I just finished an interview with Bill Marx of TheArtsFuse. His questions were very interesting, especially one about whether gangsta rappers—and their debasing sex and violence—were the new Don Juans of today. The stereotype of Don Juan is as a user and abuser of women very much like the gangsta rappers. In Mozart’s opera, Don Juan has raped a woman and killed her father practically before the curtain has risen. What I said in reply is that sexuality has always been fused with power for men and that most pornography and the lyrics of most gangsta rap (that I’ve heard) is more about power (and the fear of weakness and disrespect) than it is about sex. Many of the portrayals and fantasies around Don Juan (not to mention the men who fashion themselves as real life Don Juans) are about power fantasies. What I was interested in portraying and exploring in the Lost Diary is real passion and ultimately real love. The plays and movies of Don Juan have only allowed us to see the man from a distance; a diary lets us go into the body, mind, and heart of the man. What we find is someone who really did see passion as an art and for whom sexuality was art. As I have said in a number of interviews, it is a 16th century Don Juan that is worth recovering in the 21st century.
Bill asked me about writing sex scenes and how difficult that often is for authors. I have heard from countless authors that they loathe writing sex scenes and they find it one of the hardest things to do. It was essential and inescapable in writing the Lost Diary. I actually found them fascinating to write as the scenes explore the very different kinds of women and encounters that Don Juan had. I think that most authors have difficulty writing sex scenes because they try to describe in great deal the physiology and biology of what is happening. Inevitably this pales in comparison to the experience (as one of my writing teachers, Robert McKee, once said, all pleasures are halved with repetition except for sex) or the description sounds either clinical or pornographic. I was helped by the poetry of writing during Don Juan’s time (sex can perhaps best be approached through metaphor) but I also think the secret to writing sex scenes is in remembering that the truth of intimacy is in everything else that is happening during sex. It is not just whose what is where; it is the entire universe that our nakedness reveals to us.