I came to writing romance quite late in life. My university education had conditioned me to despise and ignore the idiom, partly because of its purported lack of ‘literary substance’, and partly because of its ‘escapism’ and purported evasion of the painful realities of life. But my attitude gradually changed, because I realised that escapism is a great source of comfort, and reading it could help to defuse painful tensions, and help maintain equilibrium and control over life.
I felt I had to make a struggle to integrate literary style and substance into romance stories, to give these stories a fully-developed, in-depth background and setting. My previous writings had been highly abstract and speculative, and I felt there was a need for the concrete. I now feel that I have achieved some equilibrium between the romantic and the hard/speculative.
I am indeed one of that comparatively rare ilk – a male romance writer in a field heavily dominated by women writers. I would like to feel I bridge the gulf between old and new attitudes – old romance, with its celebration of the ‘eternal feminine’, together with the openness of contemporary swingers and the like. In spite of my sympathies with the latter, I do not care for the ultra explicit. I think the celebration of Eros is far more potent if it is expressed obliquely, metaphorically, and if it leaves adequate areas to the imagination. After all, a truly euphoric experience has some of the qualities of a voyage into the unknown.
Excerpt From Pearlman:
Her skill in undoing my armour was worthy of any trained white man. “We are supremely adaptable; we learn avidly from those we observe and oppose”, she whispered, her teeth gleaming in her smile. As I saw the chain mail and the cuirass lying there, discarded, I saw that the rust had all disappeared.
Deft hands tenderly peeled my sweat-ridden leather and cotton; it was lovely to be nursed without immediate wounds to distract from the exquisite sensations.
“You must be proud of your exertions!” she said. The power in her words was akin to a duelling challenge. (The time warp flashed me into my happy collaboration with that beautiful fitness trainer, when I imagined that lithe, toned form excelling itself at the Olympic High Jump as her prelude to our delicious consummation.)
I looked up towards her breasts, to see the matching metal, discs, chains, bangles – an array of gold, silver and jade; I sensed their resilience beneath their cover. She read my response with total ease; with a radiant smile, she whispered “do as you have been done by.”
My hands trembled a little as I delicately negotiated the pins and clasps, but I succeeded in making a harmonious pattern of them, like a crown at the head of my discarded armour. It was good to have gained intimate knowledge of those metallic treasures in the museums.
The face of a full moon, reciprocating its radiation on Tegualda’s face and eyes, beamed its glittering reflections, as if casting off a diaphanous robe, to reveal the perfect body of its illuminated rocks, bouncing back and forth around the elaborated grid of our variegated metalwork – steel, bronze, silver and gold – its luminosity almost suggesting that it would all come to life, radiant in the flames of their smelting, almost as two armies facing each other. In turn, the beams flooded our faces, giving an external flourish to our luminous vibrancy charged from within.
She took my hand, and made it caress her sealskin robe: “please do the honours”. I lifted it at the bottom. My hands reached up inside it until they could feel her firm but still slender waist. Repeating my earlier gesture, she raised her arms in surrender and conquest, the robe clouding into a transient veil over her noble features.
Then Tegualda cast off her gleaming white cotton camisera for me with all the challenging flourish of a toreador. She tamed me and fired me simultaneously with her lovely self-revelation.
The walls of my time-capsule were fractured. There glistened across the world, ricocheted back and forth across the centuries a composite of the world’s beauties, celebrated in poetry and song, painting and sculpture, melted, distilled and poured into one vibrant, impassioned, soul-suffused body. Egyptian and Grecian statues and mural figures melted into an array of Hollywood dream sublimities deeply embedded in my memory. This was a spiritual earthquake, embracing all history and culture, the distilled essence of all artistic striving poured into one giant goblet.
Blurb:This was inspired by a passage in the Spanish epic poem La Araucana, which I have translated. In the original story, a Spanish soldier, after a battle, is accosted by an Indian woman who asks him to lead her to her husband's body, to pay her last respects. In the original story, she disappears. In Pearlman the hero is contemporary, but he does time and space travel to those legendary times, and the woman turns out to be Auchimalgen, the Araucanian Moon Goddess. She seduces and enlightens him. There is a backdrop of Chile, with its incredibly volatile ecosphere and long history of protracted conflict. This story combines romance with sci-fi and time travel.
Bio:David Russell is a writer of poetry, literary criticism, speculative fiction and romance. He was born in 1940 in Wolverhampton, UK and has long been based in London. His Main paperback poetry collection Prickling Counterpoints was published by Deadline Books in 1998; several of his poems have appeared online in International Times.
A further paperback collection, An Ever River, is due for publication by Palewell Press in March 2018. His main speculative fiction works are High Wired On (2002) Rock Bottom (2005). David has translated the 16th Century Spanish epic La Araucana, Amazon 2013. He has written several Romances, now published by Bella Tulip Publishing, including Self’s Blossom (now in 5th edition; Explorations (3rd Edition); Further Explorations (2nd Edition); Dreamtime Sensuality (2nd Edition); he has also Self-published a collection of erotic poetry and artwork, Sensual Rhapsody, 2015.
Another side of his activities is that of Singer-songwriter/guitarist: his vinyl album, Bricolage, was recorded in 1992 by Billy Childish for Hangman Records; his main CD albums are Bacteria Shrapnel and Kaleidoscope Concentrate. Many of his tracks are featured on You Tube, under ‘Dave Russell’.