Yet Amorous Woman also details “real-life situations and emotions,” as Storey points out a few days before the Berkeley hills bash, in the course of a conversation that starts at a kitchen table and winds up, hours later, over tea and tapas at César.
Unlike the standard stroke-book protagonist, Storey’s heroine encounters some unexpected obstacles along the path of sexual pleasure—a sincere but failed attempt at married monogamy, an agonizing decision about abortion—that transform her into a deeper, more battle-scarred human being.
Location is everything, as they say, but timing is everything else.
1—and at precisely the stage when many other women hang up the artistic towel for good, Storey got started. “This little helpless infant you have to do everything for! So once I had a child, and knew I could do that, I was like, okay, I can write.” To Storey’s surprise, a writer’s life didn’t require withdrawal from the world, but intense engagement with it—a full-bore exploration involving not only ideas and feelings, but also tangible, sensual detail. “It was like the Wizard of Oz, where I was living a black-and-white life,” Storey recalls. What is the sound of the voice of the man at the cafe?
” At the heart of all creative writing, she realized, was “a question, a mystery, a wondering why.” Six months after rededicating herself to the vocation she’d abandoned, Storey nabbed first prize in a Stanford Magazine fiction contest for alumni. The result was the “electrifying” experience of writing her first erotic short story, “The Blindfold.” Though it took nearly a year to polish and publish the piece, she knew she had found her niche.
Then one afternoon, while tidying up a bureau drawer, Storey (who is not, she points out, “an accessories kind of girl”) came across a beautiful but never-worn scarf, and started asking herself questions. Gilding the lily, the spouse of the newly-minted eroticist proved an enthusiastic on-site research assistant.
Today, Storey is still riding the current, with sizzling new stories appearing regularly in prestigious sex anthologies, including Best American Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica, and The Mammoth Book of Best Erotica.
“Living in Berkeley, California, most people are fine with what I do, ” says Storey, who grew up in various East Coast locales. If I lived in a small town in Pennsylvania, it might be different.” And indeed, in the Bay Area, where a certain earnest, near-evangelical approach to sexual expression thrives right alongside a more commercial view, risqué is not necessarily synonymous with raunchy.