Monday, February 28, 2011

Autonomic Functions, Baby

Even before I open my eyes, I know that I've woken on the wrong side of town, again. My sheets aren't this soft. These must be million-thread count of Egyptian cotton that only grows in four square acres of the Nile delta, in odd numbered years. Beyond the closed bedroom door, a grinder burrs, but like everything in his world, it's a soft, luxurious sound. He opens a cabinet. Two mugs rasp against the kitchen counter. Footsteps head toward the bedroom door. Snuggling deeper under the cover unleashes a cloud of man and sex scents that go right to my cock. I could spend all day in this cocoon. The door opens. He brings the scent of coffee in with him, erasing the night's excesses. The bedroom suddenly feels claustrophobic, crowded with bodies, and I can't breathe under the dense heat of the covers. Time to get a good look at what I thought I saw last night. Sighing, I toss back the bedspread and sit up, scratch my hair into a sexy mess, and sheepishly smile at my sugar step-daddy.

A human being is only breath and shadow. Sophocles

Breathing is an autonomic function. Like digestion and pupil dilation, it happens without involving the higher functions of the brain. But unlike the other autonomic functions, we have brief control over it. It may be that interrupted breathing is so expressive because it is a matter of life and death for us to eventually continue. Or maybe I over think it.

My characters sigh a lot. It may be because I'm a method writer, meaning that when my characters are distraught, I'm distraught with them, when they're elated, I'm over the moon, and when they need to express emotions too complex or nebulous for words, we sigh together. We sigh our unspoken regrets, our hopelessness, our resignation. We also hold our breath, for a moment, as if we can suspend time. Maybe something so wonderful is happening that we want it to last forever. Or we can see something horrible coming our way. It's a crutch though, one I'm trying to overcome. Too much sighing is like putting a character onto a fainting couch. Too many held breaths, and it begins to read like autoerotica. Maybe I should explore heart beats or perspiration.

Heart skipping a beat, I toss back the bedspread and sit up, scratch my hair into a sexy mess, and sheepishly smile at my sugar step-daddy.

Sweating seductively, I toss back the bedspread and sit up, scratch my hair into a sexy mess, and sheepishly smile at my sugar step-daddy.

Or maybe not.


  1. You've put is so much better than I could, Kathleen!

    Sweat also works in erotica. But rarely is it seductive - except for its scent, which of course requires that you breathe in.

    Thanks for picking up the topic and running with it.

  2. Lisabet,

    After reading your entry, I wondered what was left to say! You put it so well. So thank you for hte kind words.

  3. I've never thought of myself as a method writer, but I relate to what you're saying. But I wouldn;t change it if I were you, just love it. Like Robert Frost says "No tears in the writer no tears in the reader."


  4. Garce - I believe that.

    The only time I mind is when a downer scene takes days to write and I'm heartbroken the entire time. I always liked that scene in the beginning of Romancing the Stone where Joan Wilder (Kathleen Turner) is crying her eyes out while typing her novel.

    The only habit I want to break is the sighing thing. It happens too often.

  5. I read an interview with J K Rowling, where she was talking about writing the death scene in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". She wrote it in a hotel room she had rented for that purpose. She said when she finished that scene - which I have not read yet - she screamed and cried and threw things. She sat and cried for an hour. Talk about method writing. She was terribly grief stricken for Harry, even though he existed only in her imagination. So if you;re heartbroken for days, maybe thats a good sign you;ve written something with soul.



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