Sunday, September 25, 2005

English Fans

I don't know why it is that the United Kingdom produces so many interesting bloggers; I've already profiled a number of them, including A Perfect Marriage and the sublime, divine O at Eros/Logos. It seems this post is British in emphasis, but then, isn't caning referred to as "the English vice"? The Hot Wife and The Rosary are both products of the English hot blood Mick refers to in "Brown Sugar."

One of the rising stars surely must be the gorgeous Magdalena of Myths & Metawhores. Part lusty vixen, part regretful soiled dove, Magdalena is always fascinating, inquisitive, elusive and unpossessible. She's literate and provocative in the same erudite, playful, bawdy tradition of O at Eros/Logos (a longtime fan and now, friend). Like O, Magdalena tongues the world, swishes the taste of liquids around in her mouth both for show and to savor each drop. Her musings about a growing curiosity to explore her Sapphic impulses left me enthralled, and her peek-a-boo self-portraits are winning her a following like O. With two women possessing so much sexuality and energy, how is it the British ever lost their empire? Certainly if they ever decide to conquer the world of the bedroom, Magdalena and O will be formidable generals in the armies of the night.

The other blog I want to highlight provokes the question: what is it about the blogosphere that brings out the bitch in woman? I don't mean the nasty, obnoxious kind, but the full-throated, defiant, magnificent female of the species. Well, I'm glad it did in the case of Salacity. She's an earth goddess who's not afraid to tell you to fuck off, or tell you about her wild sex life. It's a rich mix of erotic images, bawdy times and frank talk. Read her post "leggy" about wearing a short skirt all day and getting the male of the species to treat her as though she had a free pass to life. She has an edge, but it's bracing and sexy, so don't miss it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Chapter 1 (for those who are new)

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(Some of you are new to this site. Here's part of the opening chapter of Beyond You & Me so you can understand what all the fuss is about)

Day 1: A Spring day, any day, 1975

Temptation has been my undoing. Its fulfillment has been my downfall. And so I am left in its aftermath, too conscious of time’s passage. Painfully, so very excruciatingly aware of each day, each moment, I wish they would all pass more quickly and with them the pain. Time ticks away within my body like a pounding clock, I feel each second racing down the nerves of my legs, knotting my stomach, piercing my head which reverberates in stereo from lack of sleep. Who can remember the last time I slept through the night? Ah, Child, you feel compelled to run somewhere, but you don't know where, to do something, but you don’t know what to do. Or rather, you know where to go, but do not know how. It’s true, I want to run— fast and far— to scream and shout, loudly and unrestrained— to cry with violent shrieks and sobbings until my body is totally shaken into weakness, in a state where it can no longer want anything! To lie in quiet and peace, feeling no urgency, only stillness and weariness falling over me!

And where was it that I did go? Why to Graduation. Drab, soul-less Yale, the scene of my crime burst into activity today as he and the rest of the senior class desert the smother-love of Mother Yale for their new lives outside those clichéd ivy-covered walls. I couldn’t stay away, instead of riding out the storm from the safety of my desk at work, I called in sick— since sick is how I feel— then lost the will to stay home where I’m writing from tonight. The “bright college years” are ending for him, while I stay behind, a Cinderella with no glass slipper in sight, time stretching out before me like a wide lake, the memories of what came before hanging around my neck like a stone.

The crowd I’m sure measured 15,000, the yard of Old Campus swapping its Frisbees and sunbathers for a sea of folding chairs as Yale President Kingman Brewster and the other grandees pranced about in their ridiculous robes and funny caps, each residential college marching in while parents cheered. The bells of Harkness Tower pealed constantly, while silver flasks and joints in a profusion were passed around. One woman in the Saybrook contingent hiked up the hem of her graduation gown to flash a glimpse of stockings, garter belt and no panties. I’ll have to remember that when it’s my turn up there.

What possibly could have brought me there? Did I really think I’d see him? And then suddenly there he was, marching in with the rest of his classmates. Would it look especially tacky if I sat on his lap? Do I care? What about a good-bye kiss? This is, after all, probably the last time we’ll ever see one another. I could lift up my dress and make love to him right here on what’s left of the grass, I’m not wearing panties. That would be a Yale graduation they’d talk about for years.

“Cassie!” he waves with a smile. It looks a bit forced to me, tight around the mouth, as though he’s seen someone he’d rather avoid. Ah, Child, who would not be gracious today? He steps out of the group, motioning me toward a German-looking couple on the edge of the spectators. His parents, of course, the mother dressed in a sober, eminently sensible two-piece suit made of green wool, expensive and well-tailored, yet hopelessly old-fashioned. She’s handsome, I can see where he gets his good looks, she’s commanding the way she carries herself, she’ll be a formidable mother-in-law (not mine, thank God). The father’s nationality isn’t as obvious, he’s dressed in a snappy blazer and slacks, an outfit that doesn’t scream out “Deutschland über alles” like the wife’s.

“Cassie, I’d like you to meet my parents.” He says something in German to them I don’t quite catch in all the noise and tumult.

To keep reading, click on one of these:

Chapter 1
Chapter 4
Chapter 12
Chapter 16
Erotic Out-Take
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Friday, September 16, 2005

Does a Writer's Gender Matter?

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Does a writer's gender make a difference to you?

T. S. Eliot
H. P. Lovecraft
D. H. Lawrence
C. S. Lewis
F. X. Tool (wrote the stories "Million Dollar Baby" was made from)
O. Henry
Jane Anger (no one knows for sure)
Carolyn Keene

George Sand
Isak Dinesen
Currer Bell (Charlotte Bronte)
V. Sackville-West
Radcliffe Hall
H. D.
Carson McCullers
J. K. Rowling
George Eliot
T. J. Baker
K. K. Beck
R. L. Bell
B. M. Bower
L. B. Cobb
T. M. Gray
H. M. Hoover
J. V. Jones
P. F. Kosak
C. M. Mayo
D. H. Melhem
M. J. Rose
C. B. Scott (a writing team)
L. V. Sims
E. D. E. N. Southworth
L. L. Thrasher

Betwixt & Between
Jan Morris

Just wondering.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Look at Cassie Through a Meme

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I borrowed this list/meme from Lilith at Spinster War Diaries. She has a very enjoyable blog, so go visit her site soon. As always, I'll answer these as Cassie would at 24.

7 things to do before I die:
1. Go to college
2. Visit Europe
3. Go to college
4. Get a better job than a secretary in the Yale library
5. Go to college
6. Move to New York
7. Have kids (but NOT NOW!)

7 things I can do:
1. Get a job at a strip club (but P. would never let me)
2. Make men and women want to sleep with me
3. Pick up hot things and not get burned
4. Sew. I make my own clothes (when I can sit still long enough)
5. Make strangers want to talk to me, especially old people
6. Function on a few hours of sleep a night
7. Dance

7 things I can't do:
1. Write. When I have to. When I write in my journal, it pours out
2. A chin-up. No upper body strength. Couldn't climb the rope in gym class, either
3. Bake cakes: mine all come out flat
4. Sit still (and wouldn't you know, I'm a secretary). I should be a carpenter or something
5. Reduce the size of my stomach. It's not fat, it just sticks out
6. Not come if I have sex; my pussy has betrayed me, too
7. Play sports

7 things that attract me to a man:
1. Good eyes
2. Tenderness
3. Broad shoulders
4. Teasing. P. is so serious, while S. is all fun
5. Politness. Why do guys think a girl will want them if they have the manners of a gavone?
6. Being a good listener
7. Strong hands

7 things I say most often:
1. Who'd a thunk it?
2. F'nable (literally "go to Naples" in Italian)
3. Ah-ite (means "all right" in South Philly-speak)
4. Do I hafta?
5. Oh, God, Yesssssssssssssssssssssssssss!
6. Fuck (said as a response to something unpleasant)
7. Does this make me look fat?

7 celebrity crushes:
1. Bobby Clarke of the Flyers
2. Alexis Smith
3. Grace Slick
4. Prince Charles (please don't laugh)
5. Johnny Callison of the Phillies
6. Marilyn Chambers
7. Jack Nicholson

7 people I'd like to do this list:
1. Demon Queen
2. Freya
3. Odd Wife
4. Alice
5. O
6. Wilma
7. Magdalena

Friday, September 09, 2005

September's Fans

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Pin-up photo courtesy Gil Elvgren Gallery

I can't believe I haven't highlighted Fred & Wilma's Fun before! Wilma is now like an old friend, and we've talked across our sites for ages. Simply put, you'll be hard pressed to find two people who find more fun in sex. Like the cartoon characters from the 60s TV Show, Fred and Wilma Flintstone aren't deep, don't have any hidden agendas and are as happily simple as they seem. That doesn't mean they're not smart people, just that their Internet personas are all about fucking, in whatever form pleases them at the moment. In this they remind me of one of my longest-running fans, The Hot Wife. Neither site is for the prudish, and both remind me of the 70s classic The Joy of Sex. In today's world, we need more unabashed joy.

A good site to check out is A Perfect Marriage. Their brand of married passion is touching and so rare in the blogosphere, where most folks who feel the need to take virtual pen to virtual paper are exorcizing demons (e.g., The Solitary Wife), or holding a wake for a failed relationship (e.g., the very sad "Jay Loves Kitty"). So Sue and Ed's paean to domestic sex and love is both refreshing and heartening. Cassie loves P. and would have been heartened by those who can keep it going. Bravo, you two!

Speaking of The Solitary Wife, I'd like to recommend it because of its searingly honest depiction of her troubled marriage. It's the usual: kids, pressures, a husband on the road, but more than that: issues of trust and openness and what love means. Hey, sex is an important component of Cassie's story, but she's also wrestling with many of the issues that women have (and still do) struggle with: love, their role in society, freedom, commitment.

A site many of you probably already visit is Bitchalicious. OK, who doesn't have a friend who's nasty, honest, funny, sincere, caring, and well, occasionally bitchy? You go, Girl! No particular topic, just whatever comes to her wide-ranging mind. Always entertaining, occasionally deep, but worth the trip.

One site you probably DON'T visit is I Was Hitler's Wet Nurse. I admit that most of the time, I have no clue what's going on. But every once in awhile, something so revelatory is posted that it leaves me speechless. The post entitled "The Star of David Ran Amok" reminded me of Kafka on acid. This isn't light reading, and her most-recent posts have concerned incestual blow-jobs, but underneath the crazy typeface, the colored words and the off-putting descriptions of life in an insane asylum, there's something of genius here.

And finally, while Cassie's story of course concerns sex, many of its fans don't write sex blogs. One of the better ones is Girls in the Bag. Five funny, perceptive, humane women writing about modern life. And like modern life, the entries can be rambling, sweet, thought-provoking and serious. Or just fun. Ever think about those "Style Network" makeover shows? Well,the Girls in the Bag have. You never quite know what will strike them as funny, weird, or the way when you wake up in the morning and realize you always put your panties on in a certain order. So it's good to check back regularly.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Small Thing About S.

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This is a fragment that fell out of the book and doesn't seem to have a place in its 100,000 words. Please enjoy it as a look into Cassie and S.

Despite his sexual fantasies inspired by the writings of the Marguis de Sade, S. is a child of post-Third Reich Germany. That means he's always profoundly ambiguous about his German-ness around me and others: "I'm not personally responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews, though it doesn't mean I'm not a bit ill-at-ease dating a Jewish girl," he admitted over coffee when I quizzed him about his New York girlfriend. He was even uncomfortable admitting there IS a Jewish "girl" in his life. Turns out she's a senior in an exclusive Manhattan private school.

I hated her right away.

"She'll do ANYTHING I ask her, she begs me to think up new ways she can please me."

I could never tell if his diffidence in most things is genuine or the expected self-put-down we feel "good Germans" owe us because of their country's past sins. Finally one day I cornered him about it.

"Which would you rather it be?" he responded with a question of his own. "Will you like me better if I'm contrite about the Third Reich, or if I tell you I have no debts to repay? You see, my family was not in the army, we didn't kill any Jews I know of, and I don't think any of my relatives voted for Hitler. But if I say it's past time to move on and let Germany be German again, and not some sanitized French fantasy about Germans, then I risk being called insensitive and recherche. Shit, it's even a French expression we'd use."

I'm a bad one to assess such matters: his German-ness and the uniform thing played right into some of my oldest fantasies. I've always thought guys in uniforms cool and sexy, so cool and sexy I once upon a time imagined joining the Marines like my dad (don't ask, it would take years of therapy to figure THAT one out).

Monday, September 05, 2005

Vintage erotica

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The Lustful Turk
Thanks to "Dirty Talking Girl" over at Pussy Talk (a fellow ERWA member) for pointing out the pleasures of vintage Victorian pornography, er, I mean erotica. S. is very taken with some of the "classic" stroke books of the era, including The Autobiography of a Flea and A Man With a Maid.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More Non-Fans

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I have blogged before about Non Fans, sites that I like or admire, but which aren't fans of Beyond You & Me. None of them linked with me, so this new crop of non-fans shouldn't be seen as a pathetic attempt to solicit links (well, it's not, but think what you like).

One of the better sex blogs is Waking Vixen about Audacia Ray, one of the moths circling Jefferson's flame. Tough-minded yet vulnerable, she's every inch the modern liberated woman that Cassie aspired to become in 1975. And while she continues to push a modeling career and a very un-monagamous lifestyle, she is honest about some misgivings that lifestyle engenders in her. Certainly a refreshing change for the tough whores and doms with attitude one finds everywhere. I'm not against BDSM in any way, nor against folks paying for sex, but I think at times the glorification of sex work is a little like the mainstreaming of porn: a bit disengenuous. So maybe I'm just enough of the intellectual to respect someone who has reservations and qualms about a balls-to-the-wall life. Do we as a society have more respect for wafflers than those with no doubts?

How could a novel about a bisexual married woman not find a blog about a bisexual woman about to marry interesting? Heterophobic is the story of Boy and Girl (no real names, please), a Houston-based couple who are navigating the shoals of the modern romance. Both are bisexual, so the permutations are pretty interesting. Funny and witty, not usually very salacious, but insightful and passionate as the young almost always are.

Their bisexuality has clearly been a positive development in their lives. That isn't quite the case with Lost in Tradtion. It's the journal of a married woman who admits her only fulfilling sexual relationship was with another woman, and who has had experiences with both sexes both before and after her marriage. It's a searing read, and not meant to titilate. But for sheer honesty, it's very compelling.

A novel about a three-way love triangle can't remain immune to the charms of Petite Anglaise. The blog of a British 30-something living in Paris, the subject matter is adultery and her struggle to balance her young child, French in-laws and her lover. A sweet mixture of everyday life and touching romance. Not every blogger can capture the emotions of life, but P.A. does very well in this department, striking the right mixture of seriousness without the gooey sweetness of many diarists on the 'Net.

OK, I know I'm going to get hate mail for this, but I find This Fish Needs a Bicycle icky. The premise of this wildly-popular blog is that a nice, slightly ditzy 26 year-old single in New York can give us Carrie Bradshaw and smiles on a semi-daily basis. Hey, Cassie's 24, you'd think there'd be a connection? But after I read Heather Hunter's well-written, often amusing posts, I feel like I need to brush my teeth (no, she's not the porn star with the same name; the teeth brushing in that case might be after an activity other than reading). Absence Makes, a paen to her best friend who's successful, married and has a gorgeous child, elicited scores of adoring comments from her fans, yet it reminded me of a pathetic high school girl with a crush on her prom-queen friend. Her posting about Girl Dating also struck me as missing the point, but then, her fans felt I did when I pointed out the Freudian undertones of grown women going out on "dates" with one another. Sure, all Platonic, sorry, what MUST I have been thinking? Of course, then there's the account of a man trying to get her into a threesome with his girlfriend and her meeting him for drinks and smooches, so you be the judge. The name of the blog, by the way, is a mild rebuke of the Irina Dunn 1970 declaration that "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle." Maybe if The Fish gets married and lives her dream it will all work out for her, too? But don't feel too badly for her, she's got her own merchandise you can buy, including t-shirts that urge guys to "Be the bike." Does the word "groveling" have any meaning to 20-something women? Fish fans can call me dense, and I know I'm being silly to dish a blog with seemingly hundreds of links, but....

How can a novel about a bisexual woman who works in Yale's Sterling Library not be interested in a site about a bisexual librarian? Kinky Librarian writes with honesty, clarity and she's funny at times, too. Her post about wishing to have better "Bidar"
("Gaydar" for bisexuals) cracked me up. This isn't salacious details about pussies and cocks, it's more about dealing with the consequences and pleasures of a flexible sexual orientation.

One of the stranger blogs I've read is Layla: Diary of a Life in Progress. This is another no-hold-barred look at the challenges of living. Take the entry that says "I don't feel inspired unless my life is shit. I like the grit. I like the ugly and the dirty. It makes me feel real. Alive. Not false." No sugar-coating like This Fish Needs a Bicycle, but maybe The Fish just hasn't had the grit in her life that Layla has? But don't miss her analysis of her struggles with monogamy. Searing.

Finally, there's much to be said for Miss Snark. She's witty, to-the-point, and no bullshit when it comes to agents and the publishing industry. But it would be better if y'all went over to her site and let her tell you herself. She's not shy, and won't hold anything back.

And to answer your question, I don't know if she's one of the agents approached about Beyond You & Me because I don't know her real name.