Perhaps instead an epic erotic sonnet

October 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

We’re nearing the Write-A-Novel-In-A-Month season so I thought I ‘d revisit one of my favorite old posts from several years ago. Several of these ideas still hold true today. All of them remain unwritten.

I’ve added in brackets some contemporary reflections.

* * *

This month, as you may know, is National Novel Writing Month. Being basically unemployed, and having completed the writing and publishing projects that had consumed my time for months, I figured I’d give it a shot. My first thought was an epic [jailhouse] erotic poem [entitled Frottage]. Not enough epic poetry written these days, and certainly not erotic poetry. In fits and starts, grunts and gasps, I made my way through a series of jaw-dropping stanzas. Write-in participants swooned at the ever-expanding girth of my word count. And then, as quickly as it began, I was finished. Done before the story was. One week into November. [Perhaps instead an epic erotic sonnet, entitled Generalities?]

The next week I began a new story. This time, I decided to go Gothic. Conjure up a little modern Poe, perhaps. If we cannot satisfy our readers’ sexual appetites, we’ll make them curl into a ball on their bed, screaming into the pristine-clean sheets, biting their pillows out of something less than pleasure. The result: a simple story of a preacher who loves his only son, but on occasion beats him within an inch of his life [or, more perverse still, to death multiple times, repeatedly healing/resurrecting his son] — claiming later to have been possessed [in reality he is the one taking possession]. The son loves his father [mostly, he just hates the being dead part] and decides that accepting his beating would be the ultimate act of love [or strange manifestation of self-preservation]. I quickly realized, within a week, there was not 70,000 words to be had in this short story.

The third week I devoted to a a not-so-distant not-quite dystopian future, in which the middle class has not so much revolted as gone insane. Their employers, recognizing the high cost of fuel, and succumbing to governmental pressure to “Go Green,” have granted their employees a wish: work from home [obviously an out-of-date idea — in such a future, as in the present, there will be no jobs]. The only problem, these same employees, who are no longer able to afford the appearance of luxury promised to them by the late-20th/early-21st century, have become slaves to their suburban homes and the gadgets they’ve amassed. [Or, more fitting, have accumulated, like cancer cells, seemingly by themselves.] With no refuge from what they’ve gathered for themselves [has metastasized], one couple systematically destroys their possessions in increasingly creative ways — discussing at length the beauty of burning HDTVs, cooking IPods [using their IPad to identify the proper preheating temperature] while they play in portable Bose players, and disassembling SUVs [or, for that matter, hybrids] and using the parts to create a totem commemorating the death of Mammon [in order to more faithfully celebrate its living].

But then I decided I wanted to write something socially relevant. So, this week I’ve poured myself into a writing a screenplay about a chef who loves his food creations so much that he cannot bear to have them eaten. So, in a madcap comedy he has to figure out a way to keep his job as a lead chef by serving somebody else’s food. Finally, through a series of hilarious events, he decides to try some of his own cooking. He dies from salmonella-poisoning. [Foodie culture as our new nihilism.]

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