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Diary #247

Occidental Street 3-20-15Confused to see a diary column on a Monday?  That was a sort of last-minute change designed to accommodate the fact that I’m really behind schedule and didn’t have anything else for the slot.  It’s partly due to the fact that I haven’t finished dealing with all the crap that comes along with divorce and relocation, and partly due to doing more on-the-ground activism; for example, last Friday I testified against a new “trafficking” law in the Washington state senate.  But more than both of those is the fact that I lack the ability to focus on my work when my new life in Seattle offers so many distractions compared to my previous life in the country.  We’ve decided the way to fix that is for me to get a small office space where I can go to work for a few hours every day, so that I can focus on my writing and actually get it done!

Later on the day that I testified, I was interviewed by a student writing for Humanosphere; she took the photo of me you see here on Occidental Street in Seattle’s Pioneer Square.  And Thursday saw this article (which quotes me extensively) published in the Daily Beast; it’s amazingly refreshing to see a mainstream site recognizing the hysteria for what it is, and I think it’s an excellent sign of the impending collapse of the hysteria.  And assuming I can get my writing regime back on track, I’ll be right there giving y’all a play-by-play on that collapse as it unfolds.

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Diary #246

PrintIt hasn’t even begun to let up yet; if anything, last week was even more hectic than the week before.  We’re working on a secondary business venture in addition to the primaries, and though Grace does a good job of holding down the fort while I’m gone there’s still a plethora of issues I have to deal with myself (such as taxes).  That’s not to say it was all a grind; Jae and I still had a lot of fun together, including attending a performance of a burlesque show set to Led Zeppelin music as guests of a friend of hers (in a private box, no less!)  I also sequestered myself for a long night of writing in a room of the Merchant Cafe, a former brothel reputed to be Seattle’s most haunted building; I wasn’t disturbed by any manifestations, but perhaps that’s because I’m not out of place in a brothel.  This week it’s writing, work, interviews, a photo shoot and a dinner party, and that’s just the beginning; I’ve got to get my new routine balanced and settled so I don’t fall badly behind.  Have no fear, dear readers; I’ve always managed it before, even during last year’s three months of touring, so there’s no reason to believe I won’t continue to manage.  But if you want to send me a bit of inspiration in the meantime, I’d certainly be grateful!

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Sex worker rights are human rights, and there can never be too many voices speaking up for them, nor too many occasions on which to speak.  –  “Never Too Many

Stepping Out by Laura Lee ZanghettiDespite a good track record, every so often I fail to follow through on something I plan to do on this blog.  This is one of those times; I had originally planned to note every Friday the 13th post made by a reader, and every donation on that day as well…and I utterly failed to do so.  Now, I must point out that on that morning I was meeting up with my fiery red-headed girlfriend in a rather nice hotel room in Las Vegas, after not having seen her for a month; I’m sure y’all can understand how incredibly distracting that was.  We stayed in Vegas for a couple of days, then drove to Reno on Sunday and the rest of the way to Seattle on Monday, and when I got here I hit the ground running and have barely stopped since.  On top of that, I’ve been unable to access my usual means of doing emails since I left home more than a month ago, so as you can imagine my usual organization is totally out the window.  Today, however, I should be able to keep tabs for most of the day, so I’m going to do something unusual:  if you did an essay last time or this time, link to it in the comments and I’ll edit this column to include it later.  And remember, if you can’t write, donations via PayPal (maggiemcneill@earthlink.net) are always very welcome and very helpful!  And if you’re a brand-spanking-new reader and don’t know what the hell I’m even talking about with this Friday the 13th jazz, check out the embedded links!

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Diary #245

My first few weeks in Seattle have been incredibly hectic; in addition to normal difficulties of relocation and moving in with another adult person, I have business issues, divorce-related issues, blog writing, activism, increased social interaction, my return to active sex work, practical concerns and the extra time investment that always comes with a new relationship.  Given all this, I’m thoroughly amazed that I have managed to keep up with most of it on something resembling a timely basis.  Now that the computer and phone issues are (mostly) resolved, the banking details are in process, the space issues are mostly resolved and Sex Worker Rights Day week over, perhaps I can finish dealing with taxes, deal with my advertising and figure out our travel for next month.  At least, that’s the plan!  If you’d like to reduce my stress level with a donation or booking, I would greatly appreciate it!  And I promise I’ll get back to work on The Essential Maggie McNeill as soon as I’ve managed to bring my days back down to about the 16-hour level.  In the meantime, please enjoy this drawing by reader François, in which a fantasy avatar of yours truly lays low the dragon of disinformation.  Barbarianess

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Back Issue: February 2012

The official and popular paradigm appears to be based on the belief that sex is such a horrible, monstrous abomination that the mere mention of it to an adult can constitute “violence”, that participating in it for taboo reasons can be a “crime”, and that if a person is exposed to sexual contact, conversation or imagery…even one minute before midnight on her 18th birthday she will be instantly and irreversibly ruined beyond any hope of redemption.  –  “Scorched Earth

DarkseidThis was the month in which the structure of the blog began to rapidly shift into the form it held for almost three years, and is not very different from today.  Before this, update and miscellanea columns were separate and monthly; as my news-gathering procedures improved, however, I had far too many items to wait so long between editions.  In the latter part of 2011 there were many extra news columns, and I realized that I had to go weekly to keep up; I’m still not sure exactly why I waited until February, but there you are.  “February Miscellanea” was followed immediately by “That Was the Week That Was“, the column which introduced the new feature and explained the name it bore until less than two months ago; in order to catch up the numbers I then published two a week until #8, which looked very much like the feature still looks, fine-tuning of subtitle appearance and order notwithstanding.

KristofvilleBut though the new feature was the first weekly one, other recurring columns were still monthly; February’s harlotography was “Olympe de Gouges” and its fictional interlude  “Companion“.  Holidays of course still appeared annually; this month’s were CandlemasValentine’s Day and Mardi Gras, with a special tetra-annual appearance by Leap Day.  Another kind of continuity appears in the fact that three columns (“Repeat Offenders“, “One Year Later” and “The Course of a Disease“) are direct sequels to those from a year before, connected by the “one year ago today” feature which had only a few months left to run;half-head man similarly,  “You Oughta Be In Pictures” discussed the importance of pictures in drawing traffic to the posts in which they appear.

Due to fully nine days in this already-short month being taken up in news columns, there isn’t much left to tell.  “Change a Few Words” demonstrates the principle that all prohibition is the same; “Gumbo” provides detailed directions for preparing my sister’s peerless recipe; “Do You Know What It Means?” describes a trip to New Orleans; “That’s the Ticket!” shares another example of absurd “sex trafficking” lies; “The Anti-Life Equation” uses the work of comics legend Jack Kirby to illustrate the evil of denying individuals control over their own lives; “The Sky is Falling!” discusses the panic over young women profiting from sex as they always have; “Profit from Panic” looks at some particularly-egregious rescue industry profiteering; “FarmVille” introduces Nick Kristof’s fun new way to fantasize about controlling brown-skinned women; “Scorched Earth” explores the United States’ all-out war on sex; and “Why is Sex Such a Taboo?” attempts to answer the titular question. Excalibur wedding

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Friday the 13th, In Tandem

Please remember that any contribution – loud or quiet, public or private, eloquent or laconic, lengthy or brief – is important and worthy, and everyone one will hasten the day when governments no longer believe it’s acceptable for them to persecute sex workers, our clients and our associates in any way they please.  –  “Friday the 13th

Except in leap years, February is exactly four weeks long; that means every date in March falls on the same day as it does in February, except in leap years.  And that means that both February and March will have a Friday the Thirteenth this year.  “So what?” new readers may ask; “You aren’t superstitious, are you?”  Well no, I’m not; not about Friday the Thirteenth, anyway, which if anything would be a good luck day for whores.  In fact I intentionally chose to be on the road today – in Las Vegas, to be precise, but not in a casino because I don’t actually believe in luck.  But I digress.  Long-time readers know that every Friday the Thirteenth I ask those of you who aren’t sex workers to speak up for us in some way.  In 2013, I explained it like this:

The gay rights movement didn’t really take off until the friends and families of gay people got involved, and it’s the same for us; since only about 1% of Western women ever formally work as whores, we’re going to need a lot of help to make our voices heard.  We need all the sex workers (such as strippers, dominatrices and porn actresses) whose fields aren’t currently criminalized, and the sugar babies and other women who have informally or indirectly taken money for sex at least once (which might be as high as 10% of all women).  We need all of the men who hire us at least occasionally, which comes to about 20% of the adult male population.  We need all of the women who recognize that cops can’t tell the difference between professionals and amateurs, and that laws which can be used to arrest us will also work to arrest you.  We need all of those who love porn, polyamory, BDSM or kink, because even though policing of sex usually starts with harlots, it never stops with us.  We need all of the public health and human rights experts who understand the necessity of decriminalization in light of their respective fields, all of the libertarians who recognize that governmental prohibition of consensual behavior is both indefensible and dangerous to individual liberty, and all of the feminists who recognize that a woman’s right to control her own body and make her own sexual and economic choices is the primary feminist issue.  And we need all of the decent human beings who don’t fall into any of those categories, but are simply disgusted by the idea of armed thugs arresting, humiliating and ruining people for the “crime” of consensual sex.

In 2012, I even provided a number of suggestions for how you could do it; one such suggestion was to fund activism, and since then I’ve even made it possible for you to donate directly to me if you like (and I’d welcome it if you did, since I have a lot of work to do this year).  But because we’ve got two Friday the Thirteenths so close together this year, what I’m going to do is the same thing I did in December 2013: provide links to every post any of you makes today.  And this time, I’ll also include a section acknowledging every fund-donor by whatever name he or she prefers.  Ready?  Set?  Go! red umbrellas against the sky

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo here we are in “scramble” mode; I’m leaving two weeks from tomorrow and as I’ll bet you can guess, I still haven’t even thought about what to pack yet.  I did make one decision about that; I’m only going to take my favorite winter clothes and buy some more up there, because I honestly don’t have very much in the way of nice-looking winter clothes.  Those of you who have seen me in person may find that surprising because I have many lovely spring, summer and autumn outfits, such as this awesome new bathing suit I received from Daz late last week.  But since it never gets all that cold in New Orleans it’s hard to find really pretty winter outfits there, and as a result most of my winter stuff is, well, a bit on the utilitarian side.  But I’ll bet in Seattle I can find some slinky, sweatery long-sleeved dresses, or just heavy skirts to wear with some of the flattering sweaters I already have.  Ooh, maybe some gothy thing with heavy brocade!  And some new boots; new boots are always a winner.  And a motorcycle helmet, but that’s not quite in the same category as the other stuff.

Anyhow, you’ll be glad to hear the book is well underway; I made all my selections last week and I’m finishing up with the transfers today, and then I can start the intensive work of proofreading, turning links into endnotes and rewriting some parts that wouldn’t pass muster by my current standards.  As I’ve stated before, this book is really intended to allow new readers to catch up on my first two years of blogging more easily, without having to slog through so much old stuff about no-longer-current events.  But I still feel it would be a bit lazy on my part just to slap 100 essays in there and call it good.  Incidentally, the last six are important things I’ve published elsewhere, including my research paper “Mind-Witness Testimony“, so die-hard completists won’t feel quite so much as if they’re just shelling out cash for a lot of stuff they’ve already read.   Of course, you could buy it to give it to someone you feel would enjoy my writing, but doesn’t like blogs.  Just sayin’.  I’m not going to do a full-blown book tour this year because I’ll be very busy writing an all-new book in hopes of getting a mainstream deal; however, I will be leaving Seattle at least three times, and in the first (in April-May) I’ll be going down through California and then across on I-40 to New Orleans by way of Oklahoma, so if you’d like me to speak somewhere please let me know in the next 60 days.  One last thing:  I’m now offering my highest sponsorship premium, namely dinner with me, to anyone who wishes to sponsor my work in general (in other words, even when I’m not on tour).  If you’re interested, use this link to email me for details.

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