Recently I read an article in the London Review of Books about Creative Writing, and besides being a very interesting account of how much modern writing has been determined by the mechanical spirit of Creative Writing courses, it mentioned a type of fictional conceit I’ve not tried out before.
Heavens knows I’ve tried my hand at most fictional conceits including backwards stories (Peace Returns), dialogue only stories (Vagina Dialogue) and diaries (Cottage Life). But I haven’t really explored the “surprising point of view” trick, at least not insofar as I’ve used a non-human perspective such as that used in Joseph Addison’s ‘Adventures of a Shilling’ (1710), as mentioned in the article, or the more pertinent and more famous The Autobiography of a Flea.
So here is my modest contribution, the story of a penis’ life known evocatively as A Dick’s Life.
To be honest, there isn’t much to the story. It tells the life of the penis of a man who obviously enjoys using it (a lot), but is still studiously heterosexual (I didn’t want to write a “Penis Dialogue” to accompany Vagina Dialogue). I’ve promoted it as satire, but I’d say that the satirical elements are mostly well hidden unless readers believe that the “Dick” of the title happens to be someone called “Richard” or whether the character of a philandering male is the same as that of a dick (in the pejorative sense) which it may well be.
There is a limit to how much can be written from an entirely phallic perspective for the story to remain interesting to read. There isn’t much surprising character development, action remains mostly below the waist and I haven’t given Dick much of a distinct voice.
However, in some ways this story is similar to my I Remember Erewhon which is another attempt to show a person’s life from a novel perspective which tries to capture the scope and limitations of life, from birth through youth and middle-age to decrepitude and death (although I Remember Erewhon doesn’t go all the way).
However, I hope it’s a story that many will enjoy and perhaps even relate to.