It's Benny Profane's Barbed Wire Kiss (via Viviane's Sex Carnival)
I have to get off my ass and crack open Orhan Pamuk's memoir Istanbul that I bought while I was there, then try some of his fiction. Reading a ton of things at once, not to mention trying to get things written, but this bit really resonated with me, both with the research I'm doing right now, and for any artist, really. I spoke with a comedian I interviewed last night about this very topic in relation to whether one should have more leeway making fun of your own people - what you "can" or "should" say, and what you shouldn't. I'm not going to say that writing about rape fantasies is my reason de etre but I will say that the minute people start telling you to be quiet, to not talk about certain topics, it's a sign, a sign that something you are saying scares them so much they want to shut you up. We don't need permission, at least in this country, to "use our words." It's a given. It's in our Constitution and should be in our blood. But so many of us tiptoe around the truth, trying to make our truths more palatable, especially when we're in some kind of minority and/or have a cause behind us. I think this impulse is what's behind the whole "you're not a feminist, but I am" line of thinking. It's an attempt to control a set of beliefs by owning a word, a way of controlling who talks and how they label themselves, a way of trying to be omnipotent in a world where you feel powerless. I do it too, certainly, try to appeal to everyone, both in my writing and my daily life. I want everyone to like me or think well of me, and sometimes it's not as simple as buying them a cupcake. I have to learn to accept that, to realize that my words are my own, and only my own. I can't squeeze them into someone else's point of view. We all have voices and can use them, we all have words and can use them, and dialogue and connection and criticism are vital to a free society, but when we start telling other people what to say in the guise of progress, something is extremely fucked up.
A snippet from Tanya Turner's story "Cup Cake" (and fyi, "Tanya Turner" is me). My first attempt at cupcake erotica, but there will be more in my anthology Sex and Candy: Sugar Erotica and I'm sure it's not the last such piece I write.
Glamour Girls: Femme/Femme Erotica
Miss Sara Jo. She and Brandy Barber are going to keep my column filled with anecdotes for many months to come. Kudos to our lovely hostess Desiree Burch for laugh-out-loud stories about guys with one ball and her fabulous stage presence. I'll never think of The Parker Meridian, or its catalog where you can by things like the BED, CHAIRS, and PILLOWS featured in the hotel, in the same way again. Actually, I've never been inside, but now I feel like I have. Sara and Brandy are gonna be hosting The Kissing Booth on June 9th - don't miss it, there will be karaoke and a party.
Thanks to GirlyNYC for the tip - I'd heard about this, and now it's on my calendar, an exception to my "no going to readings till your book is done" rule. Also, in looking up Dana, I found another Dana Vachon at www.danavachon.com. So far, on the gossip/reporter front, I've read Paula Froelich's It!, Jancee Dunn's But Enough About Me, and Bridget Harrison's Tabloid Love. Gonna be reading Debrorah Schoeneman's 4% Famous, Ian Spiegelman's Welcome to Yesterday and Tom Sykes's What Did I Do Last Night? A Drunkard's Tale ASAP. Sykes's opens at Siberia, of no-hitting-on-women and other fame, and since I am all about the drunk memoirs, I'm sure I will enjoy it. Then my head will probably explode.
Sex and a contest...how perfect! Deadline is tomorrow:
It's been a bit of a whirlwind the last week, definitely not my choice cause I'm perfectly happy to be hibernating and attempting to write/work, but I got to meet some really amazing people. At Tom Zoellner's party, I was so honored that Jennifer Shahade came over to me and introduced herself. I read her book Chess Bitch last fall and even though I no longer play chess at all (overdosed as a teenager on it), we have a lot in common and it was great to meet someone I'd heard/read so much about, and I'm going to be interviewing her for Gothamist. I just found out she wrote a really fabulous review of Neil Strauss's The Game for Bookslut (and we'll both have pieces in the June issue), and I blogged about the New York Times omitting her book's title from her Op-Ed bio. Then at Bridget Harrison's party, I met another kindred spirit, Jessica Seigel, and it turned out that one of her students at NYU had interviewed me last semester for her class on interviewing.
Labels: Justine Joli
Writing is such a weird thing to do. Weird, yet perfectly natural, but sometimes I think it's designed to make us crazy. We need to write, but it can destroy you, keep you up all night, drive you mad. Or me, anyway. I love it and hate it at the very same time. Fancy that. I can go to something like BEA and thrive on the energy but come home and feel stuck. Confused. Stare at the page and just stare and stare and stare. Read everyone else's books and wonder if it'll ever happen, then when it gets closed back off. I know I have a blog and all that, but sometimes the idea that people beyond my circle of friends, people who I respect, people who I don't even know but who have major power when it comes to publishing, might read my words: scary. Yet, I forced myself this week to push through the fear and try. That's all I can ask of myself. If one more person, though, says some variation of "I don't know how you do so much" I will scream. It's fine, I realize I can't control what other people think, but in my head, it's never enough and it never will be. I can be happy, I can be satisfied, I can be content with what I've done, but enough? Not quite. I'm proud of things I never thought I could pull off. I'm proud that people like Shari and Jami not only believe in me, but want to read at my reading series. I'm starting to think a little bigger than the tiny world I've created with my words, but still, I don't know what will happen and just try to take it word by word. Baby steps, because they are. Sometimes you have to know when to walk away and come back another day, when the computer screen is just your enemy instead of your friend. Fresh air, people, getting out of my head for once. Trying to calm the nerves and jealousy and chatter, all of it, and just be in the moment, even if that moment isn't a writing moment. I feel stronger, and I need to be because so much hell is breaking loose in other areas of my life, I can't collapse under the pressure. I have never loved limbo. I like answers, facts, knowledge. That's why I could not handle law school at all; you were never done. Writing is like that too, you're rarely officially "done," but you have to know when to say when. I'm working on that. Work in progress, just like my favorite people, who are works in progress and aren't afraid to admit it.
Pauline Millard snapped this photo of me and Nichelle at Tom Zoellner's book party last night. This was before the team party crashing. Also, there were no babies at Tom's party, but there was an adorable one at Bridget's. No cupcakes at either, but that's okay. I liked Tom's parting note to the crowd: "Don't buy diamonds."
KGB Non-Fiction Night: Prison, Diamonds, Catfights
Best American Erotica 2007, that is. Don't worry, I have plenty more to say about Steinbuch v. Cutler and the ridiculous reasonable person standard (I think the standard doesn't really make sense, AND I think Steinbuch's argument fails in today's reality show/tell-all/blog-all/publicity-crazed world), but that's for another time. What's interesting to me personally is that I first wrote about Jessica before I knew her at all, and when I write about the case it's about much more than the specifics of it; it's about what it means to have a blog or a forum, to want to share parts of our lives with other people, friends or strangers.
In The Flesh promises to spice up your summer! Really. Friends and strangers (to me) are reading and I couldn't be more thrilled.
Consensual Media photography
Labels: Justine Joli
IN THE FLESH EROTIC READING SERIES
Yesterday, Wonkette linked to a Legal Times article about law professor Robert Steinbuch, who is suing Jessica Cutler, as well as to my reading series, In The Flesh, where Jessica read about a gross yet highly entertaining story about a tampon.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:
Labels: call for submissions
Labels: Justine Joli
Today was a wash for the most part in terms of BEA. I felt like all my energy had been zapped, but I did manage to get a few final books I wanted and not kill myself in the process of walking around laden with 7 bags. And I got a pretty purple lei, and really, how bad can life be when you're wearing a "cupcake fiend" t-shirt and a purple lei and the sun is shining?
Publishers Marketplace's Flickr account for more BEA photos - Google was giving away these yummy cookies on the way from one part of BEA to the other, they helped keep us going so we could carry more books. I must have looked so exhausted carting tons of bags around today but it was worth it. Shipped home 88 pounds of books and carried many more. Highlights TK.
Full update once I get home, such a whirlwind of people and books, my mind can hardly process. Spent the last two nights largely at this bar Science Club, and this morning am feeling the effects. Got a "This Is Not Chick Lit" t-shirt from Elizabeth Merrick (and a galley of her book by the same name!) and a backrub from Douglas and a pretty Fetish Sex brochure from Violet Blue. But am ready to go home, so tired and when I get my energy back, I have lots of writing I want to do. Off to get the last few books and talk about cupcakes.
First Page Six, now Instapundit...after a day of nonstop book-grabbing, socializing, and talking to tons of smart, interesting writers. Wow. My head is spinning in the best possible way, full of ideas and book lust and possibilities. I think it's possible to walk away from BEA overwhelmed in every sense of the word, and perhaps discouraged-so many books which you know you will never read, can yours be anything but a drop in the bucket? And yet, there's something beautiful and inspiring and exciting, something that made me feel so alive and excited as I rode down the escalator, and it wasn't just the promise of free stuff. It's being around so many people who care, really care, about books. Who get as giddy about them as some people do about music or movies or money or food (okay, I got giddy about food today too).
Okay, I half-jokingly say that my goal in life is to be mentioned on Page Six - well, it's half-complete. My interview with Josh Kilmer-Purcell, where he says "I could've owned Page Six," IS AN ITEM TODAY IN PAGE SIX!!! What was I just saying about writing for free? No money, but still worth it when people give great interviews like that! But I have a feeling it's a sign of good things to come. Okay, really off to BEA now!
Made it to DC all in one piece thanks to the very kind Tom Zoellner (check out his site for The Heartless Stone and see tour dates and read more about diamonds!) and the giggles and silliness of Shari Goldhagen. Got my first real, full night's worth of sleep in ages.
How to Be a Budget Fashionista
In The Flesh Reading Series
I don't have much time now to recap the latest, fabulous In The Flesh, other than to thank all the readers and everyone (so many of you!) who showed up. It was another spectacular night filled with self-spanking to punctuate readings, twincest, a sexy massage and a black jacuzzi, an Israeli seduction, some spanking voyeurism, some hot Election Night 2004 kinky sex, and a brilliant teacher/student prison scene role-playing scenario. I know it sounds bizarre, and it was, but also sexy and hilarious. I'll be adding updates at the In The Flesh site when I can, which may not be next week considering that tonight I'm off to DC for BEA. I've got my camera, tape recorder, and laptop, along with my enthusiasm for an endless stream of free books, parties, cupcakes, and friends.
I adore Josh Kilmer-Purcell, who treated us all to a fabulous reading/singing number last month at In The Flesh. So I wrote about him for Afterelton today, "Not Your Average Gay Memoirist." We get into everything from his drag persona, Aquadisiac, and his crack-addicted boyfriend, Jack, to his Datalounge addiction and how "he could have owned Page Six" since he's buddy-buddy with James Frey. If you want to stalk him, come to see Hillary Carlip on Monday night at 7 at Chelsea Barnes & Noble!
I Am Not Myself These Days
to write for them! (Yes, I know it doesn't pay, but as a veteran of online writing gigs that don't pay, which I sometimes still take (see tomorrow's piece on Josh Kilmer-Purcell at Afterelton.com and my forthcoming Bookslut interview with Hillary Carlip, you have to ask YOURSELF-not other people-if it's worth it. If it's not, just skip right on over this post. I can't decide that for you.)
"Vibrators off," Nashville Scene - ah, those controversial sex toys! Read about how Surprise Parties has been unable to buy a billboard for its sex-toy parties, despite having cash in hand. But wait, you ask, isn't American full of girls going wild and female chauvinist pigs? Perhaps not so much. Sex, of a sort, sells, but only when it's convenient, pleasingly packaged, and the "right" kind of sex. Vibrators need not apply, at least in Tennessee.
Martha's birthday party. Wound up chatting about stockings ("medias de fantasia"), cupcakes, books, boys, and numbers. Was much fun and I'm glad I managed to leave the house. Gotta keep that in mind for In The Flesh, where I will probably forego reading myself in favor of hosting.
I don't have any raffle tickets so it's gonna be a book giveaway free for all. Plus mini cupcakes (vanilla and chocolate, while supplies last), candy (mini Butterfinger, Twix, Nestle Crunch, Kit Kat) and lots of free books and a few free magazines!
I'm so happy that I met Judy McGuire, because not only is she one awesome chica, she writes a fabulous column (Dategirl), snarky and witty blog and always seems to get where I'm coming from. Or vice versa, in this case - we have both been through the drama of having guys interested in us only because we write a sex column. I feel like anyone who meets me and talks to me for more than 2 seconds should hopefully realize that while, yes, many of my conversations revolve around sex, I'm actually so not interested in talking about myself in that way. I would much rather do like I did tonight, which is attend the NYC Beard & Moustache Championships but spend most of the night at a table in the back chatting with two of the awesomest women in the NYC comedy scene, Sara Jo Alloco and Brandy Barber. I could talk to them for hours about all kinds of things and we bonded over books, bad dates, waxing, sex and food. Also, check out Brandy's article in the latest issue of BUST about Stop Staring! clothing, and her review of Spike Gillespie's book Pissed Off. I'm trying to get them to come with me on Monday to go see Hillary Carlip (really, you should come too - I don't go to all that many readings cause, well, I get bored. Awful thing for a person who runs a reading series to say, but there you have it. So when I urge you to go to a reading, it's cause I am pretty sure it's gonna be something special. After all, Hillary has juggled, eaten fire, danced in Xanadu, almost worked with Debbie Gibson, stalked Carole King, and says she wanted to bitch-slap Oprah. Come on!)