Posts Tagged ‘Lady Nyo Nags Again’

“The Kimono”, erotica and the character Lady Nyo

May 12, 2011

In March I published “White Cranes of Heaven” with  This was a production of a year and a half.  Fifty seasonal poems and nothing erotic about them.  I didn’t include love poems or anything openly erotic.  I did this because, in part, as tribute to my 98 year old Hungarian aunt.  She has been a supporter and has encouraged my writing for at least 10 years.  She is a prodigious letter writer, and at 98, still wants to write a novel.  She is one of the most complex intellectuals I have met and there is no weakness, nothing missing at all in her thinking.  That she is in the family gene pool makes me proud.  I am hoping some of her abilities will rub off on me.

However, some of the readers of “White Cranes” have told me  they found certain poems to be erotic: it was in the imagery, not anything consciously written to be erotic.  Perhaps it’s just the nature of nature:  all this pollen in spring, all the bursting forth of blossom and  color, and of course, scent.  This pulse of life is just beneath the surface, and the yearn towards sex is also.

Some readers know for four years I have been writing a novel that is set both in 21st century Japan and the main part of it in 17th century Japan.  It is a highly erotic novel, and what I started out to write four years ago has changed in perspective.  I think we all ‘grow’ differently in the passage of four years.  I think this is good, especially if you are a writer. 

For five years I have struggled with this issue of erotic content in writing.  I was heavily influenced by a website, dedicated to  writing erotica and this was my first plunge into that genre.  My first book, “A Seasoning of Lust” ( came from that time, yet I was and am still struggling with the ‘proper’ dose of eroticism in my work.  There were a lot of influences from that site, some very good, and some not.  Over the course of those years there, I made up my own mind, and that is why I named the first book “A Seasoning….”  NOT the whole meal.

Recently I went back (very recently, as in the past week) to “The Kimono”.  I had been ‘stuck’…not sure how to get where I wanted, as I already had a good idea of the ending, but there of course is this progression of chapters to that end.  I like the characters, have grown a bit attached to them, and I feel, like a lot of novelists, that I am not really in charge of their doings:  allow them to meander a bit, and they become much more real, much more human. 

This issue of ‘human’ is a tricky one, especially where there are magical/mythological creatures and the very human Yamabushi element. But still, I like these folk:  Mari, the Japanese-American woman who is thrown back into history by a ‘magic’ kimono, Lord Mori who can be a brute, is a daimyo stuck in a mountaineous region hemmed in by more powerful and predatory daimyos, and this Lady Nyo, a tiny woman who has a lot of power in her own right for a woman in 17th century Japan.  She is the wife of a samurai, attached to Lord Mori’s household, and she is at times very mouthy.  Her husband is devoted to her, and though they are childless, he has not put her aside for another wife.  Where I had intended Lady Nyo to take a very secondary place in this story, she has popped up front and center and in some chapters the action hinges around her and her opinions. She blows apart our Western concepts of traditional behavior of Japanese women, and I think this is right.  We have believed women from this country are all stamped out with a cookie cutter.  I became delighted enough with her to adopt her name as my penname  on the blog.

Sex is part of life. Even my 98 year old Aunt would agree with that.  So I continue to struggle with sex in this novel, and am slowly coming to terms with this old issue of eroticism.  It will remain as it is, because the sexual attraction between some of the characters is natural and intriguing.   Some of the early chapters were written in the flush of first lust: writing lust.  These things come from deep in our  nature  and a writer strives for balance. 

  Or should.

Lady Nyo

Lady Nyo (from “The Kimono”) has developed her own story: she is a poet, and drives her patient husband up a tree at times.  I wrote a four part cycle of her poems…first starting with haiku, then tanka in form.  What I am posting below is from the part:  “Lady Nyo Forgives Her Husband”.  I’m not sure what actually happened between them, but there were some  hurt feelings, and Lady Nyo isn’t allowing her dear husband to get away clean from any guilt and responsibility.  She breaks the stereotype of “long suffering”.  She is better at nagging.



Stop tickling me!

Yes, I forgive you,

but  you take such liberties!

Your hands are not clean from

previous crimes.

Go wash them in the snow of

last year’s falling.

Then I will reconsider your request.


Look! There is a cardinal,

red as blood and as cocky

as a lord.

See his mate?

She is dull, but has her lipstick

on this morning.


Off you go,

and don’t look back.

If you turn, you will see serenity.

But behind this mask,

is a well of longing.


Last night I thought of you.

My face still bears the blushes.

You thought it was good health?

No, just reflects the liberty

of dreams.


You came with a mouthful of ‘sorry’

and leave now with other parts eased.

Never mind.

Your coming and going has served a dual purpose.


(My mind is still shattered

And my heart still sore.)

But I put on a fresh face

full of smiles and polite manner.

It would shock our friends if

they knew the turmoil of

my heart.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009-2011

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