in a strange way

May 21, 2018

words2

Usually the idea for a novel comes to me, in a strange way, from reading rather than from living or observation. It’s often what I can only call an intellectual concern – some sort of large issue I’ve got very interested in. The operation of memory is an obvious one because several novels have been prompted by that. Or again the nature of evidence – that’s another important theme to me. Then the problem is to find the vehicle, to find the story and the characters and the backdrop, because they’re going to be the vehicle for this idea. Because then I don’t want the idea to show very much; I want the idea to be a sort of seven-eighths of the iceberg, a kind of ballast, but without which the whole novel would flounder.

Penelope Lively
On writing: authors reveal the secrets of their craft
The Guardian, 26th March 2011

burried

The techniques for mystifying women’s lives and belittling women’s writing that I have described work by suppressing context: writing is separated from experience, women writers are separated from their tradition and each other, public is separated from private, political from personal – all to enforce a supposed set of absolute standards. What is frightening about black art or women’s art or Chicano art – and so on – is that it calls into question the very idea of objectivity and absolute standards:

This is a good novel.

Good for what?

Good for whom?

One side of the nightmare is that a privileged group will not recognize that ‘other’ art, will not be able to judge it, that the superiority of taste and training possessed by the privileged critic and the privileged artist will suddenly vanish.

The other side of the nightmare is not what is found in the ‘other’ art will be incomprehensible, but that it will be all too familiar. That is:

Women’s lives are the buried truth about men’s lives.

The lives of people of colour are the buried truth about white lives.

The buried truth about the rich is who they take their money from and how.

The buried truth about ‘normal’ sexuality is how one kind of sexual expression has been made privileged, and what kinds of unearned virtue and terrors about identity this distinction serves.

Joanna Russ
How to Suppress Women’s Writing

young lover required

Now that I have your attention, what I really want to talk about is…sex. I’ve discovered that, contrary to popular opinion, the carnal urge does not decrease with age. Even after a quad bypass, raging emphysema, sags and wrinkles where once there were lithe curves, I’m as lustful now as I was forty years ago.

Back then, men were as numerous as New York taxis and as easy to catch. As soon as one ride was over, there was always another waiting to pick me up, flag up and engine revving. It never occurred to me that they would one day stop running and slow down to a tottering walk.

Not that I couldn’t still nail some old geezer with the aid of a Viagra cocktail or two, but the very thought of touching one of those saggy bags of bones makes me gag. The fact is, no matter how old I get, prime man is still prime man (35-45) and he is the one who still catches my eye and jolts my libido. In other words, despite the depredations time has inflicted upon my corporeal body, the hot twenty-something girl who resides between my ears still rules my loins.

Unfortunately, the men who attract my attention don’t see her. What they see is just another anonymous old lady among the thousands of others who reside in America’s penis. If they do happen to glance my way, they either ignore me completely or ask if they can help me across the street, neither of which option is very satisfying. Evidently, drooling with desire is easily mistaken for drooling with senility.

I keep musing about “Harold and Maude”, deeply envious of the Ruth Gordon character, fully grasping the not-so-subtle subtext of the film. Unfortunately, the chances of finding my Harold are severely limited. I can’t exactly drive my scooter backwards down the street, trolling for boys, or even play grab-ass with the bag boy at Publix without fear of arrest. And even if I were lucky enough to find some hot kid with an unlimited sense of adventure, how could I expect him to undergo the trauma of finding himself on top of a dead lady, regardless of the smile on her face?

I used to think I wanted to die by being shot by a jealous wife, but now I think I just want to be screwed to death. Imagine the wonder of coming and going simultaneously! Sadly, I’m afraid I’ll never know. I’ve finally come to accept the fact that of all the aches, pains, losses and disappointments that accompany the aging process, knowing that I’ll never again feel a hard young body grinding against mine is the most difficult to accept.

So I gave myself a birthday present. I went to the dildo store, bought a lovely little device called a rabbit and named it “Harold”.

Wish me luck.

Ruth Dickson
SEX

Egon Schiele - Standing Girl in Blue Dress

A mode of understanding life which wilfully ignores so much can do so only at the peril of thoroughly distorting the rest. A mode of understanding literature which can ignore the private lives of half the human race is not “incomplete”; it is distorted through and through. Feminist criticism of the early 1970s began by pointing out the simplest of these distortions, that is, that the female characters of even our greatest realistic “classics” by male writers are often not individualized portraits of possible women, but creations of fear and desire.

Joanna Russ
How to suppress Women’s Writing

Be a poet

May 12, 2018

Keep awake, alive, new. Perform the paradox of being hard and yet soft. Survive without calcification of the tender membranes. Be a poet. Be alive.

Tennessee Williams
Notebooks (page 281)

Sometime after my first drafts are completed, months or even years, I come back to the material to look for the poems hidden in the handwritten scrawl. I turn to the typewriter when I begin experimenting with forms, usually stanzas employing syllabic or accentual count lines. I never use a computer in working on poems – I want to slow the process down, not speed it up.

Laurence Lieberman
Writing Advice from Poets
Writer’s Digest 11th March 2008

an embarrassing

Waking one Sunday morning in a strange bed, a husband and wife deeply asleep either side me. The previous night’s party was a headachy blur. But I had obviously ended up in bed with this pair, both of whom had fucked me.

Now, I wished only to escape, to avoid unnecessary awkwardness by not disturbing them. I simply couldn’t face one of those hesitant, uncomfortable conversations over coffee and croissants with this pair of strangers.

Very carefully I slipped down the bed and out at the bottom. My bare feet sank into a beautiful shag-pile carpet. I quickly, silently gathered up my clothes and tiptoed towards the door. Then –

Catastrophe!

I stepped on a tube of KY jelly that had been carelessly discarded the previous evening. It burst spraying its glutinous contents in all directions – well and truly lubricating that shag-pile!

Oh, bloody hell!

I could do nothing. I dressed quickly in the bathroom at the end of the hall, then went silently downstairs and let myself out.

I was a coward. A very, very embarrassed coward. And I’ve never been back to their house again.

I love biting boy’s hips and thighs.

To give them a handjob, slowly building them to the edge, then abruptly stopping and squeezing hard at the base of their cock because – “who told you that you could come yet?”

And then, whilst I’m giving them a moment to gather themselves, before I continue, I bite down on their flesh…

I live for the way their body jolts in response to that, bite and how they suck in air through their teeth.

Domme Desu
Horny 24/7

kinda odd

May 5, 2018

A coffin

I know a woman who keeps her coffin in her front room. Her boyfriend made it. I’ve seen photos of him lovingly planing the wood before presenting it to her as a gift. It now sits in her lounge, ready for the day she dies, and she doesn’t see it as a threat. She loves it. The lid is open and a mannequin stands inside, wearing a black dress, while a stuffed raven sits perched on top.

When I told her that having a coffin in the lounge was, how can I put it, kinda odd, she just laughed and said it’s the rest of us who are truly strange. ‘We’re all going to die,’ she told me. ‘Facing that, is the most natural thing you can do.’

Peter Laws
Sinister Minister
The Irish Times 10th April 2018

Using silence as a punishment is like letting fly doves that carry freedom on their wings. That’s how you are. A dove open to my wishes, my desires – pleasing me, and in my pleasure finding yours …