Saturday, January 27, 2007

Writer, thy title is Researcher.

We are only human and we can’t do it all. We can’t take a year off from writing to work whatever job our main characters will be working. We can’t foster the same hobbies and develop the same expertise as all of our characters.

So, research fills in the gaps of our knowledge. As a m/m erotica writer, one might think I’d have more gaps in my knowledge than any other writer. I’m not sure this is true. There are very few things in bed that men can do that I can’t do. I can’t receive a prostate massage, but I have a g-spot. I can’t receive a blow job per se, but I can receive oral sex. When we’re all in the moment, do we really compartmentalize the feelings and sensations or do we look back on it and think, “Fuck, that was good.”

Although I do an immense amount of research for all of my stores even the really short ones, “About to Sin” is giving me the most doubt. I feel I have the most gaps of experience with that story.

What kind of struggle do gay priests have especially with the new legislation (that hasn’t been passed yet in my story) that prohibits priests with “deep seated” homosexual feelings? I can know what it feels like to be an outsider. I can know what it’s like to not be comfortable with something within yourself. But, I really wanted to hear from a gay priest. I wanted to know their story in their words about what it’s like to so strongly believe in something that considers you “objectively disordered.”

Some researchers estimate that as much as 30-50% of Catholic priests (and seminarians) are gay. There are articles all over the place that demonize the “gay priest problem”, want to link all gay priests to pedophilia and even a few that cite anonymous gay priests talking about how seminaries are hot beds for homosexual men and activities. I even read a few articles about gay priests who completely embrace their vows of celibacy and gave no indication that it might be a struggle for them.

All that is fine and well, but not the research I need.

Finally, real early this morning I found what I needed. I found an article written by a former priest who ended up leaving the priesthood after he broke his vow of celibacy (with an adult male. Sad that I have to specify that.) and came to terms with his sexuality. The article was full of passion. It touched on all of the issues that I needed to hear someone talk about. Beautiful and real in its presentation. Poignant and heartbreaking in the results. Perfect.

I felt so moved by this article (and here’s where my research background kicked in) that I tracked down the former priest and e-mailed him thanking him for the article and telling him how much it moved me. He e-mailed me back within a few hours. If I were a braver writer, I might pin him down and try to ask specific questions, but I really can’t think of anything that his article didn’t cover. I’m keeping his e-mail address just in case. I don’t expect him to take time out of his busy day (he’s now running a business) to answer questions from someone like me, but just in case I really, really, really need to ask him something, I can ask. He may not answer, but I can ask.

Never in my life did I think a straight pagan girl would need to contact a gay former Catholic priest for research dealing with an erotic story.

Ain’t life something?

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