Smells like Slut Shaming

June 20th, 2007

Dear Melbourne news media,

The following are a list of things relevant to the coverage of the horrific shootings in Melbourne on Monday:

  • The continued hunt for, and now capture of, the “alleged” gunman
  • The tragic death of a man who tried to help a woman who was being attacked
  • The recovery of the two surviving shooting victims, and the woman who was bashed

The following things are perhaps not:

  • Early reports of the incident that focussed on the salacious details of what was happening in the club before the gunman attacked, rather than what was known of the shootings
  • Details of what the two women wrote on their MySpace pages, including the breathless revelation in at least one media report that one of them confessed to liking pornography
  • The women’s enjoyment of posing for “porn girl” photos posted on the Internet
  • Ms Daly-Holt’s strip club work history
  • Either woman’s sexual orientation
  • Alleged romantic links between both women and the gunmen.  Since, you know, you’ve managed to link both of them to him since Monday with no definite evidence in either case

And seriously, If I hear one more comment along the lines of “well, would YOU have stopped to help a pole dancer?” (last two words inevitably spat out with more than a trace of venom), I am going to scream.

Take My Porn*

June 19th, 2007

Blogwhatnow?

Many things have happened since our last chat, my lovely and most likely now entirely non-existent readers. One of the things was this book coming out:

Got a Minute? cover

Containing two of my stories, ‘The Window’ and ‘Wakeup Call’, as well as a lot of other steamy short-shorts, including a story by the lovely Kathryn. Y’all can check it out here, although if you’re in Australia I highly recommend contacting these fine people and ordering it from them (it may not have reached Australian distributors yet, but they’ll have it when it does). The joy of the very short story is that you can dip in and out again quickly, which is exactly what I’ve been doing with this collection. Less than 1000 words suits my time restraints and, frankly, my attention span at the moment.

Because I am a sharing, caring kind of girl, and also because I have more books than I know what to do with (seriously…half my house consists of shelf space, I own three full-size bookshelves, and I am still. running. out. of. space. I have got to stop “adopting” books from library book sales because they “look lonely”. Maybe this is why I’m not allowed to have a pet.), I’m giving away one each of my contributor copies of both Got a Minute? and The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 6. Drop me an email stating which one you’d prefer. I am trying to find a way of indicating that I will give preference to the first people who email me without saying “first come, first served”. Nup, can’t do it. I may even throw in a mix CD, although I can’t promise it won’t be full of the kind of music that would make an emo kid say “dude, lighten up a little bit, would you? And give back my mascara.”

*You know you spend too much time on the Internet when you type that as “pron”…without meaning to.

Edit: Books accounted for!  Cheers, all!

This Diet Book Has No Flavour and is Kind of Cardboardy

March 5th, 2007

I call it Operation Look Less Like a Dalek. It’s not a particularly catchy name, nor does it lend itself well to acronyms, but for me it’s better than ‘diet’. The name fits in well with some particular goals of mine: I would like people I am chasing to stop being able to escape me merely by climbing stairs. I would like my personal theme song to be something like ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ or ‘Superfreak’ (not as done by Bobby Flynn from Australian Idol, or I might cry), rather than the Timelords’ 1988 classic ‘Doctorin’ the Tardis’. Also, even though he has not said as much, I suspect Stuart would really appreciate it if I would stop yelling “EXTERMINATE!” during intimate moments.

I’m trying to establish a healthy point between making lifestyle changes (quite easy, so far), and becoming completely and ridiculously obsessed, as is my wont with any new hobby. I just don’t want to go overboard in one direction, lest I swing back even faster in the other, and I fear that composing poems in my head called ‘Ode to Stomach Crunches’ may be just that wee bit on the obsessive side.

So, while this will by no means become a diet blog (that’s what my secret anonymous new blog is for!), allow me to pontificate, for a moment, on the weight loss industry.

Although I’ve been overweight for longer than I care to think about now, the presence of the weight loss industry left me uninspired to do much about it. A short spell at Weight Watchers a few years ago left me unimpressed with the diet factory approach to weight loss, and although I’ve mostly been okay at exercising regularly, I lacked the knowledge to make sustained changes in my life. Dieting and weight loss are so much a part of Western culture now, and there is so much emphasis on good vs bad that it’s like a new religion. Well, I resent the idea that there’s virtue in literally, physically being less, I resent the idea that as a woman I should be small and meek and not take up space. I’m deeply cynical of the purposes that keeping women majorly obsessed with their appearances (and those of others) serve: the money and energy women spend on trying to make themselves acceptable, the sheer mental, emotional and physical energy that the average woman – let alone the eating-disordered woman – spends thinking about food and her body. It annoys me that a woman’s worth is still judged so majorly on her physical appearance and sexual desirability to others, and that rather than changing this so that women are judged on the same basis as men (brains, ability, character – all that pish-tosh minor stuff), men are now increasingly being judged as women have always been, their insecurities being played on in different but similar ways. So, because I refuse to pay $15 per week plus a joining fee to get weighed and be told stuff I already now, and untold more dollars to eat fake food, I’m doing it on my own now.

But the industry still rears its head. Much as I try to escape it, my interest in fitness and weight loss affects my perspective on things, and has become a hobby in itself. And when I am interested in something, I read about it. And I ask you, reader, a genuine question: is there anyone out there writing books about this stuff who manages to do it without sounding like a sadistic no-life loner or a sanctimonious harpy? Over the years the number of diet books I’ve read have melted into an amorphous memory-mass, with a few stand-outs, like the one telling people to never, ever eat cheese again (because forbidding something is an effective way to stop people from wanting it!). Just the other night, however, I finished reading The Clothesline Diet, by one Karen Gatt. It sounded promising – all the clotheslines you can eat – and Ms Gatt made headlines a few years ago by literally losing half her body weight. I liked the idea that she’d done it without buying into the weight loss industry and its myriad products, although the fact that she’d used her experience to make a weight-loss product (and start an online business) did not escape my attention or amusement.

But holy hell, I can see why she didn’t call the book The Take Some Personal Fucking Responsibility Diet. Gatt is a prime example of why someone should not be held up as a role model just because they’ve managed to lose weight. After a lifetime of being miserable about her weight but refusing to do anything about it, which leads to her leaving school in year nine after physically assaulting a student who teases her about her weight, Gatt marries young and becomes a housewife. Which isn’t necesessarily a bad choice per se, but she emphasises how happy it made her while glossing over the fact that she was so bored she turned even further to food. Not an uncommon thing, certainly, but Gatt is so sanctimonious in her views and judgements of others that it was hard for me not to respond in kind. Desperate for a baby, she discovers she is infertile, a problem linked directly to her weight, but rather than try to lose weight, she and her husband elect to undergo IVF. When this fails, she tries to adopt a child through a private adoption (ie, a friend of a friend goes through an unwanted pregnancy), and completely loses her shit at the 18-year-old birth mother when she decides to keep the baby – long before anything has been officially decided. While undoubtedly a difficult and heartbreaking experience, Gatt’s account of this incident in the book is accompanied by a sermon on how if someone is going to have sex, they should take responsibility for their actions. Um, lady, you’re the one who was too fat to have a baby and wouldn’t do anything about it. Pot. Kettle. Hypocrite. (Later, after her weight loss, she also undergoes cosmetic surgery because she can’t wait to look good any longer – but let’s not forget, this is an “inspiring journey” of a woman who did it all by herself.)

Perhaps all this wouldn’t have bothered me so much (oh, who am I kidding, sanctimonious fucks and the don’t-have-sex-if-you-don’t-want-a-baby brigade will ALWAYS bother me), if it weren’t for the fact that the book is marketed as a health/diet book and not the memoir that it is: Gatt spends less time talking about how she lost half her body weight (which, despite my opinions about her opinions, is a pretty remarkable feat and takes some doing) than she does talking about how inspiring people find her and how famous she got and how she even became a model. Read Margaret Clark’s wish-fulfilment YA novel Fat Chance instead – it covers the same ground but is far less irritating. In fact, after 150 or so pages of “I was fat, I felt bad, my husband and family loved me but I was too busy being a psychotic hosebeast to enjoy my life, boo hoo hoo LOVE ME”, the actual weight losing gets brushed off in a chapter or so (forgive the vagueness but it’s been a little while, and I returned the book from whence it came quick-smart so can’t refer to it directly). There is little mention of the struggles she must have experienced – the struggles anyone trying to lose weight experiences. I know weight comes off easier initially when you’re very overweight but that doesn’t mean it’s actually easy, and after being walked through Gatt’s psyche earlier in the book, it would have been interesting to get some insight here; perhaps a deeper treatment of Gatt’s weight-loss experience would have redeemed the book, but the effusiveness with which she writes seems offhand, perhaps even emotionally dishonest, and for me nullified what I had been lead to believe the book was about. I’m not sure I see the point of a book about a weight-loss “journey” (sorry for the quotes, I hate that fucking word at the best of times) that doesn’t actually talk about weight loss all that much. And sure, maybe it’s a topic that’s hard to write about – it’s personal and it leaves you vulnerable and I hesitated about writing about my own feelings even though a large percentage of the very small number of people who read this blog know me and have, obviously, seen me and know I am no waif. But still, writing a weight-loss memoir and glossing over the bit where you actually, you know, lost the weight is a little like writing a sex memoir about all the times you couldn’t get a shag.

Shiny!

February 14th, 2007

And now, in the interests of playing catch-up some more…

During my long silence, I received my contributor copies of The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 6, which contains my story ‘The Mercy of Strange Men’. Amazon reckons the cover looks like this:

Which is nice, but it’s not the cover I’ve got. I really like the cover I’ve got, mostly because it mentions my name on the back cover, not once but twice. Which is most likely a typographical error, but to be honest my ego doesn’t really care about that.
There’s also this:


Which, provided the problems mentioned in the last entry sort themselves out okay, should have two of my stories, “The Window” and “Wakeup Call”. I won’t grumble again about my stupid fucking computer losing its will to live, but understand that I will continue to feel bitter about it for some time. Are we sorted? Okay. Great.
Having pretty pictures to show of reminds me that I would be a fine thing to actually do some writing for once. Or rather, some fiction writing for once, as I seem to be all about the nonfiction recently. For the past several years, I’ve made it a yearly goal to have something to submit to Best Lesbian Erotica. I’ve managed to meet that goal less that 50% of the time, which is pretty lame. And considering that I started back at school today and I’m studying non-fiction this year, I doubt I’ll have the kick up the arse of duty to motivate me (although I will be starting work on a non-fiction project I’ve wanted to work on for over two years but have been too scared to start, so that’s something). So! Must! Make! Fake! Words! Happen!

Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day to those of you who celebrate it. I hope you had a good one. The most erotic thing I did today was smear Stuart’s chest with pesto, and it wasn’t even a sex thing, he just got in my way while I was trying to cook. I’m not sure if this means that the romance has fled our relationship, or if it’s just basil-flavoured now.

Update: I just found the cover I’ve got here. They mention me twice too, and manage spell my surname incorrectly both times. Not sure who that Aimee Nicoles chick is, but she’d better not be taking credit for my work.

Rumours of My Death Have Been Greatly Exaggerated

February 9th, 2007

Well.  Maybe not greatly.

I’m still alive and kicking, although I have been in something of a writing funk, which extends to this here blog.  I’ve been trying to decide what I want to do with the space I have here, and all the answers I can come up with point to making this less of a personal blog, because hey, the old liferoonie doesn’t offer up that much blogging fodder.  But, thanks to some serendipitous events, I’ve got a bit more focus happening now, so I think I’ll aim things in that direction.  The direction?  Books, and sex.  And books about sex.  So we’ll see how that goes.  Best to follow your interests, I find.  I’ve been thinking for a while about doing some sort of writing page for my erotic fiction – not necessarily posting it (although maybe?), but having a place to sound out ideas about sex and sex writing.  This idea has crystallised somewhat in the last few weeks, since I got a gig as the new sex columnist for Voiceworks magazine.  My first column, on the joys and shittiness of bisexuality (everyone’s favourite trendy sexuality!) will appear in the forthcoming issue, Rat Race, which should be out soon.

In personal news, I am now happily living in sin.  Stuart moved in to my little house at the end of 2006, and has not stopped whingeing about how inconvenient it is to be living in a suburb, rather than smack-bang in the centre of the CBD.  Viz:

Stuart: God, I can’t believe how long it takes me to get to work now.  Nearly half an hour!

Me: Oh, you poor baby.  But surely the benefits of shacking up with me outweigh the commute?

Stuart: Yeah, I suppose so.

Me: Thank you darling.  I feel so very treasured.

And this from someone who grew up in the heart of suburbia anyway.  Pfffft.

We have been adopted by two neighbourhood cats, one of whom is a gorgeous but grumpy old thing called Cecil, who hates nearly everybody and talks too much.  I have found my soulmate.

In other news, I’ve got a couple of stories appearing in Got a Minute?  Sixty Second Erotica, edited by the lovely and scarily prolific Alison Tyler, provided my contract got to her in time.  You see, I also lost Beastie, the crotchety old laptop that liked to pretend it didn’t have a hard drive, in mid-December, and lost access to Thunderbird.  For some reason, Horde decided to only receive some of my emails, so the first I knew of the contract was a polite email from Ms Tyler asking if I’d sent it back yet.  Gulp.  Oh well, fingers crossed I suppose.

Back to school next week for more writingy goodness, which reminds me that I should probably decide on some subjects quick-smart.  Oops.  Hopefully this year will involve less drinking and crying (or maybe more drinking, but without the crying) than last. 

So, tumbleweeds blowing through here, what’s new with you?