Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In Defense of Sex

Yep. This post is going to be about what you think it's going to be about. No use sugar-coating it.

Unless you're of a kinky inclination.

Last night I was at my Tuesday night short-story writin', darn tootin' Meetup and I got to a point where sex comes into the plot. What's funny is that seven years ago, the last time I was writing regularly, I was a virgin. I thought that I would still be able to write about sex, but more like from the viewpoint of a virgin.

Which is sort of like writing about the Sistine Chapel from the point of view of an aetheist.

There's a portion of my favorite book of all time, "A Tree Grows In Brooklyn," by Betty Smith, where the protagonist, Francie, submits a series of stories about her life to her middle school teacher. The teacher seems miffed by the stories--they are base and mean in her opinion. "Why can't you write about something pretty and blooming?" seems to be the general sentiment, and Francie is hurt because this writing is beautiful. She's in love with the story of her family. But her teacher wants beauty we ALL think is beauty. So Francie sits down to write a story of a girl who can order any food that she wants...and actually drools on the page because she described the food so beautifully and because she is too poor to afford this kind of food. The same thing went for me with writing about sex when I was a virgin. I made myself hungry and awkward on paper. I forgot the emotions and got hung up on the physics.

Now, after having had sex with a whole two men (which doesn't make me an expert, but lends me some perspective), I find that I can skip the physics some and write the emotion. Neither man loved me, but I loved both of them at the time, so I can give an accurate rendition of what we would have experienced if we were both on the same page, or nearly. Since when are men and women on the same page, sexually? DK had a great observation he shared with me once in an e-mail--"Men use love to get sex, and women use sex to get love." But somewhere in the middle in good stories of love there's a jagged meeting of the puzzle pieces, or, more to the point, a forcing of the two nearly-matched pieces together.

There is another force of habit that kept me from writing sex into short stories in the past--intimidation due to lack of experience. Here, in 2009, I've had a crash course. I imagine that here in this place where I finally gained the experience there will be more men who think that they can "teach" me or use my lack of experience to inform me of "how things work" in terms of manners and such, but I ignore that now. The man would have to draw me in, to woo me.

Another literary character comes to mind--Celie from "The Color Purple." "Why, Miz Celie, you're still a virgin. You ain't never been loved," says Sug, and every man who meets her calls her poor and ugly. "But dear God, I'm here!" she declares, and she finds fulfillment in the children she gave up. I don't have children in Africa, but dear God, I'm here. I'm a sensual woman who knows exactly what she wants after the loveless experience of two completely different fellas in Shrek suits, and if another fella comes along he is going to have to do some old-fashioned courting. In the same venue, he's experience. Would I write about him? Probably not directly. I have worked some of G and FG into my paintings, but not enough so's they'd notice. (Neither of them read anyway.) And they gave me a great ballast--er, what I mean to say is they gave me a leverage point from which to write about something other than the physics. I'm sorry I gave it up to them. But I'm not sorry that I gave it up, and I can imagine, having loved without sex, the beautiful and rich rest.

That, and I'm a sensual woman in her sexual prime. My imagination hatch-eth and spring-eth stronger than ever it did in the younger years.

Get ready for my fiction. :)

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