Monday, October 31, 2005

A Sale on Photos From the Novel

Now that the Beyond You & Me contest is over, you can still purchase the first prize or other photos from the novel. One of the big mysteries that fans are curious about is: who is the model for the pictures? Is it the real Cassie DiMarco? When were the photographs taken? Are they from Yale?

Here's your chance to own one or more of the photographs that illustrate the novel. Printed on an Epson Stylus Photo 2200, each of them is numbered and signed by the author/photographer.

"Chapter 1"

This is the photograph that opens the novel: Cassie distraut and naked on the cold stone outside Yale's Sterling Library. Color giclee print approx. 8" x 10" printed on 11" x 14" glossy photo-quality paper. Part of a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered by the author/photographer.
usually $100; now $75

"Yale 4 Glow"

This photo is from Cassie posing later in the novel (you can't keep a bad girl down). In the background is the facade of her hated place of employment, Sterling Library. Black & white giclee print approx. 4 1/4" x 6 3/4" printed on 8 1/2" x 11" glossy photo-quality paper. Part of a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered by the author/photographer.
usually $50; now $40

"Cleavage 2"

A different look at Cassie, one no less erotic and sensuous. Black & White giclee print approx. 4 1/4" x 6 3/4" printed on 8 1/2" x 11" glossy photo-quality paper. Part of a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered by the author/photographer.
usually $50; now $40

"Cassie at Yale"

This photo that sets the mood for the entire novel: a Mona Lisa smile, a youthful if imperfect body, moxie and sensuality contrasting with the cold, iron statue on the grounds of Yale's Old Campus. Color giclee print approx. 4 1/4" x 6 3/4" printed on 8 1/2" x 11" glossy photo-quality paper. Part of a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered by the author/photographer.
usually $150; now $100

"Veranda 5 Glow"

Cassie in a pose that captures her life: naked to the world, balanced precariously, equally in danger of falling or of flying away. Black & White giclee print approx. 4 1/4" x 6 3/4" printed on 8 1/2" x 11" glossy photo-quality paper. Part of a limited edition of 100 signed and numbered by the author/photographer.
usually $50; now $35

To purchase prints, email me at: wscross-at-gmail-dot-com (replace the dashes, "at" and "dot" with the appropriate symbols). Please indicate the name of the photo(s) you wish to purchase, your address, etc. Methods of payment include check or PayPal.

Monday, October 24, 2005

CHAPTER 5 (Part 1)


Paul de Man is P.'s mentor and one of the leading figures of the literary movement known as Deconstruction (you can read some easy background notes on de Man and Deconstruction in the "world of the novel" links on the right of this blog). This chapter will be a test of loyalty to you fans, so we'll find out if this book can keep your interest even without the naughty bits.

On thinking more about this "writing down the past" process, I've decided, if it's going to be a real journal, it should have real dates. So I'll begin with today— that is tonight. It's Wednesday. In the past, Wednesday nights were hopeful, if not yet happy— mid-week, only two more days until the working week is over and I'm free from the chains of M & A for two whole days. Now I'm shackled with different chains, ones that know no hours (the pay's lousy, too). I used to live for weekends. In good weather, P. and I would drive out into the Connecticut countryside, maybe hike one of the many forest trails, all quite a lesson for a city girl whose only exposure to the wild outdoors was walking through the broken bottles and dog shit in Marconi Plaza along Broad Street. We'd browse for antiques or nifty luncheonettes with local flavors in the small towns like Branford, Guilford, Sachem and yes, Podunk. In crummy weather, we'd browse the thousands of remainders, used pulp fiction and overlooked classics at the Whitlock Book Barn. In good weather, drive along the Sound's coastline, satisfied simply being soul mates. That sounds corny, yet it's so right! With him, I feel I've found a man who really understands me, who cares deeply and totally about me. Sigh.

Now weekends are just more time I have to fill up. Neither of us seems inclined to be together in the car. I feel like I'm on a mental island with my own thoughts, P. and I don't seem to spend much time together since the Spring. He's more buried in his studies than ever. Before, graduate school energized him; now he's hiding from me. Maybe hiding from himself.

Making this real, yes, that's the goal. Maybe then I can understand— and survive— this, this— this what? "Affair"? OK, I finally wrote down the evil word, and for the very first time! I've never used it before, even in thinking about this past Spring. Certainly I never spoke it— it's so sordid, so ugly, it doesn't fit with how I see myself. Lying naked on the page, it's at least a little less intimidating than I thought it would be working up the nerve to write it in the first place! Sigh. After all, it's just another word, right? A "sign" as Professor de Man would call it. Paul de Man is P.'s graduate advisor and mentor, one of the "great men" who make Yale all it is. I spent the Spring auditing his undergraduate class in literary theory hoping to understand something of what P.'s studying. He told me we'd be closer if I did.

I guess I liked it. De Man is such a funny-looking older guy, he walks with a shuffle and holds his head forward in a strange way when he talks, almost like his backbone was slightly out-of-kilter. He smiles a lot, though, and makes tons of self-deprecating jokes about himself and everyone else, which keeps us all pretty loose, despite his fame. The first class, he looks around the auditorium, then tells us—

"This is Literature Y— or as some of you have asked me, and I might ask myself as well, why literature?"

At the start of a class on irony, he told us one philosopher believed we could never really understand the concept, so de Man offered to cancel the lecture and send us all home. I appreciate his sense of humor, that's actually pretty rare among the professors and teaching assistants I've known, they see themselves as way too important to laugh. We needed some humor, the course stretched my thinking a lot, taught me words are just vessels carrying meanings we attach to them, meanings that have no real connection to anything other than other words. So a nasty word like— "affair"— has a different meaning depending on the context, right? We can't know its significance other than by the way it's used. A "catered affair" is quite different, after all, from an "adulterous affair." Since I haven't figured out what this whole thing in the Spring was about, a word like "affair" is no more important or weighted— for good or bad— than "bicycle" or "rocket ship" or "chocolate."

That's not cor-rect (couldn't resist that): given my metabolism, "chocolate" is far more likely to be weighted— on my thighs! Chocolate's like happiness: too much of it has consequences.

(to be continued)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Beyond You & Me excerpted in Mannequin Envy

The agents perhaps don't get it, but others apparently do. For the second time this month, part of Beyond You & Me has been excerpted, this time in the gorgeous on-line magazine Mannequin Envy. It's a part of the novel that hasn't been featured here, and the photographs are presented in more of a glossy, arty surrounding.

Monday, October 17, 2005

And The Winner Is....

OK, I sent the entries to the Beyond You & Me Contest to the real Cassie, and she was impressed. In fact, it was difficult for her to pick a winner, so she picked two: one for "best entry" and another for "closest to reality." The winners are:

First Prize Winner (B&W signed photo): Best overall-- Demon Queen
First Prize Winner (B&W signed photo): Closest to the real Cassie-- Freya
Second Prize Winner (signed Beyond You & Me t-shirt): John Martin
Third Prize Winner (no prize, just glory): Alice

Here are the winning answers. Feel free to judge for yourself.

First Prize (best overall)

1. Still living?

No. I have her body in my trunk as we speak.

2. Married, divorced, single?
Yes, she is now a Mormon. She has also been widowed several times... apparently men spontaneously combust in her presence.

3. What kind of work is she doing?

She wrestles gators in an Old West show. No wait... she mud wrestles in a gator skin outfit. I don't know but she is always covered in mud.

4. Is she a Republican, Democrat or Independent?

She started a movement called Daughters of the American Revolution. I told her that name is taken. She won't listen to me! She bought a high powered rifle and now lives in a cabin in the Ozarks.

5. Gay, bisexual or straight?

Well she was gay, but I told her that she just hadn't had the 'right' woman. I had sex with her. She is now straight. Scared straight heheh

6. Childless or has kids?

Has a daughter who alternately calls her the coolest mom in the world and then begs her NOT to tell anymore of her college stories in front of her friends.
I think they ALL do that.

7. What kinds of music does she listen to?

Jug bands... Ozarks remember?

8. Where does she live now?

Are you deaf? Errrrrrr blind? I already answered that.

9. Did she ever attend college? Was it Yale?

Yes she went. No not Yale. I believe she attended the Patty Hearst College of Fine Arts and Munitions.

10. Still keeps a journal? Writes a blog? Is too busy for either?

She has both but wrotes them both in code. She can't remember the code herself for security reasons. She is paranoid because the FBI planted microchips in her fillings. You do realize how angry she will be when she finds that I have divulged all of her secrets?

She will think I am one of THEM!

First Prize (most true-to-life)

1. Still living? Not everyone made it out of the Sexual Revolution alive - Yes, she's still alive.

2. Married, divorced, single? Married now but divorced once. He's 15 years her junior and doesn't care that she has a girlfriend.

3. What kind of work is she doing? She owns a bookstore/coffeeshop that has edgy readings monthly.

4. Is she a Republican, Democrat or Independent? She's still a democrat but they piss her off, and she wants them to toughen up and stand for something again.

5. Gay, bisexual or straight? Bisexual.

6. Childless or has kids? Childfree by choice.

7. What kinds of music does she listen to? Jazz.

8. Where does she live now? Connecticut, within easy distance to NYC, but still far enough away to have the peace.

9. Did she ever attend college? Was it Yale? Yes, no, NYU.

10. Still keeps a journal? Writes a blog? Is too busy for either? She'll always keep a journal. She keeps a small blog and does not share her true identity.

Second Prize

1: It is strange, being a very new member, and the first Name that pops up in the blog is CC. I knew her when I was living in the North Shore community of Roslyn Harbor on Long Island. She was a friend who commuted to Manhattan and worked in a Jewelry place up on the 20 something floor of the Empire State Building. It isn't polite to ask a young lady her age but I guess she was about 36 years old.

2. If she was married she didn't let on to me, and I never asked. One day when I was waiting at Jamaica to switch trains she was there and as the other train went by she told me that it made her a little chilled under her skirt, and it took me about a month to discover why.

3. Her job was like taking candy from a baby. She bought the gold by the ounce and didn't give a dime for style, stone, or cut. I was in the wrong business.

4. Like a whole lot more of us she was still a Democrat, but we were a little off on all the stuff of that era.

5. Again I didn't ask. She was really friendly with a few of the local ladies but when it came to finding the empty carriage at the rear of the 10.30 a.m. train before going into the tunnel she wasn't backward. She would sit a little sideways on my lap to get her morning joy ride while the lights were dim. It was a little something we tried now and again on a dull morning. It sure beat coffee.

6. She didn't seem be too different from all of our crowd. She never mentioned kids. What we couldn't afford sometimes happened and a few of us has one or two children.

7. This is a hard one. She never carried one of those walkman things so I haven't a clue. Blues? I don't think so. More like red hot jazz.

8. She never talked of New Haven, if she had ever lived there. As far as I knew she had a place with all that gingerbread and lived with the old hippy crowd somewhere in Sea Cliff.

9. What the hell would a smart blond like her do with a scrap of paper from Yale. In her job she had it in spades.

10. Oh yeah. That damn journal. I wonder if she ever wrote in that about some of the times we crawled home smelling of sex and half blasted. She was just one of the best. When I think about it this may not be the same young lady that some of you seemed to know.

Third Prize

1. She is alive and well and made it through the times, of course I'm not going to let her be dead.

2. Widowed

3. She is writing novels mostly political in nature but a rare erotic novel partially biographical but mostly fiction under a name de plume has surfaced over the last twenty years or so.

4. Flaming liberal she is.

5. She is celibate and still pondering.

6. One child, a girl.

7. Still listens to the Blues the love of it never fades.

8. She lives overlooking the Hudson River.

9. She did indeed attend Yale but it was much later as she has been out a mere ten years.

10. She writes a blog but it is private, it will of course be published after her death and her daughter will reap the rewards of her lifetime.

Prize winners please contact me at with your mailing address and I'll send out the prizes.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Judy Miller Is Free (update)

Update 10/16/2005: For those of you who have been following the Judith Miller saga, the NY Times published a long and in-depth article about the story, Ms. Miller and the legal wrangling behind it. The article is not always complimentary to her, nor are the issues in the case clear and decisive, though nothing I have read changes my belief that Ms. Miller should never have been sent to jail, and that the Congress should pass a shield law to protect journalists. To read the entire article, go to:

New York

Original Post (9/30/05):

New York Times reporter Judith Miller is getting out of jail through a deal between her original source and the overzealous prosecutor who had her sent to the cooler because she refused to reveal that source. For those of you who are joining this late, we already mentioned this travesty of justice in a previous post. You can also find out more information here.

Ms. Miller will go free because her source has agreed to let her testify before the Grand Jury looking into who in Washington outed CIA agent Valerie Plame. That's a good thing for her, though it does not change the fact that she should never have been incarcerated in the first place. It was always punitive, even if she now can save face and get out a month early. She will also be able to avoid an implied threat she would have been prosecuted for withholding evidence once the Grand Jury term ran out.

Thank you to all who sent letters of support to this brave, smart woman who understands better than our government that secret sources are absolutely necessary to having a free and effective press. Thanks, too, to those who wrote their representatives in Congress supporting a shield law protecting journalists from this kind of witch hunt.

Whatever your political persuasion, you are better off in a society where journalists can seek out the facts and report things that their sources could not reveal without anonymity. While less than perfect, this system is still superior by far to one where the newspapers are in thrall to the powers-that-be.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

A Lovely Meme from Remittance Girl

From Remittance Girl, who not only is a fascinating writer, but she gives it away for free, because she's more interested in the creation than the commerce. This is a meme she apparently originated, and which Cassie would respond to this way:

1. Things that make me want to masturbate

The sound of fucking
Looking through a window at two people making love
Going too long without sex
Naked shoulders of any gender
Stress at the office
Too much time on my hands
Salacious books
Being alone in the house at night or during a rainy afternoon
A hot bath

2. Times when I will do reckless things

When I'm horny
When I think someone I care about is watching
When someone I care about dares me not to
When someone I care about dares me to
When I flirt and the person flirts back
When I forget there are effects for causes
When I forget there are consequences to my actions

3.a Things I like about women's bodies

Their breasts-- small breasts with erect nipples
The smell of their hair
Tight wool pants on a good, boyish ass
The feel of their lips on mine
Pussy lips swollen with desire
Dark eyes unlike my own bright blue ones
The taste of sex, especially when it's smeared around my lips after fucking
The sudden shortening of their breath when they're about to come
The sound of an unexpected orgasm that surprises both of us

3.b Things I like about men's bodies

Strong hands
A hairy chest
The smoothness of a circumcised cock in my mouth
The anticipation of pulling back the foreskin on an uncircumcised one
Hard nipples, but not large pecs
Cocks with funny bends
Short hair I can grab at and not fully grasp
Sensitive eyes
A good mouth on someone who knows how to kiss

4. Things that make me unaccountably angry

Any kind of prejudice
Seeing a child who can't behave
Being humiliated by a superior at work
Bullshit excuses: I'm a big girl, tell it to me straight
Bullshit rules
Did I say lies?

5. Things that lose by being photographed

Interesting people
Sports, especially hockey
Sex: it's interesting to watch people fuck, but it's not sex
New Haven-- but I guess it can't get any worse than it is in reality
People I love, though it's better than not having anything to look at

6. Things that gain by being photographed

Beautiful women
Beautiful men
Children at play
Old people, though that's such a cliche
A woman in stockings (they certainly don't feel good on)
The sky at sunset
The moon anytime

7. Things that are more beautiful in motion

A woman walking
A woman fucking
Fast cars
Men running or ice skating
Wild animals
The ocean

8. Things that are more beautiful in repose

Lovers sleeping
A man's cock after sex

9. Things that make me wet

Dirty talk from someone I care about
Taking off my clothes outdoors, especially to be photographed
Watching a women comb her hair
Watching a man masturbate
Having my shoulders rubbed-- hard
The sound of someone fucking me
A woman who takes control in bed and out
Being "forced" to do what I really want
Being taken by a lover in spite of my protests
Exposing my breasts to the air

10. Things that make me happiest

Reading alone or with my husband
Talking with S.
Thinking about a happier future than the present
The thought of perfection
The myth of happiness

Author's Note: I added the 10th item. I won't tag anyone with this on-line, but if we're talking off-line, consider yourself tagged.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Beyond You & Me Excerpted

Well, the publishing industry may not think there's a market for Beyond You & Me, but I'm happy to report that the pay-site Tit-Elation has accepted "A Erotic Out-Take" for its October spread. It's a pay site that you have to join to read, so I encourage everyone to click on the logo above and sign up. In fairness to Tit-Elation, I have taken down that section, which used to be among previously excerpted chapters here in the section entitled "if you're new, start here."