Forcing Growth

Yesterday on the phone, Mom said: I have a confession to make. Promise you won’t be mad at me?

Me: I love you unconditionally, even when I’m angry with you. (It’s something she had told me many times over when I was a child.)

Mom: Okay, well, I did some sleuthing and I figured out what your pen name is.

Me: I knew it!

Mom: And I bought the book and read your story.

Me: Okay.

Mom: I knew it was you when I read about the cats.

Me: I had to give them a cameo.

Mom: It’s quite well written, actually.

Me: It was an incomplete first draft.

Mom: Really?

When I decided to write sex fiction as Melina Greenport, I planned to keep it secret from everyone my real life except my husband. But the more I invested myself in the art, the more I felt guilty participating in the stigma: how would mainstream culture evolve if writers like me continued hiding? Acknowledging that was one thing, writing sex openly was another.

Before long, I figured it’d be fine talking about writing erotica among friends as long as my family never found out. Then eventually, amid the excitement of holding my published words in print in Barnes & Noble, I let the existence of my pseudonym seep out on social media. I figured it’d be fine as long as my family never knew my particular alias.

Expert editor and author, Rachel Kramer Bussel makes a good point on the topic. To paraphrase, a writer should do whatever is necessary (regarding a pen name) in order to continue writing. So if that means remaining anonymous, so be it. I thought I fell into that category.

And yet, for some subconscious reason, I made the mistake of sending my parents a photo of myself reading at a bookstore last week, the SKYLIGHT banner bold behind me. It was the kind of error I don’t normally make. I can’t be fully irritated with anyone other than myself. Apparently some part of me (however repressed) wanted to stop hiding (at least, from my parents).

Yesterday, when Mom told me she’d read my story in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year (Vol. 2), I didn’t dare ask if Dad had read it. (I’m going to imagine he did not.) I didn’t dare ask if she’d read the stories here. (I’m going to imagine she did not.) Even though my stories are fiction and even though sex isn’t anything to be ashamed of, the parameters of privacy remain complicated. Fully understanding my hang ups would take more time than I’m willing to offer the mission these days. I guess a silver lining of having a the worst president in U.S. history is that my idea of “worst nightmare” is redefined.

So now I will discover whether or not I can write sexually explicit stories knowing that Mom will seek them out. I won’t tell myself it’s going to be impossible. Nor do I think it will be easy. I’m definitely out of my comfort zone. Which means I’m growing, and that can only help my work improve.


General Update: The lack of activity here in recent months is due to my slow recovery from the election results, as well as renewed focus on submitting work for publication. I hope to find a way to post more regularly in the future. Thank you, always, for stopping by.


Photo: Max Pixel | Used under CC0 1.0

24 thoughts on “Forcing Growth

  1. I understand. I have a few coworkers who know what I write, a few who know my pen names, and it’s awkward occasionally. My daughter knows what I write and doesn’t read it, for which I’m grateful. It’s nice having friends read my work and give feedback, but I miss that anonymity I used to have.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. It does feel good to know we’re not alone. I really hope someday I can write a piece that transcends all this bullshit. I think my development as an artist needed this pen name. It feels like integration is a slow process – but there’s only one way to move: forward. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  2. thank you for inspiration, i still hide from the unknown boogeyman myself…
    i am embarrassed by the folly of my youth, the permanent record of time spent in a cage, and fear of my family becoming targets…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My Mum found out about my blog many years ago from a meddling Aunt who couldn’t wait to tell her what she has discovered. At the time my Mum was appalled and it also led to her telling me my relationship with Michael was abusive and of course I also got the…what about the children… nonsense. I listened to her but refused to be silenced, told her not to look at it if she didn’t like it. It definitely caused a huge rift in our relationship for a number of years but it seems that over time she has mellowed. She apologised to Michael for the way she had treated him and acknowledged she had been wrong and is now talking about coming to Eroticon to help, which will be amazing and maybe slightly strange. Even though it had its difficult moments I am now glad that she knows, that I can be open about my work. I know she does not read my blog, but she does love my 365 project and is very supportive of Eroticon.

    Ps… I have missed your writing I hope you come back to it soon

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Molly, Wow! I’m so glad to hear this happy ending. What growth your mother has shown. And, it’s a testament to the strong love you and Michael have. Bravo! Thank you for the p.s. 🙂 Very kind & motivating.


  4. I know it must be a awkward feeling knowing that mum knows, but who knows maybe mum had the ability to write but fortunately these days we can do it without fear or favour. I imagine she is proud in your ability to write no matter what the subject matter.

    Liked by 1 person

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