VANILLA, BDSM, WHO CARES?

cage/whip

I finally started a new novel. It’s an erotic romance, which is a complete departure from the 2 romantic comedies I have written. But my muse writes the story. I find I have very little control over which way it goes.

Unfortunately, the writing has been very slow going because the muse has chosen to add certain facets to the story I am completely unfamiliar with, resulting in me having to do a crapload of research. One of my heroes is an artist, another is a pediatric neurosurgeon. My heroine owns horses. She teaches Gothic architecture at a college. I know of none of this stuff. Write what you know, they say. There’s a reason for that. You get your book written in half the time.

But my muse is stubborn and her ideas are firm. She wants elements of BDSM. I groaned when she first informed me of this. “No, no, no, there are enough Fifty Shades of Grey knockoffs, for goodness sake,” I complained. But the bitch wants what she wants.

Now, researching the BDSM lifestyle is interesting because it has obviously exploded since the 3 Fifty books came out. I understand the BDSM community has felt misunderstood in the past, that outsiders think it’s all about abuse, and Fifty is in no way an accurate representation of an authentic Dom/sub relationship.

I’ve been reading tons of blogs. I’ve talked to both men and women involved in the lifestyle. I’ve joined private groups on Facebook, and followed many pages of Doms, Dommes, subs, and littles. Private groups on Facebook, and even certain blogs on Tumblr portray the lifestyle pretty accurately. Their main objective is to provide accurate information, which is vital so participants don’t get taken advantage of, or worse, injured.

The public fan pages on Facebook mystify me though. Obviously, erotic authors have professional fan pages with provocative photos and/or relevant articles related to whatever they’re writing about, but this is done to sell books. I can’t figure out why any Dom or a Mistress would create a fan page just for the hell of it. Entertainment? A creative outlet? Ego? And they have tons of followers, mind you. We’re talking thousands. It’s like they’re celebrities.

Dommes post erotic photos (within FB guidelines), which are like the clean version of porn stills, so the comments are all by middle-aged to older men wishing it was them being stepped on with spike heels or paddled or walked outside with a leash. “Yes, Mistress,” Please, Mistress,” “I love you, Mistress.” But Mistresses make it clear they’re not to be solicited for business.

Dom pages are even worse, because women as a whole seem to be particularly vulnerable to men who come across as assertively sexy or provocative. Doesn’t matter that these women have no idea what the man looks like. Hell, he could be posting while sitting on a dirty, ripped couch in stained underwear, swigging a Bud, but if they portray themselves as sensitive and in touch with women’s feelings (while being DOMINANT, of course), women swoon like prepubescent girls paging through Tiger Beat Magazine.

“Oh, Sir, if only I could find a man like you.” “Sir, your words hit me right in my solar plexus.” “Sir, Sir, Sir…”

It feels a little cult-like to me. Why should a stranger call someone they don’t know “Sir” if he’s not your Sir. No one addresses a “Daddy” as such. It’s way too personal a title. Another thing I’ve noticed is a lot of middle-aged Doms prefer emotionally-broken 20-somethings. I’m not sure if this is because they feel they can save them or mold them, or what. And FFS, does every Dom have to be a polygamist and an exhibitionist? Seems like their most important pastime in life is going to dungeon parties, picking out a new, young impressionable thing, getting her up on a St. Andrew’s cross and going to town on her.

It’s bad enough practically every single kinky picture involves young, thin, and firm. (Isn’t this what “vanilla” people complain about all the time?) In a lifestyle claiming diversity and open-mindedness, where the fuck is the diversity? Where are all the middle-aged, thick women? Surely, there are plenty. And in a community that preaches non-judgment, they’re pretty freaking judgmental when it comes to a vanilla lifestyle. If a couple wants to have vanilla sex and it’s satisfying to them, who is anyone to judge? Just because someone enjoys being whipped or humiliated or tied up doesn’t make them any more edgy than someone who prefers being vanilla. (Oh, how I despise that banal term.)

I guess what I’m questioning is the need for some people to have their sexuality right out there in the open. Is it really anyone’s business what their kinks are? Why do they feel the need to share them with the rest of the world? If I came out as a lesbian, I don’t think I’d start a public Facebook page and only post things regarding homosexuality. By making it your sole identity, it goes against what gay people ultimately want—to be like everyone else by not having their sexuality singled out.

I dunno. Maybe I’m just a cranky, private, introverted, non-exhibitionist monogamist.

I’d love to hear anyone’s views on the subject.

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PORN AS SEXUAL EMPOWERMENT OR DEVIL’S CANDY

mosaic

I’m a Facebook slut. Or nympho—meaning I like to be on it, all the time. I do have limits though. I don’t post a new selfie every other day. I don’t poke or poke back (All I can think of is The Three Stooges poking each other in the eyes). And I try to refrain from outwardly shaming people whose opinions I consider asinine crap.

I do however, post way more cat memes than any human should. I divulge information about the boy that will probably come back to haunt him. And when I’m feeling particularly feisty I like to voice my strong opinions or play devil’s advocate on random sites just to evoke argument.

So I’m scrolling through my feed last week and up pops this meme from an anti-porn site. Now I’m not anti-porn. In fact, I like my porn—in moderation. I think it’s only a problem if your SO doesn’t want to have sex with you anymore because he’s (or she’s) wanking it 7x a day to these silicone, Botoxed beauties. Or males with 14-inch penises (24-inch when erect). Or petite she-males.

This anti-porn meme quoted Jonah Mix: “I’m not interested in a world where men really want to watch porn but resist because they’ve been shamed; I’m interested in a world where men are raised from birth with such an unshakeable understanding of women as living human beings that they are incapable of being aroused by their exploitation.” (Yeah, well, unless we’re going back to Egyptian times, good luck with that.)

So, because I was bored I posted a comment: “And I’m interested in a world where women are raised from birth with such an unshakeable sense of self-worth that they are incapable of considering the option of having to f*ck for money.”

And then I waited for the shit storm.

And it came. From both men and women. Not only did I get the “Women who do porn are sexually-empowered and they have the right to choose their own career,” but I also got “Some women actually enjoy doing porn, and it’s not because they’re drugged-up losers. They enjoy sex and like being in business for themselves.”

I fired back with examples citing former porn stars who have exposed the realities of this ugly business (like anal and vaginal tearing, and drug and alcohol dependency), as well as the running joke that women who take off their clothes for money almost always have Daddy issues, and that it became a joke only because it’s true more often than not. I stated that if these women were able to work the same amount of hours for the same amount of money sitting on their asses at a desk, instead of on someone’s face, they would choose the desk job. I also made it clear that not ALL women who get in to the porn industry have low self-esteem. Some are in fact, nymphomaniacs, and others thrive on the money and attention. But one has to ask why they thrive on the attention (self-esteem problems) and what drives them to be a nympho in the first place (trying to fulfill the emptiness inside themselves because, um, they have low fucking self-esteem!!!)

And back and forth it went. Now, when I engage in controversial discussions on Facebook it serves only as a form of verbal masturbation for me. In fact, I get more excited when I make a logical point than I do watching any porn. I realize I’ll never change anyone’s opinion, just like I’ll never convert someone who’s pro-life to pro-choice. I simply thrive on offering up intelligent, thought-out responses which maybe, just maybe allow someone to see the issue another way.

I could care less who chooses to do porn and why. I’m not an advocate for a porn-free world, and as long as viewers are paying big bucks, women (and men) will be fucking…and sucking…and spanking…and flogging. But I stand by my opinion that if women grew up with a greater sense of self, there would be fewer hookers, strippers, and porn actresses in the world.

My comment has received over 600 likes so far, so evidently there are men and women out there who share the same opinion.

What say you? I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject of porn. Is it the work of the devil filled with sinners OR empowering, sexy entertainment?

FORGIVE ME FACEBOOK I’LL NEVER REVILE YOU AGAIN

Facebook
Awhile back I wrote a post calling Facebook the devil. I hated the insipid, superfluous crap people posted, everyone’s lives so seemingly perfect, not to mention my family’s posts and photos continually reminding me I’m the black sheep of the family, the outcast, liberal, artsy-fartsy freak, excluded from all gatherings.

I never went on Facebook all that much and I scoffed at the folks who seemed to be on it 24/7. Surely they had no lives, or they were avoiding conversation with their significant others, or possibly they were attention sluts, or having virtual affairs with rediscovered childhood sweethearts.

Then I took a social media class and my entire life changed. I decided to stick my big, fat toe into the sea of unabashed admission. Followed more authors, saw what they were doing. Began to go on FB every day. Tolerated it…then liked it…liked it more…and then…and then…I fell, and I fell hard. It was like a bright light had suddenly been switched on in my dark and bitter pessimistic soul. How could I have been so blind not to recognize Facebook’s magnificence sooner? Especially with me being such a visual person?

I discovered quirky pages, artistic pages, sexy pages, dark and twisted, sarcastic and bitchy pages—everything I am, I found within this social media framework. And I reveled in it all. I felt compelled to log in 5, 6, 7 or more times a day so I didn’t miss anything. The more pages I liked and people I followed, the lengthier my news feed. I’d like one page, and then 6 more suggestions would pop up for similar pages, so I’d gleefully click on them, and so on and so on. Hours slipped by as I interacted with other like-minded brethren. THIS is my culture; not my soul-less suburban nightmare of a town. I didn’t need to be around people. I got all the social stimulation I needed from postings less than a paragraph long.

The happier I was over my newfound love, the more magnanimous I became. I no longer roll my eyes at God quotes or inspirational garbage, or cute kittens because I have simply accepted them as insights into a person’s personality. And I have been known to post some inspirational garbage of my own, especially when it comes to love. (I am a romance writer, after all.) I show a glimpse of my warm and fuzzy side on my author page and on my personal one, I get to be the raunchy, sarcastic bitch that I truly am.

Not familiar with Grumpy Cat? George Takei’s page? Tattooed Mommy? You don’t know what you’re missing. There are pages out there with names like “Reading someone’s status and thinking ‘oh shut the hell up’” and “Thepenisinhermouth. I read it wrong the first time.” (Get it? Neither did I the very first time.)

“I fucking love science,” “You can Call Me Mistress,” and, wait for it…“50 Shades of Craptastic Grey.”

I am in fucking Facebook heaven.

Like it? Hate it? Tell me what you think of FB.

THE WORLD DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW HOW BORING MY LIFE IS

statue

Photo by L’Orso Sul Monociclo

This novel writing thing is really getting in the way of my social media time. I recently joined Twitter. Wow, talk about a time suck mind f*ck. I could spend days and days searching for people to follow, and then following up on recommendations of people I should follow, and this isn’t including time spent actually reading tweets. Almost every tweeter recommends an article or a post written by themselves or someone else, and before I know it, it’s midnight and I haven’t even gotten to Facebook yet.

All this social media makes my head spin, and I have to wonder if part of all the hype is simply just that—hype. Writers have it beaten into them every day: “You must make your social presence known,” or “Who’s going to buy the book you worked so hard on if no one knows about your book?” As if writers aren’t neurotic enough.

It’s hard to write a book, and now we have to promote it, too?

There’s a delicate balance to achieve between beating someone over the head with a thousand “Buy my book” tweets a day, and providing useful information which interests people—all while assuming a clever online persona that doesn’t annoy followers. It’s not all about the project anymore; it’s about you as a person, a “brand.” Which really sucks for me because my life isn’t all that exciting.

I have ONE lonely novel to promote. I have no backlist to talk up, no ms’s to drag out from under the dusty bed to self-publish. I don’t go to conferences or do book signings. I go to soccer practices, walk the diva, procrastinate over my current WIP, and complain about writer’s ass. What am I supposed to post about on Facebook and tweet on Twitter?

I don’t want to turn into the people I complain about on Facebook, for example—you know, the ones who make the want to stick a fork in your eye comments like, “Am having a bad day,” or “I love my husband,”—just to force the masses to be aware of my social presence. The majority of writers are introverts and don’t want to be bothered by all this manipulative media crap. We just want to write our books and be able to quit our day jobs. We don’t want to have to worry about how many Likes we have on Facebook or Amazon, how many Followers we have on Twitter or our blog, or Connections on LinkedIn.

Whether I like it or not, social media is here to stay. And until my life gets more interesting, I’m going to continue to bitch and moan about slowed metabolism after forty and how I feel like a complete idiot when I have to retype those two CAPTCHA words to prove I’m not a robot.

Of course, I’ll throw in a “Buy my book” every now and then, too.

Am I the only one overwhelmed by social media?

I’M ONLY HUMAN AND FACEBOOK IS THE DEVIL

Painting

Photo by corazon girl

I  hate Facebook. I rue the day it was created. I get that it’s a great way for people to get in touch, but half the people who find me are folks I was never that great friends with in the first place. So why would I want to be friends with them now, after 30 years?

I also get that it’s a way for people to stay in touch, but most of the crap that people post makes me want to stick a fork in my eye. Like inspirational quotes. If I wanted to channel Tony Robbins every day, I’d buy his freakin seminars on CD, okay? I didn’t buy the Inspirational Quote A Day Rip Off The Pages Calender, I went for The Far Side one, so that should tell you something about me right there.

I just accepted a friend request from someone I went to high school with. The minute I clicked “Accept,” 20 youtube song posts came up in a row. I don’t mind one or two, but 20? Really? What is he, unemployed, sitting in front of the computer, listening to music all day? Then he posted this pic, and I was like, “Whoa there, buddy! Back the truck up just a goddamn minute. Did you seriously just post this for all to see?”

                       

I have another friend who posts gems like this every day:

One of these at a time I can deal with. But 11 a day makes me want to “unfriend” her. And don’t even get me started on the ones who post God quotes.

I genuinely like hearing about important news. I would have never known my sister was moving to another city in two weeks had the news not been posted on FB. Ever since being banished from everything involving that side of my family, I have no idea what goes on with any of them anymore. My father threw me out of his house three years ago for looking at him the wrong way. I’m sure it also had something to do with the fact that he’s a Cancer, and Cancers always seem to think they can live your life better than you can. So if you’re not doing what it is they think you should be doing, then that’s a huge FAIL on your part and they no longer have any use for you.

Case in point: My best friend of over 20 years, also a Cancer, voiced her unwelcome opinion two years ago that I “needed to get my shit together.” For her, that meant getting a job as a full-time manager at Starbucks, stop focusing on the “romantic drivel” I like to read, and forgo all sex until my son was out of the house. Umm, yeah, well, it’s a good thing I didn’t listen to her or I’d be one over-caffeinated, stressed-out bitch right now.

Anyhoo, I get to see everything I’m missing out on family-wise, since they always post a gazillion photos. I see how people age, and how fat they get, without anyone seeing me age, and how fat I get. It’s a win-win situation.

There are times when information on FB is too accessible. Like when I went to my son’s elementary school principal’s FB page on a whim, and there were photos of her and Captain Crunch in that lame head-together pose couples do when they’re taking their own picture. Had I not seen that, I could have continued to be completely oblivious to the fact that Captain Crunch was fucking her and me, and who knows how many others at the same time.

Other tidbits of info I don’t need to see or read about on FB? What you ate for dinner, as well as photos of it. Who cares what shoes you’re buying at the moment? I do care if your kid’s really sick, but I really don’t care if you have the sniffles. Can’t people ever post something interesting, like, “Had a big fight with my DH last night after he came home wasted and puked in my newly-planted begonias.”

What’s that you say? There are people who post those kinds of things? Maybe I need to get a new set of friends.

ASS IN CHAIR

“Writing equals ass in chair.”—Stephen King, On Writing

Pretty straightforward and simple advice, no? Then why is it so freaking hard to do? I’ll admit I probably spend more time procrastinating over writing than I do actual writing.

Everyone says it gets easier the more you write. I’m finding that NOT to be the case. I’m in the process of writing my third novel. Each time I sit down to write, it’s like I’m learning English for the first time: awkward sentence construction, abundance of clichés and spelling errors.

Some believe you should get all your ideas out on the page, without any self-editing—a verbal diarrhea of sorts. The problem with that method for me is when I look back on the words and see crap, any self-esteem or future inspiration I may hope to have stagnates—constipation, if you will.

So I tend to think more before I write. Problems arise when I don’t know what to write; I don’t know where my story is going or what my characters are going to do. Instead of trusting in the organic process of writing and allowing ideas to flow from me, I procrastinate instead. Here’s how my day goes:

Fire up the laptop; read the news and check emails. Read other writers’ blogs, peruse various forums, threads, loops, and comment when necessary. It is often necessary.

Start stressing because I haven’t begun to write yet.

Google “Why wives won’t have sex with their husbands,” or “Why do men cheat.” Read gazillions of never-ending sob stories. Feel grateful that I’m single.

Check Facebook. Resist the desire to stick a fork in my eye after being forced to read all the insipid inspirational quotes and cartoons that people post, just to get to one piece of news I actually care to know.

Continue to stress because I have no clue what I’m going to write that day.

Check email again.

Think about opening my WIP document to stare at the screen. I do not go through with it.

Do a half-assed work-out, in the hope that divine inspiration will hit me due to increased oxygen reaching my brain.

Shower and stress while shampooing my hair, because the day is already half over and I still haven’t written a goddamn word.

While picking up son from school, I finally envision how the next scene in my novel should play out. Of course, now interruptions and noise levels are at maximum level, what with a hundred kids running in and out of my house, the diva Chihuahua barking at every single noise she hears, and my son demanding to eat or drink something every thirty seconds.

I’m fired up though, because I have an IDEA, so I rush to my computer. As I’m in the process of getting that idea down, I feel an amazing sense of accomplishment (kind of like when I don’t feel like exercising, but I do anyway, because I know if I don’t I’ll feel like a loser all day).

If my son is occupied for a bit of time, and he doesn’t need an extraordinary amount of help with his homework, I can manage to get a few pages of writing done, thereby increasing the word count of my stubborn WIP.

When all is said and done I wonder, Why in the hell did I not get my ass in the chair sooner?

If I got my ass in the chair at the same time each and every day, instead of doing all that other mindless crap, I may have a shot at an actual writing career. Perhaps not as prolific a career as Nora Roberts, who churns out five (FIVE?!) books a year, but maybe, just maybe I could earn enough to support a daily white chocolate mocha habit.

LAST CALL

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about death. I’m middle-aged, after all, even though mentally and emotionally I still feel like I’m twenty-three. I read articles all the time on secrets for how to live to be a hundred and ten, even though they always say the same thing: Eat vegetables, nuts and seeds, exercise, eliminate stress, and be happy, and I think, Ok, I’ll do all those things once I retire, except by that time I know it’ll be too late and then I get stressed out over this and obsess over the fact that I could die any day now, so I eat French fries and chocolate to console myself, but then I’m not happy and I know I should work it off, but I don’t, because I feel too much like a bloated pig to exercise.

Healthy habits = 0 for me, but here’s the thing—how many people on their death bed wish they ate more veggies and omega-3s, or had tried a Zoomba class? NO ONE.

Here’s what some people did say were their biggest regrets in an article from The Guardian on Facebook.

Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

Ware writes of the phenomenal clarity of vision that people gain at the end of their lives, and how we might learn from their wisdom. “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently,” she says, “common themes surfaced again and again.”

Here are the top five regrets of the dying, as witnessed by Ware:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honored even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realize the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

“This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.”

 

So how are you doing on these?

Living my life my way has always been singlewritermom’s biggest challenge. I already wish I could have blocked out everyone else’s expectations for me and listened to my own drumbeat sooner. When I was a wee little lass, I skipped fourth grade, and excelled at learning foreign languages. Hence I became “the smart girl,” who everyone hoped would get a job at the United Nations one day (No pressure though). I then morphed into “the pretty girl,” who no doubt would grace thousands of magazine covers and travel the world. Except then I became “the sick girl,” and nobody knew what the hell to do with me, except continually ask, “Well, what the freak are you going to do with your life now?”

Sadly, it wasn’t until I hit forty-three that I could admit to being a writer without feeling like an imposter.

As for wishing I hadn’t worked so hard? I’m pretty sure I’d wish I’d been able to work harder. I’m specifically referring to exercise, but not for the health benefits to extend my life span. I would have loved to have seen my body with muscle definition—kinda like a body-builder type, but more Rachel Mclish, then Bev Francis. Just once would I have liked to have worn spandex without an oversized T-shirt covering my ass. Running a marathon would have been pretty cool, too, except for the training and the vomiting afterwards part, since everyone oohs and aahs over that accomplishment.

Feelings…Yeesh, I actually express my feelings too much. At too loud a decibel. A filter on my mouth probably would have helped at times, because the meds sure don’t. I suppose my regret would be that I hadn’t kept my big yap shut during times I should have. (Examples: “When are you due? Oops.” and “If I could get away with it, I’d kill you.”)

Perhaps I’ll wish I’d stayed in touch with friends better, but a few really good ones dumped me for being a little black rain cloud, thus resulting in my belief that friendships are transient and fickle in general, so scratch that one.

Now #5 is a tough one for me to wrap my mind around, because happiness isn’t a choice for say, the clinically depressed. And many people choose to forgo their own happiness for the sake of others (like staying in a bad marriage for the children, or inviting the senile mother-in-law to come live with them.) This is called self-sacrifice, and will no doubt get you into a heaven where chocolate mousse and margaritas are calorie-free. Is self-sacrifice a bad thing? Depends upon how miserable you end up. If you wind up grandchildren-less or paying for your children’s therapy, because the kids are so jacked-up from your less-than-stellar union, or you keep sending your MIL out to buy milk every day in the hope that she won’t come home, that’s a problem.

Notice how nobody wished they had had more sex, or tried bungee jumping? I would have thought at least a few would have wished for better sex, or sex while bungee jumping. But that’s just me…

What’s your greatest regret so far?