Thursday, March 31, 2011

On the verge of poetry

It's about thirty minutes till the clock ticks over and April 1 arrives. April Fools? I don't think so. It will be National Poetry Month! And like last year, I'm going to write a poem every day and post it here. 

This year I'm taking part in Not Without Poetry, which Shanna Germain decided to put together to take the place of one of the poem-a-day sites from last year. Each day there will be a prompt. On Monday, April 4 the prompt will be one that I came up with. I'm rather excited to see what folks come up with for that.

So, I'm ready. Now just waiting for April!

Plus, I'll be blogging about Momentum: Making Waves in Sexuality, Feminism, and Relationships, the conference I'll be attending this weekend down in DC.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

No Oxymoron: A Sorta Kinda Review of Good Porn, A Woman's Guide and Interview with Erika Lust

     I write erotica. Or do I write pornography? Does it matter? Lately, it hasn't to me. It's all quite nicely blurred. I do, for whatever reason, tend to think of erotica as printed and porn as visual, just for simplicity's sake. 
     Can porn be good? Can it be good for you? For some reason, in the past six months or so, I've been pondering my relationship (or lack of one in the past) with visual porn. I'll probably be visiting this topic frequently in the near future. This review of Good Porn: A Women's Guide and interview with Erika Lust (yes, she answered some questions I sent her!) is the first of these musings on porn.

When I came of age, and by that I mean became interested in sex, the closest I got to pornographic movies was driving by a certain "adult theater." I'd read the titles on the marquee with a mixture of  attraction and repulsion. This was before the internet, before Beta and VHS and home players, even before we had cable. Yes, that long ago.

But I remember reading about X-rated films; films like Deep Throat, Behind the Green Door, The Devil in Miss Jones, etc. I remember the fuss about Last Tango in Paris. Now, I can admit to having wanted to see them (though I wasn't old enough then). But I also remember shame for having any interest in dirty movies. I remember being oh-so-impressed when a high school friend mentioned her mother taking her to see Emmanuelle. My mother never would have. I was married before I saw my first cable porn and I was glued to the TV set, though I pretended it was because I was astonished. I was a young mother before I rented my first porn video for a co-worker's bachelorette party (Around the World With Johnny Wadd). While I laughed derisively with everyone in attendance, I found some of it a turn on, even though a lot of it was stupid.

Fast forward mumblemumble years. I get a copy of Good Porn: A Woman's Guide by Erika Lust (translated by X.P. Callahan), published by Seal Press, in the mail, white with a huge Barbie-pink X on the cover. This book was written with us porn novices in mind. While it's been mentioned that the cover image might discourage someone from picking it up in a store, since ordering online is how most folks do their book shopping these days, that probably isn't that big an issue. It's also available in various electronic forms. Note: It's taken me a hell of a long time to get around to writing this review. I received the book last summer, and promptly read it and enjoyed it. I wanted to write a review, but until now, I just couldn't for some reason. I'll probably write a follow-up post to this in an attempt to figure out why.

Erika Lust is an award-winning adult filmmaker, founder of Lust Films of Barcelona, and the author of several books. When she was first introduced to porn, she found that she just couldn't identify with it. In the preface of her book, she says "Obviously, there was something about the images that turned me on, but there were also a lot of things that bothered me." But rather than just let them bother her, she eventually decided to produce and direct porn herself.

Last year she published Good Porn as part of her "mission to open women's eyes to the wide world of x-rated videos, including alternative films that feature confident, sexual women who turn us on instead of turning us away." She even has a Manifesto. For me, the book has definitely helped me get past some of the blocks that kept me from openly acknowledging that I wanted to watch porn.

The book is written in an easy-to-pick-up-and-just-read-a-bit style. There are sections that: compare porn for men with porn for women (somewhat generalizing); talk about what "modern women want in adult films," dispelling the myth that women are not visual, and that we want to see ourselves, not a male fantasy of who and what we are; answer a bunch of FAQs ("Why do the men always ejaculate outside?" & "What's the difference between eroticism and pornography?" are a couple). There's a "Dictionary of Porn" terms, a great "History of Porn," and most importantly, a guide to all sorts of porn films, with good descriptions, and where to find them. 

This is probably not your book if you already know all this stuff. But for someone who's maybe been very curious, but a little (or a lot) hesitant to seriously check it out, and not knowing where to start, this book is definitely good. It's most definitely geared towards women, but if you know a guy who's not afraid of pink, I think it would be worth his while to read too. Good Porn: A Woman's Guide  by Erika Lust can be found at Amazon (both paperback and Kindle) and most booksellers.

Erika Lust answers a few of my questions!

What did you set out to accomplish with this book? Did you? Or are you already thinking of another book?  ;-)

Inform. Show that the world of porn is more than what people assume in the first place. Go beyond prejudices and really show what problems there are with porn, but also that there is a variety of pornographic imagery. Usually when people talk about porn, if in private or if it’s a public discussion, they just lump everything together. Being unable to differentiate in making judgments has a reason, which is not just that people were ignorant or prude, but usually a lack of information, which again is a lack of access. I wanted the book to be easily understood, kind of dealing with it with a relaxed attitude, to make the book easily accessible. Especially not nourish fears. And of course the book is especially dedicated to women, because in production, as well as consumption, it is still a male domain. When it comes to positions where decisions are made, there’s much more men than women in the porn business, but as well for consumers it seems much easier for men to approach porn, to watch it, to talk about it. But there’s no reason for it to be a taboo for women. Freeing from taboos is giving information. But because of all the fears and worries a lot of people seem to have when it comes to porn, especially women, the book needed to be easy going, entertaining, humorous – to be easily accessible for those who have least access. And I think I accomplished it quite well when I see the result, and the feedback I get from readers.

And ‘Yes’, I already published two other books, ‘Erotic Bible to Europe’, which is trying to make erotic places in Europe visible, but talking about those who are not the gloomy and grubby places people might have in mind, but stylish and in a way special places, that are not hidden, but in the city center or some busy street, not full of nooks and crannies, but open and well illuminated. And places with a certain philosophy, like boutiques especially for women, to give an example of something that has driven me many times, and also for the other book I just released, and wrote together with Fetish Artist Venus O’Hara, ‘Love me like you hate me’, which aims at introducing fetish and BDSM to women who don’t have a clear idea of what it is, and might never dared to ask.

While reading it, I realized that even just five years ago, I probably would have been "afraid" to read it (even though I knew I was turned on by visual images). Now I'm much more comfortable (though not entirely) with the concept of porn. Who did you see as your intended audience with this book? Where you hoping to reach women like I was a few years back, or were you more interested in reaching women more like I am today, or was your intended audience those already comfortable with the actuality of porn?

I think it should work for both, don’t you think? I aimed at people who were not really informed about porn or had misconceptions, and not so much whether they felt comfortable with it or not. It was about to show a that porn is not stable, it is what people make of it. So it is an introductory work, but as well a little manifest for ‘good porn’. It was to show what’s out there, and what one could like and what not, what’s there to criticize and what’s worth seeing. It’s not an eulogy on the industry, I wanted to make people comfortable with the idea of sex on film, I didn’t want to make everybody comfortable with the state of the industry. The question is not whether porn is good or bad in general, the question is what’s good or bad in particular. Some is also a question of taste, and therefore of orientation within the genre, which needs information, a point of reference, to know what exists, what one could probably like, and where to find it. It’s about getting to know porn, to be able to approach it open minded, but with a critical attitude.
But of course the book is within the context of feminisms paradigm shift when it comes to porn. So my intended audience is women, and I try to explain that porn and it’s industry may be chauvinist and sexist, but that’s not in the nature of the genre, so let’s think about how we can do better, and get down to it! Let’s start to produce the porn we like, the way we like it, and change not only the ways of the industry, but also the images! Let’s start to confidently watch the porn that serves us! And if it’s one of the independent productions, the better, because that again supports further productions!

The issue of "shame" doesn't really come up in the book. A friend of mine, the sexologist Susana Mayer Ph.D., did her dissertation on the use of explicit sex videos to spark libido in post-menopausal women. Shame was very much a factor in their reactions. In the section in your book "I Believe In Porn," you write: "And porn can be an instrument of education and liberation for women who are still struggling with shame, guilt, and sexual repression." I understand what you're saying, and I do believe it. But the "porn is bad" is so ingrained in so many women, not only those of us that are older, that it's quite likely that many women who could benefit might never even pick up your book or watch any porn. Do you have any ideas on how to break through the shame so that older women would not be as afraid of porn?

You are part of the answer! What helps? To talk about it! To show that there’s more women into it, that it’s not dirty, and not unnatural for a woman to do, to show that watching/ liking porn doesn’t mean supporting your own suppression, but could even be supporting a feminist goal – if it is your choice and something you like, of course. It is to show that you’re not consumer and therefore part of a shabby and shady industry if you watch porn, but that you are audience of a genre of film, which has a certain style and serves a certain taste, and which might be covered in the edition of VOGUE or the Guardian on your coffee table.
What I try to say is that different porn is already out there, and more and more independent pornographers pop up. That means that a bigger variety of tastes can be served. So that women won’t be too ashamed to have a closer look, we need to spread the word that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, and to show what might be worth having a look at. And your work is part of this, and I sincerely appreciate that.

I found much of the information in your book very educational. It helped me feel less "stupid" when it came to thinking about, and eventually writing about porn. But one problem I saw, with it being a guide-book of sorts, is that new porn is being produced and so the book becomes more of a history book really. Are there any online resources that you would recommend for providing the information like is in your "A Smorgasbord of Adult Films" for newer films? 

The Internet made a more direct connection from filmmaker to audience possible, so most will have their proper channels, like I do as well. To follow up the newest releases it helps for example to bookmark the websites and blogs ( of your favorite filmmakers, so you won’t miss any news, or add their page on Facebook ( or follow them on Twitter (, to be automatically updated on any upcoming project. If it is about finding out about new people entering the ‘new porn movement’, it helps to follow concerning film festivals, like the Porn Film Festival in Berlin, the CineKink in New York, the Indie Erotic Film Festival in San Francisco, and many many others. If it’s not possible to attend the festival and see the films first hand, just check the website for the program to see which films and filmmakers seam interesting to you. 

~ I'd like to thank Erika Lust for taking the time to answer these questions just as she released her newest short film, Room 33 (watch it for free! there).  Here's a very hot still from it. Um, yeah. Good place to end the words.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Busy behind the scenes

I haven't been blogging regularly because I've got so many projects going on. Hopefully my next post will be a review of Good Porn: A Woman's Guide along with a short interview with author/award-winning filmmaker Erika Lust.

I take writing reviews seriously. As a result, they take me a long time. This one has taken longer than most, and I'll be writing about why that is in an addenda to my piece.

I'm also working on several pieces of erotica for various submission calls, revamping my website, and trying to get a new erotic poetry blog/journal up and running in time for April - National Poetry Month. And next weekend is Momentum!

In the meantime, if you're dying to read something from me (ha!), you can go to We Who Are About To Die and read my review of The Wide Road by Lyn Hejinian and Carla Harryman.

Be back soon!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Reflecting, mulling, pondering, considering, contemplating

All words for what I'm doing right now. There are stresses, both internal and external, in my life right now and I'm trying to figure out how I want to engage with them. As strong as is the desire to hide, I just can't do that in good conscience. 

It would seem that it would be nice if our lives always went according to plan. I do get tired of "the unknown" and wish for calm and predictable. For a bit, anyhow. I know I'd get bored real fast. But uncertainty is also a hard place to be in.

I've spent a large portion of my life trying to be someone other than who I am, trying to be something I want to be but am not. I am emotional. I get way too wrapped up in inconsequential things. I'm always questioning and doubting myself. I've been told I have good instincts, but when I go with them, it seems that the whole world comes down on me for not only going with them, but for having them in the first place. 

This post is about personal stuff. My family. It's always unsettling to me when my children don't get along. I come from a very dysfunctional family and so I think I desire something more for my own children. I want them to pull together and see past their individual differences. 

Before I had children, I'd fantasize about family get-togethers when they were grown with children of their own. Me as grandma. They'd all have their own lives, as individual as they've all turned out to be. But there wasn't any of the antagonism and lack of understanding that there seems to be in reality. 

I'm trying to reconcile that in myself.

Friday, March 11, 2011

G is for Giving Up (the quick fiction)

With today's earthquake and tsunami in Japan (where one of my daughters is living and studying right now - though not in the area directly affected), I just can't even get my mind into the space to do these quick fictions. When and if I'm able to start them back up again, I'll start posting them again.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Quick Fiction 6: F is For

F is For

WTF? Where did today go? 

*my brain is fried. Gotta rest. And yeah, once again, this ain't fiction.

Say the word, rape: A Rant

Since it's beta days, I've been reading The Rumpus. And every so often, something I read there hits me where I feel it most, right in the gut.

Today, shortly after it was posted, I read Roxane Gay's piece The Careless Language of Sexual Violence (please read). She writes about her reaction to this New York Times article about the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Texas. Roxane takes issue (rightly) with the tone of the Times article since it seemed to be more about how the town is being torn apart by this and almost dismissive of the girl and how her life. Some 18 suspects have been arrested with possibly more to come. And as is usually (unfortunately) the case, there's been victim-blaming by some of those in the town.

After reading Roxane's post, I went to comment on it, but sat there blank, not knowing how to put into words what I was feeling, what I was thinking. By the time I was able to post a short something, eleven other folks had already posted, and as I type this there are more than 4 times as many comments. This piece hit a nerve. There are plenty of women out there who have been "sexually assaulted" in some way or another. Including myself.

When I was growing up, "rape" was something that strangers jumped out from behind bushes in the dark with guns and knives to do to girls and women who were foolish enough to be where they were alone. In high school I suffered through the "self defense" unit wondering why I thought it was stupid. The "final test" was to walk into the girl's locker room where one of the guys from the football team would be waiting to grab you and you had to use the moves we'd been shown and try to ... to what? The teacher was sitting there with her grading sheet. Somehow I instinctively knew that this wasn't how it happened in reality, hence I didn't do well on the test. Though I still carry my car keys in a way to gouge the eyes from any would-be attacker waiting in a darkened parking lot. My hyper-vigilance was not acquired in that class though.

While reading Roxane write about how often rape is a theme on television, it occurred to cynical old me that maybe they use rape because they can't use sex. She also mentioned the use of the word "rape" for "all manner of violations, great and small." The examples she used made me wonder "who would ever use them?" yet just a little bit later, someone I know used the term rape in such a manner. It was all I could do to not call him on it. Why didn't I? I'm not sure.

Like it or not, rape and sex are confused, very often, all over the world. Young girls have been raped and abused and then accused of adultery and lashed or stoned to death (when I googled "stoned to death" trying to find the incident I remembered, I got more than a million results, which in itself is sickening). And then there's that business in Georgia - oh good, no more victims! [insert sarcasm here]

And we're all too familiar with the "she was asking for it" line of reasoning. That's the case here too, this girl is said to have dressed "provocatively" and was "wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s." As if THAT was reason for the attack, as if it's only her age that makes this not okay.

Oh yeah, I've got my hackles up. Because there's way more to this story than any of us will ever see from news stories. And this kind of story has been repeated way too many times. At least she didn't end up dead. And yeah, I'm sparing you the links. Not because I'm trying to protect anyone's sensibilities, but because I just don't want to go find them. But they're there in my mind. I remember them.

So why am I ranting? Because, when I commented, I didn't link back to this blog like I usually do. Because I was afraid. Afraid because I write about sex in the fictional, the poetic, and more and more, the non-fictional. Because those lines blur for me. I've always been interested in sex, and I realized that it will be a major topic of my writing for the foreseeable future. But there's a subtle but false dichotomy when it comes to writing about sex. One can write about sex from what I call the intellectual standpoint, somewhat removed from the actuality, the down and dirty of it. To do otherwise, to write erotically, brings the whole "intent to arouse" into it. And that's what erotica is, intended to arouse. Just like porn. But there's a lot of folks that think that's a bad thing, that intent to arouse, and is a cause of stuff like what happened in Texas.

And right now I'm thinking I should just stop now. Delete this whole post. Go chill. Write my silly quick fiction piece. But I won't delete it, but I am going to stop writing for a bit.

I have a whole shitload of topics that I've decided to tackle here on my blog. As soon as I can work up the courage. I've got quite a backlog of links and ideas. Not all to do with sex or sexually-related things, but most are. And that scares me. Because in the back of my head, there's a voice whispering "you shouldn't write/say/talk about this." That's the shame voice talking. And I know where that voice comes from. It comes from inside the head of a little girl who thought she was to blame for the things that happened. And so whenever I encounter that kind of mixed up thinking (like in one of the news articles where someone suggests this 11-year-old-girl "knew what she was doing"), something snaps in me, and part of me wants to go all Lisbeth Salander on folks. But I rarely do, except maybe in words.

So, I'm going to be using my words. I'm going to use them to figure out where I stand, how I feel, and what I want. I'll weigh in with my probably-more-than-two-cents. Because I'm tired of listening to that voice telling me to shut up.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quick Fiction 5: E is for Erratic

Even though she wasn't from here, she belonged here. The woods were quiet in that not-so-quiet way she liked. Leaves rustling in the breeze. Songbirds chirping in the treetops and woodpeckers knocking away at snags. Chipmunks scurrying. Water burbling over stones. Her breathing as she hiked down the hill. Her heart beating.

It was a warm day, and the sun beckoned her to allow it's gaze as she reached the spot she'd been looking for. A giant boulder, bigger than two of her cars, sitting where it had been dropped by a glacier oh-so-many eons ago. She had to walk around to the other side in order to climb it.

But before she did, she answered the sun's request. Boots left her feet, as did socks. Her jeans unzipped and slid down her legs. Her t-shirt pulled itself over her head. Her bra and panties retired to the soft ground. She felt a slight chill, as the breeze brushed over the little bit of sweat that had been gathered on the way there.

On top of the boulder, in a patch of sun that warmed the stone, she first sat, then lay back, looking up through the trees at the sky. There, naked, she let her senses relax and become nature again. The warmth played across her breasts, down her belly, then urged her legs apart. The breeze touched her gently at first, making her hips undulate as her body welcomed the erotic wind.

*Part of this challenge:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Quick Fiction 4: D is for Done!

She hit publish and breathed a sign of intense relief. She hated wordpress. It made her feel stupid. It made her upset. It made her want to tear her hair out and smash her laptop, the one she can't afford to replace. She was sure that everything she wrote sounded imbecilic and so she did her one last task and then called it a night.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Quick Fiction 3: C is for Cup

You can get a mug like this here.

C is for Cup

All she wanted to do was go to bed. She was tired and just wanted to escape into sleep. But something was nagging at her. Something she needed to do. Something she'd promised herself.

She stood at the kitchen counter and began the ritual. She poured the beans into the grinder, plugged it in, then hit the button and covered her ears as the beans screamed their protestations. She would measure the coffee, tamp it down. Unscrew the lid and pour in water. Tighten the lid as much as her weak wrists could manage.

Into a small pan, she'd spoon some unsweetened cocoa powder while she ran water in the sink till it was hot. A small splash and she'd stir the cocoa till it was dissolved, then place it on the stove. She'd fill the cups with hot water to warm their porcelain.

The plug to the espresso maker would find it's outlet, and she would tip the switch, making sure the little red light came on, because all to often she plugged the wrong cord in and wondered why she didn't hear the steaming.

When the wetted cocoa powder started bubbling, she'd stir it well, then pour milk into the pan, add a few drops of sweetener and then stir. She had it timed just so. The cocoa would be hot just as the espresso maker stopped hissing.

In the meantime, she would pour heavy jersey cream into a small bowl, add a splash of sweetener, and with an old-fashioned egg beater, whip the cream. While stirring and waiting for the cocoa to be hot, constantly testing to make sure the liquid was almost scalding, she would dip a small spoon into the soft cream, and let the buttery texture melt on her tongue. Over and over again.

Soon the hissing would stop, and she would combine the two liquids, stir and pour them into the warm, waiting cups. With a large spoon she would ladle the whipped cream onto the steaming surface, then sprinkle a small bit of cinnamon on hers.

After delivering the other cup, she'd sit, knees tucked, sip the elixir, feel it warm her.
Soon she'd tuck herself into bed, maybe to dream of a cup filled.

*For Shanna's Quick Fiction challenge. Oh, I'm lazy tonight. Not not not wanting to do this. But I did.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quick Fiction 2: B is for Blindfolded

Waiting by Randy Lagana
B is for Blindfolded

Yup, I should've known that we wouldn't see eye-to-eye on this. There was a time when I never would have had the nerve to mention it. When you wouldn't' have known what was going through my mind at all. They say "love is blind," but what they really should say is that love is a blindfold.

We kept each other in the dark. Both afraid to admit to those twisty little thoughts we were sure would send the other running. Bumping around, bruising shins and knocking over breakables, that's how we managed for a long time. But one day I got tired of the stubbed toes and decided I wanted to see for a change. What point is the world if one never comes out from behind the mask?

"Here," I said, "let's take these off and see what difference it makes." Yeah, I was scared. Who wouldn't be? It's one thing to walk off the cliff by accident, and another to jump with eyes open. You know I'm scared of heights, get nervous just climbing a ladder. Yet, I love looking down from skyscrapers, planes.

For some inexplicable reason, after so many years, I needed to be able to see me for who I really am. And I couldn't do that without looking at myself. And yeah, I could have just taken my blindfold off, and left you to keep yours on. But what would be the fun in that?

We can still take a scarf and wrap it around, tie it snuggly behind our head. We can still close our eyes and touch.

*Part of Shanna Germain's quick fiction challenge for the rest of the month

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A is for Ack!

This afternoon on Facebook, Shanna Germain posted a challenge of sorts. On her blog, she's doing a quick fiction A-Z. And like the fool I am, I decided to try it. Now, maybe today is the only one I'll do. We'll see. I'm not promising anything. But I did respond to her Facebook post with "A is for ack!" and so that's what I went with. Wrote for 20 minutes and this is what I got:

A is for Ack!

"There's no way in hell that I can do this!" the writer said aloud to her laptop, which sat wagging it's tail of cords on her desk.

She shook her head and scolded the keys. "You can't make me do this! I have a blog post to do, and reviews to write, and a new novel to think about, not that I've forgotten the old one, well, the older ones, because I only forget things like why I walked into the other room or what else I needed at the store or what I'm supposed to do in a couple of days."

The digital time on her computer stared at her with what probably was a semblance of pity. The hard drive purred, just happy to not be overworked.

"What? What are you looking at?" she said to the clock. Eleven minutes left to go and still there wasn't anything happening. Ping! Oh, there's an email! Maybe it will be something inspiring. No.

And that damn cursor is just blinking at me. Six minutes left to go.

She thought about the email she should write, the difficult things she needed to say. She thought about how good news isn't always good news. She thought "I must be crazy!"

Would she do this another day? Or would today be the only one? Would she forget? Would she find  herself writing things she wouldn't want to post? Would anything of any fucking worth come out of it or would it just be the random upchucks of her overtaxed brain? Would she have the guts to do what she needed to do when she finished procrastinating by writing this twenty minutes away?

She watches the clock. One minute, or less, to go. There is no second hand on this digital number up in the corner of her screen. PM. Charged. Whew. Finished!

Friday, March 4, 2011


You know that gut-stab feeling you get when you realize that something you've maybe taken for granted is suddenly gone? It can be as huge a hurt as a loved person gone, and as small as a place where some words resided in this ethereal place we call the internet. But those are both places on the continuum of lost. And sometimes those hurts may be for the good in the long run, but when they hit, it can stop all motion.

Gazing at an empty place is like gazing at endlessness.

NOTE: I'm saying this because somebody wrote to me all concerned - everything's okay - it's just that I had an interesting reaction to the hopefully-temporary disappearance of a friend's blog.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Falling in love

with your characters, that is. Has that happened to you? That happened to me with this last story I wrote, and it was a problem of sorts.

I'd struggled with this story from the very beginning. I had an idea, inspired by a trip to an art museum. There is an exhibit of women artists in their permanent collection and some of the works especially moved me. My mother was an artist, albeit a frustrated one (long story not-for-here), and so I've always been drawn to stories (and movies) about artists. One of my characters is an artist.

I started the story, but then was interrupted by about 36 hours when I couldn't work on it at all. When I came back to it, I found that my characters started becoming more than I'd intended. As I wrote, I started to get lost in them. And I found myself falling in love. Which I don't do easily, in real life or on the page. I tend to be a bit cynical and untrusting, as well as quite insecure.

Now, from talking with other writers, having your characters move in their own direction is not all that uncommon. And this wouldn't have been a problem, except I had a deadline to meet, and they just weren't cooperating! So I found myself very disappointed with my story. In fact I almost chucked it yesterday morning as I tried to finish it. Because my characters did not want to be finished.

But thank eros for that deadline, because I'd promised Shanna that I would get a story to her, and so my not-wanting-to-let-someone-down forced me to commit myself to submitting SOMETHING. But I wasn't all too happy with this something (see "insecure" above). So I sent the story to Emerald to read over, and she made such a wonderful comment about my characters, that I squeezed past my insecurity to hit send and get my submission in before the deadline.

Afterwards, I sent the story to my husband to read. He's a professional editor, and you'd think I'd want him to have a look before I sent my story, but that would make sense, wouldn't it? No, because of my insecurity (yeah, that again), his comments can send me over the deep end. I have a story that I wrote a few years back and gave him to edit and I've yet to be able to go in and make revisions without feeling like the whole piece is a big pile of crap and shouldn't be inflicted on anyone.

When he gave me some feedback (when I got home from a poetry event I'd gone to in the evening), I found myself feeling very defensive. He'd wanted more, and well, I had too. But my characters weren't having it. He also had some problems with some tense changes and while I was tempted to pull it up on my screen and having him point out "problems," I realized I'd already submitted it and so it was out of my hands for  now. A couple of times during the "conversation" I was on the verge of tears. I get pretty emotionally invested in my writing.

It's not that I want undeserved praise, it's just that sometimes I feel like what people are telling me is "do it differently - do it my way" and even if I think they're right, the stubborn little writer in me gets to feet-stomping. no no no!

But my husband also complimented my characters. And I realized something. The reason I'd fallen in love with them was because they were "real" in the sense that they had that whatever-it-is that makes you love a character. And that the reason I had such a hell of a time finishing the story, was because I didn't want to leave them. Didn't want to say goodbye. But you know what? I don't have to.