Friday, August 30, 2013

Things To Do (some in another life or dimension)

by Jean Roberta

I would need another lifetime to do all the things I ever wanted to do in this one. This is why I really hope that reincarnation is not simply wishful thinking. 

I would have liked to give birth to a second child (possibly even a third), partly to see some of the variety of gene combinations that could come out of me, and partly to see how my kids would relate to each other. I would try my best to minimize sibling rivalry, though I’m not sure if mothers can banish that altogether.

In another life, I would have liked a career as a clothing designer. That was my dream as a teenage home-seamstress reading Vogue. (It would also be a way to honour a tradition. One of my great-grandmothers sewed costumes for Warner Brothers Studios in the 1920s.)

I would like to be fluent in three major world languages: French and Spanish, as well as English. This is something I might be able to do in what’s left of my current life. My Spanish-speaking spouse and I agree that fluency in those three would enable a person (or a couple) to get around in most countries on earth, thanks to a history of European colonialism. (It does make world travel easier for those of us who learned one of those languages at our mothers’ knees.)

Soldiering on in French would be a good prelude to reading Proust, not to mention Colette and assorted smutty classics.

I would like to visit Spain and Belgium with Spouse, to see where her ancestors came from. I would like to go back to the UK with her, to show her where my ancestors came from -- and to visit some of the UK writers I've met here in cyberspace.

Meanwhile, I really need to become more familiar with computer technology. This is more of a necessity than a dream.

Spouse and I have talked about the appeal of doing humanitarian work in crisis zones, though that seems more suited to those who are younger and fitter. Taking care of animals seems like a more reasonable goal, and we seriously plan to run a rescue shelter after retirement from our current jobs. (Samson the Computer Cat is sitting in front of me as I type this. I would like to see more domesticated animals as healthy and happy as he is.)

I would like to get back into amateur theatre, and play a major role in a Shakespeare play. (If I wait much longer, I will probably have to settle for playing one of the witches in Macbeth. That would be fun.)

I would like to do more drawing, and take up painting.

I would like to write several big, ambitious novels.

I would like to put more energy into good causes.

I would really, really like to attend the high school graduations of both my grandchildren, whom I’m currently not allowed to see. (The older one will turn 6 on September 5, 2013.) I would be willing to cross everything else off my bucket list for the chance to have a loving relationship with each of them before I die.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Amanda Earl: While I Am Alive I Want . . .

To see the end of war, violence, starvation, poverty, homelessness and disease. C'mon Genie, if you're giving out wishes…

To love and be loved by my husband until "a' the seas gang drye, my dear and the rocks melt wi' the sun," as Robbie Burns would say.

To prepare, with my husband (who is the actual cook; I chop & get out the ingredients) , a recipe I've been meaning to try for ages, a sausage casserole dish from the Joy of Cooking, and if it's any good,  to serve it to dear friends while listening to a music play list that I have designed and drinking Campo Viejo Rioja, my favourite wine.

To explore and create art in whatever form happens to hold my interest.

To finally read Moby Dick, Anaïs Nin's diaries and to finish Proust's Remembrance of Things Past.

To taste every kind of edible (non hallucinogenic) mushroom.

To graffiti public spaces with subversive made up aphorisms.

To attend rallies on Parliament Hill to advocate for causes that are important to me.

To sample rare and exotic black teas I haven't yet tried, such as Assam Mangalam Tea.

To not accumulate more material things unless absolutely necessary and to get rid of old junk.

To spend as much time as possible with my husband, dear friends and lovers. 

To make new friends who I can learn from and who can learn from me.

To take long walks alone or with others in snow, rain, new green and autumn leaf.

To ride in cars only when I absolutely have to.

To avoid airplane travel, which I loathe as much as pain and hives.

To be resilient and strong if I am faced with more health crises or if my loved ones are.

To give time, money and attention to those who need it.

To be a loyal, giving and attentive friend.

To be honest, sincere, authentic and direct.

To keep my word, to have integrity.

To savour each moment because it may just very well be the last.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My Bucket Overfloweth

by Daddy X

I remember back in high school a counselor once told me, as a freshman, that I had to know the direction of my life by the beginning of junior year. They expected a fourteen year-old kid to make life decisions that I haven’t made to this day. For me and Momma X (together since high school) it’s always been a matter of adapting to a situation, following our noses along a path of many twists and turns. It’s called life.

I guess we never had the luxury of goals. My first job was selling used cars, followed by delivering paint, a steel mill, the Haight-Ashbury, then three jobs in downtown San Francisco. When you work downtown in a major metropolitan city and hang around in bars, opportunities are to be found, friends to be made. Contacts to cultivate. A hustle here, a hustle there. A better job to be had.

I loved to cook, so had some business cards made up saying that I was “The Visiting Chef” a fly-by-night catering business I started just to make some extra bucks. Fooled somebody into thinking I was a REAL chef and they hired me up on the Mendocino coast. Came back to the city after awhile when the same guy hired me for a Marin County restaurant he was setting up. Sous chef in several places. Went on to have my own kitchen in a North Beach joint, receiving thirteen favorable reviews in four years. The one negative write-up was one comparing my curry to the best Indian restaurant in SF at the time. They forgot to mention Gaylord’s was three times the price.

Collected coins as a kid. Since I seem to gravitate to the most extreme, most esoteric areas in anything I do, the hobby found its way into ancient Greek and Roman gold, silver and bronze. U.S. Morgan dollars and Indian pennies, even early colonial issues, all started to look alike.

That interest led me to people who deal in ancient (legally obtained) art objects as well as coins. Loved the stuff. When you love something deeply it’s easy to learn. Became an art dealer in ancient and tribal art. Went on the antique show circuit.  Met more people, important, society people. Invited to antique vetting committees, speaking gigs, consulting for auction houses. A good reputation! Can you imagine that!  

I guess the closest I ever came to a goal was the vision of my name on a gallery window, an Egyptian mummiform figure centered below, and the word CURIOSITIES beneath that.

Year 2000—vision accomplished.

Cancer. Liver transplant 2004. Back in biz 2005. Retired. Write smut. Travel. Paris. Writing smut. Italy 7X  Thailand 2X. More smut. Meet Susie Bright. She recommends ERWA. Lots o’ smut. ERWA makes me an editor. I get published. Another pinnacle! I’d always wanted to be a writer. Lisabet invites me here to OGG.

Would I like to go back to Thailand? Yes.

But when it comes to bucket lists, I’d just as soon wait and see what turns up. It’s the way I’ve always done it, and for sure I’m too old to change now.

Be well-
Daddy X

"Maybe all men got one big soul ever'body's a part of."
Preacher Casy

"Use what you got 'cause that's all you get""
Clarence "Pine Top" Smith

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I've been a lot of places but still have more to go

By Desiree Holt

My bucket list gets longer every year, even though I keep knocking items off. Hmmm. Maybe that means I’m going to be around a long time.
On my original (and everchanging) bucket list I wanted to vacation in the Caribbean (did that, loved it), win a lot of money in Vegas ($300 and I celebrated!), meet Neil Diamond (he kissed my cheek!) and too many other things to name here.
One of my dreams was to go ziplining, which, if you know me, is weird since I’m afraid of heights. But three years ago I tool the family to Vegas over Christmas and we made arrangements to do just that. Of course, I didn’t realize that they could only drive us so far up the mountain. We had to climb the rest of the way. I was just praying to get there before it got dark!
But with my son and son-in-law helping I made it, got strapped into the harness and instructed by two really smart and cute guys. We went off the platform one at a time. When it was my turn I pushed off just as they showed me and wow! There I was with Bootleg Canyon a mile below me. It was awesome! I mean truly awesome! And yup, I zipped right down that first leg of the course.
The entire course is one mile, broken down into four sections. When we finished I wanted to do it again, that’s how much I loved it. Oh, and by the way. Be looking for it in one of my books, one of these days.
I also wanted to go riding on a silver Ducati motorcycle. Why that specific one? Because in a book a read a long time ago the hero rode one and it always stuck in my mind. So far I haven’t been able to find one to ride. I called the local dealership and the manager told me of a local bar where Ducati owners hang out. So one of these days I’m going to show up with a sign saying, Will buy drinks for a ride.
Meanwhile, however, my friend Brenna Zinn hooked me up with a tall, grey and handsome guy who owns a mighty Harley and he has taken me on some great adventures.
What else is on my list? I want to take a train trip across the Canadian Rockies in an observation car, go snorkeling again in the Caribbean, visit the winery in California owned by very distant relatives of my late husband and be there for the first vintage of the year. I’d love to meet Sam Elliott who has the sexiest voice in the world. Oh, and take a trail ride on horseback in the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.
I’m sure I’ll keep adding to this list because to me life continues to be one ig adventure after another, so stay tuned.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Where I’ve Been, Where I Am, Where I Probably Won’t Go

Sacchi Green

Along with some of the rest of you, I’ve already filled some of my previous bucket lists, although generally not as fully as I’d dreamed of doing. Some other things I thought as a teenager I’d do for sure someday just aren’t going to happen, and I’m pretty much okay with that.

Travel is the main one. I live in the Northeast of the USA, and I’ve lived for a relatively brief period (three years in the infamous Sixties) in the San Francisco Bay area. I’ve traveled back and forth across the country several times, and made it as far as Maui. I’ve been to various parts of the UK three times, but that’s it for Europe (sorry if I shouldn’t be classing the UK with Europe.) Canada is close enough that I get over the border now and then, although not since one needed a passport to do so, and mine has lapsed.

Still lacking are the things I’ll never do, like travel to China, India, Egypt, all those faraway places I dreamed about that weren’t really like my book-based dreams even in my teens, and are much, much farther from that dream world now. I haven’t given up on Alaska, though, or New Zealand/Australia (although down-under is not far from seeming impossible.) I haven’t quite given up on a return visit to the UK, either, although it’s not very likely. Physically I could still do those, at least I think so (even though my joints would object to planting the daffodil bulbs that Lily mentioned, I still raise some vegetables, and luggage on rollers is not beyond me,) but economically it would be a stretch, and there are family responsibilities to consider.  My partner, who has always traveled with me until recently, has acquired somewhat of an anxiety disorder over the last decade, and has trouble handing stressful travel and crowds, so when I do travel it’s not for long at a time. That’s okay. We’ve been through enough years and enough ups and downs together that we’re each other’s highest priority, and that won’t change.

On the non-travel front, I always wanted to write and be published, and I’ve managed that to a certain degree even though I got into it on the late side, but not in the ways I thought I would. No novels, not much science fiction and fantasy, nothing much beyond short-form erotica. I should be budgeting my time differently, embracing the delayed gratification (if any) of writing longer, deeper, more creative works. But I keep being seduced by earning just enough “discretionary” money from short stories and editing to be able to travel to a few readings and conventions and similar events, and contribute to political and environmental causes and charities without dipping into the savings my partner and I classify as “for retirement,” even though we’re already retired.

All these are very common, maybe even banal, daydreams. On a deeper level, I hope to keep my health far into what years remain. (I’m particularly conscious of mortality these days because my mother died at 92 just a few months ago, after considerable decline, and my father, 93, who held it together for her sake, and has been incredibly robust for his age, is now declining pretty rapidly and may come to live with us soon.) I think my greatest fulfilled wish, one I’d very nearly given up on, is my seven year old granddaughter. I want to be around for her for a very long time.

As most of you have noted, it’s what I have, rather than what I thought I wanted but don’t now expect to have, that’s most important now. A good relationship, two sons and a granddaughter,  probably-adequate retirement savings, interesting friends, and a niche in the writing world where I can be “public, like a frog” even if in a rather small pond. (Can you tell that I live in Emily Dickinson territory?)

And I still have things I’m looking forward to way down the line. Like a hot air balloon ride. 90 seems like it would be a good age for that sort of thing, but I may not wait that long.

Friday, August 23, 2013

To Do... by Lily Harlem

There are still lots of things I'd like to do before I check out, most of them are not on any kind of tangible list or single events but are  simply dreams of a future with my family and friends, peaceful times with nature and the love of my pets, simple things that make me happy on a daily basis.

However, I do have a few grander plans! For example I'd love to go on a world cruise one day, walk on the Great Wall of China and finally get my karate black belt - it's been a long time coming!

Other ambitions are smaller. I keep meaning to plant a flower bed of bulbs in the front garden, but every year the autumn, the time for daffodil bulb burying, skips by me with yet another lack of bulbs by the old stone wall. This year, Lily, this year I MUST do that! I'll be glad I did when the spring comes.

Writing this post I realised that it's easy to look forward with 'I wants' and 'I wish fors' and forget to look at the past and all that has been achieved. Mr H and I were talking about this the other day, thinking about a holiday next year and where we'd like to go while we were actually on holiday! He added up that since we'd been together we'd visited, and walked around until our feet were sore, fourteen major cities in seven countries, not bad going for a 'see the world bucket list!' He's achieved one of his major life goals by running marathons in several of these cities and raising money for cancer charities, a wonderful achievement and I'm so proud of him.

We've also successfully rescued five animals from shelters in our time together, four of which are still with us and I hope, very happy with their final destination!

I got to thinking about my writing then. There was certainly a time when I was rushing around a hospital ward, caring for patients, my feet aching and my brain buzzing that I would have laughed if anyone was to tell me that one day I'd be a published author. I was too busy, life was a roller-coaster, yet here I am, with over... wait for it... 1.2 million words published in the last five years. Now that's a lot of finger tapping on the laptop.

The other great thing about writing, and one of those achievements you can't snap a photo of, has been meeting authors and readers. The erotica and erotic romance cyberworld is such a dynamic and on the whole super friendly place, and that is something I'll always be grateful for. Who would have thought that I'd also be able to write entire novels with two of the authors I've met, as if our brains have just jumped on the same train track and hurtled along on a wild ride. 

Grand Slam written with Lucy Felthouse is out today at Ellora's Cave and was a complete blast to write. Of course, talking about tennis (the hero in Grand Slam is a #1 seed) one can't help but remember Andy Murray winning Wimbledon earlier in the year. 

Talk about determination and the absolute raw, soul wrenching will to win. Lifting that trophy was definitely on his bucket list and congrats to him for ticking that box! Wonder who'll win the US Open? Best crack open the Pimms and settle down to watch war on the court, then maybe I'll go out and source those daffodil bulbs!

Lily x

Thursday, August 22, 2013

When You Wish Upon A Meteor Shower

by Giselle Renarde

Be not afraid... I have no vacation snaps to show you.  I spent last week in the woods and I didn't bring a camera.  Deliberately.  When I have a camera with me, I'm always looking to preserve a moment.  It's like I can't trust my brain to do that for me. 

Here's something my brain managed to preserve, where my camera probably would have failed: the meteor shower.  Maybe you remember what it was called--because I certainly don't.  (Okay, that's one brain-fail.)

The sky was spectacular.  If I'd been at home, I'd have seen nothing.  I can see a total of zero stars from my balcony.  The city is too bright.

But in the woods of Northern(ish) Ontario, the sky was just dappled.  We took a guided night hike through a dark sky preserve--a portion of the national parks system kept free of artificial light pollution.  We saw shooting stars.  Well, meteors.  I lost count after five.

Actually, it was somewhere around five that I remembered you can make a wish on a shooting star.  My mother's voice started echoing in my brain: "Make a wish before you blow out your candles!"  And, as an adult, I sit in front of that cake the way I stood below the sky, thinking... I don't know what to wish for.

Really, I don't want to wish for anything.  I don't want to want anything.  I have very few belongings by North American standards, and still I feel cluttered and overwhelmed by them.

I don't want to win the lottery.  God help me!  Winning the lottery is my idea of a nightmare.  All the cockroaches on my father's side of the family would come out of the woodwork to beg, steal, or borrow their share.  No, not borrow.  Steal.  Definitely steal.

Events?  There are things I would like to see happen (personally, professionally, all that), but I'm too balanced about them.  Like Lisabet, I want professional success, but I don't want fame.  That's too heavy a burden.  I'd like to be able to pay my goddamn rent--I do write for a living, after all.  Would be nice to stop digging this hole at some point.

And then there's romance, there's marriage... I've never been married and I never thought I'd want to marry anyone, but I do adore my girlfriend.  There's a romantic part of me (about the size of a thumbnail) that would love not to be in a long-distance relationship with someone who lives in the same province.  There's a part of me that never played house as a child, whispering now's the time. 

But there's a more pragmatic part of me that sees the complexities of marrying someone who isn't out with her family (as trans, as lesbian), who has been married before and doesn't particularly want to go there again until she can walk down the aisle in a dress.  More than that, I'd become step-mother to children who are older than I am (I keep telling you Sweet is an old lady--you didn't believe me?) and I don't feel like they'd  give me a fair shake.

I guess all that's left is to wish for is happiness.  Except... here's the thing: I don't want to be happy all the time.  What kind of life is that?  I want to experience the highs and the lows.  I put myself at the mercy of the Universe.  That's the closest I come to faith.

And so, I fall upon my fallback of the past five year: I wish for my girlfriend to be happy.  My romantic thumbnail seems to be taking over.

Although, she's not really the type who'd want to be happy all the time.  She also values the lows and the highs, everything life has to offer...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


I’m sitting in the back yard which needs mowing desperately.  The peach tree had been so filled with peaches and the peaches swelled from the rain when we had left that the top had been touching the ground.  Now the peaches are gone and it looks relieved like a woman who has given birth. It’s the first sunny day since coming back from vacation and everybody’s kind of depressed.  When you’ve been away having a great time, coming back to reality hits you like a board in the head. The back yard smells like cat shit.  It must bother my neighbor but he never says anything. 

I’m thinking.  I need to lose weight, I’m thinking.  It would be nice to be young and single, I’m thinking, living next door to young women, maybe college girls, to have a magnificent physique and then take up nude sun bathing.  Maybe nude yoga. As I do back bends and downward looking dog maybe I’d hear giggling and camera shutters through the privacy fence. Oh, J Alfred Prufrock.  The mermaids will not sing to me either, the old downward looking dog.

My nose itches inside.

I rub it with a finger and it smarts.


My finger strays like a wandering caterpillar, up the pubic haired forest of my beard, ascends my lip, wanders into the cave of my right nostril.

I know its back there.  I can feel it.  Definitely I can feel it.  Almost got it.  It’s in there deep.  Really getting the old thumb in there.  No, hard to reach.  If only I had waited to clip my fingernails last night.  You get rid of something and then you miss it.

Trying to get my thumbnail under it.  One of those dried out little hard ones.  Feels like a little mountain range in there.

Come here you booger.  You can’t get away. The booger police are here.


Do people pick their nose in Heaven?  Would that be allowed?  Does the Virgin Mary pick her nose when she’s bored?

What if the booger looks like the Virgin Mary?  Could I sell that on eBay?  Some wahoo had a piece of French toast that had the face of Jesus and made a bundle on it.  It was on CNN or something.

Is it too late to have a great looking physique?  Do people have great looking bodies in Heaven?  Would girls like me better that way in Heaven or would I still have to be married anyway?  How long would you have to go on being married before you could meet girls again?  If you want to have a huge dick or big tits in Heaven will they give it to you if you ask?  Who would you ask?

What if you’re a virgin in Heaven?

You can’t fornicate.  Can’t masturbate.  Can’t adulterate.  Just celibate.  Just go around praising Jesus all the time.  Does Jesus like being praised all the time?  I like being praised, but if it went on too long it would be annoying like maybe they don't really mean it they just don't want to get in trouble if they stop.   

Will there be boogers in Heaven?  Like this little hard bastard I can’t reach.  Just . . .wait . . . Just . . . Almost maybe. Ow.  Little bastard’s really glued down there.

If you eat all your favorite foods in Heaven and never get fat, do you still have to take a dump every day? And if you can’t meet girls or have to stay a virgin, who cares what you look like anyway?  Why bother? Do they have outhouses or sold gold toilets? Does the Virgin Mary ever use them?  Would she stick her head out and ask you for toilet paper if she were out?  If there are golden flush toilets do they need a water purification plant?  Who runs that?  Do you pay taxes for that?  What about cave men, did they need to be house broken, shown how to use toilet paper? Or maybe there aren’t any cavemen in Heaven because they didn’t accept Jesus as their savior, which is kind of a raw deal because Jesus hadn’t even been born yet so its not their fault or anything but still. If you let them off the hook, then all the Christians who had to accept Jesus will complain. It must really suck being God sometimes, everybody complains. What about Adam and Eve?  What did they use? Leaves? Does your shit smell in Heaven?  Like cat shit does here, cripes.  But maybe it’s only people in Hell who have to take a shit, but taking a shit feels kind of nice sometimes, so shouldn’t you be able to do that if you want to?  And sex?  But maybe its only people in Hell who get to have sex, so if you’re a Virgin maybe that’s a better deal too, but it’s virgins who are supposed to go to Heaven and go on being virgins forever so they're kind of stuck which seems unfair somehow.  I’m feeling very confused about this.

If I could just get my thumbnail under it.

I wonder if Harry Potter ever had a booger spell.  Petrolem nostrilis boogerum.

If I were in Heaven could I order an angel to do this for me?  If angels are your servants they have to do whatever you tell them, no matter what, right?  Anything?  What if you’re feeling horny and your favorite angel is standing over there waiting for orders and you’re just all like hey you cute little angel come over here.  Are there lady angels in Heaven?  If I pick one out that looks nice and seems to like me okay and order her to bed does she have to do it because I’m human and she’s just a nobody angel and has to do only what I want?  Would I get in trouble, like maybe set off an alarm, maybe call down the angel vice squad?  Would they really throw me out to the roasty-toasty place for that, because if I were really Heaven quality material I would never want to screw anybody ever because my thoughts would be pure?  Like they'd discover I was there by mistake, maybe a clerical error?  

I will get this booger if its the last thing I do in this world. I mean it.  My ass will die happy once I’ve got this booger.

If you were in the other place and if you wanted to bang a hot looking lady devil, she’d be totally chill with it and so would her chain of command too I’ll bet.  She’d hump you up and down the block in front of everybody and maybe other lady devils would line up to take turns humping you. Maybe she’d be a dominatrix lady devil and spank your ass and then she’d pick your nose for you too. Goddamn. That's kind of a deal.

And if people are praising Jesus all day and all night and it’s really getting on his nerves and he sees you getting kicked out for trying to grab an angel, maybe he’d gather up a couple virgins and a case of beer and you’d all go down there together in his Daddy’s pink Cadillac.  Maybe Jesus knows where the party is.

Got it.


Now that there’s a big lunker.

Wish I could show this to somebody.  Maybe my wife would like to see this.

I’m trying to shake it off my finger.  It won’t come off.  Boy I miss vacation.  I’d love to be fishing right now instead of this.

I’m going to shake this thing off the end of my finger if its the last thing I ever do in this world.

Then I can really die happy.  For sure.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Lots to do!

By J.P. Bowie

Reading through Lisabet's post I had to agree that like hers, life has been a fairly rich experience for me. I've had a pretty varied career, working in  theatre and television, touring most of Britain in some hilariously bad productions, working aboard a cruise ship as casino manager, a dresser and ultimately head of wardrobe for the Siegfried and Roy show in Las Vegas and in between doing time working in a deli and selling real estate (ugh). And of course, now I have my fabulous writing career!

About two years  ago my partner Phil (who is half Italian on his mother's side) and I decided to take a nice long trip through Italy and  France ending up in the UK. I did so much research on this trip that I actually wrote a book Trip of a Lifetime  about a young American's exploits on practically the same route we were going to take. Venice, Firenze, Pisa, Rome, Paris, the chunnel to London etc. We even went so far as to put the deposit down for the first part of this dream vacation. The tour of Italy was an organized one, but I made the travelling arrangements and booked the hotels in Paris and London - the wonders of the internet!

Then, Phil had to have a triple by-pass on his heart, which in itself wouldn't have really made us cancel our trip - it was still three months away - and in my mind would make up for the pain and long recuperation he had to endure. But the damned surgeons had other ideas and botched part of the surgery. Phil ended up with a paralyzed vocal chord, couldn't eat or drink anything and had to have nourishment through a tube inserted in his stomach. Fun, huh? Well, travelling through Europe without being able to taste the culinary delights of Italy and France and lugging cases of the supplement to keep him alive just didn't appeal, so we cancelled. The resulting high cost of medical bills and our decision to leave Las Vegas took care of our vacation budget.

So here's our bucket list - not this year but hopefully next, we will make that trip. We'll gasp at the beauty of the Amalfi Coat, goggle with wonder at Pisa's leaning tower, throw some coins in the fountains of Rome, climb the Eiffel Tower, cruise down the Seine, travel on the scary train under the English Channel, then another train to Edinburgh, then on to my home town of Aberdeen, Scotland. Phew!
It's really not that much to ask for, is it?

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Wanna Party!

By Lisabet Sarai

When I first sat down to write this post, I was stumped, because in fact I don't really have a bucket list – a list of things I definitely want to do before I die. Don't take that wrong. I have fantasies and desires, just like anyone else. However, if I expired tomorrow - though I certainly hope that I don't! - I really couldn't complain. Life has given me more fabulous experiences than I ever expected.

From the time I was a kid, reading tales of faraway places and ancient civilizations, I always dreamed about traveling the world. Now I live in one of the most exotic countries on the planet. Meanwhile, I've visited Angkor, Dubrovnik and Machu Pichu, seen the emerald rice terraces of Bali and the steaming hot springs of Rotorura, stood awed by Sainte Chapelle and Borobudur, wandered in Istanbul's Grand Bazaar and the ancient lanes of Kyoto. I've still got plenty of places on my travel wish list – Egypt and the pyramids (though not just now!), the mountains and monasteries of Bhutan, the glittering palaces of St. Petersburg and the ruins of Tikal, to cite just a few examples. Still, I know it's unrealistic to believe I'll ever fulfill all my travel dreams, especially since I'm not wealthy. I don't mind.

Then there's sex. Anyone who reads this blog probably already has far more information than they'd ever want about my sex life. Growing up chubby, bookish, shy and insecure, I would never have believed that I could be sexually attractive – or sexually free. History smiled on me. I came into my prime during the best possible period, after the Pill and before AIDS. As it turned out, I was actually something of a sex goddess for a couple of hectic years. Who would have thought it possible?

Are there erotic activities I haven't sampled, that I want to try? Of course. Although I consider myself bisexual, I've never had more than fleeting experiences with a woman lover. The schedule of deviant activities that my master and I have discussed but never attempted gets longer all the time. With me married and with half a world between us, we both know these are unlikely though entertaining fantasies. I doubt my sixty year old knees and back could handle the physical reality in any case. None of this is bucket list material, in my opinion. As I understand the concept, a bucket list chronicles things you theoretically could do, but haven't managed yet. It's unlikely I could bear a real-life caning, as much as the idea excites me.

Fame and material success? Well, I never wanted to be rich (except maybe when I was spinning travel fantasies for myself) and I still feel that way. I've experienced the thrill of seeing my name on the spine of multiple books (which in fact was not one of my youthful dreams). In my professional life, I've won a few awards and earned the respect of my peers. I'm not sure that I'd want more fame than I have, given the trade-offs involved – extra worry about staying on top and compromised privacy.

Love? I've had that for more than thirty years, even though marriage was not on my list of things to do in my life. Sometimes we just don't know how things will work out.

One dream I had as a kid that I haven't fulfilled is going into outer space. I suppose that might still come true, given recent developments. Do I want that enough to work toward making it a reality? Probably not.

So I really wasn't sure how to respond to our fortnightly theme. I searched my heart for some burning desire that was feasible but not yet fulfilled, something I would regret not doing if I knew my life would end tomorrow. And then it hit me.

I want to meet you guys. I wanna party with my fellow erotic authors.

Living in Asia is fabulous, but as an author I'm horribly isolated. I can't tell anyone I know about my literary identity. I can communicate with my peers only via electronic means. Meanwhile, I read about author conferences, gatherings, open mikes and other meat-space social events with deep envy.

I would have done almost anything to attend the EAA conference in Las Vegas a couple of years ago. The roster of participants included so many of you whom I've “known” for ages, but never met. Then, just this June, my UK colleagues Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse organized their Smut by the Sea event, a day for erotica authors and readers at Scarborough Beach (definitely on my travel to-do list, after reading Victoria's descriptions). To join them, along with K.D. Grace, Lily Harlem, Liz Coldwell, Justine Elyot, and all the other outrageous British authors I love – that would definitely have been a dream come true.

Indeed, I have been fortunate enough to meet a few of you, mostly briefly. Jean, I don't know if you even remember our having a drink with Rachel KB during that heady eight months I lived in New York City, before my cross-world relocation. Daddy X, Mommy X, DH and I shared a fabulous dinner a couple of years ago, during their perambulations in Asia. I was delighted to meet both Desiree and J.P. in LA during the 2011 Romance Times convention, at an amazing party organized by our publisher Total-E-Bound.

On the other hand, I've never had any face-to-face time with Garce. I think I've read everything he's ever written (at least, that he's shown to the world) and edited a good deal of it. We've exchanged long, soul-searching emails. He's helped me through rough times with my writing and my real world life, too. Separated as we are by space and our respective requirements for anonymity, a meeting seems improbable – but it's on my list.

Sacchi, we lived less than ten miles from one another for years, and never knew it! And Amanda – I've known you for at least a decade through ERWA. I've learned a great deal about you, and from you, since you've joined the Grip. What a pity you're in Canada and I'm here in the faraway Orient! I think we have a lot in common.

Giselle, you're a relatively new acquaintance, but I'm sure we'd have fun exchanging kinky stories. And Lily, I haven't known you long at all – but your attendance at my bucket list party is definitely required.

You're all geographically dispersed, of course. So perhaps what I want is three parties – or maybe four. One on the east coast of the U.S. One on the west coast. One in Canada (though given the size of that country, it might be easier for you to travel to the closest coast!) And finally, a bash in the UK. I'm dying to meet former Gripper Ashley Lister, who lives in Blackpool and whom I've know forever. And then there's Portia da Costa, the author whose work first inspired me to write Raw Silk.

Indeed, there are quite a few ex-members from Get a Grip whom I'd love to meet in the flesh. Kristina Wright, who bared her soul here for several years. The elusive and talented Charlotte Stein. The talented and unconventional Helen Madden, whom I miss terribly. Michelle Houston. Although she has crafted a bunch of covers for me since she left the Grip, we're strangers in the so-called real world. Devon Rhodes, who in her alternative incarnation has edited at least a dozen of my books.

Katherine Bradean, of course I want you there too. Our hour-long coffee meeting wasn't nearly long enough!

You're all invited. All the members of the ERWA blog members, also. I've met RG and M. Christian, but many of the rest of you are just much-admired names. And Bob Buckley (who hails from Massachusetts like me, but whom I've never met), Rose, Valentine, Dangerous Bill, Big Ed, D.L. King, all of my friends and colleagues from the Writers list. And of course Adrienne, founder of ERWA. I want to put faces with your names.

Clear your schedules. I want you all there.

We'll drink wine and talk about books, poetry, sex and life. We'll gossip about publishers and share story ideas. We'll dance – or at least, I will. In my opinion, it's not a party without dancing.

Of course, in reality, I know the parties I imagine probably aren't possible, for reasons of logistics. However, I'm going to commit to meeting as many of you as I can, individually if necessary, before I kick the bucket. And the next EAA conference – I'm going to work my butt off to get there.

I think that's something worth living for.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Letter I Never Sent

by Jean Roberta

The following letter is not new, but it has only been lightly "published." It was posted several years ago on a website that had a theme issue on "breakups." It is addressed to my first born-female lover, who is still alive -- to my amazement. Since she broke my heart in the early 1980s, several important people in my life have passed away: my remaining grandmother (a smoker -- she developed emphysema), my tortured, alcoholic ex-husband, my parents (in the same year), both my aunts (one was a smoker who developed lung cancer) and my uncle (by marriage). Yet Kerry has survived, and both of us now have grandchildren. Go figure.

Dear Kerry,

I haven’t spoken to you in years, but I still see you sometimes. Don’t think you pass by unnoticed. You still move through space as if you knew where you were going (do you?). Lately, though, I’ve seen glints of silver in your thick black hair, and a few lines in your face that weren’t there before. Who would guess that I am older than you? You were such a wild puppy when we first met.

You must know why I never speak to you any more. We still live in the same community, but we might as well be separated by soundproof glass. Are you still drinking? I shouldn’t care, but I do. The pain you left me with is still alive somewhere inside me, like the imaginary baby you wanted to give me.

Someone I respect wants to get you barred from every bar in this town, as well as every other public place you might try to enter. She hates you because you stole from her as you did from me. Do you realize how much else you take when you steal the property of someone who trusts you? Fifteen years ago, I screamed at you in my rage that you would pay and pay for what you did. And I know you have been punished, but that’s not what I really wanted. I just wanted you to understand, and to give back.

You told me once: “I wasn’t just after your money.”

I answered: “I know.” The warmth of your hands when you touched me told me what else you wanted. You could kiss me when you were drunk without making me feel used. Even with the smell of beer on your breath, you tasted real. You seemed to be searching for an identity, but you already had one. Even your gender seemed irrelevant to who you were. No one else ever moved against me with your rhythm, or with the perfume of your sweat.

I have argued with myself (and a lot of others, believe me) about why I wanted you so much that I would open my door for you at 2:00 a.m. after the bars had closed, and let you carry me back to my own bed. You didn’t even have to undress me, since I always wanted to feel your skin against mine as much as you did.

Did I know I was a fool? Oh yes. But I also hoped against reason that I could save you from your demons, or help you find your inner hero. I could see that part of you just as well as I could see the female fruit between your legs when you showed yourself to me.

You used to say you wished you could marry me and live with me for the rest of your life. I know that wasn’t all hot air. You liked me to wear dresses, but you also told me that in some ways, I was more butch than you. I have always grieved over my failure to take care of you.

At the strangest times, I remember the feel of your hands in my hair, or even the heat of your mouth on my breasts. You would pull one of my swollen nipples into that wet cave as though you were starving for my milk.

Have you ever told anyone how I sometimes used to ride you, exploring your inner channels with my small, determined fingers? Your need to be known that way seemed powerful enough to fill the air of my bedroom as the incense from the censer filled the space of the church when I went to mass with you. Do you really believe we are both damned because of our secret communion?

I couldn’t imagine living without you until the day I found out, and then I knew I had to. When I walked into the bank, I suddenly felt as though I had lost a lot of blood and might fall to the floor if I didn’t steady myself against a counter. The teller, a friendly young woman I didn’t know, showed me that my fear was justified: my well was dry. A scavenger had stolen my nest egg. Sixteen hundred dollars in Canadian money isn’t much by international standards, but it was all I had, and it was for both of us. How many rounds of drinks did you buy for total strangers with that money? I doubt if you'll ever tell me the story of that party. It's probably just as well.

You broke my heart, and I’ve never been the same as I was before. I became stronger, and that was a good thing. Endurance, the ability to survive what seems unbearable at the time, is a currency that can be used anywhere. I owe that to those who have hurt me, including you.

Am I driven to seek out suffering by forces beyond my control? I doubt it, and I won’t accept it. What I was looking for is so much better than pain.

Even when we moaned together in the night, feeling as if our cells could explode, leaving us permanently merged or mixed up, you were on one path and I was on another. I still worry about where you are headed. I know that your path leads to death in one form or another, and I suspect that I will hear about your passing long before I go to join you. That news won’t give me any satisfaction.

The echo of the pain you left me with reminds me that I am alive, and that I can feel other things too. You sometimes pass by me like a winter breeze that teases and stings just enough to bring a blush to my face. I will never forget you.

In love and sorrow,

a ghost from your past.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yours in the moment

Dear Fleeting Encounters,

I met you at cafés, shopping plazas, taverns, all-night diners, sushi bars, and bus depots. We chatted before heading to my place or yours for sex. We slept together once, or had marathon sessions over several days, or once in a while when some boring conference or meeting brought you to my town. 

You captivated me with your beauty, intelligence, and passion. You took your time in bed, caressing my entire body, kissed me in places that sent shivers down my spine…the back of my neck, the dimples above my ass, along my inner thigh. You fucked me hard and fast, your fingers tangled in my hair as you pulled me into you, my lips sore and bruised afterward from the violence of your passion.  

I think about the nature of life, how brief it is, how nothing is permanent. How numb day to day life can  make us. My philosophy is to celebrate the time we have alive and never to let myself be numb, to find lovers of kindred intensity. Christ, life can be so dull at times. Whatever we can do to keep ourselves awake and aware of how precious it is, to not waste it, to make every moment count…that's what's important to me.

Thank you, dear lovers, passionate kindreds.  I am writing this letter to convey my gratitude because lovers like you are rare in my experience. I've fucked a lot of men over the years and so many of them were bland, passionless bores, but you stood out because you weren't, because you were living your life on your own terms and passionately embracing it. I hope you are still doing so.

To Paul, the brilliant blue-eyed dominant who introduced me to the world of BDSM. I enjoyed those Wednesday afternoon explorations with scarves, blindfolds and ropes and the occasional forays to swingers' clubs. I loved kneeling for your friend, R while you both commented on what an excellent cock sucker I was. It was so arousing to be used and talked about as if I wasn't there. I suppose there are many who wouldn't understand this need in me, but you did. You were the first to truly understand.

To Peter, the business man who was working on his Executive MBA and found himself briefly in Ottawa…I enjoyed our instant chemistry and the joy of being swept off my feet. Your apology for the small tattoo of the sun on your inner thigh was endearing. You were just starting to explore the possibilities of what life could offer outside your humdrum cubicle existence. I hope your explorations continued.

To David, the wild outdoorsman from Quebec, who stroked my long hair after our love making and told me about the properties of wintergreen and other plants growing near your cabin. You said you ran a business that provided solar panel installation and I imagine you afterward, climbing toward the sun.

To C., the roofer from Jackson's Point, what fun we had when you visited. You were a little guy but so muscular and wiry. So much energy.  I didn't even have a proper bed at that point, just a futon, where you fucked me hard and then we both slept deeply. This was the first time away from your work you'd ever taken and you were exhausted. Between fucking and walking around the city where you pointed out all the different roof styles, we slept for hours beside one another. I felt good that I was able to give you rest as well as passion.

To M., the psychologist and expert cunnilinguist who bought me lilies, their scent permeating my apartment long after our encounters had ended.

To K, the medical equipment consultant, who brought me back a book of poetry from England after that first time in my bed. Your posh English accent turned me on. We had such great conversations about writing. You were eloquent, articulate and ever so good with your hands. That thing you did with your thumb up my ass and your fingers playing inside my cunt while I was on my stomach was divine. I came hard on your fingers, all over the sheets.

To the poets, there have been so many of you--young dark haired melancholy rebels in your ripped jeans--in town to do a reading or newly arrived from small towns or larger cities or locals seeking to distract yourselves from the crashing loneliness we all feel. We shared conversation, alcohol--oh yes, there was plenty of alcohol--and wild sex beneath trees or in my bed. Afterward  we talked of Berryman's Dream Songs and Berrigan's Sonnets, of Blake and Dante, Lorca, Plath, Sexton, Hunter S. Thompson, Anaïs Nin, Warren Zevon, Leonard Cohen or shamelessly gossiped about our fellow contemporary poets. I hope you are still living your life with gusto. Don't settle, don't compromise.

Life is short. Carpe diem. Or as Edith Piaff sang "Non, je ne regrette rien."

yours in the moment,


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hope This Isn't Too Soon

By Daddy X

Dear Sharon,

Hoping this note finds you well. Seems like just yesterday we last saw each other, hugged each other. It’s been over a year now since the funeral, but I know it never goes away. My wish is that you’ve learned to cope somehow. I know your life with Joel wasn’t always what you’d hoped for, but loss is loss just the same. Sometimes we just don’t realize how it is until it’s gone.

I knew you and Joel weren’t faithful to each other when he was alive. People say you two had an open marriage; but is that really what it was? Didn’t he tell you it was more self-affirming for you to fool around, even when everybody knew he did it first? He played you.

If this kind of talk is out of line, or if it’s still too soon, I’ll understand. I’ll always understand my Sharon, no matter what she does.

Just like in high school, when I loved you from the wings. You and your cheerleader outfit, your cheerleader body, your cheerleader ways. You always had the most popular, best-looking boys in school chasing after you. I never stood a chance—never had the money, the looks, the football letters, or for that matter the brains to make me feel like I could compete. You were just so out of my league.

Then you found him. Or did he find you? The older man with all the money.

I knew right then you would be better off with me, but what did I have to offer someone like you? Even if I could convince you to love me, I couldn’t possibly have fulfilled all your needs at the time.

So, you ask… “Why now?”

Why would I think, right now, that your needs have changed?

And my answer would be that I could offer you a monogamous relationship, Sharon. A relationship where I wouldn’t want you fucking strange men. I wouldn’t expect you to sniff out other women for his stable. Wouldn’t ask you to make gangbang videos and put them online for the world’s jerkoff parties… and his profits. Would not ever have had you do assfuck flicks. No cock sucking behind dumpsters. Never again.

So now that we are both so much wiser, if you think we could perhaps find comfort, if not joy and happiness in each other, I’d love to give dating a try.

I know you read this blog, so please get back to me with a comment.

When and if you are ready, of course.

Mary Ann