Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Bus Driver's Eyelashes and Barack Obama's Voice

Asses and abs, musk and moans, a big this and a long that. Standard fare for erotic romance . . . and pretty danged fun to write about, too! But what sensory stimuli really inspire authors? I’m referring to the seemingly ordinary stuff that floats through our lives every day--sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical sensations that accumulate in a substratum of consciousness where the imagination is rooted.

Take, for example, political ads.

Okay, I expect and understand this reaction: “Are you shittin’ me? Talk about the ultimate turnoff!” Even those of you who don’t live in the U.S. are likely aware that Americans are in the midst of some heavy presidential election campaigning. The day of this blog post happens to be the Wisconsin primary (and yes, I will certainly be voting), so we Wisconsinites have been bombarded by mail and TV commercials and news coverage of candidate appearances. I don’t pay much attention to such promotions because they aren’t particularly informative. But last Saturday, as I sat at my computer while the tube yammered away in the livingroom, something hit me. Barack Obama has a damned sexy voice! This has absolutely nothing to do with my political leanings. I’m just sayin’. The sound of his voice suddenly slithered into my subconscious stash of inspiration.

Then I started thinking about other things in my life that sort of slapped my brain with their unexpected and unlikely sexiness. A bus driver’s eyelashes. During the summers I was in college, I worked in a factory near downtown Milwaukee and rode the bus there. The driver made my heart stutter. Skin the color of hot chocolate and just as smooth. Thick, coal-black eyelashes with a distinct upward curl. Never did a trek to a sweatshop come with such lovely perqs.

And more. The deep-throated bellow of a foghorn, quite common when I lived on the Door Peninsula, which cuts between Lake Michigan and Green Bay. Certain movements of certain athletes’ bodies. (I now realize I’ve always found baseball particularly arresting for just this reason.) The smell of freshly turned soil in the spring. The feel of a water-tumbled rock. The taste and texture of a toasted marshmallow on one’s tongue. All so sensuous.

There are thousands more instances of things I’ve found erotic without even being aware of the impression they were making on me. Of course, some influences are more immediately apparent than others—certain music, movies, works of art, decadent desserts, pictures of gorgeous people scantily clad, good sex-toys. These are obvious in their impact. But I truly believe it’s the subtle elements of our surroundings that strike the deepest and prove tenacious. Those common, simple things we seem to overlook or take for granted are often the ones that most profoundly shape our psyches.

So as I sit here and watch the blizzard that’s raging beyond my window, I realize the swells and drifts of snow are conjuring images, somewhere in my mind, of rumpled sheets or the contours of the human body. Asses and abs. And backs and shoulders and arms and legs. All there within that cold, white blanket.

Hm. Maybe that’s why I chose this name.

K. Z. Snow
For more news and views, visit me at http://www.myspace.com/kzsnow
or http://kzsnow.blogspot.com

* Cauldron of Keridwen, “Torrid Tarot” series
(the second book, after Wing and Tongue,
in the Galdeshian fantasy cycle)
coming March 7 from Ellora’s Cave
* Liberation, “Oh Yum!” series
coming May 15 from Ellora’s Cave


NathalieGray said...

Hey, I started reading your most excellent post but halfway through was sidetracked by the cover model's eyes. Now those are striking eyes!

K. Z. Snow said...

Hey, Nat! Just gotta thank you and the other not-quite ladies for letting me play here. As for the cover model...something mysterious and almost sinister about him, eh?

Sally Painter said...

K.Z. Welcome to the blog! Great post and made me start thinking of the subliminal messages our body language gives off.

I love your book cover and agree with Nat. Eyes can be such seducers.

N.J.Walters said...

The world is full of sensory stimuli if we just pause long enough to look. Great blog and very yummy cover. :-)

mamasand2 said...

I've "followed the yellow brick road" to your blog, to elloras cave, and googled "Wing and Tongue". WOW, a Joyfully Recommended. That one is going on my to-get list.
And all I was going to do was stop by and say 'HI'.
And this post has gotten a blog err 5 times now.
Hi anyways,

K. Z. Snow said...

Hi, mamasand2!

Oh, I love you Yellow Brick Road followers! You know, for some reason Wing and Tongue has done very well. Cauldron of Keridwen is its follow-up. There's also a third and longer related fantasy that's now with my editor.

Like (I'm sure) the "fulltime" Hussies, I have other recommended reads, several from Joyfully Reviewed alone. If the road should take you to www.myspace.com/kzsnow, go to my photo section to see which titles have received what. I have a blog there, too.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you enjoy W&T.

K. Z. Snow said...

Oops, forgot to wave to Sally and NJ. Hi, ladies!

Yeah, the world is full of sensory stimuli, some of it quite deceptively modest. We just have to slow down, pause, and take the time both to notice and to relish it. In one way or another, whether you're a writer or not, such simple, sensual joys can only improve the quality of your life.

Nicole Austin said...

Its amazing how much inspiration is all around us.

I agree on your cover, K.Z. Yum!