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Happy Fourth: More Friday Flotsam and Jetsam from the Web

I declared independence in my post here last Tuesday. Or at least I proposed the possibility of a hot and romantic narrative without the obligatory HEA.

To which smart reader Deborah responded that what RWA actually requires is an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending” — for which crucial clarification of the discussion I thank her again.

Onward the journey. What are the varieties of Emotionally Satisfying Ending (ESE?) anyway? Stay tuned.

Interesting, and risky, too — this business of sharing my thoughts in cyberspace. About books not yet written or contracted for, ideas itching to be explored.

Speaking of itches — from a recent, fascinating New Yorker piece:

The definition offered by the German physician Samuel Hafenreffer in 1660 has yet to be improved upon: An unpleasant sensation that provokes the desire to scratch.

Perhaps it was the word provoke that caught my attention. I’m fascinated by urges and compulsions, sensations that can only be quelled by countersensations, feedback loops, tautologies.

Perhaps that’s why I had my porn heroine Carrie compare herself to Wile E. Coyote, in his perpetual pursuit of the Road Runner (the pic, of course, is of Itchy and Scratchy, The Simpsons genius cartoon-within-a-cartoon). Perhaps my own perpetual itchiness is why I have difficulty with the concept of endings, and why part of me will always feel most comfortable as an erotic writer (except that I seem to need the romance part too! No, wait, the pornographic part! But…)

Stay tuned as I try to figure out what I’m doing — and also (because I never met a meta I didn’t like) what I’m doing when I think out loud in cyberspace. And also read this excellent blog post by the literary/historical scholar Caleb Crain about what a weird business blogging really is. Here’s my favorite bit:

There is often, instead, a jazzy, hectoring tone. At home my boyfriend and I use a certain physical gesture as shorthand to describe it. To make it, extend your index fingers and your thumbs so that your hands resemble toy pistols. Then waggle them before you, like a dude in a cheesy Western, while you wink, dip your knees, and lopsidedly drawl, “Heyyy.” The internet is always saying, “Heyyy.” It is always welcoming you to the party; it is always patting you on the back to congratulate you for showing up. It says, You know me, in a collusive tone of voice, and Wanna hear something funny? and Didja see who else is here?

I’ve certainly seen the pistol gesture, employed most memorably (to me, anyway) by the cute yuppie mayor of San Francisco at a campaign debate. And I certainly recognize the tone. In truth, I try for that tone in this blog — though I also think we say “heyyy” rather differently in the girl blogs. Our collusive “heyyy” is nicer, more mutually supportive, a sort of nest-building thing (other, better descriptions gratefully accepted from readers). But read Crain’s whole piece. Particularly those of you who hang out a lot on the romance blogosphere: I’d love to know your thoughts.

And meanwhile… But seriously. Because even if you read romance as a respite from all the horrid stuff out there in the blood-and-brick-and-mortar world (and who doesn’t find his or her own way to a private romance reality?) — read this post about early (or earlier) detection of ovarian cancer. One of my dearest friends has a doctor (a doctor! a certified MD!) who evidently didn’t know this. Or forgot it. Or something. Which shows how desperately we need to know stuff like this. Our bodies, Ourselves, remember? No kidding.

And have a great Independence Holiday weekend.

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