Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Losing My Religion

There was a time in my life when I believed in a “Universal Presence”. An energy that filled the spaces in between. If I “fed” it enough positive energy and positive thoughts I could make positive things happen. I was a member of the Center For Spiritual Living (the church that Ernest Holmes started with several others) and was studying to be a practitioner. I wanted to become someone who could help others by doing “treatments”, otherwise known as prayers, and always seeing them as whole, happy and complete. But, life happened and finances kept me from continuing on that study path.

A couple years after that I craved a spiritual outlet (or inlet depending on your perspective) so I looked into Zen Buddhism. Meditation was always the foundation of my spiritual house and, at the time, I needed to learn how to be more present in the world. After attending a 3 day silent retreat at a monastery in Clatskanie, Oregon I began my Zen practice at a local zendo here in Portland. I found the practice to be very enlightening and benefited greatly from my daily sitting.

But, as I became more connected to the world around me I felt it's profoundly heavy pain and sorrow. So much so that it scared me. So I stopped. I stopped sitting, stopped meditating, stopped trying to be present and mindful. I cut off the connection and felt myself become bitter to the world.

It's been close to four years since I've had a meditation practice. Four years of being disconnected from everything in the world besides what and who I choose to be connected to. I've always been a spiritual person in some way, shape or form so to be without it now somehow makes life feel....empty.

So the question is, can I get back to it? Can I be spiritual again after this time of complete and utter bitterness? Can I get past the cynicism at this point? If not, is there anything else out there? Something I can believe in? Not just follow blindly but actually believe in?

I don't know nor do I know where to start. Perhaps a good place to start is to try meditation again. Do what I can to focus on the positive.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chop Wood. Carry Water.





Pardon my absence from the blogging world these past few months. Words that once flowed freely have been dammed by some unknown force. Add to that the wicked busy work schedule and stress with my day job and things seem to go even further down hill.


I'm hoping a small break will help create a break in the dam. Perhaps when the holidays are through, things will settle down and I'll be able to "hear" them.

The Butch/Femme photo project has been put on hold through the holidays, as well. In January I will put together a Kickstarter campaign and see what happens.

Hope all is well in your world.

Peace.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Black Friday

In the great words of my friend, Nik Kel, "I encourage you: if you have plans for black Friday, consider spending that money by donating to causes you are motivated and invested in. Because that is truly something to be thankful for: having the ability to give and to help make the world a better place."

Some causes that you might consider:

My current photo project, The Butch/Femme Photo Project. http://astrangerinthisplace.blogspot.com/p/butchfemme-photo-project.html

My friend, Nik's, Top Surgery Fund: http://www.indiegogo.com/thisnikstransition?c=home

My friend, Medina's, fundraising efforts for her family in a time of medical crisis: https://www.facebook.com/notes/medina-doryfish-cardona/transitioning/385258054886227

Fundraising efforts for another one of my friend's medical needs: http://naimalowe.chipin.com/the-hole-in-beccas-gut

The Portland Q Center is a great place to donate to. http://www.pdxqcenter.org/

The Cascade AIDS Project (World AIDS Day is December 1st!). http://cascadeaids.org/

This page contains many links to help with the recovery efforts after Hurricane Sandy. http://www.crowdrise.com/sandyrelief

The wonderful organization, ASPCA. http://www.aspca.org/

Another wonderful organization, the Humane Society. http://www.humanesociety.org/

The Born Free Foundation. http://www.bornfree.org.uk/

Meals on Wheels. http://www.mowaa.org/

These and many other causes. People helping people is what the holidays are about.

Peace and blessings to you and yours.


Be Thankful Every Day



I am thankful for you.

Peace and blessings.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gifts and Shame

I have a really difficult time asking for help or for things that I want. Lately I've been working a lot to heal my internal shame that creates this feeling. It's hidden in there pretty deep and I'm finding that it's probably one of the biggest struggles with self that I've ever encountered. Having a small sense of worth and belonging, which, to be honest, is sometimes worse then others, doesn't help with my internalized sense of "not good enough". This is the shame I'm talking about.

I'm finding that this is really hard to put into words.

Basically, it's hard for me to ask for help or for things that I want. I've always been one of those who spends very little on herself and always thinks twice about a purchase for herself but will never think twice about a purchase for a friend or a family member. With just about every fundraiser I come across, I do my best to pitch in somehow. I know there are a lot of people and organizations in need at this time and I don't hesitate to send any money I can their way. Whether it's $5, $10 or $20, I do what I can.

But, when it comes to fundraising for myself or spending money on my passions I balk. I have a hard time marketing myself. Not just to everyone else but to me, as well! This is why my photography business has gone quiet. This is why I haven't yet attempted any fundraising for the Butch/Femme Photo Project. This is why I haven't let very many people know about the fundraising effort my girlfriend is putting forth to raise money for a camera lens I so desperately want for my upcoming birthday and holiday in December. She created an event for it on Facebook and every time I've gone in to "invite" people I get halfway through and think, "But everyone is struggling and there's so many other people in need right now. Who am I to ask for this?" The moment I think that I click on "Cancel" then struggle with it again.

I'm not sure how to work past this. Yet. But, I'm working on it.

In the meantime, I just need to put this out there. (From my girlfriend.)

Wendi will be having a birthday in December and all she really wants is a camera lens for her new photo project. These are incredibly expensive. If any of you can spare it, I would like to get her the lens with the help of friends and family. I have a PayPal account. The email address is frisia69@yahoo.com and please pick "personal" and "gift". Any amount you can contribute would be amazing! She is so dedicated and glows when she talks about this project. If you are unsure how to use PayPal, please email me and I can help! Thank you so much for considering helping out. I know money is tight.

I know money is tight these days and I know there are so many in need right now but if you can help in any way, even if it's just a dollar, I would be eternally grateful.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Writing

I'm not sure where this image comes from. I like it.
This year I've decided to accept the challenge of participating in NaNoWriMo. It's National Novel Writing Month and it's all about writing a novel in 30 days. That's 50,000 words in 30 days. If you've ever written a story, or not honestly, you'll know just how crazy this is. It's a pretty steep challenge.

I think most participants write stories but I've decided to use it to start working on a memoir of sorts. My story. Everyone has one but not everyone writes it down for one reason or another.

Through blogging and online journals I've discovered the value in sharing your story. People who read my posts have emailed me or commented that they can somehow relate and they're glad they're not alone in those feelings. Because of this discovery, I've been wanting to work on a memoir.

It isn't about how I survived the wild after trekking out on my own or how I survived a bus crash in a third world country but it is about how I survived life itself. How I got to this time in my life where more and more things are starting to make sense, even though the rest of the world seems a bit crazy at the moment.

It's about how I came out, the way I move and present in the world, how I got to that point in my life where I figured out that living a miserable life that looks nothing like the life I wanted was just not worth it anymore. Throwing away a career and a way of life, namely being able to pay the bills and save a little. Not to mention the respect of a few people.

For this challenge, in order for me to hit the target of 50,000 words in 30 days I have to write an average of 1,667 words per day. The first day was a breeze. I pounded out over 1,700 words but the last two days were a bit more difficult, to say the least. I realized today that I'm bringing to my consciousness things I hadn't thought about in years. Things that I may or may not have worked through during the course of my life. Hard things.

So, the writing slowed. But, I'm not going to belittle myself for it. The fact is, I sat down to write at some point during each of the last 3 days. Writing is something I've missed more then anyone could ever imagine. Writing, for me, is like breathing. Sometimes each word is a breath, other days every other word is an inhalation and every other word is an exhalation. Then there are the days when every character is a breath because the flow is so quick and I just can't write fast enough to get the words out of my head and if I don't keep up with the words my world will end!

But, the most important thing is to write. No matter how many words, how much time I spend doing it, or whether or not I create a story. The most important thing is to write. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Samhain/Halloween!

 
May the ancestors deliver blessings on you and yours...
May the new year bear great fruits for you...
May your granted wishes be as many as the seeds in a pomegranate...
May the slide into darkness bring you light...
May the memories of what has been keep you strong for what is to be...
May this Samhain cleanse your heart, your soul, and your mind!
--- traditional Samhain blessing

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Butch/Femme Photo Project In It's First Gallery Show!

I am so happy to announce that the first eleven photographs in the Butch/Femme Photo Project will be featured in TransConnect Resource and Cultural Fair gallery show titled "Femme, Butch, Queer & Trans Intersection" at the Portland Q Center next month! They will be hanging at the Center for the entire month of November and ten of the eleven pieces will be a part of a silent auction to raise funds for the Q Center and the Order of Benevolent Bliss’ working and grants funds!

If you're in the area, the gallery show and reception will take place on Saturday, November 17th at 5pm. Come by, say hello and check out the photographs in print form!

Below is the flyer with all of the information on the Fair's happening.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Where My Thoughts Are Lately

Photo by Del Rapier
I know I've been pretty quiet lately. I haven't been prioritizing writing at all lately and I miss it. Terribly. But, lately when I sit down to write I don't even know where to start so I sit there in front of the screen completely frozen. So, this morning I'm just going to get some things out. Things that have been in my head as of late.

Lately, I've found myself re-reading my last post over and over again. Moments when I feel less secure or when I feel myself slip back into old relationship patterns. The ones that are dictated by my fear of abandonment. The fear I've carried since those first 5 days in this plane of existence.

I've been immersed in Brene' Brown's book about shame titled "I Thought It Was Just Me (but it isn't)" and it's brought up a lot of stuff for me. Mostly, it's sort of putting the pieces of the puzzle together in that I can more clearly see the feelings that surround that fear of abandonment. Shame, feelings of not being enough, unlovable, and unnecessary. Being vulnerable with someone I love can be terrifying because of that fear of abandonment. What if they see all of me and fall out of love or discover they never really loved me in the first place? Not being vulnerable with them makes me feel 10 million miles away from them when all I want is to be close and feel connected.

We all just want to belong and to be loved.

Even as I type this I can hear this voice in the back of my head teasing me and taunting me about feeling this way. "No one wants to see this dribble. Who cares how you feel. Stop being so weak and suck it up."

Then my rational side kicks in and reminds me that this is being vulnerable and that being vulnerable takes a tremendous amount of courage and strength. It's not about weakness at all. Also, stay in the moment. Remember what you wrote about love and having forever with yourself? That if you get that forever with someone else, it's a bonus? Enjoy these moments. Be here now.

Let the stories of your past go. Don't let them dictate your future.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Lessons of Love

It's taken me almost 43 years on the planet but I've finally learned some lessons about love. Granted, I'll be continuously reminding myself of these lessons and I'm constantly learning more, but I feel as though I'm finally "getting" it.

The most important lesson of them all, and the one I'm going to write about now, is that the idea of "forever" really only pertains to my relationship with myself. It sounds cliche' but it's true that you have to love yourself before you can expect anyone to love you. I sometimes have to work on this minute by minute but in those difficult times, I do come around to the idea and give myself gentle reminders.

I've always believed in "the one" yet always struggled with the how and why and when. How can I believe in forever if I can't find the one? How do I find the one? Why doesn't she seem to exist? If she does, when do I get to the forever with her?

Each time I've fallen in love I've done it completely and whole heartedly, so why isn't the forever happening?

The forever didn't happen because I confused falling in love with "making myself the person you want to be with" and thereby negating the person that I truly am inside. It took 40 years for me to figure that out so I'm still discovering who I am. Luckily, I've found someone who is doing the same sort of inner work and so far we're a good match. 

In the past 3 years I feel like I've grown by leaps and bounds as far as love and relationships are concerned. Open communication is something I struggled with inside of a love relationship but now I just want to say it, get it out there, let it be known and deal with it. I don't want to waste time playing games or feeling hurt because of something someone else did and my perception of it consumes my thoughts. Life is too fucking short to spend time doing those things when I could be experiencing more love and intimacy with my partner. The sort of intimacy that comes from communication, openness and honesty is what my heart craves.

The forever hasn't happened because it really doesn't exist with someone outside of myself. The idea of it is still amazing and awesome and something I would welcome with an open heart but my expectation of it has changed. I don't expect to spend forever with anyone but myself. (Forever meaning the rest of my days on this planet, just to be clear.) If I do end up getting to spend forever with someone then bonus! But, the intensity of the love that needs to be there in order for that to happen has to start with me. I have to love myself that intensely before I can expect anyone else to be able to do the same.

Bottom line is, the only moment I have in this life is this one. To experience it, I mean fully experience it, I have to be here for it. Mind, body and soul. I have to be fully present in it and be grateful for the love I have in this moment. Everything else is just a dream. As the saying goes, the past is gone and the future is but a dream. All we have is the present.

Or something like that.

I think this says it best; “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Of course, all of this is in the forefront of my thoughts because I've recently made the leap of moving in with my girlfriend officially official. By that I mean that I've finally changed my address at all of the "important" places. I've perceived it as a scary thing for me based on what's happened to me in the past once I've gotten to this point. Yes, the past is good for lessons but it's important not to cling too tightly to those lessons that don't encourage growth. Hopefully that makes sense. My past love life taught me to be cautious and caused me to build quite the wall around my heart but by doing that I miss out on so much. I could hang on to that perspective and continue to love with a cautious heart or I could change my perspective and find a way to experience more love within a relationship. This is what I'm doing with this relationship and it's been incredibly good for me. There are still times when I find myself falling into that walled up place but I'm continuously getting better at recognizing it, thankfully.

Now I'm rambling but bottom line is I'm so grateful for these lessons, for this moment and for this love.

It's all very good stuff.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Butch/Femme Photo Project Gets A Facebook Page

 

I just wanted to let everyone know that my Butch/Femme Photo Project now has it's own Facebook page! It's another way for me to get the word out about the project so please check it out, "Like" it and share it far and wide! 

https://www.facebook.com/ButchFemmePhotoProject

I have three photo shoots lined up this weekend for the project so an update to the page will happen soon! Thank you all for participating, supporting and encouraging me to keep going with this project!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Gratitude, Gifting and Grandpa

An awesome TEDx Talk by John Styn.

His grandpa reminds me of mine. He focused on the positive in life, too. How could you focus on anything else with a name like A. Happy Haskell?

Take a 17 minute break and watch this video. It's totally worth it.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gratitude

I'm hearing from more and more of you out there since announcing the Butch/Femme Photo Project and I just wanted to take a moment to stop and show my gratitude. Your comments and your emails motivate me to continue with writing and with the project. It truly is a project that comes from my heart.

Thank you. Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Thank you for being comfortable enough and trusting enough to do so with me. Thank you for your encouragement and motivation to continue to do this project and write in this blog. Every one of your comments and emails are important to me.

Thank you for being you.

As a quick update on the project, I have a few more photo shoots lined up within the next few weeks so look for updates along the way. I'm thinking that as soon as I get those posted I will begin with the task of fundraising for travel expenses around the states and possibly up to Canada so I can capture all of the participants who are out of my immediate area. So, if you're one of those participants, I hope to see you soon!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Virgin Year At Burning Man

This year I was gifted with the opportunity to attend the Burning Man festival in Black Rock City, Nevada. If you don't know what Burning Man is, the best I can do is lead you to the web site. Everyone has asked me all about it and I'm finding that I just don't have the words to fully encapsulate the experience.

Burning Man is so hard to describe. It's almost sadly difficult to describe but only in the sense that the world and the society in which we live is running at such a fast pace and most everyone in it is connected but mostly in a virtual way. At Burning Man, I was completely disconnected from the virtual world and was fully connected to the world and everyone around me in a very real way. It was amazing, to say the very least.

The human connection and the connection that I used to feel to everything around me are connections that I had been craving. That connection, that feeling of being connected to everyone and everything, was all over Black Rock City. Everyone was so happy to be Home. Not one person greeted me with a simple handshake. Every greeting was met with a hug and not just a quick pat-on-the-back hug, these were from the heart, full embraces. The way hugs are supposed to feel. The hugs that you get when you know that the other person really sees you.

Going to Burning Man felt very much like a spiritual journey for me. My greeter at the gate was perfect for this journey, as well. First she gave me a big hug and said, "Welcome Home!" Then before she handed me the pipe to ring the bell with she pointed to where we had just come from and said, "There is your past," then pointing to where we were going she said, "this is your future. Ring the bell with all of your intentions for your week's experience and for your future."  That is exactly what I did. My intention was to open up my heart to whatever the week and the playa gifted to me.

I went Home in so many ways. Home to where everyone reconnected with each other and the world around them. Home to where I reconnected with myself.  Home to where I reconnected with everyone and everything around me. All of that reconnection has opened my eyes to the people and the world around me. Not to sound like the movie quote but, I SEE people. Seeing people makes me want to connect with them more even in the virtual world. I don't feel like I could just "Like" something on Facebook anymore. I'm more drawn to actually comment because it feels more to me like I'm connecting with them.

Hopefully, I can hold on to this feeling and I think I can. I have to remain conscious of it though and not allow myself to get so lost again. Staying present in the moments that I have are of utmost importance. Keeping site of my priorities, which is staying connected to myself, my family, my friends and the world around me is top priority. Everything else is just stuff, really. 

 Of course, while at Burning Man I took A LOT of photographs because it's a photographer's paradise. I've posted them all to my Flickr account if you'd like to check them out. I'll slowly add descriptions as I can. It's taken me 2 days to actually get through all of the photos so it'll take some time to get them all settled. They are in chronological order, within the set, from setting up camp (and resetting up camp after we were hit by what was actually a dust devil but what we're calling a tornado) to the sunrise of the last day and the sunset of last Thursday when my love took me on a surprise spa day to Bonneville Hot Springs.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

New Adventures, Butch/Femme Photo Project and Loss

Photo by Del R.
These past few weeks have gone by in a bit of a whirlwind. On July 22nd I officially registered my photography business with the state of Oregon and the city of Portland. I am officially a small business owner. I even have a brand new website, wendikaliphotography.com. Also, I am now a member of the Professional Photographer's Association.

If I thought I was jumping in with both feet when I left the accounting world, I was only partially right. NOW I'm jumping in with both feet. It's exciting and terrifying all at once. But, I plan to take it slow and go at it part-time for as long as I need to make it into a full-time gig. My goal is to get there within the next year and a half. During that year and a half I'll be working 7 days a week but if that's what it takes to make this dream a reality, then that's what I'll do. I am in love with photography and everything about it. It is my heart and my passion. Being behind the camera and seeing the world through the lens feels as natural as breathing to me.

The Butch/Femme Photo Project has been very well received by the community all over the US and even a few up in Canada! I've received some beautiful and heartbreaking answers to the questions I sent out to all who wish to participate. I am deeply touched by their willingness to share so openly and so freely. Their stories are so important and they should be heard and remembered.

So far I've had two photo shoots with project participants! I have four more scheduled this weekend, too! Meeting participants and photographing them has been incredibly inspiring and motivating. This project includes some pretty incredible and amazing people. I'm really very excited to see how it progresses. I'm considering creating a blog for it but haven't quite decided on that piece just yet. Once I get more images together and edited I hope to figure that out.

Last Tuesday brought some heartbreaking news for me. A beloved ex co-worker and her daughter were shot a week ago this past Sunday. Victims of domestic violence, which saddened and angered me all at once. Her daughter survived and was just released from the hospital today. She suffered 5 gun shot wounds. My co-worker and friend, Norma Jean Perrone, didn't survive. My heart aches for her and her family. She was a tremendously bright light in this ever darkening world.

This evening one of the motorcycle riding groups that she was a part of organized a memorial ride in honor of her. I took the night off from work to attend. I wasn't going to miss it for anything. We met up at Latus Motors in Gladstone, Oregon and rode out to Multnomah Falls for a candle light vigil. There were over 150 riders there. It was a beautiful memorial that soothed my saddened heart. The photos that I took tonight can be seen on my Flickr page.

Life is so precious.

In addition to all of these happenings, I've been preparing to go to Burning Man. Needless to say, life has been a bit crazy. Lots of good and a little bit of sadness. Not a bad balance if I do say so myself.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Totems & The Messages They Brought To Me Tonight

The baby long-legged bat I encountered tonight.

A few months ago wild animals began appearing in my life. It started with a bald eagle I spotted perched on top of a tall pine tree in the parking lot at work. I snapped as good of a photo of it as I could with my iPhone, then stood there and watched it as it looked for prey. It was, quite literally, awesome. I could almost feel it's strength and spirit.

After that encounter, I began to wonder if there was a message in there for me. Even though I wasn't raised in the Native American culture, I do have Cherokee blood from my birth father's side and I've studied a bit about totems and traditions of the Native American people. Seeing the eagle made me wonder about it's meaning within that culture and whether or not that meaning had a Universal message.

At the time, I was struggling with my photography and had very low self-confidence around it. I hadn't picked up my camera in quite a while, to be honest. After looking up the meaning of the eagle totem I found the message of “not allowing the illusion of limitation to ground us in our flight”. I took it to heart and picked up my camera once again.

A month or so later as I was driving home from work late at night, I crossed paths with a raccoon. He was almost instantly in front of my car in a dark stretch of highway and in a place where I was absolutely unable to avoid hitting him. I felt horrible when it happened and still do. The rest of my drive home was filled with tears and apologies and heart ache. I have never hit an animal and now know how traumatizing it is. I am still so sorry.

A week or so after that I noticed a deer on the side of that same freeway. She was feeding on leaves about 50 feet from the freeway. After I passed her I silently asked her to stay away from the road. 

Last night on my way home from work on that same freeway I passed the body of a mountain lion that had been hit. I regret not stopping and going back to it, but what would I have been able to do? It wasn't moving so I assumed it was killed on impact. Again, I felt horrible. Even though I wasn't the one who hit it, I felt horrible for being a part of the same species that killed it. I shed some tears and sent a prayer up into the Universe for it's smooth transition into the next life.

While I was at work tonight, on my lunch break, my co-worker called me over to his work area and pointed at something on the floor. It was a baby long-legged bat. The only other time I've ever seen a bat was when I visited family in Massachusetts while still a teenager so I was awestruck. The little guy was trying to find it's way out of the warehouse, I assumed, so I quickly found a clear bowl in the kitchen and led him inside of it then covered it so he wouldn't try and fly away until I got him outside. I took him to the back of the building where there are a few trees and nothing much else around, hoping he'd find his way and be safe. After putting him down he quickly found the wall of the building and started to climb it. I wished him luck and watched him for a few moments.

After going back to work tonight I started thinking about all of these encounters and sort of putting them together. When I came home tonight I had to sit down and research each one of their totem meanings.

The eagle is about not allowing the illusion of limitation to ground us in our flight.
The raccoon is about cleverness, adaptation, leadership in groups, empowerment of others, and the masks we wear.
The deer is about seeking out our inner treasures.
The mountain lion is about courage, power, patience, decision and intuition.
Finally, the bat is about the ability to see through illusion or ambiguity and dive straight to the truth of matters. It is also a symbol of rebirth.

When I put all of these things together, I am clear that the path I am on with my new project and my new business is the path that I am supposed to be on. For that message, I am truly grateful.

Just to note, even though I am grateful, my heart is sad for those beautiful animals. We, as humans, don't tread lightly on this Earth and that affects every single one of them. My respect for this planet and the creatures that inhabit it is great and I do my best to live peacefully, compassionately and respectfully.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Style of Wedding Photography

Last weekend I had the pleasure of photographing an incredibly sweet, small and simple wedding for two wonderful people, Diane and Michelle. It's the third wedding I've photographed and I am very much enjoying watching the progress of my photography.

I'm not the typical wedding photographer in that I don't do all of the set up shots, although I'm feeling as though I could make that happen at this point, as well. (I won't make the wedding party jump up in the air though. Unless they really want to.) For this wedding, the only shot that I set up was this one:


Most of my shots are candid shots. I have discovered that I have a unique ability to observe. I am a people watcher and always have been. That power of observation combined with my empathic abilities helps me to see things that some, or most, people do not.  I use that to my advantage to capture shots like this:

Diane & Michelle

Or this:






And this:


My ultimate goal is to capture those moments that are filled with emotion. Moments that tell the story of that day or that love or those people. I believe that a photograph should tell a story.

Wedding days are filled with so much love and joy that it almost makes it too easy. Almost.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Butch/Femme Photo Project Announcement

I've been thinking about doing this photo project for a few months now. It's taken a bit of thought and I've let it gently brew for those few months, not knowing exactly what it would look like. Over the past week or so, it's become much more clear so I'd like to get started with it.

It could, certainly, morph into something entirely different then what is currently rattling around in my brain. But, for now, these are my thoughts on why I want to do this and what it looks like at the moment.

Over the course of the last few months I've been reading two books that have made quite the impact on me by teaching me a lot about the history of butches and femmes. The Persistent Desire: A Femme-Butch Reader edited by Joan Nestle and Persistence: All Ways Butch And Femme edited by Ivan E. Coyote and Zena Sharman. Both are anthologies and contain an abundance of incredible writers. I highly recommend getting your hands (and eyes) on these books.

One of the things I've learned from reading these books is that butches and femmes have always been here. We're always going to be here. No matter how much our community fights amongst itself about our presence, we are always going to be here. We are a part of it's history, we are a part of it's present and we are a part of it's future.

There is no one way to be butch or femme. Each one of us is our own unique and individual expression of the identity. Those expressions are what I would like to capture and document for future generations.

Do you identify as butch or femme? If so, would you consider participating in my project by answering some questions via email and allowing me to photograph you? This could turn into a book so you must be comfortable with being a part of our documented history.

At the moment all of the expenses for this are coming out of my pocket so I must keep the traveling to a minimum. I hope to find a way to raise some funds for traveling over the course of this project but in the meantime, if you live anywhere between Eugene, Oregon and Seattle, Washington and would like to participate, please send me an email with your name, the town you live in and whether you identify as butch or femme. My email address is wendikali(at)gmail(dot)com.

I'm so very excited about this project and cannot wait to get started! I hope to hear from you!

Wendi Kali

**UPDATE (7/23/12) - If you live anywhere in the US or Canada and would like to participate in this project, please email me so I can get you on my list of possible places to travel! I have been offered help in getting Kickstarter (or something similar) campaign going to raise funds for travel for this project! I am so excited about this project!

Thanks to everyone who has emailed me already!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why Did It Bother Me? Getting To The Deeper Question.

Photo by SD Holman
Over the course of the past week, I've been "Sir"ed and given the twice (maybe even three times) over by a guy in the Home Depot near my house. Being "Sir"ed is just one of those things for me so it didn't even phase me but I didn't even notice the guy in the Home Depot.

My girl did. She seemed a bit surprised by it but my reaction to her when she mentioned it was one of, "It happens a lot. I've just become oblivious to it." A few steps after that I realized that I was surprised by my reaction to her.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm constantly trying to make the people around me feel comfortable and by doing that I down play situations, make them seem not so important. I make it seem as if those situations don't bother me when they actually do. My concern for their comfort takes a higher priority then my own. It did bother me. Yes, it does happen to me the majority of the time but the majority of the time I'm not bothered by it. When it does bother me, I have to ask myself the deeper question of why and what's really the issue that's at the deeper level that needs to be dealt with at the moment?

I've been struggling lately with self-confidence issues which is having a huge impact on my self-esteem. Lately all of that energy has been focused on my body and how uncomfortable I am in it. It's bigger then what I'm used to and it doesn't fit into clothes that it used to. It doesn't do the things it used to do when I was younger and an athlete. It constantly aches.

I was a sprint swimmer, a catcher and first basemen in softball and center and left tackle on the women's full tackle football team. I wasn't ever the best athlete on the field or in the pool but I poured my heart into every sport I played. My second home was the gym. Everything I did revolved around a physical activity.

Then the injury happened and I gave away those physical things that I loved, which, looking back, gave me a connection to my body. A connection I no longer feel.

I think it all stems from the frustration I feel over the fact that I can't do what I used to do. I can't go for a jog or a run without doing further damage to my knee. I can't. I can't. I can't. The words "I can't" have wormed their way into my vocabulary and it makes me feel weak. That feeling beats on my self-confidence and, in turn, crushes my self-esteem. Does being strong and being an athlete define who I am? Have I allowed it to define who I am?

The fact of the matter is, I can do other things like bicycle or swim or use the elliptical and I can continue to work out. Something in me gave up when my knee went belly up though.

Why did I choose to lose that connection to my body, to myself?

There it is. The deeper question to all of this. Interesting. I have more to ponder.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Reading "First Ride"

Photo by Sinclair Sexsmith

Reading my story aloud last night in front of a kinky crowd and in the presence of so many amazingly talented authors made me finally realize that my writing is, well, good. 

Hearing the audiences reactions to certain places within the story and having people come up to me afterwords to tell me how much they loved my story and listening to me read it was amazing. I'm still thrown a bit when people ask me to sign the book. It's a very surreal feeling.

As much as my mind and my body resisted going last night, I am so glad I did because I needed that boost. 

I have some things to work on as far as reading this story aloud, such as more eye contact while I'm reading, but all in all I did pretty well. My girl and my friends said they couldn't tell I was nervous, which was good because my heart was racing.  Thankfully, I wasn't shaking. It's nice to know that I can keep myself collected on the outside while the bundle of nerves do their thing on the inside.

This morning I feel the motivation to write more. It's a motivation that hasn't shown it's face around here for a while. After listening to other authors read their stories, I'm also reminded that I need to go to readings more. It's a good place to find inspiration.

I think I'll go work on my memoir now.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Writing Insecurities

I woke up this morning thinking about lots of things. The weird dream I vaguely remembered, a butch/femme photo shoot project I'm slowly trying to dream up, books I've been reading and of course doing some writing. Specific to writing, a blog post or working on that essay book I keep talking about. The book where I talk about growing up as me, a "masculine of center" woman or, as I have labeled myself for the past couple of years, a butch woman. After deciding to write a blog post I began writing about the books I've been reading on butch women.

A lot of books I've been interested in lately are on the subject of the butch/femme dynamic and the history of "my people", as I lovingly refer to them. The lessons that I've taken from these books are many. The biggest one being the fact that I have and am a part of a rich history of strong woman. Woman who have fought to be who they truly are in this world. Women who would rather die fighting with their heads held high then walk around on this planet defeated and broken, living as society believes they should. The pride I feel from knowing this history is immense. It's too big for mere words to capture.

Therein lies my dilemma. Not only has it been difficult for me to capture in words those feelings I feel about all of this rich history I am learning about and embracing, it's also been difficult for me to fully capture any feelings in words. Let alone post any of those words in a public space for all the world to see. So my writing has been infrequent and mostly kept to journaling.

What I've recently discovered, again (because it seems to come and go depending on what's happening in other parts of my life), while reading these books and a few blogs is my inner critic. She's a major pain in the ass, to be blunt. She likes to stop me from doing anything that I really love. She'll sit back in the corners of my thoughts and taunt and tease me while I'm reading these books and blogs. "You're writing will never be as good as this author's. You're not even half as smart as she is. Why do you even try?" She'll go on and on and on until I stop doing anything that brings me joy. She knows how to push my "not good enough" button and she'll do it until I'm a weeping pile of darkness and despair if I let her.

The only way to shut her up is to sit down and write.

And write.

And write.

Then write some more.

So, this morning I attempted to and there she was again. Not wanting to completely give in to her, I took a break and did some chores around the house. Then I sat down and tried again. There she was in all her little pent up bully-ness. This time I got up and went out to the garden to weed and fertilize the vegetables. While outside in the dirt it occurred to me that I was trying too hard to write about something I haven't quite wrapped my brain around.  "Write about what's happening in your head right now."

So, here I am. Revealing my insecurities around my own writing right here on my blog for all the world to see. No, it's not a call for comments or pep talks. It just is what it is.

At the moment, the insecurities are exacerbated by the fact that tomorrow night I will be reading my story from Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica in front of a lot of my friends and a lot of strangers. Normally, I'm totally fine with public speaking. Hell, I've been standing up in front of strangers and telling my very personal story since I was a teenager. My introduction to public speaking involved telling my story of growing up in an alcohol and drug addicted household while involved in Alateen. That's pretty damn intimate.

It's just that this story, First Ride, is an entirely different kind of intimate. It's the ultimate in vulnerability. It's sex and lust and fantasy and it all came from my most intimate thoughts. I am proud of it, don't get me wrong, but I'm simply embarrassed to read it out loud in front of all of those people. I would rather they read it in the privacy of their own thoughts and let me know what they thought of it.

But, that's not the way this works. When you write a story and it gets published, there's a chance someone will want you to read it aloud. I get it. It adds something to it when the author reads it. It's good for promotion. So, tomorrow night I will walk into that space and show nothing but confidence. When I am introduced, I will stand up tall and walk with confidence to the front of the room. Then I'll read my story with pride while doing my best to hide the terribly insecure writer inside. With any luck, I'll keep the redness in my face to a minimum.

Wish me luck.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pride


This past weekend was Pride weekend here in Portland. I had a lot of mixed feelings about it this year. Last year I choose not to participate in it at all because it's been the same pretty much every year. Lots of dance parties at bars, lots of drinking, a festival with the same vendors and lots of entertainment yet no speakers who talked about our history, and a parade that seemed to always have the same contingents. Business after business, which made it feel like a really big advertisement. To say that I was disappointed would have been an understatement.

This year, I felt the same way about it. It feels to me as if we've lost our history and that saddens me. Pride celebrations began in order to commemorate the riots at the Stonewall Inn. Our fight to be open and have communities started on June 26, 1969. How many of the younger folks in our community know the history of our struggle to be open about who we are?

My first Pride experience after I came out was in San Diego, California. The Pride weekend kicked off with a rally Friday night where speakers talked about our history and our struggle and where we needed to focus our fight for rights next. It was my first exposure to our history and I remember feeling very proud to be a part of my community. It was the first time I felt proud to be gay.

It seems as Pride has lost it's history, true meaning and purpose these days. Corporate sponsorships have taken over and turned it into one large advertisement. While it's good to know which businesses support our community so our community can support them, it's also good to remember why we have Pride marches (yes, marches not parades), Dyke marches and Pride celebrations.

There are some good internet sites that have great articles about the history of our struggle to be out and proud. Please take the time to read them. Everyone, gay and straight, should know this history. The Gendershift Blog has a great article about Stonewall. Also, in June of 2008 there was a panel of speakers who were all there at the Stonewall riots. The videos from that panel are here. Please take the time to watch them and listen to their stories. It's so important to know this history and why we celebrate Pride.

I almost didn't attend Pride again this year. I debated with myself about it all week last week and even posted a question on facebook to all of my friends asking why they do or don't do Pride. Most of the answers agreed with what I was feeling. They felt that it didn't represent them and that the history of why we celebrate is lost in the drunken debauchery that ensues over the weekend. But then someone posted a link to this article where the writer talked about various strands of the community showing up to one place and how it reminded him that he's part of a larger community.

After reading this article and thinking about this perspective I had a change of heart. At the last minute, I decided to hop on my motorcycle and ride with Dykes on Bikes in the parade. No matter how I feel about any other part of Pride, I still believe in what Dykes on Bikes stand for and am still proud to lead the Pride march because of it. I can be who I am in the world because of those butches and drag queens who fought for me back in 1969 and since then. Yesterday, I rode in honor of them and as a way of thanking them.

In the end, I am so glad I made that last minute decision. My heart is filled with so much gratitude.

Today I stand with pride.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Blank Page For My Bleeding Heart

When I open the blank page my mind becomes just as blank.

I'm not sure why.

No. That's not true.

I know why.

There's too much floating inside of my brain. Too much confusion and disappointment about the world that surrounds me. So much that I don't even know what to say about it. Yes, I'm letting it all get to me but, really, how can you not?

I'm on a bit of a media fast at the moment, but that only means that I choose what I watch on Netflix and keep the radio off. The rest of the time I am bombarded with advertisement. I can tell how things in the world are going simply by looking at the price of gas. Too much is tied to it these days. Lives and blood are tied to oil and the profit it makes.

It's true.

I am a bleeding heart liberal.

There's just no way around it.

I care about the world and the living beings in it. Every living thing. I care so it frustrates and confuses me to no end when I hear about more killing in the name of religion, resources, or land. I care so it frustrates and confuses me when human beings are denied their most basic of rights.

What are we doing?

Why are we doing it?

When will we stop?


Monday, May 28, 2012

Feeling Welcome Within The Community


The smallness and sometimes insular feeling of my community here in Portland makes it difficult for new people to join in. A friend of mine attended the QDoc film festival a couple weeks ago and had an experience that I wouldn't have expected. But, I come from a place of already knowing a lot of people in the Portland community so, after thinking about it I came to realize that I would have had a much different experience.

The experience she had was of one standing on the outside looking in. Making steps to get inside, introducing herself and talking to others, but not breaking through the insular barrier that seems to surround our community. With her permission, I would like to share the experience in her words.

Last night at the QDoc film festival I realized how much I am outside looking in. All the other lesbians I observed seemed to fit into these stereotypical little buckets and cliques. And they were all so territorial and aloof. I felt weighed and judged in those up-and-down-once-over-looks we got from all sides. What is it with lesbians and their territorial-ism? [We] didn't know anyone there. And NO ONE except the festival director was nice enough to speak to us. At the party afterward, the same thing happened. (We were very 'open' in our stances and body language). I even introduced myself to several people, but we still ended up not speaking more than a few words to anyone. The community is so insular. It was a surprise since both of us were really interested in meeting some new people.

I understand that some of this would fade if we appeared at more events and the 'tribe' could become more comfortable with us. But I am not interested in being rubber stamped and labeled and dropped in the right gay box. That's what it has felt like at every event I have gone to too. What is the answer? You are more in touch with the gay community. Am I way off base?

Sigh-I'm not trying to be uber-negative. I guess I just had hoped for more of a feeling of belonging to a community last night and instead I felt more isolated than ever. It was almost like visiting another country where I don't know the language and the people don't really want visitors.”

When I look at this from the perspective of the “human tribe”, I see the same thing happening. But that's on a much grander scale. We, as humans, tend to run with our own packs and clicks. It's happened since the dawn of time. When we do this, though, we miss out on other amazing and interesting people in the world around us.

I get that it could be considered a safety issue for some and that others may not be comfortable with reaching out to “strangers”. I am shy in social situations, myself. Getting the courage up to talk with someone outside of my “tribe” requires a lot of energy and a tremendous sense of self confidence. In all honesty, who likes rejection? Stepping outside of our realm of safety and acceptance is frightening, to say the least, and the possibility of rejection is very apparent.

Remembering my own voyage into the Portland GLBT community, I really didn't know where I fit in to any of it. I wasn't into the party scene, I was a Mom and I worked a lot and attended college so my first introduction to the community was via the internet. It was a way for me to look into the community and learn a bit about it before physically stepping into it.

The night I stepped into the community.
After months of communicating and interacting with others online, I finally worked up the courage to venture out to an open mic night at a local coffee shop. It was the perfect scene for me because it was a small group in an intimate setting complete with art. I remember being fairly quiet for a bit before introducing myself to a few people around me. I don't remember much about the conversations that night or if there were many but I do remember being included in a photograph towards the end of the night. That simple act made me feel welcome.

I wish I could say that I've been aware of this ever since and have made it a point to introduce myself to people I haven't seen in the community before but, in all honesty, I haven't. I want to change that from this moment on, though, and ask for others in not only this community but in communities all over the world to do the same.

At your next event, look around and find the couple standing off by themselves or the person on the outskirts of the crowd who looks to be new, walk over to them and introduce yourself. Introduce them to others in your group. Do what you can to make them feel welcome. It only takes a moment or so and it just might make a huge difference not only to them but to you and your friends, as well.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Now The Exciting News


My girl and I made matching thumb rings! A friend of hers is a jeweler so we were able to melt, pour and create these rings!

Also, we're taking the plunge and moving in together! I'm excited and happy and nervous all at once! Some old triggers are surfacing for me from past relationships but I recognize that they're from the past and not a part of my present.

My heart is happy. Very, very happy.

Thoughts On Life, Creativity and Time


Or “Me Trying To Talk Myself In To Going To Work Again”.

My mind has been incredibly scattered these last few months. There are so many subjects racing through it and their all in little tid bits. Everything from butch bonding to gender stereotypes to community. I try to sit down and write about them when they hit me but my days have been mostly filled with working or recovering from working.

I'm back in this place again. The place where I found myself when I left the accounting world. The place that's frustrated with having to work outside of where my passion lies just to get by. It takes up so much head space but it also frees up the head space that fills when I can't pay my bills. I've resigned myself to the fact that I am just too responsible to let things go and have refocused myself on becoming as debt free as I possibly can. Being debt free equals freedom to me. So much freedom.

On the other hand, is that not such a good way to look at things? Being debt free could be seen as lacking or unsuccessful. Think about that for a moment. If you're debt free you most likely don't own a home, because most of us have a mortgage associated with owning a home, and if you choose to be debt free then aren't you setting yourself up to be unsuccessful? You don't have to make much money if you're debt free so the lack of stress that comes with not having to have a certain amount of income could, possibly, keep one from motivating themselves to push harder to succeed. Does success equal money?

But, not having that stress is, to me, associated with having the time and space to relax into my creativity. To be open to it whenever it starts to flow and to have the time to learn more about the mediums I choose for my arts.

Wasn't I supposed to be independently wealthy in this life? Wasn't I supposed to be able to get through college without having to take on student debt? Wasn't I supposed to be able to put my son through college without having to take on parent plus loans? Yes, we both could have taken different routes but why should we have chosen a path of least resistance when it's wasn't what we wanted?

My idea of success for myself looks like this: my creative passions (writing and photography) completely support me emotionally, mentally, physically and financially in this life. So, it seems to me that becoming as debt free as I possibly can is the first step towards that life and that success.

Paying off my car and taking care of the old credit card debts is where I need to start. If I can just stay focused on this goal, perhaps I can find a way to stop feeling so burnt out on the job.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mother's Guilt


My Dearest Son,

I wish I would have known then what I know now. I was so young and so very inexperienced at life when I gave birth to you. When I say “we grew up together”, I really mean that we grew up together in this life. Looking back from here, there are a lot of things that were said and done that I wish were not. If only for knowing the effect that it would have on you now.

I wanted nothing more then to give you the strength, the courage and the confidence to be yourself in this world. To be unapologetically authentically you.

The power of words has never before been more apparent to me until last night. I've always known, from my own experiences, that they can kill any form of self-confidence almost instantly but never have I known how painful that could be until you shared with me your memory of those six little words. Separately they are harmless but put together in a sentence they can squash one's bud of self worth growth instantly.

“He didn't even fight for you.”

I could tell you that I backed him into a corner during the divorce. I can tell you that I gave him no options. I could tell you that he's played the victim all of his life. I can tell you that he did, in his sorry attempt, try to fight by having someone “serve” me court papers on Mother's Day so long ago. Court papers that weren't even filed. I could do my best to help you understand the situation but I can't take back those words nor the effect that they've had on you all this time. Twelve long years you've been dealing with this.

The actions of a man who is so unworthy of your attention still has an effect on you because of the biological connection. We all long for the acceptance and approval of our parents from the moment we enter this realm of existence. It's human nature.

The co-dependent in me wants to make excuses for him in the hopes that it will help you heal past this but I know that this will be something that you, yourself, will have to heal from. No excuse can magically heal years of pain and that feeling of “I'm not enough”.

I am so sorry for the choices I made while I was young. I am so sorry for choosing him to be your Father in this life. Though the divorce was such an angry time for me, I wish I could have seen past my anger when talking to you about what was happening. You were only 9 years-old. You didn't have to know everything that was happening nor did you ever have to hear those words.

When you can see past the sadness and the pain, I hope you can see how hard I fought for you not only during the divorce but through the years to help you become the person you want to be. You are more then worthy of my struggle in this life to help you create your own life where, hopefully, it won't be as much of a struggle as I've endured. I hope that by looking at it from this perspective that it gives you a sense of “enough”. You are worthy, you are deserving, you are more than enough.

You are an amazing human being filled with so much compassion, creativity, love, intelligence, honor and courage.

I can't wait to see you find that in yourself, fall in love with yourself and fly.

All my love always,
Your Very Proud Mom

Monday, May 7, 2012

A New Facebook Page For My Photography

My show opening at Hip Chicks Do Wine in Newberg did so well and helped me gain more confidence around my art that I decided to create a page on Facebook, again, for my photography. If you're on Facebook and you like my photographs, please come on over and "Like" my page. Feel free to share it with all of your friends, as well! 

It's over here: Wendi Kali Photography

Thanks!

Happy Monday!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Split Personalities


This morning, I woke up thinking about writing and photography. It's as if there are two people living inside me and every now and then they battle over my time. One is a writer, the other a photographer and they're both constantly at odds with each other over who gets to come out and play when I have time away from work and life's responsibilities.

The writer in me is upset because she hasn't been out for quite a while now. She has so much to work on, too. A short erotic piece about our first date with our girl, thoughts on a quote we keep thinking about and the ever present essay book we've been working on here and there. She really wants to sit down and take this stuff seriously. She needs time to do that. No. She needs to be prioritized.

The photographer has gotten all of the free time lately with photo shoots every weekend for the past few weeks. Each photo shoot is followed by the editing of the photos then getting the good ones back to the person she took photos of. Then there's the wait. The anticipation that ensues when waiting for the response. Will they like them? Will they hate them? Did I do a good job? What could I have done differently? Should I continue to pursue this avenue of photography? How can I learn more, do more, be more?

Adding to all of this is the musician inside me wanting to pick up that guitar that's been sitting in the corner looking ever so lonely and suddenly there aren't enough hours in each day. I want to do it all! But, finding a focus and sticking with it has been my challenge. Perhaps it will always be my challenge.

Am I looking for something? Am I looking to find satisfaction or completion in any of these things? Perhaps, to a certain extent I am. Perfection might be more like it. But, how to get to that place when I'm not focused on just one thing? Is it possible? Is it possible for me to do it all and be successful? Successful in both writing and photography and maybe just a decent at guitar pickin'? Then there's the question of my definition of success. Who's definition is it, exactly? What does success look like to me?

Oh, so many things to ponder this morning. 

Welcome to my brain. Be careful of where you step. It's a bit cluttered around here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

What motivates me?


What motivates me? What keeps me going, what makes me focus on my passion, what makes me strive for more? To be more? What keeps me from the soul crushing routine of day to day life? What makes me want to learn about new things, or try new things?

Is it self-respect? Is it adrenalin? Is it the need to show other people? Is it a narcissistic desire to be the best, ever, at everything? Or is it because it brings me inner peace?

What juices up my life and what does it inspire me to do?

Victoria, a fellow writer and blogger, asked these questions recently on her blog, The Musings of a LesbianWriter. They made me think about my own motivations so I rewrote the questions, directing them towards myself.

With my passion for photography, my motivation has always been a deep desire to show others the beauty in this world. Since shifting my photography focus from landscape to people and street photography, I've noticed that my the fires of my passion have been stoked, so to speak. I'm not sure if it's about learning something new but I find myself almost obsessed over learning how to take better photographs of people. Photographs that tell a story or bring out someone's beauty is what fuels me and motivates me to pursue this art form.

With writing, I have this deep need to share my story. Perhaps it stems from the lesson and power of story sharing that I learned while in Alateen traveling around to “the big meetings” sharing my story with everyone. I was speaking in front of rooms of 50 to 100 people when I was 16 years-old. Sharing my very personal story of growing up with alcoholic parents with them was a huge release for me. I felt validated, loved, accepted and supported by everyone in the room. People would come up to me afterwords and thank me for sharing my story with them.

Maybe it comes down to that. Feeling validated, loved, accepted and supported. It's something we all need. In helping people not feel so alone, perhaps it helps them to feel a bit more validated, loved, accepted and supported.

Some of us live so much in our heads that we really think we're the only ones who feel a certain way when in reality, if you feel that way, chances are someone else does, too.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Portland

Next month some of my photographs will be hanging in the Hip Chicks Do Wine tasting room in Newberg, Oregon. It's my "In Love With Portland" series that I've been slowly piecing together over the last few years. This morning I finally sat down and wrote an "About This Series" for it because this afternoon I will be hanging the photographs at the tasting room.

I'm excited to show this series of photos because I truly love this town I call home. Also, I printed all of the photographs on hand stretched canvases (that I stretched myself) and I have to say, they look amazing! If you're in the area on May 4th, don't miss the First Friday Art Walk and be sure to stop by the Hip Chicks Do Wine tasting room at 602B E. First, Newberg, Oregon. 

In the meantime, enjoy this awesome time lapse video of Portland made by Uncage The Soul








I love Portland. So hard.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Busy, Busy, Busy

The past month or so has been incredibly busy for me. So much so, that I haven't given my writing any sort of priority. As a matter of fact, it's pretty much been last on my list and that realization makes me sad. I miss it and the difference I feel in my day-to-day without it is more than noticeable.

I'm a bit more frustrated and on edge, which makes for some not-so-good days. When I write, things start to make more sense. Stories that have been rattling around in my brain, taking up space, move out and make room for more which gets me back to the flow.

Writing is a necessary part of my life, like air and food and water.

Yes, I do have to keep remembering this. I tend to let "responsibilities" take over my life allowing them to trump the things that I need to do for myself, for my own sanity.

So, finding balance between work, photography and writing will be the next challenge to myself. Starting with a little bit of each every day. Well, on work days it'll be a little bit of writing and photography mixed with a lot of work.

What this means for you, dear readers, is more blog posts.

Also, this space may get a bit....hmmm...how should I put it...adult only/family beware, as I just might start posting more of my erotic writing. I've been hesitant in doing so but I realized the other day that I really shouldn't be. Sexuality is a natural part of human nature and it should be celebrated. So, celebrate it, I will!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Say Please

There have been so many wonderful reviews for this awesome collection of writings. I'm not sure what to add to the praise, to be honest.

I'm still in a bit of shock to be included in and surrounded by so many amazingly talented authors. Every time I've finished reading one of the stories in the book I find myself in awe of not only the writing but of how it effects me.

Each story takes me somewhere new. Places I've only touched the surface of in my mind are brought to life within the words and imagery. Well written stories, to me, add to the eroticism. Words are sexy when woven together in a beautifully written erotic story. These stories are incredibly well written making them amazingly sexy.

There's something for everyone in this book. Listen to Daddy and pick up your copy from Cleis Press. You won't be disappointed. Check out the Say Please blog for up to date tour information, as well.

Details:
$14.95 
Trade Paper 
ISBN 978-1-57344-785-0 
5 1/2 x 8, 232 pages

Description:
Say the magic word and fulfill your deepest desires for discipline and surrender, domination and submission, and the heightened sensations of BDSM play. One request opens up a fantasy world of classic dungeon scenes, bondage and restraint, floggers and spankings, sadism and masochism, very hot sex and so much more. True to form, Sexsmith queers classic gender dynamics, with a femme daddy in Alysia Angel's "Feathers Have Weight," and genderqueer bois who earn their right to flag black in Sassafras Lowrey's "Black Hanky." In "The Cruelest Kind," Kiki DeLovely's naughty narrator gets her just desserts from her butch in a back alley. D.L. King's top makes her submissive strip before an unseen audience in "A Public Spectacle." Face slapping can be a hard limit or the most delicious craving, as Rachel Kramer Bussel's protagonist finds out in "A Slap in the Face." Whether you dream of surrendering to a lover or of weilding your power, Say Please to the erotic inspiration within.
With contributed stories by Miriam Zoila PĂ©rez, Wendi Kali, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Gigi Frost, BB Rydell, Amelia Thornton, Vie La Guerre, Sassafras Lowrey, Dusty Horn, Kiki DeLovely, Elaine Miller, Shawna Elizabeth, Sossity Chiricuzio, Meridith Guy, August InFlux, Maria See, D.L. King, Anna Watson, Dilo Keith, Sinclair Sexsmith, Alysia Angel, Xan West, and Elizabeth Thorne.




Don't miss out on the blog tour either!


April 1      Say Please release party in SF
April 1 Viviane http://www.thesexcarnival.com
April 3 Rachel Kramer Bussel http://lustylady.blogspot.com
April 4 Giselle Renard http://donutsdesires.blogspot.com
April 5 Evoe Throw http://www.wholesexlife.com
April 6 Liz http://AlphaHarlot.com
April 9 Roma Mafia http://www.romamafia.com
April 9 Daniela http://www.thecsph.org
April 10 Official release date! Sinclair http://www.sugarbutch.net
April 11 Dede / deviantdyke http://deviantdyke.blogspot.com/
April 12 Helena Swann http://www.cuntext.com
April 13 Kim Herbel http://www.butchlesque.com
April 13   Say Please release party in NYC
April 14 Lily Lloyd http://theblackleatherbelt.com
April 15 Kelli Dunham http://www.kellidunham.com
April 16 Lyzanne http://sexpositive.tumblr.com/
April 17 Lula Lisbon http://www.lulalisbon.com
April 18 Ali Oh http://www.madeofwords.com
April 19 Jameson http://www.ftmbutchdude.com

April 21 Charlie Ninja http://charlieninja.tumblr.com/
April 22    Say Please release party in Boston
April 22 Meredith Guy http://meridithguy.tumblr.com
April 23 Wendi Kali http://astrangerinthisplace.blogspot.com
April 24 Lolita Wolf http://leatheryenta.com
April 25 Audrey at Babeland http://babeland.com/blog
April 26 Seth B http://smokebellyscorner.wordpress.com
April 27 Danika http://www.lesbrary.com