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Flesh & blood
About a short story

August 14, 2001
The Iranian

Here is a bit of explanation about my short story, "The man who would sleep with his angel".

The story is Jungian in psychology and mystical in its theology. What we seek in the opposite sex is a union, but a union that divests itself from self-serving ego-based qualities. We love, not a piece of marble chiseled into a perfect statue, nor an angel bereft of warmth: we love whomever we love, warts and all. Anyone who waits for a perfect relationship will have to wait forever, because one can make love to flesh and blood, but not to art.

I guess the following paragraph is a summation:

"She stood still, comfortably naked, but without shame; the natural state was becoming her. Radiant and full of energy, her small, firm breasts full of life, ready to nurture, her body perfectly sculptured, flawless, and that was the catch: She had no imperfections on her body, not at all; either she was a divine creature, he fancied, or she was chiseled from a piece of flawless marble by a master; either way, she was inaccessible. And he remained seated on the couch, fully clothed, aroused, yet wavering in his resolve to possess that flowing form of art which stood passively, awaiting his desires."

The water at the beginning of the story is the surge of the violent sexuality that is inside us all, but at the end there is a calmness, indicating the violence is tamed -- not all, but relatively, and that the man realizes he cannot make love to an angel; beautiful as she is, yet she lack the human warmth and quality.

I wrote this story partially because of so many of your readers (men and women) call each other names and blame each other for the failure of their love-life, all, to my mind, looking for "the" thing that cannot be had.

Simply, human sexuality is a kind of sacrament, with no duration in mind: it can be over one night or a life time, yet it must take the other as an equal and as a living being, not a piece of marble to chisel out what one thinks the lover should be like: creating an angel according to one's imagination. As you can see, it is very hard to put intellectual property into fiction, but I am satisfied that the story conveys this.

And, there is an end: the man realizes that he cannot make love to the angel, although he recognizes her nature too late in the story.


Reza Ordoubadian holds a Ph.D. degree in English and linguistics. He has held a professorship at Middle Tennessee State University and Visiting Professorship at Umea University (Sweden). He has published numerous pieces of fiction and poetry as well as scholarly articles and books on both sides of the ocean. He was the editor of SECOL Review for 18 years.

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