November 27, 2015

Intimate • Edgy and Complex • Classic

Don't give me a crayon box, whatever you do. I will color on everything! Yes, my latest way of zoning out is to slide clips from reviews onto book covers. So here is Alison After Dark (out nearly a year!) with some of the pull quotes I'm most proud of.

And here is Filthy Housewives, edited spectacularly by Violet Blue.

Then there's Haunted by Sommer Marsden...

At the moment, I'm working on two novels. One has almost no sex. The other makes up for that with all the sex. You'll see me around online when I need a breather. Otherwise, imagine me on this Black Friday with my head down and my fingers flying. Hope that yours is sexy in every way and every color of the crayon box.


P.S. Yes, I am coveting that 152-count box. Seriously. 152! But then I'd want a coloring book to go with them. Perhaps crayons would be too heavy. Maybe I'd need these pencils. Of course, seeing all those colored gorgeous pencils makes me crave new eye liners. And this is why I never get anything done.

November 26, 2015

Think Kink

I woke up at 4 a.m. with two songs playing simultaneously in my head: ELO'S "Don't Bring Me Down" and Stephen Bishop's "On and On." That probably means something if you were to analyze my subconscious deejay selections. But I'm not going to go there right now.

In bed, trying to decide whether or not I was up or down, I started to think about what I'm grateful for. Well, that's not entirely true. I started to think about coffee, and I realized how much I love coffee, and that morphed into other things that I love.

Which brought me quickly to kink.

This may be one of those segues that really only works at 4 a.m. When you're in bed craving French Roast.

But I am so fucking grateful for kink. And for those clever, creative, concupiscent (Ha! It's a word, and it means "filled with sexual desire, lustful") writers and artists who continually delight me with the way they approach this genre.

After so many years in the industry, you might think I'd become frayed. Jaded. Worn around the edges. (That just described every pair of jeans I own.) But instead, I tend to search out the new, the different, the unique words that toss me into the front seat of a Galaxie 500 and take me for an unexpected spin.

So on this day of giving thanks, I will give thanks for the kinksters:

Violet Blue
Angell Brooks
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Thomas Roche
Sophia Valenti
Saskia Walker
Kristina Wright
Cora Zane

Writers and editors who woo and wow me with their words. Who lift me up to that incandescent (it can mean passionate or brilliant!) place, that place where I can't wait to see what happens next. Where I can feel the heat between the lovers. Sense their connection. Yearn for their ultimate erotic bliss.

And, of course, there are many other writers—too numerous to name—who lick their fingers and push my buttons. Because what I guess I'm really trying to say is that when I think kink, I am thankful to the bottom of my filthy little core.


November 25, 2015


I'm brand-new to #1LineWed. I discovered the concept through David, whose lines I enjoyed even without knowing the context. At first, I didn't even begin understand how the game worked. And then I learned that each week there is a theme. (You know me and themes. I love themes.)

This week's is home. So I took a line—okay, I stretched the parameters and I took three lines—from Figment.

"Home" is perfect for the holidays. When I searched through my manuscript, I discovered multiple references to different types of homes. A kaleidoscope of concepts and theories of what makes a home. I hadn't even realized that this was a major theme in my novel. Almost all of my characters in this book are on the move, going from one home to another. All ends well for each one.

Everybody finds a home.

When I was younger, I used to get homesick regularly. I can close my eyes and feel that magnetic pull, that undeniable yearning to go home. Sometimes I would give in and book a ticket. (Or attempt to.) At one point, when I'd moved back home, I realized I still had that vague, sickly desire to return. To go home when I already was there. I never knew exactly how to deal with that sensation. I would say to myself: Look, you're here. You're back. You're where you wanted to be.

Home is such a major part of who we are. Fuck "home is where the heart is." Home is where our souls are.

I adore seeing how different writers rise to the challenge each week.

Let me know if you're playing along.


November 24, 2015

I ♥ Chaucer

This week, a friend sent me a comic cut from The New Yorker. What was the theme? Yes. You guessed it! Chaucer!

I'm delighted, honestly, that other people are as interested in Chaucer as I am. For some reason, I continually trip over articles about staying relevant. Or no longer being relevant. Rants and raves and rending of one's hair. But look at Chaucer—more than 600 years later, and he's still going strong.

Yet, I believe we have reached the end of this section of the Bawdy Book Club. Several readers have let me know they've finished whichever version they were devouring. But have no fear. I would like to start a new book in the New Year, and I'm still pondering which title to suggest. (Open, definitely to your ideas.)

I have immensely enjoyed and deeply appreciated your participation in this very bizarre, completely disorganized book club. Researching is always a pleasurable trip to me. I feel that I learned more in our club than I might have in a more structured class. (I definitely had more fun!)

What I truly love is how inspiring The Canterbury Tales are to artists and writers and musicians. I read that Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales was meant as a musical Canterbury Tales. I've caught references fairly consistently since I started to carry the book around. The above quotation, I have seen multiple times but never realized it was from Chaucer. (Or, apparently, Hippocrates translated by Chaucer.)

Next week, I will plan to toss out ideas for our second selection.

Please stay tuned...


November 23, 2015

Trollop with a Question #84

I've already written two draft articles to put up later this week. But neither one manage to morph into a question. So hopefully, three's the charm. Or possibly 84 is. Can you believe this is my 84th Monday question? (No, wait. That's not my Monday question! Don't answer that.)

Gorgeous snowy photo is by Jim, who took the picture for my November contest. I love seeing my books out there in the open. Everyone should display their kinky reading materials so proudly! (If you want to enter, just take a photo of one of my books while it—and you—are out and about. Send the picture to msalisontyler at yahoo dot com.)

Inspired by the image above, I am going to ask you this...

Have you ever made love outside? 

Bonus questions: If yes, would you share a few of the choice details? Where were you? Cold or hot? Rainy or snowy? The voyeurs in the crowd would love to know.


November 21, 2015

A Pocketful of Erotica

When I first began putting books together, I fantasized about a concept I called "Pocket Erotica." Little paperbacks that would have a trim size small enough to slip into your back pocket. (My tagline: "Is that erotica in your pocket?") On Create Space, I just learned, you can publish a book that is 4 x 6, which is close to what I envisioned.

I do a lot of reading electronically for work—but almost all of my pleasure reading is on paper. I don't know why. That's how I'm wired. (Yes, I'm wired to be unwired. Go figure!) So I'm trying to plan ways to provide for both types of readers. Those who desire that exotic electric charge, and those who prefer stroking the pages with their fingertips.

We'll see what I'm able to bring to fruition. Honestly, I'd type up the stories on my Remington if I could, fold them into a square, and slip them to you at the coffee shop. You'd open the paper and read the words with your java. Origami Erotica? Maybe that's the next big thing. We'll see what unfolds in the future. (I couldn't resist!)

If future erotica is your thing (check out my fancy segue), please consider Violet Blue's Wetware. And stay tuned for her latest collection—with the uber hot cover that's giving me all kinds of dirty thoughts!


P.S. I'm planning to unveil a new contest for December. You still have time to enter this month's chance to win a box of books! (Details are at the bottom of this post.)

November 20, 2015

Embrace Your Inner Indies

This year has been about searching for a balance. Trying to find a position (often between a rock and a hard place) that allows me a little breathing room. I've run out of a lot of my standard supplies this year. My closet is empty of: patience for unnecessary drama, my ability to take grief from strangers, fucks to give. But I've also revealed an abundance of items I didn't know I had. (I guess that's what happens when you clear out the trash.) Glittering there on the shelves were supplies that surprised me: a desire to stroke the positive, to bask in the happy, to share the glow.

I've learned to say "no" (which took me fucking forever, seriously). And I've worked to say "yes," which can be equally difficult. I swear.

What do I adore?

Photos from readers.
100-word challenges.
The bawdy book club.
Dirty words.
Promoting indie writers.

I'm bringing all of these with me into 2016. Behind, I'm leaving rants about publishing. Passive aggressive anything. Feelings of failure.

Trust me when I say I'm not generally an introspective person. I'm not the opposite, either. I forget to check the mirror to see if my hair looks like Medusa's snakes or not. (Quick aside. I just tried to figure out the antonym of introspective. Turns out, there's not one, other than 'extrospection,' which is the coolest word. Ever.) But I have always kept so busy with deadlines on my shoulders that I never looked up to see what was going on. How could I? Some years I edited twelve collections, wrote multiple novels, penned dozens of stories. "Slow" was not in my vocabulary. "Pause" was not a button I ever pressed.

I've forced myself to make some difficult decisions this year. And I can tell that I'm not done yet. But what I'm most proud of is this: I am aware that wherever this leads, we are on one fuck of an interesting journey.

And you know what? I'm trying to make the most of every passing mile.


November 19, 2015

"Alison Tyler strips..."

You could probably call this picture "too much fun with matchboxes and miniatures." But I have been entertaining myself in the wee hours of the mornings. (Or the late hours of the evenings.) I would love a full-size version of one of these campers. That would be my style of enjoying the great outdoors. (I much prefer the great indoors, if truth be told.)

This week, I learned that one of my novels received a truly lovely review from Romancing the Book. I am honored and delighted by the stamp of approval, specifically: "Alison Tyler strips away all the pretty wrappings and gets to the core with this gritty series. It's challenging to read, but you know when you've finished that it was real."

I forgot yesterday in my list of happy places to add in Writerly. I don't know how that happened. But I strive to make my six words count for her daily prompts. I'm also seriously enjoying Archillect. The juxtaposition of the photos can be beyond breathtaking.

If you peruse accounts that tickle your fancy in one way or another, please share them here. I'm always on the search for a good time.


November 18, 2015

Kink Up Your Holidays...

I've been working (desperately) to hold on to the happy this year. To focus on the people and the places and the subjects (and the coffee) that bring joy. Not only to me, but to those around them. I'm not suggesting that every day will be a good day.

But I'm clinging to the positive.

This means that I:

breathe the virtual fresh-baked scent of David's cooking
trace my tongue over Nancy's poetry
admire the photo brilliance of Riendo

(Aside: You have no idea how long I've just sat here trying to make sure it is "hold on to" and not "hold onto.")

We're bombarded by negativity all day long. I'm doing my best to find a way to flip that. To bombard with positivity. Everyone has a different way to be happy. Writing lifts me to that place. Centered. If I can put the words down, I find peace. (At least, momentarily, before the words start up again. They're so fucking demanding.)

Yes, for me, kink is truly positive. People getting what they want. So if I go missing from time to time, know that I have my head down. I'm writing. I'm channeling all of my energy into the words. Not necessarily to make a difference. But to find the happy.

How do you find yours?


November 17, 2015

Keep Calm and Read Chaucer

This weekend, I turned a story inside out in order to make the words work. That may be an understatement. I absolutely deconstructed and reconstructed the piece in a way that would have made Dr. Frankenstein proud. And then I breathed new life into the words.

At this point in my travels as a writer, I no longer become frustrated. When I write myself into a corner I simply stop, figure out the logistics, and write a new corner. Or I let the work simmer (sometimes, unfortunately, for years) and then return. Which gave me the idea for today's post.

I thought I would try to figure out how Chaucer wrote. Specifically, if he had a preferred location, a special writing tool. In case you're wondering, I don't. Give me a pen and a piece of paper, and I'm off. Or a pencil and a junk mail envelope. A lipstick and a mirror. A bic and my arm. I will put words down on anything. But I was curious about our Medieval muse.

So far my explorations have taught me that when you begin to Google Chaucer, Chaumet and chauvinist come up. Next, I discovered a book about how writers work. Fifty excerpts from various famous writers that have been dissected and discussed by the author. Also, not what I'm looking for, although an interesting word cloud.

More people seem to have searched Shakespeare's writing tools than Chaucer's. (If we're interested in conducting a popularity contest.)

I learned that Chaucer did not begin writing The Canterbury Tales until he was in his early 40s. (I appreciate facts like this. I believe Raymond Chandler did not become a detective writer until he was in his 40s, as well.)

Skipping around, I searched medieval writing implements and learned that medieval manuscripts were often written on the skins of animals such as goats. Paper first was used in Europe in the 13th century—mostly for secular manuscripts. Pens fashioned from strong feathers were shaped with small knives. These needed repeated sharpening during use.

I haven't found how Chaucer, himself, wrote, but I am pausing to think of the ease with which I'm sharing these words with you. Here I sit in my office, darkness outside, electric glow inside. Coffee at my side.

Even when I fail in my quests, I enjoy the search Chaucer leads us on. I think we ought to choose a new book, as Jim suggested, for the new year. Perhaps we'll all read it at the same pace. Perhaps not. I'm definitely open to suggestions. Are there titles you're interested in tackling, tawdry tales you'd like to try?


November 16, 2015

Trollop with a Question #83

I don't know why it took me so long to start watching Doctor Who. I have no excuses. I've heard countless positive references from many friends, but I never felt the pull. Now, I'm in. I'm right there with you. And so on this Monday, I pose this Doctor Who themed question....

If you could step into the TARDIS, where—and really, when—would you go?

(A friend just commented, "You're an addict," when I told her what I was posting.) What's so small-minded of me is that I would want to go back to the movie theater I'm always blathering on about. To the dreamy midnight shows. In the soft velvet seats. Popcorn scented perfection. I know. I know. I could go anywhere—any time—and that's where I choose.

Now you?


November 10, 2015

Alison After...

This is one of the lovely photos that has delighted me for my November contest. (Details are at the bottom of this post.) This is one by David.

I'm off until Monday. Hope the rest of your week is a blast and that your weekend exceeds all erotic expectations!


More than a book club...

Once upon a time, a bank teller asked me how I was doing, and I started crying. I didn't mean to. Things were rough. I stood there at his window, and I forced myself to fold everything inward again, like a messy piece of origami. I've never been good with the crisp edges.

A few years ago, I ran into a woman I know only casually. Only barely. We're at a first-name basis, and I'm not even 100% sure how to spell hers. An i? A y? And the same thing happened, but in reverse. I passed her a casual "How are you?" (like you do when you run into acquaintances in bookstores) and she dissolved onto me in full body-shaking sobs.

We put on our clothes, and we go to our jobs, and we pretend we're not animals. We pretend that everything we do has some meaning or purpose. And yes, a lot does have a purpose. We take care of the people we love. We provide for them. We would die for them. But so much of what I've had to deal with lately is meaningless.

And so I work to find the happiness. In Chaucer—whose words are hundreds of years old, but whose stories delight me. I run my fingers under the lines. I savor the phrases. I research the meaning. I pay more attention than I ever did in school. I found an online Old English Translator, which thrilled me spectacularly. So modern and yet so geeky!

I find pleasure in photos by Riendo. I don't know what it is about the way she captures a moment, but what she does works for me. Turns me on. Like pulling a cord on an old-fashioned lightbulb. (I'll bet she'd take a stellar photo even of that. A bare bulb. An empty room.)

A friend asked me yesterday how I was doing, and I said I was fine as I started to cry. I said it didn't matter. Whatever "it" was. I said I didn't care. Whatever care means.

But if we were having traditional book club meetings—like around my 25-year-old dining room table (that I bought with money I made from selling one of my first stories!)—and if I had poured the wine and passed around the crackers, and we'd all rustled our pages and found our places... I would have sat in my chair and cried silent tears. Because that's what yesterday was. And we'd have put aside Chaucer for the moment. And we'd have sat there remembering that we're all human. We have feelings and worries and hopes and fantasies. We have longings and losses and desires and devotions.

Then someone would have made a joke. Someone would have patted me on the hand. We'd have picked up the books again, and found places of importance in words that are almost a thousand years old. And that's what art does. That's what literature is for. That's why we write. That's why we read. (Or I do.)

Yet in our ashen cold is fire yreken.

Which I think means that you rake over the cold ashes to find the sparks to start a new fire.

And I love that. I love that Chaucer did that for me. Can do that for me.

What does Chaucer do for you?


November 09, 2015

Trollop with a Question #82

I slept for eleven hours. So now I have a line from a Squeeze song in my head. (Except he worked eleven hours. While I was lost in la-la land.) For some reason, sleeping so much has made me a little loopy. It's like I'm the opposite of being sleep-deprived and spacey. I am clearly incapable of having a full tank of sleep. I'm just wandering around, looking at the kohlrabi on my desk, like you do.

Often my Monday questions are inspired by something that happened to me during the week. Some thought I had. Some interaction I, well, interacted with.

And yet, my mind is so bleary today. Like a windshield on a rainy day when your wiper blades haven't been changed. I keep blinking—trying to reboot. The amount of coffee I feel I need can no longer be measured in cupfuls.

David and I joke that we should have a coffee shop called "Seethe & Brewed." Sommer and I are going to have the bookstore next door called "Smoke & Rubble." You have paid the rent on a store across the street. Here is my question:

What is your store called and what are you selling?

Yes. That is my Monday question.

Please keep sending me your entries to my November photo contest. I am loving them! (Details are at the bottom of this post.)

Hopefully, I'll have my thoughts in order soon.

This coffee has to kick in at some point!


November 08, 2015

A Dollop of a Trollop

Two years ago, I created a series of gift guides by price. (Last year, I did them by theme, like you do.) But in 2013, I curated guides for:

Items Under $1
Items Under $5
Items Under $10
Items Under $20
The Luxury List
Do It Yourself Gifts

My problem was that I didn't come up with the idea until mid-December, which was really too late in many ways. The guides only worked if you started your shopping on December 13 and ran it through December 21st.

If I remember correctly, the reason I decided to write the lists is because some online magazine compiled a gift guide in which the lowest costing item was $450. (Or some nonsense like that.) I don't live in a world where you can buy people gifts that cost close to half a grand. In fact, I don't live in a world where you an buy the items the fashion magazines consider bargains.

So I think I'm going to do this again.

I may overlap some ideas, but I am going to try to find my favorite fabulous presents that won't knock you sideways cash-wise and that would delight any receiver.

Obviously, the gifts in the guide will be of my taste. Because—hey—I'm the one putting the guides together. But I am more than happy to hear your suggestions. If you have ideas for any of the price breaks above, you can email me at msalisontyler at yahoo dot com. I will be sending out prizes throughout the season. Why? I like to. Prizes make me happy. You won't have to do much to win the prizes because I can never figure out all those multi-step entry form thingies. (Oh, man. I said forms.)

Yes, my books (and books of my fave authors) will be included in the lists. For instance, Rubbernecking (featured above) can be yours for .99. While Holiday Kink costs only $2.99. Is that cheating? If it is, then I don't want to be true. But there will be plenty of non-smutty items to go around. I promise!


P.S. If you run an ETSY store and would like to be featured, please let me know. I already am acquainted with a handful of ETSY artisans, but I always appreciate meeting new creators!

November 07, 2015

Take Us for a Spin

I adore Risky Business. (Of course, I do. How could I not with Tangerine Dream creating that atmospheric soundtrack? With sex on a train. With Joe Pantoliano.) One of my favorite lines comes from Guido, who says in that dark voice of his: "Time of your life, eh, kid?" 

Oh, man. I fucking love that.

Which made me think that our little indie erotica books are like rides. Get in with us. We'll take you where you need to go. From the gorgeous covers by super-star erotic editor and publisher Violet Blue, to the filthy fucking interiors courtesy of some of the hottest writers in the business, these collections are destined to rev any engine.

Authors include:

Dante Davidson
Sommer Marsden
Emilie Paris
Thomas Roche
Sophia Valenti many more.

We have done our best to write the type of stories that will linger, resonate, stay with you in your dreams. Even more exciting (to me) is that we're doing this on our own. All authors get a piece. The money is divided fairly, honestly, in a way that gives me faith and hope for publishing. Which is saying something.

If you haven't picked up one of our books, please consider buying a copy today:

Bent Over His Desk
Filthy Housewives
Holiday Kink
Bisexual Husbands

More titles are in the works. We hope to dazzle you soon!

All sorts of inappropriate automotive analogies are flooding my brain. Put our nozzle in your tank...? Check our oil with your dipstick. Hmm. Maybe not. But for about the cost of a gallon and a half of gas, you can buy a collection of high-octane smut. Our full service will assist your self-service endeavors.


P.S. Although I'm loath to beg for reviews, if you do like the collections, we'd absolutely appreciate you letting others know. Word of mouth can make a major difference in our, um, bottom line.

November 06, 2015

Plus My Negative...

What I want is to be positive.

I keep imagining batteries, with the + on one end and the - on the other. And, sure, we all know that I have zero clue how batteries work. (Magic, right? Little fairies on the inside fucking to create luminous heat?) But when you open the remote to slide me into your world, I want you to see the +.

That's important to me.

Of course, I also don't live in a fairy tale. I'm not operating in a world of make believe. And so I end up constantly negotiating with myself. Because I want to be honest and open. I don't want to sugar coat. I'm physically incapable of looking people in the eye (even virtually) once I've had my feelings crushed or my heart torn out.

I duck my head. I turn away. I run for the exit.

Then I realized—while driving (because most of my epiphanies occur while driving, washing dishes, or taking a shower)—that rather than avoid the negatives (gingerly stepping as if to avoid emotional landmines), I ought to be searching for other positives.

Which is why (if you follow me on Twitter) you'll see pictures of coffee, neon, traffic, graffiti, lipstick, flowers, vinyl, toys, art. And yeah—there will be swearing, because I fucking love dirty words. And there will be occasional rants, because some situations are too bleak to keep inside. You need to crack them open. You need to shatter the glass. Crush the splinters to dust beneath your high, stiletto heel.

But for the most part, I am putting the batteries in end to end—they're 69-ing, aren't they, when you think about it?—and I'm pressing the shiny red button. And I'm switching channels until I land where I need to be.

Positive =

Answer my glittery prompt
Enter my November contest


November 05, 2015

Insomnia & Me

I have worked jobs in the night. I have stayed up until three to start some. I've returned home at six a.m. for others. To call me a "night owl" isn't correct. I'm simply someone who doesn't value sleep. I would rather be up if given a choice. One of the reasons I was happy to finally be considered an adult was that people could no longer attempt to set a "normal" schedule for me. Bed time doesn't really work with my brain. I need to be well past what most people considered tired in order to fall asleep.

The word "insomnia" comes from Latin (which, of course, I didn't know because I was god-awful at Latin). There is an adjective I was also unaware of: insomnious. (Apparently, my spellcheck is also unaware of that word, but I think I've typed the letters correctly.)

What I appreciate about insomnia is that I actually get a lot of work done. I write better early in the morning and late at night. The words flow with a poetic rhythm. (The typos are interesting, too.) Insomnia may actually be based on a gene, I read recently. Poor sleepers run in my family—so do writers, actually. I'm wondered if there's a link.

Ha. I did a quick search, and found:

• "On the Edge of an Abyss" the Writer as Insomniac
• Insomnia and Me: Chuck Palahniuk
• Why Insomnia is a Writer's Best Friend
• Insomnia and the Poet
• Counting the "Blessings" of Insomnia
• Writer's Insomnia: Or the 3:30 Muse Wake-up Call

I love this. I guess all of us up-all-nighters are having the same ideas.

When you tell someone you have insomnia, often you'll receive a laundry-list of sleep-aids. But honestly, I'm not complaining. Mostly, I'm explaining. I'll hit a point when I'm drunk-tired. That's right before the crash that will start the system all over again. I'll be almost beyond comprehension. The fiction I write then is surreal. Translucent. The words feel like lace. You can see through the sentences. The stories hang so lightly. They won't keep you warm.

But—if I play my hand correctly—they will keep you up.

Alison After Dark was my first collection of midnight-themed tales. The stories are set in the night.

Alison Up All Night is different. These are the pieces I write when I can't sleep. The characters who arrive when I'm too punch-drunk to say no. When I simply stand there and open the front door, watching the steady parade of misfits who want a couch to sit on, a bed to fuck in.

At some point, I will be releasing some of the books I've teased you with. I have a lot of projects in play right now. But I'm not worried.

I have coffee. I have characters. And sleep is a long way off.


P.S. I've been batting around the concept of Fair-Trade Erotica for a while. My goal is simply this: If you enjoy my work, then I'm hoping you'll consider the prices of the indie pieces the way you would a cup of coffee or a shot of your favorite tequila. Most of the Pretty Things Press products cost under $3. Think of me as your erotic bartender or barista—I'll pour you a shot of kink. You don't even need to tip me. (Damn. That sounded dirty.)

November 04, 2015

Rebel Rule Breaker: On Being Anti-Social in a Social-Media World

I'm torn about social media. (Apparently, there is a battle for who came up with this term first. But it dates to the 90s.) Because for me, writing is lonely. When I was younger, I'd write and then go to a bar. Or write and then meet up with a friend at a favorite coffee shop. I needed to beat down the solitude with human interactions. Even if I didn't talk to anyone at a bar, I'd embrace the hustle of bodies surrounding me. (And somehow that sounds like the start of an orgy story, doesn't it?)

Social media fulfills a part for me. I can talk to people in Canada, the UK, Italy, Cleveland, elsewhere... from my office. That makes me swoon. It's like the future. I love that I can be up at midnight, and I can banter with someone else who is up thousands of miles away. Yet I despise the cruel interactions. I don't want to play those games. I refuse. And I know that makes me sound older than, well, a rotary phone.

But here's what I was thinking. If the term "social media" was coined only two decades ago, if every time you turn around there's a new platform, then we are currently in a period of major transition. Think about it.

We're pioneers. We're explorers. We can create whatever we want. We can make this work for us.

Twenty years ago, you'd never have eavesdropped on another group of people, then rudely butt into their conversation with your own loud, aggressive, differing opinion. (Can you imagine?) You wouldn't have stormed up to someone you'd never met and said, "You're fat." Or "You're a fucking moron for voting the way you did." Or anything like that. Probably, most people wouldn't do that now. In person. But with social media, this type of thing happens all the time. A stranger can write to me and say, "I am disappointment in your blog." (Somehow typos like that thrill me.) Someone I will never meet can say things that are untrue about me—and then 20,000 people can read those things in a minute.

It's surreal.

What I want to do isn't just "make peace" or "play nice." I want to wrap my head around the fact that we can actually create the online world we'd like to live in. The virtual space that makes sense to us. Mine is kinky. There is no doubt. I can't help myself. I will talk about boot-licking. I will write about voyeurism. But I need the other part—the human part—the compassionate part. The part where people don't sharpen their claws on you simply because they can.

I'm no Lewis & Clark or Neil Armstrong. I'm not walking on the moon or discovering a route to the Pacific. I know that. But every day I will take that small step and hope, ultimately, for a giant leap.


P.S. How will I do this? I will drop notes to writers I admire and tell them how their words moved me. I will concentrate on the positive and sidestep the negative. I will check myself to see what my bias is. I will be a work in progress.

November 03, 2015

All Dressed Up in Chaucer

I woke up at 3:33. Which doesn't mean much of anything, but I'm surprised by how often numbers in my life line up. Or that I notice when they do. The 11:11's. The 12:34's. So excuse the molasses-like slowness of my fingers on the keyboard. It's early, and I'm up and about to write about Chaucer. I could be in college!

But I'm not. I'm in my office, delighted by the fact that people out in never-land are taking this journey through Chaucer with me. If you're new to the concept, here are some of the previous posts:

Today, I thought I'd write about fashion in the time of Chaucer. I chose this topic totally on a whim, because I adore fashion—and I end up spending quite a lot of time thinking about how people dress. I had no idea that when I poked around, I'd find that the 14th century was considered the start of recognizable "fashion."

Why? Draped garments and straight (I suppose "no nonsense") seams began to be replaced by clothing that more obviously fit the human form through the use of laces, buttons, and curved seams. Buttons date back to 2,000 (or more) years BCE. (I read something that said as early as there was clothing there were buttons.) But as fasteners for clothing, they weren't used in Europe until the 13th century.

Pause for a moment. Can you imagine people's excitement. I'll bet there was an idiom. "That's the coolest thing since the invention of the button!" Oh, but you know people and how they get. There was probably consternation. Buttons are the devil's work!

Ha. I said that without any concept that I was correct. I just found that "according to the church, the gates of hell were opened and buttons were censured for both sexes." Even currently (apparently) buttons are "frowned upon" by the Amish and zippers and Velcros are a no-no. (A friend of mine who grew up in the 60s said she couldn't wear a dress with a zipper down the front to school because it was considered too risque.)

But I digress.

There is much about what Chaucer wore when he went to court of Richard II. Both men and women embraced high-collars and a slew of jewels. Women wore fancy hair styles. Hats were popular, as was embroidery. Fancy dress meant decorated and bejeweled clothing.

I'm jumping from bed to bed here, because I just found something that said both men and women in the upper and lower classes slept naked. Why? Because pajamas were not invented until the 16th century. Although poorer classes might wear their undergarments for warmth and married women might wear theirs for piety.

"Piety" means the quality of being religious or reverent. Always important for those married women.

Chaucer uses the description of the different characters' clothing to point out their status. Wow. That sounded frighteningly like something I might have written for a term paper. For instance, friars at the time were generally beggars who were supposed to be modest, who—like Blanche duBois, I suppose—got by on the kindness of strangers. Chaucer's friar hangs with the rich folk so that he can wear expensive attire.

I wanted to put in quotes from Chaucer directly—but I left my book in the car, and I'm too cold (and lazy) to go outside and retrieve it. If you have any favorite clothing quotes, please post them. 

And let me know how you're progressing. I'm, quite honestly, savoring the book. It's making me six kinds of happy. Reading the title in public is a definite conversation starter. Most people have brushed up against Chaucer at one point or another.


P.S. Picture at the top of the page is obviously a different type of button. Long-time readers will recall that eight (or so) years ago, I would host writing contests and reward players with buttons!