Thursday, January 21, 2010

Unduly noted.

In the long run-up to actually writing the novel, I was making random notes of the thoughts and ideas that occurred to me. The single Word file containing these notes grew over the years to the length of a novella. Now, as I begin each chapter, I scour this file for facts or reminders or snippets of pre-written dialog that are going to be needed, and as I find them, I move them into the file for that new chapter. As you can imagine, for the first few chapters, that was quite a task. It's just about the one aspect that gets easier as you go on, because each time there are fewer notes remaining to be accommodated.

Of course, when I'm finished, there'll be stuff left over that will never be used: scenes I decided to drop, avenues I didn't explore, points that didn't fit in anywhere. And inevitably, there's some material that seems to have no relevance at all -- at least,  over the years, I've completely forgotten why I made the notes in the first place.

Pride of place at the moment goes to a list of U.S. states in which oral sex is still illegal. (I say "still," but that implies that some politician may yet find the nerve to modernize these archaic laws that are still on the books, when we all know such a move would clash with the necessary piety he or she needs to fake to win re-election. Keep your head down, as they say.)

I have no idea why I thought I'd need this information, but for those who want to avoid arrest, they're Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Utah, Virginia and Washington D.C. (Odd that it didn't come up in Clinton's impeachment.)

However, according to my notes, even this pales beside some other state laws. Yes, state -- these aren't the peculiarities of some rural community, such as Connorsville, Wisconsin, where it's illegal for a man to shoot off a gun when his female partner is having an orgasm.

In Virginia. for example, it's against the law to have sex with the lights on. And if you want to make love in neighboring Washington, D.C. -- and who wouldn't? -- you can only do so legally if you adopt the so-called missionary position*. Lends a whole new meaning to "inside the Beltway." Capital.

*That's when two people sleep with a missionary between them. Joke.

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