the path from childhood to sexual fantasy
Saturday, June 2 2007
I've been working on another shelving unit for some of the little remaining vertical wall space in the laboratory, the north end near my computer (east of the single window). There actually had been some crude shelving in this spot before, but I'd taken it down to make room for a new unit whose design existed as a 3D CAD wireframe in my brain. This unit would feature the same one by seven planks I'd used heavily in my last four shelving projects, and I'd also be covering some of the shelves with a swinging door as I had in two previous projects. Doing this has allowed me to hang shelving without giving up scarce art-hanging space. But I didn't have plans to cover this door with art. Instead I'd be attaching my 1680 X 1050 monitor to the door with an added hinge, allowing me to position it in line with my other two large LCD monitors and eliminating the need for desk space for its bulky pedestal. There would be shelving behind this monitor, of course, and additional shelves not covered by it, all of it extremely valuable real estate (to me, not to a professional flipper of Florida condos) due to its proximity to the desk where I spend a good fraction of my waking life.
I watched the documentary In the Realms of the Unreal at some point this afternoon. It's about Henry Darger, a reclusive Chicago janitor who produced vast volumes of art and writing over the course of his life. Unknown and poor throughout his entire life, his socializing took place mostly within his head, in a world populated by warring forces: old male pagans versus young Christian girls. He wrote about their epic struggles and depicted their antics as watercolors on huge scrolls of butcher paper. Often he drew the young female heroines naked, and when he did so he equipped them with the flaccid penises of little boys.
The most striking thing about Darger's work is its sheer volume. As for its disconnection from reality, it's of a form that is not entirely unfamiliar to me (and so I can't imagine that it is rare). Some aspects of his internal universe remind me of the play universe I lived in before, during, and somewhat after my own puberty. Mine was strenuously utopian and presided over by a benign, charismatic, and immortal figure named Moahzart (whom I would play when the "scale" of play shifted to 1:1, as opposed to another popular scale in which the islands in the creek representing whole continents, the most important of which I called "Koahlum"). Moahzart's antics were completely asexual, but as puberty kicked in, I was surprised by the way sexual content crept in to my always-active fantasy life. At first this took the form of thoughts about pre-pubescent girls doing completely ordinary, non-sexual things. What gave this away as sexual, despite a naïve attitude that somehow expected never be so weak as to develop an interest in sex, was the growing gender imbalance of the characters in my fantasies. You'll be relieved to learn that over the course of a year or so the characters in these fantasies gradually caught up with me in age and my fantasy behavior towards them became more obviously sexual. What's interesting about Darger is that his fantasy world stayed locked in what I take to be a specific early pubescent phase for his entire 81 years. Judging from his artistic output, I'd guess that he never once fantasized about sex with anyone, and that, in any case, he never fully understood what sex was.
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