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Lost Girl Found - Part 2

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The article presents images of a pornographic nature. The images may be inappropriate for readers under the age of 18. The images are DEFINITELY NOT work safe!!!

Lost Girl Found - Part 1

Part 2 – In the Garden of Heavenly Delights

At the San Diego Comic Con, there’s plenty of buzz about Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie’s book of beautiful pornography, Lost Girls. As the Top Shelf crew sell the last of their 500 copies, Neil Figuracion asks Ms. Gebbie about the themes explored in the book and her views on the state of the world.

Spoiler warning! The later questions in the interview reveal details about the end of the book.

BROKEN FRONTIER: Lost Girls revisits classic children’s characters – namely Alice from Alice in Wonderland, Wendy from Peter Pan and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. Do you see a relationship between children’s stories and sexual awakening?

MELINDA GEBBIE: Yes, I do. That’s sort of the whole premise of the book. Whether they have a name for it… whatever happens… obviously puberty is the official point, but as soon as children hear about sex, they’re curious, they want to know. They don’t have an opinion that’s positive or negative. They’re just curious. All the characters in Lost Girls – I’ve drawn them from the different stages [of my life], and that’s the most important part because if it’s genuinely from your own experiences it’s not a matter of looking at it from an older person’s… I can’t remember the word.

BF: Perspective?

MG: Yeah, perspective… You wouldn’t blame a blossom for budding. It’s just a natural process.

BF: What about these characters - Alice, Wendy and Dorothy, made them appealing to you for the project?

MG: Well there’s kind of a three ages of women and three different colorations. Also, they’re the most famous fairy tales in the world. They’re the most international fairy tale characters in the world. So even in Japan or Argentina probably people would have heard of them. They would have at least seen pictures or [heard] stories. We wanted them to be recognizable on some level, from the girls’ points of view rather than from their male authors’ point of view. There is an element of personal storytelling which has not been there in the fairy tale.

BF:  What’s your reaction to the claims of the [Great Ormond Street Hospital]?

MG: I can’t say anything about that, but they had not seen any of the material. They did not know anything about it… Well, I don’t know if they knew about it, but they had no interest in the project for the sixteen years I was working on it. They only became interested in it when a certain reporter called them and said “did you know…?”

Then they became very interested, but they still have not seen any of the material.

BF: Your tale is set in Austria at the decadent Hotel Himmelgarten. Loosely translated, that means Garden of Heaven.

Click to enlargeMG:Yes.

BF: What were the inspirations for this sexual Shangri-La?

MG: Oh, let’s see. I suppose I’ve always wanted to go to the mountains and it seemed to me, I suppose, everything in there aesthetically is something that I enjoy or that I wanted to put in. I love Art Nouveau. I love Art Deco. I love the Belle Epoque period - the costumes, everything… the clothing. This is very appealing to me.

BF: Quite a lot of the book dwells on sex in reflection, in memory, in fantasy. Is there a certain quality of sex that you hope to inspire in your readers?

MG: Yes, I want them to always feel safe, comfortable and surrounded by beautiful things and pleasant surroundings. Because I think one of the most dire things about pornography that you get in the stores – they’re called grumbleweeds in England because people go into bushes and then leave them under the bushes, so they’re called grumbleweeds (laughter)

BF: You mean people buy pornographic magazines…

MG: Yeah, go off into the park or whatever…

BF: And leave them there because they can’t take them home?

MG: Yeah, yeah. (laughter) I wanted to get rid of that concept that sex is only, in literature, is something that you must hide, that is always disgusting.

BF: Why is erotic memory such a strong narcotic?

MG: Well, I think the whole thing I was trying to do with this artistically was to dwell on what it is that makes people think about sex twenty-six times a day. It’s not just “the act” as they focus on in pornographic films, with the terrible red coloring, just the kind of squishy quality of it. But the sort of uniting of energies, the sharing of energies which is really dynamic, just as we love to sing together or dance together or party together, there is [an act] of joining and uniting, and it’s a major pleasure in life. When you think back on it, we tend to think on the happy sexual activities we’ve had, whether they lasted an hour, twenty-five minutes, twelve years. It’s the high points we think of, that nourish us.

BF: Is it always the high points?

Click to enlargeMG:  No, it’s not always the high points, but I wanted to make the book mostly about the high points. I mean there are traumatic things in here as well. There are bad things that have happened to the girls when they were kids, and they’ve been damaged by these things. There’s also the tremendous energy of positivity and kind of just sheer joy that comes from… Well, in Magickal terms it comes from the region (of the Kabbalah) called Chochmah, which is the realm of the… well it’s technically called The Spurting – the Joyful Outpouring and that is necessary to joy. Animals partake in it. It’s a part of how we refresh ourselves. It’s a part of how we reassure ourselves. It’s part of how we maintain a grounded-ness and our sense of belonging in a certain way and our sense of feeling loved in a way. Desire is a very important part of it, the anticipation of seeing someone we care about. What will happen when we see them? So a lot of this is about desire and anticipation and approach, especially in the first book. Desire and approach are so much a part of the whole sexual arena, and of course that’s never covered in pornography. It’s simply here’s the meat – go for it!

BF: Much of the controversy surrounding the book regards the portrayal of minors in acts of sexual exploration and awakening. Is there a danger that some readers might take these fictions as encouragement?

MG: Well I think if we’re going to worry about readers being susceptible, I think we should remove all magazines with pictures of children being blown up, first of all.

BF: Are there a lot of magazines with pictures of –

MG: Oh my God! Mercenary magazines… In England, W.H. Smith’s has all their… news magazines and the news loves to show pictures of people being destroyed. They show pictures of tiny children bleeding to death. Pictures of human beings engaging in sex kind of pales in comparison.

Spoiler warning – The rest of the conversation discusses plot points of the book, including the end of the novel. Be warned.

Click to enlarge

BF: Now a bit of a person question. Since 1991 I’ve been waiting for Mr. and Mrs. Potter to bridge their sexual divide. Now it appears that their re-awakenings are far more complex. What was behind the decision to let their conflict end unresolved?

MG: Because a lot of these conflicts are unresolved. There is a quiet war between partners very often which is never healed and never discussed and never approached, and people live side-by-side being unhappy, not able to say what they want, what they need, what they hope for.

BF: It seems very timely that the book takes place on the cusp of the First World War. How do you view the book now in light of the current state of war that has been building for so long?

MG: I think the book couldn’t come out at a better time because I think we see examples everywhere of the lack of personal sense of cohesion driving us to acquiesce to the demands of warmongers. I guess my biggest hope is that… (emotional) If it keeps one kid from dying in war, if it keeps one kid from joining up and makes him stay home with his girlfriend or makes her stay home with her boyfriend then the book will be worthwhile. 

BF: Ah, I’m sorry if…

MG: I’m okay. I wasn’t expecting that. That one kind of got me.

BF: At the end of Lost Girls, the Himmelgarten lies abandoned as it is gutted by soldiers. Was this the same ending as you had originally planned?

Click to enlargeMG: Absolutely. The whole book was planned from the very beginning. Alan always plans all of his stories very, very carefully and before he ever does a dialogue he writes out what will happen in each of the parts of any one of the things that he’s writing. He’s figured it out as exactly as architecture - where all of the struts are, where all of the stresses will be taken care of. The ending is very much a part of the while book. Without the ending we’re still left in a fairy land.

But we’re not in a fairy land. We have to make our lives. They don’t get given to us. We have to fight for our rights. We have to fight for our freedoms and at this point we even have to fight for our pleasures.

BF: What questions would you want your readers to be asking after they finish reading the book?

MG: I’d like people to possibly be more aware of how their personal energy is being taken from them and being used for the most villainous purposes. That we are encouraged to be mindless consumers and fodder for wars instead of seeking the pleasure of each others’ company. In all ways, that main joy.

BF: Can Sex defeat Death?

MG: That’s an interesting question. I’m trying to find the best way to answer that. The morbid impulse, the Mortido, and the Libido are both parts of the personality and when we can’t express our libido we turn to our mortido. We turn to the morbid impulse when the libidinous impulse gets outlawed

BF: Thanks very much for your time, and thanks for the book.

MG: Thank you.

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