Hey, you! Yes, you. We're not done with you yet. The wonderfully talented EllaRegina has stopped by to give us the insider scoop on one of the most celebrated second person narratives in erotica, "The Lonely Onanista," which first appeared in Best Women's Erotica 2008, was recently reprinted in The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 8, and received top honors from the Rauxa Prize Committee. Here's EllaRegina!
Perhaps some details about the story's original context might be helpful regarding its POV -- that is, understanding the circumstance under which it was written; I believe it informs the piece to some degree:
"The Lonely Onanista" began life as a Craigslist "Casual Encounters" personal ad (in the w4m category), one of eleven such pieces I posted anonymously over a six-month period.
Even though I was posting things closer to narratives/stories than the typical Craigslist ads, my approach was to write them as if they were ads -- elaborately written ones but ads nonetheless -- and as such I consistently used the second person voice in all eleven posts; to do otherwise (in my opinion) would have been presenting them as obvious fiction (even if, paradoxically, they were precisely that to many) and possibly deflecting potential readers in the process.
And, although I was writing to an audience comprising unknown entities in an unknowable quantity -- I was, in my mind, writing to one person, if that makes any sense. And I wanted him, whoever he was, to feel like I was addressing him alone, even if (again, paradoxically) it was quite apparent that he could not be the only one reading the post -- I wanted an urgency, an immediacy. I think many writers have done this, whether to give their work a relevance or to provide a focus -- writing as if they were sending their words to a single individual, known or imagined; Anne Frank and her "Kitty," for example. At the same time "The Lonely Onanista" was, conversely, a love letter to a specific man, someone known to me, and while I composed it the fantasy of this man contributed to my writing momentum.
It wasn't that I sat myself down and said "OK, now I'm going to write a second-person narrative" as a literary exercise. I made a choice in the POV, certainly, but it had to do with my chosen context and audience. (Maybe that decision was, in fact, a literary exercise!). It came naturally. I needed a voice that would connect directly with a prospective reader, putting him in what I call the "driver's seat."
I did get one "complaint" about the specific voice employed, from one of my Beta-testers (a cluster of friends heard these pieces over the phone or read them as they were written). This particular friend's objection was that the voice was too much of a directive: "You will do this," "You will do that" -- and he resented being told what to do, receiving instructions.
Full disclosure (TMI alert): He was a former lover and a major controlling narcissist -- everything was on his terms: a phone call or an evening would terminate when he decided it was over; I wasn't permitted to ask him about "his stuff," et cetera. So, in retrospect, it is no surprise that he reacted the way he did, especially to a piece where I happened to be the author.
I'm not saying everyone who objects to the second person voice is a control freak but I can understand how, for some people, this POV might read like a list of stage directions.
Anyway, that's a back-story tidbit for "The Lonely Onanista," at least pertaining to my use of the second person voice and (hopefully) germane to any POV ponderings.
However, I think my points here regarding POV could be applied to any story. Sometimes the voice called for is obvious. Sometimes the story finds its own voice.
We covered more about the particular genesis, among other things, of "The Lonely Onanista," in our interview, a year ago. Thanks again for that, Donna. It was great fun!
And now, an excerpt from "The Lonely Onanista":
You approach the left side of the bed, the direction where my head is turned. My face is at its edge—I am in a somewhat diagonal pose—and I look up at you, my dark hair in disarray, fallen over my pale face, my bangs in choppy clumps across my forehead. You see one big brown eye following your gaze, half a nose, a portion of mouth, its carmine lips slightly parted. You are still fully clothed. You unbutton your coat and take it off along with your beret and scarf. I watch as you undo your trousers, slowly, button by button. I would reach out and admire the soft wide-wale fabric of the corduroy but my hands are totally occupied. You extract your prick from its hiding spot. It is fat and long and I can see that it is already slightly throbbing. Although it is not the optimum setup for such things, given your height and the relative counterpoint of my horizontal state, you introduce yourself, in lieu of a handshake—another formality not physically possible at the moment—by gently easing your warm erection into my eager mouth, the saliva there already welling, and yet despite the awkwardness of our respective postures it is a most pleasant how-do-you-do. But, oh, I would so very much like to be able to properly arrange myself around your sweet upright cock and give it the salutation it so richly deserves!
You take off your shirt, your undershirt. I ask you to keep your trousers on as well as your shoes. You get onto the bed, between my legs, move my knees apart and sample, with your fingers and mouth, the glistening egg white substance emanating from my body. You lay yourself on top of me, face down, your body perfectly aligned with mine, like open scissors. Your corduroy on my nakedness, your shoes decisively holding my booted feet still, your heavy knockwurst—now steadily pulsating—in repose along the length of my ass crack, cradled as if in a warm bun. I am aware of your heart pounding, almost in unison with my metronome beat. I match my breathing to yours. You lightly bite the nape of my neck, tug my head by the hair, then release it. Your belt buckle presses into the small of my back, hurting me, and I suggest that you remove it. You pull the leather strap from your trouser loops in one motion, like an expert swordsman unsheathing his rapier from its scabbard, and throw it to the floor. My ass is tilted slightly upwards, giving the hands below me room for leverage. This stance offers you the perfect angle for your entrée. You guide your prick inside me, slowly but firmly, filling me up. You lie there for a few moments, not moving, keeping enough stress on my body to make me feel in your command yet allowing me space to freely continue pleasuring myself.
You begin to thrust, at first exactly corresponding to my speed but soon I find that I am following the tempo of your movements instead of leading with my own. The roll of coins imbedded in my ass puts some weight on your prick and this excites you. You grind into me, con gusto, gradually increasing the intensity of your delivery. At a certain point I use all the energy I can muster, untangle myself from your powerful restraint and draw my legs shut. I hold them rigidly, as if they were glued from cunt to heels, knees pressed immutably together. I like doing this. It makes your plunging more challenging yet you are of such sufficient length that you don't dislodge a millimeter—there is a sensation of unretractable tightness, as if you were fucking the virgin of all virgins. I squeeze my buttocks, amplifying the effect.
The original idea was that you would "assist" me. I am, in the end, an Onanista, generally used to pleasuring myself, thanks to the lonely confines of my profession. But you have other plans....