Day 19

5.04: Slightly better slept this morning, though my computer can’t seem to say the same – its first act of the day has been to shut itself down as if to flick me the cybernetic Vs and spit on my shoes.

The Bad Sex Awards have come round again – obviously, it’s the time of year for awards – with a distinguished shortlist lining up to have their sex writing dishonoured. Roth, Theroux, Cave and Banville all made the cut.

They’re a good idea these awards if only because it’s so easy to write badly about sex: more than any other subject it’s shrouded in euphemism and cliché. The problem is that euphemism and cliché are quite useful things: over describing (especially over describing sex) is just as crass and hilarious as trotting out a string of rusty platitudes.

So what you’re aiming for is a phrase that, without seeming gauche or bizarre, says something original and at the same time recognisable as being somehow connected to the experience of sex (or one of its multitudinous experiences). Tricky hey?

No wonder even the best of us misfire from time to time. Poor old Roth struck out on a literary-sexual flight that most of us, I suspect , would struggle to keep up with, when he wrote: “It was as if she were wearing a mask on her genitals, a weird totem mask, that made her into what she was not and was not supposed to be.”

I have sex scenes in prospect over the next few days. I’ll have to go armed with a bow of disarming candour and quiver of sensitively-wrought metaphors, to stave off attacks on the sexual prairie.

There’s an clichéd and unsensitive metaphor in there somewhere, comparing writing about sex to actual sex, but I’ll let you pull that one together for yourselves. Send in your best Blue Peter efforts.

6.45: No sex today, but I did at least introduce two characters who may or may not end up having sex. If it does happen, hopefully they’ll do it in an original yet familiar manner, entirely free of words like heaving and fondling. Hopefully too, they’ll steer clear of genital masks and weird totems. That’ll always be the dream.

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~ by David Thorley on November 19, 2009.

One Response to “Day 19”

  1. […] my hat off to the nominees for this year’s Bad Sex awards that I was blathering on about on Day 19. I even take my hat off to Jonathan Lethem for […]

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