People Who Bought This Book Also Bought…

I was doing a variant on ego-Googling and checking the “people who bought this book also bought” feature for my two books. Amazon’s are really boring and predictable — people who bought “Paying For It” bought other books about sex work, and people who bought “Three Kinds of Asking For It” bought other Susie Bright collections. Ho hum.

But Last Gasp’s are hilarious — and weirdly apt.

Threekindsblog_2At Last Gasp, people who bought “Three Kinds of Asking For It” also bought:

Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture
This Is Heroin
Baby! (a collection of baby-themed graphics from India)
The Copyright Handbook: How to Protect and Use Written Works
J&L Illustrated 2 (an illustrated fiction collection)
The Skullz Press Compendium (tattoo-inspired graffiti art)
Me Write Book: It Bigfoot Memoir
Even a Daughter Is Better than Nothing (a travel book about Outer Mongolia)

PayingcoverblogOn the other hand, people at Last Gasp who bought “Paying For It” also bought:

Original Bondage Fairies 5
The Illustrated Book of Dominatrices
Cherry 6
Cherry 8
Cherry 9
Cherry 10
New Bondage Fairies 1
Bad Girl

So people who are buying literary smut are also pursuing an eclectic assortment of modern cultural interests, only occasionally connected to sex. And people who are buying the guidebook for sex work customers are pretty much buying dirty comics and dirty picture books.

And good for them. Both groups.

On the Rhythms of Writing and Fucking Off

A few months ago, a good budding writer asked me for advice about writing. I gave her what I hope was good advice — but I had a recent revelation about how I write, one that I feel like an idiot about not catching on to earlier, and I want to share it with her, and with the rest of the class.

My revelation was this: In order to write, I need a large block of uninterrupted time. Several hours at least. I can’t have a writing schedule where I write for two hours every day — I’ll get fuck-all done.

Here’s why. It apparently takes me a long time to rev up my writing engine. I can’t just sit down with guns a-blazing — I have to ease into it, start the gears turning slowly. In a typical writing day, I start off just mucking about on the computer for a while: doing email, updating my Website, submitting finished pieces to publishers, that sort of thing. (I often get a fair amount of writing-related business done in this time, but it’s almost never the actual writing part.) Once I’m settled into that groove, I start reworking drafts, polishing and rewriting pieces where the basic churning-out of ideas has already been done. (Blogging usually happens in this phase as well.) Only then can I start the actual churning out, the Godawful hard work of dredging through that black wordless place in my head, dragging out the stuff that might be good and trying to wrestle it into coherent sentences. It’s like I’m tricking myself into writing, sneaking up on my brain and gradually turning up the gas. (Like a lot of writers, I don’t really enjoy writing all that much. I enjoy having written — but the actual writing part usually kind of sucks. I’d give it up, but not writing sucks even more.)

So the bottom line is, I’ll get twice as much done in one eight-hour block than I ever will in eight one-hour blocks — and most of that will get done in the last five hours. But apparently I need those first three hours to get me to the place where the last five will get me anywhere.

It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to recognize this and accept it. I think I saw it as amateurish, prima donna behavior. I’ve never had much patience with writers and artists who sit around moaning about their muse and their writer’s block — it always seemed like the mark of a dilettante — and complaining that I can’t work in short bursts always seemed like that sort of “princess and the pea” crap. (I always hated that story…)

But I’m beginning to accept that I was being too hard on myself. After all, I’m not using the vagaries of my muse as an excuse for not writing. I’m not whining about how I need large blocks of time to write while I sit around in bars or cafes trying to impress chicks. I actually *am* setting aside large blocks of time to write. I’m structuring my job and my social life around my stupid Goddamn muse, who only shows up when I’ve been dicking around on the computer for a couple of hours (and who also, I might point out, tends to get really excited and gushy when it’s two in the morning and I have to get up at eight). I’m beginning to realize that it’s not “princess and the pea” behavior if I’m getting work done and meeting deadlines.

So that’s my revelation. But my advice to other writers and artists actually isn’t, “Be sure to set aside large blocks of time for your creative work.” My advice is, “Pay attention to the rhythms of your work, and respect them.” You may be the exact opposite of me — you might only be able to work for a couple hours at a stretch before you burn out. Or maybe it doesn’t matter when you work, but it does matter where: I like to work at home, where I can putter around like a butterfly in between burst of output, but maybe you need a separate place, completely free of distractions and devoted solely to your work. Whatever it is, respect it. Figure out what it is — and then structure your life to make it happen.

Dream diary, 2/18/06: Another Goddamn Wedding Anxiety Dream

I dreamed that Ingrid and I had just finished our wedding, the ceremony and the dinner and the dancing and everything were now over… but now we had to do it all over again. Because some of our guests couldn’t fit the first wedding into their schedules, we’d decided to have two weddings on the same day, so everyone could attend. So now that the first wedding was over, we had to start the second one from the beginning. Also, the second wedding was in a different hall, across town from the first one, and we had to take the bus there… and of course, the bus was late, and we weren’t sure it was the right one anyway.

And I would just like to comment for a moment: When am I bloody well going to stop having wedding anxiety dreams? Is this going to be like math homework dreams, that I have for the rest of my life? Sheesh.

A seriously classy gig: Hastings Women’s Law Journal 2006 “Sex and Reproduction” Symposium

HastingsThis is one of the coolest, classiest speaking engagements I’ve done to date. The Hastings Women’s Law Journal is having a symposium on sex and reproduction law this Wednesday… and because of my book “Paying For It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients,” I’m going to be on the panel discussing sex workers. (Hastings, in case you’re not familiar with it, is one of two law schools in the Bay Area connected with the University of California, and is the oldest law school in the state. So this is a serious goddamn gig.)

PayingcoverbigIt’s a little daunting — after all, I’m not anything resembling an expert in sex work law. But I told the organizers that, and they said that was fine: they already have legal experts, and they want my perspective on the effects of sex work laws on the day-to-day working lives of sex workers. Which I now do seem to be an expert in. What with the book and all.

Best of all, I just found out that the event is open to the public. So if a scholarly symposium on sex and reproduction law is your cup of tea, do come check it out. It’s going to be Wednesday, February 15, starting shortly after 4:00. There will be two panels before the one on sex work; one on same-sex parenting at 4:30, and one on late-term abortion and disability law at 5:30. The sex worker panel begins at 6:30; there will be a reception afterwards. It’s in San Francisco, at 198 McAllister, room A, on the first floor.

For this particular gig, friends and family are requested not to bring giant foam rubber “We’re Number One” hands and shout “Woot, woot!” Thank you for your co-operation.

The oddest interview yet

Bannerinterviews_1It was with RomanceJunkies.com.

No, really. I was as surprised to be asked as you probably are to hear about it. But it seems that the world of romance novels and the world of erotica are beginning to overlap quite a bit. Romance novels are apparently getting more and more explicit — many of them are essentially becoming erotica. And romance novel readers and reviewers are paying more attention to barefaced porn, and paying attention more openly and unabashedly — especially if it’s written by women.

ThreekindsbigSo when “Three Kinds of Asking For It” came out, (for those of you just tuning in, that’s a collection of three erotic novellas edited by Susie Bright, one of which is mine), this website called RomanceJunkies.com asked me for an interview. It just recently went up…

…and it’s one of the oddest, most interesting interviews I’ve done.

Not because it’s with a romance novel website. Because of the interview itself. The interview is a melange of serious questions about my writing career, personal questions about my life and hobbies… and almost surreastically random questions about what kind of food I like, what my favorite appliance was, and whether I was right- or left-handed. And although they were interviewing me because of my erotica (and had reviewed “Three Kinds” earlier), they never once asked me about sex or erotic writing. In fact, they edited out my comment about the Hitachi Magic Wand in the appliance question.

Anyway. Odd, interesting interview. Check it out on their website. Enjoy!

Dream diary, 2/2/06: The Daily Show

I dreamed that the Daily Show was doing a week-long series about my new dresser drawers, including a four-hour special being aired tonight. I was irritated because I had sword dance practice tonight and was going to have to miss he special, and I didn’t want to record it — I wanted to watch it live.