Saturday, June 20, 2009

Synchronicity: "Ten Minutes in the Eighties"


I first read about this magical confluence of apparent happenstance in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, one of my favorite “creative process” books of all time (her other books don’t work as well for me, but this AW was a true gem for finding my creative confidence when I first started writing more than a decade ago). For Cameron, “synchronicity” is another word for answered prayers, a hint that the universe might be intelligent and responsive, especially to those who dare to create—but also, as we all know from Blogger, with spam words.

Anyway, I ran into a lovely bit of synchronicity the other day, just around the time I was contemplating the female beauty trap and the toll it takes on young women and also appreciating the eloquent comments my blog buddies had left on the topic. I happened to be glancing through my erotica collection and I pulled out The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 4, the first volume of that anthology in which my work appeared. I was scanning the contents and noticed a story by Alison Tyler that I hadn’t yet read: “Ten Minutes in the Eighties.”

Not only is this story a masterpiece in its own right—perfect prose, wickedly funny and very hot—but it expresses so much of what I was talking about in a poignant and powerful fictional package. When I finished the story, my jaw was hanging open. It captured so much about the female experience in our culture. The setting is LA, the fantasy factory of the nation, and just the thing for elevating one woman’s experience to the universal.

Here’s the brilliant first line that immediately enthralled me:

“For 10 minutes in the ’80s, I was beautiful.”

And, believe me, it just gets better from there. So go read Alison’s story in the Good Vibrations Archives. It’s pure gold.


Craig Sorensen said...

Yes, that was excellent. What a great combination of self discovery and external influence.

Isabel Kerr said...

Hi Donna,

I’ve had several syncronious moments lately, it’s a little eerie. First of all someone just gave me a copy of The Artists Way. One of my other alter egos is clothing designer and I’ve been conjuring bordeaux corsets with silver lace trim, and then a number of other stars aligned, so to speak, and here we are.

This story of Alison’s is very powerful, and of course beautifully written, and illustrates that idea I was thinking of, in a previous post, which is that we each have the look in the sense that there is a certain something very beautiful in each of us which just takes the right person to notice and point it out. But the most important person is us. I have seen the lover and the lover is us. We need to learn to look at ourselves in the way a lover might and believe in and internalize that certain something that makes us uniquely beautiful.

Thank you so much Donna for opening these conversations.

Donna said...

I agree it was an amazing story, Craig! And how interesting you happened up The Artist's Way, Isabel--perfect for corset making artists to find their way, too!

I absolutely agree that the "look" is that special something inside of us and the producer-guy just happened to be the first to notice it and offer a stage for it to blossom. Thus, the narrator tell him he has "a look," which is exactly the ability to perceive her look :-). Of course, riffing off of the Hollywood discovery myth makes it all the more powerful by making giving her story a mythic quality. I could go on and on, give me a great story and I want to write a paper on it (like EllaRegina....)

Emerald said...

Man, what a fucking gorgeous story. Thanks for pointing to it Donna!

"I felt as if I’d never hurry again, never be nervous again."

Incredible line...

And Isabel — beautiful offering on beauty (really not even meaning the wordplay there). Thank you!

Thanks again Donna!

Alison Tyler said...

Wow, thanks so much! But I have to say — the other day (in the bathtub of all places) I was mulling over the topic of "everyone's beautiful" — sort of similar to what IK just said. I really believe this is true.

Thank you for the happy wake-up call!


Donna said...

I believe it's true, too, Alison! Not sure why society seems intent on squashing the spark. Maybe it's too scary to have too much beauty or sex or pleasure?

Anyway, it was a true pleasure to read and share your amazing story :-).

Jeremy Edwards said...

I think this was one of the first stories I ever read by the legendary Alison Tyler; and it's as riveting for me now as "the first time."

The piece shows so many truths in the course of its ten-minute journey to orgasm(s) and beyond. One of the most powerful moments for me is the succinct but stunning testimony to the protagonist's exhibitionistic fulfillment:

I didn’t need anything from him except his gaze.

Thank you for taking us to the Hills, Alison and Donna!

Donna said...

That's exactly it, Jeremy! Isn't that what we all need, especially writers?

Erobintica said...

Finally got to read this earlier this afternoon (had started it twice but was interrupted). Wow. There is just so much going on in that short story - I loved it.

EllaRegina said...

Pure gold, indeed! Beautiful pitch-perfect piece. And, should you need (perhaps relevant) background music to accompany AT's story, here are another four minutes and forty-six seconds from the 80s.

Scarlett Greyson said...

I finally got to read this breaktaking story this morning and it made me cry.

I can't put into words why, but it simply left tears streaming down my face.

Donna said...

Whew, ER, that guy has great hair, doesn't he? But seriously, there was a certain mood to the video that felt right.

And Scarlett, yes, I was very moved by this story, too. I also loved how the narrator was empowered by it all. On a deep level, this is the erotic story I'm trying to write over and over again.

Thanks all for joining the "reading group."