I sat in bed one night with my
partner lover, reading Close Calls: New Lesbian Fiction*; I turned to her, an impulsive inquiry springing from my lips. “Darling”, I breathed, “do you think our relationship passion is like a match flame that kindles a raging inferno which consumes the old growth acreage in our lives?” I gazed into her brown violet eyes, which once again, as they so often did, captured my soul and held it captive in their firey depths. My heart pounded as a wave of heat flashed through my body. She smiled with her velvet mouth, and as she shifted her silky limbs I could smell the intoxicating essence of her drugstore shower gel lavender and musk. I could barely breathe. Instead of replying, she leaned towards me and brought her luscious petals oh so tantalizingly close to my own…
Right, before I get too carried away, I will say that at least I didn’t spend money on this; I got it from the library. And it’s pretty typical of our public library’s collection of lesbian fiction, which mostly consists of copies from Bold Strokes Books, and Sarah Waters (but only because straight people happen to read her). Really, the enthusiastic blurb from Katharine V. Forrest on the back should have been my first warning (I can never forgive Forrest for subjecting me to giant vibrating clitorises in Daughters of an Emerald Dusk). It’s not even particularly new, despite the title — it was published in 1996. There are a handful of good authors in this collection — Ruthann Robson, Donna Allegra, Barbara Wilson, Anna Livia. And a couple mediocre stories that look great in comparison to the really awful ones.
I won’t go on about the really bad (REALLY BAD!) stories; and I guess it shouldn’t bother me so much — there are plenty of excellent examples of lesbian fiction out there. But it’s frustrating that this is the best the library can offer. I rely on anthologies to discover new authors, and since I’ve been unemployed for over a year, I can’t afford to risk my non-existent discretionary income on crap (but there’s only so many times I can read Emma Donoghue, you know?) And so much bad lesbian fiction sounds exactly like my first paragraph, and there’s so much of it out there! I’m just really irritated by the whole situation.
*edited by Susan Fox Rogers, published by St. Martin’s Press, if you’re dying to know.