Thank you, Victoria, for hosting wonderful blog days like ‘Friends Friday’ and ‘Sunday Snog’ and, of course, for having me. It’s a great pleasure to be here, although I’m afraid I’m going to have to start this guest post with a big cop out. I currently live in Hong Kong (but more on that – and my story Neighbours – on the other esteemed Smut in the City co-editor Lucy Felthouse’s blog) and I had agreed with Victoria to write something about coming out as an erotica writer to my parents after my last visit home. Well, I just got back and I didn’t tell them.
I’d have expected it to be easier. After all, I came out as a lesbian at the tender age of sixteen. I brought my first girlfriend home when I was seventeen. My parents can hardly be described as close-minded. I was never made to feel different from my siblings because I was gay and my dad cried big tears of joy the day I married my wife. Still, so many years later, I couldn’t tell them I write lesbian erotica. Not even in the day and age when the smallest shops in the tiniest villages sell copies of Fifty Shades of Grey.
The thing is, I don’t really have to tell them. They know I write. They do care, but… they don’t understand. Last time I returned home I triumphantly planted a copy of my first (non-erotica) novel on the coffee table, only to find its pages unturned and unblemished when I came back six months later.
“I would really love to read it,” my mum said, “I just don’t understand a word of it.”
Did I mention my parents don’t speak English?
“Will you translate it?” My dad asked.
Heavens no, I thought to myself. Despite that particular novel shying away from sex scenes, I couldn’t really face my parents reading it. I’d honestly die of embarrassment if they ever read one of my erotic stories. Luckily, there’s little chance of that. Because they don’t know they exist. And… they don’t understand the language.
The disadvantage of being an expat is that you don’t get to see your family as often as you’d want to. The biggest perk, on the other hand, is that you don’t have to make conversation at Sunday dinner.
“How was your week, darling?” I can hear my mother ask.
“Oh fine, I just submitted a story to an anthology focusing on anal sex. I wrote about a hot pink dildo. Don’t worry, I used loads of lube.”
I know I’m grossly exaggerating, but let’s just say that living on the other side of the world does have certain advantages.
Anyway, I told my sister and she can’t keep her mouth shut. I’m sure one of these days I’ll get a Skype call from my mum asking whether I’ve lowered myself to writing porn now. At least I won’t have to explain over roast chicken (and I can fake a bad connection.)