Tag Archives: sex

Strap in for September 16th…

Here is an advance copy of In the Red, just chillin’ out, existing:


Sexy blurb from the front:

In The Red is an absolutely dazzling book, a nuanced and haunting meditation on morality, love, crime, and belonging. In a word, this book is brilliant.”

Emily St. John Mandel

Sexy blurb from the back:

In the Red has all the elements that make for a down-the-rabbit-hole story: it’s exotic, dangerous, deviant, delicious.  But this is also essential reading about sex and identity–how trauma informs first loves and relationships open old wounds.  Shapiro understands the balance sheet of power between men and women better than any other writer out there.  In the Red deserves a place beside Colette and Anaïs Nin on every woman’s bookshelf.”

Koren Zailckas

Plus it already has a lovely thoughtful review on Goodreads!  Sweet.

Do not buy it from Amazon.  Amazon bad.  The cover image in the sidebar leads to the pre-order page from Barnes & Noble, which will feature the book on its New Arrivals table starting September 16.

tiny worlds beneath our feet

What are *you* lookin' at?

On a trail walk, I stopped to look at a wheat-colored praying mantis resting in my path. I might have stepped on it had I not been looking down at the pavement while pacing, my thoughts grinding away.  I squatted to get a better look at it, then blew on it gently.  When it felt my breath, it shivered like a blade of grass in the wind. This camouflage must work well when ensconced in vegetation, but in the middle of bare asphalt–not so much, dude.

Inquiring minds want to know what tasty stuff you might have stored in *your* butt.

On another constitutional, a flurry of tiny but intense activity down below caught my eye, so once again I stopped and crouched to check out the happenings. It was a yellow jacket working its pincers quite hard to rip the abdomen off a dead honey bee. I watched it hack away until it succeeded. And then I watched it bury its face into the bee’s severed ass as if it were a feed bag, excitedly gobbling up the crumbly orange pollen harvested inside.

I am cannibal. Fear me.

Since I couldn’t sleep, I was out again.  At the very least I could be soothed by the freshness of night.  And there, in the dark at my feet, was yet another spectacle: a pile of snails in the middle of the sidewalk. I wondered, hey, is this how snails screw?  In a big love heap?  I shone my pocket flashlight to behold this event.  This was when I noticed there was a broken snail in the middle of the pile and they were all eating it. Well. That went from porno to horror real quick.

So, next time you step on tiny, negligible life, take a moment to reflect who are you are crushing.

Is this about sex or is this about writing? Sometimes I can’t tell.

There are not many women out there in the wild country.  It is not particularly sane for me to go, but it seems I simply can’t help myself.  The ones I leave behind chide me for my restlessness but it only makes me laugh.  I can feel from the hum of the train that the furnace is full up on coal, the engine so hot that the metal swells against its fittings.  I sit looking out the window wondering where you are.  Are you having doubts?  Did you get held up on some last minute errand?  Did the horse pulling your carriage to the station have a heart attack in the middle of the street?

My heart thrums against the restriction of my corset, my legs sweltering in all their petticoats.  The bustle, the little black leather boots primly laced over the ankles, the white gloves buttoned over the wrists, the collar keeping my throat in its airless grip.  I am pretty good at wearing the garments of my civilization, but I am even better at being divested of them.  I will ride this train all the way to its terminus, all the way to where the Chinamen have not yet laid tracks.  Alone if I have to, but I’d much rather you came with me.  I very much hope the top hat I see moving swiftly through the crowd out on the platform is yours.  Catch this train; it’s going somewhere good.

A jolt shudders through the length of the entire machine–oh is there anything like the feel of imminent departure?  Is there any sound more stridently arousing than the steamy wail of that whistle?

All aboard.  Last call.

the most fantabulous review in the history of ever

I haven’t been posting lately because I am eyeball-deep in my Romanian collective unconscious document (I should have a complete draft in a few days which will be something like 18,000 words, or about 65 pages).  It’s a whole lot of dreamlike WTF, and after I am done I will have an underlying structure on top of which I will start overlaying the main plot of In the Red.  But–I had to briefly emerge from my blogging moratorium to share with you guys the most fantabulous review in the history of ever, courtesy of Simon Schama at The Financial Times.  I so, so hope that this review is blurbed on the softcover edition of my book.  Actually, here–please vote on which blurb should be prominently featured on the next edition of 13 rue Thérèse:


Dear Mr. Schama, I shake your hand.

a spider, a panther, a man

This here is a spider I came upon on a hike on Mount Diablo this weekend.  It’s mating season for the tarantulas, so they are out and about.  Despite the gigantic size of this arachnid, it somehow wasn’t that scary.  It did feel a little crawly when one of its legs grazed against my toe as it felt its way along the edge of my sandal, but it wasn’t as spooky as I thought it would be.  It was not my most unsettling spider experience.

My most unsettling spider experience was some years ago when we were living in an awful dump in Palo Alto.  That apartment was always crawling with bugs.  There were so many ants that we couldn’t even leave food out for the cat.  We generally liked the spiders, as they ate the other bugs.  But one time, my husband came upon a spider that made him scream like a little girl.  He shot out of the bathroom and entreated me to kill it.  I went in with a fistful of wadded paper towels to meet the enemy, and quite an enemy it was.  It wasn’t so much that it was enormous; it was that it looked so fucking evil.  I don’t know how else to describe it; it looked like something that would eat Frodo Baggins.  Something about its proportions.  It was arresting, sort of beautiful in a haunting way.  I did look it over for a while before I smushed it (and when I did so, it was truly vile–a gelatinous material exploded from its crushed abdomen).  It had been stark white, with a little red symbol on its underside.  I had never seen anything like it before, and haven’t since.

I just thought of that spider today, and it occurred to me for the first time that it may have been an albino black widow–the scarcity of such an animal explaining why I hadn’t seen one before or since.  Or–it may have just shed its exoskeleton at a pivotal stage of growth, which would explain its stark white color and why it was so, um, juicy when squished.  Yikes!  How rare, for an experience to be more thrilling in retrospect than in the moment.

I must have stood there for an hour, completely transfixed.  I had never seen anything move with such lethal grace.  Its fur was so black it that it did not shine; it was just pure oblivion.  How could its musculature be so fine, so rippling, when it lived a life that did not allow it to hunt?

Because of the pacing, the endless sinuous pacing around and around the cage–why, when it would go nowhere?  Did it hope with every circuit in its prison that this time there would be a breach?

How long did I stand there praying that it would look at me with those shifting yellow eyes?  Did I really think, you’re so beautiful, you can kill me if you want?

There must be a man like this for every woman, a man she thinks of with the aching melancholy of a former junkie remembering his needle.

Yes, you nearly destroyed my life, but oh, such times we had.

Once your body knows the feel of it, it can never unknow.  Never stop yearning.  Like an icy wind whistling in your hollow bones, as long as those bones exist to carry you.

Never, never get near you again–but if I did, could I say no?

Dude, this is what the inside of my head looks like.

While I was making the bed, Dragos Popescu, one of Andrei’s business associates, suddenly spoke to me.  He is even more unbelievably tactless than Andrei is; those bastards won’t lie to me, even when I may want them to.  Today Dragos came up behind me while I was noticing that some of the stains on the new sheets hadn’t come out in the wash, and snapped my garters (he is the kind of man who can snap your garters even when you’re not wearing any).  “That’s nice, the pink underthings,” he said, “did Andrei suggest them?”

“Why are you here?  You’re just a bit character.”

“You were asking why men like young women so much, I’m going to tell you.”

I don’t know where he got that from, I did no such thing.  I was going about my housewifely business.  But I let him go on anyway, it gave me something to do while I was trying to figure out which way the fitted sheet was supposed to go.  “It not so much the smooth skin and the taut flesh, though that is nice too.  What is so lovely about them is that they will take the shape of whatever you choose to put them in, like water.  A woman who has been around, who may have pushed people out of herself, who may have realized that the world does not end when there is no man in the house, that woman with lines on her face and hip bones that have been pushed apart by growing life will not go breathless with need to give me what I want.  The young ones are so good, my dear, because they will say: do you like me in this dress? Would you think me prettier blonde?  Shall I put bags of silicone in my breasts?  Shall I give you what little power I might have had?  Would this please you?  There is no limit to how much they will cut themselves to please you.  How grateful I am to all their papas for not loving them.”

“Dragos, seriously?  This is what the old come stains on the bed make you think of?”

“Yes, how soft they are, how much you can hurt them, those sweet girls.  You simply cannot hurt an older woman like that.  And yes, my dear, you ought to get a stain remover for those.”

a malcontent wearing new shoes

Today I wrote a flash of sex in my novel, just a bitty 200-word scene.  Yet I am completely drained, I think I may have to step away from the book for today.  I don’t know why this story–especially the sexy parts–is taking so much out of me, like my brain has to make this incandescent effort to extrude a mere paragraph and then it is done.  It needs a glass of warm milk and a nap.  And a hug.

The novel features a bad, bad man from Romania.  Why are evil Eastern European dudes so extremely hot?  I must have watched too much Cold War agitprop growing up.  Or maybe it’s the accent.  Nom nom nom that accent.  Anyway, I can tell this guy is going to be great fun to write because I find myself wondering aaaaaah why doesn’t he exist so that I can have sex with him?!  (Of course if he existed I would never have sex with him; I always wind up with soft-spoken intellectual types.)

So, like most of America I filed my taxes yesterday and I must say SELF-EMPLOYED TAXES = OW.  So much for all the bullshit about how our pioneer nation favors a spirit of independent entrepreneurship.  What pisses me off isn’t so much the amount, though the amount is substantial.  I wouldn’t be nearly this irritated if my money didn’t go towards bank bailouts and troup surges.  I wish I could earmark my tax contribution for our crumbling social safety net and educational systems.  And goddamn universal health care, but what kind of crack am I smoking?

Also: if I were some trust fund baby who’d “earned” that money from interest and dividends, I would have gotten to keep a lot more of it.  This gets my goat like nobody’s business: our nation likes to pretend that there’s no such thing as social class while ridiculously favoring the idle rich and blatantly screwing the working poor.  Seriously, I would walk around humming L’Internationale for a few days except my fury has been soothed by the arrival of the festive purple sneakers I ordered (even though with all the money I coughed up yesterday, I could have purchased about 250 pairs of those suckers).  I’m sure Marx would chide me about the weakness of my convictions, but I am no revolutionary.  Merely a malcontent wearing new shoes.