J A M E S N O R T O N
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The human voice is a sensitive, nuanced thing. Reducing it to something as sterile as bits of information recorded on tape - or on digital media - is like pinning a dead butterfly to a corkboard.
How far will you roam for literary-related fun and excitement?
And, therefore, the involvement of sound-related media in something as personal as the lovemaking act has to be done with a great deal of deliberate thought.
What are you working on?
Would you videotape yourself in the act? Daring, isn't it, to reveal your most passionate, animalistic, psychologically significant motions to - potentially - the entire world?
What's your font?
Or not really. Haven't half the lousy cracked-out
What font turns you on?
In a sense, then, having a tape recorder next to the bed is actually a lot more discrete. By cutting out the visual aspect of the act and its accompanying commentary, you force a potential listener - or yourself - to recreate that entire spectrum of motion from cues that are entirely aural.
Which do you enjoy more: having sex or reading about people having sex?
But why even do that? We're supposed to be writers, right? And our readers are supposed to be readers, right? Encode with words, not the crude exactitude of audio equipment. Didn't somebody say that fiction describes truth more clearly than fact can? Or something like that?
What do you like to read aloud to the person lying post-coitally beside you?
That person couldn't have been a journalist, though.
Is the proverbial stack of books beside your bed
I guess there would be potential to incorporate an audio tape of lovemaking into a multimedia presentation. The danger with multimedia, though, is that you're doing it for the sake of saying "look! I did multimedia! I'm X!" where X= "avant-garde," "part of scene Y," "working with artist Z" instead of more accurately communicating a concept, theory, emotion or character sketch to a particular audience.
If you could take to bed any author, who would that author be?
The worst thing for an artist to do is fall in love with his or her medium at the expense of his or her audience. Er, wait. No. The worst thing an artist can do is to kill another human being. That's worse. Or contribute directly to killing, like those guys in Rwanda who ran "Radio Hate" - a station that just constantly egged on the Hutus to kill, kill, kill the Tutsis until the graves were full.
If you could take to bed any fictional character, which character would that be?
But, yeah. If you fall in love with your medium, you might - maybe - pick up some tricks that will help you when you get back to your real job - which is entertaining people. I mean, oops, conveying deep human truths. But hopefully while not putting everyone to sleep.
If you could sexually satisfy yourself with a book, which book would that be?
You fucking philosophy majors. Get your heads out of your asses and have a hot dog. Enjoy yourselves for once.
Which author do you most resemble, physically,
Coming around full circle: at least tape recording one's sex act/comments isn't abstractly, windbaggedly, jargon-ladenly boring. It's not rehashing Philosophy 203 by pushing gray, plodding characters through some painfully contrived modern setting like a truck stop.
Do you refuse to see the movie until you've read the book?
Although: truck stops are actually pretty interesting places. The men are men. The women are women, sort of. That pie really isn't pie, but it's cheap and the slices are big.
Do you still remember the page number you folded over in Judy Blume's "Forever?"
Taking a tape recorder to a truck stop would be a lot more interesting to me than taking one to my own bedroom frolic. First of all, people's defenses are immediately put up by a tape recorder; "Is this for radio?" "What are you going to do with this?" "I ain't saying anything while that thing's on." But eventually people relax.
Please submit both a good-sex sex scene and a bad-sex sex scene of your own composition. Please indicate which is which.
People will spill their guts out to a metal box if it's presented right.
Do signed first editions arouse you inexplicably?
Many people just want to be heard. I talked to a Somali today - he was driving a cab in Boston. A SOMALI. This guy fled his native country because of the civil war, wound up across the border in Kenya, and eventually came to America. Talking to a Somali is about 100 times more interesting than listening to some corn-fed Wisconsinite grunting and puffing through the act of lovemaking. Post-coital bon mots notwithstanding.
Does "submitting" to literary journals/websites have its sexual side?
Not that taping sex - and the related comments - doesn't have real potential. Of course, it would probably be best expressed mixed into a CD of similar comments/sounds, preferably with some sort of ravey-techno background music to tie it together.
What books have you read while entertaining the near-constant thought "Would I sleep with this writer?"
I remember a song called "Dildo Up, Dildo Down" that was a techno parody of a song called "Elevator Up, Elevator Down" that was a techno song maybe 20,000 people ever heard. God only knows what the distribution of the parody was.
Do you wait for your partner to get up to use the bathroom before you write down the things he/she said to you while having sex or do you whip out the notebook while he/she is still panting in the bed beside you?
But maybe having limited distribution is what makes a sound special.
Or do you keep a tape recorder beside the bed for just such a purpose?
I'm sorry; I don't understand the question.
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