99 Erotic Notions: About This Project
By Hapax Legomenon

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See Also: Pleasure Manifesto  Story Recommendations and Unbuttoned Tales

99 Erotic Notions is a series of short erotic reveries I wrote in the early 1990's. Some were comic, some were philosphical, some were downright obscene. Perhaps readers of erotic literature might be expecting more explicit material; truthfully, while I don't have any ethical problem with raw depictions of sex, it didn't fit in with the general mood of this project. My goal is to map the male erotic imagination and explore the thrills and pitfalls of the fantasizing process. A good number of the notions are more like erotic moments than stories. Have no fear; a good number of the stories are traditional in nature. They will show up later.

In July 2003 I decided to publish one new story a month for the next 99 months. I'd already written half of the stories and had ideas for most of the rest, but I am notoriously bad at finishing things and even worse at showing them to the public. Here are a few things to keep in mind while reading. First, a logical mind would assume that I will publish Erotic Notion #1, then #2, then #3, etc. Actually, though, I'll be publishing #14, then #82, then #39, and then gradually filling in the gaps. Maddening for the reader seeking coherence, but perfectly logical for an author unwilling to take a too-linear approach to narrative.

I'll be providing dates when I first wrote the story on the bottom of each story. There are two reasons. First, I am writing two narratives: that of the narrator and that of myself. The order in which I organize the stories doesn't correlate with the order in which I wrote them. And in fact, I have noticed that the general tone and bent of my stories have changed as I've grown older. In my early 20's, the most important thing was to conjure a Pygmalion with words and evoke physical sensations (perhaps even arousal) in the reader. Another reason for assigning dates to each story is that I wanted to call attention to which stories were written B.T.I (Before the Internet) or A.T.I. (After the Internet). To me, that is an important detail.

The first story The Deal provides a narrative frame for the rest of the storytelling. The frame is nothing more than Lisa and the unnamed protagonist discussing his stories. In later months you'll notice that sometimes I'll publishing two pieces a month – an erotic notion and a narrative interlude. For each story, I write an "interlude" where the characters of the overall story frame dissect (and yes, even criticize) the story in question. (I later learned that there is a similar literary device in Japanese literature called "Atogaki.")These interludes will not be considered part of the numbered notions. Don't worry – I really want to tell 99 stories.

I included a comment form, although lord only knows why anyone would use them. As one ASSTR author describes it: "A lot of folks may be uncomfortable with expressing the following to a person who is a total stranger: 'Hey (fill in the blank). I really really enjoyed masturbating to your story. Write some more so I can get off!' Actually, if anybody reading carefully enough notices something strange – say a paragraph out of sequence or a serious misspelling or grammar problem – feel free to point it out and win karma points. Or feel free to react to the story.

I've read authors on ASSTR and generally enjoyed the erotic literature I've found. Most of the time I'm browsing through the ASSTR collection in search of momentary titillation, while at other times I'm just bored and somewhat interested in an engaging story. (Here is a list of ASSTR stories I recommend.) When I started writing erotic notions, I imagined that someday people would hold a book in their hands with my stories. Now, with the Internet, people rarely are reading dead-tree books these days, and I still cannot imagine why anyone in their right mind would sit before a computer to get turned on. It is crazy enough to read a book of erotic tales in bed while entertaining thoughts of seduction. It's crazier still to sit before a monitor and reading text on a screen; however evocative well-written words may be, I have a hard time believing that someone would actually prefer reading text to gazing at sex photos or adult videos or participating in pornographic cyberchat or computer sex games. In these transitional times, I still don't know why I'm writing here and why anybody would read such things. But boredom and curiosity will drive a person towards anything.

A request. If you enjoyed the stories, I encourage you to sign up for the mailing list on the home page. This project exists over time, and I suspect you'll enjoy it more if you grow with the stories over time. Anyway, if you just browsed in here, chances are that you will forget the name of this site or how to get back again. With thousands of ASSTR authors, I've lost track of many stories. Your email will be safe with me, and every month I'll send a discreet message with a single link. Soon I'll be making ebook versions and audio versions of these stories available. Stay tuned!

For those who think they know the identity of Hapax Legomenon and suppose that the author and his characters are one and the same, I confidently assert that they are wrong. For those who think they know the real-life people or real-life events that inspired the episodes here, let me just say that the truth is not what you suspect; the inspirations have less to do with people or events but a certain feeling, a certain moment, a certain amount of idle time spent wondering about the alternate world we call Pornutopia. Truthfully, we humans are so competent at hiding and disguising our fantasizing that Martian tourists might think us incapable of it. And if I for a moment believed that anyone could crack the code of these stories to reveal my erotic secrets, I would spend countless hours changing details and contexts to disguise coincidential similarities. Trust me, I'm that paranoid.

Some after glancing over these notions, might wonder, "Well, where is all the sex? Doesn't an erotic story need to have a certain minimum number of fuck scenes to be considered an erotic story?" Perhaps I am guilty as charged. Call it puritanism, call it simply the wish to contemplate without necessarily consummating. Perhaps it is that sexual congress, in all its sweaty glory, is just too hard to depict without self-deception, or to successful effect; or that the fantasizing process desecrates the occasional erotic interludes that real life bestows upon us. The authors most willing to strip the erotic act of its holy significance – Marco Vassi's "Carcass of Dreams," Akiyuki Nozaka's Pornographers, (or anything by Kundera) don't peddle dreams; they peddle the frivolity of our illusions; they aim not for release but consolation.

Written July, 2003.


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