Everyday I write the book by Elvis Costello
I once met a music industry dude who I enjoyed discussing the art of playlists with. I boldly asked him to compile a mix tape for me off the top of his head based on what he knew of me. Second on his playlist was one of my favourites, Everyday I Write The Book by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. Nice choice.
I have always loved words, the sound of them, the meaning. I was talking about this with a young relative who said they hated the word moist. It’s so drippy. I like that about it though, it feels warm and possibly a bit dirty. We both agreed the word cherish is beautiful: the sound of it with the ch and the sh at the ends, and the meaning of encompassing care and affection.
Imagine a group of genteel Christian ladies enjoying their afternoon tea at the house of one of them, only to hear a little red haired girl chanting some newly acquired vocabulary as she jumped on a bed in a next door room. “Shit!” “Damn!” “Shit!” “Damn!” “Shit!” “Damn!” Obviously the meanings were unknown to the child, but she definitely knew that the use of such words was forbidden and they certainly earned a hasty reaction.
I can’t remember a time I haven’t written or enjoyed words, or writing about sex. It has got me in for trouble at times. In primary school, we made our stories into booklets and they were hung around the class – being so prolific, mine dominated the walls. My first attempt at the genre of erotica was intercepted by my Form 2 teacher, who confiscated it and made me retrieve it from the staffroom a few days later. I hope they enjoyed it. It wasn’t bad, but was mainly limited to masturbation, voyeurism and breast play in its content, due to my limited life experience. A few years later, I wrote to a boy who I exchanged letters with (which is what people were in the habit of doing as there was no such thing as email, facebook or texting). In the letter I described an intimate encounter we had enjoyed in my distinctive schoolgirl handwriting. This letter was found by his mother. Oh dear. Writing things down was not always a good thing.
I still love dirty words, words so filthy they could harbour bacteria. I write this blog about sex work. I sext with clients (I offer it as part of my phone sex service). But I also inoffensively flirt with strangers. A few words delivered in a certain way can say a lot. If you doubt me, consider the delivery of the song, I’ll Take Care of You, by two different artists. Etta James‘ version is full of intimate promise, she’s sensuous. Gil Scott-Heron’s version is about protection, he’s bruised.
There is usually a tumble of words in my head, like everyone, they are called thoughts, our own personal commentary of life. Because my life is so concerned right now with sex, because I have so much of it, at least more than the average woman my age, due to my occupation as a sex worker, I enjoy many delicious thoughts consisting of words about sex. I like to stay present in my body during intimacy and describe each sensation to myself, sometimes recalling the phrases later, and tying each feeling in with each word. I love to give words real meaning in this way. Not just while cavorting naked, whereever I am, I am naturally observant, always defining what I see, giving it to myself.
There are another couple of things I enjoy writing about, including one which is related to a university qualification I have and another is erotica, poles apart from the first. I write under noms de plume, for privacy, but also because each of the names I write with produce different work. I do not claim that what I write is high-brow literature, it’s open to ridicule. Do I care? Not about this. I write with a half-smile at all times. I am smiling because I enjoy it, because it’s a little subversive and because I still delight in being so darn naughty. I’ve never stopped being that troublesome girl. Let the alarmable be alarmed. Let the critical critique. I’ll keep writing.
Many sex workers and ex-sex workers write autobiographically about sex work nowadays. It’s good for us, it is good for readers, to demystify our work. I was surprised when I was researching images about some of the places I wrote about in my ship girl post that there was no material about it online anywhere. In my opinion, this is important historical information.
Then I read a piece on the Wellington sex industry of old in Fishhead, saying that ship girls did not receive money, they just went on to ships to party. It is not true in all cases. We ship girls who slept with Japanese seamen most definitely received money, in fact it was very well organised – right down to the set amount to be charged – considering we did not have middle men to tell us how to do things and look after us. The story in the magazine was half-true though as the ladies who went on boats with Caucasians did not receive payment, those ship molls were not actually prostitutes. I found this out for myself when I went on a Russian ship one day. I did have a nice time, but not a cent was earned that night. Sex workers writing down their experiences dispels myths. And it’s good for us to straighten out our thoughts about what we are doing and have done.
If you are familiar with Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way, which I recommend every sort of artist keep a copy of, she prescribes three pages of longhand writing every morning to keep ones creativity lubricated, first thing, on awakening. I love to do this myself. Morning is my favourite time to write. I write a lot, especially in the very early morning before work when the city is quiet, until it begins to buzz awake. Other writer friends of mine use voice recorders so that phrases they like do not escape, but I keep a little Moleskine with me at all times. Even when I am out walking, I will stop and write something that comes to mind.
So how do I write? I start with one thought then spill it all out in one go. This technique is known as free writing. It is useful even for university assignments – I was mostly a straight A student – but it is an especially fun way to write erotic stories. I write with no judgment whatsoever, I just get it all down. I then go back and edit and delete. Sometimes I choose to use the same phrases throughout a story just because I like the sound of them. For example, my favourite words for genitals are cock and pussy, if you haven’t noticed. I like them for their actual meanings, and that literally a cock: proud, angular, with a spiky beak, and pussy: soft cuddly, fluffy but with scratchy claws do not work in actuality together, but are a perfect colloquial fit in heterosexual sex, in my opinion. I like that they are so 1970s corny porn-ish. I just love a cock and a pussy. Another phrase I love is soft and wet. Soft, wet. I use those words a lot, in that order. Here are some more I find quite evocative: Rock hard. Throb. Juicy. Moist. Twitch.
If you find what I write a bit much, feel free to skip it. Otherwise, the future may hold something of interest for you. Read on.