Monday, August 22, 2005

Artistic Vision

I don't have one.
Sorry about that.
If my present novel ever makes it to the market place you will find, gentle men and gentle fems, that it contains no illuminating ecstacies on the meaning of life, or the state of, the cruelties inherent in, or the triumphant survival over, the human condition.
I just want to tell an entertaining tale.
In fact, the only thing profound about the present book is the state of irritation that prompted me to write it.
Frankly, I was sick and tired.
Tired of reading about nubile nineteen-year old heroines.
Please do not mistake me. I like those books. I read those books, with interest and pleasure. But after awhile one begins to feel a vague sense that one is reading, well - I'll be crude here - child porn. Sometimes one feels a certain sense of distaste, as if one was reading, in effect, about the sex lives of one's daughters.
Unfortunately, bears the unmistakable sub-text that women over thirty, and -gasp-especially over forty are not sexy or desirable. They cannot have adventures or have hunky, alpha heroes lusting after them. Older women sometimes appear, occasionally, but usually as the Evil Other Woman. Or the Neurotic Mother.
Gag. Bullshit does that.
Are we writing to satisfy the erotic dreams of pimply adolescent males?
I know and know of lots of women who are drop-dead gorgeous well-past their middle age. And I know or know of men who find them so.
I'm talking about something very basic here: a romantic heroine in her forties. Not one who is dealing with middle-age angst - divorce, second career, grown children. She may have those particular elements as back story, but she is the classic romantic heroine.
Why not?
We hear mutters about the "greying of America" and other publishing demographics, and that brings me to another crank-turner: the designation "Hen Lit."
The very term (Old) Hen Lit is derogatory. Over-the-hill. Frumpy. Saggy. Dingbat in the mental department. It demeans an entire cannon of human experience. I resent it. Profoundly.
Artistic vision? No. I'm perfectly willing, eager in fact, to "prostitute my art."
Right now I'm looking for a good pimp.


Hiddle said...

I am wondering if I can admit to knowing you on one of these blog things.
Keep note - you are my elder, but this is the first time I have responded to a blog. Luddite that.
I laughed with this entry - just like when I read your MS.
It is strange - when we are young, are heroes are always older. We often find those heroes in our books. As we age, shouldn't there always be that traveler ahead of us, showing the way - not into their grave but into new expreiences, new thoughts and new joys?
If we stop thinking we die. And we need books to help us to keep thinking, and to keep us from feeling we've seen it all.
And I'm glad I've never told you anything about my sex life.

Bernita said...

Remember, I never asked...

hero protagonist said...

Good on you
for writing the novel.

Many people claim they want to write a novel, but precious few actually do.

Will you post any of your fiction here?

(I don't mean part of your novel necessarily, but any fiction in general?)

Or do you prefer to confine your blog to personal essays?


Bernita said...

How very nice of you to drop by and thank you for your good wishes.
I enjoyed your blog. I think you are a wicked, wicked man at that.
Really, I don't know yet, it will probably be essays for the time being. This is all very new to me.
The blog title is alarmingly accurate.

hero protagonist said...

>I enjoyed your blog.

Your interest
most humbly
gratifies me.

>I think you are a wicked,
>wicked man at that.

Lest any misconception fester, I must respectfully point out that I serve merely as a mouthpiece of the Lumpen Literati editorial professors, whose array of intellectual accomplishments vastly eclipses my own vulgar meanderings in every sphere, save, perhaps, in the passing of nocturnal gas, at which I excel far more than they, though, to be candid, I consider this skill to be more a gift than a talent, but I digress.

>it will probably be essays
>for the time being.

I shall await their appearance with
rich expectation!

ScaramoucheX said...

Listen, though...isn''t romantic love the province of the young and/or inexperienced? If people in their forties and upward haven't figured out the limitations of that way of relating, experiencing the other, should we care? There is something tired and stale in the reading of the exploits of aging paramours (like that awful movie, 'Something's Gotta Give')...aren't therew better stories? Don't people evolve as they get older? Bernita, give us some hope!

Bernita said...

I think I will answer that with a brief passage from my book.
A bright young agent-in-training watching the heroine walk through an airport, comments, "Nice ass." His boss looks him over slowly and says finally, "You really are young, aren't you?"

Dorothy said...

Bernita, interesting observation of the term "hen lit." You do have a point. I write "hen lit" but the thing is we haven't been able to give it a proper name. Since it's an off branch of chick lit, and is about older protags, hen lit just stuck I guess. Don't care much about it myself, just thankful we have a genre in the first If you ever get a chance, head over to our hen lit blog at And then there's my blog, Boomer Chick: Musings of an Over the Hill Chick. *smile*

Bernita said...

Thank you, Dorothy.
I shall come and lurk.