Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday morning contemplation

Photo by Randy Lagana

This morning I read something that really struck a chord with me. Donna George Storey posted a piece last week called Sex as Performance not Commodity on her blog, Sex, Food, and Writing, that she wrote after reading an essay by Thomas MacCaulay Millar, "Toward a Performance Model of Sex." If you have time, go read Donna's piece right now before reading on.

Towards the end, Donna writes:"...I'd bet that any real woman with a few more years/decades on her would attest that the subjective experience of sex for women only gets richer with experience and a surer sense of one's preferences and power. And the more nuanced our experience of sex, the more we can convey that complexity in our fiction."

Though I've always wanted to be a writer, it's only in the last half-dozen years or so that I've taken myself seriously as a writer (well, most of the time, I'm still overcome by doubt way too often). And it's only in the past couple of years that I've taken to allowing myself to explore sexuality in my writing to the degree I have, and I still have trouble with it. And I'm having trouble writing this post, maybe because I'm still pondering.

It seems that whenever we think we have a thing figured out, something happens to show us we don't. We're always learning. Sometimes those "learning" experiences knock us for a loop. And until we regain our footing, we're not sure what's up and what's down.

As a writer, I bring my experiences to my writing, even if I'm not writing about ME. But when one has self-image issues (umm, duh), that can translate into questioning the value of one's writing. If I'm no good, then my writing can't be any good. It happens to the best of us.

Why do we write? Why do we write about sex? What are we trying to accomplish? Are we just pervs? Is this line of thought going anywhere?

Probably not.


Jo said...

I think writing about sex is an easy way of discussing or expression emotions.

Like it's easier to connect with your lover through sex and physical demonstration than talk through what you're dealing with, maybe. A kiss can say a lot, like.

I've read descriptions of sex that have floored me, and in the end it's just sex, but it's embued with so much intensity and meaning, and maybe I can read it and take the meaning from it without necessarily understanding exactly what the writer was saying... I hope anyway.

Just like real sex, maybe.

You hope it will say all the things you can't say.

There's the value, maybe. Giving words to the wordless. Bringing whatever that thing we look for in sex out to the outside.

wv: crangst. Crank up the angst :)

Donna said...

None of these questions have easy answers, which is why we keep writing or at least wanting to write. Maybe that desire is the most important part?

Jo, what a great insight, that we hope real sex, and writing about real or not-so-real sex, will say all the things we can't say. That's absolutely true.

But not the last word.

One thing I do know, Robin. We aren't "perverts." We're the opposite of that. We're trying to reintegrate body and mind, as society seems hell bent on segregating them....

Craig Sorensen said...

Donna said: We aren't "perverts." We're the opposite of that. We're trying to reintegrate body and mind, as society seems hell bent on segregating them....

Hear, hear.

Great post, great comments.

For me, sex is one of the most powerful means of expression, and it is, potentially, our most powerful creative force. So much can be expressed through sexuality, and this makes it a powerful form of communication.

Many authors sidestep or handle it only tenuously.

We meet it head on.

That is the good stuff.

Erobintica said...

Gee, I hope nobody was thinking that "I" think we're pervs for writing about sex! ;-) It's just that I'd read some things lately that indicated to me that some people think that.

And Donna, I agree re:"We're trying to reintegrate body and mind, as society seems hell bent on segregating them...." I look around at the knowledge (both factual and...hmmm...creative) now easily available about sexuality and I think about how very very very very very different my life would have been if I had been privy to even a fraction of it. Yet, we still have such a ways to go.

LOL, Jo, I love "crangst" - that there is a word that really needs to be.

I like what everyone has to say about this. I'm still pondering. I guess it's because of what I'm thinking of doing with the novel I may soon return to working on. It's not "erotica" but it is going to be about the characters' erotic lives. And so much more.

Guess I better get working on it.