One of the keys to a successful relationship — the constant and consistent rejection of new p***y

Some women really work hard at keeping their men. Not all of them mind you, but some do. Granted, some women think they are even if they really aren’t, and other women acknowledge that they just aren’t going to do it because of something their man is (or isn’t) doing. My point is most women are aware of the fact that they must put forth some effort in keeping their men even if they reject actually doing anything about it.

For some women, the things they’ll do to keep a man are limitless. They’ll get boob jobs, nose jobs, or liposuction. They’ll go on crazy diets to loose weight. They’ll buy lingerie and willingly perform all kinds of sex acts. Some women will even agree to things they may not want to do, like threesomes or extra kinky sex. Some women cook elaborate meals. Some women do things that may seem designed to drive a man away, like checking their man’s email accounts, cell phone, or Facebook page, but even those acts are just that woman’s way of keeping her man, though it may not be an effective one. Some women go out of their way to make sure they are supportive of their man’s endeavors, whatever they may be. There are lots of “ride or die” women in the world, but they all ride differently. So when a woman feels she is genuinely doing every thing she possibly can to keep her man’s interest, it can be particularly hurtful to find he is interested in someone else. In the case of women who involve themselves with rich and powerful men who provide them financial support, another woman can be a serious threat to her very existence and lifestyle. But what women must remember is that no matter what you do to hold up your end of your mutually monogamous relationship with your man, he has to have done one important thing for it to work.

Your man must have made a conscious, intentional decision to forgo the thrills of NEW PUSSY.

There are women in the world who are very beautiful, smart, and sexy. There are women in the world who are educated, with great jobs, beautiful homes, and solid heads on their shoulders. There are women in the world who can clap their booties while frying chicken and doing the laundry. A woman can do exactly what her man wants TO PERFECTION, all day every day, and he may love it and love her for it, but UNLESS he is committed to not indulging in the high of new pussy, it will not matter.

Most women don’t get this. When they find out about another woman, they immediately make comparisons to the other woman, and the other woman is always less appealing, less attractive, dumber, less accomplished, and less everything. The “wronged” woman always wonders how he could have possibly chosen this other “bitch” over her, even for casual sex. What these women don’t get is that if your man feels compelled to scratch the “new pussy” itch, all of the advantages that she may feel she has will disappear. Because no matter what she may be, she is not, and never again will be NEW PUSSY.

All new pussy has to be is NEW. It doesn’t have to look better than you. Its stomach doesn’t have to be flatter than yours, its butt doesn’t have to be fatter, its boobs don’t have to be bigger. It doesn’t have to wear a weave, or have a natural, or have a job, or a degree, or any of that. All it has to be is UNKNOWN and ABLE TO RAISE THE CURIOUSITY OF THE MAN ON THE MOST BASIC LEVEL.

The wife/steady girlfriend in a monogamous relationship can’t be new pussy. She just can’t. No matter what she does, he knows who/what she is sexually. Even if she introduces new tricks on a regular, dresses up like different people, keeps the sexual menu fresh with new items, the minute your man experiences them, they are OLD. Now a man may love those things, so don’t think that its because he no longer likes how you swirl your tongue around the tip of his dick. You may do it perfectly every time and it may make him cum, really hard, every time. But the fact still remains that a familiar tongue is doing it. For a man nothing is better than PUSSY except NEW PUSSY. The best girlfriend in the world will at some point LOSE TO NEW PUSSY unless THE MAN HAS MADE A DECISION TO LEAVE NEW PUSSY ALONE.

“Siren’s Call” by Marlene Wood-Rose

The siren call of new pussy is POWERFUL. A man who doesn’t acknowledge this is setting himself up for a fall, and when he falls it will probably be into some new pussy. A man who decides to be exclusive and monogamous with one woman is promising to ignore the siren call of NEW PUSSY…ALL NEW PUSSY, no matter what. Most men don’t bother to really think about what that means, until NEW PUSSY catches their eye. And what catches a man’s eye varies from man to man, but generally speaking any woman that man has ever been even remotely curious about sexually who makes herself available on a regular basis COULD CATCH A MONOGAMOUS MAN IN A NEW PUSSY TRAP under the right conditions.

Now some men make a decision to not fall into the new pussy trap. This again differs from man to man, but some men do recognize that this world we live in offers a lot of temptations, and they develop ways to not fall prey to those temptations. But if a man hasn’t become mature enough to understand the damage continuing to have a taste for new pussy can do to a good relationship, he will always end up giving in to new pussy at some point. And it is a constant thing. A man who really is devoted to his woman could find himself faced with a new pussy situation totally out of the blue, and when the blood in his brain heads down to his dick, his decision making process can quickly become compromised. This is why it is important for men to be mindful of the power new pussy can have, and to do what they can to minimize its pull on them.

So men…if you’re happy with your woman, make sure you have a new pussy evacuation plan. Happy men who are secure in their romantic situations are the most attractive men in the world, and you are going to face the most new pussy possibilities. A close second are the elusive-seeming, emotionally unavailable types that seem impossible to get. New pussy loves a challenge, and if you present yourself as one, new pussy will follow you everywhere you go.

So ladies…just accept that you can’t be better looking than every woman in the world. You can’t be sexier than every woman, or smarter, or more accomplished. Stop killing yourself trying to do that. Be the best woman you can be for your own sake, and make sure you are being the best partner you can be for the sake of the relationship. After all, you can’t control what your man does, only how you respond to it.

Until next time,

PEACE!

As promised…more stories of my adventures as an editorial assistant.

When I worked at the imprint run by the famous New York Times bestselling author, my main job was to review/edit manuscripts. There was a huge backlog of manuscripts at the imprint, some of the manuscripts were over a year old. The imprint’s website clearly stated that the imprint wasn’t taking new submissions, but people still submitted just to try their luck, and others submitted because they got “referrals” from other authors already being published by the imprint. It cracked me up to find out how many of the manuscript’s cover letters began with “I am a friend of (insert name of author here) and he/she said I could submit this manuscript to you and you would publish it…” In most cases the “authors” that referred them weren’t on the intimate terms with my boss as they had implied to their friends. The imprint published many titles in the course of a year and my boss didn’t know all of the authors personally of course, but you wouldn’t know it from some of these letters. There were a FEW authors who had that kind of relationship with my boss and could actually send new authors her way, but in those cases my boss received the manuscript directly from the author – it didn’t come through the regular mail like regular manuscripts did. Sometimes these authors who were referred to us would call to follow up and say, “well I am a friend of so-and-so, and he/she is one of your authors, and they said you all would publish my book.” When I would try to get additional information from them in an attempt to track down their ‘scripts they’d often get upset and say things like “I’m so-and-so, and I’m so-and-so’s friend, and I sent my manuscript to y’all, you don’t remember reading it? It was great if I do say so myself.”

One reason this company got so many manuscripts was because this imprint prided itself on publishing large numbers of new authors. That was one of its claims to fame, and one thing my boss took a great deal of personal pride in – publishing new writers/first time writers. Whenever my boss was interviewed she was always quick to point out how many new authors she published. I got the impression she got a kick out of helping them jump start their writing careers. And I certainly admire that. But as an editor I know first-time writers are very tricky to work with. They have to be edited very carefully, especially if they have never worked with professional editors. I say professional editors because most authors would claim their work had been “edited” when it really hadn’t. What that usually meant was they had their smartest friends and family members read it and offer critique and editing help. Or they had an English teacher, or perhaps a college professor “edit” it.  The type of read that you get from a professional editor who does not know you, who is familiar with the genre in which you write and the market in which you are trying to break into is vitally important to any writer. But many first time writers are so “sensitive about their shit” to quote a Badu-izm, they become nearly impossible to edit. OR they don’t think they need editing at all. So if you take those attitudes, concerns and fears that one first-time writer has, and multiply it by 50 or 60 writers, and you have a whole lot of emotionality going on, and in most cases, resentment. I am always suspicious of those who claim to be “published authors” who have not worked with professional editors with whom they didn’t have some close connections with. I am equally suspicious of “published authors” who have not had any kind of interaction with the traditional publishing industry and have only operated in the world of self-publishing. While I’m not saying the traditional publishing industry is great, nor am I saying self-publishing is terrible. What I am saying is that if you are a professional writer, at some point you need to have familiarity with the publishing industry on the traditional side of things, if for no other reason than that it forces you to interact with people who write as well as you, and who write BETTER than you, and who know MORE about the world you want to become a part of and be successful in, which is what first time writers need – to be sharpened by writers who are better than them and to be informed about every business side of publishing. At any rate, as editorial assistant at a publishing house who published a lot of first-timers, I had to deal with a lot of first-time writer manuscripts, and the problems most first time writers have.

Sixty percent of the problems most first time writers have fall into the category of  “telling” and not “showing” in their manuscripts. The last forty percent tend to have to do with those writers who have not mastered even the basic mechanics of writing. These types of writers are what I call “storytellers” – they are very good at relaying a story but the technical skills required to tell a story in written format aren’t there. You often find continuity issues with first time writers – one minute they’ll say an event took place the next day and in the same passage they may say that same event took place a week later, or a week prior. Most first time writers tend to still be having a love affair with written language, and have yet to see it as a tool. As a result, they write too indirectly, with too many adjectives, or with very unwieldy sentence structure that is difficult to digest as a reader. Many have very little concept of proper punctuation. And finally, some just sucked at writing, period.

Now I actually enjoy working with first-time writers, because I do remember being a first time writer, and how nerve wracking the experience of letting strangers read your work can be. I am very sensitive to the first time writer’s concerns. I explain to every writer I ever work with that my job as a writer is to sharpen, enhance, focus and heighten their writing voices. It is not to diminish their voices in any way, or to make them sound like me or write like me. I tell my writers that if I do my job well, no one will notice what I do – not even them. They’ll just be glad I did it. I remember very well my first few editors, and I was very fortunate in that I had editors who always treated me well, who valued my opinion and input, and who forced me to think outside what I perceived to be my limitations as a writer. My editors when I was starting out as a writer really made me push myself and made me examine my skills set. I was a better, more skilled writer when they were done, and that is what I’ve always sought to do as an editor.

My second manuscript was this very highly stylized action-adventure urban fiction mishmash that had as its central character who was basically an African-American Lara Kroft type. The third was the second installment of this ghetto fabulous soap opera type of drama with lots of beautiful people, beautiful places, glamorous occupations and name dropping of every kind of high-end product you could imagine, from cars to clothes to alcohol to jewelry. I worked on these two simultaneously because the production schedule was so far behind. To make matters worse, until I came along as editorial assistant, the imprint hadn’t had a dedicated editor in a long time. They had freelance editors that they brought on board from time to time that they weren’t satisfied with, and my boss and the senior editor did editing as well. But they were both very busy, my boss with her own writing and other projects, and the senior editor with the day-to-day operations of running the house. So one of these writers had never been professionally edited and hadn’t been told that she would be edited by the imprint until the last minute when I came to work at the imprint, so she was a nervous wreck, and the other had been published once by the imprint without being thoroughly line-edited, which of course meant she thought her work was flawless.

Neither was interested in my editorial input AT ALL.

TO BE CONTINUED…

What he took from me…

October is domestic violence awareness month, but I’m getting an early start.

I was in an abusive relationship with my son’s father some years ago. He and I were engaged to be married and were in the process of buying a home together when I decided I had to leave. I wish I could say that I left because I somehow found value in myself or began to build my self esteem. But nope, that’s not what happened. I left because my son’s father hit me in front of my daughter.

My daughter was about 4 at the time, and it is one of her first memories of him. Her father had never been in her life, so this man, her infant brother’s father, had been the only father figure she had ever known. And she saw him punch me in my face. I did not know she was at the top of the stairs and witness the exchange, but I heard her little voice cry out “mommy” as he did it. As my hand flew up to my face, both he and I looked up the stairs and saw her little face, full of fear and tears. He looked back at me, and then he ran from the house.

I ended our relationship a few days later. I knew I could not possibly let my daughter witness me accepting that kind of treatment and continue to stay. Though I loved him very much, had a beautiful diamond and emerald ring on my finger (emeralds are my favorite stones), a beautiful house in Mount Vernon we were buying and was planning my wedding, I knew in that moment I could not marry him. I knew if I did, I would lose all authority in my daughter’s life. I knew I would never be able to guide her when it came to men and relationships. I knew if she ever came into a situation where she was being abused, I would not be able to help her. I knew she could be in danger at some point. I knew I had to set the right example for her, and to me the right example was to leave. My son’s father did eventually get counseling, though it did not happen immediately. He and I are in a reasonably good place now and have managed to piece together a working relationship for our son’s sake. He knows there is no hope of us reconciling, as do I, and we are both okay with that. He still has a temper, and I do occasionally see flashes of it.

But that is not what I want to talk about today.

My last ex-boyfriend and I never argued much until our relationship started falling apart. In fact when we started to argue it shocked me because I never thought we’d interact with each other that way. I’m not one to argue. I’m a very diplomatic person, always seeking compromise and ways to resolve things peacefully. I like peace and quiet and calm, and so did he. But when things got bad, we did have some serious arguments. One of the worst was an hours-long yelling match that took place over the phone and went on into the wee hours of the morning, literally. At one point I got so angry I went to his house to confront him, and the arguing continued. I was so distraught I began to cry as I yelled at him, and he became so angry he swung his fist and pounded the living room wall. Several times. Really hard.

Now let me be EXTREMLY CLEAR…at no point did I ever think he was going to hit me. I knew he wasn’t. Even in that heated moment, I knew I was in no physical danger. Yes he was angry, he was upset, he was livid and beyond livid, but I knew I was never in harm’s way. At least in my head I knew I was safe, on an intellectual level I knew it. This was a very gentle man, and I had never experienced anything but gentleness from him. It was one of the things I’d found attractive about him when I got to know him. But when he punched the wall the first time, I remembered vividly my son’s father hitting me that day at the bottom of the stairs as my daughter watched, and the memory caused me to flinch. Hard. The second time he punched the wall I fell to my knees and screamed “stop it!” as if he had hit me. The third time he punched the wall even harder and I yelled even louder, and I began to cry even harder as if he’d actually hit me. In fact it actually hurt me when he punched that wall. I could really feel my son’s father’s fist against my face, as if it was happening to me all over again. The third time I yelled he turned to me and saw me on the floor, hands over my face, yelling for him to stop, crying hysterically and he said, “you thought I was going to hit you?” I couldn’t respond, and his question became a shocked statement, “you thought I was going to hit you!”

All I could do was nod. Because it was true. In that moment everything I knew about this man, that I had come to know in our years together disappeared. Every kind word he’d spoken, every kind gesture, everything he’d ever done or said to let me know he was not a physically abusive man by any stretch of the imagination was forgotten, was gone out of my head.

I could feel him looking at me. I couldn’t see him looking at me because I was afraid to look at him. I knew my actions in that moment had hurt him more than anything I’d said in the past three hours. He just stood there for what seemed like the longest time. When I finally worked up the courage to look at him, he looked lost and afraid.

I lost a lot when I ended things with my son’s father. I lost the house we’d brought together, because I moved back home with my mother. I lost my fiancée. I lost my best friend, because my son’s father had been my best friend. I lost my hope that he and I would have a family together, build a life together. But I never realized how much he’d taken from me with his actions until that night, nearly twenty years later, when a man I knew intimately and who had never harmed me in his life got angry at me and still somewhere inside of me my instincts felt he was going to become physically abusive.

My son’s father took trust from me. And I don’t think I’ll ever totally get it back.

Until next time,

Tula

To my son Noah on his eighteenth birthday…

Son,

So you’re 18 finally. You’re a man now. From this day forward you will be held to a different standard. You will be responsible for you own actions, no matter what they are. If you do something good, no one is going to automatically call me and congratulate me on your success like they did when you were small. By the same token, when you fuck up, I’m not going to be the first to get a call either. But today, as you turn 18, I want to speak to you not as a mother, but as a woman.

It is my expectation that you treat every single women you encounter in your life with the utmost respect, courtesy and consideration at all times, no matter who they are, how they are behaving, what they are wearing (or not wearing), what they are asking you to do, or agreeing to let you do. I do not want you to ever, EVER create some kind of sliding scale that determines how you treat women. I don’t want you to be one of those men who thinks “Woman A” should be treated a certain way and “Woman B” should be treated in a less respectful way for some reason. I want you to set your own standard and hold to it regardless of outside influences. This is what an adult does; they create a personal code of conduct based upon what they believe, based upon their own personal philosophy on how they want to run their lives. This is what I expect of you.

Now let me be completely clear; this does NOT mean all women are wonderful all the time. It does not mean all women are nice, kind, or considerate. It does not mean all women are appropriate women for you to become involved with, even casually. I am not asking you to suspend your ability to recognize a woman’s character. I don’t want to treat women like flawless faultless creatures, because it isn’t true. I don’t want you to put every person with a vagina up on a pedestal and to lie at her feet worshipping her. You will certainly meet women whose behavior you do not like. You will find women who carry themselves in a manner not pleasing to you. You will encounter women who seem to delight in disrespecting themselves, and will allow you to follow suit if you wish. You will meet women who are just downright mean, nasty, vulgar and difficult. You will meet women whose lack of discretion and lack of selectiveness in terms of their sex partners is a turn off. You will meet materialistic women who will expect you to provide them with a lifestyle that they will only contribute to by showing up and looking cute. You will meet selfish women who have no desire to support your dreams and goals in any way – emotionally, spiritually, morally, or any other “ly”. You will meet women who will offer you eye candy and nothing else. You will meet women who will offer you sex and nothing else. You will meet women who will offer you their pretty selves as trophy girlfriends/wives and nothing else. And you will meet women who will offer absolutely nothing.

But I do not expect you to use those things as excuses not to show basic respect and consideration. I expect you to respect them, even if there is absolutely nothing to indicate they respect themselves. You can choose not to associate with them, you can choose not to date them, or you can choose not to bring them into your intimate circle of friends and associates. You can choose not to involve yourself with them at all if you wish. But no matter how you choose to involve yourself with these women, I FULLY EXPECT YOU TO DO SO RESPECTFULLY. Disrespect of womanhood is never acceptable, even if the woman consents to it. As a man it is your responsibility to not go along with disrespect, even if it is okay with everyone around you. If a woman makes a choice that you don’t agree with, you respect her and her choice. For example, you may decide to go to a strip club one day. The women who work there have made a choice to be strippers for whatever reason. Their choice does NOT MEAN you can behave like an animal while in their presence. While what is appropriate conduct may differ in a strip club than say on the street, I am still expecting you, as my son, to not take a woman’s choice and use it to demean her, hurt her, harm her, or deal with her less than honestly. Even if she’s naked and dropping it like its hot 2 inches from your face. Yes I’m serious.

What do I mean when I say respect them? First and foremost that means to always maintain honesty in your dealings with women in word and in deed. It means speak truth at all times, EVEN IF IT MEANS YOU DON’T GET ANY ASS. (That’s right I said it.) Don’t lie to get pussy. It’s demeaning and unnecessary. There are lots of women who will consensually engage in whatever kind of relationship you want to have (or don’t want to have) – find one who wants what you want and do what you want…honestly. To paraphrase Della Reese in “Harlem Nights”… “be an honest hoe…and make sure all your hoes are honest.” It is the worst type of man who is such a slave to ass he’ll be dishonest to get it or keep it. Be brave enough and secure enough in yourself to be true to yourself – plus it makes for fewer headaches down the road. It DOES NOT eliminate them mind you, because women aren’t always honest about their motives, but that’s a discussion for another day. You can only control what you do and say and how you behave, and that’s what I’m asking you to do.

Respecting women also means not making women uncomfortable, especially in public places and spaces. While I’m not saying you should not admire women, I am asking you to do it in a way that does not make the woman feel she needs to take a bath once you take your eyes off her. I’m not saying you should not offer women sincere compliments when you see them (“you look very nice today”, etc.), but I am asking that you remove the sexual overtones when you do, especially with women you don’t know or aren’t familiar with. I am asking you to find things to admire about women that go beyond the physical and the sexual, and to give those things just as much of your attention and admiration as you give the physical and the sexual. I am asking that you remember as a man you have a responsibility to not impose yourself upon a woman in any way, even with your unwanted excessive gazing, and being mindful of that is part of being respectful. It is completely appropriate to find women sexy. It is your responsibility to be discerning in expressing that.

Son, I love you very much. I look forward to seeing what kind of man you become, especially when it comes to women. And don’t think for a minute that I don’t realize you will be tried and tested when it comes to women in these days and times. I realize you will. Some days what I’m asking you to do will seem all but impossible. Applying the “bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” standard across the board will seem simpler, and more accurate. And yeah, you may decide some women are hoes and tricks. But you respect them too dammit. You don’t know how she got to where she is, or why she is the way she is. But you weren’t raised to act like an ass, so don’t let someone else’s willingness to be an ass make you one, even for a moment.

Like I’ve always told you and my sister, life ain’t for punks, and your dad and I didn’t raise you to be one. It’s for the strong, the resilient, and the persistent. So be all these things, and with a lot of luck, you’ll come out just fine – or at least live to tell about it.

 

Much love,

Your momma

 

My days as an editorial assistant…

I know a lot of aspiring writers who dream of seeing their books become best sellers. I am a writer myself, and I have worked as an editor for individual clients as well as publishing houses. These next blog entries are about my last experience as a full-time editor. I’m not going to tell you the name of the company I worked for, or the parent company, or the name of the very famous writer I worked for. Chances are you’ll figure it out. BUT what I will do is tell you about what I saw, heard, and experienced while I was there. Some of it is funny, some of it is sad, some of it is crazy. But all of it is true.

I got the editing job, believe it or not, through Facebook. This particular very famous writer posted on Facebook one day that she needed an editorial assistant to work at her imprint. (For those who don’t know, in publishing an imprint is basically a small publishing house that operates under a larger parent publishing company. Typically an imprint specializes in a certain type of writing – romances, horror, serial fiction, non-fiction, etc. This particular author managed to get her parent company to allow her to create an imprint dedicated to publishing African-American fiction and erotica, which were her specialties.)

At the time I was unemployed, looking for work, and had experience as an editor. I was very familiar with the author who headed up the company. We had met on a few occasions at events and such. I was familiar with the imprint and the type of writing it published. I had actually worked with the author (indirectly) in that she had published an anthology I was a part of. So since we were somewhat acquainted with each other, I thought I might have a shot at the job. She had posted the editorial assistant job on Craigslist, and put the link to the Craigslist posting on her Facebook page. I read it, faxed my resume to her, we met for a very informal interview, and two weeks later I was working at the imprint. I was happy about it. One good thing about this job was that there was absolutely NO dress code. I could literally go to work dressed any way I wanted to, which was kind of cool. I really had gotten out of the habit of wearing appropriate office attire, and I didn’t have to pick the habit back up to work at the imprint. Many days went by when I didn’t see anyone at my job…I was holed up in my office, reading and editing. I really enjoyed that part of my job. I loved getting paid to read and analyze and critique the manuscripts that came into the imprint. I looked forward to helping writers, especially first-time writers, fine tune their writing voices.

One of the first things she showed me was the flood of submissions that were stacked up in piles in the conference room. Some of them were nearly 2 years old. Some had never even been opened. Some had clearly been read but the imprint had never responded to the author, but most hadn’t been. I was told that one of my tasks was going to be to go through the piles and piles of submissions, organize them, and to notify the authors that their submissions had been received. I asked if I was going to be reading them but was told “no, because our production schedule is backed up so we really need you to get on the ‘scripts already on the publication calendar.”

As is the case with most publishing houses, the publication calendar at the imprint was planned out two years in advance (which is the bare minimum for any halfway well-run houses). So at that time (spring 2011), the publication calendar was planned out through spring 2014. Additionally, at most publishing houses the holiday season isn’t really considered a part of the production calenar, so they pretty much shut down in late November through December and didn’t pick back up until after the new year. In fact this particular imprint didn’t really have a winter quarter and didn’t release any new books in November or December. This is one of the huge downsides of traditional print publishing – even IF your manuscript is accepted for publication, you have to wait your turn. In publishing if you are LUCKY you need to wait 2 years to actually have your book out, so if a publisher told you TODAY they were taking your ‘script, if you got past contract negotiations (ha ha! More about that later…) to the publication calendar, chances are your book would come out late 2014, or maybe later.

At that time, the first 3 ‘scripts they gave me to look at were woefully behind schedule. The first one was due to be released fall 2011, and it was hitting my desk for its first read through in April. I quickly found out from talking to other editorial assistants at other imprints that I met it was normal for editing to take the back burner at small imprints. A successful imprint’s claim to fame and measure of success was how many releases it has during the course of a calendar year. For some imprints, there were no editors unless the author had their manuscripts edited themselves. Some imprints (like the one I worked for) had the people running the imprint also doing the editing if/when they had time. Some imprints only edited the manuscripts of first time writers. Most I found didn’t edit at all. But in this case I was editing with an insanely tight deadline, so that meant I had to do my work quickly, and if it happened that the editing required extensive reworking from the author, there was no way I’d make deadline.

Fortunately for me, this author was extremely professional. Her work required minimal editing. Corrections were basic, run of the mill stuff. I didn’t even need to communicate with her directly because it was just that clean. I found out later that she’d published other books with other publishing houses. Her manuscript was an editor’s dream. I got through the over two hundred pages in less than a week – I think the whole ‘script was like 88,000 words or so. I sent the manuscript with my tracked changes to the senior editor and we had a brief email conversation about the ‘script. But I did have one concern about the book, which I expressed to the senior editor during our email discussion.

The author’s pen name was identical to the name of a popular fashion publication. That in and of itself perhaps would not have been an issue, but the graphic designer had designed the author’s name on the book cover with a font style that looked extremely similar to the way the publication’s title appeared on the magazine cover. I did point out to the senior editor, and expressed my concerns that the magazine might make an issue of it. The senior editor responded that this was the author’s third book with them, and if the magazine had not objected with the first book, it would doubtful they would say anything at this point. I had my doubts, but I said nothing further. Two months later I got a fax from the publication’s head office in Paris, indicating they planned to file suit against the imprint if they did not pull existing copies of the first book off the shelves, and either stop the upcoming publication of the second book or make alterations to the design of the author’s name. (I left before the matter was resolved.)

That was the last ‘script I got from an author that wasn’t a total mess, and the last author who did give me hell when I tried to edit their manuscipts…

To be continued…

My post-birthday musings on nudity and openness…

As the hubbub from my birthday celebrating dies down, now is as good a time as any to be reflective about myself, my life, and what I can do from this point forward to fully step into the person, the woman, I want to be.

One thing I’ve been doing more recently is identifying patterns in my life, especially patterns that have been detrimental to me. One of those patterns, in relation to my romantic life, has been my tendency to pick emotionally unavailable men. Now granted most men seem to be rather emotionally unavailable these days, but the cream of the crop in this department come knocking on my door for some reason. I have always had a knack for attracting/becoming involved with men whose ability to function emotionally was SERIOUSLY impaired, broken to the point of being permanently disabled. They really suffered from an unwillingness to face head on their most vulnerable, emotional selves, and an inability to really see how being so emotionally crippled disconnected them from people in their lives they needed to be able to connect with.  So now, not that I’m really seeking a romantic involvement (though I’m not opposed to it), what I am looking for are people who are emotionally whole and complete; people that don’t just operate out of fear, or bitterness, or anger, or resentment. I am checking to make sure those I bring close to me in any capacity are equally able to experience, express and handle joy and pain, happiness and sadness, anger and fear, and to come through all those things with their souls intact. I am looking for people who have a full wide ranging palate of emotions to tap into and express. I can no longer subject myself to the “tortured soul” mentality I seem to attract, especially as an artist who has often gotten involved with other artists who want to be these moody, dark, brooding individuals walking around with these rainclouds over themselves. Fuck that shit. And the primary reason I say fuck that shit is because having those types of people around me has always caused me to close myself up, because I find myself mirroring their closed selves. And it is extremely important at this stage of my life for me to be open. And the past few days I’ve spent celebrating my birthday have pointed that out to me very clearly.

At my unBirthday party/show I did something I have always wanted to do, that I probably won’t ever do again. (I won’t get into the details here, but it did involve a bit of nudity.) But it was my birthday, I’ve always wanted to do it, and the opportunity presented itself, so I did. It was kind of a “bucket list” thing. But strangely enough, doing that started me to thinking about the idea of being naked, of being open, of being seen. Being seen, believe it or not, is something I have always feared. In fact a lot of the outlandish performance poetry I do is me fighting and facing my fear of being seen by others, and forcing myself into a situation where I am being not only seen, I am being scrutinized. And I don’t just mean being seen the way I want to be seen, but being seen as I truly am. I know lots of people who take great care to present themselves a certain way at all times, a way they expect will garner them the most love, adoration, respect, etc. I don’t want to do that. What I want to do is present me, as I am, and for that me to garner love, adoration, respect, even when I don’t take the time to present it in its best possible light. I don’t want to have to light myself in a certain way to be beautiful. I want the person I am, the soul I am, to actually BE the light that makes me beautiful. I want it to come from inside me, to be embodied in me, and eventually I want it to be so strong it lights the path to the beauty in others too.

So after my brief nudity-related moment that symbolized this birthday, I moved on to some more traditional birthday celebrations: connecting with friends, both old and new, spending time with my passions, drinking and dancing in the rain. These events seemed to point to my desire to be open even more. I went to an all-women’s “Blue Moon” celebration a friend was having, and each woman was asked to open with a prayer. I tend to be wordy, so I had a long list of stuff to be thankful for. But when my turn came, my prayer came from some place deep in me that actually scared me and it was short and simple: “thank you for letting me be open when the world wanted me closed; thank you for letting me be naked and bare when the world wanted me covered.”

This is what I want for myself going forward: to live a naked life in many respects.

Women in particular aren’t supposed to live open lives. Our lives are full of admonishments to close something – close our legs, close our mouths, close our minds. Don’t allow anything in anywhere, whether it is a penis or a new idea. The crazy thing is the things that come most naturally to women, that we are most often called on to do, bring life into the world and nurture those around us, require us to open ourselves — our legs, our wombs, our hearts. We cannot bring life forth without opening our legs, and we cannot nurture life in any form, whether it be our children, our spouses, or the community at large if we don’t open our hearts. But somehow we are supposed to do these things and still be closed. From the beginning we have to hide ourselves. We hide our growing curves in puberty lest we attract unwanted attention we are too young to understand or handle. We hide evidence of our menstrual cycles. (SIDEBAR for a true story: I was dating a man pretty seriously at one time, and he lived in Brooklyn, NY and I lived in Baltimore. I went to visit him once, as I often did, and I was on my period at the time. There was a small fire a few doors down from us, and when the fire department came they used the hydrant on the corner of the block, which decreased the water pressure temporarily. So when I went to flush my tampon, it didn’t go all the way down the bowl, and I had to wait for the water to fill in the commode so I could flush again. We were on our way out and he was in a hurry and wanted to know what was taking me so long. I asked him to give me a couple of minutes, and when I flushed a second time, he came to the bathroom door and flung it open saying “what’s the hold up?” He saw the used tampon in the bowl and was horrified. He actually got angry at me! He fussed and fussed saying “oh my God! Is that what I think it is? Get rid of that thing! What’s wrong with you? How can you just let it sit there?” Now part of me thought it was funny as hell, because…I mean, dude KNOWS INTIMATELY that I’m a woman, and of childbearing age, so why wouldn’t he know I had my period sometimes? Yeah, I get that seeing a used tampon isn’t necessarily a pleasant thing, but dude totally lost his mind, and he was MAD AT ME for NOT TAKING CARE OF IT! And when I laughed at how he was just losing it, he said something along the lines of “see, that’s what’s wrong with you, you don’t take things seriously. How can you possibly think me seeing your used tampon was funny?” I tried to explain had he not been in such a rush he wouldn’t have. I tried to explain the water pressure was low because the fire department was using the hydrant. But I remember thinking that there was something wrong with a man so horrified when faced with the most basic physiological evidence of my womanhood – evidence of my cycle. We broke up, not because of that specific incident, but because of a thousand other similar incidents that made me conclude he wasn’t the man for me.) We hide our sexuality, and when we do display it, no matter how we display it chances are some man will be right there telling us what is right or wrong with it – that we’re being “hoes” or “unladylike” or “sluttish” or whatever.  Women can’t be too “emotional”, because emotional equals irrational and impossible to deal with. Emotional equals stalker bitch. So you have to hide that too. And don’t you DARE BE AN ANGRY WOMAN, especially a BLACK ANGRY WOMAN! It doesn’t matter why you’re angry, if you are totally justified in your anger, no one will ever ask you WHY you are angry, will every try to understand your anger. You’ll just be ANGRYWOMAN, persona non grata. So you better hide that too. And it’s made very clear for a man to take you “seriously”,  to want to keep you in his life permanently, to “wife” you, you have to close yourself off – you need to hide, you need to cover, you need to conceal. You can never, ever be OPEN.

My last romantic entanglement was like many in my past in that I fell into the habit of mirroring my partner’s emotional dysfunction, because being with him seemed to require that I mirror it, instead of being my true self. But I was never totally comfortable in that place. So when I eventually wanted to remove the mirror so he could really see me, I found he didn’t want to. He preferred the mirror, he preferred the reflection of his own dysfunction. It was what he was comfortable with, and it didn’t matter that it was killing my heart. So I left. It was strange too, because he was the first man in my life who really encouraged me to be my most open honest self in my writing and performing, but would not encourage that same openness and freedom in dealing with him. In real life with him, I had to be closed.

That wasn’t what I wanted.

Josephine Baker by George Hoyningen-Huene

So now, I am creating a circle of openness and light for myself, for my life, for my intimate circle of friends, lovers and companions. I no longer wish to hide myself, and I won’t be. One thing I realized this past birthday is that I’ve a very brave, courageous person, and I do live a great deal of my truth even now, but I need to live more of it, embrace it into all of my life. I do realize I must exercise some discretion in this of course, some discernment and sound judgment. But I am confident that if I present my openness honestly, from the outset, it’ll scare off those not prepared to handle it. I do know as I become my own brightest light I’ll attract dark souls/pseudo dark souls to me, those fascinated by my light but who would extinguish it with their own heaviness and darkness. But I will be strong enough now to shove my light in their faces and banish them from my intimate circle. I will trust my instincts, my desire to reveal and encourage others to do so, not by beating others over the head with philosophies and ideals, but just by living my life, enjoying my friends and family, expressing myself in my writing and performing. I can no longer just sit around mirroring the suffering of others, because ultimately it causes me to suffer. I want to be truth, speak truth, live truth, silly truth, funny truth, hurtful truth, every truth…not in the harsh, blunt way people often do, saying “well I’m just being honest, I keeps it real” when what they really are doing is being hurtful and using “truth” as the weapon to inflict that hurt, but in a compassionate, caring, healing way.

When I was little, we’d sometimes play “hide and seek”, and whenever the person doing the seeking got tired of looking for the people who were still hiding that they hadn’t found, they’d yell out “come out, come out wherever you are!” (Some of you might have yelled “olly olly oxen free”!)

This is me, yelling that out to myself. And I’m coming all the way out.

 

Recovering from amnesia with my lotus flower bomb…

So, I’m not as young as I used to be as many of you know. And one of the bad things about getting older is you often lose pleasure in certain things that at one time made you happy. Or you forget about those things completely, and about how much fun they used to be. But happily, I was reminded of one of those things Saturday night. That thing is (drum roll)…

NECKING!

Petting…making out…going to first base/second base/third base…and stopping! Whatever you want to call it. In fact I can’t even think of a current term for foreplay that isn’t necessarily intended to end with sex, and that is really my point.

Once you get to be an adult, especially a fairly sexually experienced adult, sex is intended to be the end result of foreplay. In fact, it is the primary reason foreplay exists. The kissing, licking, nibbling, sucking, touching, squeezing, etc., that is the predecessor to “it” is pleasurable of course, but ultimately it becomes an accessory of sex, like a cute purse or a great necklace or a fabulous pair of earrings. When we think of what sex is, we tend to think primarily of penetration, and these enjoyable pre-sex activities become somewhat secondary. Now don’t get me wrong…we all know that being an accessory is not a bad thing, and the right accessories are what MAKE AN OUTFIT AMAZING, but they’re still accessories, and without them you’d still be dressed. So it’s like they aren’t as necessary. So foreplay become a stop you make along the way to the destination of sex; in and of itself foreplay cannot be the destination – well, more often than not it isn’t. You forget that the journey should be as beautiful as the destination…or can even be the destination.

I had forgotten this before Saturday night.

Now when I was young, I was all about the journey when it came to sex because sex was not the destination then. I made out with my boyfriend, and we were both clear on the fact that I wasn’t ready to go “all the way”. We knew our making out was going to be the extent of our contact. We had discussed it and he was accepting of it, so there was no pressure to “give it up”. So we really got into our foreplay, because it was all we had. We would spend hours doing “everything else but” while his grandmother worked doubles at Sinai Hospital. We never had sex during this period…or more specifically, there was no penetration. There were orgasms, and we both had them. But they all came from our “everything else but” activities. And we both enjoyed them. Yes we did eventually “go all the way” after a year or so of this, but even then “making out” was as important as the sex.

But as I got older, that changed of course. As sex itself took center stage, the activities leading up to sex, the “pre-game show” became less important. Sometimes I didn’t even require a pre-game show from my partners; there were times when we’d get right into the game. I don’t want you to get the idea that I’m undermining the importance of that other stuff, because I’m not. But I’ve never been one of those “you gotta lick me before you stick me” girls. So when foreplay was minimized on occasion, I consented. But as it became easier to minimize foreplay’s role, I became willing to do it more often.

Until this past Saturday night, when for the first time in ages, I made out with a guy and that was it.

Now I had no intentions of having sex with said man. Not that I didn’t want to, because I did. At least my body did. My head wasn’t quite there yet, and I’ve always needed to be able to connect to a guy’s mental for intimacy to really please me. I need to be able to enjoy him past and beyond the physical to have sex with him – or at least good sex. We need to have good conversation, and we need to be able to join on at least a few other levels. But we were just sitting there, in the car, talking about something or other, and then he touched me, and then he kissed my neck and…then things kind of got blurry and my eyes closed and my breathing got heavy and fast.

For the next 45 minutes, periodically we’d make out, then stop and talk, then start again, then stop. And at first it confused me because I kept thinking “what is the point of doing this if I know I’m not going to fuck him tonight?” And the thing about it was that when he touched me, it didn’t have that insistent quality you get when a man is touching you in an effort to convince you to have sex with him when you haven’t consented. It wasn’t like that. His touching me wasn’t a plea, its SOLE PURPOSE wasn’t just to change my mind. He really wasn’t trying to get me to go along with him – well he was of course, but that wasn’t all of it. It was just that he wanted to, and he felt it would please me, so he did it.

And that’s when I realized we were making out. And I remembered what making out was like back when I was young. It was just touching for the same of touching, licking for the sake of licking. The acts were complete in and of themselves. They were no precursor to anything more, no gateway that was supposed to lead him to ramming his dick up in me. It was really just…cool. A lovely introduction to things. Best of all, I came. A small fleeting orgasm, but one nonetheless, appropriate for what was happening. He touched me and realized I was very wet, and he seemed a bit surprised. Happy, but surprised. And when I dropped him off and drove home, I was actually happy. I remembered the pleasures that you can get just from very little simple things like touches and caresses and nibbles on your shoulders and licks on your spine.

Now I remember some of the things I’d forgotten about sex, and I have him to thank. But it does make me wonder what actual sex with him will be like…and if/when I’ll ever find out.

Peace!