I’ve been slowly getting used to being a minor celebrity; for example, two weeks ago I didn’t even bat an eyelash when my doctor’s assistant said, “Oh, I saw you in the New York Times!” So I wasn’t surprised when MTV News asked me for an interview, and I’m glad to report that the resulting article was quite good, certainly a lot better than that garbage Rolling Stone started the month with. The article had a rather funny side-effect, though, mostly because computers are, as Isaac Asimov once called them, “high-speed morons”; they do whatever they’re told to do, very quickly and thoroughly, no matter how bloody stupid it is. Well, apparently someone at a website named “The Celebrity Auction” figured that anybody mentioned by name in MTV News must be a celebrity, because the night after I took this lovely but wholly gratuitous selfie, Google alerts sent me a message from that site urging me to “Get the latest Maggie McNeill news and hot Maggie McNeill gossip!” I ask you, readers, how could I resist? I wanted to hear about how I’d been spotted stumbling drunk out of a swanky Manhattan club at 3 AM, or how I had been romantically linked with that one guy from the TV show, who was also in a band, probably. Or maybe that actress who’s so funny. Definitely her. Ooh, or maybe an article about my beauty secrets, and how much plastic surgery I’ve had, and how I get my body “bikini ready” every year! Alas, I was to be disappointed; it was just this link to a quote from the MTV interview. Oh, well; at least I’m officially a celebrity now, so I can stop wondering; I reckon I should’ve seen this coming after I got my own IMDb page. Can a Wikipedia article be far behind?
Archive for the ‘Biography’ Category
I’m not really very good at self-care; unless it’s something I need to do to maintain my looks for work, or something a loved one agitates me into, I have a tendency to ignore or downplay my own needs. So it was really lovely to have several days last week in which I was able to relax and take care of Maggie a bit. It’s absolutely true that all of them were work-related, but if that’s what I need to justify them to my inner nun, I’m not going to complain. On Tuesday I had a little rejuvenation procedure I’ve been looking forward to for months (and theoretically, for over a year), and I was quite pleased with the results; I’ve got a follow-up the day after Lammas and I’m even more excited about that one. Then on Wednesday, one of my favorite gentlemen took me to Victoria, BC for a couple of days; even though I had to be ready for pickup at the unholy hour of 6 AM, he didn’t care that I wore no makeup and we had breakfast on the boat. I eventually woke up completely and stopped griping, and we went whale-watching in the afternoon; it was a lot of fun and we got to see four humpback whales cavorting around at the surface. They were waving their pectoral fins, diving so we could see their tails and blowing frequently; one of them even breached so far out of the water he looked as though he was standing on his tail for a moment. Our naturalist said she had never seen them so active; she seemed confused when I said that obviously the mermaids had told them I would be on the boat. Anyhow, we had dinner at a lovely French restaurant, took it easy Thursday morning and then walked around Butchart Gardens for several hours in the afternoon, before dinner at a pub and the return boat to Seattle at 7. All in all, it was quite a relaxing couple of days, though as a New Orleanian who lived in Oklahoma for almost a decade, it’s still very strange to me to be wearing a jacket in mid-June.
It looks like things are getting busy again for me, and probably will be for the next month or so. I’m going to the Desiree Alliance conference in New Orleans from July 10th to 15th, so if you live in the Big Easy and want to see me professionally you need to speak up pretty soon. I have a two-day gig this week and a three-day gig the weekend after next, and a bunch of other stuff mixed in between now and early July (including a much-anticipated beauty procedure today). The interviews also seem to be ramping up again; a couple of weeks ago I talked to a reporter from Michigan for this story, then last week local reporter Sydney Brownstone for this one. On June 2nd, I appeared on Jeff Richardson’s podcast:
Then on Saturday, I spoke to an ally (who used to be a politician, of all things!) about client criminalization for an article he’s working on for a mainstream publication. Finally, I’m going to be doing some more filming on the documentary project, and I hope to be doing at least a couple of more photo shoots for the nudes project before the summer is out. And that’s just the stuff I know about now; if you’ve been reading for a while, you know things can change awfully fast, and for all I know I could be running hot all the way down until autumn.
Suddenly some subtle entity
Some cosmic energy, brushed her like shadows. – Chris Stein, “Shayla”
When I was a child, I was definitely not one of the cool kids; I was a weird little know-it-all who saw things that the adults said weren’t there, told strange stories, and preferred to read rather than do anything else. I was chubby, homely, had frizzy hair and a terrible overbite, didn’t have a lot of friends and was relentlessly teased by both boys and girls, including some of the ones who claimed to be my friends when the more popular kids weren’t around. All in all, I was probably one of the last of my classmates one would’ve picked out as a future sex symbol. An author? Sure. A public intellectual? Maybe that too. But a stunning beauty, respected activist and all around cool kid? Anybody who would’ve predicted that would’ve been laughed out of the conversation.
I guess things started to change in my freshman year of high school. I remember a picture my mother took of me with the girl across the street (who was the same age as me) on our 8th grade graduation night, and the difference was striking. But a few weeks after that I got my braces, and by the time they were off about 16 months later my fat had vanished, my facial contours had changed completely and puberty had done some indefinable something to my self-confidence. I was still fairly plain, but by my 14th birthday my figure (with the exception of my tits) was almost exactly the same as it is today: 5’5″ tall, 125#, 25″ waist, 36″ hips. I could still fit into the clothes I wore then if I still had them (assuming they could stretch over my enhanced bosom). By the time I was 15 some people of both sexes clearly seemed to find me attractive, and by the time I reached UNO a few months before my 17th birthday I could count on frequent passes from both guys and girls. And yet, nobody ever referred to me as a beauty; I heard “cute” very often, and even “hot” or “sexy”. But something deep inside me just couldn’t accept that, or maybe I thought it was because I was willing to put out; I jumped at the first marriage proposal I got at the ripe old age of 20, and paid for that bad decision for the next seven and a half years.
And though my self-esteem had taken a severe beating during my time with Jack, when I emerged on the other side and moved into my thirties, I noticed that something had changed. My confidence, though above average in my late teens, had now become palpable. People were now describing me with word like “striking” and “stunning” instead of “pretty” or “hot”. And though I had been able to demand money for sex before, now I could depend on that for a living. The effect snowballed, and though my confidence in my writing and speaking abilities trailed that in my looks by a number of years, that eventually built up as well. But while people who’ve always been attractive and popular are very often not the nicest of folks, there’s a part of me that still believes I’m a homely weirdo that nobody would ever actually want, and she’s still enchanted and flattered and delighted by compliments and attention. She tries to be kind and gentle to everyone who is nice to her, because she still clearly remembers what it was like when people were rough and unkind to her. And though she’s still not quite sure how she got to be one of the cool kids, she’s absolutely determined never to use the perks of that status to hurt others.
Emboldened by my successful flights to and from Los Angeles, last week I bought our tickets for the Desiree Alliance conference in New Orleans. But lest you think I’ve become reckless, I must point out that I still took a number of precautions. First of all, I bought tickets for Jae and Vignette at the same time as mine, ensuring we’ll be on the same flight in case I need to dope myself up more than last time. Also, I was careful to select nonstop flights both coming and going; unless a flight is unusually rough, the chance of vertigo is highest during takeoff and landing, so one of each is better than two of each. Also, nonstop flights obviously result in less travel time, which means less risk of my meds wearing off too soon. I was also careful to select flights with a “very good” rating; less turbulence, less bullshit and less chance of delay are all good things for me. And as you can see from this screencap Vignette tweeted, the price was probably a good omen; after all, what would one expect when flying to a harlot convention in New Orleans with the Whore of Babylon? But in all seriousness, I’m really looking forward to the conference; the last time I went to one, I was just beginning to realize how well-known I had become, and I was meeting many people in the flesh for the first time. But this time, I’m going with a large group of close friends, and it is going to be a total blast, especially since it’ll be the first time I can show those friends some of the sights of my home town. And that, dear readers, is well worth risking airsickness for.
My weekend in Los Angeles was a lot of fun; I spent as little of it sober as I could possibly manage. Then on Sunday night Matt showed me the new Star Wars movie, and on Monday we spent the day at Disneyland; here’s a selfie I took in line for “It’s a Small World” (I guess those sparkles are a sun-glare thing). And before any of y’all are tempted to knock my taste in amusement rides, I ask you to consider two things: 1) I have severe vertigo, which means Space Mountain and Star Tours are out and even Splash Mountain and the Matterhorn are on the border; 2) I am wound very tight and my life is full of things most people consider very exciting, so when I want to relax, I want to RELAX (consider that before you ever offer me cocaine). And in the ride department, that mostly means miniature railways and dark rides. Lots and lots and lots of dark rides. Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean, even Peter Pan’s Flight. If I were a billionaire I’d build an amusement park with nothing but variations on and combinations of miniature railways, boat rides and dark rides. And a really nice carousel. And anyone who didn’t like it would be handed a pamphlet with directions to Six Flags Magic Mountain. Speaking of thrill rides, my return flight wasn’t one; it was free of turbulence and drama except for the undisciplined toddlers in the row in front of me. But I’ll take screaming kids over terrified vomiting any day of the year.
On Tuesday morning I picked up a rental car in Anaheim and drove for almost four hours to Fresno, where I did a photo shoot with Rick Horowitz which I hope will be the first of several I do for my nude photo project. I then stayed the night at his home, where I shared a delicious dinner and hours of lovely conversation with him and his wife. The next morning I set out for the long drive back to Los Angeles (specifically, Long Beach Airport) for my flight back to Seattle, and as I was leaving Rick said, “That was a really long way to drive for photos.” I replied, “I could’ve gotten the photos in Seattle; I drove here for the experience.”
I’ll be reaching the half-century mark pretty soon, and I’ve met a lot of people in that time. I’ve talked with them, argued with them, loved them, and fought with them. I’ve hired them to do jobs and been hired by them; I’ve fucked them, been fucked over by them, played with them and feared them. I’ve learned from them, taught them, helped and been helped by them, ignored them, missed them and avoided them and done many other things far too numerous to list. And for the majority of my adult life, I’ve made my living by interacting directly with them on a one-on-one basis. And as time has gone by, I’ve grown to realize that the most enjoyable, rewarding and memorable moments of my life have always involved other people. Nor do I mean exciting, cinematic adventures in which I happened to have companions; I just mean conversations, shared meals and other simple one-on-one interactions. As I sit here writing I can open the vault of memory and find a wealth of experiences from months, years and decades in the past; I can see their faces, hear their voices and even tell you where we were and what we talked about. Some of the people with whom I had these treasured interactions are still dear friends, and some I haven’t seen in many years; many of them were with people I met only once, and whose names I have long forgotten. And many others fall somewhere between those two extremes.
I’ve said many times that the most rewarding part of my book tour in 2014 was the human interaction; just to present one single example, I spent last weekend at the home of a friend I made on that tour. And though the past year has been very difficult for me, the one thing that has helped me through it most was the support of my friends. I look forward to shared meals like some people do to rock concerts and enjoy conversations like some people do Hollywood blockbusters. You know how some people think it’s perfectly reasonable to wait for days in line to see a movie, concert or parade, or to be among the first in the door at a sale? Well, I think it’s reasonable to travel long distances to visit friends. And that has only become more true as I’ve grown older.