INTO THE MIND OF A GAY EROTICA AUTHOR
In the midst of a global pandemic that has seen social isolation measured enforced and the closure of borders, escapism is more important than ever.
Enter erotica author Nathanial Feldmann.
When reading erotica author Feldmann’s work you can’t help but feel immersed in the scene.
Cocktails and sunshine, liquor and sweat.
These stories are ripe with lust and desire.
Here we talk about the importance of storytelling and sex as a tool:
‘it can unlock doors, tear down walls, and bring us closer to who we really are or want to be, and also closer to others.’
So, come a little closer and get to know BERLINABLE author Nathanial Feldmann.
Saxon Boulevard. Many writers have been busy stretching their imaginations since childhood.
Have you always told stories?
Nathaniel Feldmann. I’ve always had the desire to tell stories, to find a means to escape into another world.
As a child, this came in the form of sitting behind the family desktop early in the morning, before anyone else was awake, in the quiet.
I wrote endless stories about animals with very human traits that moved to giant cities or were adventurers in the wild, seeking some new territory where they could define themselves on their own terms.
Even at seven years old I wanted to leave suburban life behind.
I knew there was so much more of the world to discover.
SB. As an erotica author, can you remember the first time you read (or watched) something that ignited your flame of desire?
NF. Every Thanksgiving, my family would get in the car and drive five hours to visit my Aunt in the Milwaukee suburbs.
I looked forward to this trip because I always had a desire to be around skyscrapers, to be close on the shore of the Lake Michigan.
I wanted to spend time with my affluent cousins and be part of their upper middle-class life.
A life that gave them such luxuries of travel and big houses and fine wines and cheeses and fancy cars and friends that were professional athletes.
But most of all I enjoyed these trips because I was allowed to stay in the basement of my Aunt’s house.
She had a giant TV with a premium cable package, and I was always left alone.
It stared with soft-core porn, always these tacky skin flicks on Starz or Cinemax. You know the ones where women with big tits are dry humped by a shirtless average looking man, usually with thinning hair pulled into a ponytail.
From there, curiosity drove me to the program Real Sex on HBO that documented strippers and polyamorous relationships and tantric sex retreats.
I was interested in everything. I wanted to open my mind to other worlds just below the surface.
Maybe this pornography excited me because I could watch it on the big screen.
Or it was the possibility of being caught.
I had an acute awareness of the beauty in people being able to express themselves sexually on screen, to be so open and accepting of their desires, no shame in sight.
But mostly, watching these programs legitimatized my budding sexuality, always suppressed and left unspeakable by my very Catholic and very middle-class family.
Even though I felt alone in my everyday life, I could at least hold onto the fact that I wasn’t alone in the world.
SB. It seems that these experiences- these places and environments- have had a major influence on you.
Setting seems as crucial an element in your story telling as character.
When developing a new work, what comes first?
NF. A difficult question. I don’t think one or the other comes first.
Every story should have three basic layers.
The first is geography, which provides the physicality to a setting — the climate, the topography, but these are merely sensations when not put into the context of the second layer — culture.
Culture shapes the land and how humans relate to these physical factors, but also is the key to how humans relate to one another. The third layer is character.
An individual exists within a complicated society that is influenced by the environment, by the culture, and most importantly, by history.
Perhaps what comes last in the narrative lens, how the story unfolds or what emotions are being expressed/suppressed.
This is what brings everything together.
SB. In a story like The Cove, the reader experiences a true embodiment of the main character- we can feel the texture of the atmosphere he occupies.
Are you drawing from lived experiences, or does inspiration for you as an erotica author come from various places?
NF. In general, lived experiences fill a great well of inspiration.
Back in January, I went to visit an old friend in Puerto Rico.
She had just moved back to be closer to her family.
And had taken a job at a waterfront restaurant in Cabo Rojo, a close-knit fishing village on the western coast.
At night we’d take to the streets and drink, drink, drink — never have I drunk so much in my life.
This experience was the inspiration of this story, the encounters with people sailing around the Caribbean because they were retired or because they were merely drifting.
What was most inspiring was how friendly and accepting this small town was to these foreigners, welcoming them into their lives with open arms.
Even if only for a night, a week, that fun and music and dancing and drinking were what made life sweet and worthwhile.
SB. These lived experiences certainly have the ability to transport the reader.
What else do you hope your readers will feel when consuming your erotica?
NF. Sensuality and pleasure, of course, but that’s obvious!
The real goal of my erotic writing is to express one singular thought: sex is a tool that can be used to attain greater understanding.
It can unlock doors, tear down walls, and bring us closer to who we really are or want to be, and also closer to others.
SB. What works, literary or other, have left an impression on you?
NF. The first book I read about a queer character was The City and the Pillar by Gore Vidal.
At 16, I felt like I lived in a world just as repressive (as the one depicted).
My shame and internalized homophobia was just as aggressive and unspoken.
Another Country by James Baldwin also tells the story of New York in a by-gone era.
As well as a cast of characters that cannot deny desire even if society at large deems it reprehensible.
Baldwin so greatly told stories of homosexual, bisexual and interracial relationships when nobody else would.
Baldwin is also unafraid to push the knife in deeper after the first wound.
SB. Has isolation (related to COVID) had an impact on your erotica writing and you as an erotic author?
NF. I have been able to focus one hundred percent of my energy on writing.
SB. Have you got a store of other characters and narratives waiting to come to life then?
Can you give us a sneak peak of some future stories we might expect from the erotica author Nathaniel Feldmann?
NF. I’m in the middle of writing a novel. It is part-fantasy part-satire about obsession, masochism AND romance, with a generous dose of post-colonial theory weaved in throughout.