A naked selfie


This week I hope to release Magic By Button.  I feel more vulnerable this time round as it’s the first time I’ve put my inner life, my hopes and dreams, on the line.
Friends and family were appalled when I published Raw Food. They thought it pornographic and a major sell out. They had rated me as a poet, so a light hearted comedy about the sexual use of fruit seemed plain wrong. But I still believe that I had to write Raw Food. It allowed me, albeit by the back door, to confront my conflicted feelings about sex. Before Raw Food, I had never managed to convey sexual pleasure – when sex appeared in my stories or poems, it was gross and horrific. In Raw Food it is still gross and the subject of abuse is only just below the surface, but it was a turning point. Readers have confirmed that it works as erotica. It was all too easy to write, as it was largely a personal reaction to m/m stories I had enjoyed but had also been slightly disturbed by. I used the m/m romance formula, but subverted it. My happy ending was, under the surface, a miserable ending. But at least I had a few laughs getting there.
For me the biggest disappointment with Raw Food was how it was taken as autobiography. While the characters and settings were drawn from life, all the nonsense with fruit was pure fantasy. The pun had occurred to me when reading an m/m story where something similar was done with ice, but with no sense of irony or of the ridiculous. Some reviewers took the story as proof of my depravity. Though when a friend and successful comedian used this same material at the Edinburgh Fringe it was very well received. So I guess, at some level, it does work. It holds up a mirror and shows some of the darker side of our nature, and it is your choice whether to laugh or be shocked.
But Magic By Button is a different matter. Although the two main characters and their back stories are invented, it is autobiography. They think my thoughts and have my experiences but they achieve redemption and love.
In it I tackle abuse; child sex and drug abuse. I try and avoid the moral high ground, though I believe it is a morality tale.
Moreover it is about my inner life. As a Carl Jung fan, I use symbols of transformation, in this case from the Authuriad, the myth cycle that I relate to the most. But I also share revelations, some which will again raise questions about my sanity (sorry, no spoilers).
I suppose my greatest fear is that people will find some aspects too implausible. Indeed, Raw Food did contain one element of sexual autobiography- the multi-orgasm, and the tantric energy it generated. And while all the fun with the fruit was believed, this wasn’t. A few sympathetic reviewers believed the story would benefit by its removal.
So it is as if I now stand before you naked. I hope it stirs something deep within you. This is the real magic I have to offer.


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