By Giselle Renarde
Despite the fact that my avatar on Twitter, Google, Amazon, and pretty much everywhere else on the web is a ballerina's leg, I'm actually not a huge fan of dance. It takes more than the usual Swan Lake slippers and tutus to get me to the ballet.
Why? Well, I guess I'm afraid I won't understand narrative in motion. I tell myself I need words. That’s why I’m a writer. So a couple years ago, when dear friend invited me to attend a ballet called "The Fiddle and The Drum", I almost passed.
“No, you have to come,” she said. “It’s a collaboration between the Alberta Ballet and Joni Mitchell!”
Well, that changed everything. I’m half in love with Joni Mitchell. Of course I would go if she was involved!
Even now, nearly four years later, "The Fiddle and The Drum" remains the most spectacular dance piece I’ve ever seen. Joni Mitchell’s music and words gave the dance the narrative structure I needed while her photography cast across a backdrop in shades of toxic green gave the ballet a haunting air.
The composition was a daring, biting criticism of the American/Albertan obsession with oil and the lengths to which we’ll go to secure something that’s only helping us slaughter our beautiful planet.
What stayed with me, conflated with this gripping dance, was a single sentence from the program. Jean Grand-Maître of the Alberta Ballet states that “as Ms Mitchell is incensed with human folly, she made it clear to me from the onset that this ballet could not be escapist entertainment when the world is in such shambles.”
That sentiment dwelled on my mind. I couldn't stop thinking about it, actually.
I write erotica for a living. I had to ask myself, “Is what I do important? Does it help anyone, or is it fluff? And what is art if not escapist entertainment? Can't art, whether it be visual or dance or writing, be both titillating and meaningful?”
If I'm producing erotic art in prose form, I want it to be more than just people fucking. I mean, I write "people fucking" erotica too. I write it when I'm in the mood for others to read when they're in the mood. But it's important to me to also write stories like Tangled Roots.
Simone, the heroine of this heteromance, isn't the most likeable character in the world. I'm the first to admit it. She's a composite character of a few different people I've known over the years--and, sure, I'm mixed in there too. A little bit of me is in all my characters.
Unfortunately, Simone's been taught, albeit subtly, to hate herself. When you hate yourself how can you ever love others? You can't. You need someone to show you the way--and that's where her Moses comes in.
Tangled Roots makes quite pertinent social statements about the shape of Aboriginal identity in Canada, about systemic racism, about how internalized dominance and subordination can both manifest hegemonically in the same flawed individual.
I’m hoping Joni would be proud.
If you buy the Coming Together: Neat edition of Tangled Roots, proceeds will benefit entrepreneurs in developing nations via micro-lending through Kiva. I love this concept because it's a hand up, not a handout.
So if you're into helping people help themselves, a great way to get started is to buy a copy of Tangled Roots by Giselle Renarde.
Control. Over her relationships, her heritage, her career... and above all, her emotions. It is what Simone desires above all else, and what she had managed to keep. But now that is changing. She is lost in the wilderness, and it will take a man named Moses to lead her to a promised land she never knew she wanted. Together, they will untangle the roots of her past, so they can grow together into their future.
“I love you, Moses,” she said in disbelief. “I love you.”
Kissing her forehead, Moses replied, “Maybe you do. And maybe you’re looking for something beautiful to counterbalance the pain. Either way, Simone, you are loved. You are worthy of love. I guarantee it.”
The tears she cried turned from tortured to awed, like when she used to cry in church, never knowing why. Running her hands across the prickly hair of his head, Simone pulled Moses in to take comfort in the warmth of his mouth. His tongue still tasted of black liquorice and of her. She kissed him hungrily, desperately, like she could consume his spiritual knowledge this way.
Simone expected him to push her away, ask her to stop, thinking she was too emotional. He didn’t. No, Moses kissed her back, wrapping her body in his tremendous arms, leaning her down until her hair touched the pine needles. Hungry for love in any form, in all its forms, Simone pulled off her clinging top. No more weeping. Her awe was silent now, and she wiped the traces of tears from her cheeks. Firelight kissed Moses’ skin, making him look like an angel in hell, while it warmed her naked breasts.
“I’m sure,” she whispered in anticipation of the question he seemed about to ask.
Her eager nipples piqued in expectation, pointing up to the greener-than-green treetops. An errant raindrop found its way through the cover overhead, bursting against her chest. The bristle of Moses’ hair excited Simone’s skin as he followed the rain down her breasts. There he worshipped, taking the luscious orbs in his hands as he pressed his beautiful face into them. Softly, he kissed her flesh, leaving wet lip marks in his wake. Slowly, he ran his hot tongue along the cleave, from the base of her round breasts up.
His soft mouth against her nipples sent a message, like an electrical current through her body. The feel of his wet tongue on her breasts ignited her pussy, and that raindrop sensation came back to her abdomen. With every nerve-ending Moses touched, new feelings of beauty awakened in her. He wrapped her in his protective arms, sucking at her breasts. The dew of his mouth on her skin made her body bloom like a patch of white trillium flowers. In her mind, she could see pure white petals bursting through every precious green bud in the forest. The sun and rain together inspired new birth. As Moses planted loving kisses across her chest, a drop of crystal rain kissed her forehead. It flowed like holy water through her hair, cleansing her guilty conscience. Simone’s eyes opened wide. She was awakened.
Canada just got hotter!
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