Monday, March 27, 2017

A Community of Readers (#amreading #marketing #socialmedia)

Books and Flowers

By Lisabet Sarai

Want to know what I’m reading? Check out my bookshelf on Goodreads!

I can’t remember why I joined Goodreads, but my profile tells me it was more than seven years ago. Probably someone suggested that the site could provide another social marketing tool. For the most part, I haven’t really used it that way. I haven’t joined many groups (which I’ve been told is the way to reach readers) or engaged in much chitchat via the messaging facilities. As is the case with all my other social media, I have very little time to devote to such activities.

Of course I set up a profile as an author, to “gather” my books in one place (40, according to my last check). I also linked my blog feed to my page on the site. There are a few people who “like” every single post—even though for some reason Goodreads (or possibly Blogger) royally screws up the formatting!

I have 189 “friends”, mostly though not exclusively fellow authors I know from other contexts. Once a week (frequency customizable) I receive an email with notifications about what my friends have been doing, including the full text of some of their reviews.

Despite being ridiculously busy, I almost always read that email, because some of my Goodreads friends write truly remarkable reviews. The email includes a button next to each entry which takes you directly to Goodreads and adds that book to your “Want to read” bookshelf. I really like this feature. Before Goodreads, I kept scattered notes on interesting books I encountered, in a highly disorganized fashion. As we prepared for our ritual pilgrimage to the Strand Bookstore in New York, during each trip to the U.S., my DH and I would try to compile all those titles into a single list. A real pain!

Now I just go to the site, select the “want to read” shelf, set the number per page to 100 (there are currently 93 titles on my list) and print!

Indeed, I’ve started to use Goodreads to keep track of titles I find elsewhere (for instance, some of the amazing books mentioned by my fellow members of the Grip). It takes no more than a minute or two to bring up the site, search for a book, and add it.

Of course, another reason to read that email is occasionally someone has actually reviewed one of my books....! In addition, Goodreads lets me go to any of my titles to see 1) how many people have read it; 2) how many people have reviewed it; 3) the average rating (top is 5 stars). For instance, Raw Silk has 36 ratings, 8 reviews and an average rating of 3.97. (Those numbers are actually a bit depressing, considering how many years the book has been available!)

Because I’m an author and I know how much it means, I rate every book I read, and write at least a short review of as many as I can. A few months ago I got an email from Goodreads congratulating me for being such a frequent reviewer, within the top 10% on the site. Yeah, that made me feel good, until I realized that there are very likely millions of members who never post a single review!

I also “like” other people’s reviews, and occasionally leave comments. However, I have not tried in any sort of systematic way to increase my “reach” or draw readers into my circle. Although Goodreads has all sorts of marketing tools for authors, I’ve hardly used any of them. The site is now owned by Amazon (though it was originally independent), so of course it offers advertising, organizes giveaways, and so on. Although I personally approach Goodreads primarily as a community of readers, I know the real focus is on profit. People can buy books (surprise, surprise!) directly from the listing. There’s a big button for Amazon, plus a dropdown list labeled “Online Stores” for everyone else...

I’m sure I could leverage Goodreads to increase my sales. Certainly, as a social network, it makes much more sense to me than Facebook. I mean, if I’m looking to let people know about my books, what better place to do this than a site where the members are self-selected book lovers?

Like all the other marketing stuff I don’t do, Goodreads might make a difference in my sales. Or it might not. Meanwhile, I enjoy the interactions I have with my friends on the site. Though I have a small network, it includes many people whose opinions I respect. It would be more fun, of course, if we could get together in person, drink wine, and compare notes on our reading. Still, Goodreads offers a satisfying (and convenient) alternative.

And by the way, right now I’m reading three books: Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, by Louis de Bernières; Travels in Siam, Cambodia, Laos, and Annan, by Henri Mouhot; The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 11, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. When I get on the plane to the US in a few days, I’ll crack open A Feast for Crows, the fourth book in the Game of Thrones series, which I’ve been saving for the twenty-odd hour journey.

Drop by Goodreads in a few weeks if you want to know what I thought about these books!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kiss, Suspended, Witnessed ( #BDSM #Rope #Suspension )

by Annabeth Leong

I once watched a woman get tied up for a low suspension. Her lover pulled her in close, stripped her slowly, and led her to lie facedown under the frame. Softly, touching her with the rope as gently as he did with his fingers, he tied her hands, feet, torso, hips. Then he lifted her, just a little, so she hung, spread-eagled, only a few inches off the ground.

He settled below her, still fully clothed, and began to make her swing, using light pushes on her shoulders or her hips. As she swung, her body brushed against his. He reached up sometimes to tease her nipples or caress her side. He lifted his head to kiss her, then pushed her away to swing again.

It was one of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever witnessed, intimate rather than virtuosic, executed with skill but not for skill’s sake. I still think sometimes about that gentle, sexy swinging, the low light, the music of the party.

I’ve had only one experience with being suspended myself. Suspension wasn’t something I particularly sought out. I’d heard for such a long time about “flying” on the ropes, though, that when I found myself at a bondage party with a woman I trusted to hoist me up that way, I agreed to give it a shot.

We had only just started dating, and I was so hungry for her touch that the main thing I remember was the way I shivered every time her fingers brushed me. I stripped down to a camisole and tights, and she gradually assembled a variety of harnesses (which are used to distribute weight more evenly).

The actual experience of being suspended, however, was anticlimactic for me. She spun me around a bit—which I didn’t like for the same reason I don’t like the tilt-a-whirl. She tried hanging me upside down for a little while, but pretty much as soon as the blood rushed to my head I wanted to come down.

I might have different feelings if pain had been involved in that scene. If the idea of it had been to suspend me like a fly in a spider’s web and hit me with stinging evil sticks while I well and surely couldn’t get away, I’d probably have been more turned on. But if you add pain to just about anything, I’m interested, so that’s not a very strong argument for suspension. I’ve seen plenty of people, though, who chase suspension for its own sake, and I’ll leave it to them.

Though, if they let me, I do like to watch them swing.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bowling Night

 by Daddy X

Well, no experience in swinging per se but thought this added little ditty at least fell into the realm.

But I have had sex with women while their husbands were in the house. Not all at one time (shucks) but on several occasions (over the years) with different women. Not that we didn't go round two or three times. Yeeeeow. There's something to be said about getting away with something. Something dangerously erotic, plus actual danger of getting caught.

Well, this flasher doesn't have anything to do with sex in the coat room or getting away with 'love banditry' as we used to call it back in the day. Would that count as swinging? When only two partners from two couple get together? Or is that just cheating?

                                                       Bowling Night

The Crawfords hadn’t drawn their curtains that night. At least one of their guests should have noticed. Maybe at that kind of party, people don’t mind being observed. They certainly weren’t embarrassed going naked.

“Sharon!” I called. “Up here, quick! Check this out. From the bedroom window.”

Next door, Marge Crawford, sat on her haunches in the middle of a rug, sweaty head bobbing at some guy’s crotch, lips sliding along his shaft while the crowd stood round clapping in rhythm. Hugh appeared delighted when Joe Crawford’s wife took the load in her eyebrows.

“Wow,” said Sharon. “Can’t imagine Marge doing that. She always seemed so straight.”

“Ooo. See that little blonde?” I said. “Trying to handle—Jesus—what a thick cock! Getting it from behind! What a fucking doll.”

“Yeah. Great ass too,” Sharon agreed. “And what capacity!”

“Look at the grin on the guy. Bet it won’t fit; not the whole thing.”

“Probably not. Do you suppose they left the curtains open for our benefit?”

 “Why would you think that?” I asked.

“We were invited to go over there tonight.”

“What? You said ‘no’?”

“How was I to know? Plus, it’s your bowling night.”

This flash fiction piece (and 54 others) available Sept 24 on the release of 'Flash Daddy' from Excessica

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

On dangling upside down from a pole...

“I’ve been told I have to take my pictures down from Facebook!”

This was the lament of a friend of mine, Jenny, a couple of months ago. Jenny and I share a hobby, though I think it’s fair to say her execution of our common passion is somewhat more deft that mine. We both like pole dancing. Or pole fitness as we prefer to call it. We meet up once a week or so to dangle from poles under the watchful and sometimes exasperated supervision of our instructor, Hayley.

I took up this unlikely pastime a year or so ago. It’s good for keeping fit (well, fitter) and I hate going to the gym or running or any of that other stuff. So, pole fitness was the one for me. It’s sort of girlie, but not in a giggly way, a very feminine form of exercise and the sexy aspects make it more fun because this is just for us. No audience, no judging, and not a shred of lycra in sight.

But back to Facebook. Jenny is a Beaver Leader. For those not familiar, Beavers are the little kids’ version of Scouts and Cubs, for children aged about 5 and 6. Jenny had managed to pull off a particularly showy pose at our pole session one evening, and Hayley photographed it for her. Jenny then posted the picture on her Facebook page for all her friends and fellow polers to admire. She’s a show off, my Facebook is adorned with no such images and never will be, mainly because I look crap and Jenny doesn’t. But I digress.

It seems one of the parents of a little beaver saw the pictures and complained. ‘Conduct unbecoming a Beaver Leader’, they wailed. ‘Not a suitable role model for young and impressionable minds, quite inappropriate.’ Scouting has an image to maintain, one of decency, propriety, respectable behavior. Dangling upside down, half-naked from a pole is not deemed suitable. Not at all. The Grand Beaver called Jenny in for a telling off and insisted she had to remove the offending images at once.

“But it’s private,” insisted Jenny, “and none of their business. And it has nothing to do with Beavers.”

Ah, but such is the power of social media. Nothing is private, and, apparently, Beavers are all-powerful and nothing lies beyond their reach. Jenny had to choose, and the pictures were duly deleted.

I tell this story partly because pole dancing is as close as I suspect I shall get to swinging, but it surely counts. Also, because of the salutary lessons it offers on the dubious notion of privacy in a digital world, misconceptions about pole fitness, and arguably the scouting movement who are not entirely beyond reproach, and perhaps the difficulties in trying to compartmentalise our lives. I could go on, it’s a rich vein. But mainly I value this little insight into the vagaries of morals in public life for the inspiration if gave me to write a short story which has just been accepted for an anthology of ménage stories.

Every cloud, and all that…

Here’s the (draft) blurb for my story, entitled A Very Private Performance. It should be out by July.

For the avoidance of doubt, please be informed that you are a pair of arrogant, self-serving sh**s. Further, you are bigoted, self-righteous phonies.

Not exactly the best way to address the directors of the law firm if I want to hang on to my job, but I’ve had up to here it with James and Daniel Morgan. If they object so strongly to what I do in my spare time they shouldn’t snoop into my Facebook account. Not that any of this self-righteous indignation is going to help me. I’ve been fired.
So, what are they thinking now? First James and Daniel have me dismissed, then they turn up while I’m clearing out my desk as though nothing is wrong and invite me out to lunch? What are they up to? And why am I even going with them?
They may be handsome as sin, the pair of them, and now that they know I’m a pole dancer in my spare time they seem to think I’ll sleep with them to keep my job.
Not that the idea doesn’t have its appeal, but they’re wrong. I have my standards too … and not the double standards these two seem to live by.
If I decide to give James and Daniel Morgan a very private performance it will be on my terms, not theirs.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Swing and a Miss (#Play Parties #Floggers #Slings #Voyeurs #Whips #BDSM)

Sacchi Green

I’ve been around here so long that I’m not only repeating myself, but repeating those repetitions. My wild and crazy second adolescence has been mined so deeply that you can bounce echoes off its walls, and there was never all that much of interest in the first place. Just the same, here we go, because the closest I’ve come to our theme of “swinging” isn’t the couples-trading-partners kind, but just the play party kind, which may have included the occasional partner-swapping by some of its participants, but the ones I knew about always ended badly. Let’s not talk about those, okay?

I was introduced to play parties a few years after I’d started to write and publish erotica, at an age when I was old enough to know better but also old enough not to give a damn. I’d met a couple of other writers who been living a virtuous rural life together for twenty years, but were beginning to reestablish contact with city friends who were involved in a women-only BDSM club. I went along for the ride. And the research. I discovered much later that the club’s founders had already bailed when there got to be too much wrangling over rules and by-laws and committee elections, but there were still useful demos at meetings on everything from do-it-yourself sex toys to fisting to obligatory safety training. (Admit it, you thought I was going to talk about another type of do-it-yourself, and, in fact, there was some of that, too.) And, increasingly, there were invitation-only parties.

Most of these parties weld held in a loft-apartment high up in an old factory building, with the owners’ living quarters curtained off except for the small kitchen we could use for pot-luck snacks to keep our strength up. Hey, even just playing the role of a voyeur can be strenuous work. There were two spacious rooms for play, one usually darkened and relatively quiet, with bondage tables and various odd contraptions like a huge wheel-shaped thing that was said to have been hospital equipment for turning burn victims over without putting pressure on their injuries. The other room was well-lit, with such accouterments as swivel inserts in the ceiling with ropes to dangle from, spanking benches, and whatever people might have brought along to use and share, like folding slings (which are pretty close to swings, right? Entirely appropriate to our theme.) Floggers and whips might be used in either room, depending on how crowded the spaces were. There were a few regulars who were real artistes with whips.

Then there were the parties in hotels, especially during the annual Fetish Fair Fleamarkets that had been put on for years at a venerable city hotel, until some reporter did an article with photos of costumed (or extremely noncostumed) party-goers in the elevators, resulting in public outrage and the necessity of moving the event from venue to venue, motel to motel, until finding what may now be a permanent yearly home in a big airport hotel near another city not too far away. The event was a party of sorts all by itself—I remember the pony room fondly, although all I did was watch—but there were also parties in hotel suites, and the club I’d joined always had a good one. I went to these Fetish Fairs as a vendor; I still owned an eclectic college-town store then, and some of my employees liked to go and help out, so we could sell enough in the way of belly-dancing gear, gypsy skirts, assorted humorous/libidinous magnets and buttons, jewelry, and suggestive tarot decks to pay for the trip with a little left over.

What? You think I’m avoiding the interesting parts, like what I actually did at these parties? Well, not all that much. I was mostly a voyeur. Too old to be a beginner, my only tenuous appeal was to role-play a mean old teacher, and I gave it a try a few times, but my heart wasn’t in it. I did try my hand (hah!) at spanking, once, with some success—I think I already told that story here, and got a story out of it that was published—but there were complex emotional things going on at the time, and I never got as good a chance again, or really wanted to.

When I went to the parties at the Fetish Fair I got my kicks out of taking along one of my employees who loved to be flogged and spanked and tightly bound and pretty much anything else, all for the endorphins. The more she was punished, the more she giggled and laughed. People gathered around for the fun of hearing and seeing her. I only flogged her once myself, at a poorly-attended party when there was no one else I’d trust to do it, but on the whole I drew the line at playing that way with an employee, especially since after her mother died I’d taken on a role like a kindly aunt who could be confided in, and with both the employer and semi-parental vibes it felt wrong to get into sexual power play with her.

Flogging was about as far as I got with anything. A good friend gave me one of her floggers, and some instruction, and I had several friends who were into getting flogged without complications, so I did get some vigorous exercise that way. But this is where the swing and a miss part comes in. The first time I felt confident enough to wield the flogger at a really big party, it went well, and my floggees were very impressed. But I'd hoped my friend would be impressed, too, and it didn’t work out that way. She’d recently met two much younger girls somewhere else who came to this party for the first time, and they put on a dancing-slave-girl show for my friend, who watched like a sultan from a pile of cushions, and pretty much everyone else was just as entranced.

It’s been a long time now since I’ve been to a kinky play party. Gasoline got so expensive about then that I stopped driving almost two hours into the city and then back late at night. I did go to the Fetish Flea parties for several years, until the employees who had helped out got involved in other things, including the one who loved to be tied up and beaten. She’s married now with a great little kid, and the other two who helped out are married now to each other and have two great little kids. I sold my store to that couple eventually, but they couldn’t make a go of it and closed it after five years. I was too busy with writing and elder care (my dad) and various things to go back into the retail business.

I did get something important from my not-really-immersion in the world of kink. I understand things I never would have understood otherwise. I’ve seen deeply into people’s needs and desires in ways nothing else would have shown me. I know people I’d never have met anywhere else And as a writer, I can merge my mind convincingly, I think, into characters who are deeply moved by power play and the various other aspects of BDSM. I know myself, who I am, who I might have been, and who I’m not. I did, at least, swing, and if I missed, for many complex reasons, it turns out to be just as well. I still have miles to go, and as a writer, I can, with the utmost respect, walk some of those miles in other people’s metaphorical shoes.          


Friday, March 17, 2017

My Fabulous Imaginary Sex Life

by Jean Roberta

My story about the conception of King Arthur, "Under the Sign of the Dragon" (available on Excessica) is about a legendary triangle. This seems to be as close to swinging as I get.

According to Wikipedia, “swinging” is “an arrangement in which partners in a committed relationship engage in sexual activities with others.”

To my own amazement, I’ve never done this. When I’m committed, I’m monogamous. Between relationships, of course, I’ve had some fun encounters, including hotel-room trysts with married men when I was working for several escort agencies in the early 1980s. I’m fairly sure my johns didn’t tell their wives about me, and I often wondered how they kept their spending habits secret.

My sex life according to other people has been unbelievable. I sometimes wish I had recorded some of their stories on tape or disk. None of these urban legends involved swinging, per se, but my phantom encounters could be classified as another sport—maybe trampolining.

Some of you might remember my late ex-husband from the 1970s. I’ve introduced him here before. He was a refugee from the Nigerian civil war of the early 1970s when I met him in London, England. I eventually sponsored him into Canada as my fiance, and we were married in 1975.

Before he arrived, I rented an apartment for us in the downtown area of Regina, capital city of Saskatchewan, and furnished it on my savings. Everything I bought was on-sale or second-hand. One piece was a very comfortable green armchair with broad arms that I bought for $5 Canadian. (Who could resist such a bargain?) It had a white stain on one arm that wouldn’t come off with water alone, and I was afraid to use any cleanser on it for fear of damaging the upholstery.

Fiance arrived, and he was not impressed with our honeymoon suite. He seemed to think my parents would be supporting us, which they never promised, and I didn’t expect. I looked forward to our wedding as a rite of passage that would launch me beyond my parents’ control. This certainly wouldn’t work if they held the purse-strings.

Fiance and I were like two people in a rowboat in a vast ocean, frantically trying to reach land by rowing in opposite directions.

He was not happy that I was already on the birth-control pill because I didn’t want to get pregnant too soon. He was beyond unhappy about the armchair.

One day, he asked me if the stain was caused by “juice.” I said it probably was.

Fiance’s eyes grew large, and he seemed about to explode. “You’re telling me that’s juice?!” he demanded.

“It could be,” I said. “I don’t know. It was like that when I bought it.”

“So that’s juice!” he yelled. “You just told me it’s juice!!”

I didn’t know why he was erupting like a volcano until I realized what kind of juice he had in mind. He thought I had been fucked on the arm of the chair, and the juice of my overstimulated girl-fruit had flowed all over.

I decided to try any means necessary to scrub the stain off the chair. I used some household cleanser, and it worked. New Husband (as he was by then) felt this was proof that the stain was caused by my love-juice. Of course, if the stain had been permanent, that would have proved the same thing.

When the Stain on the Armchair came up again and again as a topic for argument, Husband reminded me that when he first asked me about it, I confessed to leaking “juice” onto the chair. Nothing would shift him from his position, which showed the chair’s ability to trap the unwary.

Does it surprise you that when I left, I didn’t take any furniture with me?

Then there was the Pizza Orgy.

I was a university undergraduate, and I told Husband that I wanted to join the staff of the student newspaper. I wanted to get some experience doing layout by literally cutting-and-pasting articles on a light table. (Computers were a thing unknown.) Putting the newspaper together had to happen after classes, and it could be a lengthy process since a few veterans knew what to do, and they had to explain the steps to us newbies. Husband didn’t object when I told him I had to stay late to “put the paper to bed.”

He soon changed his mind. When I tried to calm him down by phone, he demanded that I come home at once to cook supper for him, since it was my turn. I told him I would trade turns with him. He told me he was very hungry and would stay that way until I came home like a decent wife. I invited him to come to the university, meet all the rest of the staff, and help us finish faster. He refused to meet people who clearly had no respect for him as my husband.

The last straw for Husband was that someone on the newspaper staff ordered a large pizza so we could eat something and keep working until we were finished.

When I came home, Husband demanded food, then grilled me as I cooked. He asked if there were men in the student newspaper office. I told him there were students of both genders. Apparently this meant I had spent a shocking amount of time in close contact with men. When he learned about the pizza, he decided that I had gone out with a group of men to dine on pizza while my husband starved at home.

And so my newspaper experience became (in the many arguments that followed) the Great Pizza Party. I resigned from the newspaper staff after that evening, but the story continued to expand like dough.

Incidents continued to pile up during the two-and-a-half years of our marriage. Eventually, Husband told me he would take our baby daughter home to Nigeria to rescue her from me, even though he was probably not her real father. He warned me that if I stole our daughter (who was somehow his property, even though he claimed he had no obligation to support her), he would tell the whole world the disgusting truth about me.

He called a travel agency to ask about a flight to Nigeria. I was terrified of losing my baby, so as soon as he left the house, I escaped with her and went to a women’s shelter.

Like a large container of moldy pizza, rotting upholstery or sour milk, Husband’s version of our marriage was spilled on all our friends and acquaintances soon after I left. After baby and I had spent a week in the shelter, my parents invited us to move in with them, so Husband called them numerous times to tell them the unabridged version of What I Had Done.

My mother finally shut him up by telling him she wouldn’t listen to him unless he could provide incriminating photos.

I had to make plans for my future as a single mother, and eventually my parents agreed to support me through an Education degree so I could teach English in a local high school. While running errands, I often ran into people I knew. Most of them told me it was really too bad I had ended my marriage with Husband instead of resolving our problems. They told me he had explained everything to them, and they were not willing to take sides.

Only my best friend could look me in the eyes. She didn't hesitate to take a side, and I loved her shamelessly partisan approach.

In the late 1980s, when my girlfriend (now my spouse) and I were planning to move in together, several other lesbians told her about an orgy at which I had been the most popular participant, thus proving that I was not ready for a committed relationship. No one knew who had hosted this soiree, and none of the witnesses had been there themselves. They all knew the story was true because they heard it from someone who heard it from someone.

I wondered whether my reputation from my daring escape in spring 1978 had continued to fester and grow among people I had never met.

Much as I admire the uses of imagination, I decided to use mine by writing stories about unreal characters. I like to believe that my sex stories are stranger than truth, and not libellous.

It seems I am the star and producer of many an amazing scene that never took place on this planet. Am I or have I been a swinger? According to legend, I’ve swung, bounced, rocked and rolled. I can only imagine what will be said about me once I've left this world.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Swinging on a Slow Pendulum

by Giselle Renarde

Songs from your childhood make you feel young again.

I forget where I heard that. Probably on TV. But it makes me think of documentary I watched about music therapy. They interviewed a guy whose job was to visit long-term care facilities and lead singalongs with the residents, many of whom had dementia. This singalong guy figured he'd learn a bunch of songs from across the decades, but he found that when he played popular music from the 60s, 70s, 80s, the residents weren't interested, or they didn't remember the tunes.

It was only when he started singing songs from the 30s and 40s, when the elderly residents were young, that everyone joined in. From then on, it was all WWII era music all the time. Even residents whose dementia was very advanced remembered the old songs word for word.

I'm not exactly elderly, but lately I find I'm drawn back to the music of my youth. I didn't have the easiest childhood (in fact, I lived through a lot of what they're now calling Adverse Childhood Experiences), but I was lucky enough to find an escape hatch in the family record player.

When I was a preteen, I fell in love with Broadway musicals. Don't ask me how I got my introduction to musical theatre. My father was obsessed with Elvis. My mother never listened to music at all. My dad's record collection was vast, but it didn't include any Broadway. I used to go to the library and flip through the record stacks and check out every soundtrack I could get my hands on. I'd bring my records home and copy them onto cassette tapes so I could listen to them in my bedroom. I had a tape player of my own, but not my own turntable. Vinyl was on its way out. (Now it's on its way back in--funny, that.)

I think one of the things I most loved about musicals was that they were stories I could get lost inside. I would play my tapes over and over and over again. It's a wonder they didn't snap. I would listen until I'd memorized every lyric to every song. I could have sung the entire Phantom of the Opera soundtrack to anyone who was interested. (No one was.) And I recall a weirdly obsessive crush I had on some girl at my school because she looked (in my mind) like the actress who played Jenny in Aspects of Love.

After finding a bunch of my old tapes in my mother's basement a few months ago, I discovered something pretty amazing: all these years later, I still remember the lyrics to all those soundtracks. I haven't heard them in ages. Doesn't matter. The music's locked in my brain and the words are there with them.

I've read that as Carl Jung got older, he would go down to the river and carve tiny rivulets into the earth, leading the water off in different directions. This was a favourite childhood activity of his, and he came back to it in old age. 

More and more, I feel like life swings on a slow pendulum. I'm going back to the place I came from, and maybe I'll get there one day. There's a word I learned in university, a word I no longer remember--it means nostalgia for a past you never actually experienced. I've got a case of that, big time. My childhood was full of trauma, and yet there's something about it I want back. I'm not sure what. Maybe just the music.

Giselle Renarde is an award-winning queer Canadian writer. Nominated Toronto’s Best Author in NOW Magazine’s 2015 Readers’ Choice Awards, her fiction has appeared in well over 100 short story anthologies, including prestigious collections like Best Lesbian Romance, Best Women’s Erotica, and the Lambda Award-winning collection Take Me There, edited by Tristan Taormino. Giselle's juicy novels include Anonymous, Cherry, Seven Kisses, In Shadow, and The Other Side of Ruth.