Today is a mixed emotional bag - sad because goodbyes are always difficult, and joyous because I have the pleasure of Craig's company! Read on to find out more about the 'high contrasts' that drive him on ...
Why do you write?
Stories have flowed in my mind for as long as I can remember, and for years I fitfully tried to harness these ideas. I lacked direction, like a musician unable to decide what instrument or even what type of music is his natural voice. Another malady that I have suffered from! During those times, I collected fragments and occasional completed works into a slew of notebooks. I loved the act of writing these ideas, but I always sensed that what I was doing was incomplete.
It took me years until I truly got a handle on it. During those years I guess I was working on what musicians call chops. Coming to understand what I wanted to say, how I could best express it. Through those fitful writing years, I wrote an awful lot of weak stuff. I guess it is like playing bad notes on a guitar, learning what notes sound right to the ear, or mind in the case of writing. A few years ago, it all sort of came together as I focused on and completed a book idea I had worked on for years, but never finished. But it was when I started pouring myself into short stories that it all truly came together.
Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?
It varies from story to story, but in general, I want to express emotions, desires and sensations, and how these ferment as people interact. Sometimes its as simple as illustrating that magic moment when a couple truly learns the depth of their love for each other. Sometimes it's how the power one has over another can mask a greater power beneath. Sometimes it is coming to terms with emotional impacts. In visual arts, I love high contrast. Deep dark colors against flashes of bright. I love to play the drums because of the contrast of the bass drum and a crash cymbal. I want to explore the same ideal as a writer. Pleasure juxtaposed with pain, joy with sorrow.
For years I toyed with erotica, but I suppose that little voice in my head pulled me away from it. Embarrassment, whatever. But as I delved deeper into the writing, I kept finding myself toying with erotic ideas, then trying to tone them down. Sexuality is such a powerful drive, and can encompass so many things. It is all senses, and it is ethereal. In French, orgasm is le petit mort: "the little death." This expresses it well. Sexuality touches a higher plane, and that is why many people fear it. It is an absolute expression of power, and like all power it can be good or evil. Benevolent or dictatorial. The draw of writing to me is the power of creation. In it's most pure form, that is the power of sex. What could be better than writing about sex!
What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?
It's always hard for me to state a favorite music or style of art. I don't have a favorite food or even type of cuisine. So it's equally hard to look at a story measured against another. But of the pieces I've had published in, one story that sticks out is "Game Three" which was on Clean Sheets in 2007. It's one of the first stories I had published, and I had thought upon submitting it, that it would have little chance of being published because of the topic: a couple dealing with the loss of a young child, and how their sex life reflects their dealing with the tragedy. To explore their losses, then their pulling up from the ashes was an emotional roller coaster. The comments I received from readers that I touched them with this story was gratifying.
Physical pain is something we often explore in erotica. It felt right to express erotic pleasure and need in contrast with pain from the angle of loss.
Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:
Inspiration comes from so many places or people. I have no idea how many stories either were born in or found their deeper purpose in the shower. There is a cemetery near my house that I pass on a frequent basis, and the way that evening light floods it, or seeing a solitary figure walking among the headstone can spark a story or a poem that just bubbles to be free. It can be an expression in a person's face while ringing up a sale at a cash register, or seeing two people hug when they meet in the airport. It can be a caption on a T-shirt, and superimposing this on a character that would find the salacious message embarrassing.
But there are two people that influence everything I write:
My wife DeDe has not only been a partner in my writing, but a muse. Though she is not a big fan of erotica, she supported my pressing deeper into this form of writing because it was something so wholly natural for me. She recognized this far before I did, and she nurtured me as I came to terms with my natural voice. She has helped me get my hand around the business of writing. Her contribution to my writing is immeasurable.
I don't know how he would react to the sort of writing I do, but my father, who passed away many years before I began to get my hands around my writing, remains a daily source of inspiration. He led a difficult life, and was a quiet but brilliant man. He wrote a book and got a fairly big name agent to work with him, but he never got the book published. It was much harder, and a longer time line, back in the sixties and seventies to finish a book, or even to get in touch with ones inner voice as a writer, and he simply didn't see that all through. He read a few of my early stories and poems, and was alway so encouraging.
Every time I get a story published, I think of him. I believe he's along on this ride with me in spirit.
Craig J. Sorensen is a senior computer geek by day, a writer before early morning light, and a wannabe musician by night. He has lived on both coasts of the United States and was stationed in Germany. Blessed and cursed with insomnia, he pursues his passions all the while juggling time with his talented artist wife DeDe and his amazing kids.
Be sure to visit Craig's blog
Evermore thanks, Craig! I believe next week's guest - the jewel Janine will enjoy the goatee pic in particular ...