Thursday, November 29, 2012

Journaling

Thanksgiving tends to make me nostalgic. This year found me digging out one of my old journals, from more than thirty years ago, an extremely critical period in my life. This was the era I might call my sexual awakening, when I first discovered my interest in dominance and submission. In fact, my first BDSM experience occurred on Thanksgiving - hence some of the nostalgia!

I was also making up for lost time as something of a shy wall flower. Over the course of about two years, I had multiple concurrent relationships as well as a number of more casual sexual encounters.

I guess my hormones were really raging.

I hadn't looked at these diaries in quite a while. In some ways, it's like reading the confessions of a stranger. It's hard to recall exactly how I felt back then. On the other hand, I'm impressed by how articulate this young woman seems to be, and also how concerned she is with the deeper meaning of things. The two primary topics in the journal are God and sex. The two get about equal time, and indeed are closely linked. I felt a strong connection between sex and spirituality, that my lovers were teaching me not only about myself but also about the nature of reality and the divine.

I'm still convinced of the existence of that link. That much at least is a constant. However, I have to smile at young Lisabet's intensity (and stamina!)  She asks so many questions. How can I stop judging myself and others? How can I be truly creative? Is it really possible for me to love, in a sexual or romantic sense, more than person? Is my interest in submission something to fear or to celebrate? How can I be in the world and walk a spiritual path? How can I capture these peak, transformative experiences in words?

Re-reading my ruminations (along with the interspersed poems full of crossed-out words, the quotes from books I was reading, the description of my dreams), I'm struck by two revelations. First, I was writing erotica even then. I've always considered that the fantasies I penned in the nineties were my first forays into erotic authorship, but this diary contains quite a few accounts of my sexual adventures, more than a decade earlier. Second, even then I was much more interested in the emotional and psychic aspects of sex than the physical. I rarely write about what I and my lovers did together. Instead I wrote at length about how I - how we - felt together, what was running through my mind, the sense of communion I sometimes managed to achieve, or occasionally, the sense of alienation.

This remains characteristic of my erotic writing. Anyone who has read my work knows that although I can be graphic, I tend to focus on what is going on in my characters' heads and hearts. It's a bit funny for me to recognize this continuity with the soulful, horny young woman who wrote these journals. Perhaps I haven't changed as much as I thought.


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