It's the erotic story of L!

Write about what you know, the experts say, which is why some Canadians are signing up for classes on the fine art of writing erotica.

"You can write erotica for pleasure and profit," reads an ad I discovered in the Montreal Gazette for the Ottawa-based Quality of Course home study program.

"You'll learn to write sensual articles, short stories and novels that thrill and sell," the ad pledges.

Erotica, it seems, is the "fastest growing area in today's publishing world." Okay, where do I sign up? And more important, will the feds fund my research?

Alex Myers, director of the 11-year-old cor­respondence school, says she decided to add erotica to the school's writing cirriculum because there's a burgeoning market for the steamier side of literature. "Really, all of the quality publishing houses have specific areas for erotica," she says.

Yes, arousal is going mainstream, Books meant to titillate and stimulate are important, shall we say, tools, in this age of AIDS, adds Myers.

"People are much more open about whole areas they never would have discussed before."

Anne Rice, writer of all those vampire books and new best friend of Tom Cruise, has authored several erotic novels under the pen name of A.N. Roquelaure, which proves yet again that it may be art, but you really dont want your mom to know about what you're doing.

Personally, I'de be too embarasses to write erotica. I mean, what if a publisher upon reading your lusty prose, drops to the floor, felled not by passion by hysterical laughter? People would look at you and say "so THAT'S what she's up to." It's like walking around naked. And my mother would kill me and probably never get a decent tee-off time at her club again. "Her daughter writes dirty books. Send her off at 3 behind the guy on crutches."

The Quality of Course erotic writing program is for serious writing students only, says Myers. This is no afternoon quickie. It takes about three years to complete, with 20 major writing assignments critiqued by you rtutor, a real published erotic writer, who also works under a psuedonym, because, hey, she's go a mother too.

"We try to give good value for money in all our writing courses," says Myers. This particular one costs $499, but it is tax deductible and GST-exempt. I'd love to sign up just so I could fill in this particular deduction on my tax form, considering I have been tempted to verbally express some of the physical acts found in erotica to Revenue Canada for years.

You won't get rich in the erotica game, Myers warns. A successful erotic writer is published "in a realtively ongoing fashion" at a couple of hundred bucks a pop. And you wont be wowing the home town crowd at that. All the major markets are in Britain and America. "In Canada there is virtually no market for erotica," says Myers.

But if there's no market here, can polite, insecure, prudish Canadians have the write stuff to fog the glasses and quicken the pulse?

Says Myers: "I'm proud of our image as the gentle, upright nation, but there's no reason why a Canadian can't be as erotic as anybody else."

Call 1-800-559-7632 for more info or fax 1-613-749-9551.

Written by Linda Barnard, the Toronto Sun.