Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lars Eighner

Lars Eighner's Elements of Arousal is my favorite book on writing smut. Many erotica writers rave about Susie Bright's How to Write a Dirty Story, and maybe if I'd read it before I wrote my first smut I would have found it helpful, but by the time I read it, I found nothing useful in it.

Usually when I find a writer I like I hunt down everything s/he writes and devour it, but sometimes I have to be reminded. Frank Herbert was like that. I've read Dune a million times, but only recently picked up his Dosadi Experiment. (Highly recommended, BTW) While I was at Saints and Sinners, I went to a master class with Steven Saylor, and he mentioned Travels with Lizabeth by Lars Eighner.

It's been on my reading stack ever since I got back from New Orleans. Less worthy books were on the top of it. Under threat of having my book buying habit cut off unless I actually read the collection I amassed, I tackled the others first. Call Travels With Lizabeth my reward for enduring everything that came before it.

A reviewer on Amazon sneers at his prose, but it flowed for me. His observations of the mental health system, which he worked in, and the arbitrary rules of public aid are enough to make you angry and make you laugh at the same time. While I might have enough in me to survive prolonged homelessness, this books made it clear that I don't ever want to find out. And yet, as often as I gritted my teeth at the things he endured, he never made it seem like a pity ploy. Just reporting the facts. This book is a real eye opener. No matter how many pancake dinners and hand-me-down Christmas presents we had, I realize that I had a good life while growing up. An address and clean water are true luxuries. Highly recommended reading.


Anonymous said...

I think Lars' writing book is remarkable too, and hardly anyone knows about it. The publisher marketed it as if it was a "get rich quick" scheme for gay porn writers, but what a slander that is. It's just a great, great, book about being a writer, to your core.


Lars Eighner said...

You are both very kind. The parts on marketing and how to use Wite Out are now museum pieces. The fundamentals seem to endure.

I receive video promo copy now in which no one ever does anything, but everyone starts to do something. Writers may send thoughts to their iPads one day, but starts will yet be poor thinking on that day.

Kathleen Bradean said...

Lars - I went into a state of fangirl bliss when I saw your reply on here. It's been a couple years since I read your book, and I still have moments where I flash back to parts of it. Thank you.