The First Rule of Book Club. The sex discussed in Book Club stays in Book Club.

Sex  sells  books. And I’ve made a study  of  the  sex  that  sells books. There are two types. Firstly,  there  are  the  Boys’   Own   Adventure   Stories.  In  these  Blockbuster  books  with embossed  gold  author’s  name  above  the title, a name which should leap out at you in the airport bookshop shouting ‘buy me, I’m a big, ballsy, blockbuster adventure book. Sshhhhhh!’ That is  the  sound  of  testosterone  eminating  from  the  hero’s  armpits. These  books  are generally written by blokes for blokes and  offer a peep show view of a well-packaged Male Sex Fantasy.  In  a  Boys’  Own  Adventure  Blockbuster  our  hero  has  sensational  sex  on the second page with, perhaps, a stunningly beautiful nurse in a bi-plane over the trenches in  France  in the  First  World  War to  the  accompaniment of a battlefield soundtrack. The  sex  takes  one paragraph before he ressumes his  testostrone-feuled  life -threatening  but heroic adventure, which  continues  at  a  clipping  pace  until  his  next  rapid-fire  sexual encounter, probably with a besotted milk-maid in a barn near where his bi-plane recently crashed. This could istart with a hand job. Those milk maids do have rare talents.

Meanwhile, in the  Girls’  Own  Romance  Novel,  aimed obviously at the chic-lit aficionado, the Female Sex Fantasy ambles aimlessly over many pages. Our  hero  and heroine meet in the first chapter and  are  then  tragically  separated  for  the  next  17 chapters. They finally meet  again  in  chapter 18, declare  their  true  love  and  have  sex in  an historical setting, perhaps  in  an  old  castle  that  our  hero, The Earl of Essex,  recently  inherited among his many estates. But they don’t  just  jump  onto  each  other’s bones. The  sexual  tension must build until the air is  fraught  with  anticipation. There  will  be  a  small  break  in the middle of Chapter 18 for  a  sensual  meal  with  flowing wine, furtive  glances and a searing accidental  contact  of,  say,  his  finger  tips  brushing  her, um,  wrist. When  the  shagging  finally takes place  it  will  be  in  an  historical  four-poster bed and the process from the first kiss to the Halluhejah chorus will take an entire chapter.

This  is,  of course, my  take  on  the genres. But I am grateful to Judith Newman for throwing more light on Male vs Female literary sexual fantasies. In her article, Dear Book Club: It’s You, Not Me  (MAY 11, 2017)  in  the  New  York  Times, she  told  the story of one couples Book Club that  came  to  grief  following  a  discussion  of  the  sex in Cormac McCarthy’s  “All the Pretty Horses.”  According to book club member Elizabeth St. Clair, a lawyer, “the main character is staying in a bunkhouse, and over the course of several nights a gorgeous strange woman comes to his bed and has sex with him. The men  in  the  group  thought  this  was the most romantic thing ever — dark, anonymous sex with no consequences.” The men in the book club thought this was a very romantic scenario.

The women just roared laughing. ‘Guffawing’  was  the  term  used. No woman, they argued, would turn up to have anonymous sex in the dark with a man they couldn’t see. Was he old? Was he diseased? Does  he smell? Was  he a psychopath? Moreover,  he  was  in  a  remote cabin, in a bunk bed. Are you joking? This  is  not going to happen. Apparently, the men were offended.  Arguments  ensued. St Clair  suggested  this  set  the  seed  for  the  end  of  her relationship.

So there it is. Enjoy  reading  your  blockbuster  novel.  But  try  to  remember the first Rule of Book Club. The sex discussed in Book Club, stays  in  Book  Club. Or you might find yourself very lonely tonight.

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Stuck in a Fog of Negativity? You must meet Taku.

Surround yourself with positive people. Keep away from the ENERGY VAMPIRES who suck the energy out of you. No references needed. Just Google Negative People Instagram or Pinterest. You will have heard these mantras often enough.

The problem is you can be stuck in a fog of negativity without realising it. The fog is just there. Try aging, for starters. Nearly every conversation begins with a litany of health woes. So much so, I try to instigate a friend’s idea. We call it Renata’s Rule: ’10 minutes on health issues then move on.’

It has been a great joy to me to connect up with Taku Mbudzi. Taku emanates a radiant field of positive energy. Funny,  enthusiastic, inspiring. Taku is  a  skilled  writer, broadcaster  (She has appeared on The Project with Charlie Pickering),  podcaster  (See below)  and public speaker. More  importantly, to meet Taku is equivalent  to  popping  a ‘positive  vibe  pill’  if such a thing existed. Taku  is  young, energetic and funny, and I’m sure many students would benefit from being exposed to Taku’s positive force field. You can find out more about Taku here.

I have been  delighted  to  be  involved  with  Taku’s  podcasts  talking  about  ways  to tackle professional writing. In the first podcast we looked at writing newspaper articles. The second podcast involved getting a book published.

Being  interviewed  by  Taku  reminded me of one of my own vital traits. My younger self was undaunted by  the  challenge  of becoming  a  professional  writer,  simply  because I was so optimistic. Rejections – I could wallpaper my house with rejection slips – just bounced off me. Timing and luck played their part. But I just kept at it until I found my niche.

Episode 18 – Writing [Fake] News Articles with Journalist and Author Kerry Cue

Episode 19 – Getting Published in Australia with Author and Maths Blogger Kerry Cue

How many American Idiots does it take to change a light bulb? Guess!

There is one notable difference between Aussie idiots and American morons.

In Australia it has become, in recent times, something of a traditon for some on Australia Day, to drink from Fosters tinnies, don thongs and an Aussie flag – worn, often, instead of a t-shirt and celebrate our nationhood  by  doing  donuts  in  a ‘pretty boy’ – that  is  immaculate and brightly coloured – ute with an Aussie flag fluttering from the radio aerial. The rest of the nation do tend to think they are idiots. But there is, however, one big difference between Aussie idiots and American morons that makes us proud. (See below)

Gun Ownership rates:

According to Fortune Magazine ‘there are an estimated 55 million gun owners in the U.S’ or 17% of the population. According to a 2016 Gallup Poll 39% of households in the USA have guns.

According to Gun Policy.org 6.2% of Australian households have guns.

 How many American Idiots does it take to change a light bulb?

Just one with good aim.

Grown Men in Bunny Suits? There’s no danger stranger than that!

When I was teaching myself to use Youtube, I put this ‘ironic’ Power Point video together for my own entertainment, really.  It is, 4 years later, still very  weird!!!!! I was exploring our passion for all things FAKE at the time. I didn’t realise FAKE NEWS was about to shape the future of the world.

It’s the End of the World. Again.

There’s an energy crisis in Australia today. I hate to say ‘I told you so’. Actually, I really, really enjoy telling you I told you so. Here is the article I wrote on this topic in 2008.  My main point was DON’T LISTEN TO THE POLITICIANS. WE NEED A RELIABLE POWER SUPPLY.

The end of the world is coming to Melbourne.  Again.  In  the  1959  film,  On  the  Beach, Gregory Peck and Ava Gardner waited in Melbourne to die  from radiation poisoning. Now, according to friends, life as we know it will end soon for us. Let me explain. I hang out with engineers. They’re strange folk. I’m married to one so I know. They do  calculations in their heads. My beloved, HRH, doesn’t yell at us to ‘turn off  the  lights’. He  lectures us on how many mega watts will be consumed over a  20-year  period. The family tends to turn lights off just to shut him up.

My friends and some  esteemed  institutions  are  hot and  bothered about power outages. Summer has been hellishly hot. Power  consumption  hit  a  record  in Victoria on the 10th January. It was, admittedly, a 40 degree scorcher, but schools and many businesses were shut. In  the  meantime, folks  are rushing out and  buying  air  conditioners.  But each new swishing, hissing unit adds a burden to the system.

There’s   no   power   crisis   claims   Rob  Hulls  while  advising  Victorians  to  turn  off  air conditioners. There’s no power shortage say suppliers while explaining recent blackouts as problems  with  individual  electricity  companies.  You  can  believe  them  or do the maths yourself.  Victoria  has  a  supply  capacity  of  around  10  million  kilowatts.  Let’s  assume Melbourne has 1 million households-a conservative figure- and that we all want to be cool, which we do. If every household installs a mid-range 10 kilowatt unit, at peak demand, air conditioners alone will use up our State’s full power supply capacity.

READ MORE HEREIt’s the End of the World. Again

Here is an earlier, more light hearted peice I wrote for the Canberra Times in 2006.

READ HERE: It’s the End of the World. Take 1.