Day 19

It’s 9:00am and in Taylor auditorium Claire stands at the podium, ready to stampede. Music blasts from the small stereo at her left, a hit single from Meatloaf, back in the day. He incants repeatedly, tonight we’re gonna go all the way, in that rare, buffalo rant of his that’s undeniably ridiculous and sexually charged at the same time. The topic of this morning’s craft lecture? Sex: How Far Do We Go, Will You Still Respect Me After the Story?

Sex in Harlequins is all about the organs; in literature it is all about the story. It must be embedded into greater complexities of a broader relationship, it must pop up where (and only where) we don’t expect to see it. If the sex scene involves deviance or violence, things get harder; we must not make our readers fell complicit in the act. We can use surreal landscapes, both physical and psychological, ones that are even perverse or strange, to embed particularly disturbing sex scenes (rape, incest), making the narrative reveal the dissociation the victim evokes at the time of the indecent act, for example.

And on another note, some choice quotes from the panel on publishing later this afternoon:

“We should publish to join the cultural bloodstream. The other stuff (money, fame, immortality) may or may not come later.”

“There’s one rule that’s true in both writing and publishing: Don’t worry about it. Worry is a waste of time, it’s distracting, it’s addictive.”

“When it comes to publishing, cultivate certain detachment. Save the passion for the writing.”

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