So I have come to the end of the first draft. I have no perspective on it. Could be terrible, might have a glimmer of hope at it's core. I struggled for a while at the end there to figure out what I was trying to say.
The problem with this book was that it came from elsewhere. My publisher pitched the idea and it was indeed a good one. I could see the potential in it. I was excited by the idea of reading the cannon of sex classics. I wanted to expand my knowledge of erotic fiction by immersing myself in the form. I did it for the fun of it and was surprised half-way through by the excitement I felt when I discovered the work of Wilhelm Reich. This book has, in fact, been endlessly exciting. The discoveries were many. The ones that strike me most at this point are James Salter, Angela Carter, Peter Reich, Pauline Regae. I am interested in the fact that certain books confounded me. I didn't finish Ador or Adore by Nabakov. I wonder if one day I will go back to it and find it suddenly makes sense. I know I will reread A Sport and A Pasttime one day because the first half of the book confused me so much on the first reading, but by the end I was in love. There is more Carter to visit and de Sade was wonderful but I didn't get to the end of either of his books that I attempted. There is more work to do.
I want to stop for a moment and talk about the ending. I don't want to spoil it for a reader but I need to mention that I found the point I was making only after weeks of searching within myself. It is too easy to make the book about love. All we need is love. It is an old adage but a useful one. When we are 'in love' it seems that this must be the answer to every question. Love will win out. Love is all we need. The thing is this feeling that we call 'love' is such a transient thing. A lovely transient thing. It is a feeling we do not bestow on just one person. It is something to be passed around from lover to lover, friend to friend. I needed to know what I was saying about sex. It is a book about sex after all and therefore I must know what my position is. Sex is a powerful transformative force. Sex can change our views, our morality, our ethics. Sex can shake governments and change the social structure of the wold. This then my answer. Sex. The most powerful, dangerous, wonderful transformative force.
I need to go away and think about this for a while before I start revising. I need to write this on an index card and hang it on my wall. Abstinence is stasis. Sex is change.
This is what I have learned so far from all this reading and all this writing.
I have picked up Susan Sontag's journals and there is something wonderful about her short thoughts, her little trains of ideas that link each day of her life. A pillow book of ideas. I think I need to start one of these, perhaps on this blog. I need to track my thoughts as I move towards a redrafting of the book. I also need to continue with my reading. I have read a heap of classic and modern sex books this year but there are so many more to forrage through. I started Fanny Hill but never Finished it. I started the Felix Saltern and I feel a little sad that it was never used for the book itself. I need to read another Carter to see if I can have my mind opened and changed yet again. And so begins my pillow book, with questions, an idea about the nature of sex, and a plan.