Someone in Oakland yesterday evening landed on my blog by googling, "it's as if all art is but a strategy to 'invent' a bearable life." Ever the Nancy Drew flashing her torchlight amid the cobweb rafters of my own blog I traced back the quote - it's by Joyce Carol Oates in an NYRB review in connection with the Secret Life of E.D. novel by you-know-who. (Sorry, I know I should link, but I'm tired, and it's not that kind of blog, and at this point I can believe that sometimes people signal to me in code & I'm going to do the same right back).
I've had occasion to think about that idea though, today. I don't know if "all" art is but a strategy to invent a bearable life. But I must say - it does help. I have a Roget's Thesaurus, and I've been aware of an E.D. lexicon effort, tying in the vocabulary of her poetry with the newly produced Webster's of her day. Today I had occasion to consult a thesaurus of another sort - of hot, amatory phraseology; to reread a lurid passage of Lolita; and to try my hand, at invitation, at my own sense of... the possible, at least in fantasy. I wrote a bit of erotica today, so different from any other kind of writing I've done. I'm so afraid it may have come off as utterly flatfooted, about as sexy as the Dana Delany character in that Steve Martin movie, Housesitter, where the ever delightful and outrageous Goldie Hawn moves into his house. In that movie, the uptight preppy Delany character hails from the same Seven Sister alma mater as me, which is a joke in the movie as a matter of fact. Sort of like when I lived in Oakland, in an apartment upstairs from a storefront on Grand Avenue, and there was an apartment above mine, and these two guys would party, carry on, fight bitterly, etcetera, extremely all night long, very many nights. One day, I (freshly minted from same college at which V.N. had decades before once taught) intrepidly and with a freshly inculcated sense of righteousness knocked on their door and asked them to keep it down. I was given the swift, unforgiving onceover. Where are you from anyway, sniffed attitudinous too cool gay buff-bodied party animal. Connecticut. Huh. He disdainfully scanned my Fair-Isle sweater, my Lee's jeans. Yeah, it shows, he said, and shut the door in my face. They continued to carry on loud as ever, night after night, and I got a clue that maybe the Bob's Sports preppy look that I had so envied and coveted while in high school - wasn't working so great post-college in Oakland.
Oh anyway - you try writing erotica! Not Sex and the City-type b.s. chicklit for women, but something that a man might like. Jeez! It's not easy. I'm afraid my own little experimental attempt may have come out wonkish. Oh, it's not so bad, I suppose. Well, I did say or imply, after all, in my post yesterday, that my strengths in that department tend towards the nonverbal anyway.
If you think I'm riffing aimlessly just to slap up a post - yeah, you're right. I'm sorry all darlings everywhere - I am spent. I just spent an afternoon tearing a cashmere sweater off myself.