Guest Post #2-Jim Heynen

The Messy Bed of Sex

Olga Broumas, winner of the Yale Younger Poets Award several decades ago, carried into our 1970s writers’ circle a lavish dose of her native Greek. She liked to share Greek curses having to do with sex, my favorite of which was “May you never find pleasure between your legs!” Remembering that curse, I’ve often thought how often writers today neglect the downside of sexual encounters or, at best, resort to lame Yankee expressions by having characters attack each other with diminishing labels to our genitals. We need juicier negativity when writing about sex. Maybe Sherman Alexie’s six-word story is a good example, and I’m writing from memory now: “First sex: I came, she didn’t.” Negativity and restraint, as William Gass reminded us in his long essay/short book titled “On Being Blue”: “Nowhere do we need order more than at an orgy.”
Jim Heynen is a writer of many a yarn and also has the distinguished credential of being Blogagaard's main writing instructor at St. Olaf College from 1998-2002 (and tireless reader). In fact, we assume he helped get us into the school after visiting him and showing him our first manuscript during one of those horrible visit a school things. It sure wasn't our grades that got us into Olaf!


David Oppegaard said...

If reading fiction is escapism, I suppose people are pretty busy having bad sex in real life and shy away from reading about more bad sex on the page, unless it serves some kind of comic purpose.

But I see your point, Jim!

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