"Slim Confessions" by Sarah Minor
Reviewed by Hannah Bonner
Here’s a slim confession: I have asked the last two men I loved to spit in my mouth, and neither one obliged. Drool play is not an impossible request, but a question of taste (my taste) and of hunger. When I read Sarah Minor’s newest book length essay Slim Confessions: The Universe as a Spider or Spit (Noemi Press, 2021), I know there is a place for my pleasures amidst Minor’s pages, amidst those equally enraptured by slime as a texture, a horror, a performance, or an art.
Slim Confessions volleys between Minor’s time on sheep farm in Iceland, critical engagements with social media and cinema, and a series of #slimconfessions where Minor shares anecdotes from her childhood or sexual encounters, where the slime of the body becomes “something [we can] read” (25). The mess in our underwear marks time, assuages anxieties of unplanned pregnancies, or signals a want. Snot from our noses externalizes sickness or a reaction to extreme cold. The effect of these rhizomatic connections, from bodily slime to analysis of horror films like The Blob to sheep farming, is like social media’s associative scroll of perversities, whether of the “Slimmer” community on Instagram (ASMR or ASMR Erotica spin-offs) or of Nickelodeon SlimeFests.
Yet, more than just an amalgamation of slime associations, Slim Confessions considers slime as narrative. “My interest is in this” Minor writes early on in the book, “how a material becomes narrative once it encounters human skin” (12). In pornography, ‘the money shot’ became the method by which to conclude the three-act structure with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Cum provides narrative closure and visual pleasure to an otherwise lackluster story. And, in using pornography as a theoretical framework for thinking through slime, Minor also investigates our relationship to technology, screens, and the internet that is predicated on, and perpetuated by, “images [that] approximate touch” (73).
Rendered in a series of recurring, looping fragments, Minor’s essay is a fascinating exploration of how we understand our bodies through the gaze, and how the gaze is inextricably linked to internet culture where the scroll becomes a metonym for physical touch. Slim Confessions is a book caught in a tumescent web of inquiry at the interstice of the body, its mess, and the mind.
SARAH MINOR is from Iowa. She is the author of Bright Archive (Rescue Press 2020) and The Persistence of the Bonyleg: Annotated, a digital chapbook (Essay Press 2016). Minor is the recipient of a Research Fellowship to Iceland from the American-Scandinavian Foundation and was awarded the 2018 Gulf Coast Barthelme Prize in Short Prose. She co-directs the Cleveland Drafts Literary Festival and teaches Creative Writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Cleveland, Ohio, where she lives with the writer Thomas Mira y Lopez.
Published 10/15/2021 || Purchase a copy