Monday, December 31, 2007

The Erotic Ritual of Recreational Reading

I don't get a lot of time for "recreational" reading, but sometimes I reach a point where I scream and just throw everything aside and pull a book out from the pile. It's like indulging in chocolate-covered strawberries and a glass of wine at the end of a day. Although if I add that into the ritual of reading, oh, that makes it all just so divine. Maybe a fragrant candle added to the mix.

Darn, it's first thing in the morning and I want to step away from the desk and do it RIGHT NOW!

There is a ritual to reading. And there is that ritual, be it paperback of electronic. I often hear people say, "well an ebook isn't like holding a paperback in your hand." Well, okay, I'll agree that's true. But really what one is talking about when they state that is "habit." We are used to a certain habit in our reading styles. That's what it comes down to. Where's the excitement in habit?

Ritual is a whole other aspect. It might include lighting the candle, pouring the wine, dipping the strawberries in chocolate, choosing the book, adjusting the lighting, finding that comfortable spot before you open the book. All of that can also be incorporated into reading an ebook.

Sensory responses are important. When I write, it's all about the senses. I like touching, I love the scent of things, be it a newly-mown lawn, the clean, brisk scent of newly-fallen snow, or the smoky aroma of fires burning on a frigid night.

When I pick up a paperback, the first thing I do is smooth my hand across the cover. I memorize the cool, silky texture of the stiff material, trace the raised lettering, carefully turn it over, slide a finger along the defined slant of the spine, around the sharp, taut edges, tracing and memorizing the shape, enjoying the sensation of holding it in my hand. I might be inclined to pet the slick, attractive artwork, breath in the essence of the adventure I'm about to embark on. Excitement builds as I open the cover. I might reach for a strawberry, maybe dip it in the wine, suck it between my lips, and then I turn my gaze to the words on the page. Ah, delicious.

Now, you might say, "See? You can't replace a paperback with an ebook?" I say, it's all in the ritual.

I read on my Palm which is sheathed in a leather case. I love the smell of leather, don't you? I contemplate the book I'll select from the dozens contained on my reader. Anticipation is so much a part of the ritual. Slowly, I draw the zip down, after I've smoothed my hand across the supple, pliant material of the black case. Ah, breathe in deeply. Leather has this earthy aroma to it that just reaches deep down inside. It's a sensual fabric deserving of appreciation, shrouded in primal energy. I inhale as I peel back the case to reveal my ereader. Texture so different, hard and sleek, at first cool to the touch, but as I enclose it within my grip it warms, my heat transferring pleasurably, yet still solid and firm, the infused warmth making it a subtle extension to me.

I might stroke across the screen, brushing away an errant speck of dust and then I press the small button and it bursts to life, soaking the screen with passionate words, scenes I control with a gentle, yet firm, touch of my hand, a stroke of my fingertip, pressing at just the right spot. With my ereader I am able to immerse myself even deeper into the story as I reach up to switch off the light, subtly drenching the atmosphere into a level of intimacy that, with the scents of leather and strawberries, and chocolate, surround me, drenching me with heady anticipation that I eagerly embrace.

The room grows quieter, the world is still and I tap the screen and begin to absorb the seductive words displayed, be it mystery or romance, fantasy or science fiction. This story is crafted to seduce me, to enthrall me, to pleasure me in ways only this tale will do. Thus, I feel the curling whisps of imagination curve around me, drawing me in.

I guess you see what I mean. Reading isn't habit, it's ritual. It isn't the packaging, so much as how we approach the leisurely enjoyment, how we delve into the story. How we appreciate its packaging, manipulate it, take pleasure in it, and eventually immerse ourselves into story. And don't you just love the exitement of mystery and discovery?

Now, anyone have any questions about why I write erotic romance? God, I love words in all their shapes and sizes, all their smooth curves and sharp edges, all their passion and seduction.

So what's your ritual?

Happy reading,


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