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Managing Resources

I’m really a terribly vain creature, so I love compliments and being described with adjectives like “magnificent” and “incomparable”.  But there is one word I often see applied to me which, while it might have been true in the past, certainly is no longer:  that word is “tireless”.  Yes, it’s true that I’m still churning out a column every single day, but compare the average length today with the average length in 2011 or 2012 and I think you’ll see what I mean.  And not only are the columns shorter on average, they’re also less complex and I’m increasingly shying away from labor-intensive columns like harlotographies and reviews.  Furthermore, I no longer do written interviews because they take far too much time and effort, and while I’m flattered by offers to contribute to essay collections or present papers at academic conferences, I’m afraid those are far too time-and-labor intensive for me to be able to handle any more.  The truth is, I’m tired, y’all; in fact, exhausted would be a more honest appraisal.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to call it quits just yet; I figure I can handle another three years at my current pace before I need to take stock again (though of course, that’s little better than a wild-ass guess based on my rate of decline over the past eight years).  But if I’m going to last even that long I’m going to need to manage my steadily-shrinking resources.  In my twenties and thirties I was nigh-inexhaustible; I could keep going at whatever task I set myself until it was done, and was notorious for knocking out short academic papers in one or two sittings.  Even in my forties I was able to marshal my preternatural levels of nervous energy to create the monstrous edifice of prose you’re visiting right now; as I wrote six months ago,

When I first started The Honest Courtesan, I was releasing a decade of pent-up self-expression and trying to distract myself from a disintegrating marriage by burying myself in work (which is pretty much what I always did back before I realized what a tremendously stupid idea absolute sobriety was); now I’m older, wiser, sadder and wearier, and I just can’t maintain the pace I could then (which, to be honest, wasn’t really healthy back then either).  I’m worn thin and threadbare, and I need to devote more time and energy to paying work and to self-care (which includes spending quality time with people who love me)…

I’ve done pretty well on that account in the ensuing half-year, to the point where I’m giving myself permission to generally stop writing by midnight so I can get stoned, and even taking entire days or clusters of days off (though to manage that I need the excuse of spending it with someone I love).  And because I have been doing better, the change to my procedures heralded by this column isn’t quite so big as most of them have been in the past; I’m just going to ask y’all to please be more succinct when emailing me to ask for advice.  I understand that the problem motivating you to write may be a very painful and thorny one, and that you may feel the need to explain it in great depth; however, the longer the letter the more of a sense of anxiety I experience upon opening it, and the greater the anxiety the more likely I am to procrastinate in reading and answering it.  As a rule of thumb, if you can’t see the beginning of your email by the time you reach the end, it’s probably too long; I’m much less likely to feel overwhelmed by emails which fit neatly within a standard computer screen, and that in turn means you’re much more likely to receive a timely answer to your question.

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While work is always an effort, work that one loves and finds rewarding is also a source of joy and fulfillment (not to mention money).  So when one has a good week full of work, with generous and interesting gentlemen whose company one enjoys, there’s a kind of  pleasant tiredness at the end of it that goes beyond mere contentment and job satisfaction to a broader sense of a life well-lived.  And for someone like me, who has a lot of trouble getting her nervous system to settle into anything like “relaxation” even when she’s soaking in a hot tub, that’s a really nice place to be.  Obviously, it’s an ephemeral place, but that’s OK; though I hate to get philosophical (a terrible lie), the entire universe and everything in it is ephemeral to one degree or another, and all we can hope for is to maximize the nice parts while minimizing the bad ones.  That’s why I’m taking even more steps to increase the amount of time spent with people I love, while decreasing that spent in unpleasant pursuits.  And if you want to spend time with me (in or out of hot tubs), eating good food and enjoying good conversation and other adult pleasures, you know how to get in contact with me.  Why put it off?  You, too, can maximize the nice parts of your life, and I’m very good at helping people to do that.

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Diary #396

Though we didn’t actually consider the relative business slowness of early January when planning our Mexican vacation, it’s a good thing we took it when we did because we’re definitely back in the busy season now.  And that in turn is a good thing, because I’m still not done refilling my coffers after the move and there are some long-delayed bills I really should take care of before I suffer my yearly throttling by Uncle Sam.  It’s also good because returning to real life after an idyll always makes me blue, and keeping my mind occupied with work helps alleviate that (as does spending quality time with people I love, which I had a larger-than-usual number of chances to indulge in last week).  Still, that doesn’t mean I’m averse to traveling for work; I’d like to go somewhere in March or April, so start getting your votes in now and the first city (domestic or foreign) which can promise me three good appointments will be the winner!

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Back Issue: January 2015

The dystopia is already here; all that remains to be seen is how heavy a yoke the subjects will accept before they finally attempt to throw it off.  –  “Sexcrime

The arrival of 2015, and with it my impending move to Seattle, brought still more changes to my format; now there were two news columns per week, and soon I’d stop contributing to Cliterati.  The result of this is immediately noticeable; after subtracting the holidays (New Year’s Day and Little Christmas), the harlotography (“Mandy Rice-Davies“), the guest columnist (Elizabeth Nolan Brown), the fictional interlude (“Left Behind“), the Cliterati reprints (“Feminists and Other Puritans“, “All Wet” and “Sexcrime“), and the Q&A columns (“Back from the Dead” and “Happy Endings“), the only columns left to mention are “It Was Twenty Years Ago Today” (on my Year of Disaster); “Wild-Eyed and Spittle-Flecked” (on bizarre prohibitionist propaganda); “Boy Juice” (on learned helplessness); and the self-explanatory “2014 in Review“.

 

 

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Diary #395

Usually, when I take a vacation or business trip, I get behind on my blogging while on the road and catch back up when I return.  But this time, it was the opposite; while Lorelei was sunbathing I actually had plenty of time to work on my blog on the balcony of our room, but when I got back I was so busy with appointments (both new and prebooked) that by Friday I was down to only two columns ahead!  Not that I’m complaining about either, mind you!  It does my OCD good to get a lot of paying work after a week of indolence, and though some of you may think working on my blog while in Puerto Vallarta doesn’t sound like much of a vacation, you’re not looking at the big picture.  I was working on my blog, all right…on a balcony overlooking the ocean, with warm tropical breezes and peppy music wafting over me, and a constant stream of no-extra-charge piña coladas, mai tais and daiquiris on my table.  Don’t worry, I wasn’t drinking constantly while there; most mornings, there was at least an hour between my waking up and drinking my first mimosa at breakfast, and when I got really tied up in my writing I might not notice my glass was empty for an hour or more!  You know, I’m not exactly a fan of Hemingway’s, but maybe he had something with that writing drunk thing.  Of course, Hemingway didn’t actually say that, and I wasn’t actually drunk most of that time (more…relaxed), but the point still stands.  And I’m not writing this drunk; I’m writing it stoned.  So I should probably just leave you with this picture Lorelei took after we had our beachside massages the last full day we were there.

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Diary #394

Lorelei Rivers and I are headed back to Seattle from Puerto Vallarta today, well-rested and ready to go back to work tomorrow.  It was a lovely five days; I would enthusiastically recommend an all-inclusive package (which is what we got) to anyone going to a similar resort.  Not only was it dirt-cheap by US standards, it was so very nice not to have to keep hauling out credit cards or wads of cash to pay for every little thing.  As you saw yesterday, the views were spectacular, and we ate whatever we wanted in any of several lovely restaurants; plus, free room service, free mini-bar, shows, several pools and a private beach, and all the free booze we wanted.  And though the drinks tended to be weak, a quick side-trip to the VIP lounge to spike them with even MORE free booze remedied that problem easily enough.  We spent most of Friday, Saturday & Sunday eating, drinking, lying on the beach (with LOTS of sunscreen to protect our exceptionally-fair skins) and of course shopping, then on Monday I went into town for even more shopping after we got massages in a lovely little tent up the beach from the hotel.  It’s a good thing we packed light on the way down, because, you know, shopping.

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Not-At-All-Innocent Broads





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