Reading Past the Good Parts
There was a time, not too long ago, when people would share books, furtively, often without any intention to read the entire book. In fact, they perhaps had gone to some surreptitious lengths to acquire and share with a small number of friends a book containing one or two passages, perhaps no more than a page or two in length. The readers didn’t care if it was literature, they just wanted to get off on an account of a sexual act. Kids in high school and proper housewives both got wind of such passages in works with D.H. Lawrence’s name on it. Word would get out, chapter and page. Screw the rest of the book, although, perhaps it might pique their curiosity enough to give the novel a go … just to work out the context.
For anyone born on the cusp of the century it must be near impossible to imagine such a time, when they live in a world in which hard-core porn is as easily available as the daily weather report.
I think of the lengths people went to to get their thrills from a snippet of literary erotica back in the day. After all, reading and possessing such books were once illegal, and even when the courts had thrown out the bans, a proper household could still be embarrassed if such a tome were found within its walls.
I got to thinking about that around the same time I realized I had begun to read past the good parts. It’s true. The last few erotica stories I read were written so well that I hurried past the sex scenes. I was really into the story, the plot, the characters, and I couldn’t bother slowing down for the sex. Of course, that got me to thinking why I even bothered to read a piece of erotica, if it wasn’t for the good parts. I even began to think that in some way I had let down that gaggle of high school kids gathered under someone’s back porch back in the dark old days arguing over which page contained the nasties.
I guess a good story is a good story, no matter what label you put on it. Maybe labeling a good story as erotica fetters it in a way a so-called mainstream story can’t be, no matter how many depictions of sex it contains. Maybe we should do away with labels and genres and … oh boy, my head’s beginning to swim.
Yeah, I think I think too much.