Saturday, February 5, 2011
What Will People Think?
Oddly enough, although I am blessed with a psyche that can feel guilty about something as harmless as taking a hot bath, I've got relatively few hang ups about sex. I enjoy the practice of it, the watching of it (yes, I've seen a porn flick or two), and certainly the reading of a good book with great sex scenes. I loved Jeffe's Petals and Thorns - I think this qualifies me to declare myself as Not a Prude.
I even like writing sex scenes, until somewhere in a passionate moment the thought comes to me: somebody is going to read this. Then Oh Dear God, the universe turns upside down.
What, oh what, will people say?
I see them all, huddled in a little clump, whispering and pointing at me. My elementary school teachers, every pastor of every church I've ever attended, my mother, my old friends, my co-workers, my children.
Some of them condemn me as a loose and evil woman - the whole Scarlet Letter scenario. How dare I write about sex at all, and if I am going to write about sex, how dare I write about sex between unmarried people and if I am going to write about sex even between married people it had better be 'normal', healthy sex, preferably in the missionary position and in the dark, without anybody getting overly excited.
There's another group with a different point of view entirely. These are the scoffers. They mock my characters' sexual prowess, their moves, their sexual creativity. "Really?" they say. "That's the best you can come up with?" They shake pitying heads and suggest that I've obviously missed out on everything worth experiencing and maybe I should take vows and become a nun or something.
And last but not least there are my children, with looks of appalled shock on their faces. These are the teenagers who are embarrassed if I dare to dance to music in the confines of my own home. The very idea that their mother even knows such things would be such a surprise (even though, logically, we all know that if I didn't know such things, said children would not exist) that perhaps they will be emotionally damaged for the rest of their lives.
This group of detractors complicates matters, about as much as they would if they were actually standing in the bedroom and commenting on my own technique during sex. So what I have to do is usher them out of the bedroom, or whatever room my characters are choosing in which to cavort, lock the door, and suggest that they do something else they would enjoy.
"These people need a little privacy," I tell them. "Why don't you all go out for pie? Or play a video game or something."
Usually they'll comply, long enough to get a scene written. And then all is well until I start thinking about those already written scenes being read. But that is a different problem all together, and one to which I still don't have an answer.
Posted by Kerry Schafer
Kerry Schafer spends more time in jail than the average citizen, not to mention the number of hours logged in hospital emergency rooms. This has little to do with any twisted disregard for the law or tendency to accidents, and everything to do with her job as a crisis response professional. Her home world, guarded by one preternaturally large black dog, includes three teenagers of the male variety, a beloved Viking, two cats, and a goldfish. When she can tear herself away from service in the empires of work and home, she's most likely writing her way into some alternate reality, fortified by a tankard of coffee and the weirdest music mix ever.