Thursday, August 23, 2012

Frances and Joni outtake #4

Another snippet from the continuing saga of Frankie and Joni. Frankie's thoughts turn to Nick and other things as she spends her first night in captivity. Up a tree. Dont ask....

Frances shook her head, peering into the semi-gloom at the roughly hewn ceiling she could just make out. This would be doing Nick’s head in too. This lying around. He was like her - a doer. Not in the same way, sure, but in attitude, absolutely.
Nick was more physically capable. The kind of guy who could build a shelter, ride a horse, shear a sheep, kill a beast, slay a dragon, navigate by the stars and no doubt sail the seven seas.
A man who was good with his hands.
And a nice bloody change from let’s-get-a-man-in-to-do-it Edward. Cheating-embezzling-bastard Edward.
Soon-to-be-divorced Edward
Of course he was also very good with other parts of his anatomy. The way he could make her clothes fall off with one look and how he consistently found just the right spot without the need for a GPS tracking device, was really quite amazing.
Frances stared at the ceiling and smiled. Even now memories of their exploits in bed last night were causing her head to spin. She shut her eyes. The man’s adventurous spirit and rough, tilling-the-land hands were going to give her enough fantasies to last several lifetimes.
Who knew sex could be that good?
Her eyes fluttered open. A lovely floaty feeling invaded her bones and she shut them again on a sigh and giggled.
Yes, giggled.
Her eyes flew open. Had she actually giggled?
What the hell? Frances didn’t giggle. Grown women did not giggle. Little girls with Shirley Temple curls giggled.
The thought was absurdly funny and she giggled again.
“You okay?”
Zeke’s sleepy voice wafted through the screen door and brought her back to reality. “Sure,” she said, even though she knew she wasn’t.
But a weird drifty feeling was swirling inside her and it seemed to make the not being okay, somehow okay. Make the urgency of getting out of here suddenly not such a crashing priority. But in the morning she was going to show Mr Shepherd of the Apocalypse. She was going to give that man, Brian – Master Brian - a piece of her mind.
Frances rolled on her side to stop the room from spinning. The low flame of the lantern twisted before her multiplying in a kaleidoscope pattern. Brian’s head flickered in the centre of each one like a disembodied ghost.   
She muffled another giggle. Brian....
Seriously, who would associate anything apocalyptic with the name Brian?
Brian conjured images of a slightly myopic accountant. Nothing remotely end-of-the-world-ish about Brian.
Zoran. Now that was a world-is-nigh name.
Or Lucifer.
Or Darth. Come to the dark side, Frances.
Frances stifled another giggle.
These were names honed from the fiery depths of an apocalyptic dawn. Seriously, if you were going to go to the trouble of coming up with such a ridiculous name – Lambs of the Apocalypse – why on earth wouldn’t you, as leader, change your own name accordingly?
What was one more crazy fantasy in this bizarre alternate world they all seemed to be living in?
Master Zoran, Shepherd of the Apocalypse.
Now, that said don’t fuck with me. Bow down before me or perish in the everlasting fires of damnation!
That was hail and brimstone.
Frances shook her head. Master Brian could do with a good business coach.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Why I hate 50 Shades of Grey (even though I’ve never read it).

No, not because it’s saucy (bring it on). 

And not because I’m jealous as hell that EL’s first book has sold a gazillion copies and redefined fiction for the next God-knows-how-long (although God knows I am).

Not even because I’m a feminist (which I am) and am worried about the questionable sexual politics I hear discussed at every single event I attend (which I’m not – the characters are consenting adults so knock yourselves out as far as I’m concerned).

The truth is, I can’t wait to read it.  The only reason I haven’t read it so far is that I have just had my fourth child and in between running around like an unpaid taxi, breastfeeding and doing laundry five times a freakin’ day I don’t even get time to read mail from the Tax Office marked “urgent”.  So I feel like I’m officially the only woman in the entire world who hasn’t read it.  But even that’s not why I hate it.

The reason I hate it is that I have had it up to my armpits with hearing talk about the “new” phenomenon of “Mummy porn”. 

So, actually, I guess it’s not 50 Shades of Grey I hate at all. 

It’s every simplistic, puerile, sexist gobshite of a journalist/tv anchor/social commentator who thinks (a) “mummies” are somehow are a different species from every other woman on Earth and (b) there is something new, funny or wacky about their sexuality.

Fact.  (Almost) every woman on the planet is reading the book, not just “mummies”.  Why is so interesting that, among all those women reading this book, women with children are too?

Fact.  “Mummies” do not somehow miraculously change in desire, identity or nature because a child passes through their bodies and they become responsible for it. Newsflash - “Mummies” are sexy people, that’s how they got babies in the first place.

The argument seems to go that 50 Shades legitimised “mummies” reading sexy stuff because initially, they could read it on their e-readers, discreetly, so no-one needed to know what outrageous harlots they were.  And then, after a while, they discovered everyone else was reading it as well so that made it ok too.

The hypothesis is ridiculous.

Most mothers I know are not shrinking violets nor do they require permission  from other people to make decisions.  They are, in fact, not afraid of anything, least of all their own interest in reading some racy fiction. 

They will take on their mothers-in-law, schools, and entire systems if they have to. 

They are fearless and ferocious.

The term “mummy porn” belittles not just mothers, but all women.  It reduces us and makes us the objects of (somewhat affectionate) scorn. We do not talk about “daddy porn”, because let’s face it, it would be a tautology. Most Daddies have read or viewed material way more hardcore than 50 Shades. 

But then, unlike women, men are not defined as “Daddies”, even once they are.

So.  Here’s the thing. 

Women can read what they like, be they virgins, seniors, or (God forbid) mothers. 

We always have, and I’m pretty sure we always will.