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a beautiful hind
a list and some tidbits
by jason siciliano
2.15.02
writing


I write lots of first drafts. I've got piles and files of first drafts. Sometimes I pick one and do eight hundred revisions until it's thoroughly blanched, so smooth you can't even read it, like a perfect skipping rock. Five minutes later it's tsh-tsh-tsh...gone.

3-D Mud Madness (1983); Alley Cats: The Saga of the Raging Cow (1983); Caught From Behind 2: The Sequel (1983); For Your Thighs Only (1984); Stiff Competition (1984); Kinky Business (1984); Wizard of Ahhhs, The (1985); You're the Boss (1985); Young and Restless 2 (1985); Whore of the Worlds (1985)

I'm in an editing bay with my art director, the editor, the producer, and the director. We've been in there for days. We hate each other. Murder is the word. The director offers some comic relief, via the Internet. It's a list of the films of Ron Jeremy, the porn star. Everyone enjoys the list, but especially me. I love lists. I'm a list fan. As soon as I get back to the office, I violate my employer's Internet guidelines by searching the Web for "Ron Jeremy, filmography," and violate my clients by billing them for my time. Glorious clients!

Taija: Sizzling Hot (1985); Supergirls Do General Hospital (1985); Peek a Boo Gang (1985); Dirty Harriet (1986); 52 Pick-Up (1986); Hot Chocolate 2 (1986); Who's Dat Girl (1987); Space Vixens (1987); Gazongas (1987); Club Bed (1987)

My wife and I are driving to Monterey for the weekend. She has a thing for seahorses and she's never been to the aquarium. We drive Highway 1 because it's a beautiful day. The music's pumping, her shoes are kicked off, two feet on the dashboard. A mini-van passes us on the left and swerves into our lane without signaling. Then it slows to fifty.

"Mini-van!" I yell.

I move to the left lane and beg, plead, stroke, and will our little Honda Civic hatchback up to sixty-five, and we creep past the mini-van.

"When you drive a mini-van, your head shrinks," my wife says.

"Write that down," I command her. She stares at me like I'm a fool.

"I'm sorry," I say. "Would you mind please writing that down?"

She doesn't know the story she's birthed!

Attack of the Monster Mammaries (1987); Sophisticated Lady (1988); Little Red Riding Hood (1988); Cheek-a-boo (1988); Can't Beat the Feeling (1988); Ball in the Family (1988); I Dream of Christy (1989); Fat Ends (1989); Bad Mama Jama Busts Out (1989); Wild Wild Chest, The (1990)

I go to church every now and again. I quit it in high school, but I was married Catholic so my wife and I had to go for a time, and then I started to enjoy it. There's a priest in Berkeley who gives homilies ... I'M WRITING ABOUT RELIGION HERE ... so beautiful I've thought about recording them and giving them ... THEY AREN'T GOING TO LIKE THIS, THEY'LL THINK YOU'RE BORN AGAIN ... to friends as gifts. I want to keep my friends so I don't, but the man's words ... THEY'RE GOING TO THINK YOU LISTEN TO STRYPER AND PETRA, YOU CAN'T WRITE THIS ... his vocabulary, structure, and the way he speaks, the stories he tells, how he takes a belief system so ancient and makes it so applicable to everyday life ... GET BACK TO THE PORNO MOVIES.

Adventures of Buttgirl & Wonder Wench, The (1991); Three Men and a Geisha (1990); Specialist, The (1990); Fun in a Bun (1990); Anus Family, The (1991); Analita Campagnola (1991); Harder Way, The (1991); Sirens (1991); Breasts and Beyond 2 (1991); You Said a Mouthful (1992)

Qs: Why aren't short stories more popular? People have less and less time to read, right? Americans have short attention spans, right? Why hasn't my generation, raised on 30-cuts-a-second MTV, turned from the novel to the short story? Why don't guys take the Berkeley Fiction Review into the can, instead of a newspaper, which is cumbersome and disgusting spread out over the bathroom floor?

Vice Versa (1992); Seymore Butts: In the Love Shack (1992); Jugsy (1992); Good, the Bad, and the D-Cups, The (1992); Goddaughter 4, The (1992); Flintbones (1992); Dixie Dynamite and the All-Star Tit Queens (1992); Worst Porno Ever Made with the Best Sex, The (1993); What's Butt Got to Do with It (1993); Madame Hiney: The Beverly Hills Butt Broker (1993)

If a large man (300 lbs) was slipped ten hits of LSD, what could he expect to experience? Could he die? If he didn't die, could his brain turn to mush? Is it possible he could function? Shoot a gun? Drive a car? Don't worry, I'm not planning on eating acid and robbing a bank! Ha! I've just got this guy in this story I'm working on and I have no idea what tripping is like, especially from the physical/medical side. Thank you in advance, Dr. Alphonze. I know these are kind of strange questions to be asking, especially seeing as how you've just started dating my sister.

Legal Briefs (1993); I Love Juicy (1993); Butt Hole Boulevard (1993); John Wayne Bobbitt Uncut (1994); Big Boobs in Buttsville (1994); What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in an Anal Movie? (1995); Sgt. Peckers Lonely Hearts Club Gang Bang (1995); Because I Can (1995); Frankenpenis (1996); Wild Wild Chest 4 (1997)

I'm invited to a poker night hosted by a guy I know from Detroit. Both of our wives are out of town. I'm ready to gamble, drink, and smoke. Yell. Throw my cards down on the table. Piss someone off and take his money, have to worry about getting punched in the nose. (Not really, but sort of.) I get to the party and six of the eight players are three married couples. The ladies are drinking wine. They don't know how to play five-card draw.

In the words of Jonas Foster, "Gawd." Or, could this be the inspiration for…

You've got these three women, cousins, hustlers. We, the men, are billionaires, CEOs who get together once a year for incredible stakes. The ladies discovered the game through ... oh! One of the ladies isn't a hustler, she told her cousins about the game and they talked her into ... no! They forced her to join their sinister scheme! Which one is she? Which one is she?

"Hey, Jason. You in or out?"

"Oh, I'm in. I'm in!"

The couples stare. They don't know what I know!

Swinging in the Rain (1997); Cirque du Sex 3 (1997); 87 and Still Banging (1997); 1997 Miss Tight Ends Ass Contest (1997); Ronin (1998); Free at Last (1998); Booty Duty 5 (1998); Detroit Rock City (1999); Reindeer Games (2000); Ally McFeal (2000); Pornstar: The Legend of Ron Jeremy (2001)

This is by no means the entire filmography of Ron Jeremy. The list I found was well over 500 titles long.


ABOUT JASON SICILIANO

Thanks for reading.

more about jason siciliano




COMMENTS

lee anne ramsey
2.15.02 @ 2:56a

Short stories - the best ones I have EVER read are by Roald Dahl. (Yes, the guy who wrote James and the Giant Peach/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Danny, Champion of the World.)

My Uncle Oswald, Royal Jelly, Lamb to the Slaughter....

Just thinking about it makes me want to read them again.

adam kraemer
2.15.02 @ 8:11a

I completely agree, at least some of the best. Henry Sugar, The Swan...

Two interesting things about Mr. Dahl - 1) he invented the term "gremlin" to explain the inexplicable mechanical failures that sometimes occurred on WWII planes. 2) He didn't like children. Most of his protagonists are meek and "well behaved."

michelle von euw
2.15.02 @ 8:40a

I'm a huge fan of the short story - and Jason's 100%, with our limited attention spans, they should be more popular. Although, they are emerging -- Melissa Bank's "Girls Guide" was a huge best seller. In the past year or two, great short story collections have been published by Nina De Gramont, Jhumpa Lahiri, & Alice Munro. And I love the one Nick Hornby put together.

michelle von euw
2.15.02 @ 8:41a

whoops, something happened to the word "right" after "100%" in that last post.

mike julianelle
2.15.02 @ 8:45a

I don't even want to know what kind of sexual hi-jinks Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage get into in Vice Versa (1992).

mike julianelle
2.15.02 @ 8:52a

How good is this column, by the way? It's great, that's how good!

russ carr
2.15.02 @ 8:53a

Thank Roald Dahl for giving us Veruca Salt.

Another good short (story/novel) writer that you don't immediately think of: George Orwell.

mike julianelle
2.15.02 @ 9:08a

Never read any of his shorts, but I love 1984. Much better than Brave New World, in my opinion. Just sayin'.

roger striffler
2.15.02 @ 11:31a

I think most people like short stories, and probably would prefer them to novels in many cases. I think the issue is the way they are presented/made available to the public.
Generally, they're in collections, which I think is a little too hit or miss for most people. They're not going to buy a book of 20 stories because they like the author of one them, hoping that they'll like the other 19.
With novels it's easier - if you like an author's last book, you feel more confident buying another by him/her.

russ carr
2.15.02 @ 11:41a

Oh...and Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger. What my friend said was true -- if you like Wes Anderson's movies, you've really got to read Nine Stories.

mike julianelle
2.15.02 @ 11:43a

I've been meaning to reread Catcher, and since I love Anderson, I guess I'll give Nine Stories a try. I used to have it at home, sitting around from one of my brothers' old classes, but never read it.

joe procopio
2.15.02 @ 11:51a

The Hornby edited Speaking with the Angel is amazing.

This column is just awesome. Just awesome.

mike julianelle
2.15.02 @ 11:52a

I agree, this column rules.

russ carr
2.15.02 @ 5:25p

More musings on the Salinger/Anderson connection in this article, courtesy of my Boone's Farm-days comrade-in-mayhem, Jeffy, who needs to be convinced to join up here.

tracey kelley
2.17.02 @ 3:30p

Lorrie Moore. Ya gotta love Lorrie Moore's short stories. In Self Help, there's one called How to be a Writer. Oh. My. It is good.



michelle von euw
2.17.02 @ 10:56p

Tracey, how funny, I originally mentioned that same book & story by Lorrie Moore in my post, then edited it out because it wasn't released in the past two years, which was my point.

mike julianelle
2.18.02 @ 8:58a

Speaking of short stories, I just picked up Speaking With Angels, on the recommendation of my Intrepid Brethren. Don't let me down...

jael mchenry
2.19.02 @ 9:54a

The first story is the best. Savor it.

adam kraemer
2.19.02 @ 10:15a

So you're saying the book gets worse as you read it? There's a hell of a recommendation for you.

michelle von euw
2.19.02 @ 10:37a

I agree with Jael -- the collection is rather hit or miss, IMO, with the Dave Eggers story being a standout in the "miss" category. But I have Dave Eggers issues, so that might just be me.

jael mchenry
2.19.02 @ 10:56a

I like the Eggers story. I think. It intrigued me, that's for sure, I just don't know if I liked it in the final analysis.

The Hornby story, NippleJesus, I like more each time I read it. Firth was a disappointment but it's not like cute people are always good writers: except, of course, on Intrepid.

mike julianelle
2.19.02 @ 11:27a

The first story is hilarious, and by the author of Fatherland! Wow. I LOVE the Eggers story, tho it maybe lost a bit for being too long, but it made me even more excited to start A Heartbreaking Work, which I picked up on the same day as this. I didn't like Luckybitch, but I figured beforehand that the author of Bridget Jones wouldn't appeal to me. Firth's was okay, a bit trite but not bad. I liked The Wonder Spot and Last Requests and the Zadie Smith too. Overall, so far (I have maybe 3 to go) I am rather pleased.



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