February 8, 2013

"The truth is, I have never sat at my desk and thought, 'Today, I shall pen a mighty portrait of coitus!'"

"No, these imaginative encounters seem to creep up on me in the first draft, sort of like when two people fall in love, or lust. One minute you're chatting away about the legacy of Robert Bork and the next you're trying to meld your bodies into one ecstatic pulsating organism. When it's happening on the page, though, things get tricky. We might have the tendency to quickly cover up from the embarrassment of seeing our characters in the buff or else take on the role of salacious puppeteer. The prose can suffer from these reactions, as well as from overly clinical description, or, in some notorious cases, overcooked metaphor. Being caught with your aesthetic pants down can be a writer's worst fear."

From "The Smitten Word: The awkward art of writing about sex," by Sam Lipsyte.

Salacious puppeteer... what a phrase! I had to Google to see if anyone had ever put those 2 words together and....



One minute you're chatting away about the legacy of Robert Bork...

40 comments:

Smilin' Jack said...

In Being John Malkovich John Cusak gets beat up for being a salacious puppeteer.

chickelit said...

Salacious writing is hard because it's syncretic with Id: individual yet universal.

Ann Althouse said...

"in some notorious cases, overcooked metaphor"

You know what was overcooked? Pig sausages.

John said...

I'm sure you already know that the image is that of Salacious Crumb, a puppet character created for the Star Wars movie "The Return of the Jedi". Was definitely NOT expecting to see that on your blog today. :-)

Lem said...

"The conventional wisdom says that less is more, and I generally agree, although there is something about a masturbation scene that calls for more: more inner talk or rhetorical pyrotechnics, more of the mode that composition tight-asses call masturbatory."

Eight or nine months before he died, Swartz became fixated on Infinite Jest, David Foster Wallace’s massive, byzantine novel.

Chip S. said...

At first this sentence struck me as bizarre:

One minute you're chatting away about the legacy of Robert Bork and the next you're trying to meld your bodies into one ecstatic pulsating organism.

Like, who the hell uses Robert Bork as an aid to seduction?

Then I realized it probably referred to the ways in which Roe v. Wade lowered the cost of one-night stands.

Titus said...

Sex and Bork.

tits.

Titus said...

Sex In The Time Of Bork.

Titus said...

I Borked The Shit Out Of Her....er, Him.

Lucien said...

The autor is referrig to what is known as the "Zipless Bork" (first described by Erica Jong.)

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

"... it’s probably not coincidence that (DFW Infinite Jest) the Organization of North American Nations’s O.N.A.N. is also the name of Judah’s son who, in Genesis 38, lets his “seed” spill to the ground rather than impregnate his dead brother’s wife and extend a lineage not his own. “Onanism” is today another word for coitus interruptus or masturbation; and from the standpoint that O.N.A.N. enhances its peoples’ pursuit of self-indulgence and gratification by dissolving barriers to trade, the organization is appropriately named. But the acronym also suggests something else... Infinite Jest is too complex a book for its thesis to boil down to “consumption, entertainment, and capitalism are bad.” Perhaps onanism serves as a possible model for protesting the purposeful circulation of people, capital, and merchandise it seems to fuel—in the biblical Onan’s meaningless act, his refusal to participate in a given system’s determination of family, wealth, prestige."

suicide... masturbation... who is John Galt?

chickelit said...

Titus is thinking Bork sausages again.

traditionalguy said...

That was a classic a borkaphor, which means a borked metaphor used in pornographic climax scenes.





chickelit said...

TradGuy: If Trooper York were here, he'd call it a meataphor.

Ann Althouse said...

"Like, who the hell uses Robert Bork as an aid to seduction?"

People who like to talk about anything they are interested in.

Chip S. said...

Probably on their first date, right?

Probably met by answering an ad in the New York Review of Books. "Thirtyish academic wishes to meet woman who's interested in Mozart, Robert Bork, and sodomy."

Anne B. said...

"There are two things that cannot be described. One of them is a sunset."

Thank you, Florence King.

Tibore said...

"Mighty... coitus"

Sometimes, one feels the need to point out the salacious joke present, but at other times the joke writes itself... ;) :D

Tibore said...

And, speaking towards writing: Yes, sometimes you do end up being the "salacious puppeteer", but speaking seriously, that goes beyond *cough* tender moments. Or not so tender moments if any element of the scene is deserved of the term "mighty", but I digress... the point is, often authors are overly domineering puppeteers in parts of the narrative beyond sex. And it shows, too; hence, the preponderance of Deus ex Machina in bad fiction (and in good fiction too, but that's where it works; I'm talking about where it doesn't) as well as the number of "Mary Sue's" (Google it in conjunction with writing) you see being protagonists. Puppeteering is not just reserved for "adult" moments; it merely has the chance to become "salacious" in those passages.

----

As a side note: If there's one thing that can kill off any coital desire, it's a portrait of Salacious Crumb. It would be a really strange individual who'd get turned on by that. :-S

Titus said...

Do straighty guys really like eating out puss or is it just a requirement in order to satisfy the woman?

Darrell said...

Do straighty guys really like eating out puss...

Yes.

edutcher said...

If the lady didn't like it, it probably wouldn't happen, but most guys are animals in the presence of a woman.

YMMV, of ocurse.

Titus said...

Isn't eating out puss sodomy?

Darrell said...

Isn't eating out puss sodomy?

No. Gomorrahry.

chickelit said...

Titus asks (again): Isn't eating out puss sodomy?

Not in French. Just ask Maria Schneider!

Parkay!

Titus said...

I'm sorry if I asked again.

But I am very concerned about Sodomy.

Mark O said...

Howdy Doody rogers Princess Summerfall Winterspring.

I know you saw it.

Mark O said...

In my experience, if you want to hook up with a law professor, the best thing is to begin with the mention of incorporeal hereditaments. Suggestive, yet erudite.

Amartel said...

The Alt House: Where straights have to explain sexuality to gays.

Dear Uptight Gays, The pussy doesn't eat you. Other way around.

Darrell said...

Do straighty guys really like eating out puss...

Yes.

It's the only musical instrument I play. And I've spent a life time learning it.

ampersand said...

Pareunia is an old time word for coitis or sexual intercourse. I've never heard it used in a sentence
but could imagine W.C. Fields exclaiming "Oh Pareunia !" after one of his tussles with a mother in law ,wife or Baby Leroy,with no one being the wiser.

Titus said...

What does the juice a vagina produces taste like?

Is it Apricot or Anchovy flavored?

chickelit said...

Titus favors curry

Titus said...

What does your hog taste like Chick?

chickelit said...

That's no way to curry favor, Titus.

Darrell said...

Is it Apricot or Anchovy flavored?

Neither. It is not fruit or fish based, so that's not surprising. What you are (should be) responding to is subliminal in reality, below and above the threshold of the senses--by design (Pheromones.) There is the presence of musk, which is detectable. And expected. But that can be controlled with a shower--if that's your preference.

kentuckyliz said...

If Onan wanted to merely refuse to participate in extending a line not his own, as an act of protest, he would not have headset with her at all. He took his pleasure and then didn't fulfill his obligation.

kentuckyliz said...

Speaking of gay sex, the salacious puppet looks like a character made out of a rectum, anal hairs and all.

AlanKH said...

The image at the top of the New Republic article looks like something Dr. Seuss would draw after a bad acid trip at Woodstock.