Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Toast

By Lisabet Sarai



So our topic this week is “Giving Thanks”, and to be honest, I hardly know where to begin. Everywhere I look, I see occasions for gratitude. I love my life – my family, my work, my home, my history. Everything has turned out so much better than I ever dreamed. Even an abbreviated litany of my blessings would require several weeks' worth of blog posts!

Let me start right here, then. I want to spend a few hundred words saying thanks for Oh Get a Grip and my wonderful fellow bloggers.

I didn't start the Grip. I “inherited” it from another set of authors. I'd been a guest once or twice and really enjoyed the theme-oriented concept of the blog. Then one day a member contacted me to ask if I'd like to take her place, because she was moving on to other things. I accepted enthusiastically, only to discover that all the current members had decided to retire. So there I was, with an empty roster of five slots. If I wanted to keep the Grip going, I needed help.

That was (I find, consulting my email archives) almost three years ago. The membership over those years has varied. The roll of ex-Grippers includes some of my favorite authors, and people: Jude Mason, Jenna Byrnes, Devon Rhodes, Kim Dare, Michelle Houston, Ashley Lister, Mike Kimera, and Helen Madden. The number of names in that list reflects, to some extent, the demands of doing a weekly, theme-focused blog. It takes commitment, organization, flexibility (in order to write on topics posed by others) and creativity to be a Gripper. Thus, I'm incredibly grateful for the current diverse team of contributors.

Kathleen makes me think of diamonds – brilliant, tough, sharp enough to cut to the heart of things. I've known her for at least a decade, through the Erotica Readers & Writers Association, but we didn't meet in the so-called real world until this past April. She turned out to be the same intelligent, unconventional, no-nonsense person I'd come to value in our cyber-relationship. And I love her writing. Her story in Cream, “Challenger Deep”, remains on my list of absolute favorite erotic tales. I only wish she'd pull out and publish the science fiction novel she let me read, 'way back when we first connected!

Charlotte is a much newer friend, but no less dear. Before I'd had any personal contact with her, I reviewed her astonishing, arousing book Things That Make Me Give In. I'd never encountered anything like her breathless, stream-of-consciousness approach to erotica. I was thrilled when she agreed to join the Grip. Her posts never fail to make me laugh, but at the same time I identify with the confusion and self-doubt she so often expresses.

Garce has been at the Grip ever since I made the decision to keep it going. It's a good thing that he and I live half a world away from one another. If we didn't, we'd probably have a torrid, heart-wrenching love affair that would wreck both our lives! Ever since I did a crit for his incredible Color of the Moon, I've been in awe of his depth, creativity and emotional honesty. He's repaid the favor by serving as a beta reader for my work, taking fierce delight in “muddling” my often simplistic plots and characters. Garce is my anchor here. If he decided to quit, I'd probably close the Grip or hand it on to someone else.

Jean is another long-time friend from ERWA. For a number of years, she had a great column on the ERWA website where she expertly deconstructed issues related to sex, gender, and politics, throwing in a generous portion of personal experience to illustrate her points. I knew she'd be perfect for the Grip – and I was right. Jean and I came face to face only once in “meat space”, years ago in New York City. I hope that we get another chance in the future.

Before asking Kristina to join us, I knew her only by her reputation as an author and editor. She agreed to take the Friday slot, adding a caveat that she might be MIA for a bit since she was expecting a second child in a few months. Little did I know that (as she shared a few days ago), she's the type to gleefully take on new commitments and then kill herself to fulfill them! Her introspections on the experience of being a writer have been a joy to read. I count myself lucky that she was crazy enough to accept my invitation.

Why do I keep the Grip going? I doubt that it's an effective promotional tool. We rarely talk about our new releases or urge readers to buy our books. It's just that – I love these people. I love reading their incredibly honest and well-crafted posts. They make me laugh and cry.

We've each shared truths about ourselves and our lives, things so private that possibly even our families aren't aware of them. The intimacy I feel with these other authors – some of whom I've never even “met” - is rare and precious. I'm honored by their trust. And I've found that I learn new truths about myself here at the Grip - both in writing, and in reading the posts of my colleagues.

So as the traditional day for gratitude approaches, I want to express my thanks to you – Kathleen, Charlotte, Garce, Jean and Kristina – for joining me here and making the Grip the very special place it has come to be.

I raise my glass to toast you all, wishing you peace and joy, personal satisfaction and professional success. You deserve it.

7 comments:

  1. As a newbie reader and sometime commenter here, I'm just getting to know all of you and enjoying the process. Thanks for being there in the interwebz everyone.

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  2. I love reading their incredibly honest and well-crafted posts. They make me laugh and cry.

    And that is why I continue to come here to read. I used to read a lot of blogs, but given my schedule and commitments, I have had to pare down to the ones that mean the most to me.

    I'm thankful to you, and to all gripsters past and present, for being one of my favorite blogs.

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  3. Widdershins and Craig,

    Actually, I should have extended my thanks to our regular readers - like you two. Please keep coming back! Writers live to be read!

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  4. Lisabet - *huge blush* And thank you to you for wrangling this group.

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  5. Wow, I wish i could get Christmas cards like this. Its like Christmas in November.

    Thank YOU Lisabet. Thank you for being by Beta Reader, mentor (even if you think you're not) toughest critic and closest thing to a fan that I have.

    And its not just me. I see you everywhere giving encouragement to wanna-bes like me. You;re so totally there for new writers. Bless your heart. If there's such a thing as reincarnation someday i want you to be my woman and catch up on that torrid love affair and thoroughly burn each other out. Woof!

    Garce

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  6. Now I'm the one who's blushing.

    I love you all.

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  7. Thanks so much for inviting me to be a part of this wonderful community, Lisabet. I was a reader before I became a Gripper blogger-- and I'm still a reader. I'm in awe of the people here, both in the blog posts and in the comments. Thanks for your kind words about me. I'm touched.

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