The thing I love about writing is that it’s a paid opportunity to learn, stretch and discover. My career reads like a personal travel log. I couldn’t tell you how much I got payed for any of my projects, but I am who I am because of the people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen and the perspectives I’ve mastered. I chose the subjects; the clients chose me. Through my work I’ve explored health, design, art, history, wine, craft food, fashion, manufacturing, finance, yoga, spirituality, technology—and sex.
I was working in my garden in Sebastopol, I was in transition and dreaming about what I felt inspired to do next. The idea came to me and I went so far as to restate it out loud—I want to write about sex.
I am addicted to challenge—that charge of fear that makes other people back off is what motivates me. I look for limits within myself so that I can push past them. It’s my extreme sport: testing courage, conquering fear. It makes life exciting; it feels empowering.
Terrain rife with cultural and historical biases, renown for triggering hysteria, I came to the subject of sex with my own inherited fears and conditioning—not least of which was the understanding that respectable women don’t talk about sex; they certainly don’t write about it. But liberated women do, and I intended to.
Fast forward, and I’ve arrived in Buffalo. I need work and I’m on craigslist poking around. I felt rusty and was open to any small project related to my craft that would help recondition my discipline and intellect toward working again. I replied to several odd posts, but the one that hit was a sex site looking for content. There is always that moment of pause between intending something and realizing it; that moment of recognizing that the Universe is paying attention and now it’s your turn to mean what you ask for.
My father always reminds me that if you’re going to jump, then jump with both feet. So I took the assignment and I played the part—no hiding behind an alias; no shame. And as the new girl in a small town, I got asked often: What do you do? My answer: I’m a sex writer. I admit, I giggled, stammered and over explained at first, but I kept at it until it felt natural; came easy.
I wrote my assignment and participated in one additional project. The job did the trick, I was back in the saddle. The pay was nominal, but the satisfaction was huge. Of everything I’ve written to date, I am the most proud of my work for SEXIS. I was hired to write a digest version of a piece that appeared in the New York Times, and in addition, to include the work of several other prominent researchers and scientists. I was told to be impeccable with my facts; entertaining but not crude; appeal to all audiences and to write the article in two parts. That alone was a good challenge, but I went a step further and wove into the piece my own perspective—wisdom distilled from my journey. The original article was about sex and the science of desire; to that I added the role of self esteem and the sacred potential inherent in relationship.
The editor loved the work and had more for me, but I needed more pay and needed to move on. Before going, I agreed to be part of a pool of editors and writers from the site answering five questions. The article had been intellectual, but the list of questions were personal. Here was my original challenge returned with higher stakes. I imagined my nieces and nephews and I answered the questions for them. I told the truth, but spared the details. I love these pieces too, and mostly because they afford a good laugh at myself: sandwiched between the other writers, I sound like a Victorian writing for Penthouse.
If you’ve read The w2k Chronicles, then you know how I feel about labels—labels confine, not define us. So I’ll end by saying that I am not a sex writer. I’ve written about sex, and I imagine I’ll write about it again, but I am many things and ever changing. Life is my juicy adventure; a memoir of choices I’m writing in the present.
See you at SEXIS.