Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Even as the gold starts pricking the sky, I’m forgetting. Even as you settle into that rhythm, that old back and forth, as the tree above us rocks and the fruit hangs and the legs split, mouths cleave, eyes close, the hearts beat out into the day the same old song, the same old song.
And afterwards everything is spilled, and we’re too old to play, and we’re losing everything in spite of ourselves but oh, god, was it worth it.
I met you in the gap between night and day, in the opening of a shell, in the sliver between knowing and choosing.
Ugly word, choosing. Like something lewd. Something coy, a word that hides its obscenity behind frilly lace curtains, a word that lies about itself.
The birdsong we think is so pretty – it’s all fucking and fighting, after all.
I might slip out the window. Careful not to snag.
We could stand outside, then, in the wet grass, while the pigeons cried. Our feet would go numb, remember? We could kiss under the elder tree, even though it was forbidden, even though we were drowned by the noise of the river and nothing we said was right. Your hand over my mouth.
Monday, July 27, 2009
- Work out as any kind of revenge on anyone. (Least of all that bastard that you haven't seen for fifteen years who is, I'm afraid, virtually guaranteed not to idly and quite by chance while browsing in the basement of his or her local bookshop, pick up a copy of your book, read it and be suddenly and uncharacteristaclly overcome with remorse.)
- Make you rich.
- Make you successful.
- Make you an authority on anything.
- Prove anything.
- Buy you love.
- Make you famous. (To be a famous author you have to get famous first by going on Big Brother and having sex with someone before leaving for a very public breakdown, and then get a real writer to ghostwrite your autobiography.)
- Make anyone respect you.
- Make anyone like you.
- Mean that you will never be rejected again.
- Give you confidence.
- Make you wise.
- Get you laid.*
*(I believe that a friend of Janine Ashbless's once got laid by virtue of knowing said author, so I'm not discounting the possibility of cheap thrills by association.)
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
This is for Sommer.
For those trolls out there and the people who, for some reason, like to visit sites that excite their outrage glands - if ever you're tempted to get creepy/vindictive/threatening with an author using your keyboard ...
We do this for a living.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Because, on a rainy day, we need songs like this. Because three years ago I couldn't leave the house without collapsing, sweating and trembling. Today I can drive myself to the local village and buy groceries.
At least, with agoraphobia, as and when you recover, you find the most enormous satisfaction in the smallest of things. I come home with a pound of mince and half a cabbage and feel like life is shimmering and wonderful.
Because I am studying Molly Bloom's voice and I love her 'yes' and I tried to record a version of it myself and managed five pages before I had to stop, being dizzy and unable to breathe without punctuation, but now I do wish to start saying 'yes' more.
And also because I am apparently blogging like a crazy fool to avoid writing a story ... don't mind me, go and watch the slugs down there, they're amazing ...
(last but not least because is this not just the best fucking song ever? And are they not beautiful?)
"The mating habits of Limax maximus are considered unusual among slugs: the hermaphrodite slugs court, usually for hours, by circling and licking each other.
After this, the slugs will climb into a tree or other high area and then, entwined together, lower themselves on a thick string of mucus, evert their white translucent mating organs (penises) from their gonopore (openings on the right side of the head), entwine these organs, and exchange sperm. Both participants will later lay hundreds of eggs."
(I'll leave it there where it seems all nice and slimy romantic, and not say anything about apophallation.)
Monday, July 20, 2009
No, these are not my books. They're for sale on ebay.
I'm tempted. Don't you sometimes just want to build a house out of books, with walls smelling of that sweet old-paper smell - or maybe a labyrinth you could lose yourself in? The windows could be bucolic murder mysteries set in Devon, and novels of the high seas, and the fireplace would be erotica and the kitchen would be -
- hold on, this is a Richard Brautigan story already, isn't it?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
It's been a long while since I posted one of these interviews. But if there's one writer I'd come out of retirement to hear more from, it's the awesome Alana Noel Voth.
Why do you write?
Because, generally speaking, I suck in person. Until I've had a few drinks or am simply in a position where I have no choice. Otherwise, I'm a hermit who prefers her own company. I enjoy hanging out with my son, and once in a while a friend or lover. Otherwise, eh. Don't get me wrong: I like people, perhaps too much. I'm obsessed with humanity. Socializing though, small talk, that's painful—sometimes a waste of time. Maybe because I'm getting older, I find a lot of people uninteresting.
I like to watch, listen. I like to ask questions. I like to record. That's where the writing comes in, you know? Anyway, once a upon a time, there was this girl whose father beat her every time she opened her mouth, etc., etc. Writing is my defense. Also, everyone needs to communicate. Everyone deserves self expression. No one likes throwing their soul out to the ether and then receiving nothing back. I've written for spite before, obviously, and as a way to reclaim a sense of power. I've also written when I was feeling hopeless, depressed, terrified, helpless. Oh and horny. Angry. High emotion mainly.
Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?
Simply humanity. But moral ambiguity for another. Those types of stories make the best ones. You know, good is also bad, and bad is also good.
I'd also like to prove if you're in tune with human rhythms, if you pay attention, if you mean it, and you do so with respect, you can write outside your gender. You can be a middle-aged woman and write as a gay man.
I say this because I often write as young gay men.
Shane Allison once told me he forgot I was a woman once he began to read my stories because my characters were convincing enough he heard them, not me. Awesome compliment. In graduate school, one of my peers said, "If I didn't know you Alana, I'd think you were a gay Mexican boy." Another great compliment, really the best. Susie Bright said much the same thing to me once.
Anyway, I'm not bragging. What I mean to do is make a point. As writers, if we take our work seriously, and I do mean serious as death, then we have this super hero type power for empathy and expression. We can take a situation and turn it into a story that presents a universal truth. That is, if we can get past all the prejudice . . .
What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?
Far as I know, my work doesn't receive a lot rave reviews or shout outs so I can't say, "Such-and-such story has been popular." Therefore, I'll respond on a personal level, and maybe that's the way you meant it anyway.
My most successful stories are the ones in which I've spent months realizing then expressing character desire without becoming obvious, clichéd, or too vague.
My best work is always the work I've slaved over, cried over, hated. At some point, every story feels like a fucking rock in my shoe, if it's going to turn into something worthwhile, I mean. Stories are fun as drafts but then they just became painful, even tedious, until finally, I don't know . . . I arrive on the other side, so to speak.
More specifically: I wrote this story "Waif" (I is For Indecent) which I've always thought was good in that it’s simple, quiet, solid, and also written in third person, which is a departure for me. I've always felt proud of "Genuflection" (Best American Erotica 2005) for being the first story I sent through the MFA workshop, and also, I'm in love with the narrator, Manny, my number one Great I Narrator. "Benediction" (Best Gay Erotica 2007) makes me cry every time I read it. "Attempt to Rise" (Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Volume 7) was an awesome editorial experience, as in never before has one of my stories benefited more from an editor’s input. (Shanna Germain was the editor, by the way.) I've got this story called "Ivo" (Oysters & Chocolate) that I'm in love with: another Great I Narrator, and simply put, I got inside the guy's head, not to mention I stole the name “Ivo” from a friend in graduate school.
One more mention, my story "Mars with Mars and Venus," (Oysters & Chocolate) as an ode to another writer, Dennis Cooper, is successful without being a hokey imitation. To me, it’s a love letter. Anyway, the story was hard to write. Mechanically for starters.
Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:
"Genuflection" was inspired by a story called "Indio" by Al Lujan and also the trailer park where my son and I used to live, and a real live place, Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado. "Benediction" was inspired by Brent Runyon's book, The Burn Journals and a real boy I once knew who lit himself on fire, not to mention Joseph Gordon Levitt's performance in Mysterious Skin. (Honestly, half the boys I invent look like Joseph Gordon Levitt.) Although the boy in "Attempt to Rise" looks like Elijah Wood, The story was originally titled "Elijah Would," until Shanna Germain said, "About the title . . ."
Oh, you said recent. Dennis Cooper will always influence my work, as will Marguerite Duras' book, The Lover. I recently saw a movie, The Living End, which has impacted my novel-in-progress, as has the show Supernatural. Any two boys kissing will inspire me. I saw this movie Summer Storm the other night and became aroused by a scene on a boat dock. I mean, it was sweet, and it was sexy. You should see it.
Anyway, like every other writer, I'm a sponge; I'm forever taking notes, making observations, cataloging things. I’m nothing if not my power of observation. I'm super sensitive to innuendo as well. It's the subtle shit in life other people accuse me of over reacting to that make all the difference in a story.
Thank you so much, Alana. Read more of Alana's thoughts and work at her blog.
I'm still delighted to receive contributions to the 'Writing That Touches' interviews, although this is now more erratic feature than regular series. Get in touch if you'd like to participate! Nikki at magennis dot googlemail dot com.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
" Skillfully written with street-smart dialogue and amazingly hot sex ... the reader will find herself coping with the emotional struggle of what’s really important in life."
Allegra Alston at Romance Reviews Today Erotic reviewing THE NEW RAKES. Read the whole review here.
I especially like that the reviewer thinks that Tam is 'ultra sexy'. I'd tell him, but it'd only go to his head.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Artful Paper Dolls
Here's one of the one-star reviews:
"This was not at all what I expected and in some cases a little creepy. The idea of creating paper doll images by using different items such as photos,magazine cutouts,newspaper clips,feathers, etc. seemed like fun - but then he gets into jointed paper dolls that look more like marionettes with limbs way out of proportion, using exotic bird heads on top of female bodies, sad and angry childrens photo faces on magazine bodies and finally let's not forget the skeletons 'dressed up' in clothes and the 'ever so mirthful' shrine dolls. Some of the book is good and I'm sure the artists showcased are well respected in their fields.. but I'm involved with this type of collage art to create 'happy' or 'contemplative'designs - not stuff that makes me wince when I see it."
Fantastic, I thought. Just what I'm looking for. Because the last thing I'm interested in is 'happy' art.
So there we have an example of a one star review selling a book. You can never tell when a terrible review will actually end up working in your favour ...
Wednesday, July 08, 2009
Contributor copies of Pleasure Bound arrived today!
(Out in a couple of weeks in the UK)
This is a volume of true bondage stories. My short flash (Handfast) is snuggled in here cosily along with stories from many friends and fellow smutters.
I feel a little shy about reading their stories. I mean, won't it be intrusive? It might feel a bit weird finding out what my esteemed colleagues really get up to behind closed doors.
Oh, okay then *runs off to rifle through the book and check out exactly how filthy her friends are.* My word! Look at that table of contents! What a saucy lot! (Apart from Kristina Lloyd, who has written a nice story about flowers, I think.)
'Handfast' is dedicated to boyf, whom I don't often write about because I love him so much I really couldn't fit it all in a story. And look, I get too soppy. But most days I am just dumbstruck by him, by his careless grace and his crap jokes and his beautiful smile and his endlessly kind heart. A lifetime isn't long enough, really.
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Every so often I wonder: what is the point in writing about two people fucking when there are wars in the world.
Then I remember that painting a picture of a computer will not make my artwork more relevant to the modern world. (And that depending on who you ask the modern world does not exist.) Being more honest might make my artwork more relevant. I think of the Frank O Hara poem, Why I am Not a Painter, and wonder if there is possibly nothing more relevant than two people fucking, why they are fucking and how, and what happens afterwards.
Outside, my neighbours are hosing down the flagstones because there is too much gravel on them. Last week, a truck brought a tonne of gravel to fill in the gaps in the parking lot where the stones had worn away. He seems to spend his life moving small pieces of gravel from one place to another. I hate his shirts. He gets drunk on a Friday and makes crass jokes. He's rich as fuck, and he worked hard for his money. His wife is perfectly styled with pink lipstick.
Futility is in the eye of the beholder, I suppose.
An art in itself, carrying the 'priceless cargo'. I love how the courier describes his job. The softness of his voice, when he says 'diesel'. How the painting is treated so carefully. And how Kahlo's life has become a story that feeds into the work, and how that story is polished and examined, checked and rechecked.
Some people say that all portraits are self portraits. I suppose you could take that further and say that all artwork is a form of self portraiture. Maybe only by looking hard at oneself can we eventually see the world.
Still, we all get sick of staring at our own face from time to time.
If it were possible to shed your skin like a snake and use it as a canvas, would you do it?
Monday, July 06, 2009
Sunday, July 05, 2009
Saturday, July 04, 2009
I did not cry because I am hormonal and emotional. I only cried because I just drove 8 miles to a nearby village in my first ever car.
The engine is so quiet I can't tell if I've stalled or not and it is the pale, pale green of peppermint cordial. There are a few scratches and a little rust on both of us. I managed the junction okay. I did not stall except once when reversing. I am in love.
Happy Independence Day, all. xxx
Friday, July 03, 2009
Anyway, the fabulous Alana just nominated this blog for a Kreativ Blogger award. I'm really astonished and touched, and also - although don't tell her - a bit embarrassed because Alana is someone whose courage far outweighs mine and whos writing just floors me.
Okay, now I nonminate seven other bloggers for the pretty pink award, and then I name seven things I like. Here, blogs I enjoy and that are often full of unexpected pleasures:
1. Shanna Germain's travel blog
2. Janine Ashbless
3. Gina Marie
5. T Elle Harrison
6. Danielle de Santiago
7. Charlotte Stein
Seven things I like ...
When my baby kicks. Summer mornings, early. Purple and black plants. My cat's striped tail. The feeling of learning a skill, the thrill of feeling that I'm able.
Sea air. Watching my boyf when he's asleep - the point and angle of his shoulder, his freckled back, the curve of his mouth. Is that more than seven? I hope I did it right!
To all the nominees, would you like to participate by doing the same? Seven other nominees and seven things you like. xxx
Thursday, July 02, 2009
I lie still and let the heat press the air from the room. Breathing is labour. Upstairs the neighbours are fighting - her voice rises to a mosquito whine. Doors slam.
I hold onto you although my hands slip. My heart has unwound and it lies across the bed, scribbled on the sheets.
Any moment you could get up and go, trailing agitation behind you. With luck you might drag a breeze into the room.
When I held out my hands the summer rain would fall into them, warm and heavy, stinging the palms, strumming my skin like knife blades.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Your eyes. Brown like burned sugar. Grey. Green like every kind of water. Yes, you were Mexican. Or Canadian - I didn't catch your name. You ripped a hole in my tights. You were a stranger. Broke my heart.
I can feel myself forgetting you, over and over.
Burning Up - Boy George ft. Tracey Emin