’d like to try, start by sharing a memory, a thrilling erotic experience you actually had together.
The entire concept of someone afraid to share their fantasies with their lover is something I could write an entire book about. It is this sort of stuff that grips me, compels me, and inspires me a million times over and over again in this book to look at sex and relationships in erotic fiction an entirely new way. Too many times it feels our characters in erotic fiction are stuck in some cheesy porn movie, where all that matters is the bump and grind. It’s just look, lust, and screw; rise, wash, and repeat.
Here, we get inspiration for our characters just by reading a wonderful book on recapturing that flame. I can imagine a woman grunting and growling like a lioness as she surprises her man in bed, with him both laughing and a bit surprised at her actions. I can imagine a woman, normally passive, reading her man’s Amazon warrioress fantasies, and trying to live up to that fantasy of his. The variety and difficulty of hook-ups and fantasies just strike me here as fertile ground for all sorts of inspirations for erotic encounters, and the examples cited in the book inspire me and barely touch the surface of the things which I can imagine.
Reading a book about having a better sex life can make your characters have better sex lives.
Visionary psychologist Esther Perel (whomI was fortunate to interview when her best-selling book Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic first appeared) puts the great marital conundrum this way: “Love seeks closeness. Desire needs distance.” Moreover, “excitement is interwoven with uncertainty, and with the willingness to embrace the unknown rather than to shield ourselves from it.”
We are hit with incredible bits of wisdom, as I mentioned in part one, again and again through the 12-step program. You know the writers of erotica who seek to go beyond the mere hook-up story, and write for that true deep and spiritual meaning? The above are seeds to the garden of the imagination for the deep erotica writer, and can take your thoughts and writing about sex and lust, love and pairing up, to an entirely new plane of existence.
There are decades of thought about the erotic and the state of mind of participants in this lustful and ancient dance peppered through the book, the nature of desire and lust, trust and certainty, the familiar and the exciting, and all sort of other contrasts and comparisons of matters of the erotic mind. This is exactly the sort of book that hits you with a mind-blowing observation about the nature of desire or sex, makes you sit back in your chair with your mouth agape, and floors you with perspective and philosophy that you just never thought about before.
For me, it changes my perspective on the deeper notions of writing sex. Just that above quote, that love needs an emotional closeness, where desire needs distance, puts the whole love versus desire thing into an entirely new light. If you are writing about excitement, you want that uncertainty to heighten the passion. Sitting there and reassuring readers that “everything is going to be all right” between two characters you want to write desire for is gong to kill the moment.
You need the uncertainty. You need the danger and risk for desire to work as an emotion.
Who tells you these sorts of things? What book in “how to write romance” lays this out so clearly? Here, this is just one observation I am pulling out.
There are many, many more.
The book has hundreds and hundreds of these golden nuggets hidden in there, some obvious and laid out as the above, and many hidden away in subtlety and technique. There is more than this, way more, and I could read this book a hundred times and still be pulling out masters-level sex-thesis stuff for use when I think about writing erotic literature. You need to be able to read this, apply it to your own life, and then translate the techniques to your characters’ lives to find out everything – but I am finding things which lay the groundwork for a much deeper level of eroticism in my works.
And it will come…often when you least expect it, like when you’re just blogging along to one of your favorite songs. Then suddenly, the music changes, and a strong gust blows you off your high bridge. Will you be able to grab a vine and swing with it?
There is a note on which I would like to end with. The book sets forth a way of living like how the bonobos “swing with things” and live through adversity. To keep a good attitude, to enjoy life, and to take the negatives in your life and swing through them. To adopt that attitude of youthful carelessness as the way you live life, and the way you view challenges. To understand things must be done, but that those same things should not cage your inner spirit.
You should live free, in attitude and in the spirit which guides you through the years.
You should be that person who rolls with life’s punches, smiles, and then sets forth on sharing, living, and having those adventures that only come along once every lifetime.
Living is for loving, laughing, and being free from worries which would turn you into a bitter, negative creature.
Eat, love, share, reach out, and be merry through this short time we call life.
Because it is a choice that is ours to make. Despite everything that goes on, do we choose to live happy lives or sad ones? I like to think I choose a happy one, but there are times which drag me down. Despite that, I understand that my choice is my choice, and I could let the outside world turn me into a hateful and bitter person – I don’t, and I can’t.
I choose to live a life filled with happiness, sharing, and adopting a communal spirit which helps everyone around me. It may rain some days, but there are sunny, beautiful days to look forward to tomorrow.
And to share those with others.
It is a book that lifts the spirit, and makes me want to say, “Come along with me, friend. There are better days ahead, for all of us, where we can share and laugh under this golden sun of ours. Despite our differences, we can agree that peace and love are good things.
And I want to share those days filled with light and life with you.”
This is what we do as erotica writers. Pull back the veil a little, and let people know they are not alone in their desires and feelings. The greatest mystery is life, desire, lust, love, sex, and that huge ball of wax we call getting along and hooking up.
And this book is a guide down this path, and a tome of wisdom for the great mysteries of our age.
From here, you need to walk this path yourself.