Saturday, July 23, 2005

Useful Sites

While the purpose of this blog is to promote the novel Beyond You & Me, that's not limited to excerpts or links to its growing list of fans. I encourage everyone who's following Cassie's adventures (and occasional mis-adventures) to peruse the long list of interesting and arcane things listed on the right. Want to know more about Deconstruction (P.'s obsession)? Or Yale, where the story takes place? Perhaps you'd like to hear the Yale Glee Club sing the school anthem, "Bright College Years"? It's a song Cassie refers to several times in the novel (usually with dripping sarcasm, but not always)? And for those of you keeping score at home, "Bright College Years" is sung to the same anti-French tune that galvanized Germans during three wars: "Die Wacht am Rhein"/Watch on the Rhine." Betcha didn't know that!

It's all here and more, and I'll be highlighting some of these links in future posts (no groaning, please!).

There is also a section called "Useful Sites" (for lack of a better name). These are websites that are interesting, but not necessarily connected to the book or its time period. They are provided as a service to you. Let me point out a few:

MobyLives is a literary web log devoted to books and things about writing and publishing. Consider it guerilla theater from its "world HQ in Hoboken, NJ," across the Hudson River from the behemoth publishing houses that are ruining the world of writing. While much of the book trade seems constipated and elitist to outsiders, this blog is fun enough to read even if you're a "civilian," and a valuable resource to writers and people who like books.

Tiny Nibbles is a melange of interesting, weird and goofy sex stuff. Compiled by sex writer Violet Blue, the site has her favorite porn feeds, information sources and sex toys, as well as some very informative, hands-on talk about fellatio, cunnilingus, rimming, and other activities that get the heart pounding at their very mention.

How can a novel about a casually, accidentally bisexual woman not celebrate Libido Events? Their purpose is to put provide resources to bisexual women, includingconferencess, social events, etc. all (forgive me if I avoid the tacky "bi women" that always smacks of vulgar jargon in favor of one more respectful of this wonderful and empowering notion of flexibility). Now don't get the idea their conferences are dull, dry academic affairs like a Yale Comp. Lit. sherry and cheese party (Cassie went to ONE and ONE ONLY). How about a seminar on "Erotic Wax and Ice-Play: a hands on seminar"? Or "How to Put a Glow On The Cheeks of a Bottom: caning, spanking and more"? Freya could teach THAT one. I'm moist just thinking about it. Their only drawback? They're located in Vancouver, Canada. So unless you're planning on emigrating, or lead Mercurial Girl's jet-set lifestyle, perhaps they can be an inspiration for women in other parts of the world?

Whatever else this site is, it's about writing, and for that reason we celebrate The National Writers Union. Unions have become a favorite whipping boy for politicians of all stripes, but the lot of writers would be materially worse without the NWU. Their most famous triumph was winning a class action lawsuit brought against the NY Times and other publishers who were reprinting on-line articles written before the advent of the Internet. The big-ticket publishers claimed they couldn't pay the writers for the appropriation of their work, all the while paying handsome dividends to stockholders. Ultimately the Supreme Court ruled "no pay, no play." The union continues to look out for freelance writers, providing health insurance, contract dispute resolution, and a host of other valuable services. And, yes, W. S. Cross is proudly listed as a dues-paying member.

And last but most certainly not least, The National Organization for Women (NOW). Young women today sneer at the term feminist, but trust me when I say that girls and women wouldn't have the rights and privileges they do today without the lobbying and information provided by NOW. Women still earn less money than men, and it's still true those who work outside the home are expected to do the cooking and cleaning. While Beyond You & Me is most definitely a fun, sexy read, it's also the story of a woman who discovers empowerment at the dawn of the Women's Movement reading classics like The Feminine Mystique and The Second Sex. Definitely worth a visit, it's not just about strident political issues, but stories of women succeeding!

Sisterhood IS powerful!