Email: rachelkramerbussel at


Lusty Lady

Watch my first and favorite book trailer for Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica. Get Spanked in print and ebook

Friday, September 30, 2005

Speaking of Friendster

Anyone who's checked "It's Complicated" in their Friendster profile and wants to talk to me about it for my Village Voice column, please email me at blog at - basically, I want to know your story, what's complicated, what you're doing on Friendster, and how it's going. Thanks.

Derek & Romaine

Could I be more glad that this week is over? Just downed 6 pills (prescription, people, prescription) and am hoping their working their way into my system to do whatever they need to go get me better. Next Friday I'll be Derek & Romaine:

Derek & Romaine on Sirius Satellite Radio 106
People can go to for a free trial to listen online. We are on the air from 6-10pm EST

omg Nick Denton has some crazy photos up on flickr

Originally uploaded by nicknotned.
Seriously, click through and check them out, there are umpteen costume ones, or the media elite from the Huffington party. Speaking of Huffington, there are some cute pics of Chelsea Peretti on there, and check out this edite she did at The Huffington Post.

Also, Michelle Collins eulogizes the now utterly fucked up Friendster. As you probably know, not only can you tell who's looking at your profile (unless they've wisely blocked that option - go into edit settings), you also get these profiles at the top of your screen of anyone who's changed anything recently - updated their profile, joined a group, had a testimonial written about them. It's freaky. I'm so over Friendster, not that I ever really used it. I'm all about Myspace now, and keeping it very limited. No one I've ever slept with is allowed on my Myspace. Just rocking bands and very cool peeps. But I am aiming (ha) to spend less time online in the next few months, more time out and about or actually writing or doing something productive. Who knows, maybe in the next three months I could actually go on a date. Probably not, but a girl can hope.

True Porn 2 book release and signing

Maybe I can get a shiny bound copy, cause I have a mountain of pages clipped together with a huge binder clip. If you haven't read it yet, my latest Village Voice column is called "'True Porn' Comics Bare All." I have one more to turn in, about fetishes, then I get a (omg! gasp! sigh of relief!) VACATION. From Robyn Chapman:

True Porn 2 NYC Book Release and Signing
Sunday, October 9th @ 7PM - Free
172 Allen Street
New York City

At long last!  True Porn Two will be arriving in bookstores next week.
 If you're in the New York area on Sunday, October ninth stop by
Bluestockings.  Robyn Chapman and several of her True Porn stars will be on
hand to gab, gawk, and sign books.

Come see the newly remodeled Bluestockings!  It’s new and improved, but
Bluestockings remains a strong center for radical, feminist, fare
trade, and sex positive activism.   They also have one of the best
collections of zines in the city (ps – I’ll probably have a few copies of Hey,
4-Eyes! on me too).  They’ve been a strong supporter of True Porn from
the beginning.  Give then your support too!

Bluestockings is located in the Lower East Side of Manhattan at 172
Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington - which means that we are 1
block south of Houston and 1st Avenue.
By train: We are 1 block south of the F train's 2nd Avenue stop and
just 5 blocks from the JMZ-line's Essex / Delancey Street stop.
By car: If you take the Houston exit off of the FDR, then turn left
onto Essex (aka Avenue A), then right on Rivington, and finally right on
Allen, you will be very, very close.

My book Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z in a "How to Spank" article

Babeland's How to Spank article by hottie Jennyrose includes my anthology Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z as recommended reading!


Latest Gothamist interview with Gorman Bechard, Director and Screenwriter, You Are Alone, Novelist

My last Gothamist interview of the week, with Gorman Bechard, Director, You Are Alone, Novelist

And with that, I need to seriously reassess whether I can hack it anymore. I love doing these interviews but...everything. But I have a few more I definitely want to do, and I have them the week of my birthday (November 7-11, my bday is the 10th). So I think next week I will work on getting all my questions out, 4 weeks early. And just not going out and enjoying my now doubly expensive apartment, especially because I will not have much cash for a while.

Aw...this post from Janelle made me smile. Thanks.

At least the weekend is here. I need to get my head on straight, make a plan, stop being foolish and wasting time and just focus focus focus. I work so hard but sometimes it all seems like spinning in circles, one thing to the next, no real point to any of it, just lots of little things to show for it and my loans still looming. And other days, money is the least of my concerns. It was a rough but also glorious week, and now I'm just gonna chill and a little bit cross my fingers that some cool stuff will be coming my way. Tonight is Mortified, tomorrow is Sara Schaefer Is Obsessed With You, Sunday might be Comedy Pro Shop or another comedy show. And reading, writing, cleaning, resting, seeing the familiy, Sunday going to this New York Times sponsored book talk, and just getting my life back on track, at least a little bit. Way too frazzled this week for comfort.

Also check out: Sex Advice from Bakers at Nerve, including our beloved Peg of sugar Sweet sunshine. You have through Sunday to purchase cupcakes as part of CancerCare's Cupcakes for a Cause, so get to it.

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

just when I'm ready to pack it all in...

I see the Amazon listing for Glamour Girls: Femme/Femme Erotica, which I edited - I guess the date's been pushed back till July 2006, which is okay because I think First-Timers, which I just turned in to Alyson this week, comes out in May or June.

I'm still ready to pack it all in, or most of it. Something isn't right, and I can't work endlessly on stupid stuff for nothing anymore. I just can't. My body and my mind can't take it anymore. I'll have to figure out what to quit and what to keep, what I can handle, what's worth it, but writing isn't fucking charity work. I feel like the loser unprofessional idiot, and the worst businesswoman in the world. I just need a break from it all. Soon, soon. Maybe I'll get the fuck out of here for my birthday instead of trying to have a stupid party. We'll see. Cannot wait for the weekend to be here. Maybe my 2nd doctor's visit will yield some results so I can, like, breathe normally again. That is all. Not a good day, clearly, though I've deleted most of the melodrama. Suffice it to say, I can't keep going at the pace I've been going, especially not for free. I just can't. And I suck and the immediate problem is my fault, but still, it's just way too much to handle and I have to, for once in my life, get my priorities straight.

all together new

The Village Voice website lets you browse all my columns (25, which still seems amazing to me) at once

Also, Jessica Cutler has reviewed Tracy Quan's new novel Diary of a Married Call Girl in The Washington Post (she didn't like it too much)

And Kara Jesella rightfully points out where Ariel Levy fails to look at third-wave feminism in Female Chauvinist Pigs

My Gothamist interview with Tara McPherson, Illustrator and Painter

My Gothamist interview today is with very cool illustrator and painter Tara McPherson

Tara McPherson’s art is striking and memorable, often filled with Gothic images mixed with childlike whimsy, animals, and people grappling with emotional drama, smoking, crying, playing, sometimes with heart-shaped holes cut out of them. You may have seen her rock posters for bands such as Beck, Sleater-Kinney, The Shins, Green Day, Duran Duran and Modest Mouse or her album covers, or numerous comic book covers such as The Witching, The Sandman Presents: Thessaly and Lucifer #45. Her clients have included everyone from Fanta to Punk Planet to New York is Book Country, and her work appears in several books, including The Art of Modern Rock and SWAG. Coming this fall is a Lonely Heart Stationery Set from Dark Horse Comics, featuring four sheets of artwork which deconstruct the theme of a broken heart, literally tearing it up and rearranging it, adding vitality and nuance to this familiar situation. Her striking imagery is immediately recognizable, which is her goal. “I think the worst compliment someone can say is that my art looks just like someone else’s,” the 29-year-old painter, illustrator, businesswoman and bass player proclaims on her website. Gothamist spoke with the newly minted New Yorker, who moved here five months ago from Los Angeles, about limited editions, fans, being “sweetly creepy,” and artistic integrity, as she prepares to introduce her very first toy, a Circus Punk, to the world at the Toy Tokyo showroom on September 30th.

Read the whole thing here
(Yes, I very shamelessly just made that entire thing a link, cause I want you to click on it)

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Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Will Leitch's Growth Spurt Reading Series, October 5th

WHERE: Happy Ending Bar 302 Broome Street @ Forsyth; 212-334-9676
(B,D to Grand Street or F, J, M, Z to Delancey)
 WHEN: Wednesday, October 5. Doors open at 7 p.m., Reading starts at 8.

WHO: Michael Simmons, author of "Pool Boy" and "Finding Lubchenko"

          Ned Vizzini, author of "Be More Chill," "Teen Angst? Nahhh ..." and the upcoming "It's Kind Of A Funny Story"


Growth Spurt Reading Series

Young adult books aren't just for young adults anymore. Many of today's best young (and old) writers
are writing young adult books, and it's not about mice driving motorcycles; they're simply great books about
people who are young. (We consider "Catcher in the Rye" a young adult book, thank you very much.) The
best young adult writers around will read from their novels and, just to make sure they understand their
characters, will finish the evening by facing each other in quiz bowl, with questions covering topics
you're supposed to learn in high school. Hosted by "Catch" and "Life as a Loser" author Will Leitch, the
Growth Spurt Reading Series exemplifies the very best young adult literature has to offer ... especially for

"just me"

I semi-impulsively deleted my old blog a while ago. It was important, I needed to, I don't like to dwell on the past, and I guess I felt like I'd changed in many ways and didn't want all that old baggage hanging over me every time someone clicked through. It's still there, cached, for now, for those who care, though hopefully there aren't many of you. I'm so all about the here and now, I can't live in the past. But sometimes snippets come back to haunt me, and I may repost some of those once in a while. Here's one from January 27, 2005:

In the wee hours of the morning, when I seem to awaken randomly, as I was then drifting off into a little daydream about going on a date, in my little fantasy I was dressed up and had my little purse and the person was like "what? no bags?" and I was like "no, just me." and those two little words, "just me," kindof sparked something that I probably knew deep down but didn't really fully internalize till that moment. It's one of those revelations that happen at odd moments for those of us not in therapy. I think part of why I have so much stuff all the time, whether cupcakes or candy or books or gifts or gossip, is that I'm afraid that if I don't have something else to offer up than just myself, people won't like me, and that is if not my biggest fear, close to it. I always worry that people won't/don't like me and want to entertain/feed/take care of them, and it's a tricky thing because often I don't really leave room to take care of myself. But it's more that core doubt that me, alone, "just me" is not good enough and never will be. And when I used to drink a lot, it was okay becaues I felt buoyed by the safety net of alcohol, so I didn't care as much if people didn't like me, and felt extra smarty/witty/pretty/cool with the flush of drinking. So yeah, "just me" = scary as hell. Clearing out my bags, my room, my head, clearing, unearthing, paring down, is taking away my security blanket and I don't really know how to act without that. With being quiet and calm and not racing a mile a minute to tell people things and give people things. And I know there are so many awesome people who love and care about me, for me, and they keep me going, because I know it's not about what I can do for them, or how I look or what I write, but just me. It's not always easy to believe in that myself though. I'm not gonna rush myself though; it'll be a while till you see me on a daily basis with just one small bag. Even longer before you see me without diet coke. But it was just this really quick fragment that packed a lot of punch.

random, or not

This week so far has been so much about learning, connecting, growing. Realizing the limitations and the power of writing, blogging. It's the little things, the appreciation helps combat my fears, my desire to run away, to not write, to keep it inside. I'm just not that kind of girl. But I'm not always confident, I don't always know what I'm doing, yet somehow, following what I believe, even though that's constantly changing, has yielded results. I feel really blessed by wonderful people, new and old, in my life.

an old Stephanie Klein post, "laugh, cry, and think daily"

When my buttercream frosting lotion runs out, I want this Jaqua marshmallow cocoa body butter

Sexplorations: "Spitting, Swallowing and Some Other Secrets"

Go read Columbia Spectator columnist Miriam Dastovsky's new column on oral sex, "Spitting, Swallowing and Some Other Secrets" RIGHT NOW. She's dead honest, a great writer, lays it all on the line, and is a junior in college. I just discovered her column, and just met her, and after reading this one, I'm a fan. For sure. Another time I will deal with this, but I'm also with her on the not getting off on oral sex. And I'm not the only one. But her column is about a lot more than spitting or swallowing - it's about being honest, about saying things people might now want to hear, about just how subjective and personal all of sex, including oral sex, is. Seriously, read her column. I'm not saying you have to agree with all of it, but it's well-written, thoughtful, says something new and also addresses the culture at large, and is intensely personal. I'm gonna be reading her column from now on (and catching up on the old ones).

There is nothing not dirty about oral sex. It's someone’s penis in your mouth; it's your tongue inside someone’s pussy. Blow jobs. Eating out. Giving head. Gross.

And yet we love it. We love receiving it; we love giving it. Or maybe we love receiving it and we hate giving it. I’m an anomaly. I hate receiving it and I love giving it. I have never, ever gotten off from oral sex. I pride myself on giving good—no, amazing—head. But last night a guy started going down on me and I told him to stop. It just doesn’t work like that for me.

And this quote I dedicate to GirlyNYC:

Just don't think you're not a slut because you only give guys head and don’t fuck them.


Originally uploaded by rkb2.
I thought this was a really cute baby shower idea - drawing on onesies for the soon-to-be baby. I am not artistic so I just watched.

Also, fyi, I am FINE. In fact, in general, save for the coughing and phlegm, I for the most part feel better lately than I have in a long, long while. That was kindof my point - I took my friend S's advice and just stopped worrying and thinking about being single, about dating. I mean, I know it exists, I'm aware, and I'm not blind, but I'm not in a constant state of panic about it. Those were just observations. I feel really good - I am meeting so many awesome, awesome writers and artists and getting to really feel part of a community that goes so far beyond myself. These people are doing awesome work and they fascinate me, and some of them I'm interviewing, some just reading and observing, and that fuels me immensely. All of it does. I do feel complete, I'm not saying I'm looking for someone to "complete" me, just that the more I take care of myself and learn about myself, the more crystal clear and sharp both the simplicity and complexity of what I'm "looking for" becomes. Which makes it both easier and more difficult, but I have to believe S is right, and that when the time is right, the time will be right.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

the story of my life

Aside from the continued hacking up of...(my lungs? what IS it exactly that keeps making me cough?), I'm good. Kindof alternatively antsy and melancholy lately. I get to this place where I feel overwhelmed with too much work and in the next moment am firing off pitches and plotting and planning. I'm so full of ideas, but also overall, save for my freakout moments, feel really calm. Good things are in the air. I mean, professionally. Personally, well, I feel like the closer I get to 30, which is about 6 weeks away, for those counting, the more centered I feel. The more super clearly I know what qualities I do and don't want in someone I might date. And it's not really anything I can put in a personal ad. I've been getting into Myspace, but mostly because I've been making new friends, and I don't want to meet people online like that. The things I'm looking for are so so basic and simple, almost anyone could potentially capture them. It kindof hit me the other day - I want someone I can take care of and someone who'll take care of me. Now, the ways that gets played out are variable, but I'm not gonna lie - I am drawn to people who I feel like I can help in some way. Not like they're a wounded bird and I can "fix" them, but, well, you tell me you've been hurt in some way and it just tugs on my heartstrings. And at the same time, I have such intense admiration for the people who navigate those hurts, who don't dwell on them but who use painful experiences to build themselves up, to look around, to look inward and outward and make something better for themselves and those around them.

I know it may look like I "do it all," that I can handle everything life throws my way, but honestly--I can't. I have breakdowns and freakouts and moments where I just can't even mentally project into the next hour, let alone the next day, because one or multiple problems seem inordinately overwhelming. And I have other moments where I am almost literally jumping up and down with excitement. And that's probably a negative quality, to have such vast mood swings, but that's me. And it's hard because in the "dating marketplace" it seems like it's best to put ONLY your best foot (face?) forward, to only show the good side, the you that everyone likes, the girl who's smiley and bubbly and sipping a cocktail. Who's wearing lipstick and having fun and can roll with any punches that are dealt to her. And I'm not a falling apart mess, at least, not all the time, but I'm not perfect. I'm moody and insecure and I fuck things up for myself all the time. But...I also could fall in love with someone and give them so, so much. I have learned, especially in the last year, not to be so open. But that's a very careful line, between guarded and...honest. I still believe. In love, in happiness, in finding someone who can really get me. At the same time, that belief has been very tested, and I pull back, I don't put myself out there to be rejected anymore because I just can't handle it. I throw myself into people and projects who I can safely handle. I don't want to be the girl everyone is talking and whispering about. I don't want people to say things like - she's undateable. She shouldn't be in a relationship. She's bad in bed. She's...And I guess that's a risk you always have to take. Obviously I put a lot of my life "out there," but that's not what I mean. It's a small city, a small world, and the circles I move in are pretty damn small so people know things, they tell you things, and that's okay, that's good, but I don't want someone to ever meet me and think they have me all figured out. Think they know everything that's in my heart and my head, because they don't, they can't. There are things inside that I know are just waiting to be discovered. I see the seeds, I see them chomping at the bit to open up, just a little bit.

I see them especially when I do that thing I do, when I "talk to people like there's no one else in the room." I've been realizing lately that I'm not so much up for the big group things anymore. There's a point where too many people are around, where interaction gets diminished and watered down. I like those one on one conversations. I like going home and knowing more about a person than I did before that night, and not just their favorite color or favorite food. I like seeing inside-inside to the things they didn't say, the things I observed by omission and body language, the things I saw just from quieting my head and listening. They make me want to know more, and more and more and more. I get so sick of myself, and I know that's probably, well, a cliche and a hypocrisy to write on my personal blog, but I do. I spent so much time in my head, in my to do lists, in my future, that I love to really dig into someone else's life, whether professionally as I interview them, or personally, as they become fuller and more real. I know that you can never learn what someone's really like from seeing their website, or even reading their book, or seeing them perform. I can know a lot, and I can make a certain level of connection, but there's always more, always more under the surface. And when I talk, or rather listen to people like there's no one else in the room, that's what I'm looking for. And I guess as I get older I'm just trying to properly evaluate those interactions, to not make too much of them, but not make too little either. It's scary how precisely I know exactly what I want, and it scares me because sometimes it feels like the more I come into myself, the more I get what I'm about and what I'm looking for, the farther away that seems. And I could self-destruct about it, could go back to nights of multiple martinis and analyzing and gossiping and fretting, or I could be a big girl about it. I just don't know the next step. I don't know where I am supposed to turn but I am hoping that it will come to me. That I will figure it out because as much as I can be all super stoic and independent, and I am looking forward to living alone for the first time ever, I'll meet a child who melts my heart, I'll talk to someone who, in a brief amount of time, changes me, changes what I think about the world, and I want that. I guess, maybe, I want it all, and I worry that I'm asking too much, so I write and I write and I write. I write every day, I pump out seemingly endless streams of what sometimes feels like nonsense, so I can have something to look at, something to count and quantify, something to make me feel important. And I guess I want someone to look at me the way I look at these people I fall for. To want to know more, to want to dig deeper, to want to see things nobody else sees, or rare people see. I'm sick of superficiality, I'm sick of doing the same things over and over, and I just feel ready for changes, whatever form it takes.

My whole point was that I wanted to link to this post by Robin about not getting what you don't want. Read it and think. I promise, I really was just going to post this link but that's what happens when you're me and you've got a keyboard in front of you, I guess.

the cuteness, the cuteness

Could Cole Pepper be any more adorable? I don't think so. Ah, San Francisco. Must get back there in 2006. I think all the cute babies and children I know, or hear/see vicariously, are conspiring along with my age and hormones to extra extra make me want one. Cole, Sterling, Ry, Dempsey, Walker, my new buddy James, Adriana, my soon-to-be-born cousin - they are all just adorable munchkins, or will be very soon. Someday, someday. In the meantime, so much to do, on the very minute level and the grander scale. I want to be debt free and maybe move or reorganize, get the books inside me out, not the ones I've been doing, but something bigger, something important, something that takes longer than a few hours to complete. I love all the stuff I do's just an endless cycle and I just want to keep forging ahead. First, I must plan my birthday party and book my reading series and get the next few months settled, but then I just want to bunker down most of the winter with videos and books and my laptop. Maybe even learn to bake a little bit. Head to LA for a few days. Take a long weekend and spend it entirely in my apartment. Who knows, though? Whenever I try to make plans they fall utterly apart, so I don't. One day at a time, baby.

Sex Scenes by Polly Frost and Ray Sawhill, October 16


The erotic adventures (and mishaps)
continue! All new stories about lust, ambition,
desperation and
most of all sex -- set in Hollywood and read by

By Polly Frost and Ray Sawhill

Read by (in alphabetical order): Mo Beasley, Karen
Grenke, Sarah Kozinn, Catherine Kung, Tami Mansfield,
Mason Pettit & Jake Thomas


29 Cornelia Street (bet. Bleecker and West 4th Sts.)
$6 (includes a free house drink)

A full dinner and bar menu is available during the

to read

Too busy for real posting, but some things of interest:

Buy My Mom's Book - by comedian Susie Felber, about her mom, romance author Edith Layton. Susie is awesome, in many ways. I especially loved that she live blogged her sick day and has posts with titles like "Pancakes on a lamp."

And Edith Layton's author photo was taken by Lisa Whiteman, who I got to chat with a bit on Friday. She takes awesome photos and I'm going to interview her for Gothamist soon.

Also hung out Friday with the fabulous Lynn Harris and am planning to (finally) read her novel Miss Media soon.

Robin Epstein and Renee Kaplan always have great pop culture commentary. In that mythical spare time (aka my subway rides in the morning and at night), I'm going to read their novel Shaking Her Assets too.

McLeans article, "Girls Gone Raunch"

Small Spiral Notebook

Today's Gothamist interview with Meghan Cleary, shoe expert and author of The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You

I was slightly drunk/hungover when posting this so hopefully it came out okay. Better now, but not used to drinking so many sweet yummy drinks (Peach Lemonade - Absolute Peach, peach juice and lemon juice). Drunken ramblings, because that's what I excel at. Anyway, at least that's over. Onwards and upwards. I'm doing so many things I really can't even keep track of them all, hence trying to hire an intern and just lay low on the socializing so I can try to actually find places to write for that, um, pay me. In the meantime, two more Gothamist interviews to get through, a mountain of newly arrived books, and who knows what else await me in my non-working hours. Also booking my birthday party, and I don't plan to drink more until then. That's about it, links coming soon because I have nothing of interest to talk about.

My Gothamist interview with Meghan Cleary, shoe expert and author of The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You

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Mediabistro interview with Chris Schluep, Editor at Ballantine

My interview at Mediabistro with Chris Schluep, Editor at Ballantine. He talks about Harvey Pekar's Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story and China Miéville and others.

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Monday, September 26, 2005

ah, the old forgotten drunk post

It's funny how you forget...the glorious headrush swirl, the absence of all that angst that plagues you every other minute, the self-consciousness. It's funny how a few sips seem to make it all okay. I don't make a practice of drinking; in fact, I very rarely do it. But once in a while, it's nice to indulge...not just those sweet peach sips, but to treat myself - to a top, to a skirt, to a lipstick, to a pedicure, to looking and feeling my best. To letting it all go ("just let it all go at once/not piece by piece/like a whole bucket of stars/dumped into the universe" -- sleater-kinney, "get up"). We shall see in two weeks whether I've made any sense, but for the moment, I feel good, I feel happy, I feel sated, I feel okay. FOr a few minutes anyway, I don't feel like that awful failure, that fucked up girl who can't get anything right. I feel like a girl with something to say, who maybe has learned something in this decade of NYC living, who's ready for the next step.

Anyway, to make a long story short - I'm ready for my closeup. Check back in two weeks from today. In the meantime, Gothamist interviews this week and other assorted blog treats await. I may even take up baking someday soon.

October 8th reading

Originally uploaded by rkb2.
Reading on October 8th for With a Rough Tongue. Excited about it, though, again, very sad to have to turn down an invite to the 215 Festival. Here's to next year and big things in 2006!

"I think I can, I think I can"

I swear, sometimes all that keeps me going is telling myself I will survive. I'm very on the verge of losing my mind, not sure whether I'm about to burst into tears from a coughing fit or because I just cannot take one more thing going wrong. It all feels like it's crashing down onto me, and I always say yes, and try to keep going and going, no matter what. It's so hard and I wonder where the end is, what it's all for, and then good things happen I can foresee some time in the future where, say, I get paid to write instead of writing for free, where I can breathe a little more easily, where I'm not such a sloppy mess. I just feel like I try so hard. I don't drink and don't even want to anymore. I've given up even the possibility of dating, I have accepted my fate in that area. But what's it all worth if the work is so awful? If I can't seem to turn anything in on time? I know I will get through it, but sometimes it just seems so daunting and impossible. It never ends, and while last week I got reenergized and excited about some writing projects, money notwithstanding, I am failing to assess the time things will take me and overcommitting again. I want to be a good everything-a good daughter, a good friend, a supporter of my artistic community, but I can't anymore. I just have to focus on ME-on my writing, my time, my loans, my life, and getting it all organized. Otherwise I really will burst into tears at a comedy show, and the panic attacks will be way too frequent. I don't want to be 3 and a half weeks late turning in a book, I don't want to be this last minute stress case. I've ALWAYS been that girl and as I'm about to turn 30, sometimes I feel like I'm no more grown up than I was when I was 16, and that's sad.

In reading news, I'm reading November 3rd at Bluestockings for Stirring Up A Storm, and November 16th will be a regular In The Flesh reading at Happy Ending (readers TBA) while December 21st will be the Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 2 official reading there. More dates when I have them, though hopefully not too many more as I'm so looking forward to spending time by myself, at home, getting all this overdue stuff and stuff in my head onto paper and out. I think I just need a long weekend or vacation and to stop trying to go to everything, like last night. It's just not healthy, the work needs to come first, I need to grow up once and for all.

Anyway, if I can make it through today/tonight, I'll be okay I think. So if I don't answer emails and turn off my cell phone and can't go out for the next few months, I apologize in advance. I just can't do it anymore, and even though the past 2 weeks I've laid low cause of this still-lingering cough, I also need that time alone, and will need more of it to try to cope with the ever-increasing amount of work and responsibility heading my way. I can't flake out on it, this time, for real, I have to get that book proposal done, get the tasks on my white board done because there are always more and I just need to buckle down. I know it, and I want to do it, I just can't succumb to the terror. Because it sneaks up and grabs me and just makes me fail like the biggest failure around. I say to myself "I can't do it, I can't do it" because it just feels so huge and impossible, all of it, but I want to at the very least try.

My Gothamist interview with Shonali Bhowmik of Tigers and Monkeys and Variety Shac

I interviewed the awesome awesome awesome Shonali Bhowmik of the band Tigers and Monkeys and of Variety Shac today at Gothamist. I got a sneak preview of their upcoming CD and it's awesome. They're playing October 3rd at Mercury Lounge with Rain Phoenix's band. Shonali has a super sexy voice and is another lawyer who's kicking ass and doing fun, creative work.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

up on the roof

rooftop view of City Hall
Originally uploaded by rkb2.
Trying to be calm, take deep breaths, or, as deep as I can of late, and just focus on one thing at a time. I'm realizing, whether I technically have ADD or not, how easily distracted I am. To focus on one task for more than five minutes is hard for me. I flit from one thing to the next, one fickle interest to another, one document to another, and my mind is never settled. I freak out because I am trying to figure out, literally, how to do 5 things at once. What to wear tomorrow, that thing I have to bring with me, editing down this interview, an email I have to send, etc. It makes my head spin and, most importantly, makes me not be mentally present wherever I am. So I'm trying to work on that. I know that's what triggers the panic attacks, big or small. I still had a good time at the show, just took me a little while to get in the right frame of mind.


I get these really acute freak out moments, where I feel like I could burst into tears, but considering I'm sitting in Sin Sin Lounge waiting for GirlyNYC and Comedy Pro Shop to start, I won't. But it's scary how quickly that sheer, utter, scary panic sets in, that feeling that no matter what I do I will totally fail, so why bother with any of it, rather than just sitting down to edit my interview, to read my book, to do something productive. It sucks, but hopefully I'll work through it. I guess I'm always do and I have no choice in the matter, but sometimes everything just seems so daunting, even while I've had moments in the past few days when I've utterly fallen in love with writing all over again, where I've managed to escape my stupid brain and get lost in the words, in the crafting of questions and putting some letters in front of the other, in thinking, in trying to make something. Anything. I know I will survive the week, the month, the day, the night but sometimes I really wonder. I guess I was counting on that pedicure more than I thought.

(almost) ready for my closeup

Where can a girl get a pedicure in the East Village on a Sunday night? Not at...Pastel, E-Nail or Bloomie Nails, that's for sure. I did talk the lovely ladies at sugar Sweet sunshine into letting me in for some last minute cupcakes. Prior to that I was at a baby shower for my cousin, and prior to that I was conducting tomorrow's Gothamist interview, and trying to get ready for my closeup and get through a book I'm reviewing and just do a ton of stuff and not freak out. Typical weekend, I guess.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

my awesome new bag

my awesome new bag
Originally uploaded by rkb2.
This is (a photo of) the bag I bought for my trip to Turkey and quickly fell in love with. It has pockets and zippers and places for everything, like my work ID, saving me lots of time. It's just the right size and my goal is to carry just this one bag. I know there may be skeptics out there about that one, but believe me, I'm working on it.

I'm also making the most of my digital camera (see this adorable comedian lovefest and deep dish pizza post). I slept in very, very late today and am slowly waking up and trying to figure out a plan of attack as I have several interviews to conduct, a book to read and various errands/writings to attend to but am mostly just taking it easy and trying to get sorted and situated and things like that.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Latest Lusty Lady, "'True Porn' Comics Bare All"

Lusty Lady, "'True Porn' Comics Bare All"
Panel sex: Telling stories of boredom, ecstasy, impotence, and onanism

It's about the comic anthologies True Porn 1 and 2. And of course I had to join the quote-a-comedian media bandwagon of the week with a quote from Liam McEneaney. His quote, fittingly, is pretty funny.

I hate giving advice, but sometimes I do it anyway

Why do I hate giving advice? Because what worked for me might not work for you. Because I don't know everything, and sometimes feel like I know very little. So I usually try my best, whether in my sex columns or when giving quotes, to speak only to my personal experience. Here, Claire Zulkey offers some advice about writing for alt weeklies.

In general, I would just say exploit (in a good way) every resource you have. Network. Be friendly. Be interested. Don't make enemies. Write about what you're interested in. Lately people have been contacted me about issues I've blogged about or shown an interest in, and that's great. Be willing to write for free. I know that's contrary to popular wisdom, but I find that some of the work I'm most proud of, I've done for free. Not that it's an ideal state or what I want to keep doing far into the future, but you have to balance why you're doing it and what you need out of any given piece. Money? A byline? A place to gain readers and have your say? Etc. But again, I'm just one person who's still figuring this all out. I don't have a gargantuan book deal, I don't really know what I'm doing beyond taking things day by day. So there you go, for what that's worth.

Jen Sincero's "Living in Sin" advice column and Violet Blue's SFisting column

Jen Sincero, author of The Straight Girl's Guide to Sleeping With Chicks, who I interviewed for the magazine I work for's website, (pay site), earlier this year (and mentioned in this Voice column back in November 2004), is writing a sex advice column for

Recent birthday girl, Fleshbot-ess, and tiny nibbler Violet Blue also writes the very appropriately named SFisting column for

Thursday, September 22, 2005

She's back and she's wearing Agent Provcateur

I don't know where exactly along the way I went from being slightly skeptical to being a huge supporter, but it was pretty early on. Anyway, I am so loving Jessica Cutler's new website. The girl is back and she's blogging again, but best of all, she could give a shit about what you think of her. Any girl who has a donate button saying "I need money for slutty clothes and drugs!" and who just sends a big fuck you to all the people who gave her shit for the boobs on the cover of her books by posting her own boobs, in a really hot lacy pink Agent Provocateur bra is okay in my book. The first media mention at the top of her site claims her as one of "Washington's Most Loathsome."

Seriously, I have a girl crush on Jessica Cutler, if only because I'd love just a smidgen of her devil-may-care attitude, and the way she just totally owns her actions, her self, and now, her website. This girl is smart and sexy, and please don't mistake me for saying that you should all go out and emulate her. Neither is she. I don't think anyone could weather being held up as a role model, or as an example of all that is evil in the world. People are more complex than that, and Jessica has managed to come out ahead with this without compromising who she is. She had some sex, she wrote a blog (which, obviously, MANY of us have done), and the rest kindof unfolded around her but rather than slinking away she has stuck around, not as some contrite quiet repentent soul, not skirting around what she did, but just digging in her heels and saying "I'm me, take it or leave it." And that's not an easy thing to do. As Meghan O'Rourke put it today at Slate,, "Even when a young woman feels fine about her sexual choices, she still encounters unconscious reinforcement that what she's done is wrong."

I think the more criticism of her I read, like what I read in Female Chauvinist Pigs, the more I couldn't help but take it personally. Anything you say about Jessica, or, say, Monica Lewinsky, or really any woman who does anything sexual that becomes public, really reflects on all of us. Because those critics? You know, the ones who call people like her (or me) things like slut or whore or pig? They'll say that and think that unless you're a virgin on your wedding day, and by virgin, they very likely don't mean "everything but." It's really easy to try to distance ourselves from the Jessica Cutlers and Monica Lewinskys of the world, to try to act like we're better than them or different or morally superior, but, news flash - we're not. Bill Clinton's not, Robert Steinbuch's not, I'm not and you're not.

I admire Jessica for her tenacity, her honesty, and just her sheer pluckiness. And yes, you can fucking quote me on that. But don't take my word for it (and I don't necessarily expect my readers to agree with me on this, but I think anyone who automatically criticizes her needs to reexamine the situation a little more clearly )- read her new blog.

Also: My Gothamist interview with Jessica Cutler

My Village Voice column, "Spanking Jessica Cutler"


Jill Soloway's Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants TV deal!

Woo-hoo! Congratulations to Jill Soloway (and I WILL be posting the rest of my interview with her here, soon). The news (from the futon critic)

TINY LADIES IN SHINY PANTS (ABC, New!) - Writer/producer Jill Soloway ("Six Feet Under") is developing a small screen version of her just-published book "Tiny Ladies in Shiny Pants" at ABC and Regency Television. The single-camera project, which has a six-figure script commitment, will track the adventures of a single mother and a small-business owner, whose world includes crazy parents and a lesbian sister.

from inside the Hagia Sofia

from inside the Hagia Sofia
Originally uploaded by rkb1.

more Topkapi

more Topkapi
Originally uploaded by rkb1.

inside Topkapi Palace

inside Topkapi Palace
Originally uploaded by rkb1.


Originally uploaded by rkb1.

Window shopping in the West Village

Window shopping in the West Village
Originally uploaded by rkb1.
It's a little hard to tell but a fan was blowing the skirt of this dress and it just captivated me.


lion in wait
Originally uploaded by ChrisB in SEA.
This is too cute not to pass along - from my friend Chris B in Seattle.

Mary Lou Lord on Saturday

About the only thing I did last weekend was go to Union Pool for the Bloodshot Records barbecue/CMJ show to see Mary Lou Lord. She was very tired but played an excellent, heartfelt set, a few covers, a few songs from the last album, Baby Blue. It was great to see her again, and I think I am now officially on board for SXSW, just have to sort out the final details. Mary Lou has an original song, "Cold Company," on the new Bloodshot double CD compilation, For A Decade of Sin.


Topkapi Palace

Topkapi Palace1
Originally uploaded by rkb1.

waiting for dondurma in Beyoglu

waiting for dondurma in Beyoglu
Originally uploaded by rkb1.
One of many dondurma stands we encountered (aka gobbled up ice cream from).

Turkish chick lit

Turkish chick lit
Originally uploaded by rkb1.
I still want to know what this book is about if anyone has any Turkish language skills. We saw it everywhere!

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Positive energy and reading highlights

I feel the most together I've felt since I got back from Istanbul today. I have to keep looking forward, not backward, and not letting either rejections or illnesses way me down. I got this book Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui last night at Barnes & Noble, along with some fabulous cards that are now zinging their way through the U.S. Postal Service. I feel like I finally unclogged my head, and despite the fact that I've been sleeping 10 odd-dream-and-coughing-laden hours a night, I'm slowly getting a little bit of work done. First-Timers is inching closer to being done (those awaiting the final word, you'll know by next week - believe it or not, I am still making some decisions), my reading series is taking shape, some media ventures are in the works and I am planning to pitch some new ideas and just get back on track. I have Gothamist interviews 4 days next week and still have much to sort out with that but I will make it happen. I just got in postcards for Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 2 and they are very pink and pretty, and as soon as I know when the book's coming out and the reading is, I'll make up some stickers for them. So things are moving along apace...there are more birthday parties, a baby shower, and various other events coming up, and a fun book party and a nice luncheon to look forward to. Also many trips, or at least one more, to the Container Store, and an intern to hire, and soon I'll be rolling along (and not coughing). On that positive note, I'll leave you with a few places to explore.

GirlyNYC, who is posting again and I'll just say for the millionth time, is the awesomest friend a girl could ask for, for reals

Victoria Woodhull on Wikipedia - I know I heard about a movie being made about her, not sure where that's at right now

Popular Thinking blog

Manning Leonard Krull, who I write about in my next Voice column - he's an awesome cartoonist and has all sorts of cool photos up and his whole site is just fascinating. Check out this crazy site Melancholy Kitties he designed - goth doll clothes.

Black Table writers unite!

Aww....Check out books by contributors to The Black Table (and, yes, it yields some pretty unusual results, from spanking to Britney to football to Anna Wintour to the knockout dual punch of the Goldleitch household)

Beyond Pornified and Female Chauvinist Pigs

Pornified and Female Chauvinist Pigs are everywhere - so, so much to say and just not enough time right now to puzzle it all out. I've been thinking about these books for a while, and it's Levy's that I think irks and fascinates me the most, perhaps because I feel like, ten years ago, I might have written something similar, and also because I do care, I am also a feminist, and yet I feel so removed from her conclusions. Wendy Shalit reviews Female Chauvinist Pigs in today's Wall Street Journal and you'll really just have to read it yourself for gems like:

But something else may be going on. Feminism grounded itself, in its early days, in the idea that there were no differences between the sexes. A girl wanting to keep her virginity was bad, for sexual reticence amounted to asserting a separate standard, a Victorian one at that. To Hef, modesty was a "hang-up," and to the feminists it was a "patriarchal construct." Ms. Levy believes that feminism was on the right track but then veered off-course: "What has moved into feminism's place . . . is an almost opposite style, attitude, and set of principles."

But maybe feminism's foundations were weak from the start. Everyone in Ms. Levy's book--whether it's middle-class girls who feel anxiety about appearing "hot" or grown women who confess to Ms. Levy that "accumulating sex for its own sake . . . is not that sexual"--shows that a woman's experience of sex and love is very different from that of an adolescent boy or a man. Indeed, the more a woman imitates a man, the clearer these differences become.

Paris Hilton tells Rolling Stone: "My boyfriends always tell me I'm not sexual. Sexy, but not sexual." (Ms. Levy reports that on one of the infamous videotapes she takes a cellphone call during intercourse.) Plainly, the sexual revolution has not brought fulfillment for women. Even its mascots experience boredom, and for the civilians there is distress and heartache.

Where is the talk about Suicide Girls? Where are the BUST readers and the Liz Phairs and the Lisa Palacs? Or, going backwards a little bit, the Victoria Woodhulls? When did we get forced make a choice between being a "pig" and empowered? feminist? self-actualized? Able to make our own decisions about who we fuck and how we dress? I feel like it's such an attack to say that anyone who does anything remotely within the realm of "raunch culture" is a part of the problem. That view leaves NO room to reclaim anything, no room for feminist women to make porn, be self-proclaimed feminist porn stars, or just grapple with our naked bodies. Where are those of us who are feminists and who are in the sex industry? Where are the women who are in Carly Milne's anthology Naked Ambition? Where ARE we in this debate?

Okay, I found one kindred soul - in the comments section at Ann Althouse's blog. Diane, you are my new heroine:

I guess I am one of those who do see sex as empowering.

I’m not for “free” sex in the sense of “Hop into bed with anything and everything that will say yes!” I don’t think women are generally built for that, psychologically. Our bodies release oxytocin after orgasm, which leaves us awful attached to our sex partners.

But I see celebration of our “body parts” as the ultimate empowerment of women. Yes! Look at my teats. Are they not nifty?! I am a creature separate from man, and special, and if you enjoy looking at it, then I enjoy showing you. I have a fleshy behind, too, and a narrow waist, and it is beautiful and it is all connected to a wonderful brain! Touch any of it without my permission, though, and die.

You *can* look without any intention of touching.

What I find appalling is our society’s need to separate a woman from her body completely before we acknowledge her intelligence. Attractive women are forced to wear unflattering clothing, and downplay their appearance, or we treat them like bimbos.


IN THE FLESH, October 19th - Be There!

My brand new erotic reading series kicks off October 19th with a fabulously sexy lineup! I may even do a giveaway of some sort.

What: The debut of IN THE FLESH, a new erotic reading series
When: Wednesday, October 19, 8 pm
Where: Happy Ending Lounge, 302 Broome Street, NYC (B/D to Grand, J/M/Z to Bowery, F to Delancey,
Admission: Free

Stay warm as the weather cools down with some very hot and juicy words! Join us as Meghan Cleary reads erotic poetry, Martha Garvey and Jennifer Whitlock spin sultry erotic stories, and Scotty the Blue Bunny reads, emotes and sings a sexy 1930’s ditty about promiscuity. Host Rachel Kramer Bussel will also read some of her original smut.

About the series:

This new monthly reading series, taking place every third Wednesday of the month at the appropriately named Happy Ending Lounge, will feature the city's best erotic writers sharing stories to get you hot and bothered. Running the gamut from sensual and seductive to explicit and wild, these authors will let their naughty tales thrill and seduce you. Hosted and curated by Village Voice sex columnist and acclaimed erotic writer and editor Rachel Kramer Bussel (editor of Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z and featured in Best American Erotica 2004), In The Flesh will bring you a mix of several authors each month, along with several themed nights such as holidays, vacations, fetishes and much more. From erotic poetry to down and dirty smut, these authors get naked on the page and will make you lust after them and their words. Future themed nights including spanking stories, travel tales, fetishes, and erotic memoirs.

About the readers:

Meghan Cleary is the author of The Perfect Fit: What your shoes say about you from Chronicle Books. Her poetry has been published in The Hat, Cortland Review, La Petite Zine, Slipstream and Shade. She works and lives in Manhattan's West Village where she shops for shoes and writes juicy poems.

Martha Garvey's work has appeared in The New York Times, Salon,, and several editions of Best American Erotica. Her books on pet health, My Fat Dog and My Fat Cat, were published this year by Hatherleigh Press.

Scott Grabell, better known as SCOTTY THE BLUE BUNNY (“Half Man, Half Wild Animal”) sings, spiels, fiddles, eats fire, performs magic, modern dance, and is one of New York City's most beloved and towering inter-species personalities. Voted "Best Rodent To Have at a Party" by the Village Voice, and deemed a "New York nightlife fixture" by the New York Post, he has stormed the stages at Joe's Pub, Fez, Dixon Place, HERE, PS122, La Mama Etc as well as featured on NY1, VH1, MTV, E!, and HBO's Real Sex. Scotty has also done his fair share of solo cabaret work, and was a national touring member of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus.

Jennifer Whitlock has been a writer for over 20 years, professional and . . . not so professional. She has written for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Prevention Magazine, and she was the lesbian comedian reporter for Allentown's Morning Call. She is known as "The Provocative Lady" in her rural Sussex writer's group, where she stuns participants with her offbeat humor. "Sex With His Ex," which she will read at In The Flesh, is the first erotica she has published (in the anthologies Swing! and Best of Both Worlds: Bisexual Erotica) but there's no stopping her.

About the host:

Rachel Kramer Bussel is a New York City-based author and editor. She is Senior Editor at Penthouse Variations and a Contributing Editor and columnist for Penthouse. Rachel writes the Lusty Lady column for The Village Voice and conducts interviews for and She has written several dozen erotic stories that have appeared in over 50 anthologies, including Best American Erotica 2004, and has edited her own collections, including Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 1 and 2. Rachel has also written for publications including AVN, Bust, Metro, New York Post, Punk Planet, Time Out New York and Velvetpark.

Upcoming In The Flesh dates: November 16, December 21, January 18, February 15


Stirring Up A Storm anthology website

Basic pattern lately is just dragging myself out of bed, going to work, coming home and collapsing. The cough continues but I am going to go back to the allergist and see what I can do, have to get better soon cause I have too much to do. New website up for the anthology Stirring Up A Storm edited by Marilyn Jaye Lewis, featuring my photo along with Kim Addonzio's, Margaret Atwood's and Selma Blair's,, among others. My story from the anthology, a lesbian erotica story called "The Pants Girl," will also be published in the January issue of Penthouse (which also features my Girl Talk column on the topic of "Everything But Sex."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

A reading series for everyone!

I swear there's a new reading series (or new to me) popping up every day. So please please please keep the kickoff to my erotic reading series IN THE FLESH on your radar- it happens October 19th at 8 pm, details soon. And Jen Dziura just asked me to read at Pete's Candy Store on December 14th. Here's some info from my favorite chick lit-writing mom Elise Miller:

Sunday, October 9 at 5PM

with Christine Hamm, Cheryl Burke, Desiree Burch and Peter Kleiner

at The Living Room 

154 Ludlow btw. Stanton and Rivington (F to 2nd Avenue)

In the meantime check out the reading series below...

Fall 2005 Literary Readings in Tribeca

Sunday, September, 25th
2-4 pm

Pecan Fine Foods and Coffee
located at the corner of Franklin and Varick,
directly across from the 1/9 subway entrance.

Readers include:

Charles Salzberg, whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York magazine, GQ, the New York Times Arts & Leisure, the New York Times Book Review, Elle and other periodicals.  He has also published over 20 books, one of which is SOUPY SEZ: MY ZANY LIFE &TIMES (WITH SOUPY SALES.) He will read from his novel, SWANN'S LAST SONG, to be published by M. Evans in April 2006.

Alix Strauss - the media savvy social satirist, and lifestyle trend writer. She will read from her novella, THE JOY OF FUNERALS, published by St. Martin's Press. THE JOY OF FUNERALS will be heading to the big screen with Stockard Channing directing. Alix will write the screenplay and is currently working on a novel.

Mike Albo- playwright, journalist, and author of THE UNDERMINER: THE BEST FRIEND WHO CASUALLY DESTROYS YOUR LIFE, published by Bloomsbury USA in February. Albo's first novel, HORNITO: MY LIE LIFE, was published by HarperCollins in October 2000, receiving critical acclaim from Entertainment Weekly, People Magazine, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Publisher's Weekly, and many others.

All reading events are free and open to the public. Pecan's open and welcoming space, combined with delicious eats, and great literary minds, make for terrific Sunday afternoons.


thank you, Laura Kipnis

Laura Kipnis kicks off an exchange at Slate with Wendy Shalit and Meghan O'Rourke about Pornified and Female Chauvinist Pigs, today asking "Is Porn Really Transforming Our Sex Lives?" and really calling Pamela Paul to task for the gross inaccuracies in her book Pornified. I also asked Jill Soloway about both these books and will post what didn't make it in to The Black Table here tomorrow. (thanks to Dan McCoy for the link)

From Kipnis:

Wendy, I think that to understand anything about the popularity of porn, we have look beyond porn. For instance, let's notice that the mainstreaming of porn occupies the same cultural moment as the rise of abstinence-only education (with which it technically complies). I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the two aren't exactly unrelated: They're both products of a culture that's deeply conflicted and hypocritical about sex...

We're a culture that hates and fears sex, but can't get enough of it.

"Fuck you. Me and Tara are going to the movies."

From an interview in Detroit alt weekly Metro Times with Andy Friedman:

MT: Has anything ever come from dreams?

Friedman: Oh, god yeah. One night in Montana, last November, I had two days off so I got a cabin. The place was unbelievable, cheaper than a Motel 6 in the middle of nowhere. It was $60 for a full cabin with a fireplace and amenities, overlooking a lake, with elk outside. I did a lot of writing in those two days. One night I dreamt a full song, complete with rhymes and where to put solos. I woke up at four in the morning, and continued it in the notebook. It was called Willing to Lose, about how I owed everything to my wife Tara. Before I met her, I felt like I never had enough time to paint. You know those types? They can never go out to dinner because “tonight’s studio night.” When I met her, I was able to laugh when my pencils were mad at me. I’d tell them, “Fuck you. Me and Tara are going out to the movies.” And then, my drawings became better. This whole crazy idea to travel would have never happened if I was still relying on my art, and the success of it, to be the anchor.

Two interviews today: Giulia Rozzi and Jill Soloway

Both extremely funny, awesome, talented, amazing ladies (one in shiny pants, one usually in glittery attire).

My Giulia Rozzi interview at Gothamist

(I didn't write the title but I love it)
"The Little Jew That Could: Six Feet Under's Jill Soloway" at The Black Table

I was all set to post about various writing frustrations and disappointments, which are still kicking around, but this helps a bit, so I'll save that for another time and focus on happy thoughts.

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Princes' Islands

Princes' Islands
Originally uploaded by rkb1.

breakfast hotel view in Istanbul

breakfast hotel view in Istanbul
Originally uploaded by rkb1.

Blue Mosque

Blue Mosque
Originally uploaded by rkb1.

Monday, September 19, 2005


I'm still really just coughing away so it'll be photos and odds and ends over here while I sort everything out. Big things are in the works, little things too, but feeling better is priority number 1.

My fabulous webmaster has updated the books page on my site..

Sadly, I've had to turn down two opportunities in the last week, and while I guess in some ways it's a sign of being busy and successful, it's still sad. I had to say no to reading at the 215 Festival, and to having one of my stories in an anthology, the first because I have a long-standing reading for With A Rough Tongue: Femmes Write Porn on October 8th, and the second because it's already slated to be in Aqua Erotica 2. Still, just have to work harder, keep moving forward with everything. I am trying to keep track of so much and even with quality organizational systems in place, it's not easy, but I am making meager attempts. Hopefully there will be some good news soon to replace these unfortunate occurrences.

Also, I have an erotica story called "Wrestling Match" in the new issue of BUST and a review of Beth Lisick's Everybody Into The Pool. Soon I will have the lineup finalized for my first In The Flesh reading on October 19th and for those waiting to hear from me about First-Timers, I should know more by next week.

Tristan Taormino interview at Suicide Girls + Female Chauvinist Pigs

I missed this Suicide Girls interview with Tristan Taormino when it went up in August but I'm reposting the last 2 Q&As here because it at least speaks to some of the female empowerment the sex industry is offering. And I do realize it's more complex than that but if I have to read another overly fawning review of Female Chauvinist Pigs I'm going to freaking scream. There were some valid points but overall there are so many gaps and, as Jennifer Egan points out, no attempts to look at women are who are transcending or reframing both feminism and sexuality into something new and different. But I guess according to Levy's logic I am just a female chauvinist pig, right? I'm just not really sure how her argument is different than 1970's claims of "false consciousness." And that's not to say I'm equating myself with Sheila Nevins or Paris Hilton or any of her examples, but the whole premise feels icky to me and rings false. There HAS to be some middle ground, or other ground, for those of us who are feminists and want the right to be sexually aggressive, both in our personal lives and our culture. It's just not as simple as Ariel Levy or Pamela Paul wants to paint it (or the other side, but I'll deal with that another time).

DRE: Last year I spoke with Richard Kern and he said that it seems like girls are a lot more willing to take their clothes off now. What’s your impression?

TT: Certainly I think when you’re planning to take your clothes off and you’re going to do it in a really public way, all women have to know that those pictures or that video is never going to die. It’s going to be out there forever.

DRE: I don’t know if all of them realize that though.

TT: That’s what I think. But there are more opportunities for women to take their clothes off and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Again when you are approached by someone like SuicideGirls you know that this is done in with a feminist sensibility and ethical way. You’re going to have input and control and say over how I look or how I’m represented or what I want to do and what I don’t want to do. There’s just more women in positions of power. I mean when you think of just being in the porn industry and how many more actresses now get to work with female directors; female producers and I think that’s stated in a different environment and one where women feel like they have more power.

Happy Birthday to Cheryl

highest at the shack
Originally uploaded by girlynyc.
Happy, Happy birthday to Cheryl B., whose party I had to miss because I just had zero energy this weekend (and she heard me coughing on Thursday so I'm sure understands). But I was sad to miss the celebration and the girliness at Cattyshack, and, clearly, these shoes.

View from the Galata Tower

View from the Galata Tower
Originally uploaded by rkb1.

sitting on art at Istanbul Modern

at Istanbul Modern
Originally uploaded by rkb1.
In the sculpture garden outside. Yes, they let you sit on the sculptures (which actually was a surprise to me). At Istanbul Modern.

I own a lot of books

Originally uploaded by rkb1.
And my efforts to clean are going to keep me at home for the next month or so. Started this weekend, in part cause I wasn't feeling well (am doing better but still not perfect) and in part just not feeling that social and have many deadlines. It's nice to be OFF for a bit - no phone, minimal email, just doing my thing. Gotta get back in the swing of things as last week I was pretty out of it. I hope by mid-October to have a fairly presentable photo of my room to share.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

me with Jill Soloway

me with Jill Soloway
Originally uploaded by rkb1.
From Monday's reading at McNally Robinson. My interview with her is finally going to run at Black Table on Tuesday. Have spent most of the weekend sleeping and trying to do some writing and cleaning. Also found my USB cable and figured out how to upload my photos.

Friday, September 16, 2005

writers' karma

Just found out that a friend is going to be published at Fresh Yarn, after I nudged her to send something to them. Yay! This makes me very proud and happy, also makes me feel like I have "good eyes," kinda like Mary Lou Lord does with music. It's a feeling that really can't be surpassed. It's so all about paying it forward, like our group of kickass women writers who are just so talented and as a whole are doing so many brilliant things in this city.

On a semi-related note, Claire Zulkey on good and bad professional jealousy.


The breathing is still pretty tough - I forgot to say that in addition to the tickling sensation it feels like my lungs just can't take in enough air. Totally frustrating and so not me - I like to be on the go and keep having to stop and cough and just regroup. But anyway, by tonight I should at least have some inhalers and such.

Had a fabulous time chatting and mingling and eating cheese with some of my favorite writers last night - makes me love New York and being a writer all over again, I think that camaraderie is essential and refreshing and invigorating. I had to skip the CMJ stuff cause just couldn't deal with being in a really crowded room like that. All my writing plans for this week have fallen by the wayside but I'm ready to start getting back on track this weekend.

Good things are in the air, and the way I know that is I had to sadly turn down what I consider a prestigious reading invitation because I have the one reading I committed to months ago. But I cannot be in two places, let alone two cities, at once. Looking forward to some major downtime so I can just get things in order.

And in the I know I'm an idiot but wish I didn't have to be reminded so often - I got this new digital camera, a Kodak Easy Share, because it had easy in the title and was cheap. I tore it open and was heading to Vermont for a wedding so threw the USB cable somewhere and ran out the door. Camera's great, works fine, but I have no clue where the cable is. So I decide to buy a new one. Am proud of myself for getting that and a much-needed fan. I went to one Staples and they told me I needed this 5 pin cable, but they didn't have it. So I go to another Staples and get it. That was Wednesday night, then I went home and collapsed. Last night I decided to make myself useful and try the cable - turns out, it doesn't fit. And while I will try to return it to Staples (the old me would've just not even bothered), I hate that these trifling things wind up taking so much time, and hate even more that it's my fault. I feel like such a loser and it's instances like that that just make me want to give up - on everything. But I'm trying so so hard to think positively and not berate myself for my countless failings, for being such a disorganized loser, even though I know I am. I am doing a little at a time and trying to realize I can't do everything, especially not with this breathing issue, but it's so frustrating and demoralizing sometimes. I guess the photos could just live on my camera forever, but the whole point of buying the new camera was to do something different than I did with my last one, which was a gift and I never figured out how to get the photos off the camera. Someday, maybe in my next lifetime, I won't be so fucked up.

Hopefully my doctor will be able to ply me with something to make me feel better, physically and mentally so I can resume my normal life. Or, relatively normal or whatever cause I have all this stuff I want to get done but just no energy this week.

Thursday, September 15, 2005


A quick note as I hack away (basically my throat feels like I am breathing in dust and feathers and other ticklish substances every time I breathe in - not fun, but shall be taken care of tomorrow), I am grateful at least for the blur my head's been in this week that I can't care too much about other people's opinions. Whether it's a certain cheater site's blog that's had a little field day trashing me OR someone telling me "You're definitely one of the most fascinating women in the United States." Honestly, they're both just as preposterous and stupid as the other. Or cancel each other out, they just have no meaning, at least, not to me. I am so easily distracted in general, by other people's demands and seeming urgent needs and I totally lose track of my own commitments so I'm trying to be better about that and just carve out time to do what I need to do.

In other news, Strip City author Lily Burana goes to a Green Day concert and lives to tell the tale. Lily's first novel, Try, will be out in 2006 from St. Martin's and is described as "a sexy modern love story set in the New West world of rodeo, honky tonks, buckle bunnies and pointy-toed boots."

your baby really IS cute

GirlyNYC knows I don't lie about cute babies, as we discussed and saw in action at Schiphol.


Swoon indeed

For those Guinevere Turner (and Bettie Page, and Gretchen Mol) fans who've been waiting for this movie for ages, here's your chance next Thursday for a sneak peek, as part of MOMA's Killer Films retrospective (thanks to Venus's interview with Christine Vachon for alerting me to this)

The Notorious Bettie Page. 2005. USA. Directed by Mary Harron. Screenplay by Harron, Guinevere Turner. With Gretchen Mol, Lili Taylor, David Strathairn. Bettie Page was the most successful pin-up of the 1950s. Her legendary photographs made her the target of a Senate investigation into pornography, turning her into one of the first sex icons. New York premiere. 92 min.
Thursday, September 22, 8:30 (introduced by Harron). T1

Donate music to teenage hurricane survivors

via the fabulous Kimya Dawson

You can get it for me as a birthday present

Only half kidding. And my 30th birthday is on November 10th.

Fresh Yarn is back

My favorite essay site is back!

Still hacking away though doing a teeny bit better, just trying to cope with the multiple events - OGC, Reputation show AND Ida show tonight, plus this whole trying to breathe thing. Then Saturday night is Sara Schaefer's show and 2 parties - why? why? I may have to stay home, I'm just physically and mentally exhausted but I am slowly trying to right myself, to get back on track. I'm one step closer to having my photos from the trip up too- S. put some up on Flickr and they made me laugh - he took one of me reading on the ferry back from the Princes' Islands, and it's true, I was reading a lot. Anyway, not much to say for a while but check out Fresh Yarn, more links to interesting stuff later on.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

yes yes yes

I am having trouble breathing between the heat at home and work and this asthma thing but have a doctor's appointment with an allergist I used to see on Friday, which hopefully will be the end of this. FYI - asthma sucks. I don't have it that badly but when it hits it's not fun. But may be good for me to realize I need to take a break and slow down, and also get in gear with my healthcare situation, like, actually using it.

Anyway, I am enthralled with these creativity tips (via the brilliant 43 Folders) - there are 11, here's a snippet:

1. Name your vision.
If you’re in love with working in a particular medium, you’re heads above the crowd because you know what you love to do. And once you know what you love to do, you can create a vision of how you will express that in your life.

11. Be grateful.
Gratitude is a prosperous and productive state of mind, and absolutely essential to true creativity. Remembering to be grateful for the fact that we’re earning money at all and putting food on the table keeps us open to the positive things that come our way throughout the day. Gratitude for what we do have, not resentment about what we don’t have, is what makes it possible for the Universe to send us what we want. It keeps a smile close to our lips and makes us much more pleasant to be around. Gratitude is a miraculous blessing, because while we’re being grateful for the gifts that have been given us, the very act of being grateful benefits us in ways we cannot count. Practice being grateful, deeply grateful, for a short period of time and see how you feel. If you’re having trouble giving thanks because you can’t see past your lack of money or time or the necessities of life, try starting with air, sunshine (or rainfall), blades of grass, leaves on trees, roofs over heads. Abundance is everywhere. Once you start naming the blessings that surround you, you may not be able to stop.

I (inadvertently) helped make one of Aziz Ansari's jokes

And Gothamist is a "blog-bible" - you heard it from


The author of Dog Days (aka Ana Marie Cox) shows some cat + dog adorableness

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I do not have bronchitis

At least, that's the mantra I keep repeating in my head when anyone asks.

I do not have bronchitis, I do not have bronchitis...

I had to take a sick day today, much as I want to be back in action, because my body just would not move. I slept and sweated and coughed and still have the cough but it's not quite as hacking as it was, and the headache has mostly dissipated, and I can even think, a little. Wednesday and Thursday nights are busy and then I get to rest a little, though the freelance work is piling up but I'm on top of things. That's about it, just focusing on feeling better and keeping track of everything I need to remember and attempting to carry fewer bags than I normally do. I did make it out of the house to get groceries and see an excellent, excellent Rejection Show, which was much dirtier than it usually is.

Fantasies fantasies fantasies

I'm looking to pick your brain about fantasies - What do you fantasize about? Do fantasizing and masturbation always go together? Do you share your fantasies with your partner(s)? Do you fantasize about people/things you'd want to do in real life, or are your fantasies strictly for fantasy land? Have you ever been jealous of a partner's fantasy (or vice versa)? Are you more uninhibited or otherwise different in your fantasy life? Email me your answers at blog at (and name and/or preferred pseudonym) - for my Village Voice column

bukkake is a form of noodle preparation

I swear, the most interesting part (the part that made me gasp and bust out an email to GirlyNYC to see if she knew this) of this book review was:

Dave confesses he enjoys watching group sex scenes and scenes where a woman seems to be receiving ''pleasure and torture'' at the same time, as in Japanese bukkake, which takes its name from a noodle-preparation method and involves multiple men with one seemingly miserable woman. But Dave's turn-ons, however grotesque, may be fairly ordinary fantasies, rather than signs of porn's dangerous effect on men. Though bukkake may be extreme, the fantasy it depicts long predates this decade.

(According to, "Bukkake udon is simple cold noodle. You may put various toppings, such as boiled eggs, boiled meat, boiled vegetables, and so on.")

But once you get past that, Amy Sohn takes a very close look at Pamela Paul's new book Pornified and finds it wanting. I will say more about Pornified and Ariel Levy's Female Chauvinist Pigs soon, either here or elsewhere, just busy lately, but it's interesting to me that both books are being published at the same time, saying very similar things but from vastly different perspectives. Aside from the problems regarding Paul's survey that Amy highlights, another issue that cropped up is Paul's not-so-subtle "wasn't-it-better-back-in-the-good-old-days" tone. She repeatedly references how porn has been around, but used to be a good ole' boys club type of thing to be hidden in drawers and passed around in secret. I'm not going to say that there aren't alarming examples in both books (like the young teenagers putting out sex videos of themselves) but the idea that the ubiquity and accessibility of porn is the problem just scratches the surface. It's so so easy for both authors, and the public, to make assumptions, especially the one about "women acting like men." It's so complicated, and even Wikipedia points to Catherine Millet having a taste for bukkake. And on just that note alone, the people I know and have heard about who are interested in it do NOT all take it to mean a single thing. Porn, like any form of art or creativity, has multiple meanings, and can speak differently to everyone, so while Paul seems to go looking for the people it's had a negative affect on, there are countless other reactions, and it's not all good or evil. It's complex, as it should be. We might take away multiple reactions from a single photograph, pornographic or not. I think that's a fairly easy thing to lose sight of, especially for those who are inclined to see porn as an evil; that something you find offensive may turn someone else on, or may affect someone in a way that's different from how it affects you, and that we are talking about the realm of fantasy. Plenty of people, myself included, have fantasies that we don't necessarily want to come true, or even flat out don't want to happen in real life--but they get us off all the time. That's why it's called a fantasy. For some people, their fantasies might merge with their actual activity, but that's not necessarily the case.

Last week I went to the Istanbul Modern, and looked at dozens of paintings. Some I looked at for a few seconds, some minutes. Some I could easily understand (no thanks to the highly, highly academic blurbs on the wall), some I didn't necessarily know what was happening, some I cared to peer at until perhaps a secondary meaning popped out at me. Some made me smile, or think, or simply see, and perhaps it's not a perfect analogy - looking at art in a museum versus watching a porn video at home - but I don't think it's totally inaccurate. To claim that there is a singular meaning, that everyone, or the large majority of people, take away one thing from porn, just cannot be correct. And Paul clearly has a bias in looking for and emphasizing those who feel harmed by porn.

Okay, I've said more than I should. I really wanted to point out the noodle thing, cause that was news to me.


Monday, September 12, 2005

could this be ANY truer?

asks the girl who's blogging from McNally Robinson. Must get home to SLEEP. Jill Soloway was totally, totally hilarious. Go see her tomorrow night at KGB or Wednesday at Mo Pitkins for sure. She's worth seeing even if you're really sick and should be in bed.

hot Italians

Originally uploaded by girlynyc.
or one at least. GirlyNYC was in Venice at The Lido and took this photo - she is giving me a guided flickr tour right now - it's like live blogging except we're already back home.

Latest Lusty Lady column, "Sexual Revolution 2.0"

It's probably time to stop numbering these, though in my head I still think of some of them as "Lusty Lady #__" but as the 1 year mark approaches I think that should go by the wayside. In other news, I feel quite feverish - not sure if it's an actual fever, the weather, a combination or what by my body is so out of whack, which is a shame because my brain is raring to go with ideas and my fingers are ready to clickety clack. At least my laptop works from my bed.

Lusty Lady column, "Sexual Revolution 2.0"
Online sex isn't just for techies, but beware of post-split pitfalls

At the very least, check out the hot photo of Regina Lynn, whose book The Sexual Revolution 2.0 inspired the column. I've come to accept that yes, I am a combination nerd/sex columnist, hence almost every column has to do with reading in some way, though I am going to try for some non-booky ones in the future, after the next one. I'm working on a column on fetishes, so if you have a fetish (though I think I have foot fetishes covered), tell me about it at blog at - I'd love someone with a really out-there, unusual, or bizarre fetish, but, you know, everyday fetishes are okay too. I'd need those by the end of this week. Thanks.

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