Saturday, November 25, 2006

concentrate on sex

Didn't he know that words carry colors and sounds into the flesh?

Anais Nin wrote what was eventually published as Delta of Venus for $1 a page. The pages were purchased by a wealthy patron never known to Nin. She was repeatedly chastised by the patron for being too poetic and directed to "leave out the poetry and descriptions of anything but sex. Concentrate on sex." These seem fairly simpl requests and some that undoubtedly could be and are met by women writing today. But, for Nin, it was impossible to separate sex from poetry, from emotion, from art. The sex she writes about is at times savage, unequal, and base, but never detached. There is always emotional presence, consciousness, desire, enjoyment, and fulfillment. The perspective is also undeniably female. She creates a uniquely female sexual/sensual voice that is at once at odds with even modern gender sensibilities and extremely comforting. Considering the nature of the project, the merit in these stories lies in Nin's expression, despite her patron's instructions and perhaps against her own attempts at supression, of the emotional and psychological life behind sex and intimacy for women.

She was raised on a pedestal of poetry so that her falling into the final embrace might seem more of a miracle.

You and I exist together in all delirious countries of the sexual world. You draw me into the marvelous. Your smile keeps a mesmeric flow.

She was a magnetic center for the world of women who considered themselves condemned by their vice.

Her cravings were vague, poetic.

Women were not as tolerant as men towards women who made themselves small and weak by calculation, thinking to inspire active love.

Monday, October 16, 2006

dog-eating, crotch-busting fools

I read Hell's Angels by Hunter S. Thompson this summer. So did some of my friends. The general conclusion seems to be that overall we don't really care about the Hell's Angels anymore. The roving menace that they were or were made out to be in the 60s and 70s no longer frightens us. That being said, the book is still worth reading. It's a testament to Thompson's journalistic and literary ability that my friends and I would continue to read and finish reading an entire book on a subject that has become completely irrelevant. His language has a way of shocking you into continuation. Things will be blah, blah, blah, motorcycles, blah, blah, blah, rape and then he throws out a phrase like "tender young blondes with lobotomy eyes," and you keep reading just hoping to find another something like that. lobotomy eyes. wow. He also has an almost prescient understanding of what would in our generation become the media circus. It is so subtle that one can't be sure if he is even aware of it, but it's there and it's interesting. He is much more vocally and satisfyingly political and bitingly if humorously takes on racism, the military, and backward thinking. is a time for sharing the wine jug, pummeling old friends, random fornication and general full-dress madness.

The girls stood quietly in a group, wearing tight slacks, kerchiefs and sleeveless blouses or sweaters, with boots and dark glasses, uplift bras, bright lipstick and the wary expressions of half-bright souls turned mean and nervous from too much bitter wisdom in too few years.

All three major television networks would be seeking them out with cameras and they would be denounced in the US Senate by George Murphy, the former tap dancer.

They would owe most of their success to a curious rape mania that rides on the shoulder of American journalism like some jeering mastubating raven.

Here, sweet Jesus, was an image flat guaranteed to boil the public blood and foam the brain of every man with female flesh for kin.

...they were lodged in the Monterey County Jail in Salinas...out there in Steinbeck country, the hot lettuce valley, owned in the main by smart second-generation hillbillies who got out of Appalachia while the getting was good, and who now pay other, less smart hillbillies to supervise the work of Mexican braceros, whose natural fitness for stoop labor has been explained by the ubiquitous Senator Murphy: "They're built low to the ground," he said, "so it's easier for them to stoop."

They rode with a fine, unwashed arrogance, secure in their reputation as the rottenest motorcycle gang in the whole history of Christendom.

they are better constructed for the mindless rape of any prostrate woman they might come across as they scurry about, from one place to another, with their dorks carried low like water wands.

The reasoning was sound; the beasts were put off in a place where they could whip themselves into any kind of orgiastic frenzy without becoming dangerous to the citizenry--and if things got out of hand, the recruits across the road could be bugled out of bed and issued bayonets.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

raison d'etre

writers. good ones. writers who say meaningful things. writers who say beautiful things. writers with more original minds than my own.

words. good ones. words that when paired are more than black marks on white paper. words that when paired are more than words. words that when paired are more than ideas and ideologies. words that are experiences.

In the manner of Hunter S. Thompson's Hemingway and Fitzgerald retyping, hopefully the repetition of all these amazing things will help me to learn what it is about them that makes them great and will cause them to rub off on me, just a bit.

disclaimer: I am particularly, if not overly, fond of figurative and romantic phrasing. I am drawn consistently and egregiously to themes of beauty, love, and sex, and to images of flames, ghosts, gems, and sweets. Know this about me.

Also, I will try to refrain from over-contextualizing and analyzing because as the aesthetic esthetic of Lord Henry Wotton purports:

"Beauty, real beauty ends where intellectual expression begins." - Oscar Wilde

That being said, here's my first post:

"Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming."

I have always been a collector of quotes, but not in the Bartlett's sense. I don't collect quotes because they are quotable. The things that stand out to me are not those that fit neatly into categories like "on success" or "on dreams." Oscar Wilde seems to me to exemplify both the exception and the rule. He is endlessly quotable and a master of the bon mot. His quotable quotes, however, are so interesting because they are in a way anti-quotes, anti-proverbs. They are often destructive paradoxes espousing the values of aestheticism. Their self-negation models the idea that art has no use, no morals, and no purpose aside from beauty. In this case, words for words' sake with no meaning or message beyond them. And sometimes he just says beautiul things.

Some of my favorites from The Picture of Dorian Gray:

"...I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible."

"'What you have told me is quite a romance, a romance of art one might call it, and the worst of having a romance of any kind is that it leaves one so unromantic."

"People say sometimes that Beauty is only superficial. That may be so. But at least it is not so superficial as Thought is. Beauty is the wonder of wonders. It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances."

"Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last for ever. It is a meaningless word, too. The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts longer."

Lord Henry Wotton could just catch the gleam of the honey-sweet and honey-coloured blossoms of a laburnm, whose tremulous branches seemed hardly able to bear the burden of a beauty so flame-like as theirs.