Thursday, June 15, 2006
Fleshbot and Reading
I’m gay because last night, I was in the audience cheering as Rufus Wainwright recreated Judy Garland’s legendary 1961 concert at Carnegie Hall.
I’m gay, but I’m not alone. The house was packed by about three thousand of us friends of Dorothy, including Mitzi and Viviane.
Now they, too, are certifiably "bachelors of a certain age."
And tonight, Rufus is doing it again. Even as I write, he is singing of the zing-zing-zing of his (or Judy’s?) heartstrings.
If heaven is not a lot like offering homage to Judy Garland in the company of a few thousand ecstatic queens, well then, Saint Peter can give up my reservations.
Not to rub salt in the wounds of those aching for great live music, but on the last night before we became gay men, Mitzi and I were in the sold-out crowd buzzing our brains to Radiohead.
So my apologies for the delay in giving you my weekly Sex Blog Roundup. You know, you can always look for it at Fleshbot each weekend.
So what else is new? Well, when I have not been having enviable sex and attending enviable concerts, I’ve been catching up on reading.
I polished off At Canaan’s Edge, the final volume of Taylor Branch’s trilogy on Martin Luther King, Jr. and America in his years. (Not to give away the ending, but it doesn’t turn out well for the Reverend Doctor.)
I’ve read the series as it was published over the past two decades. Branch did a masterly job of compiling stories from primary and secondary sources, weaving it all into a compelling narrative that avoids hagiography and muckracking in favor of a deeply engaging human story.
I also gave in and became the last person alive to read The Da Vinci Code.
I think I might have liked it better as the comic book it aches to be.
It’s unfair to compare such different authors as Branch and Dan Brown. But I will say this: at one point in Branch’s book, I ran across a particularly graceful turn of a phrase in describing Bayard Rustin, a central figure in King’s life. It was simple and perfect. As I reread it, I thought it rather impressive that in writing on Rustin for twenty years, Branch had never used those particular words in that particular combination. And nowhere else in this thousand-page volume did that phrase recur. If you blinked, you missed it.
Whereas Dan Brown would probably find his brain hurting if he were forbidden to use the word “astounding” more than twice in a three-page chapter.
Now, my nightstand is fitful, as it will be after finishing so time-consuming a book as At Canaan’s Edge. I flit between Estelle Freedman’s history of feminism, No Turning Back, a disappointing biography of J. D. Salinger, and starting Ross King’s promising The Judgment of Paris.
(Please note that big bad dom Jefferson is well-read on nonviolence and feminism. If you ask me, anyone in BDSM who is ignorant of these topics should pack up his Lord of the Rings action figures and go home.)
And of course, in the midst of it all, I’m reading sex blogs.
Which brings me to my point: I want to read mo’ better sex blogs.
I offer my current reading list by way of suggesting that I am a fairly catholic reader. I enjoy meaty social history and I enjoy—or rather, will read—popular fiction. I am equally content to read about a broad range of subjects in sex blogs.
Mo’ better sex blogs will help me to fulfill my charge in rounding up a good selection each week.
My friends kid me that I spend time reading about sex and calling it “work.” But you know, it ain’t as easy as it looks.
As I compile my Roundup, I am faced with a few constraints—some imposed by myself, some by Fleshbot, others by circumstances.
For starters, I don’t include my co-editor Chelsea Girl in my Roundup, just as she doesn’t include me in hers. Mind you, I think her blog is almost as brilliant as the woman who writes it (I say “almost” only because she really is that brilliant). But it’s only right to omit one another, as we each get a regular turn at putting our names before the Fleshbot readership. We use that opportunity to put others in the spotlight.
Furthermore, if Chelsea Girl includes a blog in her Roundup, it is off the list for mine, and vice versa.
We are that pure.
This is not a problem for my esteemed colleague, but as for me, I’m not inclined to include blog entries that feature me having sex. That just seems, I don’t know . . . unseemly. People may think that I was trading sex for influence when, in fact, I just happen to be having hot sex with some of the hottest sex writers in the blogosphere.
So I will largely leave it to you to keep track of Madeline, Marcus, Rose and Meg.
Chelsea Girl may add these fine writers to her Roundup as she chooses.
(If you want to have sex with me and still appear in the Roundup, be advised that you shouldn’t also sleep with Chelsea Girl. Career-minded authors will refrain from threesomes with us.)
Fleshbot readers want diversity, and so I can’t return to featured blogs as often as I might like. So while I am a very enthusiastic follower of many blogs—including, among others, Sexy UK Girl, Naked Loft Party, Fallen Girl Falling, The Holiday Life, Sugar Baby Weekly, The Glengarry Leads, Sex and the Second City, and newcomer Black Geisha—there are only so many times they can be highlighted by either Chelsea Girl or myself.
This leaves me with the rest of you. If you would like your blog included in the Roundup, may I ask a few favors?
Make yourself known. I can’t read blogs I haven’t uncovered. Please introduce yourself by dropping me a line at email@example.com.
Take care in your writing. At the very least, run a spell check before you post. I would prefer not to feature blogs replete with typos. Also, be sure your page layout is legible. I won’t strain my eyes reading tiny fonts over busy wallpaper.
Make it sexy. It doesn’t matter to me one whit if you write fantasy or fact, straight or queer, monogamous or slutty. Just remember that your readers want steamy, juicy sex. Go for the libido.
Make it smart. Smart is sexy, so maybe this is redundant. But when you write smut, ask yourself: what makes this interesting to other people? Can you convey something other than how awesome it is to get some? Go for the brain.
Develop characters. Tell us more about the people behind the bodies in motion. Your readers will respond when they recognize a human being in your personal porn stars.
All of this talk about writing has me itching to return to my own narrative. And so we turn back to our tale, in which Erin’s arrival finds Jefferson and Shelby in a rather compromised position . . .
At Canaan's Edge
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Da Vinci Code