Her Little Jewel Box

Her furry cleft

She stepped right over me, naked except for her brassiere, and provided me with a direct shot of her furry cleft.

Up until then I’d only heard about these things. My mother had once referred to a woman’s Scmuckkastchen – the little jewel box – in relation to some neighbour who was pregnant. So I naturally thought that females possessed something with a lid which they regularly flipped open to have children.

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What I saw was decidedly much different, something considerably more alive, forbidden, mysterious – something I wanted to touch. I wanted to know what those puffy banks of hair felt like and where that thin dark crevice disappeared to between her legs. Marianna Beck, C is for Closet, Crevice and Colossus

Self-censorship

“… Many professional writers … insist that if their words are going to be censored anyway, they might as well be the ones to compose reasonable, more vanilla alternatives. But this is a strategy of self-censorship, and it will defeat your storytelling in more ways than surrendering a word or two will. Yes, you can choose to make changes in the edit, … [b]ut the first time, write the story the way it demands to be told! Use the words that your authentic characters would use. Don’t play the preacher and write your story for an imaginary offended audience, let alone an offended God. This is your best chance to present your story in all its glory. … There’s only one wrong way to use profane or carnal language, and that’s out of laziness … as a way to worm out of stating something more articulately. We are often tempted to use dirty words for emphasis, like very or really, as red flags to tell the reader that we want their urgent attention. But you can never get readers to pay attention by begging them or shocking them, at least not for more than one round.” Susie Bright, How to Use the Whole (Fucking) English Language

Write about anything

Susie Bright’s classic How to Write a Dirty Story encourages us to write about sex without shame. She reminds us that censoring the words we choose will compromise the story we want to tell. Highveld’s 10-week Write Sex online studio uses writing about sex to boost your confidence to write about anything. By pushing into uncomfortable terrain, you expand the range of your literary skills and increase your options for realising your literary ambitions. You will be braver. Your awareness of the capabilities of your magnificent imagination will have increased. And you will have greater control of your medium: literary art.

A sniggering contest

Can literary writers write about sex, or does such an attempt just condemn you to the Guardian Literary Review’s Bad Sex Award? asks Lorraine Berry in Talking Writing’s 2012 interview with Susie Bright “They do, all the time,” says Bright. “There is no art without sex. I mean, can you imagine asking that question of Nabokov? Or Stein? Or Wilde? Or anyone who writes, seriously? It’s like asking if you can write without drama or comedy. Sex is a part of life. The Guardian’s attempt to make a sniggering contest out of it is ridiculous.”

The Bad Sex in Fiction Award was started in 1993 by the Literary Review’s then editor, Auberon Waugh, and literary critic Rhona Koenig. In this rejoinder English writer and Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw calls out the award as “a terribly English display of smug, gigglingly unfunny, charmless and spiteful bullying … “. He challenges the judges to share examples of erotic writing they admire and “thereby risk revealing something about their own private lives.”

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