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Archive for the ‘Call types’ Category

Victoria McCormick, AKA Victoria of Dallas, was a centerfold for Hustler’s Busty Beauties who is currently working as an escort and wrapping up her memoir How One Woman Learned to Give Men Exactly What They Wanted Before Discovering How to Give Herself What She Needed.

This has been quite a year and I have had the opportunity to meet some new and interesting people as well as traveling to unfamiliar places around the world.  Being given the opportunity to move to Sardegna, Italy to rewrite the last chapter of my memoir was the dream of a lifetime; since I had no agent at the time, I wanted it to be perfect and I knew I needed some space from work to accomplish that.  So I sold everything I owned, paid the USDA over 1K to get export paperwork for my cat, packed 3 suitcases and moved to Sardegna, surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea.  It’s a beautiful place, with flamingoes everywhere; their vast wingspans of hot pink, black and white provided quite the contrast to the azure and emerald sea at Poetto Beach.

While there, I took a week in March to visit London for the first time; while there I worked and was interviewed for a podcast on the difference of being a sex worker in the UK and the US.  And there was quite a difference, mostly deriving from the fact that it’s legal there (as it is in most of the world).  And while that means the risk of being arrested (due to violations of the many laws surrounding sex work, such as brothel-keeping and the like) is far lower there, and our risk of being the victims of opportunistic crimes is higher in the US due to criminalization, it does mean that most escorts make a great deal more in the US (at least as a migrant).  As an American, I would need a working visa to work for any agencies, and that’s very difficult to get.  I also discovered (by talking to other girls on chat boards) that the agencies charge a lot of money for photos, which are over-Photoshopped and belong to the agency afterward.  Then even after the investment of this small fortune, the youngest and prettiest girls were still charging half of what I was in the US and they had to split that meager fee with the agency.  My only choice was therefore to be independent as I am at home, but that too had its problems; the internet advertising sites are inundated with ladies (many from Eastern Europe) charging as low as £30 for basically anything.  And while I certainly don’t look down on anyone who charges less than I do, I personally couldn’t bring myself to work for half or less of what I made back home in the states.  As a result, I saw only two clients while I was in London; ironically, one was from my hometown of Cleveland, OH, and he too had left as soon as he could (as I did when I went to Dallas)!  One other thing struck me:  despite sex work not being criminal in the UK, it’s still just as shunned as it is in the US.  And what that tells me is even after we finally achieve decriminalization in the US and Europe, we’ll still have a very long way to go in eliminating the stigma which contributes just as much to sex workers’ problems as criminalization does.  All in all, I don’t think I’ll try working in other countries again; my experiences have made me appreciate my clients on this side of the pond even more. 

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No one should be comfortable with state-funded employees determining what is or isn’t acceptable for adults to read.  –  Eric Paul Leue

The Pro-Rape Coalition 

Are there still people who believe the French are sexually liberal?

“We are not a puritan society,” French President Emmanuel Macron claimed…He then called for the criminalization of wolf-whistling and gender-based insults, and for requiring France’s TV and radio regulators to police video games and web content…[especially] online pornography, which Macron sees (sans evidence) as a prominent cause of violence against girls and women.  Porn is infiltrating French schools, Macron warned, and “we cannot ignore the kind that makes women an object of humiliation”…

What Would Orrin Hatch Do?

I guess six and a half years without a library internet censorship attempt isn’t too bad a run:

[Using the excuse] of out-in-the-open porn viewing, public sex, drug use and theft at [Los Angeles] city libraries, a pair of [politicians] is proposing [censorship software]…David Ryu…[and] Nury Martinez [vomited out several variations of “For the children!”, pretending this constituted an actual argument]…the Free Speech Coalition (FSC)…[correctly] argues that doing so could violate taxpayers’ First Amendment right…FSC executive director Eric Paul Leue said… “Filtering software sounds like an easy solution, but we know that such software often casts an egregiously wide net, blocking not only sexually explicit content but also sexual health information, LGBTQ sites and sites…which…discuss…issues relevant to the adult industry…In the past year alone, we’ve seen magazines like Cosmopolitan  attacked as pornography in conservative districts, just as we’ve seen crackdowns on LGBTQ content and imagery, and mere nudity elsewhere”…

Setting Women’s Rights Back a Century

It’s a little reassuring to see somebody else recognize this:

…while we think we are moving forward, we may be willingly transporting ourselves back to a more sexually restrictive era, one that denied agency to women…sexual laws and regulations have most often been strengthened in the name of protecting children…Sometimes the children are symbolic: anti-gay crusades are almost invariably framed in terms of “saving the children”— not specific children, but just the children who have to share a country with queers.  In the current American conversation, women are increasingly treated as children:  defenseless, incapable of consent, always on the verge of being victimized.  This should give us pause.  Being infantilized has never worked out well for women.

Acting and Activism (#565) 

Good riddance to bad anti-whore rubbish:

Lena Dunham may be the first person to fabricate details of her alleged rape, then proclaim all women’s claims need to be believed, and then publicly accuse a young woman of lying about having been raped.  Finally, the star and creator of Girls has been exposed as the empty vessel she is…Dunham…speaks, usually unbidden, with complete moral and philosophical authority — until she’s called out online, at which point she furiously and pathetically backpedals…She’s a total hypocrite…and…narcissist who possesses no intellectual rigor, no belief system, no relationship with the truth…

The Puritan Recrudescence

The “progressives” have given religious fanatics a powerful censorship tool:  declare anything a “public health crisis” and it can be harassed at will:

Each new revelation since the first reports of the Harvey Weinstein scandal adds to the discussion about how to deal with sexual harassment and sexual violence in American society. And yet nobody is talking about what could be one of the most effective ways to attack the problem: Recognizing that pornography consumption is a public health crisis…the heavy use of pornography skews the users’ perception of what is normal…We have a sexual violence problem because we have a porn problem…the evidence is mounting that porn is addictive…

All of this is pure, undistilled bullshit; as this article explains, the “porn as public health crisis” propaganda is a dodge dreamed up by prohibitionist Gail Dines and used by politicians in socially-conservative states as an excuse for censorship.  In reality (as opposed to prohibitionists’ anti-sex fantasyland) all the evidence points to porn viewing decreasing sexual violence, and regular readers know that the “sex addiction” myth, the big sister of “porn as health crisis”, is not only unsupported by evidence but dying a quick death due to the antics of the same abusive douchebag this prohibitionist tries to hang his pro-censorship screed on.

Against Their Will (#707)

Prohibitionists call this “rescue”:

A…sex worker fell to her death in Queens [New York because of] a police raid [last]…Saturday night…[grown men pretending to be big heroes] stormed a massage parlor [as though they were in a war or something]…Police say they were trying to [capture and arrest] the 38-year-old woman when they saw her fall to the sidewalk from a third floor window.  She suffered serious injuries, and died Sunday at the hospital.  The medical examiner will determine the exact cause of death.

Because “falling to her death while fleeing in terror from rapists who want to torture her & lock her in a cage” isn’t exact enough?

Rooted in Racism (#732) 

No, this wasn’t a “mistake”; it was a deliberate action proceeding directly from government-approved profiling guidelines:

A vacation to Cancun…ended in anguish when an Atlanta-area woman…and her friend were mistaken on the flight home for human trafficking victims.  The incident…has put a spotlight on the [harms inflicted on minority women by “sex trafficking” hysteria]…Stephanie Ung…was [interrogated] by U.S. Customs and Border Protection…for more than an hour upon arriving at the airport…”I just kept telling them that I wanted to go home for my family Thanksgiving dinner, and that they were making me late, but they just didn’t care,” Ung said through tears.  “They just laughed”…Ung, who is Asian American, said that she believes her race was a factor in the situation…A Delta spokesperson said that another passenger on the flight [fantasized] someone else was in possession of the women’s passports…and [snitched]…to the crew…

Is anyone so gullible as to believe that their being young Asian women had nothing to do with this?

Against Their Will (#766) 

It’s good to see this getting more attention lately:

In Hyderabad in particular there are some very powerful and very well-funded anti-trafficking organisations that…[pretend] any form of sex work [is] a form of trafficking…NGOs…[are] working in combination with the police…processing women and locking them up in “shelters”….[that] operate as jails…Their phones are taken away.  They’re not allowed to contact their families, they’re not allowed to contact their friends that could help them.  Their money is taken away, sometimes even their jewellery is taken away…They are kept against their will…completely cut off from…their life…there is an actual monetary gain to be had by trafficking these women off the streets and into shelters.  So…it actually meets all of the qualifications set out by the Palermo Protocol.  Women themselves are calling this a form of trafficking and…attempt to…escape…Some women attempt suicide…

Safe Targets (#766) 

Not for ANY reason WHATSOEVER.  No, your reason is not an exception:

A woman who reported being kidnapped and raped over a six month period to the police was arrested as she sought care…The woman, who was five months pregnant…was…taken into custody at an east London police station. She was then interrogated over her immigration status…

The Notorious Badge (#772)

OK, so maybe she was listening after all:

Maggie Gyllenhaal thinks prostitution should be decriminalised.  The…actress plays a sex worker in her new TV show The Deuce and she thinks it would be safer and healthier for everyone involved…if it was no longer a criminal act…

Wise Investment (#779)

Even though we’re going to lose many of these, lawsuits are for the present our best weapon against prohibitionists:

…it looked like City Attorney Pete Holmes’ tactic for leveraging harsh punishments against sex buyers was in trouble.  A filing from a public defender working on behalf of one of the men caught up in the city’s massage parlor stings revealed that the prosecutor had directed his attorneys not to offer pre-trial diversion to men accused of buying sex.  The strategy…contradict[s] the city’s lauded criminal justice reform efforts allowing people accused of other misdemeanor crimes to avoid criminal convictions.  Public defenders also expressed concern that a sting operation that trapped defendants into guilty pleas could have far more serious consequences for undocumented residents…A law firm hired by the city (to the tune of $60,000) argued in King County Superior Court that…the sex buyer in question didn’t have a due process right to pre-trial diversion…attorney Bob Goldsmith…asked King County Superior Court Judge Sean O’Donnell to recuse himself from the case…[because] O’Donnell had participated in the King County Commercially Sexually Exploited Children Task Force, which supported the “end demand” strategy enshrined in the city attorney’s prosecutorial decisions…Judge O’Donnell [naturally] rejected the motion to recuse himself, as well as Goldsmith’s other arguments…


To Molest and Rape (#782)

What kind of sick fuck enrolls their kids in a program specifically intended to groom them into members of a gang of violent thugs?  “A San Leandro [cop] resigned…[after admitting] sexual misconduct with a teenage Police Explorer…Marco Becerra…[molested] a 17-year-old girl…”  I mean, just LOOK at this creepy fuck; would you trust him around your daughter?

Buried Truth (#790) 

Given their propensity for badge-licking, I reckon it’s no surprise social conservatives like sleazy entrapment schemes so much:

A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore…impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets…During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public…When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.  But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups.  The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias…

You may recognize the resemblance to the failed attempt at framing Planned Parenthood in 2011.

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The best way I can think of to honor veterans is to stop making so goddamned many of them.  –  Maggie McNeill

99 years ago today, the armistice which ended the First World War – optimistically referred to by many at the time as “The War to End All Wars” – went into effect, and the occasion was thereafter celebrated as Armistice Day.  But because the idea of commemorating the end of a war doesn’t sit well with warmongering politicians in the world’s only remaining empire, it was eventually changed to “Veterans Day”.  However, as I wrote last year,

…designating the day as “Veterans Day” is, frankly, somewhat jingoistic and uncomfortably fascist.  As longtime readers know, I have nothing against military men; if anything, I have kind of a thing for them.  But respecting individuals isn’t at all the same as participating in the creepy mandatory obeisance we’ve seen growing over the past few decades, and dedicating a day to the end of a war is a far different thing from using it to glorify the machinery of war…Every year on this day, I’ve paid homage to the ancient and powerful relationship between warriors and whores, and I invite you to click on that link; the essay you’ll find contains more links to the earlier columns.  But given that after the end of the Cold War, the US government decided to instead devote itself to endless and mindless warfare against both its own people and those of foreign lands, I decided this year to make note of another bond between whores and military men:  our own government’s mad and evil campaign to destroy as many of our lives as possible for no reason whatsoever except the enrichment of the military/police-industrial complex and the self-aggrandizement of the evil sociopaths who declare themselves our rulers and believe they have the right to dispose of us as they will.

Though hipster progressives now like to refer to themselves as “The Resistance”, the truth is that they’re only upset because the orange-utang beat the animatronic harpy in the high-school popularity contest; they were perfectly content when “their” guy Obama was empire-building, setting new records for mass deportation, murdering children with flying war robots and using strips of the shredded Constitution to wipe his arse with.  And they’d have been ecstatic had Clinton been able to continue that, even had she done exactly what Trump is now doing (though in the “right” political way) because obviously murdered kids are happier when taking the last ferry ride if they were shipped down to the Styx by order of a woman; this is what extremely stupid people call “feminism”.  But in reality, it’s whores who are the real feminists and the real Resistance.  All authoritarians hate us, and all who hate us are authoritarians no matter what they want you to believe; there is no other valid term for someone who actually believes that government has both the power and the right to control women’s bodies, right down to criminalizing motives for sex that the Establishment disapproves of.  Well, I do not consent, and neither do other sex workers; we dare to continue to work and make our living in the face of disapproval from both religions and pearl-clutching housewives, and we defy the State which sends thugs to literally rape us in order to “teach us our place”.  Authoritarian regimes have always hated whores, and the US is no exception.  Hitler sent us to concentration camps; Mussolini confined us in psychiatric hospitals; Mao tried to brainwash us out of our harlotry; “Swedish model” regimes define women as moral imbeciles literally unable to resist the sight of money; and US politicians justify sending thug cops to “rescue” us (by raping, arresting and caging us) by public recitation of wild, disgusting wanking fantasies in which we’re all “children” or near-vegetables chained to beds by “pimps” with actual magic powers for repeated rape by every single adult male in the US every week.

And yet we resist, and carry on, and live and love and prosper.  And we and our trade will still be here long after both prohibitionism and authoritarianism exist only in history books, alongside wars fought for the aggrandizement and profit of “leaders” slavishly worshiped by people more concerned about their tribal affiliations than about the health, happiness and liberty of actual human beings.

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Only Time

I’ve heard of escorts pricing individual acts, but have no idea how the prices are communicated to the client without possibly exposing yourself in front of an undercover cop.  I don’t think a handjob should be priced the same as anal considering the disparity in risk and effort between the two.

In general, it’s a really bad idea for an escort to charge for anything other than time, though most escorts have a lower social rate for dates without private time (in other words conducted completely in public such as dinner or drinks).  It’s true that BDSM and fetish are generally priced a little lower than full service, which I personally think is stupid; dommes take a long time to learn their craft and they need to invest a great deal more energy and imagination in a session than GFE escorts like me have to.  Furthermore, they need a lot of expensive specialized equipment in addition to the lingerie, makeup, beauty costs, condoms, lube, etc that escorts need.  So they should charge more than regular escorts, not less!  But I digress; other than the disparities I mentioned, no escort I know charges a la carte, or if she does she doesn’t tell me.  Flat-rate pricing generally operates in the sex worker’s favor anyway; would you really want to have to give a refund if a client pays for full service, but then climaxes while you’re warming him up with mouth or hands?  Because I sure wouldn’t.  If you feel a particular menu item is more effort than you want to expend, either don’t offer it at all or only offer it to regulars you like.

As for cops, I’ve said this many times but it bears repeating:  You cannot actually protect yourself from a cop trying to trick you, because cops lie; if you let one in your door or go in his door, you will be arrested no matter what you say or do.  He will simply claim you said whatever the local DA requires to press charges on you.  The only way to be safe from a cop is to detect him before you meet him or even talk very much.  If you meet him, you’re going for a ride no matter what you said or didn’t say, so proper screening is your best safeguard.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Would a husband and wife be kicked out [of a hotel] for having sex?  –  Lisa Lewis

Rough Trade 

Luckily, Leeds is slightly more enlightened about sex work than much of the UK:

A man dragged a sex worker into bushes after she refused his request for business…The…woman broke free and flagged down a vehicle…It is being treated as an attempted serious sex attack, police said.  Patrols have been stepped up in the area…The man is described as white, aged 20 to 25, of skinny build and about 5ft 11in tall.  He had ginger stubble on his face…

Bad Girls 

At least this report doesn’t pretend these robbers were real sex workers:

A gang of six women, accused of luring men online with paid sex and massage services, and later assaulting and robbing them of cash…have each been sentenced to one year in jail.  The [Dubai] Court of First Instance was told that the six women, all Nigerians…would initiate a chat on messaging app Tango while using pictures of beautiful women and then invite the men over for massage or lure them with paid sex.  The court found them guilty of forcible theft charges and ordered them to be deported after serving their jail term…

Good Fantasy, Bad Reality 

Is this reporter really so stupid he can’t understand the difference between consensual BDSM and nonconsensual police violence?

The anarchist John Jay College professor who tweeted “it’s a privilege to teach future dead cops” …[has] a…personal profile on FetLife [that]…proclaims “I need a domme” to choke, waterboard and smother him…Despite his love of being restrained, the 29-year-old adjunct economics professor has consistently expressed his hatred for law enforcement, government and imprisonment…

I also hate cops, government and prisons, and I’m turned on by being restrained.  Big deal.  Playing with dark stuff is a major part of kink.

Moloch 

How many kids need to be sacrificed to this obscenity before it’s enough?

A 14-year-old Houston teenager may be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life after he was charged with having sex with his 12-year-old girlfriend.  The seventh grader…has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.  His girlfriend is in the sixth grade…Texas law has the “Romeo and Juliet” exception…But that law only applies if both sexual partners are at least 14…Jackie Stewart Gravois, an attorney with the Harris County Public Defender’s Office, [claimed]…judges don’t usually make juveniles register as sex offenders in cases like this…But Ira Ellman, a professor at the UC–Berkeley School of Law…[said] it’s not unusual to see 14-year-olds…[condemned to] life on the sex offender registry…the Bureau of Justice Statistics…found that the age with the highest number of people arrested for a sex offense is 14

Legal Is as Legal Does (#44) 

This is disgusting, but note that bigoted hotel staff in the US could have ratted her out to the pigs:

High-profile escort Lisa Lewis has taken to social media to voice her concerns about being rejected from a Napier [New Zealand] motel because she’s a sex worker…Lewis…was told she wasn’t welcome back at the Quality Inn Napier after spending…a…night there…[but not] working…she phoned the following day to enquire if there were any better rooms for her next stay…”Obviously not everyone admits to it so we can’t just assume but if we do know we don’t take the booking.  It’s hotel policy”…[she was told]…

Follow Your Bliss (#50)

Korean censors are enabled by the Nuri Cops, volunteers who selflessly devote their spare time to watching internet porn so others can’t:

South Korea…is weighing whether to block access to Tumblr if the social media platform doesn’t [censor] sexually explicit content…Tumblr rejected the…request to [censor porn all over the world because it]…is regulated only by U.S. law…The Korea Communications Standards Commission said it sent Tumblr more than 22,000 requests from January to June to delete posts that were linked to “illegal content”…during the same period Twitter received 1,771, Instagram 12 and Facebook 5…

Monsters 

Anti-trans laws, religion and “feminism” are the theory, and this is the practice:

Three suspects have been arrested for the monstrous murder of a transgender teenager.  Ally Steinfeld, 17, became the 21st transgender person to be killed in the US this year.  The body of the teenager, who was from Texas County, Missouri, was found near a mobile home belonging to Briana Calderas, 24.  Calderas has been arrested with Isis Schauer and Andrew Vrba, both 18.  Vrba…told police that he repeatedly stabbed Ally, gouging out her eyes and genitals.  Calderas and Schauer then…helped him to wrap Ally’s body, take it outside and set it on fire…they put the bones in a garbage bag and hid it in a chicken coop near Vrba’s home…

To Molest and Rape 

There’s nothing “stunning” about cops raping women; as regular readers know, it happens dozens of times a year in the US alone:

A Brooklyn teen [reported that] two NYPD detectives raped her after taking her into custody on a drug charge…The 18-year-old victim’s stunning accusations are now the subject of two investigations by the Brooklyn district attorney’s office and the NYPD’s Internal Affairs Bureau…No arrests have been made, but the two detectives and their supervisor have been stripped of their guns and shields and forced on desk duty…Edward Martins and Richard Hall…found the woman and two friends, both men, sitting in a car…The [rapists] handcuffed the teen after finding marijuana and the anxiety drug Klonopin in a bag next to her and drove her away…to a secluded spot…where…both cops [orally raped her and] one…raped her [vaginally]…they…then [kicked] her out of the minivan…and drove off…her parents…rushed her to…hospital for an exam.  Doctors there found signs of sexual assault and called police…Martins and Hall [lied] that the sex was consensual…

Because every woman wants to blow & fuck random cops who arrest her.

The End of the Beginning (#703)

Another setback for due process:

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging the constitutionality of Minnesota’s [indefinite imprisonment of]…sex offenders…The Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP), which [imprisons] about 720 [people]…has been the target of repeated legal challenges for its practice of confining [people] indefinitely [without any due process] after they have already completed their prison terms…

The Mote and the Beam (#777) 

Bad laws disproportionately harm small businesses, just as they disproportionately harm poor and marginalized individuals:

…Sen. Richard Blumenthal…one of the loudest champions…of SESTA…thinks of [internet startups] as unimportant outliers and would prefer that the new law put them out of business…Google will survive SESTA…Large Internet companies may have the legal budgets to survive the massive increase in litigation and liability that SESTA would bring.  They probably also have the budgets to implement a mix of automated filters and staff censors to comply with the law.  Small startups are a different story…But ultimately, the biggest casualty of SESTA won’t be Google or startups; it will be the people pushed offline…SESTA’s supporters [pretend]…it would be easy for web platforms of all sizes to implement automated filtering technologies…But it’s impossible to do that with anywhere near 100% accuracy.  Given the extreme penalties for under-filtering, platforms would err in the opposite direction…As EFF Executive Director Cindy Cohn put it, “Again and again, when platforms clamp down on their users’ speech, marginalized voices are the first to disappear”…

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My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!
 –  Edna St. Vincent Millay

I think I’ve said before, somewhere in this massive edifice of words, that I really hate it when other women respond to the realization that I have the figure I have without special dieting or exercising every day with “I wish I had your metabolism”.  I used to simply reply with “thank you” or a Southern belle “I guess I’m just blessed that way”, but I’ve grown so weary of the hidden bile in such statements that I now reply with a cutting glance and a darkly-intoned, “You wouldn’t want what goes with it.”

Engineers, scientists and medical professionals understand what most people don’t: that every dynamic system (such as a human body) exists in a state of homeostasis, and that a gain in one part of the system can only be achieved by shorting another part of the system.  Squeeze the balloon in the middle and the ends will enlarge at the expense of that middle, not to mention putting considerable pressure on the structural cohesion of the plastic if one squeezes hard enough.  Burn the candle at both ends?  Twice the light, but half the life.  Yes, I have a great metabolism…and it’s so finely-balanced that I become completely non-functional if anything knocks it out of that balance.  You know how most people can push themselves to go without sleep if necessary?  If I try that, when I get to about the 20-hour mark I get dizzy, start shivering and vomiting (sometimes accompanied by diarrhea and/or hives) and then literally pass out.  Some of my friends can walk around in public while high; I have to crawl to make it to the bathroom.  And on the rare occasions when I succumb to some illness, it generally manifests as 24 to 48 hours of dizziness, vomiting, chills, weakness so profound I can barely move, and fever so high that those attending me (if they can handle all the screaming at them to shut up, go away and turn off every light in the house) get frightened.  And that uncannily-high pain threshold some people envy?  It’s because sensations below the “imminent threat of maiming” level just don’t register on my hyperactive nervous system.  Consider what that does to my ability to sense pleasure, then tell me you still wish you had my physiology.

And while we’re on the subject, let’s talk about that hyperactive nervous system.  On the good side: extremely high intelligence, quick wit, lightning-fast reflexes, and hyper-awareness.  On the bad side: debilitating vertigo, OCD, ADD, insomnia and anxiety (the latter three all aggravated by long summer days).  That prolificity and vocabulary envied by other writers?  Paid for by a nigh-complete inability to shut up (ask my long-suffering friends how literal this is) unless I’m deeply drugged or unconscious.  And that superhuman memory of mine, the one everybody thinks is so bloody wonderful because I can pull up facts faster than Google and order them in a way no machine yet built can manage?  While the joy of good things fades with the neurochemical changes generated by those experiences, the emotional damage done by the bad ones remains and never completely heals, if it heals at all.  It has been said that no woman would ever have more than one baby if she could actually remember how it felt to have the first one; if that’s true it’s probably best I couldn’t have children, because I remember pain – whether physical or emotional – every bit as vividly as I remember facts.  Every laceration and every rejection; every broken bone, and every broken heart.

I’m not saying I would have it any other way; I am who I am and what I am, and it’s all I know.  What I’m saying is, when you look at someone else’s life and human condition, please apply at least as much thought as you apply when shopping for a new piece of technology, and consider the actual cost of what’s in front of you.

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In folklore, fantasy literature and occult thought, it’s possible to conjure beings from spiritual realms or other planes of existence or whatever to appear before one by various means, usually some sort of spell.  In the case of truly powerful and malevolent entities, it might be as simple as saying the being’s name (hence the phrase “speak of the Devil”), but usually there are conditions that have to be met – a sacrifice or some such – in order for the invocation to work.  Well, I’m neither an angel nor a succubus, but in response to a number of requests over the past couple of weeks I’m going to provide you with a not-so-mystic formula which will enable you to summon me to your city.  Normally, the process would involve contacting me via email, offering me a booking or bookings totaling up to the round-trip travel time to wherever it is, and then paying a deposit on that time; for example, it’s a four-hour flight each way to Chicago, so I’d need eight hours of work to justify travel.

Now, I recognize that a booking that long might be outside of the budget of many of you, but while I’m hawking my new book, The Forms of Things Unknown, I have an alternative means of summoning me anywhere in the US (and maybe other countries later, but we’ll talk about that when it materializes).  All you need to do is this:  contact a local bookstore or bookstores to find out if they’d like me to do a reading, and how much advance notice they need.  Then figure out a venue for me to do some kind of talk – for a university, a women’s group, a sex worker rights or libertarian group, etc – and talk to whoever you need to get a general idea of how to set that up.  Then contact me so we can agree on some tentative dates, and set up the events firmly.  Finally, arrange for a place for me to stay while in your city…and poof, I’ll magically fly through the air on the appointed day and appear at the events you’ve set up, and you can book a normal-length appointment for me instead of having to shell out for a long one.  I know this may seem like a lot of work, but am I not worth it?  Some folks in Chicago evidently thought so, because I’m heading there Wednesday; I’ve also spoken to sponsors in Washington DC and Tampa, Florida.  What have you got to lose?  Make a few phone calls at no cost to yourself, exercise your planning skills and summon the Whore of Babylon without all that seal-breaking and goat-sacrificing rigmarole.  You’ll be glad you did.

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