Sunday, January 29, 2012


Just published in The Rumpus is a memoir-ish piece by Elissa Wald, a smut writer whose work I am not familiar with. (Among my many failings and career mistakes as a sex writer was not being very well integrated with the sex-active community, so that as soon as Cris and I stopped publishing Frighten the Horses and people stopped sending us work, I became more or less marooned and isolated as a writer, so that even though Wald's book was published a few years before mine were, I was unhappily unaware of it until this day.) In the piece she commemorates the milestones of her early interest in s-m, including a particularly creative strategy when, at age 16, she phones a recruiter for the Marines in order to have an older man talk to her in a confident, commanding voice.

"You'll learn a lot about yourself in the Marines," he tells me. "Things you never knew. You'll find out what you're made of. Does that scare you?"

"Yes," I say. It's the first true thing I've said.

"Are you willing to let someone break you down in order to build you back up?"

My favorite bit, though, is when she's working as a phone sex operator. The office is short-staffed one day when two phones ring at the same time, and she picks up both receivers and has a simultaneous conversation with both customers, each of whom thinks she's having phone sex with him only. I love the farcical aspect of this, though she says that if she saw a scene like that in a film she'd "hurl a shoe at the screen" -- though she doesn't say why. Because it's so unlikely? That doesn't matter! What matters is whether the actress pulls it off, and she does.

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