Henry Miller on Writing Sex

Sometimes in the recording of a bald sexual incident great significance adheres. Screenshot (171)Sometimes the sexual becomes a writhing. Screenshot (104)Sometimes it is a fresco hidden in a sacred cave where one may sit and contemplate on things of the spirit. Screenshot (140)There is nothing I can possible prohibit myself from doing in the realm of sex. It is a world unto itself and a morsel of it may be just as destructive as a ton of it. It is a cold fire which burns in us like the sun. Screenshot (138)It is never dead.*

(From Arthur Miller’s On Writing.)

Ice Friday: Henry Miller on Writing Sex

Sometimes in the recording of a bald sexual incident great significance adheres. Sometimes the sexual becomes a writing, pulsating facade such as we see in Indian temples. Sometimes it’s a fresco hidden in a sacred cave where one may sit and contemplate on things of the spirit. IMG_4940There is nothing I can possibly prohibit myself from doing in this realm of sex. It is a world unto itself and a morsel of it may be just as destructive or beneficent as a ton of it. The gods came down from above to fornicate with human kind and with animals and trees, with the earth itself. Why are we so particular? Why can we not love – and do all the other things which give us pleasure too? IMG_4947We fear to lose ourselves. And yet, until we lose ourselves there can be no hope of finding ourselves.

Shock to Sell

Lars von Trier’s cinematic mission to shock audiences continues with the release of Nymphomaniac.

Lars von Trier's "Nymphomaniac"

Lars von Trier’s “Nymphomaniac”

Using scandalous images to sell isn’t a unique plan.

Henry Miller's "Crazy Cock"

Henry Miller’s early work

Fat White Family perform at Pianos, New York

Fat White Family perform at Pianos in New York

But instead of shocking, this tack becomes more a source of amusement, the kind of thing that sells t-shirts. sex shirtWhich seems to be all they’re trying to do.

Henry Miller on Writing

One hopes and prays and bashes his head against the wall. But it knows. It can bide its time. It knows that all the errors, all the detours, all the failures and frustrations will be turned to account. IMAG3113To be born a writer, one must learn to live privation, suffering, humiliation. Above all, one must live apart. The writer clings to his limb while beneath him life surges by steady, persistent, tumultuous. (Henry Miller on Writing, 73)

Writing Sex: Search and Destroy Mission

As a teenager, I happened upon a trashy novel called Tidal Wave, the only part of which I remember was a sex scene which went something like this: His fingers explored the tangle of her pubic hair. “Is this a search and destroy mission, captain?” “I don’t have to search for it and I sure don’t want to destroy it.” sex coverOver the years, I realized that writing about sex was almost always like this. Trite and ridiculous, it just shone a spotlight on the naked stuff – Oh my goodness! Look at that! – destroying the essence of what makes sex rapturous. Whatever the erotic opus –  Miller’s Tropic of Cancer or Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being – the writing of the sexual self just fell short. unvearableThe problem is that sex is about another self, a naked self, a self that the clothed self looks at in confusion. What the hell are you doing? Are you really going to do that? You’re completely naked! The clothed self tends to stare and judge, incapable of reflecting on the intimacies of the naked self with any sense or sophistication. ab-diary-abramovic2And yet, it is there, in all of us, the fingers tightening, everything stretching out, the head tilting back, peering into the chasm, ready to fall. Perhaps it is Xaviera Hollander who came closest (haha) to writing of this sexual self in her Penthouse Magazine column only because she wrote about sex and nothing else.xaviera