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The Last Word on Sex, and (in what I swear is unrelated news) Happy Meat

This pic has no connection to this post. But who cares? It is a picture of happy luncheon meat and needs no justification for its inclusion ANYWHERE.

So this last month I am having trouble blogging because NOTHING HAPPENS to blog about because I am working on this STILL TITLE FREE book that is like a worm in my brain eating it up all the time munchmunchmunch. Every morning I wake up in the dark and Scott brings me coffee and passes me my laptop from the bedside table and I open the file and zzzzzzzaaaapppp, there are Mosey and Liza and Big (who is not having any sex, yet, dernit, but doing other things), and I look up and hours and hours have passed and I am still in bed with my eyes bleeding and my coffee cold beside me. Yeah. So.

My genius friend Jill said, yesterday, “Hey, DUMMY, if all you do is write maybe you should blog about writing.”

Oh. Right.

I always hear other writers talking about how songs get associated with characters or inspire this or that feeling that leads to something like writing. Never happens to me. Well, not never.

There was once, in a novel that I wrote before gods in Alabama and which has never been published, a character named James Mueller. Everyone called him Mule. He was this little budding criminal foster kid already on probation, a computer hacker and a pot dealer. My friend Lydia used to have all these random mix tapes featuring a buttload of eclectic and little known bands and on roads trips she would grab a handful of these tapes for us to listen to, and on ONE of them this ONE time, there was this ONE song that I heard around 2 am and I said, “OH wow. That sounds like Mule. That is a song of Mule, and about and for and with Mule, and when you play it I can think in his voice so easily…Weird. Play it again.” She played it about nine times in a row and I figured out a huge chunk of the Mule storyline that had been raveled up into a ball before that song.

I never heard it again and I have never been able to remember any of the words, not even one, much less how it sounded because notes and the order they go in and how long each of them plays and what instruments are doing them and if anyone is singing while the notes happen, these are not things I notice. Notes are background noise I use to NOT HEAR THIS BLOODY HELLACIOUS CHIPMUNK. So my first chance to have some sort of “inspired by a song” story was found and lost on a road trip.

A photocopy of one page of a recently penned sex scene. I have redacted the parts I don't want my mom to read.

Now the dirty song with the lyrics I truly love is trying to help me help Big have sex, though she refuses, that awful Big, to get on with it, song or no song. Maybe Big should get to a nunnery. I have been banging my head on this thing on and off for WEEKS. Maybe I need to run a personal ad for her…

I’m Ginny Slocmub, aka Big. I hate Baptists and turnips. I like long walks on the beach, cops, throwing stones through stained glass windows (who doesn’t?), and Lawrence.

Digression: It is not explicitly stated that she hates turnips in the book, but secretly in her heart I bet she does. Can you blame her?

Digression 2: I love you people. LOVE. YOU. I post endlessly about sex and you respond with a slew of turnip recipes. You are my kind of weirdos. The gratin sounds edible/ Well. Edible-ish.Assuming I adjust the recipe a smidge and make it with potatoes and not turnips.

I need to put Big’s ad in Creative Loafing. Then maybe she will get some play?

Lawrence is a cop. But also a devout Baptist. So. It never quite worked out for them back in the day. But they had them some life changing sex, people. Now everyone calls her Big instead of Gammy or Mee-Maw, because, as she says , “I thought forty-five was still young to be already a Mee-Maw. Mee-Maws traded their skinny jeans for those Christmas sweaters with the three dimensional, sequined appliqués of reindeers with light up noses. They knitted and never learned the tango or went to France or had sex again in their whole lives. I wasn’t there yet, please God.”

So you see how she is. She deserves the scene. It matters to her. It is just…You KNOW I hate to write sex scenes. Which is Alanis Morisette style ironic. It begins by defining counterintuitive, that I should hate to write sex scenes, and ends with someone asking the question, “THEN WHY ARE ALL YOUR BOOKS SO RIFE WITH THE DAMN THINGS ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY OFFEND MY NICEST AUNTIE?”

Good question. Apologies to your auntie, but I think all of them that I actually end up forcing myself to write matter, or I wouldn’t put them in there. I would put something else, ANYTHING, really, and save myself Wanting-To-Die that writing sex always induces in me. .

SO. I am going to put the magic dirty song on repeat and head back into this relentlessly sunny bedroom and hope that this time, oh this time, I won’t be so intent on taking the spirit of your uptight auntie in there WITH me.

17 comments to The Last Word on Sex, and (in what I swear is unrelated news) Happy Meat

  • jeanette

    I’m glad I’m not alone in my musical alzheimers!! I really do love music, but I hear lyrics and singers voices…….my husband, on the other hand, hears notes and rhythms and instruments and harmonies, and all sorts of other musical terms that are foreign to me. And I can’t ever remember the names of songs or who sings them or the name of the album they’re on, and I sure as hell couldn’t hum a bar of a song if you were to offer up millions of dollars in exchange for accurate humming!!
    I have never tried writing a sex scene……….and I now think I never shall if I don’t have to. Happy (lunch) meat, however, I would be happy to write about. 🙂

  • So. Here’s the thing. You have to write this INCREDIBLE sex scene for all of us loyal FTKers who have loved your novels and hated turnips and dreamed of pink socks right along with you. The same one(s) *ahem* who may NOT have had sex with that particular someone “back in the day” or even NOW for that matter, and NEED you to write this with your words for us. So we can look the 20 year old memory of our someone in the eye and smile.

    No pressure of course.

    BTW–I JUST went over to check on FFP, and then went BACK to read the explanation. . .and wanted to comment, but couldn’t because they were closed. And it’s then I noticed that they were PROBABLY closed because you wrote the post two weeks ago and I had somehow missed it. I was busy eating elephant–with turnips.

  • And that lunchmeat kind of looks like the face on The Gingerbread man in the particular copy of the book my Granny had at her house. He (It?) also reminds me somewhat of Hermie–the dentist elf.

  • Alison Law

    What does Big need to accomplish by having sex with said Lawrence? I think that will affect how she goes about it. Does she need to screw the Baptist out of him and make him go preacher’s kid crazy? Or does she need to get it over with and not have it be so life-altering this time?

    I would be scared to attempt to recreate any experience that I deemed “life-changing,” because it’s 99% impossible to do. So maybe you need to embrace Big’s reluctance and make it the most awkward, ridiculous sex scene ever written?

  • Beth R

    Ok, that lunch meat? FRIGHTENING like “Chucky-doll clown” scary.

    As for the “nicest Aunty” out there? Seriously? Written down sex scenes offend you? And yet you’re perfectly happy to watch the news where people die and are horrible and nasty to each other? Weirdo.

  • jeanette

    I like the happy meat………I think it would be perfect for compulsive face-licking dogs. Maybe my mailman husband would like to keep a few slices for some of the dogs on his route. And wouldn’t it be fun to draw on a mustache and some eyelashes with mustard??

  • JulieB

    I’m surprized Lydia doesn’t remember the song, after playing for nine times. 🙂

    I like the title you had (or maybe it was what you called the book only once in a blog). I thought it had a nice ring to it.

  • Michelle-who-is-Shelley

    If the Matt Nathanson “dirty song” is not helping you get the scene written, maybe this one will. It makes me squirm a little just to post the link to this song for you, so I can not imagine how difficult it must be to write one knowing others will be reading it.
    This song is more from a woman’s pov. It is a singer that up until this song I thought of as singing about love in that romantic, ballady way. Not so *ahem* physically descriptive.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6eDmSzPSfYg

    P.S. I know nothing about turnips, but I thought I should put something about turnips in this post since that is what we are really talking about. . .

  • I put turnips in stew. I never tell anyone (so don’t blab!), and everyone thinks my stew is grand. They all hate turnips. I cackle evilly and am happy.

    That being said, I skim over the sex scenes. Not just yours, everyone’s. I’m probably the only person on the planet who’s jazzed that Nora Roberts writing as J. D. Robb has cut down on the steamy stuff between Eve and Roarke, and I like Roarke just fine.

    But I think Alison is right? Why’s she doing it, what does she want out of it? That’ll determine if it’s a slow-and-steady or a hard-n-fast.

    And if it needs a comic break (and frankly, many sex scenes do), have someone toss a turnip at ’em.

  • Brigitte

    Ugh, Fran, now you made me think of kinky turnip sex. Not that I even want to wrap my mind around how THAT could possibly work.

  • The problem is not Big or even the SCENE. It’s me. She is good to go. The scene –I knew what and how. I just didn’t want to go with her. It always feels INVASIVE. EVERY TIME. EVERY BOOK. It’s an old familiar problem. And anyway? I went. I did. I watched, I said, I wrote it down. I WON.

    I am SO sick of that song now!

  • PS I got this GREAT text from Sara (one of my crit partners who is reading this book as I write it) saying, “Joshilyn, dammit, LET BIG HAVE SOME SEX. She DESERVES it.”

    heheheheh. I love that girl.

  • Haley

    I also do the waking up, opening my laptop, writing, and then looking up hours later to realize a lot of time has passed thing. Sometimes I take myself into the living room and turn on Cooking Channel and the next time I look up Michael Chiarello is on and I realize that four hours have passed and apparently I completely missed Mario Batali.

    That luncheon meat is so creepy I can barely look at it. What is causing the different colors? Did someone mold it into that design? That is the most disturbing part.

  • Aimee

    Yay, you! You did it.

    I know exactly what you mean about feeling invasive. There have definitely been some scenes that my husband and I have written where we want to leave the room and just let the characters go at it. Not just sex, either, but sometimes really uncomfy arguments or emotional things where the characters are just LAID BARE and it feels like they deserve their privacy. The good thing is, I think feeling that way means the characters are as Real as the Velveteen Rabbit.

  • Lori B.

    Good for you! I can only imagine how you must feel. I feel like I’m invading your characters’ privacy when I read what you have written. I read Between, Georgia years ago, and I can still visualize the opening sex scene just as plain as day. I mean, I was there. So that makes me a weirdo for remembering it and having it pop into my head at various times, and apparently that makes you are a really good writer of sex scenes (and novels, too.)

  • Brian

    If you find humor in the use of the double entendre, what we have here is a classic case of ‘performance anxiety’.

    Here now are the top 10 ways to deal with performance anxiety:

    Number ten: Have another drink
    Number nine: Turn off the lights
    Number eight: Watch a rerun of Moonlighting
    Number seven: Have another drink
    Number six: Practice, practice, practice
    Number five: Go shopping for happy meat
    Number four: Do it, then claim you’ve been affected by a spacial anomoly and pretend it didn’t actually happen
    Number three: Unblock that channel on your cable
    Number two: Ask your parents where babies come from

    …and the number one way to deal with performance anxiety:

  • you should call your book TFWIP “tif whip”… Title Free Work In Progress… 😉