The Landscape of the Body – John Siddique workshop

So, on a suitably sultry Thursday evening, rubiesandduels headed off to a workshop on erotic writing hosted by the poet John Siddique.

He is irreverent, generous and writes beautifully about intimacy, erotica and yes, sex itself.

We worked through a number of writing tasks;

The landscape of erotica


Intimacy and the placing of the reader in a privileged position in good erotic writing.

These are my 2 attempts at 2 of the tasks, they are very much workshop pieces, very rough, written quickly and in company, an odd place to write erotic fiction.


A piece to explore personal taboos, to move the writer outside of their comfort zone.


face squashed into a pillow
focusing on his breathing
in and out and in and out
don’t show the fear.
Tonight, he knows that a line will be crossed
that after tonight, there will be no going back.
She has said as much
prepared him carefully
and fire
and chains
and now this line to cross.
He feels her weight shift against his shoulder blades
one hand presses against the top of his spine
fingers pressing on individual vertebrae
pressure just the other side of pleasure
her breath on the nape of his neck as she leans her head towards him
her hands swooping down towards the small of his back.
He stiffens
bites back a sound, almost a moan
stays still
stays silent.
And then there is a pause
a waiting.
His skin electric with anticipation
The first cut comes so fast that he has no time to process what has happened
is only aware of sound
not pain
just the click of the unsheathed blade
the sush of skin scored like silk
And then, two more
And afterwards
she takes him to a mirror
her fingers on his neck
tilting his head so that he can see
3 neat lines
Line one
Line two
Line 3
He knows that he crossed another line.

Ant then, we worked on intimacy and writing which allows the reader to be there, to see/hear secrets.
Again, this is a workshopped piece, very rough, very rushed.


but his face is turned away, he mumbles into the sheets
“No, really, it’s common, almost everyday
Most men…….

Her voice trails off, gentle, non-accusing, making light
But, hand’s a fist, a punch, held and caught, just brushing the pillow, while inside, everything is raging
“I don’t mind, truly….cuddling is lovely too”
Don’t smile she thinks, don’t smile
“Let me see what I can do to help”
A movement towards him, but,
he is still turned away, whole body stiff with shame and the irony is not lost on either of them and her fingers creeping forward
and pleat the corners of the sheet instead.

If you would like to know more about John Siddique
look here



About cathi rae

50ish teacher & aspiring writer and parent of a stroppy teenager and carer for a confused bedlington terrier and a small selection of horses who fail to shar emy dressage ambitions. Interested in contemporary fiction but find myself returning to PG Wodehouse when the chips are down View all posts by cathi rae

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