Saturday, March 28, 2015

Workshop Response, or Portrait of the Fartist as a Young Grad Student (First in a Retrospective Series)

    I’m not really sure what to say about this one.  I’ve surely never been this shocked by a workshop story.  It’s not a positive shock though, it’s certainly a disgusted and surprised kind.  This story left me wondering why anyone would go about forming this plot.  A lot of the writing wasn’t bad but everything was overwhelmed by the events of the story. 
    Specifically, I have no issue with reading about men having relations with each other; so the idea that I don’t like the story because I’m a homophobe can quickly be dispelled.  The handling of the material is entirely offensive and this is from a person who’s not easily offended.  The narrator’s choice of words and ways of describing things lead the reader to believe that none of the subject matter was taken seriously.  A few examples include: “grabbing his manhood and taking in a mouthful of gratification for them both,” “his boxers instantaneously soaked in greasy fluids from a throbbing member.”  I could go on but I won’t.  This sounds like something out of Penthouse Letters (yes I’ve read Penthouse Letters before).
    The writer seems to have a real problem with tone also.  Several bits of dialogue are punctuated oddly with exclamations or question marks where they clearly don’t belong.  For example, “Is this what you want!”  People don’t yell at each other when they are having foreplay, nor do they yell when asking a question. 

    The ending of this piece just flabbergasted me.  Not only did he have sex with his fiancé’s father but he got HIV from him?  In what world do symptoms of HIV occur immediately?  And I won’t even mention the toilet scene.  There’s so many things wrong with this story that I’m going to have to stop here.  My suggestions would be either to tone down the language or just change the subject matter all together. 

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