Monday, December 15, 2014

All The Peens, All The Time (Adventures in Datingland)

Sex isn't going anywhere.

But after a long period of NOT dating, NOT being sexually active, I came to see I was thinking, and sometimes behaving, from a famine mentality.

Part of it was that after being dormant so long, my sexual desire seemed to explode from a feeble ember to a raging forest fire. I'm learning how to "bank it," so that my desire isn't nearly extinguished, nor am I consumed by lust 24/7.

I also realized, and had to laugh at myself, that part of me was afraid that if I didn't grab and appreciate every penis that's waved in front of me (figuratively or literally), they would all go away.

Which is ridiculous, I know.

I live in a city of 3 million people, half of whom are male. Odds are pretty good that if I just want sex, I can prolly find a peen to ride.  But it is also likely that I can find what I really want, which is long-term partners, plural, with whom I can be physically and emotionally intimate, safe, and stimulated intellectually as well as sexually.

I don't have to frantically snatch up the next peen that raises its head. I can be selective (working on it), as well as practicing safe(r) sex.

If he won't wrap it, he don't tap it.

The whole thing is a wonderful learning and growing experience - not to mention, excellent research for my novels!

Some Lessons I've Learned:

  • Yes, it all still works. Yay!
  • No, men really DON'T care if you've shaved your legs or gotten a fresh pedicure.
  • Because somebody matches me 90%+ on OKCupid, does not mean he is a nice person.
  • Because somebody shares similar interests or is in the same groups as me, does not mean he is a nice person.
  • I don't need to knock myself out to meet the needs of men who are not nice. Or even men who ARE nice, but are focused on a kink or desire I don't share. "No, thank you" is a complete sentence. In fact, "No" is a complete sentence.
  • A man who talks sincerely, knowledgeably, and passionately about feminism and rape culture is a HUGE turn-on.  HUGE. 
  • It is okay to steer clear of people for no reason at all besides not liking their vibe.
  • I REALLY need to buy sexy new underwear, but most men don't care about my ginormous granny panties, as long as I am willing to take 'em off.
  • I want more physical, non-sexual contact with women: more hugs, cuddles, caresses. And now I have a way to get them, yay!
  • It's important to keep taking inventory of myself: Do I like this? Am I comfortable? Do I want something different? and to ASK for what I want, not assume someone else will magically figure it out.

    But damn, it sure is sweet when he does.

Also, Metamour. Literally, meta = with; about + amor = love. The partner of one's partner, with whom one does not share a direct sexual or loving relationship.

I now have an awesome metamour, just sayin'. And although I have been on this journey primarily to meet romantic sexual partners, I have been meeting a number of wonderful new female friends, both in person, and on FaceBook. Total win.

And in Other Pussy News

Kittens are getting along great.

Creativity, on the left, Motivation on the right.

Mojo is still a little rough with Tivvy - and I think sometimes she dramatizes her cries, but she has grown tremendously in the weeks since I've had her. They keep me entertained and cheerful, during the times I am not kicking them out of the bedroom.

Have you ever dated after a long dry spell?
Did you have trouble reining in your desire, or having a famine mentality?
If so, got any tips?
Your thoughts?

Monday, December 8, 2014

I Rated Her Book 2 Stars. Then The Author...

English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade...
English: Stack of books in Gould's Book Arcade, Newtown, New South Wales (NSW), Australia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
...sent me this wonderful email.
I want to take this opportunity to thank you for writing a review on "My Book."  I'm just getting started with my writing, and that's exactly what I need--constructive criticism.  Reviews are great--it's like getting a free critique!  Professionals like you can see mistakes writers are making where they may never see it themselves.  I'd much rather have honest reviews than a string of five star reviews I put my buddies up to writing.  I learned something valuable from you--I won't be writing any more of those "As You Know, Bob" conversations, that's for sure!  I'll make other mistakes, but it won't be that.

I've also pointed that author to some writer support groups, like WriterUnboxed.

One of the best tools for selling books is having plenty of reader reviews. Yet one of the hardest things for many authors to get is readers to review their books. There's plenty of reasons why:

  • Many people don't read, period. (Sad but true.)
  • Some people love to read, but are intimidated by the idea of writing reviews.
  • Some readers believe in only writing "positive" reviews (especially writer-readers).
  • Many people don't like reading certain genres, or, when it comes to romance, certain heat levels (either too sweet or too scorching).
  • Many readers have so many books in their TBR queue that they've become very, very selective about the books they review. (Note: I'm one of them.)
  • Many people don't want to hurt an author's feelings with a negative review.

And some reviewers are afraid of getting flamed by an author behaving badly.

There's plenty of things the author above did wrong in her book. Probably self-pubbing as a beta read experiment is among the biggest.

But what she HAS mastered is courtesy and professionalism toward reviewers.

There is periodically a kerfluffle about some author who goes off on a fan or reviewer. There's a certain, chick lit author (or was it her husband, or her assistant?) who went off on her Facebook page about a reviewer who remarked, that while she had been a big fan of the first five books, the last one had left her disappointed, because X.

Somebody slammed and shamed this woman, on and on and on, on that Facebook page, and you know, I'm pretty sure that that particular fan did not run out and buy that author's next five books. Nor, probably, will a lot of the readers who saw that exchange.  I, personally, do not intend to ever read or buy one of that author's books again. Like airlines and fast food restaurants, we have other choices out there.

But the author who wrote the book I gave two stars to?  Sure, I'd be willing to read another of her works (though not for a very long while, since my TBR queue looks like the jumble of books, above).

Does it hurt, like an emotional bee sting, when somebody doesn't like our work? Sure. But if we are in the business of writing, or creating any form of art that people enjoy, but don't need on a daily basis, like water or clothing, if other people can and do produce books or movies or paintings similar to our own, we better get inured to bee-stings, because some people are not going to like it. Period.

If you can't stand the bee stings, stay out of the apiary.

Have you ever given a low review on a book you didn't like?
Have you ever received one on one of your books?
Your thoughts?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Slut of the Month: Sappho of Lesbos

via Wikimedia Commons,
from a fresco in Herculaneum
Love that she's using a stylus & wax tablets!
Her lyrics were epic, intimate, erotic, and timeless. Even over two thousand years later, even in fragmented form, Sappho's poetry sings to the heart.

We shall enjoy it.

As for him who finds
fault, may silliness
and sorrow take him!
(Mary Barnard translation)

She was born about 615 B.C. and died about 550 B.C. Later in her life because of political upheaval, she may have been be exiled to Sicily, where there are records of her statues in some cities, though she may have returned to Lesbos before her death.

Of Course Sappho Was a Lesbian

Legends of Sappho and the island from which she came, Lesbos, gave rise to the term we use today for women who love other women sexually: lesbians.

But back in the day (around 630 B.C.), everybody from the island of Lesbos (culturally belonging to Greece, though as we can see in the map much closer to Turkey) were Lesbians, just as people from London are Londoners, and people from Athens are Athenians.

Contour map of the Aegean, with names
Contour map of the Aegean, with names (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Was Sappho a lover of women? Some of her poems seem to indicate so, however, it is also true that in some places and cultures (Regency England, for example), an extremely affectionate, almost flirtatious and loverly tone is demonstrated in women's correspondence and behavior, which denoted close friendships.

According to Wikipedia:
...her name is also the origin of the word sapphic; neither word was applied to female homosexuality until the 19th century.[38][39] The narrators of many of her poems speak of infatuations and love (sometimes requited, sometimes not) for various females, but descriptions of physical acts between women are few and subject to debate.[40][41] Whether these poems are meant to be autobiographical is not known, although elements of other parts of Sappho's life do make appearances in her work, and it would be compatible with her style to have these intimate encounters expressed poetically, as well. 
Her homoerotica should be placed in the context of the 7th century (BC). "Lesbian" was first used in the modern sense in 1890, and the early sources which describe her reputation for "physical homoerotic involvement" still "postdate her lifetime by at least 300 years", by which point such conduct was considered "disgraceful for a female."[42]

Now, of course, very few cultures still consider being a lesbian (in the newer sense of the word) anything shameful, so who cares if Sappho was one?  Like Elton John, her talent far outstripped whatever her sexual proclivities might have been.

Translation Station

Of course, Sappho's poetry was not written in English, but in Aeolic Greek, which even most Greeks cannot read today.

Here's a sample of three different translations of the same section of the same poem, from

...and the thrill of your laugh, which have so stirred the heart
in my own breast, that whenever I catch
sight of you, even if for a moment,
then my voice deserts me

and my tongue is struck silent, a delicate fire
suddenly races underneath my skin,
my eyes see nothing, my ears whistle like
the whirling of a top... (Josephine Balmer)


...the enticing

laughter that makes my own
heart beat fast. If I meet
you suddenly, I can't

speak--my tongue is broken;
a thin flame runs under
my skin; seeing nothing,

hearing only my own ears
drumming... (Mary Barnard)

...Your magical laugh--this I swear--
Batters my heart--my breast astir--
My voice when I see you suddenly near
   Refuses to come...

My tongue breaks up and a delicate fire
Runs through my flesh; I see not a thing
With my eyes, and all that I hear
   In my ears is a hum... (Paul Roche)

Sappho as depicted on a vase
via Wikimedia Commons

Her own poems and contemporaries describe her as small, and dark, while her ?daughter? Cleis (who may or may not have been named after Sappho's mother) was "yellow-haired" and thus more suited to wear flowers in her hair than a headband. Sappho may have had several brothers, and - perhaps - students or acolytes, but she almost certainly did not run the equivalent of a British girl's finishing school, nor throw herself off a cliff for love of a fisherman.

from Wikipedia:

The Suda [tenth century Byzantine encyclopedia] is alone in claiming that Sappho was married to a "very wealthy man called Cercylas, who traded from Andros"[15] and that he was Cleïs' father. This tradition may have been invented by the comic poets as a witticism, as the name of the purported husband means "Penis, from Men's Island."[16]

Sappho Understood Love

I confess
I love that
which caresses
me. I believe
Love has his
share in the
Sun's brilliance
and virtue (Mary Barnard translation)

Without warning
As a whirlwind
swoops on an oak
Love shakes my heart( Mary Barnard translation)

Sappho of Lesbos, depicted in a 1904 painting ...
Sappho of Lesbos, depicted in a 1904 painting by John William Godward gave the term Lesbian the connotation of erotic desire between women. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her Brilliance Shines Across the Centuries

The Alexandrians, who weren't big on female artists, listed her as among the nine lyric poets. (Anybody ever hear of the other eight, all men?) Plato called her the tenth Muse, and her likeness appeared on coins.

It wasn't until about three hundred years after her death that Sappho acquired a reputation of being promiscuous and a lover of women. More centuries would follow, with Pope Gregory having a conniption over her wickedness, and burning what he could of her work in 1073.

Mostly, it seems that her lyric poetry fell into disuse/disfavor because other dialects of Greek became more widely popular, especially as the world became Roman.

And yet, Sappho's work has survived, with new fragments of her poetry being found and rejoiced over just in the last few years. She wrote:

I have no complaint
Prosperity that
the golden Muses
gave me was no
illusion: dead, I
won't be forgotten (Mary Barnard translation)

Curious about past sluts, from Russian Empresses to South African "curiosities" to Biblical villainesses? Listing of past Slut posts is here.

What did you know about Sappho of Lesbos?
Had you read any of her poetry or translations, before now?
Your thoughts?