September 19, 3:00 pm. Buy tickets here. At the Writers Guild Theater, 135 S. Doheny Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.
Erica Jong’s landmark book, Fear of Flying, took women by storm when it was released just over 40 years ago. It must have– it sold 27 million copies, and is still in bookstores near you, if you can find a bookstore near you. Fear of Flying launched a brave new world of women’s literature, but it did something more: it launched a global conversation about women and sexuality, about women looking for love, intimacy, fantasy fulfillment and fun. Fear of Flying opened doors and crashed through ceilings through which a few subsequent generations of women have been able to follow, who could speak with real humor and insight about sex from a woman’s point of view. Erica Jong just might be the first American novelist to have brought up the daring subject of women having sex outside of marriage who weren’t vilified but who just enjoyed it.
As the Zipless Fuck aged and matured, so did the characters in the book, and so did its author. Jong’s new book, Fear of Dying, takes Fear of Flying into middle age, and take note– we here at Writers Bloc believe middle age begins at 60. Fear of Dying asserts itself as emphatically as did Fear of Flying— that women want companionship, love, excitement, and sex– no matter our age. As our heroine watches her parents recede into illness and death, and enjoys the impending arrival of a first grandchild, she searches for what might provide some sparks in her sex life. Our heroine is, after all, a creation of Erica Jong; she refuses to march quietly into her next phase of aging. Fear of Dying is funny and satirical– about sex, to be sure; parents; online dating;the loss of youth; and the complexity of marriage and family. And it is as poignant as it is provocative.
Sandra Tsing Loh is the definition of provocative. And hilarious. You hear her on KPCC doing her Loh Down on Science, and you read her in the Atlantic, where she writes about subjects some of us have only thought about– without daring to utter the words. Like Erica, Sandra begins national conversations that take on lives of their own. Her essays are controversial and ignite on the page– from marriage being outdated and unnecessary to the raw truth of wanting to be rid of the burden of parents with Alzheimers. Her latest book, The Madwoman in the Volvo, is an absolute must-read for any woman over 50 and any man or child in her wake– about menopause and its impact on the individual, the family, and really our entire social structure.