Rachel Kramer Bussel's PASSION is a sweet anthology.
I am the kind of woman who is not fazed by reading a novel on the train with a couple whose bodies are entwined. I was told once that I am a true native New Yorker because I read so well on the train...I only read on the train. PASSION made my commute very palatable. Every story I read transported me; I was so involved with the couple--felt almost like I was there with them. As their tension mounted, I felt every insecurity and every anxiety. These were passionate and truly intimate stories, not just man meets woman, there are fireworks and an explosive orgasm. Passion is not always as immediate as that. To get to true passion there might be some fumbling, and even after you have reached it, there is still the maintenance of it.
Every story was like an Indian burfi--I was reading a story on my way back from Jackson Heights with a chocolate covered burfi that I could not resist eating, even though I do not like eating on the train the way that I like reading--so sweet and complete.
One story was especially seductive to me, in the vein on my own prized and beloved Anais Nin who inspires me to write erotica. Not in a play by play description of what is happening during the act, like sex is a recreational sport, but the play by play of the seduction. Lana Fox's "The Silver Belt" reminded me of a story in Nin's DELTA OF VENUS in which the character had a fetishized accesory as well. There was a part where the man says to the woman, who laments that she is not a poet like he is, that she is a poem--I raced to the back of the book to read the bio on Lana Fox who said that she wrote the story inspired by Anais Nin.
Then I devoured the rest of the story which has accents of so many favorite parts of mine between LITTLE BIRDS and DELTA OF VENUS. It was a bit like deja vu and yet nothing at all like Nin. Just a really distinctive sensuality and modernity that I know Anais must have smiled about herself. Lana Fox is the kind of author that writes so good it makes me jealous wishing I wrote just like her. But the green eyed monster evaporates quickly because I can read her and that is more than enough....
"The Silver Belt," like all of the other stories in PASSION, remind me of Anais Nin--daring to go in a way that a lot of erotic stories are not willing to go. Showing the flaws of trying to be intimate, the aspects of true intimacy that are scary like being afraid of losing your partner or not being enough for them, and really trying to amend that. To put it all out there not just passion but for love. A lot of erotica serves just to titillate without having any soul, while nothing is wrong with being purely titillating--lovers do not always have spiritual sex--it is nice to know that romance still has a pulse.
And that passion sometimes is veiled by it.