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Right to Write
In The Midst of a Pandemic?

I am writing this at the end of April 2020, the month when many of us began to see sheltering at home as a new way of life—at least until better treatments or a vaccine for corona virus are available. The shutdown of our lives and the economy affects everyone differently; some of us have loved ones who have been ill, and for others the virus seems remote. It’s been said we are all on the same ocean but not in the same boat.

Being retired but not old enough to need caretakers may be the sweet spot of the pandemic. As a recent New York Times article points out, some of us are actually thriving. It is true that older adults are more vulnerable to the effects of the corona virus if we catch it, but those of us sheltering in our own homes are in a good position to avoid the virus. Our investments may have declined, but most of us are spending less, and Social Security payments show up in our bank accounts without us going anywhere. And many of us have groceries delivered to the front porch.

We may be relatively safe, but with our newly empty schedules, we are at risk of isolation and boredom if we don’t find meaning in this strange phase of life. But must meaning always be serious? Perhaps there is meaning in doing the things we simply enjoy.

After the initial shock of the pandemic wore off, I began to think about what this different life should look like, and what place erotic writing has in this new life. A recent article in The Guardian suggests it is silly to write erotica that ignores the pandemic. Several authors have embraced our dilemma head on and have already self-published erotica set in the time of pandemic. We can too, if we wish.

I’ve been thinking of pandemic erotic story prompts and wanted to share some with you here. I know from leading workshops that the same prompt turns out entirely differently in different writers’ hands. If you are so inclined, please join in and see where your imagination takes you.

Some prompts are supernatural or mystical:

  •  A woman cleaning out her closet during shutdown finds an old Ouija board and conjures a naughty demon.
  •  A woman quarantined alone is visited by a vampire.
  •  A woman quarantined alone is visited by an android.
  •  A woman quarantined alone is visited by an alien.
  •  A woman quarantined alone falls in love with the moon.

Some are situational:

  • A woman brings home a partner for a one-night stand that turns into a four-day sex spree and when they finally turn on the news, they discover they are locked down. What now?
  • Roommates quarantined together have sex and discover a huge attraction.
  • A long-time couple quarantined together rediscover languorous sex in the afternoon.
  • A couple in the midst of divorce end up quarantined together, just before one of them was scheduled to move out.

Many of us are having vivid dreams during the pandemic, and some of the prompts are about our dream life:

  • A woman is quarantined with her husband but dreams every night about men she never met.
  • A woman quarantined alone is upset to realize she dreams every night of her dead ex-husband.
  • A woman quarantined alone dreams each night about the one who got away – until she realizes it was just as well.

This prompt is about exhibitionism:

  • A woman quarantined in an apartment with a balcony facing a man’s balcony engages in more and more provocative poses.

Some are about solo sex:

  • A woman quarantined alone orders new sex toys and plays with a different one each afternoon.
  • A woman quarantined alone discovers porn in a big way.

And this one is about the new definition of risky behavior – which no longer just means no condom:

  • A woman who lives alone meets a man online. After a series of sexy phone calls, their state shuts down, and he proposes to join her in her apartment. Should she? Or shouldn’t she? And if she does, what are her rules?

I would love to know how everyone is making meaning in our current situation. Are you writing more, or less? Are your days structured or free-form? Do you build writing time into each day? Does this idea of pandemic erotic writing resonate with you? If you have a chance, please drop me a note and let me know your experiences, plans and thoughts about writing in general, and pandemic erotic writing in particular.

And please keep in mind you don’t need to feel inspiration to write. You just need to make time and space, and put one word down after the other, without judgement or self-critique. Writing during the pandemic can be a release and an escape—and escape itself has value. Plus writing about shared prompts connects us not only with our own feelings but also with other writers building on the same ideas.

In addition to dreaming up writing prompts, in April I’ve also been in touch with Michela di Carlo of CrunchyTales magazine. I was honored to be invited to participate in a panel discussion planned for England in June, but because of the pandemic, CrunchyTales has shifted to an online format. The good news is, this opens up access to their panel talks to women all over the world. Michela is planning a panel of erotic late bloomers: a woman who teaches pole dancing, another woman who dances burlesque, plus me to talk about erotic writing for women after midlife. This should make for a fascinating conversation, and I will share details with you as plans evolve.

I am also finalizing a new free online class that will be offered to women like you who subscribe to my newsletter. This class on writing our erotic memoirs will be a structured way for each of us to consider our erotic histories and hopes for our erotic futures. Sheltering in place provides an ideal time for that kind of written reflection. I’m excited that this class will be offered starting in May, but you could start recalling your life now.

Wishing you good health and joy in your writing, and in all aspects of your new life at home.

I hope to hear from you.

All the best,

Learn How to Write A Story in a Week.

Try my FREE mini-writing class online to develop a story (sexy or other) from start to finish in a week. 

Each day, Monday through Friday, you'll get an email prompt to write about a different story element – character, setting, sensory experience – and then at the end of the week on Saturday & Sunday, I will guide you to bring together the week's elements into a draft of a finished story. 

It’s a fun and easy way to start to write a story, and you can start here.  

Please share with your friends.

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KATHLEEN A. BARY, PhD, coeditor of "Unmasked: Women Write about Sex and Intimacy after Fifty" says:

“When we think of erotica, we don’t usually link it together with middle-aged women. In fact it is middle-aged women who are finally liberated to fully experience the sensuous delight of erotica. They have reached the point in their lives when they are no longer encumbered by the risk of pregnancy nor zapped by the physical ramifi- cations of menopause. This is a groundbreaking book that so many of us have been waiting for...empowered women writing erotica!

Available at all good booksellers & online stores

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Stella Fosse

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NC 27312 United States

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