When is a Cherry not a Cherry?

cherryLike an artist loving colors, like a potter loving texture, I love words. I love the written word, the spoken word. I love the English language in all its curly q’s and static punctuation marks. I love reading, I love creative conversations, and, as you know, I love writing.

I’m also such a child when it comes to words.

Take today. I’m entering catalog copy onto the website, and the product is hoes. I chuckle as I type. I wouldn’t have chuckled 15 years ago, but the world of English has changed since I was a young tart. One of my favorite movies is Fred Astaire in The Gay Divorcee. More giggles. Pussy used to mean cat. Cock was a male rooster. Chuckle chuckle. A shaft was a vertical opening or passage through the floors of a building. Jugs held moonshine or water. Laughing with me yet? Now I find myself avoiding those words just because of today’s connotations.

The same is true with reading and writing sex scenes. Now, I’m not a puritan. Through the years I’ve had my share of “love on the picnic bench” or “kitchen table bumps.”  But as I get older the words just don’t stimulate like they used to. There are lots of books out today where women are ravished and men are studding and the language is as red as bing cherries. I mean, how many erotic positions and sounds can there be? I’m not a prude either. Healthy libidos are what keep us young. So how do you balance sex and love and lust in your blockbuster novel without being embarrassed about every other word?

One way is to write sex scenes that explode without saying one dirty word.

Ever try saying something without saying something? Now, that’s a challenge! Funny thing is, I enjoyed the challenge. Try out this passage from my latest creation:

His sensuality devoured me, sparking a hunger I never knew I had. I was not a virgin, but I might as well have been, as I surrendered to his caresses and his demands. Falling on the feathered bed, his hands found every curve, every fullness of my body, sending electrical currents through me. Currents I almost could not stand. His mouth followed his hands, and I found myself following his lead, my needs exploding into sounds and screams of pure pleasure. When he took me it was if a monster roared above me. Guttural, wild, transcending this plane to another and another. I matched his transcendence, spiraling out of control, the heat from our stones exploding inside of us, inside of each other.

Not one male chicken, not one kitty cat.  Not one moonshine container or vertical passage in a  building. Normal “words” like hands and mouths and explosions, but nothing is ever really said. Just implied.

I suppose for most it’s a pretty boring passage. The point of using variations of cats and roosters is to get that extra blush that words like kisses and hugs can’t bring. It’s like using swear words when you’re a little kid. You’re not supposed to say them, but every time you do you get that little thrill of being naughty. And that’s the power of words. One word can launch a thousand dreams, a thousand nightmares. That — is power.

I must admit I do miss some of the old-fashioned words, though. I personally miss — and use — the cat’s meow, groovy, the cat’s pajamas, jive, holy mackerel. I’m not going to stop watching The Gay Divorcee or Leave it to Beaver just because slang has twisted the words around.

But that’s not going to stop me from giggling every time I type the color buff or cherry.

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5 thoughts on “When is a Cherry not a Cherry?

  1. Oh, it is a contained period of time. I guess it’s sort of when I “broke bad” my semester of college in a foreign country – the months leading up to when I met my husband. I agree that you can only describe the same thing so many times…which is why a few of the times I just insinuated rather than specifically described.

    However I feel that each experience with each man (and I don’t mean -only- sexual) was -so- different and helped me to discover/explore myself in such a different way (whether positive or negative) that it would be a disservice to leave any one out. I guess I mean that each experience so radically caused/affected the next that completely leaving it out would adversely affect the flow of my story.

    So, I am trying to describe the feelings that each relationship caused/helped me to understand in a non-erotic (or only quasi-erotic) manner while not using the word “manhood” for the gazillionth time (haha).
    xLoJu

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  2. I would love to be able to speak with you more in depth about this topic, if you have any advice. I finished, maybe, 100 pages of a memoir that, fortunately or otherwise, is heavy in these kind of encounters.

    My problem is, I would like to “keep it classy.” The sex is not so much about the sex but about the interaction between myself and a man and how each encounter awakened me just a bit more.

    But how do you diversify (daintily) when you’re on the 7th man and you’re not halfway through your manuscript?
    xLoJu

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    1. Hi Lola — Maybe you just need to narrow down the time frame in your work. Mine takes place over a couple of weeks, so it is a specific amount of time in a long, winding lifetime. And I am of the belief that you can only describe some things so many times — a creative sentence can carry you through a lot of romance!

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