Archive for Not @ Sex (!)
As the title of this post may suggest, if you find yourself not interested in politics or feminism or expressions of my perspectives on them, you may want to skip this post.
A few days ago, I read an article from Glamour magazine that came out months ago and had been on my “to read” list ever since: “President Barak Obama Says, ‘This Is What a Feminist Looks Like.'”
By the time I finished reading it, I was openly crying. The juxtaposition of my reasons for such was breathtaking.
For context, I want to back up a moment and share a post I made to my personal Facebook profile on November 10:
“Yesterday I felt horrified that Trump won. Today I feel devastated that Clinton lost. She worked so hard (for decades), is so qualified, was so prepared. She lost to a man who by no stretch could be called any of those things. I see it as (among other things) wretchedly unfair. I also feel a considerable part of the populace of this country has either forgotten, doesn’t realize, or doesn’t take seriously that the presidency is in fact a job. Yes, the campaign cycle has been reduced to a sensational media show in this country, but being President is an actual job that requires attendant skill and expertise, and this country has elected someone who has demonstrated zero experience and qualifications to hold it, in addition to demonstrating no discernible interest in learning that I have observed.
All that is leaving aside for the moment the myriad reasons I feel profoundly appalled that Trump was elected in the face of what he did demonstrate. This post at the moment is not a call to action or an offering oriented toward uplift or helpfulness (those may come). It is simply an expression. An expression of sadness, of lamentation, of some things I feel right now amidst many other things I have felt, do feel, and will likely feel.
Love to all.”
That reflects how I feel now as precisely as it did then.
To return to the article, which was written by President Obama, I hardly know how to describe what an inspiring, insightful, incisive, beautiful offering I found it to be from a person I’m so grateful this country has had the honor of the leadership of for eight years. Perhaps my favorite line was, “And yes, it’s important that [his daughters’] dad is a feminist, because now that’s what they expect of all men.”
As they absolutely should. I was, quite simply, moved to tears by the gratitude and resonance I felt in the face of such exquisite awareness, articulateness, groundedness, and respect for humanity. It was truly one of the most beautiful pieces on feminism I had ever read.
Simultaneously, I was crying because it was literally almost painful to read such a profound exposition against the backdrop of knowing we had just elected as the next president a man who has unambiguously asserted sexist, misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, and indeed misanthropic (I have seen it said and understand myself that “all hatred is self-hatred”) views in both personal and political/social contexts. Throughout the election cycle, I had perceived it as disgraceful that such a candidate had made it as far in the electoral process as he had; that he was actually elected to the presidency indicates such profound ugliness to me about our country I’m not sure I know how to articulate it.
The contrast was staggering. And for me, there are two separate though obviously related issues at hand. One is the prospect of Donald Trump’s being President. Of course I find that horrifying given the things I interpreted him as saying and the astonishingly low capacity to self-regulate I observed in him throughout his campaign. The other is that, regardless of what he demonstrates or instigates or accomplishes as President, a considerable portion of the populace of this country voted for him to be the leader of it in the face of his unabashed expression of perspectives embracing sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia of all stripes. In a nod to rape culture, this country voluntarily put in a position of (tremendous) power a man who explicitly condoned sexual assault. Whether or not Trump governs the way he campaigned, he still campaigned as he did, and almost half the people voting in this country voted for him amidst the tremendous unconsciousness and service of fear he displayed. Yes, I am horrified by the idea of his being President. I am at least as horrified that he was elected as such.
I have seen a proposition that a large proportion of his voters were rural, white, poor people. I don’t necessarily doubt that. And I have not been in the situation those voters have, which I truly and deeply appreciate. In the case of those voters, it is wrenchingly sorrowful to me that there are people in this country who find themselves in a position so dire that they feel compelled to vote for someone who demonstrates intentions to harm entire populations based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion in order to feel their own situation will improve or even that they will survive. (Very sadly, I have not and do not for one second feel Trump intends or desires to do anything at all to help those people. I did not at any point during the campaign see any indication that he has or has ever really demonstrated any desire to help anyone but himself.)
For those who are not in that situation and who also voted for Trump, I have seen a number of posts in the relatively sparse perusal I have been doing of social media since the election that seem to want to offer assurance of the understanding that they themselves do not consider themselves racist, sexist, xenophobic, homophobic, etc…. I acknowledge that I am not there at this time. However much those voters may not feel or want to identify with supporting racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia themselves, they voted for a ticket that did, making their vote complicit with allowing those perspectives to ascend to representation in the highest level of official authority in this country. I don’t know how we could not yet as a species, or at least as a country, have come to understand that passive support of violence and oppression represents a stark and potentially grave threat, but I fear we may be in for another lesson to assist us in doing so.
Right now, I take a deep breath and reaffirm the appreciation I feel that our current President, in the piece that inspired this blog post, understands and offers such an aware, humanitarian, enlightened perspective and understanding of feminism’s importance, along with a resting, even amidst the revulsion I feel, that there are others out there who understand…that humanity is aware in part of things like intrinsic human equality even as other factions have not yet caught up to that level of awareness. That there is shadow in all of us and our work to see and release our own helps release the collective shadow that has so grossly emerged at this moment in United States (and human) history. And that we are still, and always, all One.
In answer to the perspective I have been seeing expressed that Donald Trump must now be given the “chance to lead”—of course he’ll get a chance. There’s nothing I (or anyone else) can do about that now.
I regret that this nation saw fit to offer him one.
-Barbara Kingsolver (“End this misogynistic horror show. Put Hillary Clinton in the White House”)
It is my privilege to participate in the Snog for Sommer blog tour event to help support author colleague Sommer Marsden and her family as Sommer’s husband battles cancer. The blog tour features more than 50 authors who have posted snippets of their work featuring kissing in order to encourage financial support for Sommer’s family in the midst of this immensely challenging time.
You may recall a few weeks ago when I posted about Summer Loving, the anthology created to financially benefit Sommer and her family. If you missed it, feel free to take a look at my post that explains in a bit more detail why so many of us in the erotica and erotic romance author communities are aspiring to help Sommer and her family at this time. (The post also includes buy links, so feel free to pick up your copy of Summer Loving both to benefit Sommer and to read some lovely flash erotica.)
To participate in the Snog for Sommer blog tour, authors are asked to post a kissing-related excerpt on their blogs today. As I announced yesterday (see post below!!) my first single-author short story collection, If…Then, should be coming out later this month. (I don’t have an exact release date and will be sure to update when I do!) As it happens, there are a few kissing scenes in it. I’ve chosen to excerpt one from one of the two stories in If…Then that are original to the collection/not previously published. The following excerpt is from “Soft and Gray”:
Thank you so much for coming by today, and please visit the Snog for Sommer blog tour page to find links to all the other participants, as well as a link at which to donate if you feel so moved. Namaste, and be well!
Fighting the urge to turn around and reenter that which was familiar to him, Aaron turned left and set off across the foyer, bypassing the sweeping staircase for the hallway that ran behind it. He had no idea where Kate would be. Most of his visits to the Buchanans’ house had been formal, without much wandering of the countless rooms of the mansion. But the chances were just as good he would run into Kate as either of her parents, and he could always excuse himself if the latter happened. Finding her was more important than politeness.
He quickened his pace, then stopped as he heard a noise. He crept forward, passing a full-length mirror on his right before he came upon the open doorway to the billiard room. Kate was there, quietly pulling a bottle from the wet bar. The glass clinked as the bottle brushed one of its neighbors.
She looked up as he entered. He couldn’t see her eyes. Minus the backlight of the bar, there were no lights on in the room. He couldn’t tell whether she felt anger at his parading around the house trying to find her or relief that he had done exactly that.
He stopped just inside the doorway. Before he realized what he was doing, his hand reached behind him and pushed the door closed. Kate’s shadow didn’t move. When he heard the faint latch, he slowly took a step forward and moved around the pool table toward her. She set her drink down. As he got closer, the smoothness of her skin took on a glow in the faint backlight.
Bethany’s piano playing started up again. Aaron continued forward and slipped his arm around Kate’s waist before he could see her gray eyes clearly. If they looked as they had the last time he’d seen them, he knew he wouldn’t have the nerve to touch her.
To Aaron it felt as if her body tried to stiffen but was receiving mixed signals somewhere inside. He pushed his mouth to hers, suddenly breathless with wanting her. Grabbing her with both arms, he twirled her around and lifted her in one movement to the pool table where she sat with her legs wrapped around his waist as he kissed her with a desperation he couldn’t remember ever feeling. It didn’t have to do with her body, with fucking her. It was just her. Or him. Or both, he couldn’t tell. He just knew that the very act of touching her was like an orgasm. Their clothes were all on, his hands touching only her waist, and he felt like he was coming—like something was climaxing in him that wasn’t sexual but felt just as powerful, as though he couldn’t bear to stop touching her.
Kate’s lips were kissing him back, but it felt like a moment out of time, like something beyond their actual lives that he couldn’t necessarily count on to mean what he wanted it to when it was over. He had seen her body overtake her before, when it was as though it borrowed time from her mind.
It didn’t mean it wouldn’t have to be paid back.-from “Soft and Gray,” a story in If…Then, forthcoming from 1001 Nights Press
-Elton John “Recover Your Soul”
I love quotes. There are so many I’ve found striking or by which I’ve felt nearly overwhelmed, and I’ve long kept a list of them. When the new MFRW Blog Director, Paloma Beck, asked the Marketing for Romance Writers staff if anyone wanted to be in charge of posting a monthly quote to the revamped marketing blog, I jumped at the chance. So, in addition to my monthly posts about moderating a Facebook group there on the 5th of each month, I’ll be posting a quote on the 18th.
Which, of course, is today—the first one may be found here. :) Don’t forget to check the marketing blog regularly for loads of helpful guidance on all manner of marketing subjects!
-John Mayer “Say”
So, for some reason it’s taken me half a month to post about Halloween this year. Let’s not dwell on whether that’s a result of procrastination, absurd scheduling, or some combination of both! Instead, as is tradition, I want to present my costume from this year and explain a bit about how it came about! (At least I’m getting this done before Thanksgiving.)
Rick Write and I once again hosted a Halloween party the Saturday before the holiday this year. His enthusiasm for Halloween translates into really going all-out with the decorating:
Which I myself enjoy quite a bit. :)
On to my costume, for the last six years, I have volunteered at a seasonal butterfly exhibit over the summers. When I moved in with Rick last year, the distance between my residence and the exhibit approximately tripled, but I love volunteering there so have continued to, even though I haven’t gone in quite as often.
This year, I particularly loved volunteering there, in large part because of the staff. There are a few staff members that have remained constant over the years, while several part-time positions have usually been filled anew every year or two. This year, all the part-time exhibit employees were new. I have always loved the regular staff that has worked there, and this year I felt a particular connection with some of the new staff members, making my time at the exhibit even more enjoyable than in the past.
Thus, one weekend as I was pondering what my Halloween costume would be this year, inspiration struck: I had never gone as a butterfly, despite how much I love them, and suddenly it occurred to me that I could create my own original butterfly costume patterned after one of the actual species of butterfly we house in the exhibit—the species that happens to be my favorite one there.
What is it? The emerald swallowtail, of course. :) (Yes, that really is its name!)
I knew immediately what would make up the bulk of my costume that I already owned, and that I would have to largely create the wings—which, of course, would be the centerpiece of the costume—because I highly suspected emerald swallowtail costumes wouldn’t be for sale anywhere. :)
The wings creation involved purchasing plain white fairy wings at the Halloween store and black spray paint, pipe cleaners, and this fabulous emerald green glitter tape I found at Michael’s. Armed with these ingredients, I found a well-ventilated area (i.e., the driveway) and painted the wings black. Since there were silver glitter swirls on the wings that appeared resistant to spray paint, I had to do a little more work to cover them up (namely tracing them with glue and pouring black glitter over them).
Since the emerald swallowtail is, obviously, a swallowtail butterfly, I wanted to make the swallowtails to add to its wings—not doing so seemed to me to make the costume far less authentic. :) I achieved this by forming the outline of their shape with black pipe cleaners and cutting out black cardboard in the same shape to glue the pipecleaners to. (It occurs to me now that I could have just used the black cardboard, but the pipecleaners did seem to highlight their shape somehow.) Glue did not seem to hold this well, so I ended up stapling them to the wings, which worked like a charm (lol).
When the paint was dry, I positioned strips of the green glitter tape approximately where the stripes of iridescent green are on the actual butterfly’s wings. Considerable paint fumes and seemingly pounds of glitter strewn across the garage floor later, the wings were ready!
I purchased antennae as well, of course, and almost everything else in the costume I think I already owned. Obviously the costume works best from the back, so the pictures below are generally from that angle. :) Here it is, my emerald swallowtail costume for Halloween 2012:
Happy belated Halloween!!
-Martina McBride “Butterfly”
Two years ago, one of my dearest friends informed me that her great Uncle Jesse’s (names changed for privacy) 90th birthday was coming up. She said that at his 80th birthday party, he had told everyone that if he made it to his 90th, he wanted to have a “girl jump out of the cake” at his party. With his 90th birthday and corresponding party plans imminent, my friend told me her mother and Uncle Jesse’s wife (Aunt Grace) were wondering if they could hire me to surprise Uncle Jesse at his party with a (very tame) strip tease.
I said of course, and on the day of the party I wore a matching polka-dot push-up bra and boyshorts set and covered myself with blue balloons, which Uncle Jesse was provided with a thumbtack to pop while I danced. I had a delightful time performing that job and meeting Uncle Jesse and Aunt Grace, whom I enjoyed seeing occasionally over the next couple years as my friend got married and her family and I encountered each other at different wedding-related events.
Several weeks ago Uncle Jesse underwent surgery and experienced some subsequent complications. While he was recovering, I was told that Aunt Grace had brought him a picture of me taken the day of his 90th birthday party so he could show the nurses his “balloon girl,” whom he had apparently talked about. My friend said this was done “not in a silly way – it really cheered him up.”
Uncle Jesse died last week, just short of age 92. I will attend his memorial service on Saturday.
Sometimes, professional sexual entertainment is lighthearted, fun, sweet, moving. Sometimes it may hold an importance or make a difference in someone’s life many people aren’t or wouldn’t be aware of.
Today (March 3) is International Sex Workers’ Rights Day. This year has brought me, not that I need one, a bittersweet personal reminder that sex work encompasses and touches a wide variety of services, people, and experiences. As always, I offer love and support for sex workers and the recognition of their/our professional and human rights.
And I offer love to all who knew and loved Uncle Jesse, and wish him a beautiful journey.
“If you could stand tall with me…so much more that we could know…move past this flesh and blood, see what’s inside of you…”
-Ed Kowalczyk “Stand”