Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Joy of Text

I had a very nice veranda conversation with Nemo this eve, talking about the visual versus text and men and women and what gets us all off. The subject came up when I waved Krissie Kneen's new book in his face. "I've been up all night. I haven't slept. I've read this book, three novellas, in one session ... look at me. I've just been shagged by text. Buy it for your wife!"

He opened it at page 84 and read a few lines. Closed the book. Opened it. Tried to find page 84 again. "We are visual folk, we blokes. But this stuff ... every page I open ... it's all going on. Far out."

I understand the instantaneous excitement of the image because I've experienced it myself. It is like a direct feed of amphetamines to the root chakra. The obvious outcome is that the rush is just that: overwhelmingly exciting, intoxicating, climax, satiation, desensitisation, deflation.

Today I ate chocolate, something I rarely do. Within half an hour I was a giggly, wriggly motormouth and half an hour after that I fell into a kind of slow acting depression (and still had to ride my bicycle home).  I decided I needed a coffee to sort myself out, which in mid summer Australia is probably not the greatest idea, given that coffee makes you expel more fluid than you can afford to lose in weather like this.

Anyway, where was I? Text. Yes. Apparently women respond sexually to erotic text more than men do, tending to be creatures excited by visual stimulation (a rash generalisation, sorry to those who work differently). I'd never really thought about it until Nemo brought it up this afternoon. Then I thought back to my journey through Henry Miller's carnal adventures at the arse end of the earth, the Cosmococcyx Telegraph Agency and Anais Nin's Henry and June, Little Birds and Delta of Venus, when those two literary pornographers were writing stories for a dollar a page for an anonymous buyer ...
Discovering Colette ...
As a small town girl, I just ate that stuff up. It was like an early morning sun ray surprising both my tongue and bared throat.

Text has always got me there, to put it coyly. Nothing but love and skin does it better. It is still my favourite medium. And why? Because I have to work for the image. I am forced make the stuff spring off the page and wriggle under the bedsheets, to imagine the image, to sensitise the sensation.

 All that said and done, there are some exceptions to the rule ...

Katsushika Hokusai, The Dream of the Fisherman's Wife, 1814.


  1. I've heard that octopusses have 8 testicles... or was it...

  2. I'd have to agree re text. The mental image does it for me every time. I get less from images other people have created, though occasionally one agrees with my personal vision.

  3. I've only read the first story so far. I had to take a rest (and a cold shower). I was disappointed Krissy didn't do more with the sense of silence that she began with. I found that really powerful. I guess the texting was akin to a silent world, separated from the world outside her room.

    Re text v visual. I'm for both. One is slow and intoxicating the other is for those in a hurry? Different. chalk and cheese. As a bloke maybe I'm lucky - best of both worlds.
    On another visual tangent - I always think that the octopus looks a bit like Buddy Holly - dark rimmed glasses and...... who knows.

  4. Thanks for your insightful comments Mr Hat and MF!