Extracts from Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things
Psychological Background to Assist the Reader in Understanding Sheila's Character Development and Motivations.
When Sheila was ten she masturbated in her father's car outside Nathan's Famous in Coney Island. Rhythmically squeezing together and relaxing her thighs, she ate a hot dog the while.
When Sheila was an innocent ten, she masturbated in her father's sinister car outside Nathan's Famous in sordid Coney Island. Rhythmically squeezing together and relaxing her nervous thighs, she stealthily ate a hot dog the while.
The "hot dog" is a bona fide phallic symbol. Any book dealing with Erotica worth its salt will have a picture or two of some starlet (say Diana Dors or Mamie Van Doren), lips wetly gleaming,* about to surround with eager mouth the pedestrian wiener. These pictures are under the section headed "Fellatio." The reader's response should run: "Looka that, looks like she's suckin' a cock!" This is a subtle business.
* He turns a nice phrase.
(from page 21)
* * * * *
Here is a test for editors to see if they are fit to pass judgment on books. They must get six right.
1. What contribution to jazz drumming did Big Sid Catlett make? Jo Jones?
2. What is uniquely excellent about Paul Goodman’s fiction?
3. What is a swizzle stick? A swizzle?
4. Name the great trombone section in Ellington's 1938 band.
5. What is Jack Kerouac's best piece of writing?
6. Explain how a critic like John Simon cloaks his ignorance.
7. Recount two legends on how the Gibson got its name. (This should be easy.)
8. What is Kenneth Patchen's best poem?
9. Point out a failure of tone in The Sky Changes.
10. What is the basic flaw in Norman Mailer’s fiction?
(from page 77)
Extracts from Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things by Gilbert Sorrentino. Copyright © 2004 by Gilbert Sorrentino. Published by Dalkey Archive Press. Reprinted with the kind permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.