Tag: Writing Thoughts

COFFEE SHOP TALK-Resolution Time

The holidays are over and I’m back in Coffee Shop. I’ve missed it. The coffee. The newspaper. The morning quiet. Being with people but, at the same time not being with people. The woman at the counter is happy to see me but not enough to give me a free coffee. I take my regular seat and open the newspaper. At first I don’t recognize the man who stops at my table. Not until he removes his toque. it’s Hat Guy. “No one puts Baby in the corner,” he says. And I think: Am I Baby? And am I sitting in a corner? I give him an itsy bitsy teeny-weeny smile. He picks up on my confusion and says, “you know Baby, Dirty Dancing.” I get it. He doesn’t want to sit at the table behind the wall. And I think: You’re not sitting here. You talk took much before nine. He walks around the room looking for someone to chat with. He’s in luck. Muffin Man sits down with his muffin and coffee. Hat Guy heads over to his table. They begin a: resolutions conversation. All about getting out more, doing more, slowing down. And I think: Are they talking about resolutions or goals? Two words that can be easily mixed up. The difference being: A goal has an end point. One either meets it or doesn’t. A Resolution is a long-term promise and usually broken. And how does one do more and slow down at the same time? I don’t know. But I have a whole year to find out.

Sheila Horne at:  https://www.facebook.com/sheilahorneauthor/

The Secret

I’ve often wondered: What’s the secret? I found out the other day. In need of a bra for a low cut dress, I took it to one of their stores—you know the one with the sexy lingerie. The sales clerk checked the front of my dress and said I needed a plunging bra. She handed me a few: A fully padded push-up, demi, semi-padded, an unpadded one that hooked in the front, and a bustier; she thought I should try on just for fun.

Since I wore push-ups in the 1970s, I started with that one. I slipped my dress over it and looked in the mirror. I laughed. My breasts spilt out of the top like two globes, which hadn’t seen the sun in forty years. The lyrics, blinded by the light, silicone sisters and boulder on my shoulder by Manfred Mann came to mind. Believe me, they were practically on my shoulders. The demi was perfect, not as much spillage as the push-up. “But not enough plunge,” the salesclerk said, examining how it looked with my dress. Next came the semi-padded. It worked, and I put it in my buy pile. No problem with the bralette. It was also a go. I took the unpadded one with the front hook from its hanger. I wore them in the ‘70s, so I knew I would buy it if I could get the clasp open. I had to put on my reading glasses to see what I was doing wrong. While I struggled with it, two young women were having a fashion show in the changing area. They came out of their cubicles, strutted around in various kinds and colour bras, critiquing each other. “I don’t like that colour on you.” “The pink is much better.” “Leopard is not for you.” “I like the coral.”

Okay, I’m open-minded and I’m not old. I don’t consider 60s old. But as they were commenting about each other’s bras, I couldn’t help but think: What does it matter if pink is not your colour or you like coral. No one will see them. If they were thinking men—well I’m not sure about that. If I recalled, we had beige, black, white and pink. They never stayed on long enough for men to admire or mention. Maybe they did, and I can’t remember. But it seems the world is different in 2016. Women are no longer hiding or burning their bras. They’re proud of them and showing them off along with their cleavage. Maybe if I were in my 20s, I too would be particular about what colour bra looked good on me. And want to show off the ones I was about to buy.

Anyway, while they discussed colours and styles I was sweating and swearing and fighting with the front clasp on the bra. I’d gotten it on. Loved it, but I couldn’t get it off. I tried to pull it over my head; that didn’t work. In the ’70s they were so much easier. And what about a man removing a woman’s bra with the flick of a finger, does it still happen? If so, was there one nearby? Or Houdini. I could have used his help. Since I was alone, on went my reading glasses again. When I finally got it off, I realized that as much as I loved it, there was no way I wanted a bra I had to put on glasses to hook and unhook. It went in the no pile. Then came the for fun red and lacy bustier. I decided it was a definite possibility. But it turned out to be more work than I planned on doing to be sexy. By the time I got it on I would need a nap. And I think I hurt my back. So here’s what I found out about the secret. You either have to be an escape artist or have perfect eyesight

Sex Or No Sex

sunshine-girls=product-photo-new  Half way through my first novel, Sunshine Girls I realized I had four      22-year-old female characters in 1973, but no sex. How could that be? After all wasn’t, sex, drugs and rock & roll the mantra of the decade? I took the problem to my writing group.

“You have to have sex,” one person said.

“No one wants to read a book without sex,” someone else added.

Since I’d never written a sex scene before, I headed to the romance section of the nearest bookstore. The first book I picked up, a bodice-ripping historical piece gave explicit descriptions of body parts. I perused a few paragraphs and put it back on the shelf. Too much like porn for what I had in mind. The next one about a woman being coy in 2011 was a little unbelievable for the era. Then I remembered the best seller, Fifty Shades Of Grey. Women loved it, so I bought a copy. I read one chapter and browsed through a few others and put it down. I’m picky about dialogue, maybe too much. From the way Christian Grey spoke, he seemed more like a vampire than young, good-looking and rich. Not the kind of person I wanted touching my protagonist. Besides my four characters were not into kinky. Or maybe they were, and my protagonist didn’t know about it.

In the four years of creative writing courses, not once did our teachers give us any hints on how to write sex scenes. And none of the articles I read on the subject seemed to fit what I wanted. I was on my own. It took me five hours to write one sentence. Mainly because I felt I needed to be careful with the protagonist, after all, she was a naïve twenty-two year old in 1973. Women still had a long way to go to lose the slut label. Once I got through the first scene, the others were easier and fun to write. I even laughed and enjoyed stretching my imagination.

paper-sun-product-photoThe sex scenes in Paper Sun were stress-free. The characters were fifty. By the time we get to forty, the word promiscuous should no longer exist. I even put my character in a no commitment sexual relationship with a man twelve years younger.

I still don’t know everything about writing sex scenes. But here’s what I figured out:

  • Relax.
  • Make sure no one else is around when you’re writing the scenes.
  • Unless it’s erotica or a bodice-ripping novel, keep it tasteful and simple—no need for long drawn out details.
  • Don’t forget the characters’ emotions.
  • Use your imagination.
  • Sex scenes do not have to be romantic.
  • Most of all be playful, laugh  and have fun with it.

In my third book, the characters are 65 years old and older. I’m dealing with bodies that are no longer youthful. Not to mention the up and down feelings that go along with aging. Up to now, my research describes all the physiological problems of people sixty and over. I haven’t found much on the emotional part of older adults having sex with a new partner or someone they haven’t seen in years. So, I’m back to asking myself the same question: sex or no sex.

See: http://sheilahorne.com

 

Come On Baby, Light Me On Fire

I woke up this morning thinking about crime magazines, B-Girls and women who light men’s cigarettes. Why would a woman light a man’s cigarette? I couldn’t find much about it on the Internet. But there’s a lot about men lighting women’s cigarettes. Unless the man is genuinely being polite, lighting a woman’s cigarette is a tool to pick up women. What we called a, ‘come-on’ in the 1970s—we weren’t stupid, we knew what was going on. One website stated it’s ‘sexist’, after all women have hands. Yes they do and, like men, are capable of lighting their own cigarettes. But none of the websites answered my question. Why did some women light men’s cigarettes? I’m not talking about sharing a match. I’m talking about a woman picking up a man’s lighter from a table and lighting his cigarette for him. Not to mention being in a bar and pouring his beer into his glass. What was that all about? Up to now my research has come up empty. But I think I know why women did it.

Gidget. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Gidget, I wanted to be her. You know, live in California where the weather is hot year round, have surfer guys fall in love with me, and end up with a Moon Doggie type for a boyfriend. Anyone who has seen the movies will know what I’m talking about. There’s a scene in Gidget Goes Hawaiian, where she and Moon Doggie are having dinner in a restaurant and she pours his coffee for him. That was to show him what a good little wife she would make, attentive and loving. As a ten-year-old girl I stuck that scene in my memory. It was something I needed to remember for when I grew up. I must have forgotten because I never did pour my dates’ beers into their glasses. In forty years of marriage I’ve only poured my husband’s beer for him once. He looked at it suspiciously and said, “you poured my beer for me, why?” Who knows? Maybe the memory card from the Gidget movie had finally popped out of the file drawer in my brain.

This brings me to B-Girls. Who were they? Actresses who starred in B-Movies? Bad girls? My research tells me they were Bar Girls, not to be mixed up with Bar Flies. They’re a whole different story. B-Girls were hired by bars in the 1930s to entertain men, light their cigarettes and pour their drinks. If you read old crime magazines or watch Turner Classic Movies, you know the type. The kind that according to Rick James, you don’t take home to mother. I don’t have anything against them. They fascinate me. It has to do with lighting the man’s cigarette. I’ve never lit anyone’s cigarette. Except when they were driving and asked me to pass them one. I stuck it in my mouth, lit it and handed it to them. Not the same thing and definitely not sexy.

As I wrote this, another memory from my brain’s cache jumped out at me: A girl I once met while on a dinner date with someone whose name I can’t recall. I was twenty and naïve at the time. My date’s friend brought a girl with him. I can’t remember their names either. But I do recall her pouring his beer into a glass, leaning in close and lighting his cigarette. It had nothing to do with showing him what a good little wife she would make. It was more of a, ‘let’s get it on.’ Nothing wrong with it, after all it was the‘70s-one of the wildest decades. I spent the night captivated by the way she moved her hair. The way she coyly smiled and adjusted her dress. The way she tended to his smoking and drinking needs. I have to admit, for a moment I thought of pouring my date’s beer and lighting his cigarette, particularly when she filled up his glass for him. But then the scene played out in my mind: spilled beer all over the table. Me, dabbing at the mess with wads of tissues from my purse while my date went up in flames. All to The Doors singing about: a funeral pyre and setting the night on fire. So, I changed my mind and watched her serve herself up to both our dates.

Was she a B-Girl? Do B-Girls still exist? I’m not sure. Maybe. But I do know attentive is not for me. It wasn’t in the ‘70s and it isn’t now—especially if it has to do with pouring or lighting things. It’s better left to the women I can only write about. The B-Girls.