Sunday, September 25, 2011


We long for their approval.

That is what it comes down to. That is why we are who we become. Our parent's approval, or in my case, a grandparent, my grandmother. It was always impossible to make her proud. So now, as an adult I make sure that my achievements continue that pattern. I write sex because this is something she will never approve of. No matter how well I succeed in this I will underline my failure in her eyes. Even my mother who makes some attempt at being proud, can barely look at the book. There is no, congratulations, no, it looks beautiful. I mention my book tour vaguely and she skips away and starts a different topic. No matter how successful I become I will not gain their approval. I praise her successes, her story published, a draft of her kids book successfully completed. I listen to her stories about the writers group but she will never listen to my stories of publication or a book tour. There is no point mentioning these things to my grandmother at all. She is frail now and any stress or anger about my work will be damaging to her already poorly health. It has always been like this for me. My support of them has been constant and clear. Despite her clear insanities I have praised my grandmother's work and supported her idea that her crazy tourist attraction is a success despite any evidence otherwise. Writing about sex is my way of confirming that I will never be as good as they are. Being kicked out of my PHD was so traumatic for me because it seemed like my grandmother's hand shooting out to smack me firmly. Putting me in my place.

The woman is old now, sometimes confused, unable to even lift a spoon to feed herself at times. I am not sure how reconcile this reality for how I have shaped my life, reacting to her disappointment of me, setting myself up to fail in her eyes.

When she is dead will I perhaps be free to see my successes for what they are? It is too late I think. This is the shape of my life now. I live out her regrets and I am now unable to live for myself alone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Imaginary lovers

I am going to France.

I am going to France on our 20th anniversary. All this time in love can be exhausting. What was fresh seems old now. What seemed old has suddenly acquired a kind of retro chic. I am going to France to eat and to drink and to think about sex. The sex museums are a quest. I refuse to research them before I go. It is my plan to come to each museum with as little knowledge of the place as I can. I know the musee de l'eroticism is several stories tall, somewhere between five and seven floors of sex, I forget the exact number. I know it is in the red light district which may make my husband uncomfortable. I may have to go alone. His presence or lack of it will greatly effect the story. My visit will lead to sex. Not a real lover, but a phantom. A love born of the museum. Perhaps we will make love in the place itself or maybe she or he will lead me out onto the streets of Paris where reality and fantasy combine.

The plan is that each museum will be a erotic adventure. I may take my boy there with me or perhaps I will sneak away when he is not looking to consummate the desire which is inflamed by the building itself. I am not yet sure how this will work. All I know is that this book will be part memoir, part erotic adventure, a blurring of the lines between fact and fiction, where until now I have clearly delineated one from the other.

To travel is to dream. In this book of museums I will write the trael narrative that we would choose to live if only we were brave enough, a sometimes gorgeous, often frightening romp through the openly displayed sex of a dozen countries. So. Now. To France, and then to London where, in a little private room, S J Watson and his husband Nic will lead us on a very special adventure of our own.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

How we feel about sex

In Australia, the National Museum of erotica opened in 2001 in Canberra and closed a few years later in 2003. You can tell a lot about a country by the way they present sex. MoNA has it's finger on the pulsing clitorus of the country. It presents its work as modern art, without a whisper of the word sex and yet it is all about the vaginas. Almost all of the artworks in the building are about copulation or masturbation. The locals find it shocking and wonder why it is not presented with warnings to protect the sensibilities of the children.

As a country we are fairly covert about sex. I suppose that is why my work came unstuck at university. It was unashamedly sexual in content and yet perhaps I should have used the word 'erotic' instead of 'pornographic'. I should have hidden behind concepts of sexual fantasy in literature rather than taking the bull firmly by the horns and dabbling with the darker arts of bestiality. I should have called it romance perhaps, certainly Triptych is the most romantic thing I have ever written. Love is at the heart of it, and love too in the throbbing cunt. The coupling does not come with grief or shame, but with a burst of romantic emotion, kisses, kind words, adoration. I should have taken a lesson from MoNA and hidden my sex in the concept of modern art.

I will visit the erotic museums of the world. I imagine that I will learn a lot about a country from the way we show or do not show our sex. Perhaps I will be proved wrong, but I imagine that the heart of a culture will be revealed in its sex museum. I am excited by this project. I will approach a country knowing nothing about its history. I am a blank slate and the impressions that I gather will have a single focus. Sex. This is the next thing now.

I am excited.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I have been away.

I have had a blow, a falling out and down. A split with the university when I thought I was in it for the long haul. I thought I was doing well. I was doing well. There was talk of me finishing my PHD early I was doing so well. Too well perhaps because the threat of the headlines "University Funds Pornography" were enough to cause a rift between us.

That is a whole story in itself, but although sex is at the heart of it it has nothing to do with sex at all. In fact I found that the pain and anxiety of the split between the university and I moved me away from the writing of sex.

I began a young adult novel and I do enjoy the writing of it. A palate cleanser, I call it. I still have not completed the project I was working on. The first part, Triptych will be published on October the 1st, two weeks away, and on my birthday. I have begun a second trilogy, a very dark beast indeed, abstract like our nightmares. The first in the series is complete. I have two more to finish.

I have a plan. I will finish my kids adventure, the completely sexless book and then I will plunge back into the world of genitals and furtive rubbings.

The wonderful Eliot Weinberger suggested some readings. The Golden Lotus, written in China in 399 AD. The most erotic book ever written three volumes long. I have begun the first and we have not got to the sex yet, but I can feel it coming. I will keep you posted.

But for now: I was down, but not defeated. I am back.