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EXPERIMENTS IN WRITING SEX
Writing sex can be daunting. Some writers play it safe, cling to predictable tropes, repeating familiar language and narratives inherited through a history of exposure to airbrushed or fetishized portrayals. Other writers avoid writing sex at all.
In her iconic essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, film theorist Laura Mulvey dares artists to "break with normal pleasurable expectations in order to conceive a new language of desire…"
This is an invitation to an experiment, in which we will approach writing sex as entering unknown territory, leaving behind "normal expectations" of what sex or writing sex look like. We will mine these sites for encounters with the ugly-messy -vulnerable-pleasure-pain of it all…allowing for new language and form to emerge.
Through our experiments in reading texts, watching scenes, and writing exercises, we will explore, deconstruct, and re-envision the sex scene.
We will consider questions such as:
How do sex scenes set in liminal spaces play with boundaries of sacred/profane, danger/allure? What does it mean to risk abjection in writing? Where do desire, disgust and creation intersect? Can depictions of pleasure be redeemed?
As our process continues, we will delve deeper into the unconscious and the uncomfortable, in attempt to create a space, in our consciousness and in our writing, for fantasy to exist.
We will be thinking-talking-reading-watching-writing about various ways sexual fantasy and the creative process intersect, through examining the connections and gaps between personal mythologies and in-the-moment authenticity.
We will explore questions such as:
Can sex scenes be both projections of our fantasies and gritty portrayals of reality at the same time? Can radical awkwardness be poetic? How do we mine mishaps, silences, imperfections, and failures to allow for moments of vulnerability and self-revelation to slip through? What do sexual desire and poetic representation have in common? How can detail, disorientation, and displacement help make our writing, and our fantasies, uniquely our own?
By the end of the lab, participants will have developed at least 5-7 new texts, with feedback from the group forum, as well as personal feedback from me.