Sunday, July 31, 2011

Praying Mantis

“Praying Mantis,” he said then and his voice was rich and sticky like something you would have to chew for a long time before it melted on your tongue.

She looked to where he was pointing. A tiny brown stick swayed back and forth on a branch. It had seemed like just another stick in a nest of them, but she could now make out it’s outline, and further along the branch another, slightly larger mantis.

“I thought it was just the stick insects in here, but it seems they got a couple of these guys trapped along with all the others.”

“What others.”

“You don’t see them? There are hundreds of them.”

He pointed randomly at different branches. She felt her brow furrow. Relaxed her forehead. She didn’t want him to notice that she needed glasses but refused to wear them. She wanted him to see her without her flaws, dressed in her finest cotton frock, stockings, the exciting tug of her suspenders humming like a harpstring under the breezy skirt.

“You just need to see the leaves in a different way. They are not leaves at all. They are wings. Can you see them?”

Then suddenly she could. It was so obvious in fact that she couldn’t believe that she hadn’t seen it before. So many of the leaves were not leaves. So many of the sticks were not sticks. She noticed the tiny eyes, the hairlike feelers, the stiff legs stretched out at odd angles. She took in a breath of air and the new information coursed through her like oxygen. Nothing was what it seemed to be. She looked up at the man through a tangle of insects and wondered what secrets the calm mask of his chiselled face might be hiding.

“I think the mantis is about to mate.” He said, nodding slightly, staring intently at the drama which was about to unfold before them.

“Don’t the girls eat the boys after mating? I think I heard that somewhere.”

“Yes, sure. But it is more sinister than that. Sometimes the girl will bite off his head at the beginning of the mating. The body of the boy will continue to mate as if it is alive. A zombie Mantis you could call it, and even more surprising, if the amorous couple are disturbed, the headless male will sometimes play dead, falling to the ground and lying perfectly still until the threatening creature has wandered safely away, only to leap up and continue to fuck as if it were alive and well when really it is a dead thing, playing dead, then playing life again, and making new life in the process.”

“That’s awful. How do you know stuff like that?”

“I’m an entymologist.” He stepped around the glass tube, held out his hand.

“Dr Ellsworth. I work at the university.”

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The research

When we talk about sex it becomes meaningless. Even here on the blog it is only the fiction or creative non fiction that sings. We cannot describe that which must be felt in the body. We can talk about the body and the meaning that is contained within it. We can talk about the language of sex and I can tear my writing apart, but honestly you can only feel it and as soon as you think about it it stops being sex at all.

When I am sitting in a cafe writing about sex I only know it is working when I surface, breathless, trying to maintain composure. It is like a wave of words takes me and plunges me into the heart of the sexual experience. I recapture the build towards orgasm. Occasionally, rarely but once or twice I have let my body continue to its secret climax. This is the sex research, the real thing, this riding the wave and letting it tumble me into the sea bed.

If you ask me what my research is like I would have to tell you it is so removed from sex that I might be talking about laying carpet. I feel the buzz of it in my temple and I find it difficult to equate it with what I do in the work. So what do I get from all this surface chatter. Some way to contextualise what my body knows without thinking. My words on the page are just a conduit for my body to speak its language. This sex research is like a fig-leaf, something that obscures the true wonderful physical nature of the act.

I sit in a state of anxiety, knowing that this whole new framework of study may be swept out from beneath me. I wonder if I will still read those articles I printed, the book by Angela Carter, the encyclopedia erotica. Maybe not. I will plunge into the words instead, let the authors take me with their words, the real erotic experience, the books that make me come. I will learn b reading fiction. This is what I do best. I tell myself therefore that it is alright if they take it all away from me, but I find I am curled up on the floor anyway, beside my bed, as I used to curl up as a child. I cannot enjoy the good things that are happening because the fear of failure is equally as overwhelming as my love of sex.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Feeling sexy

Just because it involves your genitals does not mean it is sexual. The examination, your breast squeezed between the glass plates like a hunk of meat. Your labia spread and held open with a metal device. Your sexual history pored over in minute detail. The cold and clinical non-sexual going over is not conducive to sexiness.

And yet there is the examination of your breast, the piece of meat squeezed relentlessly between glass plates while that person, that significant other watches, detatched but vigilant. Your labia spread and held open, an examination, the cold chill of metal in that hot part of you, the spreading of the metal fingers and that other, looking, poking, exploring inside. Your sexual history held open to be devoured by hungry eyes, one hand on their clit or cock, one finger turning the page, licking turning.

So sexy? It is all in the way you look at it, I suppose.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dream houses

I had a dream last night and I just can't shake it. I owned a house. It was something I had just purchased, I think. When my friends came for dinner it seemed like a warming. There were spiral staircases everywhere, nothing was finished. The walls were missing in places. When I tried to find a large saucepan to cook pasta there were only tiny things. I had to break the pasta into smaller and smaller pieces, putting it strand by strand into a miniature pot of boiled water. There were a lot of friends to feed. We would have had to eat in shifts. I still felt proud of the grand decay of the house but I realised then that it had been an impractical purchase.

Then the dream changed, perhaps time had passed or maybe I woke and then settled back again to sleep. In this new part of the dream it was a Saturday. I was on the beach which seemed to stretch out to an exquisite ocean. The house overlooked the sand. The weather was perfect. There were dozens of people on the shore. Some of them climbed up onto my veranda. There were too many of them. I tried to convince them to leave my house alone but there were too many missing walls and the revelers continued to pour inside.

I know what the dream means but I don't know what to do about it. I recognise the feeling of invasion, people streaming in before the walls are shored up. I know that what I own is grand yet incomplete, not yet ready to share, even with my friends.

It is indeed grand, this sex project I have begun and yet I feel incapable of defending it. My impulse is to walk back to the beach where the weather is perfect. My longing is for the shallows, and then beyond that for a place of drowning.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The one thing this kind of daily exposure does is force you to be less critical. I wonder what the blogging does. Is it just self-indulgence? Even as I write this a chorus of faceless readers yell out 'yes' and I cringe. So what it does therefore is force me to write with little self-judgement, to face my doubts, to put myself in the firing line and learn to duck effectively. It doesn't matter if anyone reads it, this is an exercise in playing chicken. I am standing on the track and holding my arms out. I am naked and there is a train hurtling towards me. If I don't destroy myself with self-doubt I will survive this process. All the criticism that the world can throw at me has already been stared down. I go to face yet another committee tomorrow. I am supposed to defend my project, my process, myself. I stand naked and defenseless but at least I am familiar with that pose. I do it here on the blog every day and no one has killed me yet so I suppose I will survive whatever tomorrow will throw at me.

Back to it

I have printed out a heap of things that might help me sort out my relationship to the language of sex. A pile of stuff and yet I haven't had a chance to read even one essay. I have had my hands in the guts of it up to the elbows, words staining my skin like beetroot. Beside me The Sadeian Woman by Angela Carter remains unopened. It has been all breasts and arse and cunt for so many days that perhaps a bit of theory will feel like some small relief. Certainly I might have something better to talk about here than the day-in day-out of my turbulent moods. Tomorrow I face the committee and after that I might cry a bit before finding something new to think about.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


This commitment to writing a post about sex every day did not take into count how unsexy university can be. At this point in it all - emotional crossroads - there is nothing happening in my body at all. No sleep, no creative work to speak of, just an endless self-protective argument, and you know what? None of it matters. If you stand far enough away, I am just a slab of meat with genitals attached. Soon enough I will die and the genitals will stand for nothing. I have not and probably will not procreate. I am the last of a genetic line. The genetics of my line are flawed and should not be replicated. But that is okay because from this distance I am no more than a flash at the end of a replication of cells. What I think and what I say and what I create means nothing and never will mean anything. If an asteroid were to plummet into the earth right now you would not miss any of it. Crazy even wasting time thinking of it. Meaningless and then you die so what is the big problem?

The books. See the books mean something. They mean something to me. Salinger and Fitzgerald and Nabokov. But when I am dead that meaning is negated and I will die soon enough. I am dieing a little everyday. He talks about Kipling. I know nothing about Kipling and I feel a rush of wonder. More things to discover. A tiny flutter of sense in senselessness. But then I open my eyes in the morning and I stare up at the ceiling and I wonder why I am dragging myself out of bed anyway.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Paper trail

So I began my hunt through language, mostly this involved downloading essays that I have yet to read. I keep touching Umberto Eco wishing he had something to say on the subject as I always find he is a joy to read. I have Angela Carter and Kathy Acker to look at now and a dozen journal articles that seem to be related. What is the language of sex? It is a different thing to every person I am sure, but I have a way of looking at it and words that make it feel like you are seeing it through my eyes. I am tempted to start with my spreadsheet, authors at the side, words along the bottom. How many times does Nicholson Barker say 'cunt'. Not too many would be my suspicion. I save my cunts for the perfect moment, not wanting to wear it out. Who is going to tell me about language? I know the feminists have a position. The queer theorists talk about words. I suppose I want to hear it from the linguists although that is a whole new mess to plunge myself into.

And so begins the archeological dig.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Writers who speak to me

To tell you the truth, I won't be happy if I end up being T. C. Boyle or even Johathan Franzen despite how much I love them. Just to torture myself I refuse to be happy unless I am Jeffrey Eugenides or Nabokov or Fitzgerald or Salinger. I would tear myself up if I were McEwan, trying to crack the idea of a satisfying ending, same goes for Paul Auster I am afraid. I would be just as cranky and pleased with myself as Annie Proulx if I were her and in fact I would probably throw that memoir out there just out of sheer self-satisfied spite knowing I could go back to fiction as quickly as I could raise my middle finger. Being Nicholson Baker I could possibly retire with a certain smug content and if I were M J Hyland I would sleep more easily at night knowing I have made something close to perfect. To tell you the truth, if I were Ondaatje I just don't know what I would do, probably cry a lot and chain myself to the desk and tangle myself up in tortured gorgeous metaphors in search of a half decent plot.

I can't help but compare and contrast and sure it is arrogant of me to even breathe these names alongside my own, but right now I am just as intimidated by the books on my shelves as I am by the other women I see walking down the street. My posts about sex have been usurped by a sudden wave of self-doubt. The demon is back and he is devouring me from the inside out. He has eaten my ego as an entree and he is gnawing on the bones of my self-esteem. Every sentence I write now is accompanied by a voice that tells me I should look at my sentences, if I want to write something half decent I should go back to it at a sentence level even though I know this is precisely how not to write a novel.

Back to the sex. That is what this blog is about, and yet sex seems so trivial at this moment. I am drawn to John McGahern and Willy Vlautin and Carver, these are the people who hold my hand and stand by me and urge me on. Patrick McGrath tells me that I don't have to be perfect. I can still produce precious gems in the rubble of a work that seems not quite complete. Nin tells me, fuck it, just be honest and stick to what you are good at and ideas of excellence can go to hell. Anne Enright says come outside for a minute and have a smoke and remember what it was you came here for. Sonya Hartnett plays chase and I haven't caught her yet but perhaps we can run side by side for a while if I train really hard. Chris Ware says it is easy although I know it is not. He tells me to keep looking in places that other people discount. In the end you will find it in the places you have gone back to since you were a child.

I know I am a bit mad again. Have been for weeks. I know that the output has been solid and sustained but a little on the scary side. I drop between highs and lows in a matter of minutes. I can maintain two opposing views at the same time. There is a novel just out of my reach and I keep throwing lines out to catch it. Reeling them in with the bait barely nibbled at. This might be the one. This might be the wave I ride to satisfaction. I wish I could just hop on board it, stop boring you all about it here and get back to the plain talking sex.


He believes in talent and I do not.

Talent, I tell him, is a myth. I have to believe this because everything I achieve I do so because of hard work. If it is all about talent then I might as well stop now. I will never write something truly beautiful. I will never be the writer I want to be. All my life since I was 12 or so I have wanted nothing but to write something beautiful. Something emotionally moving and perfectly formed. Once or twice I have seen the skeleton of what I could potentially write but the flesh has fallen off it.

Now I read The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides and I remember that this is all I have ever wanted to do. To write something that is perfect. Something that is true. If all it takes is talent then I have lost my opportunity. I have chosen the wrong path. i am still clinging to the idea that somehow through sheer tenacity and hard work I will make the shadow of a thing into the thing itself.

I have written two perfectly fine novels and up till now they have languished in the bottom drawer of my editor. In the first one there is that shadowy outline. There is something good in there. I know it, yet this is the less commercial of the two. The other has a stronger plot, a mood and a good hook. There is no reason why they should not be published as I know they are much better than the books that line the shelves at the bookshops. Still they are not Eugenides. If this is true, if the man has written three perfect offerings through sheer talent then I should try to find some other meaning in life. Literature has been my religion. The pursuit of the perfect novel is my holy grail. If this is never to be achieved then I should spend my time trying to come to terms with the fact that I will die with that feeling that I have never succeeded. I think of my grandmother who has all the talent in the world and who has never used it successfully. Surely there has to be a balance between talent and intelligent use of that talent and hard work.

The only person that I have met who works harder than I do is my husband. I think that is the glue that binds us. I admire how he can push himself beyond where I can go. I stop and look at the river for a moment and run myself a bath but he spends every waking second with a whip to his back urging himself on.

Maybe I am just not pushing myself beyond my limits. Maybe that is why I fail? Or maybe my friend is right. It is all about talent. And then - I am sunk.

Friday, July 22, 2011


There are words you use to make love to me. I long to pluck them from the page, words for genitals, words for what you do with your genitals. I want to pick the bones of the books clean. I would do a comparative study. I would start with House of Holes, making spread sheets to group Nicholson Baker's use of language, words for cock and cunt and tit. Venn Diagrammes outlining where Baker intersects with Nin, what words are exclusive to Bataille, what are the words we most commonly share. I want to intersect my circle with one I have made for Eugenides. I know that sex is not really his thing. It would be a little shower of words where I am gushing like an open tap. What words of love do I share with McEwan, where does my language penetrate the work of George Orwell.

The diagrams are useless, but they are my little erotic sketches. My etchings. And maybe, sometime, I will be in a room with Baker and I will ask him if he wants to see my diagrams. Diagram could be a word for cunt, my circle opening out to contain the words cock and prick and erection.

Ah the fun we could have with a little word play. I will start the project as soon as I return.


He says I should go back on the drugs. He is the one who hears it when I am down, my first port of call in a storm and no doubt he is fatigued. It seems like I am perpetually down, fighting my way up to the surface of the ocean, seeing it but unable to reach it. I think that sooner or later my lungs will burst and I will die. But strangely I just keep on living, tenaciously. I distract myself with work. As long as I am not at rest I will continue to struggle on. Then there is a day when all the work is over and I am faced with myself and the panic sets in. I am chasing my own tail, eating myself from the toes up. It is as if I have set a trap for myself and the more I try to free myself the tighter the noose around my neck.

My life is wonderful. I have no need to complain. I have enough of everything, too much. I am over-blessed. The problem is that I am stuck with myself. Like a conjoined twin desperate to struggle free of my own flesh, I would stab myself in the face repeatedly, I would tear at my chest till I find the black heart of me and remove its gangrenous scent.

Every day I wake up and face the world smiling and no one could tell.

I met a man on the road who worked at the salmon farms. 80 seals broke into the nets. It was carnage, a frenzy. They were pulling the livers out of fish without eating them. It was a festival of murder. The workers threw explosives into the pen, not to hurt the seals but to shock them, scare them out of the pen and into the open ocean. He said you just couldn't tell from looking at the water, the ocean was calm but all this death and destruction being carried out below. That is what it is for me. There are explosions going off inside me, carnage, a feeding frenzy with one part of me tearing the life out of another, and yet out here in the world it is just a calm smile and an overabundance.

He is the only one I tell and that is all he sees of me. Distress, anxiousness, tears. It seems that every day I open my mouth and the guts of it spill out where he can see. I have worn him out and he tells me to take drugs, knowing that if I take them then the writing stops. Knowing that if I take them my sex-drive dulls, the world retreats and I am stuck in a pleasant fog. The smells of things become less acute. I no longer cry when I pass a particular flower. I can tolerate bad television and mediocre literature. In short, the seals die and the fish just swim around stunned and subdued.

I write this post because he is alone watching the horror of my internal nightmare without help. I write this because I want to free him of this lonely position, keeper of ghastly secrets. I know he has been swimming beside me keeping my chin above water without complaint. Go get drugs he tells me and of course I will not. No one else knows about this daily horror show and perhaps I should start hiding it from him as well. Keep him at arms length.

When I return home I will start kayaking again. Out on the water where it is just me and the tide. I feel calmer when I am close to a place of drowning. Perhaps I will replace our chats with the river. When we talk I will put on a smile. It is a terrible thing to be one thing to all others and fall into myself in front of that one true friend. It is a burden and I will lift this off his shoulders. When I return I will stop the slow leak and trap all the hungry seals inside.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I still like the sealife more - in a sexual way. It was easier to write about the octopus than the dog. Even in the edits I can sense the difference. If I had to have sex with a non-human creature it would be something aquatic. I know this as I pull the salmon out of the net. A pang of guilt, it is dying, drowning in air. Still it's body is lithe and silver and the slipperiness of it is sensual. Even as it dies I think of sex. I bring the club down hard on the back of its head. Blood in the eye. I kill it and I know there is something wrong with the fact that I am enjoying the slip of its body in my hand as it dies. Batailles is right at my shoulder. Sex, death and fish. I am sure this is wrong on so many levels.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

collecting smut

I would be like him. I would collect things sexual, old video tapes, super 8 film, daguerreotype prints, etchings, paintings, all kinds of genitalia. This is who I am and it would be better if I collected something less obvious, fragments of shattered glass, prosthetic limbs. I wish I wasn't so one-eyed about it all. I wish that new book I am writing didn't circle back to sex.

I am reading the new Jeffrey Eugenides and I wish I could disguise my work as he has done. He pretends his book is about the search for spirituality, the thirst for knowledge, but at the heart of it is a throbbing lean towards orgasm. At least that is my reading of it, something so carnal and simple that it is a thing of beauty. He wants her wants someone else. They all just want to partner up and fuck.

That is the subject of my new book too but I can't help myself, I strip away the pretense of higher thinking, I abandon reason for the thing itself. If I could collect something other than sex it would be glass eyes or wax organs. I can't help myself from cutting us down to our component parts. We are flesh. Whatever we say or learn or think, we are nothing but animated slabs of meat layed out around our fleshy genitals.


The cloaca is a room full of jars. The smell alerts you to its purpose. Jars that are a perfect representation of our digestive system. Jars that make poo. The poo is sealed in plastic bags although I didn't really stay long enough to see that. It was all about orifices anyway, poo holes and vaginas. There were a lot of vaginas. My vagina can be art. When you look at them all lined up like that there is a rhythm to them. Still each one must be individually scanned and of course I am looking to see which one looks like my own. Even with art I am comparing myself. Is my labia too long, have I more hair than her, how would I look if I shaved like this?

Can I not just enjoy art for arts sake? Must it always be a competition? I wonder if men look at the penises in the paintings and compare and contrast the way I do. Is it just a girl thing?

Monday, July 18, 2011


There is a sheet flapping on a hill in the rain. Sleet perhaps, it is cold enough. There is snow on the mountains. I have just finished yet another essay about sex. Back at my computer I try to write the novel without any sex. That is my commitment. No sex, just for once and yet, here, in the second paragraph she touches his arm and it takes all of my commitment to stay out of his pants where his penis would be tentatively rising.

No sex in the book I tell myself and make it more subtle than that, a slight jolt as if the woman is unearthed.

I worry that I have become a joke. That fat sex lady, that old fat sex lady. A caricature. I worry that it will be too late when they all grow up and realise that it is terrible to be old and fat and that despite your age or sex you are still a sexual being no matter how quiet you are about it. So the book without sex? Am I just writing it to pretend that I can be like everyone else, acting my age, ducking away from my usual position as a target for their jokes? I see saw between worrying about being laughed at and not even caring at all.

I sit at the window and balance my laptop uncomfortably. This house is not set up for writers. The view is one to be enjoyed from the comfort of your reclining chair facing the giant television screen. There are no tables with views despite the fact that every where you look is a picture postcard.

I watch the white sheet getting wet with sleet on the line. I watch the fog of rain marching over the white peaks of the mountain, obscuring it. I worry that my essay on sex will be accompanied by more laughter. I worry about the people in my new novel, the older woman, the young man. I worry that yet again, I am writing something that will betray my fears about aging. Everyone will point and laugh. That old sex woman, just can't help herself, even in her novel without sex there is a subtext there. I care too much about what everyone else thinks of me and yet, some days I just don't care at all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


If you fall off the boat you die. The ocean is cold enough to kill you. Weed in your hair and fish picking at your bones till you are clean. The idea is that you go to sleep with the cold, a gentle death and one I come back to.

Two days ago I dreamed that a young woman I vaguely know was screaming at me, hurling abuse. I deserved it. She was right to call me what she did. I am not to rest easy. I woke up after hardly any sleep and fell back fitfully, returning to her, facing her anger as I too afraid to face the truth of my fears in real life.

I look in the water and it is clear and icy and it would rock you to sleep. There is something calming about the possibility of death. The difference between my shouting woman and the lure of an icy mermaid is a huge leap. Back there are my mistakes, tangled in the wrack of my dreams, my fears, my unrest. Here there is just the calm cold final kiss of nature. Somehow it makes me happy to be so close to my own end although I know I am not yet so far down that I will leap off the boat to find it.

Down in the deep death is a naked woman with nice breasts. There is the image of me suckling, drowning, breathing in her cold milk as if it were air. There is something akin to orgasm in her embrace. My nipples turned hard by the freeze of my own death, the shot of salt water tearing into every orifice with her ragged nails. She is not a gentle lover, I am sure of it, but some days I peer down over the side of the boat and I long for her kiss, preferring this than that awful sleepless night and the day of crying that followed it.

lick her fingers

On the plane, the stewardess passes me and I want to lick her fingers. A man with a limp and I am suddenly in love with him a little bit. I think about his penis. A girl shopping at the markets, I imagine her nude despite the snow on the mountain.

It certainly isn't spring but for some reason my body is responding to the bitter weather. This sometimes happens. Yesterday I was so down I cried for most of the day. Today I have a headache from the crying and an urge to undress the wait staff. Swings and Roundabouts.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Book two edits

In Tasmania I will get book 2 to edit.

This is the place where I caught my octopus and landed it on the page.
This is the place of all things wild. The perfect place to work on the bestial novella.
This is the place where my good work finds its feet. Books are begun here, books are finished here, books get fatter on salmon and oysters.

I have a new book brewing. A book with no sex in it. An anomalie. I might start that while I am waiting, in between the fishing and the festivities.

There is erratic internet connection, there is no network for my phone. I imagine I may miss a post here and there, but by the time the trip is over book two will be edited and possibly something else will begin.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What we trade for sex

Sometimes it pays to look at the ledger. Sex is valuable and it must be traded. Sometimes that is a financial transaction as in prostitution or expensive pornography. Then there are the costs of one night stands, meals and fine wine and dancing.

How can I put a price on my self respect, the friends I have lost to jealousy, my morals and my ethics, the hours that were frittered away thinking about one potential lover or another when I might have been writing that book that remains incomplete. My past is a war zone of mistakes and many of them are balanced in the ledger against the sex.

My time is over now. I may pretend that it is not with my young friends and my fantasies, but I have climbed my way back into credit and the sex is the thing that I have put back into an easy place. I trade the potential of adventure for a steady even portioning of sex.

You have a choice now. Your meals have been irregular but satisfying. None of the risk that comes with leaping into a relationship. Some demands, sure but not the kind that you can't talk your way out of. Now your choice is clear. Safe easy sex occasionally without the engagement of your heart, or all the joy of risk and care, the sex with strings that you have been avoiding.

We all make choices, my friend. There are profits and losses with every choice we make. I feel your anxiousness but I cannot take it on board. I have my own ledger to keep account of and therefore I must turn and leave you to your own mistakes now.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

kids book

I am pretty keen to write a kids book. Only problem is that sex gets in the way. My childhood was infused with sexual interactions with the world and yet if I write about kids being sexual people get all uppity jiggety twitchy about the whole thing. Child pornography they call it when we present the truth about childhood, which is that all things sexual fascinate some of us, just as all things gendered become complicated.

Bill Hensen reminds us of this when he photographs an angel boy, a cherub, not yet in his teens, the tiny penis has an erection, semi-hard. This is a visual slap of a reminder that we are sexy sexual beings from such a young age.

It would be a struggle to write my children without that vague unease that the world of adult sexuality is brushing up against the membrane of their world. Sex is a part of our innocence, it is not a threat to it. Of course, abuse is a different thing entirely, but our own self-paced forays into the world of sexuality should be spoken about in children's literature. We rub our young bodies up against the world when we are children, we touch ourselves and others, we slip into the joy of that pre-orgasmic state whenever we are free from prying parental eyes. Then, later, when we are clearer about our desires we get crushes, we act out, we have dreams, we long for consummation. I understand that other adults want to silence me when I even begin to articulate these things, but I wonder how the kids feel about it. I wonder how it would be to put a kids book of my own making out into the world.

Monday, July 11, 2011


She has dedicated so much time to me. She is my first reader and that is a dedicated position. I dedicate the book to her but she deserves so much more. I have seen her reading grow over the years, her tastes mature, her analysis grow and change.

I respect her more with each year that passes. I trust her more. I bind myself to her. I write her name in the front of this draft of the book and I want people to know that she is an inspriation, because of her reading, sure, but also because she is gorgeous. When I think of her I can write the characters that others like to read, the good looking women, because she is beautiful, the sexy ones as she is sexy.

KLW I love you. I could not do it without you. Stick with me, because I promise I will stick with you.

the books that count

so now I have put the bulk of the books back onto the bookcase. All those big heavy hard to read things that break sex down into it's component parts. All disembodied penises and vaginas. This is how I see it. They are useful, I need them to get the job done, but they are the business without the poetry.

Now that I have cleared away all of that I am left with a small pile of books that are so close to my heart. I am left with the fiction, the good fiction, the Nin and Batailles the Nabakov and Mcewan and I leave the pile beside my computer because these are the books that segue into my heart work, the fiction. I do not open them as I start to edit but they stand by me. They have a place on the headboard of my bed to take care of my dreams.


So - lips - the things in the centre of your face, the dark with blood flaps of skin that you kiss with, or perhaps the other lips, reddened with blood, thickened, the things you should kiss if you are game, although, sadly many aren't. Still, lips are the words for them although sometimes it feels like it is the wrong word.

Like when do you use 'cunt'. Do you save it up for the punch, the opening of those under-lips, the splay-legged sopping wet spread-eagled desire of the thing is ready for the plunge of the - member? Or is that too parliamentary? Cock? Too porn? Manhood? I don't like manhood particularly although she is not opposed to it, my editor. We wrestle over words but I don't put up much of a fight, as usual. All I ask is that you make me sound like myself. If I never use a word then I will never use it, no matter how often you suggest it.

Mostly we are good dance partners at this line by line, word by word. Mostly I don't care which way you put me, sentences placed arse-up, my infinities split all to hell. Mostly I am careless with apostrophes and my bares are bears. I am sure you roll your eyes each time I repeat a mistake that you are tired of.

It is cautious work, not like the ripping into language that initiated this dance. All foreplay spent, the sex done and dusted and this is just the mopping up. Still, you can make my vagina into a sex or a cunt but keep your hand off my manhood because I will have none of it.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The illusive post stae 2 orgasm

It is important to masturbate after the submission. It is like a gift to your body for holding you upright through the horrible days you have just endured. This is nothing of course. This is as a period is in relation to birth. This cramp that has lasted days will be repeated again at confirmation, and then in the weeks and months leading up to the final submission. Still, this is like your first ever menstrual bleed, the one that made you frightened you had somehow damaged yourself, drawing blood. The one that made you so nauseous you vomited at school.

I am lying in a bath when the cramping has stopped for a moment. Of course there will be revisions. It will not pass. I know this as surely as I know how painful the final writing up will be. They will send me back but by then I will be clear headed and rested. I will have an idea of it and it will just be cutting back.

So lying in the bath.

Difficult to concentrate when any mention of sex feels like it needs a citation. This orgasm here and now needs to be situated in a literary history of all orgasms. Is it as great as the ones described by Alina Reyes? Anais Nin? Ian McEwan? Did McEwan ever mention women's orgasms at all? What external visual or textual stimulus will need to be taken into consideration with this particular climax?

So lying in the bath I hope, sincerely, that I can switch my exhausted, limp, inquiring mind off long enough to come.

Bloody Birth of the stage 2 document

Carefully take hold of your clitoris using a pair of long nosed pliers. Stretch, not all at once, just a fraction of an inch at a time. A little peaked cap, numb now from all the pressure on it. Still, keep stretching. At some point you will make an incision and put a small bullet inside. At the end of a week you will take the bullet out and replace it by a larger bullet. This process is repeated every week or so. It lasts three months, four if you get an extention. Your urethra has become a part of the project stretched as it is to the size of a penis. You pee standing up. For a time it may make you feel powerful. You can fuck your boyfriend if you like, not with a blunt instrument like a small dildo, but with your now sizeable clitoris.

I forgot to mention what you had been eating, Batailles, Sontag, Ponz, several essays from the huge hard backed two volume Encyclopedia of Erotic Literature. Growing fat with all this eating and sitting in one spot at your computer. A fat little hunched gnomic girl now with a huge extended clitoris to fuck with and pee from.

Of course these books are all indigestible. They sit in your belly like a bastard. What you don't know, fat and one-eyed and blind to the rest of the goddamned world, is that sooner or later that information has to come out, and when it does it will slide down your urethra, thick-spined, bloated with theory. You will hold that bulging length of clitoris and it will be agony. Weeks and weeks of agony, and then that final, blood-clotting push over the course of three long days when you think your faux-cock will tear.

And then there it is, suddenly. The bastard. Its references embryonic and unformed, its commas all misplaced, its linking sentences like malformed stumps of arms and legs. It opens its mouth and a small sound comes out. Not words yet, but some form of communication.

Ah stage bloody two PhD document. Now I just have to gender reassign you as a PDF.

Friday, July 8, 2011

citations and the sex books

I am surrounded by the books. They spill out over the lounge which is covered in a velvety fabric. I like to lie naked on this lounge in summer. Lying naked on it surrounded by fiction is a very different experience to this, here now. The big heavy volumes of the Encyclopedia of Erotic literature spill open to random pages (Cohen, Leonard in one, and Noel, Bernard in the other). A History of Perversion lies splay-legged as a gymnast on the back of the couch, Rosewarne's Part Time Perverts is jabbing me in the back like an irrepressible errection. I no longer notice the paleolithic image on the front of Sinners and Citizens, the huge Gumby-like figure of the 'man' giving it to an airborne Pokey suspended as he is on Gumby's elongated prick.

I have to get this fucking document about fucking done. That is the flaccid and erect of it. I have to get it done now, immediately, right here on this goddamn velvet couch. No languid naked rolling in tactile ecstasy, no diversions of dish-washing or masturbation. I must tie myself to this couch like a bottom, flay myself repeatedly like a top. Get it done! Get it done! Get the fucking document done!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Knowing what you want.

Mostly, if I set out to achieve something I do it. Usually this involves dogged one-eyedness, hard work, lots of stress, commitment to craft. I think the only problem then is knowing what you want to achieve. So many times I have sat down to write something with a list of what I want to do mapped out in my head. I get to the end and yes, I have done what I have set out to do. I had a goal and I stuck to it. It is only when it is done that I realise that there might have been other, better goals to try to achieve.

I think of my grandmother, all those hours slaving to create the things she has created. I will make a life sized triceratops out of paper mace she says and then after months of sleepless nights that is exactly what she has achieved. I will make a miniature Alpaca as small as the palm of my hand, and, weeks later that is what she has made. All these years completing projects that she wanted to do and yet at the end of it all it just adds up to a scattergun menagerie.

Be careful what you wish for.

I wish for a serious long and sustained career writing fiction, and yet I am distracted by journalism, non-fiction, an exegesis. The years are precious. I feel something awful happening to my body, the beginning of an inevitable decay. I sink back into the depression I was free of for all those years. I need to know that my plan is solid and achievable. I need to have my long term goals. I have set myself on the path of writing about sex and therefore I need to value this. Yes I want to write serious novels, but the whole miraculous world of human sexuality allows for much seriousness as well as much frivolity.

I need to be careful about the next projects, make sure that they count, they move me forward, they teach me new skills and help me develop as a writer. I am certain that one day I will end up like a second rate Philip Roth, writing the same novel every year which is published each Christmas, the novella about how I lost my youth and yet am still sexually obsessed with youth. The book of the aging writer. All I can hope is that I find new angles into the universal story of sex. All I hope is that I am open to new ideas, write the book and then move on to something else that develops my work further.


I can't shake the dread. I suppose that sex would alleviate the feeling. It is impossible to warm my feet, my head feels like it is releasing all the energy in my body through the cold crown, my limbs are dough, swelling, ready to be punched down and cooked in a hot oven till they are hard. I have no love of self and yet I smile and converse and seem to do all the things a live human being does only inside I am all hollow and leaked-out.

Sex would help. I know this. Sex would give me a rush that might last an hour, two, an evening. I would have some small relief. But there is the night time to come and the waking in darkness and that heart pounding sense that it is already over, I am dead inside and it is only my body, clinging to the possibility of one last tumble that keeps a semblance of life.

Am I ready to take the plunge into darkness? Perhaps the writing will keep me upright if it is dark enough to dig a tunnel underneath my distress.

A list.

Today? A list.

Nicholson Baker "House of Holes" (not till next October) and "Vox"
Frank Moorhouse "Sonny" (not till next year)
Peter Blazey "Love Cries" (out of print but worth the search just for the Moorhouse alone which is a part of Sonny)
Rod Jones "Night Pictures" (Sorry, may be out of print too)
All Hail George Batailles for "The Story of the Eye"
And while you are reading that you might as well pick up Susan Sontag's "The Pornographic Imagination"
Anais Nin (of course) for "Little Birds" and "Delta of Venus"
Linda Jaivin "Eat Me"
Catherine Millet "The Secret Life of Catherine M"
Michel Houellebecq "Atomised"
Ian McEwan "First Love Last Rights" and "The Cement Garden"
Cameron Redfern (Sonya Hartnett) "Landscape with Animals"
Susanna Moore "In the Cut"
Catherine Breillat "Pornocracy"

All of this and more and while you are at it throw in films by Greenaway and Hanneke and Breillat and this is truly only the beginning. Sometimes I am overwhelmed.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Site specific teaser

“I am a little disappointed that you are wearing a bra. I hope you have no underpants on. Shall I check?”

She felt a hand resting on her bottom and her heart began to race in her chest. The thumping of it rattled her. The voice was low and husky, but it was, indeed the voice of a woman.

The hand explored the fabric of her dress, pressing against the cotton, flat-palmed, searching for seems.

“Good. Shame you decided to wear the bra though, you do have such nice full breasts. I bet the nipples are getting hard right now and that would have been nice to see.”

Her nipples were, indeed getting hard. She could feel them pulling tight against her bra, a pretty bra, thick, luxurious cups with a lace trim. She had chosen it specifically for Si with the idea that he might just find a moment to slip his hand inside her dress and feel the soft, intricate lace clinging to the significant swell of flesh, warmed by it, shaped by it. Now her plans for an unprecedented adventure had been thwarted. She thought back through their email exchange, wondering if Si had ever specifically mentioned his gender. She had pictured him naked when he said he was naked, touching himself, she had imagined a cock. But she supposed she had assumed so much based on very little. I am going to come soon, he told her on chat and she immediately pictured the spurt of semen from the eye of an engorged penis. The image of this was enough for her to join him. Did you come too? And she had been able to type honestly, so goddamned hard I hit my head on the bed head.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


They had to use themselves for experiments. Hooking up some unsuspecting citizen to measure the duration of an orgasm would not do. They took lovers, or made love with their wives, and even though this was all in the name of science they still got caught up in games of the heart that were not intended.

We touch the clitoris and it is directly connected to the heart it seems. Even I can not avoid this correlation. Sometimes emotions overtake us when we venture into sex. Sex can be easy and fun but it is not always so. The science proves this to us. Someone disbarred, someone divorced, all this and emotions running high despite the dependence on electronic equipment.

I feel my heart tearing itself up inside the safe containment of my chest. I find myself crying. I have nightmares. My self-esteem plummets yet again. I intellectualise it all as research. I make another abortive attempt at theory. I learn to speak sex as if it were a medical complaint.

And sometimes, like now, I imagine that I walk up to the top of a bridge and leap off it. I follow in the footsteps of the romantics and the poets. I wish I had some wasting disease or an addiction to drugs. It is annoying to be at the mercy of my heart and I am happier to say that I am at the mercy of my lust, although lust is clean and this ache is something else again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

reading it in strange places

The thrill comes from the juxtaposition of the erotic and the mundane. It is like this in fiction, bumping your head on the bed head whilst a lover spreads the lips of your vulva open and dips their tongue inside. The cramp in your leg mid thrust, all this these that humanise the act you are indulging in. It happens in pornography, the actor or actress seems confused or awkward for just a second and suddenly we are aware of the whole mechanism of the thing, the camera crew, the set, the fluffers. We know now that this is a man and a woman or a girl and girl or two men perhaps but that they will go home when the filming is over and somehow this makes the process more erotic. Just a human being like me or you being fucked and fucking.

If you are in the most boring of spaces and you are dripping with desire, or concealing a hard on then this is an extra charge. Pornographic literature should be read on the bus, or in the lobby of a government building, or in the library. It is the fact that these spaces are places you would not have sex in. It is the relative banality of the architecture, the austerity of the space. Sex and bureaucracy should not go together and yet here I am putting one thing inside the other and the juxtaposition charges the room with this added transgressive quality. It must be read in strange, sexless places.

This is all I ask of you.

Empty packages

Sometimes it is not the content, but the way you are initiated. The wait to be given the password, the size and weight of the key. Sometimes it is not the food that is served but the significance of the meal. Sometimes it is not the person you want but the reasons why you wanted them.

Sometimes it is the room you were in when you first- or the fact that someone was in the next room. Sometimes it is the longing that you wanted all along, and the actual gain seems so insignificant in comparison.

In that same room. In that same house, with the secret password and the vague element of surprise and it should all be there, the whole package deal.

So why is it that when you have it within your grasp it feels somehow empty?