Category Archives: Monday Musings

“I can’t relate to her.”

Not for the first time, a potential reader said I was too “cold” in Exposed. She “couldn’t relate to the character.”

This always surprises me. From the inside, I am anything but “cold.”  There is laughter, there are tears, there is fear. I am passionate about many things, including passion itself. So why this disconnect?

My response is usually “Jessica’s not cold. She’s French.” While many in the U.S. now use that as an insult, what I mean is that there is a certain acceptance of circumstances in the French mindset: “C’est la vie,” or “Such is life.” This doesn’t promote a lot of whining.

The key metaphor in Exposed is  Tout passé, tout cassé, tout lassé.” Everything passes, everything breaks, everything wears out. Nothing is forever. When brought to focus on a “tragedy” in our daily lives, is this attitude “cold?” Is it “cold” to present it to someone who is clinging to something broken?

Empathy is important, but sympathy may not always be the best response. I admit that the Gallic shrug can seem indifferent if not arrogant. But it can also be perceived as an acknowledgement that “nothing lasts forever,” including relationships, cars, grandmothers, or preconceptions. Those who believe otherwise are living in a world of dreams, what-ifs, make-believe.

Admittedly, I leaned hard on this point of view in Exposed to make it different, to give it character. This is also my point of view and is how I was raised. If this seems “cold” to some readers, I’ll admit there’s a twinge of disappointment that my central message was lost. But, what can I do?

C’est la vie.

Free books, a sneak peek

On Friday I completed a crucial chapter in the new book, Crosscurrents. It’s a bedroom scene. A friend said she had to leave the kitchen while reading it. I don’t know exactly what she meant, but I take that as a compliment. Crosscurrents will be released this year. I am committed to getting the first draft complete by the end of this month (March, 2015).

I’d like to send you that chapter in rough form, before the editor gets to it.

I’d also like to send you a FREE copy of Exposed in ebook format, gifted to you through Amazon. Or, if you’d prefer, I will send you a signed paperback copy for FREE, asking only that you pay shipping, which is about $4.75 at the media rate (Amazon is charging $15.51 for the book, plus a fee for shipping).

In return, I ask that you post a review of Exposed on Amazon. You reviews influence other readers and are important to our success. It’s that simple.

This offer is limited to the first 20 people who respond.

If you’d like to participate, just click here to fill out the form.

The first 10 of you who respond and have posted a review on Amazon will also get the ebook of Crosscurrents for free when it’s published, or the signed paperback if you’ll pay $4.75 for shipping. We have to pay Amazon the full price for ebooks we gift to you, so this is a real commitment on our part.

I want to thank everyone who has been reading the blog, or has purchased the book, or otherwise shown support. Without readers, we writers would not have the privilege of doing what we do.

Owning our desires

Sophia’s long, thick brown hair, olive skin and wide sensual mouth are set off by the most amazing light green eyes, and the effect is electric. With her tall and slim five-foot-eight frame, men and women are instantly attracted to her. We’ve been at breakfast when men stopped by our table, or phone numbers were delivered.

What a burden.

She never told me when she was first sexually abused, certainly before she was 15. She “always looked older” than her years, and barely finished high school as her beauty became the defining element of her world.

Becoming of legal age, but naive, she was offered a world that was glamourous but came with hidden agendas. In her early 30’s now, she refers to a period “about ten years ago” when she led a life on the edge, riding her beauty for cocaine, Cristal Champagne, jets, Vail and Chicago. She has the thin arms and legs of a runway model, with cheekbones to match, but also these large, grapefruit-round breasts attached to her chest, the gift of a man who liked that sort of thing.

Some of her friends from back then still live in trendy neighborhoods, rent paid. For some reason, internal compass or sobering event, Sophia moved to a small flat in the suburbs and “left that behind.” Now her worry is memorizing 30 medical terms by Wednesday in the effort to be a dental hygienist.

Somewhere during Eggs Benedict, she started to cry.

“He was such a sweet and gentle guy, really smart and I really liked him. I was doing everything to get him to cum. Every position, talking dirty. Finally I said, ‛will you please have an orgasm! I’m going to fuck you again before we go to sleep, we don’t have to do this for hours!’ He stopped, looked at me, then got up, got dressed and left!”

She didn’t know why.

Most of her sexual experience is of men who learned about sex with online porn, I suppose. Men who want her to talk dirty, to flail her hips so they could get off as if by their jack-off hand, want her on her knees or on top or backwards, frantically changing from one to the other. Sophia has been cum on and in so many times by men who didn’t care about her or what she would like, oblivious to her lack of emotional participation, that the beauty of sex is lost to her.

It’s become a performance for the benefit of somebody else. She no longer has the ability to be vulnerable, to trust, so that she can lose herself in the experience.

Worse, she has begun to resent sex because of what she has been through, and the demands of others. The beauty of sensuality is lost to the beauty most people would like to share it with.

What an crappy irony.

A lot women can relate. This isn’t the just the result of Sophia’s choices. Another woman I know was married for far too long to a man who humiliated her into starvation because he liked fucking skinny women. When he wanted sex, which was often several times a day, she was used so he could get off. Part of the routine, or there would be consequences, was that she had to fake a convincing orgasm.

I don’t know if Sophia will ever heal, if the right man (or woman) will fall in love with the girl within and with tremendous strength, maturity and patience, bring her back into womanhood in the right way. What a gift that would be, but how risky for Sophia, to let herself become that vulnerable.

I could blame men for this, but I’m not going to. In many ways, the price they pay for the lack of love and romance is just as great, though masked by power imbalance. That’s as far as I’m going down that road, for the moment.

You may question my morality, and the fact that I love men and sometimes enjoy more than one simultaneously, and sometimes enjoy all that in “public.” But I’m so thankful that I was empowered to own my own sexuality, regardless of what you think, and to celebrate that when and where and how I choose.

Working out

Pixie works out at the same gym I do. I go in three days a week. I think she goes in every day.

Each muscle of her body is defined, and I’d guess she has low-single-digit body fat. She works hard, she sweats, if she is there when I arrive, she is often there when I leave. She doesn’t compromise.

“Is it a sacrifice?” I asked her once when we were both between sets. I meant the time, the pain, the effort, all of it.

“It’s what I do, it’s who I am,” she replied.

I often wonder what separates those who seem to easily overcome pain, or resistance, or avoidance, to do things that others find difficult. Do they have extra dopamine? Were they given an extra dose of discipline?

Or is it more dark? Are they driven by invisible needs, perhaps looking for an extra dose of dopamine that biology held back, or accolades missed in childhood that now come from having a cut and perfect body?

People come up to Pixie all the time and ask her, “What’s your secret?” after seeing the results, unaware of the effort. She is almost always gracious, though she told me once that she no longer tries to educate, because it’s time wasted.

“Most people won’t put in the work,” she said. “There are no secrets. You decide, this is who I am, this is who I will be.”

How to stick with that? How to get started? My grandmother once told me that when a task seems too large, break it down. “Decide to clean just one tile in the kitchen. You know you can clean one tile. Then, if you want, clean the next. Soon, the floor is clean.”

Don’t think of the run; put on your shoes and go outside. Don’t dread all the sets and all the reps; go to the gym and stand in the weight room. Don’t starve yourself until your brain makes up lies while you eat ice cream; eat something nutritious before you binge. Don’t fret over the novel; sit down at the keyboard and write.

Can’t wait to see him? Need to establish boundaries? Want to break it off? Want to go dancing or want to stay home?

It’s up to you. But before anything else, face honestly the decision that “…this is who I am, this is who I will be.”