A Kind of Valentine’s Day Present

I just discovered reviews of both My Husband Betty and She’s Not the Man I Married by Samantha Anne Perrin, and they were a lovely reminder of what I do, and honestly, in reading the list of quotes she pulled from She’s Not, I thought to myself “did I take smart drugs when I was writing that, or something?” because I’m always a little surprised since from inside my head, and inside my life, I do not often feel smart — emotionally or otherwise.

I am convinced there is something about the process of writing that creates another mind altogether. When I get to that point where I feel like I’m transcribing and not writing, I know I’m there.

I especially appreciate this little explanation:

One of the criticisms I have read of this book is that it is repetitive. . . If you find yourself thinking that what you are reading is a repeat of something you have read before, you are not reading it! My suggestion would be to re-read, and re-read that passage until you ‘get’ its true meaning. Repetitive? Hell no!

The repetition was in large part intentional. I wanted the book to feel like driving up a mountain on a road that winds its way up there, seeing the same peak, the same view, over & over again, or keeping it in sight, but seeing it in a slightly different way depending on the turn of the road. It’s a hat tip of Didion & Woolf (who both do it so much better than I ever could).

But mostly I put this up today because reading her reviews reminded me of the love that went into the writing of both books, that they are, still, my gift to the lovely woman to whom I’m married.

Gender Outlaws: TNG

I’ve just read the new Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation edited by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. I’ll write a more thorough review later, and interview them about the book, but for now, here’s the blurb I wrote:

She-males and drag queens and bois, oh my.

Bornstein & Bergman found not just the outlaws but the outliers, the people who have deconstructed, reconstructed and reimagined their genders, for whom gender is not just an identity or expression but the last tool in the toolbox. Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation is a good way to get up to speed on the shifting, new, and created identities of Genderland.

Vive la Revolution.

Hos and Hookers

You really wonder why, as Americans, we get so hung up on sex, and on sex work. You’d think in an uber-capitalist economy, monetizing fucking would be a good thing, but we get hung up anyway.

I’ve been very pleased while reading Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys that I thought I knew almost nothing about sex work, but some of it is familiar – the substance abuse, the “first time” story happening when the woman in question was 13. But what I didn’t know was how much a 17 year old hustler might not hate having to go down on an 82 year old woman, or how, for an American living in Mexico, sex work could be both dangerous and sweetly naive. The stories in this book are good, even if they occasionally make you wish that really really great writers had done sex work and written about it, but in fact, there are at least a few really remarkably well-written pieces in here, & then a whole bunch of fascinating but proficiently-written stories. There is very little that isn’t good in one way or another (which, imho, could be said about sex itself, too).

Do check it out if you’ve ever had any curiosity about sex work. I’ve never been on either side of a sex-for-money equation but this book’s stories kind of made me wonder why I haven’t.