Tokyo on Ecstacy, tempera paint on canvas, www.carolineallen.com
I’m lying on my sofa at about 10 Sunday morning with a hangover. I went to a party last night where the host, a man, brought out a paper mache giant pink penis and hauled it up the branch of a Maple tree in his driveway.
He made a list of the women who wanted to thwack it, brought out the leopard skin blindfold, spun us one by one and handed us each dowels. He’d bought the sticks in various sizes and many of them broke in the fury of our beating the colossal pink member.
We screamed as each woman went up. Go girl. Hit him where it hurts. Slam down hard on one of the balls! Harder! Faster! That’s the way, ahuh ahuh, he likes it, ahuh ahuh.
My teeth were bared, my breathe shallow and fast. It was cathartic. But even my feminist friends wouldn’t dare pull such a stunt for fear of being called men haters. The host was a big burly 6 foot 3 inch lawyer. I went up to him and drunkenly asked: Isn’t it weird to watch all these women slap the hell out of a penile effigy and why would you DO something like this at your party?He shrugged, but his friend slurred: Because we have a deep hatred of our male selves.
I’m lying on my sofa this morning hung over and can’t get that response or the pink cock out of my face. It was so huge and visual. It was filled with silly sex toys and I’ve hung the small rectangular packet of Get Harder gel on my bulletin board.
I’m thinking about how politically correct writing has become in America. Some fiction is so boring because we all feel it necessary to appear ‘good’ and ‘nice’.
But good and nice is boring. Good and nice is a killer.
My cat Fin jumps on my lap and flops on her back. I take one ankle between thumb and forefinger. I think about the passage in my semi-autobiographical novel Earth I revised this week, based on a true event:
I followed him out the screen door to the back yard. I’d never skinned before. I was 6. An outside light threw a halo and turned the burnt grass to lime. Father threw the line of squirrels down in the grass.
“We ain’t got time for nonsense,” he mumbled. “We won’t have any of that nonsense around this house.” He knelt on one knee. He untied the legs of the dead squirrels and took one and put it on its back in front of him. “Get on down here and grab them legs,” he said. “You old enough for acting like a fool, you’re old enough to be working.”
I sat on the grass and took the squirrels tiny ankles between index finger and thumb.
He took a hunting knife out of the stained leather pouch at his belt. The knife was brown and gray like a late autumn field. He leaned forward, his thin angular hands steady. He held his tongue between his teeth. He bent his head, his hair like a slather of wet red paint upon his head. His face was rough and pockmarked, like a dry landscape full of craters and cracked river beds.
With the tip of the knife, he nicked the squirrel at the crotch, slit from crotch to throat, made arcs around the nails of the paws, tore the fur off like a miniature coat.
We finished one squirrel, and he tossed it in the grass. He grabbed another, slice, yank, toss, and another, and another. The pile of uncovered squirrels grew, fleshy embryos nestled in an emerald halo. On the other side of us, a pile of intestines and next to that bloody pelts.
I look at how thin and frail Fin’s ankle is. I rub her exposed belly. She purrs. I think of how important it is to write and to live the dark stuff, because it’s real and true. Writing or living with political correctness makes love mean nothing at all.
I’m a writing coach: www.artofstorytellingonline.com