- Bruce P. Grether
More MOONTUSK CHRONICLES Basics
As I continued to work on the four books of THE MOONTUSK CHRONICLES, I decided not to "draw the curtain," or discretely "close the door" whenever a character felt horny and masturbated, or had sex. The two young main protagonists, Dare and Hosis, were clearly on their journey together to explore my own burgeoning sexuality, and other aspects of being human. I wanted them to have specific bodies, penises, pubic hair, anuses, nipples, armpits, and erotic sensations well as distinct faces, smiles, frowns, voices, personal histories languages and cultures. If they wanted to masturbate, or got involved with another guy, I wanted to take the reader along all the way, so long as the details served plot and character development.
In fact, my own late father, a brilliant and scholarly sort, read the first draft, when it was half as long and not nearly so explicit. Already the story involved the young men who met and became lovers toward the end of the first book. At the time, the entire novel was called ORCHID OF AWAKENING. It ended with a sort of "Lady or the Tiger" uncertainty about whether or not Dare survived his encounter with the possibly toxic Dream Orchid on an island in the South Seas. My father, who was a superb editor and critic, caught many typos and made stylistic suggestions. He also felt the ending was a terrible cop-out, which it was! Point taken.
Once I continued the story slightly past that unresolved life/death, either/or point at the end of the second book to tell what actually happened, I realized the entire story was far from over. In fact, I recognized that it was barely half over, for I had created a huge, intricate world and an intriguing plot about the overthrow of a patriarchy by an ancient matriarchal order. Many more adventures and complications lay ahead of my handsome, highly-sexed young heroes.
As the romance deepened between these young male lovers, I also wanted to be sure that the explicit erotic scenes portrayed an evolving sex-life as men in relationships do experience. I wanted the reader to learn what I had learned about masturbation as a spiritual practice, and the nuances I discovered making love with my partner. Also, my superb editor Toby Johnson, who studied with he great mythologist Joseph Campbell, pointed out to me eventually that the journeys of Dare and Hosis depict the classic "Hero's Journey." None of that significance occurred to me until later revisions. While first drafting a story I just follow the white-hot inspiration of my imagination and try to record the story unfolding in my head, and in this case, standing up between my legs.
Still, when Toby edited the final drafts for publication, he pointed out a parallel with the story of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, who left his privileged home in a quest for enlightenment. Also there are echoes of the story of Gilgamesh, the ancient Sumerian king who met a wild, hairy man named Enkidu, fell in love and went off on adventures with his lover. In the classic Hero's Journey, the protagonist tends to have a wise older teacher, leave home, cross a river, receive help from various wise people, encounter strange creatures along the way, and eventually return home changed, perhaps even die and get reborn. Reflections of all these abound in the fantastic world of THE MOONTUSK CHRONICLES.
Writing these stories and finally preparing them for publication confirmed to me the existence of the collective unconscious mind, where mythic archetypes seem to live and breathe. By creating this elaborate high fantasy epic of world-building that is also explicitly homoerotic, I created the books I always wanted to read growing up, but never discovered until I wrote them myself!
Again, you can find Book One, RENDEZVOUS IN A RUINED CITY by clicking HERE.