I wrote a piece about censorship for Smutwriters, and I had to cut out this little thought because it didn’t fit. I loved it though, so I put it here instead:
In discussing the difference between visual mediums and the printed text, Maggie Nelson taps into the subversive nature of the printed word, “…An image created with words requires the aid of one’s own mind in its construction…it is precisely this sense of collusion between reader and text that can make the reading experience so guilt-inducing, so uncomfortable, so deeply wicked.” (The Art of Cruelty: A Reckoning). When we’re enjoying our smut, we’re actively picturing it, just like people actively pictured Emma Bovary’s carriage ride and William Burroughs centipedes copulating with who knows what.
I have lots of files named orphan this or that. It eases the pain of cutting out a hunk of text you love, because you lie to yourself and say, “I’m not deleting this, I’m just putting it over here until I find a home for it.” Of course, this home never materializes, and your orphan files end up being another thing you should probably delete, much like the 40 different cover versions I have for Love on the 500.
Theo Fenraven said:
I’ve been told I’m a visual writer. I describe things in a way that instantly sets a scene. I was raised on the visual medium. I see what I write as I write it. I think a writer who can’t visualize a scene will never be a really good writer.
I’ve found some of my strongest writing is of places I’ve actually been, just for that reason.
Maddie Cochere said:
So true. I visualize everything a writer puts to paper. Because I tend to transfer myself to a character, it can get interesting. Your orphans are just what Anne Rice was talking about, aren’t they? Never throw your work away. Keep it.
I have an entire box of awful orphans from high school. 😉
I’m glad to know I’m not the only person having a orphanage in snippets in a file on the desktop.
Someday those will all get put into one mass conglomeration – to show just how strange my mind is.
I love that I’m not the only person who believes that words should and do create images for the reader – and that it’s a fine line between guiding them to an image and then beating them over the head with one. Sadly – the writing that leads me to the pond and then dunks my head in with all of the detailed imagery – making me erase and revise my own pictures makes it a difficult read, and far less “subversive’ and thought provoking than those who take me there – and then suggest: expecting me to work for the image.
I just hate destroying things, so I abandon them instead.
The book she was referring to in that quote was Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. I have so many highlights in that book of things I want to read.