Sunday, June 26, 2011

Erica Jong

Erica Jong is the author of Fear of Flying and the editor of a newly released book titled Sugar In My Bowl: Real Women Write About Real Sex, an anthology features essays and short stories about sexuality from prominent female writers in a variety of fields.

From her Q & A with Nick Andersen at the Wall Street Journal:

The Wall Street Journal: In your introductory essay for this book, you mention that sexuality has been cheapened in more recent times. How has writing about sex changed since you first published “Fear of Flying?”

Erica Jong: There is so much pornography on the internet, and there isn’t really any good, sensitive, smart writing on sexuality, which is the opposite of pornography. To get a bunch of really good writers to write about their feelings was really hard to do. When people go out to write about their feelings, that’s hard to do. People wanted to ask their significant others, their children — which is a mistake. Regardless of changing attitudes, it’s still hard to write about sexuality. Often, women who write about sex are not taken seriously as writers. They feel they are demoted on the literary scale.

So how did you assemble this collection, then? Who did you call, and how did you choose?

I know a lot of writers. I used to be the President of the Author’s Guild, so I had a lot of writers’ numbers. I wanted variety, and I didn’t want explicit essays. I wanted a broad spectrum of ideas, fantasies — but not explicit writing. I called up Gail Gollins, and she said, ‘I’m going to write about how Catholic education primes you for bad sex.’ She has such a satirical spin. But you also have Liz Smith going back to the 1940s, talking about sex during World War II. Or Ann Roiphe talking about children playing doctor — both are afraid, but both are helping the other along, too. Or even my daughter saying, ‘They had sex, so we don’t have to.’ It’s a backlash, and a kind of summary of where we are.

Were there writers that you didn’t get to contribute that you wish you had?

I wish that I had...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue