* blush * Today Room to Write, that saucy minx, is asking us to write about kissing (p.34). As Bonni Goldberg says, “Besides being fun, it is an especially good practice for writing scenes between two people.”
All right then, I suppose I can share a snippet from a scene that I previously wrote while under the influence of wine (when I feel my most floozy) and the very next day yanked from the story. It really wasn’t the suitable direction for the characters, but I’ve kept it within reach under the file name, “The Gratuitous.” At any rate, this picks up from when a couple of friends have fallen asleep on the sofa together.
A couple stirrings later, she felt within a tighter squeeze and then a light brushing of lips atop her hair. She thought she’d been mistaken, but no; the puckering sound of a fully carried-out kiss had sounded against her scalp, then her forehead, and was now moving in slow succession down the bridge of her nose until—
Their lips met. Both of their eyes closed. Soft at first, then hardening and spreading with each contact, more slippery each time. Their tongues met, and together they began to swell and ebb with one another, pressing and pulling away only to heave again toward each other once more as their tongues now spiraled and lunged against their mutual provocation.
Oh, there was more involved, but I’ve restricted it to only the kissing part. I have no desire (“desire” being the operative word) to become the next Danielle Steel, though kudos to her for, you know, targeting a market well. Granted, I cut the scene because I felt it wasn’t right for these two characters to hook up, but I do tend to be prudish on stuff like this and wonder why. I have no qualms thinking it or feeling it or even writing it down, but when it comes to my finished product, I censor. Is it because there is so much of the gratuitous out there when, by definition, it’s unnecessary in furthering plot or character? This point makes me recall the film, The Player, with Tim Robbins, who plays the character Griffin Mill:
Griffin Mill: It lacked certain elements that we need to market a film successfully.
June: What elements?
Griffin Mill: Suspense, laughter, violence. Hope, heart, nudity, sex. Happy endings…
June: What about reality?
The film itself includes the formulaic “hope, heart, nudity, sex” elements, just not where you’d conventionally expect them to be, thereby turning the formula on its head as a means of satire.
That being said, there must be a reason why the formula does exist. Human passions prevail for the masses. And what about the story line that has a real message to put forth that necessarily requires a bit of physical relations? My sister, who writes under the pen name Nicki Elson, addresses this in her blog post, “Should I Have Faded to Black?” with regard to her recently published debut novel, Three Daves. Set during the 1980’s on a central Illinois college campus, its protagonist (Jennifer) is one of the last American virgins who seeks compromise between coming of age sexually while still holding out for the elusive “one.” Jen’s solution to this moral predicament is both a practical and hilarious journey for her as she navigates through three boyfriends who share the same name but entirely different personalities—namely, David, Dave, and Big “D.” To tell a tale like this, it is appropriate for the details to be explicit:
“She tentatively licked at his lips with the tip of her tongue to try and coax him in. He teasingly flicked his tongue at hers but refused to take the plunge. Jen whimpered in frustration, and he ended his torture, finally pushing his way into her mouth. Jen sucked him in gratefully and clutched his head to hers to make sure he didn’t get away.” (p.67)
Whatever other sexual techniques we might learn during such scenes, it’s in the simple kiss when Jennifer genuinely loses herself in emotion. The kiss, though only “first base,” can truly be the most sensual, intimate, and affectionate act. And let’s not forget that kisses can also merely be pecks on the cheek or an innocent idea blown off the palm of a hand.
I’ve spun the bottle and now it’s pointing at YOU. How about parting your lips and saying what you think on this topic? What are your thoughts on kissing as an expressive act between people and its role in literature? Have you ever read/written an effective portrayal of two characters kissing that you’d care to share?