Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Crutch of Mutual Fantasy

I just finished reading my own book. I never did do the final read-through for errors before it went to print -- that task got farmed out to my husband because I was deep in the throes of pre-publication anxiety and had started to become worried that exposure to my own work would cause me to start gnawing limbs off in the hope that it would forestall the embarrassment of having my imperfect prose revealed to the world.
Such are a writer's anxieties. I was glad to discover that the book reads fairly well, but I found that I hit the end of it without having a clear picture of the lesbian relationship that is supposed to be at the centre of the story. There are two reasons for this: the first is that I can speak as openly as I like about the things that are mine -- my sins, my thoughts, my experiences -- however there is a certain cloak of privacy behind which my ex-girlfriend has to be allowed to hide. It isn't my place to reveal her (which is why her name is changed, in the text, to Michelle). The second reason is that there is a lack of anything to say. The relationship started out with a great deal of real content. We shared the same loves, finished each others sentences, did everything together. By the end, there was nothing except for the crutch of a mutually shared fantasy life. The friendship could literally not survive beyond the end of the sexual relationship, because it had already died, suffocated beneath one make-believe relationship after another. We had stopped interacting, really, with one another long before the end came, it just wasn't apparent.
This is why I am terribly opposed to all of those "how to fix your sex-life" articles that advise married couples to indulge in a little mutual fantasy in order to spice things up. When the person that you are making love in your mind to is not the same person who is actually before you, the real relationship dies. The spice is there, sure, but beneath it the meat of the relationship rots away and eventually decays into dust. Eventually there is nothing at all, nothing to say to one another, and nothing to say about one another, because the person who you allegedly love is no longer someone that you know.

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