I’d like to write another story for Best Women’s Erotica; I’d like to publish that story in another edition of Best Women’s Erotica. Over the years, editors for the annual erotica collection have rejected my work once, shortlisted my work once, and published my work twice. Marcy Sheiner and Violet Blue are incredible people. Female sexual activists are always incredible. I don’t think anyone knows how brave a sexual activist is, especially a female sexual activist.
Once a week, I read my friend Emerald’s blog and consider herÂ aÂ sexual activist coming into her own,Â how convicted she is about the rights of women, sex workers, human beings in general and I think, what a responsibility it is to take that stuff on, to vocalizeÂ your opinions regarding sexualityÂ in face of a culture like ours: a mixed bag of prudes and perverts.
Americans are sexually dysfunctional. We loathe women comfortable in their own skins, the ones who open thierÂ mouths, those who defyÂ the Madonna/Whore complex. Meanwhile, no one willÂ know theÂ kind and generous friend Emerald is,Â how amazingÂ it is she puts up with me, how she encourages me.Â Emerald encouragesÂ humanity as a whole, actually, although most would fail to recognize her advocacy.Â Most of us fail toÂ acknowledge theÂ selflessness of friends, letÂ alone our sexual activists.
Thinking about Best Women’s Erotica the other day, I began to composeÂ a letterÂ to Keanu Reeves, with whom I had an encounterÂ some years ago, which lead me to recallÂ the steady flame of a man’s gazeÂ and how thenÂ IÂ existed.
Last night at the dinner table, as my son and I bantered back and forth in our usual manner I said, “When my novel comes out,” and then caught myself and said, “Hey, I said when not if.”Â AndÂ feltÂ delighted. I’ll publish my novel then I’ll exist.
What saves us?
I joined theÂ Rumpus mailing list not too long ago andÂ receive daily emails fromÂ site founder, Stephen Elliott. Over the lastÂ few weeks, he’s struck me asÂ vain.Â Takes one to know one, doesn’t it? A lot ofÂ writers strike me that way.Â It’s a risk we take.Â Jesus was an empathetic,Â sensitive guy,Â but he was also full of himself;Â there’s no other way toÂ bear theÂ cross.
Consider what it takes to go stark naked. The point of writing about ourselves is to write from the inside out until we achieve a universal truth. I think Nick Flynn said that or Vivian Gornick. Or maybe it was my friend, Craig Sorensen.
My boss’s life coach addressesÂ the destructiveness of vanity, and I know what he means, butÂ he isn’t a writer.Â This is an excuse or a Â reason.Â Writers sayÂ over dramatic things like, “If I wasn’t a writer, I’d kill myself.”Â Except seventy-five percent of the time, I’mÂ serious.Â Last night myÂ son said, “Lots ofÂ religious people are too worried about what happens after they die instead ofÂ paying attention rightÂ now.”Â Â Writers are in the moment twenty-four-seven, which is why some of us areÂ Atheist.
God doesn’t make you a good person. Get used to it. God isÂ an asshole. Life isÂ ambiguous.
I recalledÂ a day recently when I walked home from a grocery store. I was nineteen andÂ alone. At some point IÂ registered a manÂ tailing me.Â I wasn’t scared at first; then I was.Â WhenÂ I arrived at the house I shared with two roommates, they weren’t homeÂ and IÂ locked the door.Â Within a few seconds the guy tried the front door then the back one too. I heard him going around the house; I watchedÂ his shadow pass behind drawn curtains. I heard him trying this window then that one too.
WithoutÂ second thought, I called my father.Â Imagine you’re Jesus and your father is God. Doesn’t matter if he’sÂ God or not because our fathers always feel that way to us.Â I’mÂ a perfectionistÂ becauseÂ I’m still trying to please him.
Within minutes that day he arrived and saved me. This was a joyous occasion.Â The bad guy had gone.