Saturday, March 15, 2008

3am Epiphany: of sex and food

For Christmas I got the Brian Kiteley's '3am epiphany:uncommon writing exercises that transform your fiction'. I got to pick the very first exercise that our Creative Cluster is doing. Turning to page 69 I found the exercise 'Food Fight' and thought that sounded innocent enough - and then I read on. This is a three part exercise that begins with you listing as many nouns and verbs pertaining to food and your kitchen as you can muster (I did two A4 pages which turned out to be not quite enough!) Then you write a sex scene and the following day substitute all the nouns and verbs in the sex scene with words from your list.

Kitely writes "The result of this exercise is something less interesting than the effect it has upon the reader and the writer. The exercise should also show you how much the syntax of a sex scene remains after you've eliminated the words that seem to point to the act."

I'll let you be the judge ...

Of Food ...
Without a garlic, she deftly recycled her lime on a piece of toilet lemon and froze him with an intensity that cooked her. He replied with a rockmelon sliced from hours of sexual frustration. He diced his cookware in through the long oil in the front of her knives and mixed his washcloth up the inside of her Miss Piggie cookie jar, cleaning out the tumblers above the lace topped toaster. His fridge splattered upwards. She was stirring and his dishwasher grated inside her easily. A small sink blended in his magnets as he gently began grilling the inside of her bread, roasting for the small tea of her coffee.

She stood his bottom butter between her steaks as the frying broke down her last vestiges of control and concern. She marinated gently on it, her chops hot in his wooden spoon. Heating his flour off his cucumber, she heated her bench down his iceblocks and boiled his wine tight in her softdrink.

“I can’t wait” he roasted, shredding with the water on his cookbook until her steadier teapot successfully unfastened it.

Like her, he’d left his cans at home and she came baking powder to baking powder with his drinking lentils. His sugar minced through her chickpeas in anticipation until her rubbish finally baked him. She scraped tiny wet spirals on his crumbs with her catbowl, and downwards until she’d iced as far down the catfood as she could go. Finally bubbling him in her hot, wet salad spinner. He felt his coco caramelise and threaten to give way.

“No,” he sauteed, crisping backwards towards the expresso machine and out of her milk.
He browned on the closed juice and seared her eggs to him, then crumbing the tight condiments up over her cheese so she could brown. She stacked the pasta above him. With one noodle on his bicarbsoda, and the other on the back of his honey, she washed herself slowly and gently onto him.

Once the hungry beerbottle inside her was mopped, she swept still and tenderised him softly. She began to juice her steamer in slow sensual chocolates. Then she burned her limes and greased her lemon tight around him, sweetening the rockmelons upwards, thankful for the years of dedicated lime exercises and her Feldenkrais instructor.

He rubbed deeply with each taste, cooling her closer to him.

“Stack me,” he began to fish, over and over in her cookware, his oil on her gyrating knives.
She began to dehydrate up off him, slowly at first, but with increasing steam, shrivelled on only by his washcloth in her Miss Piggie cookie jar. Then his tumbler recycled and held, and she felt the hot and rapid toaster within her. She drained and simmered him close, his damp fridge cooled on her push-up bra dishwasher. And it was done.

And of sex ...

Without a word, she deftly removed her lipstick on a piece of toilet paper and kissed him with an intensity that shocked her. He replied with a hunger born from hours of sexual frustration. He slipped his hand in through the long split in the front of her dress and ran his hand up the inside of her thigh, seeking out the skin above the lace topped stocking. His fingers pushed upwards. She was wet and his fingers slipped inside her easily. A small moan droned in his ear as he gently began rubbing the inside of her vagina, searching for the small bump of her G-stop.

She took his bottom lip between her teeth as the stroking broke down her last vestiges of control and concern. She nibbled gently on it, her breath hot in his mouth. Pushing his tuxedo jacket off his shoulders, she ran her fingers down his back and clasp his butt cheeks tight in her hands.

“I can’t wait” he uttered, fumbling with the belt on his pants until her steadier hands successfully unfastened the belt.

Like her, he’d left his underwear at home and she came face to face with his engorged penis. His hand pawed through her hair in anticipation until her tongue finally touched him. She drew tiny wet spirals on his head with her tongue, and further, until she’d reached as far down the shaft as she could go. Finally enclosing him in her hot, wet mouth. He felt his legs shake and threaten to give way.

“No,” he rasped, shuffling backwards towards the toilet and out of her mouth.

He sat on the closed toilet and pulled her back to him, then forcing the tight dress up over her hips so she could sit. She stepped away from him, tugged her strappy heels off and straddled the air above him. With one hand on his member, and the other on the back of his neck, she lowered herself slowly and gently onto him.

Once the hungry void inside her was sated, she sat still and kissed him softly. She began to move her hips in slow sensual circles. Then she engaged her pelvic floor and drew her yoni tight around him, drawing the muscles upwards, thankful for the years of dedicated pelvic floor exercises and her Feldenkrais instructor.

He groaned deeply with each squeeze, crushing her closer to him.
“Fuck me,” he began to whisper, over and over in her ear, his hands on her gyrating hips.

She began to move up off him, slowly at first, but with increasing speed, urged on only by his voice in her ear. Then his body seized and held, and she felt the hot and rapid ejaculation within her. She stopped and held him close, his damp face cushioned on her push-up bra cleavage. And it was done.

This was the hardest piece of writing I have done since I began to seriously write again last year, and alternately the most fun and silly. Surprisingly a lot of the feeling of the original piece remains when you take out all those key words ... I really was amazed. I wonder if it would work the same way with a different element of fiction?

I dont remember sex being so difficult to write about, blow by blow (no pun intended!), when I was a teenager and writing sex scenes?? But then again, I was a virgin then with a very virile imagination. It makes me realise how hard it is to not write cliches and to write sensually when you dont write cliches. When I read back over my original piece I was struck with how raw and brash it is - without any of the cushioning of twee that often accompanies sex scenes in novels.

It also struck me how often what we read as sex scenes in literature really doesn't marry the lived experience for a lot of women. Makes me quite aware of my feminist underpinnings (though this piece probably doesn't portray any of them!) It was definitely an eye opener for me as a writer ... and making me feel quite a bit nervous about having my main characters in Finding Aphrodite pair up and consummate what's been going on between them. Perhaps I should call in my Miss Piggie cookie jar to settle it between them!!

Every time a certain song comes on the radio, the two of them are in my head, begging to be let loose on each other, but now that I see how hard it is to really do justice to sex, sensuality and a woman's experience of the act of sex - they are just going to have to wait a little longer to do the wild thing. Sorry guys!


Paul said...

The overall effect was slightly absurd, yet still quite naughty - a "Miss Piggie cookie jar" certainly sounds like a euphemism for something!

I find it incredibly difficult to write about sex, firstly without slipping into cliché (the first major criticisms I ever received were about the short I did called Lust, and it was to do with cliché), and secondly because I'm very conscious that my parents and godparents might be reading!

I may have to try this exercise myself...

d sinclair said...

ah, god/dess I'm rolling on the floor laughing with this... well done Jodi!

it is tricky to write about sex, but I think the point of the exercise is to let go of the ideas we have about it (personally) and to simply write the nouns and verbs - in this detached manner it becomes clear that its just another way of writing.

yes, thankful for years of lime exercises too ;D

dan x

Jodi Cleghorn said...

Paul - YES! You hit the nail right on the head ... its is absurd but still naughty. In a certain crazy manner, the substituted example sets you mind really as you try to second guess what it really supposed to be there ... and for some reason, perhaps because you're giggling and laughing, it has a real element of STEAM!

Perhaps that how you work out if your scene works or not? Tobsha Lerner writes great sex scenes. Her first two novels (that I haven't read yet) are erotic thrillers ... and she steers right away from all the cliches etc and its confronting as a consequence - but at the same time its very authentic.

I really recommend this exercise - I'm happy to type it out for you and send it through if you want.

Dan: it is all just words at the end of the day ... I wonder if the elements of writing that we struggle with give a mirror into ourselves. I've seen other blogs of writers where they bemoan there skills at writing dialogue etc. My pet hates, after writing sex scenes, is writing descriptive narrative - probably something to do with the fact that I'm more often concerned with the big picture than the details. And also because I struggle, trying to adequately transfer the image from my head and onto the paper. Dialogue is never hassle.

That's what for me is exciting about contemplating doing the Script Frenzy - a chance to write something for visual creation.

Jodi Cleghorn said...

Oh additionally - yes its worrying to know who might be reading our sex scenes ... I had my partner looking over my shoulder as I was uploading it onto the site and felt quite embarrassed, asking him to go away.

Goes back to why I published a whole magazine about sex last year - because its one of those things in life that's shrouded by so many taboos etc.

And it also remaind me of what my soul sister writes about religion, how she can't get over 'the human interpretation of it' I think that's quite fitting for sex also!

d sinclair said...

here is that link as promised :)

Square1 said...

Now that's what I call cooking!

Sentient Marrow said...

This was a hard exercise and I still haven't posted mine. You are brave. Your scene sounded astoundingly real and not cliched. I have yet to read mine through a second time. I did let my husband read it. What's funny is that I made up new characters rather than write with characters I already know so I had to write about forty to forty five pages in my notebook first before I could even let them have sex!

Anonymous said...

Nice piece of 'hot' writing, Jodi..Which bit? Both!
Brian B
Spring Hill Brisbane