Wednesday, November 16, 2005


Last evening I bought what could be the book with longest title ever: The Paris Review Book of Heartbreak, Madness, Sex, Love, Betrayal, Outsiders, Intoxication, War, Whimsy, Horrors, God, Death, Dinner, Baseball, Travels, The Art of Writing, and Everything Else in the World Since 1953. Where was the book hiding all this while? Or, where was I hiding all this while? I was busy drinking. Drinking a cocktail whose ingredients were ambition and laziness, passion and loneliness. End result? It was like drinking water. No kick, nothing. And then this book. After a long time I found good reason to pour myself a large drink. I began with Sex. My favourite bits:

S. X. Rosenstock's Rimininny! (1996):

If you can't fuck me while I read, fuck off.
You're not the best of what's been thought or said,
Not yet. But youth, with genius, is enough.

Menage a trois is greatness, not rebuff,
If you gain art from what art's represented.
If you can't fuck me while I read, fuck off.

I want you, and I want a paragraph
Of lengthy James; he does go on. My love
Can you? I shouldn't praise his length? Enough

Of him? The body of work's living proof
We're all rare forms, and living ... in the dead.
If you can't A Little Tour in France me while I read,
fuck off.

I signal lusts by title, not handkerchief,
Since I'm the sex of all that I have read;
Sometimes I write this sex. Kiss me enough,

And well enough, that I may hear the snub
That reading's not a sexual preference.
If you can't fuck me while I read, fuck off,
Or rave how I'm a work of art enough.

From John Updike's Two Cunts in Paris (1997):

Called La Gimblette,
this piece of the eternal feminine,
a doll of femaleness whose vulval facts
are set in place with a watchmaker's care,
provides a measure of how art falls
of a Creator's providence, which gives
His Creatures, all, the homely means to spawn.

Margaret Atwood on the Art of Fiction (1990):

INTERVIEWER - Is sex easy to write about?
ATWOOD - If by "sex" you mean just the sex act -- "the earth moved" stuff -- well, I don't think I can write those scenes much. They can so quickly become comic or pretentious or overly metaphoric. "Her breasts were like apples," that sort of thing. But "sex" is not just which part of whose body was where. It's the relationship between the participants, the furniture in the room or the leaves on the tree, what gets said before and what after, the emotions -- act of love, act of lust, act of hate. Act of indifference, act of violence, act of despair, act of manipulation, act of hope? Those things have to be part of it.


Anonymous said...

where did u get that book? Landmark? anway, happy reading...

My Blog said...

If you can't A Little Tour in France me while I read,
fuck off.