The big C and the big X

There are things not often talked about in polite society.

They're not always the same things as our fathers and mothers didn't discuss - such no-go areas often change or even disappear over time. Cancer is a case in point. Once upon a time it was a definite no-no but these days it is perfectly acceptable to discuss it. A very good American comedy series (The Big C) even makes fun of it. Here in our little community folk generally  knows who has cancer (though not necessarily what kind), know who has had it and has recovered and know who is dying or has died as a result of it.

Much healthier all around I think, to talk, although it doesn't make it any easier when a relative telephones with the carefully lighthearted comment, 'Sorry to tell you, Bryan, but I have cancer'. As happened yesterday.

That would not have happened in times gone by whereas our parents were more than happy to talk about, for instance, genetic racial difference. These days it is unacceptable to do so, perhaps bordering on the illegal under the Race Relations Act. Our grandparents positively revelled in their oft stated self-perception of racial difference / superiority. (True or false, they may have been misguided but it did not make them bad people, did it?)

Sex in older age or underage is another of those shibboleths and as much so now as in history, even though there is nothing more calculated to stir the interest of film or theatregoers, of TV viewers, of book readers or of advertisment noticers than heterosexual behaviour between participants aged sixteen to, say, fifty. So, I ask myself - as a writer of fiction - how about a novel based upon the sexual awakening of a pair of ten to twelve years olds (part one) and that same pair's sexual decline and fall, aged ... ?(part two). I could miss out the middle bit of this couple's sex lives on the grounds that it has been so well trawled over already and by so many.

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