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I think that one of the most important purposes of my guest columnist feature is to provide a look at experiences I’m not qualified to speak about personally, so when I received this letter I immediately asked its author if I could publish it.  She very graciously consented, and I hope y’all will find it as fascinating as I do.

Dear Maggie,

I’m a middle aged lesbian-leaning bisexual academic who identifies as a feminist.  Your blog came to my attention a few years ago via Twitter, and your daily digest of police state violence against sex workers is an essential part of my political reading.  While you have a wide array of discussions on your blog and in the comment threads, I have noticed one voice missing:  That of The Jane.  Or at least, This Jane.

I am a woman who has paid for sex and I liked it.  If I were a rich woman, I would unabashedly procure sexual services from providers of various genders.  If I were powerful enough, I would be honest and unashamed by such too.

After graduate school in a small southern town, I took a corporate job in a major city.U-Haul  Young, devoted to my work and at that time, well-paid, I would make it a point a few nights a week to attempt to meet women in all the conventional ways including lesbian bars and political events.  What was to follow was a series of disappointments; not because I was not meeting women, I was.  What I wasn’t meeting were lesbians who could just enjoy sex without it being attached to a potential relationship.  We all know the old joke about what a lesbian brings on a second date:  A U-Haul.

Lesbian bars were dreadful.  Full of puritans.  Every attractive butch was in a 12-step program, often full of judgment when I ordered a second drink since God forbid one want to unwind.  If we made it far enough through the evening, I would get propositioned.  No, not of the “Let’s fuck” variety but invitations to play house.  If they were willing to just go back to my place and fuck, I would get lectures about smoking pot beforehand lest it interfere with my enjoyment or more importantly, my ability to consent.  “Consent culture” has been around for a long time; it’s less to do with avoiding accusations of rape, than it is to appease the insecure who think that my enjoyment of recreational drugs, sex toys, kink or any variety of base pleasures somehow implies that they might be sexually inadequate.  Further, there is this notion that one’s sexuality must be “healthy,” even spiritual; I never did figure out what the latter meant, but the former was a return to the days when women kept each other in check by making sure that one stayed virtuous (in other words, not promiscuous).  It’s not that there weren’t any women who did just want to fuck.  The bi-curious women appeared on my TV screen and in popular magazines, but in real life they generally consisted of women whose interest flagged when they reeled in which ever male they were using me as bait to hook, or those who believed that female sexuality consisted of a few slow French kisses, then our bodies would magically meld as we flew over lush fields of green as unicorn fairies.  In other words, they had no idea where the hell to put their tongues.

Then one night, I was with a group of male and female friends when we entered a local strip club as part of a birthday party, and I found a bright and vivid display of women, in every shape and color, who made themselves erotic visions.  I was transfixed watching their stage performances, and after a few shots I worked up my courage to approach them with dollar bills to get a closer look.  The bold eye contact the dancers made helped me to not merely sympathize but to have genuine empathy for men who are intimidated to speak to beautiful women.

Everything about stripping is ultimately more about what is on the dancer’s body than what is removed.  The sky-high heels create the muscularity that emphasizes and aligns the curve of her buttocks, through the smooth upper thighs curving back into the calf; they promote a straight posture and confident gait that turns breasts into beacons of life.  The thongs draw attention not only to the natural peach shape of the female rear, but affirm the wearer’s many hours of fitness and discipline.  Creamy, moisturized skin, long playful eye lashes, full lips brought to a shine and topped off by a crown of hair that tumbles and falls in waves…waves of free spirited sexual freedom.

When I could regain my powers of speech, I tipped one of the dancers and asked her to join us at our table.  Other members of my group were already getting dances; I wanted one too, but not just to titillate the men around me (not that I would have noticed).  Once the dance began, I was entranced by the way she slowly dragged her manicured fingertips down my exposed arms, her body gliding up and down mine as if she were as light as air, and her hands ever-so-discreetly making their way for a moment or two to the sides of my breasts – I was aware of nothing but her.  Our group enjoyed the club until late, then we left.  That in some ways was the best part; I had the high of experiencing female sexuality without having to cultivate an emotional connection that I was neither ready for nor could make room for in my life.

Writing about that was the fun part, but now it gets thorny:  Many years later and some relationships later, I discovered heterosexuality.  It affirmed both my feminism and my lesbianism; the dynamics of heterosexual romances are simply incompatible with the way I live my life.  My work requires me to spend long hours in solitude thinking, researching and writing.  I am married to my ideas, and so am simply unsuitable as a mate in any sort of conventional heterosexual relationship.  Ultimately, I realized I longed for only one aspect of them:  being fucked with a penis.  With age, my needs for privacy had grown; hence, affairs with colleagues were out of the question.  People love to gossip, especially about themselves.  Male friends to whom I felt close enough to ask for sex,  grew attached no matter how clear I made it that I was not able of reciprocating the same sort of love they felt.  Lacking feminine tact or any ability for small talk, the bar scene for straights proved even less inviting than the one for lesbians, and for whatever reason I could never convince myself I felt any chemistry with strangers under those circumstances.

Several months after the end of a long relationship, people who knew me less well were prone to ask if I had started seeing anyone yet (as if there were a social norm about remaining single too long).  Or worse, my lack of interest in dating seemed to indicate to armchair psychologists that I was not “healed” or over my last mate.  In reality, though, I was relieved to be single again, as it allowed me to focus on artistic projects which I had abandoned; I had been so busy maintaining a relationship out of obligation that I had lost sight of my own intellectual ambitions.

Cowboys 4 AngelsIn due time however, I craved the sexual touch of another person.  A few times a month I would get a massage at a nearby Thai parlor which (as far as I knew) was not in the business of providing sexual services; most of the masseuses were petite older women who had studied their craft, and I always left feeling as though my body had been put back in order.  Nothing more, nothing less.  At one visit however, the masseur was a young man I took as gay.  The massage was excellent, but he worked my entire body (including the groin area) in such a way that when I returned home, I did something I rarely needed to do after a massage:  masturbate.  Basking in the relaxation of my own bed alone, it occurred to me, why didn’t such a service exist as an outcall.  I must be horribly dumb after an orgasm, because there is a world full of male prostitutes – albeit one that caters nearly entirely to gay men.  After a quick internet search, however, I found one company that made a ham-fisted point of reminding anyone on the site that it was strictly a “Straight Elite Male Companions For Women” operation.

I made the call.

Two hours and a six hundred dollar charge to my credit card later, “Anthony” appeared.  He was wholesome looking in a countrified way:  lean, slightly muscular and sans tattoos and piercings (which was refreshing having been over exposed to such in the LGBT scene).  I was nervous, but he made me feel very at ease; he knew what to do and when do it.  And when it was over, I gave him a cash tip and spent a very relaxing evening in bed reading.  I had experienced sexual release without any of the complications, drudgery or expense of being in a romantic pairing.

Would I hire an escort again?  Certainly.  The only thing that keeps me from doing so are the rates, but what escorts do is worth the price.  With a professional, I am spared tedious discussions about sexual histories:  I want to fuck, not be probed by a nurse practitioner.  The boundaries, both mine and the sex worker’s, are clearly drawn.  I am not burdening others by dragging around a fuck partner whose name everyone is expected to remember or who needs a special term.  (Referring to someone as girl/boy friend at my age seems ludicrous and “lover” implies I’m a 65 year old gay man — I might be someday but will save my gender issues for another guest column if you so allow.)  Sex workers understand discretion so I am allowed my privacy, something the “friends with benefits/selfie” era lacks, with or without the NSA.  Finally, I do not have pretend to be seeking “romance”  when all I am interested in is sex.

Yours in freedom,

Mara

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I think I can safely speak for virtually all sex workers when I say that we don’t want to be passive tools used by governments and NGOs as the excuse for tyranny; we simply want to be left alone to live our lives like anyone else, with the same rights, privileges, duties and legal protections as people in every other profession.  –  “Only Rights Can Stop the Wrongs

sex workers uniteToday is International Sex Worker Rights Day, a day for protest and activism held on the anniversary of a 2001 sex worker festival in India which succeeded despite efforts by prohibitionists to stop it via their usual means, collusion with the “authorities”.  I think that has tremendous symbolic value:  prohibitionists would like to stop our whole movement if they could, to silence us, suppress us and turn us into the helpless, voiceless victims who populate  their masturbatory fantasies; it’s therefore important to celebrate a major victory over them so we can remind ourselves that no matter how strenuously our enemies fight to hold us down, and no matter how many cops and politicians they conspire with, we must still win in the long run.  Furthermore, the fact that the observance started in India is in my mind very important; Indian sex workers are an inspiration and an example to their American sisters, and what we take lying down or weakly protest in small groups, they shout down with the thunderous voice of tens of thousands working together.  When I first wrote about the day four years ago it was barely even known in North America (though well-observed all over Asia and Africa), but has since caught on and gets more press every year.  I don’t think we’ll ever have anything like the sheer numbers the Indian groups can boast, but maybe by observing their day we can fortify ourselves with some of their indomitable spirit.  I don’t mean by some sort of sympathetic magic, mind you, but rather by keeping their example in our minds.

Today of all days is especially important to me personally, because it will be the first group sex worker rights event I’ve ever participated in.  I’ve been writing about sex worker rights online for almost eleven years now, and collecting those writings in one place (and under one name!) for five of them; last year I spent months travelling across the country speaking on the subject to anyone who would listen, from individuals to groups of dozens to TV audiences of many thousands.  But everything I’ve ever done as an activist was undertaken either completely alone, or with the help of sympathetic outsiders.  And I’ve come to realize that, as effective as I’ve been, I’ve never had the experience of working with other whores on a concerted action.  It’s one of the things I moved to Seattle for; if you read yesterday’s column you already know another, equally important reason.  As I said on New Year’s Day, I’ve broken out of the cocoon in which I had wrapped myself for so long; though I’m still going to do a lot of my fighting from behind this keyboard, I’m also going to be doing a lot of hands-on work.  And though much of my most important activism will still be solitary, a lot of it will follow the example of my Indian heroines, battling side-by-side in the trenches with my sisters.

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Now here you go again
You say you want your freedom
Well, who am I to keep you down.
  –  Stevie Nicks, “Dreams”

This was not an easy essay to write, which is why I put it off for as long as I did.  But the events of the last few months made the writing of it an absolute necessity; there’s been a lot of gossip, and a lot of speculation, and I’m sure many of you have suspected something like this for some time now.  I don’t know how to say this in any way but plainly, so here goes:  My husband and I are getting a divorce.

Every Rose Has Its ThornsNow, this isn’t as sudden a development as you might think; a wise and perceptive person might have seen the signs as early as 2007, within a year of my retiring from sex work.  Maybe my retirement changed some of the subtle alchemy of my appeal; maybe it was just the Coolidge Effect.  Or maybe it’s just that, though I’m an easy person to love, I’m damned hard to live with.  I have a tendency to be moody, paranoid and set in my ways; I’m also emotionally intense, incredibly stubborn and often unreasonable, and I tend to get my way all the time without directly demanding it.  He had fallen in love with a glamorous, mysterious enchantress, and perhaps once the bloom was off the rose he began to realize what a damned thorny plant he was holding in his lacerated hand.  And once the money troubles started again the following year (due to the economic crash), I reckon he felt enough was enough; he asked me for a divorce in October of 2008.

To say that I did not take it well would be putting it mildly; “psycho” would probably be closer to an honest appraisal.  The only thing I have to say in my defense is, consider how you would feel if you were a woman who had made her living by being attractive to men, and the one man you had broken your own rules for suddenly rejected you.  I felt as though I had been kicked in the teeth, and reacted accordingly.  He did not expect such an extreme reaction on my part (because men, bless your little hearts, never do understand women even after spending years with one), and backed down from the request; once again I had got my way.  We spent a stormy two years until he asked for divorce again just a few months after I started this blog; that time we went to marriage counseling, and for about a year and a half it really looked like things were improving (my interview with him was near the beginning of this stretch of reconciliation).

But by the end of 2012 the relationship started to unravel again, this time in slow motion.  We didn’t argue at all; in fact we were generally quite friendly on the phone, and he always enthusiastically supported my work.  But he had maintained a second residence (for work) since the summer of 2010, and began to spend much more time there than he did at home.  He was here for only two separate one-week periods in 2013, one in April and the other in July; he made excuses about why he couldn’t come home for Christmas that year, and the only time I spent with him in the whole of last year was a single night when I toured through San Diego.  So it really wasn’t much of a surprise when he asked for a divorce again about a month after I got home from the tour, and this time I agreed.  He insisted on giving me terms more generous than any I had a right to expect; he wasn’t even in a rush, and suggested we do the actual paperwork sometime in the next year (we’ve since agreed to do it this coming July).

Needless to say, I did a lot of deep thinking about what was happening; I was upset and relieved at the same time, and what finally helped me to accept it was the realization that, though I still love him, it was his friendship I would miss the most, and that by being a big girl about it and sincerely wishing him only happiness, that perhaps I wouldn’t actually have to lose it after all.  That’s what it looks like is happening; he’s happier and friendlier on the phone than he’s been in at least two years, and I no longer feel the sullen resentment toward him I’ve felt for seven years.  As soon as I let go of a failed marriage, I found my favorite client again, and who knows?  The stage of our relationship yet to come might actually be the best one for both of us.  Since I fully expect to mention him from time to time, I’ll call him “Matt” from here on out; I obviously can’t call him “my husband” any more, and since I now have two exes I asked him which pseudonym he wanted me to use.

Maggie & Jae 2-19-15After the end of my first marriage, I fended off would-be lovers with the fierceness of Athena until I found myself; this time, the act of letting go was itself an act of self-actualization, and Athena ceded the field to Aphrodite.  My trip to Seattle was, as I’ve already said, powerful and transformative; I knew it was the beginning of a new book of my life, and I knew that it was right and good to be open to whatever it brought with it.  And one of those things, much to my surprise, was love.  I’ve mentioned Jae, a sex worker and activist from Seattle, quite a lot since November; what I haven’t mentioned is that we are much more than friends.  We are, in fact, lovers, and a large part of the reason I’ve come to Seattle is to live with her; in a few years, after my business here is done, she’ll be moving out to the country with me.  And in the meantime, she’ll be traveling with me on some of my trips, so many of y’all will get a chance to meet her.  Yes, we got serious very quickly, but that’s not at all unusual in lesbian relationships (What does a lesbian bring on the second date?  A U-haul trailer.)  Don’t be surprised, dear readers; it’s not like I’ve made a secret of my bisexuality, and if one excludes commercial encounters I’ve actually been with more women than men.

I can’t say that’s all there is to tell right now, because it wouldn’t be true; it is, however, all I want to tell right now and all that I think I should tell right now.  I apologize if the narrative has been a bit less well-organized than usual; it was, as I said above, rather difficult to write.  I’m sure many of you will want to express your sympathy for the divorce, and of course I appreciate that.  But as I said above, this was a long time coming, and Matt and I are both relieved that we can stop inadvertently hurting each other.  In short, three people are happier today than they were in October, and in the big scheme of things that’s something to be thankful for.

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Diary #243

Maggie 2-19-15The trip to Seattle went as smoothly as I could have wished; the car performed very well, averaging 30 miles per gallon over the whole trip (and remember, a lot of that was over mountains).  The weather was fine nearly the whole way (aside for very light snow between Amarillo and the Texas border), and I was only harassed by one cop (in a Nevada speed trap where the limit abruptly dropped from 70 to 25 while several prowl cars lay in wait).  On Wednesday the 11th I had a lovely dinner with Dr. and Mrs. David Ley in Albuquerque, then met my husband in Las Vegas the following night; Jae and I left Vegas on Sunday morning, stayed in Reno that night and made Seattle by midnight the following night after a 13-hour drive.  Last week mostly involved settling in, though I did find the time to help Mistress Matisse with one of her clients on Wednesday, to do a photo shoot on Thursday and to throw a party for Reason writer (and super sex worker ally) Elizabeth Nolan Brown on Saturday.  And let me tell you, you haven’t really lived until you’ve been to a party where most of the guests are sex workers!  This week I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, and a meeting with a patron tonight; remember, a $500 donation will get you both dinner with me and the satisfaction of knowing you’re contributing to a worthy cause.  If you aren’t in Seattle (or visiting here), keep an eye on this space for my travels and contact me when I’ll be near you.  Even if you can’t afford that much, I truly appreciate each and every donation and I’m working on a way for you to help me out while ordering things you need or might like online.

Needless to say, my life is still in a lot of upheaval right now, so I really appreciate your patience with my chaotic tweeting schedule, slow response to correspondence and other irregularities.  Monday’s column will provide a lot more detail about what’s going on with me, and I’ll continue to keep you posted on developments in these diary entries.

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A cleaner, sweeter bed-fellow does not exist.  –  Greville’s letter praising Emma to Lord Hamilton

When Mandy Rice-Davies compared herself to Lady Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress, it is doubtful that any of the reporters who made her famous for the reference had any confusion about what she meant.  But the 1960s were a more sexually honest time than our own, and nowadays writers are even more likely to prevaricate about Lady Hamilton’s harlotry than they are about Rice-Davies’; a BBC article on the famous affair even goes so far as to say that “[Nelson and Hamilton] had fallen out of love with their partners”, as if the Lady had married her patron due to “falling in love” in the first place.  In fact, there’s another modern term for the way they came to be together, more pejorative  even than “prostitution”; read on and you’ll see what I mean.

Amy Lyon, the daughter of a blacksmith named Henry Lyon and his wife Mary, was born on April 26th, 1765 in Cheshire, England.  Her father died when she was an infant and her mother raised her alone, later sending her to live with her grandmother in Wales.  At twelve she started working as a maid and soon met another maid named Jane Powell, who aspired to be an actress; through her Amy found work at the Drury Lane theatre as a maid to several actresses, during which time she lived in the home of a brothel madam named Mrs. Kelly.  Her beauty and grace attracted the attention of James Graham, the doctor who owned an establishment called the “Temple of Health and Hymen” where couples could pay £50 a night (over £3000 today) to have sex in the “Celestial Bed”, which administered mild electric shocks that were supposed to cure infertility and encourage the conception of “perfect” babies.  Amy’s job was to be a hostess, model and erotic dancer, presumably to augment the effects of the electric bed.  When she was sixteen she was hired by Sir Harry Featherstonhaugh to provide entertainment at a several-months-long standing party; she is known to have danced nude on the dining room table at this shindig, and her other activities may be guessed by the fact that she was pregnant by the end of the summer, presumably by Sir Harry.

As was typical in those days, Sir Harry blamed the pregnancy entirely on Amy, so though he was still supporting her she decided to become the kept woman of Charles Francis Greville, an MP and the second son of the first Earl of Warwick.  Though Greville was in love with Amy, he was quite domineering and appears to have viewed her as a piece of property.  When the baby, who was given the name Emma Carew, was born, he sent her away to be raised by a couple named Blackburn; around this same time he also demanded that Amy change her own name to Emma, specifically “Emma Hart”.  When he had her portrait painted by his friend George Romney, the painter became obsessed with her; he made so many sketches of her (both nude and clothed) at this time and later that he was able to paint a number of portraits of her without further sitting.  Because Romney was a popular painter, Emma became well-known in London society both for her wit and personality and as an artist’s model.

Unfortunately, Greville spent far beyond his means, and by 1783 he needed a new source of funds; he decided to acquire them by marrying the young heiress Henrietta Middleton, but since it was common knowledge that Emma was his lover he had to be rid of her.  He therefore convinced his uncle, Sir William Hamilton, to accept her as his mistress.  Hamilton was an art collector, and no doubt viewed the now-famous beauty as a valuable find; he also wanted to facilitate his nephew’s marriage so as to eliminate his frequent requests for money.  The deal was therefore made without Emma’s input or knowledge, and she was shipped off to Naples (where Hamilton was the British envoy) under the guise of a six-month holiday while Greville was supposedly away on business.  She was, in other words, “sex trafficked”, sent from one owner to another in a different country.

But though Emma was furious upon discovering what was really expected of her, she eventually adapted to her situation.  Hamilton’s home was beautiful and his art collection renowned, and he was a widower who, far from viewing her as an embarrassment, instead encouraged her modeling, singing and other performance.  The form for which she became known was called “attitudes”; this consisted of an act in which she would wear a simple gown dressed up by scarves and shawls which helped her to evoke images from history and classical mythology by posing.  The audience was then supposed to guess who she was portraying.  Though this may sound a bit silly to modern ears, the effect was apparently very striking; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote, “The performance is like nothing you have ever seen before.  With a few scarves and shawls she expressed a variety of wonderful transformations.  One pose after another without a break”.  Within a few years of her first performance in the spring of 1787, a number of other actresses took up the art; over the years Emma herself evolved from mere posing into acting out short pantomimes, most famously portraying Medea.

Sir William eventually married Emma on September 6th, 1791; he was sixty and she twenty-six.  The match gave her the title by which she was forever known afterward, though friends still called her “Emma”.  It also gave her the duties of a diplomat’s wife, among them entertaining Horatio Nelson (then a mere post captain) when he came in 1793 to request reinforcements from the King of Naples.  By the time he returned in 1798 he had lost an arm, an eye, most of his teeth and the majority of his health, but had won both the Battle of the Nile and worldwide fame.  Sir William invited the great man to recuperate in their home, nursed by his young wife, and it was at this time that the two began their affair.

But while one might think this a betrayal of hospitality, the truth is that Sir William definitely knew about and seems to have even encouraged the affair; he and Nelson respected and admired one another, and Emma and Nelson had similar feelings for one another.  Indeed, the relationship soon developed into a ménage a trois; after the Neopolitan Revolution of 1799 the ailing Hamilton was allowed to retire and return to England, accompanied by Nelson, who openly moved in with the Hamiltons despite having a home (and wife) of his own.  In fact, the arrangement became such a huge scandal that the Admiralty ordered Nelson back to sea to keep him away from Emma.  The public, however, was fascinated and the Hamiltons seemed completely unconcerned with what anyone said; when Emma gave birth to a daughter on January 31st, 1801 she named her “Horatia”, flagrantly advertising her paternity.

Alas, their happiness was not to last long.  Sir William, whom Emma had grown to love, died in 1803 and Nelson returned to sea to fight Napoleon soon afterward.  The daughter Emma was carrying at the time died soon after her birth early the next year, and she consoled herself by gambling and otherwise wasting money; when Nelson died at Trafalgar in October of 1805, she had nothing left but Hamilton’s £800/year pension, which she exhausted trying to build up Merton Place (the house Nelson had bought for the three to live together in) as a monument to the great man.  Now the government decided to have its revenge on the woman it considered a double embarrassment for tarnishing the reputations of two of its favored sons: Emma was barred from Nelson’s funeral, and his request that she and Horatia be provided for was totally ignored; money and gifts were instead showered upon Nelson’s widow, brother and other family members.  As her looks and figure were long gone, Emma could no longer attract a patron; she fell deeply into debt and after Nelson’s love letters to her were stolen and published in 1814, the government exacted one more act of petty vengeance by throwing her into debtor’s prison.  After her release that autumn she fled to France with Horatia, where she died on January 15th, 1815.  Men in power are never kind to women who have embarrassed them, and neither Lady Hamilton’s title nor the exalted reputation of her most famous lover could save her from being treated like any other troublesome whore.

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Diary #241

The day is here!  Or more exactly, it will be here tomorrow.  At roughly 10 AM CST tomorrow morning I’ll be headed west and driving all day, to rendezvous for dinner with Dr. David Ley in Albuquerque.  Then on Thursday I’ll be meeting my husband in Las Vegas, and the next day Jae and I will meet up for the trip to Seattle.  I’m not exactly sure when we’re departing or which route we’ll take; she complained that a planned schedule would “take the fun out of the trip”.  So as part of my commitment to loosening up and trying new things, I’m going to acquiesce to her wishes and play it by ear (the sound you hear is my nerves twanging at the thought).  But in any case, we should be back in Seattle by  sometime early next week (though you’ll have to wait until the 24th to read about it because next Tuesday is Mardi Gras.)  Anyhow, today is going to be spent almost entirely away from the keyboard; I’ve done all I can do to keep things running smoothly here for the next week even if I can’t get online very much, and I’ve got far too many real-life tasks to handle prior to departure (including, but not limited to:  a manicure/pedicure, taking the car to my mechanic for a last-minute check, washing clothes, packing the car and transferring all the vital Honest Courtesan files to my thumb drive for portability).  So wish me luck, make an offering to Hermes for me, send me positive vibes or whatever the equivalent is in your belief system; or, if you prefer a more pragmatic form of assistance, donations via PayPal are always welcome!

Incidentally, today’s illustration isn’t an affirmation or mere self-aggrandizement or anything like that; it’s to fulfill a request from my youngest fan, Mancrack’s little boy Storm, who met me when I stayed at her house last August.  Adult readers who appreciate it can direct your thanks to Mancrack.

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Diary #240

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m leaving for Seattle a week from tomorrow, which means I’m moving into full-blown headless chicken mode pretty soon.  I have Jae to thank for my not having hit it yet; though I haven’t even started packing yet she keeps mentioning things she has gotten for me up there, from tea to my brand of shampoo to a computer to a bathrobe to…you get the picture.  Honestly, if I were flying straight there instead of wandering about the country for a week (including several days in Las Vegas), I’d be tempted just to throw a few dresses in my overnight bag and call it good.  Alas, that is not to be; I have to eventually start packing, though I suppose Sunday will be soon enough.  Until then I’ve got to take care of a number of things around here I don’t want to stick Grace with, plus blog work to get ahead on and a book to organize (the rough draft is complete and formatted, and I’m editing it now).  It’s important that I get as much ahead as possible, because Savannah Sly has already said she’s going to rope me into whatever activism she can up there (and with her, that might not be merely a metaphor).

Anyhow, there’s a way you can lessen my stress if you like; moves are expensive, and I’ve totally drained my war chest.  So if you can spare it, could you do a donation for me this week via PayPal?  Pretty please with sugar on top?  Just send it to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net and I’ll send you a thank-you note and add you to my subscriber list; every so often I’ll send out a special gift to everyone on it, and you’ll be there!

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