Archive for March, 2010
My author interview about my story “Power over Power” in the forthcoming anthology Please, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by
I really enjoyed writing “Power over Power” and also enjoyed answering these particular questions about it. Thank you to Rachel for posting this interview, and of course for editing (and including my story in!) Please, Sir—I’m really looking forward to its release May 1!
“I think while of course the subject matter and perhaps the emphasis on the power connection and interplay between characters may contrast with many other things I’ve written, I see a similarity to some of my other work in the touching on or examination of self-awareness. To me the import of self-awareness may hardly be overestimated, and how it may connect with/relate to sexuality is something I find fascinating.”
-from my Please, Sir interview
I am utterly delighted and very excited to be scheduled to read at In The Flesh in New York on Thursday, April 15! April 15 is Nerd Sex Night, and I will be reading my story “Shift Change” (which involves the Apple Store Genius Bar) from Best Women’s Erotica 2010.
In The Flesh is the New York City-based reading series curated by Rachel Kramer Bussel and held at the Happy Ending Lounge the third Thursday of each month. This will be my second time reading there, and I am honored to be included and really looking forward to it!
You can read about the other readers scheduled for Nerd Sex Night (including Stephen Elliott) here.
Don’t worry, I’ll post a reminder as the time gets closer! ;)
“If you wanna do the passionate thing, and if you wanna get smart, for the sake of your heart…you make all the fashion statements, just by dressing up your mind…”
-Jazon Mraz “The Beauty in Ugly (Ugly Betty Version)”
When I was a kid, we took a few family vacations that involved beaches. Unlike many people (it seems), I never felt much of a fan of the beach. I found the ocean 1) dirty, 2) scary, and 3) something I wasn’t personally interested in but felt forced to visit because that’s what my family “did” on vacations. This impression of beaches has generally remained in me as an adult, and I really haven’t deliberately spent time on a beach since those vacations when I was a kid. There was a small post-midnight excursion in San Diego in 2001 during which I was, um, distracted, and though my sister got married in St. Lucia in 2006, I don’t remember going to the beach much except during the actual wedding.
My family searches for seashells so seriously that “shelling” is a verb to them. This was something I also remember
being forced to do engaging in as a kid, again because it was just what we “did” when we went on vacation. At that time, it also seemed necessary to the powers that be (read: my father) to get up literally before dawn to have first pick or some such thing at the shells washing up on the shore. I clearly recall feeling resentful that I had to get up earlier on supposed vacation than I did when I had to go to school.
So yesterday was the first time in probably more than two decades that I went on my own to specifically spend time on a beach. Especially given that most of my life I have felt a resistance or non-attraction to this environment, I felt surprised by the way I experienced it.
I wandered in the afternoon down to the beach by myself. I stood staring at waves, watching their swell, hearing them break, smelling the salt. I knelt and dragged my fingers through a smattering of seashells and instantly recalled how much I love the sound of shells clicking together. I grasped a fistful of wet sand and noticed there is no other feeling like that. When dry, I found sand feels in its own way like velvet, and up close the grains look as sparkly as crystal. I stared at it covering my skin, aware that it was a result of an eons-long process of dissolution into this foundational powder that fills beaches and provides the whole floor of the ocean.
Then last night, I chose to look for shells of my own accord. Having been away from them in their natural environment for so many years, I was struck by how astonishing I found them. Even the shells considered “common” or “dull” looked extraordinary to a shell amateur (or at least one way out of practice) like myself. There is a stunning quality to me in all of these shells, these amazing intricate extensions of animals that have created and live in them. I find it truly fascinating.
The simple opportunity to observe and ponder waves in the context of “shelling” further fascinated me. Like the breath of the ocean, the constantly forthcoming, uninhibited waves deposit each time a display of unpredictable uniqueness. Nothing is the same each moment as it was; it is a tangible invitation to an orientation toward Now. Sometimes something may come forth that isn’t quite reached in time, and it is let go. But there is no knowing what new may then be offered in the next breath. There is a forever flow, invariable opportunity, constant beauty, always unknown.
It reminded me of writing. And sex. And life.
As I wandered in the dark shining a flashlight on the waves, the realization was consise: The ocean is fucking phenomenal.
I won’t say I don’t still find the ocean dirty and scary. But it is phenomenal encompassing those things, its mystery, danger, glory indivisible as an entity foreign to yet universally connected to us. I appreciate this opportunity to be so close to its energy.
“Gotta find a way to flow, in a host of things that grow…the mouth of god is wide, so let’s just fall inside, and let every damn thing go, and flow…”
Today (March 3) is International Sex Worker Rights Day. I would like to observe the occasion here by listing and highlighting some things pertaining to sex work/sex workers’ rights lately that I find cool/uplifting/heartening/lovely. The t-shirt I am wearing in the picture, by the way, was produced by the fabulous and local-to-me organization HIPS (Helping Individual Prostitutes Survive).Also, if you happen to be in the New York City area, a potluck dinner celebration will be held this evening as organized by SWOP, SWANK and PROS Network. Okay, on to the aforementioned list: 1) “An open letter from a client” at Harlot’s Parlour. I love that this is a letter to a governing body in support of sex workers’ rights in relation to proposed legislation, I love that a client cared enough to write it, and I love what it says. 2) As posted on Violet Blue‘s website, San Francisco-based porn company Pink and White Productions has compiled a recommended practices list for the porn industry/porn performers. I am all about safer sex practices in porn and like Violet am delighted to see a company present a document such as this. 3) While it may not seem directly related to sex work/sex workers’ rights, sexuality education and open dialogue about sexuality in society seem to me quite intermingled with them, and the circumstances surrounding this center on the eve of its grand opening illustrate the struggle for sexual freedom in which sex workers’ rights is encompassed. The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health in Rhode Island opened its doors on February 1 after a surprise controversy that erupted late last year over supposed zoning concerns threatened its doing so. Congratulations to founder Megan Andelloux and the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health! 4) The story in this comment on the blog of Veronica Monet. Feel free indeed to read Veronica’s blog post as well, but it’s not necessary to contextualize this account in the comment, posted by Gillette (no contact information given):
“I will, though, share a story.
When I first started my work 14 years ago, I shared with a Tantrika friend about what I was doing [prostitution, I have the impression] and why. I felt safe sharing as, heck..we were assisting at a Tantra workshop, she did “healing massage” and we were both supposedly doing our inner work. She blasted me like no one had before. I just kept breathing, knowing that we had to be together all weekend in this close environment, working together for the participants. Our “stuff” had no place there.
At first she wouldn’t look at me. I simply kept reminding myself that this had nothing to do with me, it was her stuff. I was safe, all was well, etc, etc.
The last day she came up to me and thanked me. During the course of the weekend she realized that her blast had come from her fear about doing the same work. That she had been getting intuitive flashes that it was her next step but she was afraid.”
Oh my. I don’t even know what to say about this except that it may be one of the coolest personal accounts I have ever read in the context of sex work.And there is my list of beautiful celebrations I specifically honor on this International Sex Worker Rights Day. Best wishes, support, gratitude, and love to all current and former sex workers on this day of celebration of our universal rights amidst our professional vocations. (And of course best wishes, support, gratitude, and love to everyone everywhere as well. We are, after all, all One. :)) Love,
Emerald “No more turning away from the coldness inside, just a world that we all must share, it’s not enough just to stand and stare, is it only a dream that there’ll be no more turning away?…”
-Pink Floyd “On the Turning Away”