Tuesday, November 29, 2005

There's an amusing post script to my post on Carson McCullers and her book "Reflections in a Golden Eye." One of the topics that came up was how a young woman from a fairly sheltered background in the South could write with such conviction and confidence about the inner life of gay men, particularly conflicted gay men, and the world of soldiers on a military base.

We all knew that she had been an inhabitant of a most amazing bohemian household in Brooklyn, New York that is profiled in the book "February House" (our previous month's selection). Among the others at various times were British composer Benjamin Britten and his lover the tenor Peter Pears (in the U.S. having left Britain as Conscientious Objectors at the beginning of WWII in Europe), poet W.H. Auden, a couple of other gay men, and the famous, outrageous, quite wonderful Gypsy Rose Lee, stripper extraordinaire and at that time an aspiring writer. She and McCullers shared an entire floor of the house.

So her house-mates may well have given her some insight into the gay psyche, but the central confrontation of the book, one that begins the Captain's journey toward some self-knowledge, seems to have had a different origin. You can check it out in the last paragraphs of my previous post--the Captain is lying on the ground next to a horse after a terrifying ride and sees a young soldier, naked and leaning against a tree, looking down at him. The soldier steps right over the Captain and leads the animal away. One of the men in the group consulted a friend about McCullers and got this answer:

"And yes, Carson WAS gaudy. She was here [Yaddo], ya know. And the story goes around that one of the times she was here, at the same time as Katherine Anne Porter, Carson fell madly in love with K.A.P., who loathed her. And so to get K.A.P. to pay attention to her, Carson lay down naked in front of K.A.P.'s door. And what did K.A.P. do but walk out and STEP OVER HER!"

When is a plantain not just a piece of tropical fruit? When it's a sex toy, of course.

Some of you may already know how to do this but it came as (delightful) surprise to Fritz and me a couple of years ago at one of our big New Years country house parties.

One of the guys arrived with a big bag of plantains. Since the weekend had a pot luck aspect, we didn't think too much about this, assuming he was going to fry them for one of the dinners. Nothing like. Every now and then, he'd disappear with one of the other guests for half an hour or so. Word spread quickly that they'd "been plantained" by our charming and generous friend. Eventually we had our own turns getting plantained.

He'd take you upstairs to the room he'd settled into, you'd both get naked, and he'd pull a plantain from the bunch, deftly taking one end off with a sharp knife. Then he'd squeeze out the contents, leaving the strong but flexible plantain skin coated with remnants of the soft, slippery, sweet smelling fruit. Then, after some hand play to get you nice and hard if you weren't already, he'd slide the plantain on, get you off and send you back to the party very happy indeed.

Stop it! I really thought you were going the other way with the plantain thing - but weirdly, this is even more intruiging. I take it a plantain skin is a bit thicker than a bannana skin, yes?

Relavent to the other topic, are the books you've discussed in groups generally gay themed, or not necessarily? I've been thinking I haven't read much (real) gay literature at all. If you count Mary Renault novels, in high school, I've read three. The only modern one being one called Buddies.

Would you have pointers to a list (or one of your own) that covers a range of the better novels out there? I don't know, just looking for someplace to start.
Atari, I have a list of everything the group has ever read, going way back before I joined. They pick really good stuff for the most part. I'll send you a copy via email.

Yes, plantains have a stronger, thicker skin that will hold up to, ah, squeezing, pounding and rapid jerking motions.
Hey cool, thanks!

And I'll have to cop a feel if I see some plantains at Shaw's
Oh. Wow. How horrifyingly wonderful! Both parts.
Atari--if your one modern gay writer is Ethan Mordden, at least you picked a really good author.
Perfect! I'll have to get a plantain to go with my chocolate cream pie hat, cherry navel pendant, and edible underwear.
Brian, I think you're turning into Carmen Miranda before our very eyes.
Will's blog is getting naughty.

Me likey :-)
Mordden was luck of the draw for me – impulse. I think I thought gay fiction was all just mature porn. Obviously, I was clueless, as usual.
The one scene that sticks in my head is a description of a guys that had become so jaded, sexually, that they had to subject young guys to serious pain just to get excited. A sense that these folk had long ago focused on the purely physical, leading to a life of emotional emptiness. My reaction stuck with me since then: “If you see that beginning in yourself, stop. There are more important things than the physical. Do not lose your connection to others, your humanity.”
So yeah, it was a lot better than stroke fiction.
Now I see Buddies is part of a whole quadrillogy of books! Maybe a good place to start?
I now wish I didn't read this entry at work. Now I have to stay seated and take the zero. No getting up to the blackboard for me.
Getting Plantained!

Very Cool, I will never be able to look at a plantain again without smiling.

And to think I've been throwing those out!
Someone once told me "Your dick tastes like oranges", and it was the next morning when I remembered having made orange juice the day before.

But plantains? Oy vey!
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