So it happened. A family member called my work "bullshit". Well, more specifically, he told me posting it on Facebook was bullshit. Apparently I should hide my work from the world, and not post my "pornography" (yes, he called it that) for just anyone to see.
I have so many responses.
First of all, even if I did make pornography, so what? There's too much shame against sex workers in this world, and none of it comes from any real place. It's just ignorance and that puritanical view of sexuality that America can't seem to shake off. I support adult film stars. They engage in a completely legal activity, and face far too much public backlash for doing nothing wrong.
But I also support sex workers in general. Prostitution and the like still being illegal in most states is nothing more than slut shaming codified into law. It should be regulated like any other service industry, if you ask me. Hell, make a hooker's union! The only reason the life of sex workers is so often high in violence is because of its illegality. Bring it into the light and give sex workers the protection that all workers deserve.
Even more than that, though, I'm angered about the ridiculous idea that I should be ashamed of the best piece I've written in years, maybe the best piece of my life. There are only a handful of my pieces I can think of that match Masquerave in terms of writing quality, and most of them were short pieces. It's easy (well, easier) to have a flash of brilliance. Making a longer piece good is harder. It has to make sense as a whole, but also each individual chapter needs to come together on its own.
Masquerave may not be world-changing literature, but that's okay because it changed my world. It's the first work I've finished since I finished the rough draft of Dead Boyfriend, like, what, eight freaking years ago? This story is proof, if only to myself, that I still got it. I can do this. I can make this my life's work, and I can be good at it. I am good at it. I am an erotic fiction writer, and I am unashamed and unbothered.
I'm not ashamed of the work I've done on Masquerave, or any other piece. I'm not embarrassed about being the "smut king" as he charmingly stated. Call me the Smut Queen, in fact. I like that better.