SPONSORED BY THE SOCIETY FOR HUMAN SEXUALITY
Copyright © 1995 by Laura Antoniou
This text is property of Laura Antoniou. No part of it may be reproduced or utilized in any form, or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including placement on web pages, or within digests, mailing lists, or archival media without explicit permission of the author. Individuals may copy and save one copy for personal use. Under no circumstances may it be sold or printed for distribution.
Ms. Antoniou's novels include The Marketplace.
I left instead, to join the real world and work, and worked professionally for many years and built up a career, and then my company was downsized. I went to work in the nonprofit industry, and then we lost our funding. And now I'm a professional porn writer. Just goes to show you how well planning works.
I'm also honored to be here because Seattle is a very major site for me. I was born in New York. I am a dyed-in-the-wool New Yorker. I bought an apartment. I'm staying there. But Seattle was where I had what you might call my real coming out into leather, and I'll get into that a little later.
Laura, Leather, and Life. This is an egomaniac's dream. I mean the title of this event. Finally, I get top billing. And what a top billing. It's just my first name, like Liza or Barbara or Fabio.
But trying to figure out what to actually discuss turned out to be a bit of a problem.
Laura? I could talk about me real easy. I never shut up about me.
But leather? As in the entire history of my fascination with pain and pleasure? Or my dissatisfaction with the leather community? Or my personal experiences within same? Or my fictional writings and where they fit into the picture of all those things?
And life. Well, God knows I could tell all of you how to run your lives and the rest of the world how to end hunger and create peace and do generally good things, but there's a little nagging voice inside of me that says that at the age of 32 I am not qualified to talk about life. What do I know? I'm just a kid.
But I'm not easily daunted by a difficult writing task. Writing's what I do. In fact, it's what I love to do best, aside from a rather long list of sexually gratifying acts, which I'll also get into later, and which some of you are already familiar with.
So I'll start with Laura. I am not easily described. If I had a blackboard, I could make a list of all the qualities that you could obviously see in me.
I'm a writer. I'm an editor. I am a dyke. I'm an exhibitionist. I am girth-endowed. I'm visually challenged. I am queer and a sadomasochist and an activist, and out of those things a picture might begin to form.
But I'm also a loner and a traditionalist. I'm a liberal, politically leftist and proud of it. At various times I've been a leather activist, a gay activist, an AIDS activist, but I've never been a leader. I've been a demonstrator and a radical feminist, but never a separatist. I've been an agnostic, but never an unbeliever. And I've been a pornographer, but very rarely a sellout.
It's amazing right now that I could find so many labels that fit me, because so much of my life seems to be a decahedron-sided peg in a triangular hole. It's not even as easy as round and square. Everything takes on multiple dimensions for me.
But my relatives asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. At the age of four I told them, a boy. How I actually came about to do that is one of the ironic and delightful situations that life has presented me with.
When the outside world pronounced me a numerical genius, and the tests I took in school pronounced me an egghead, my family claimed I was such a good girl, and my teachers beamed in comfort and satisfaction.
And in the meantime, I took drugs, and I stole, and I lived a violent fantasy life of such depravity that I still haven't put some of those stories down on paper.
Long before it became chic for lesbians to get it on with gay and bisexual men, I was doing it and wondering what on earth made my orientation so queer that it made it okay for me to be with a man only if he sucked dick.
Before polyamory became such a widely understood - Oh, that's a misnomer - widely discussed relationship option, I was wondering why I never felt the urge to settle down with one person in particular and become a pair-bonded couple.
When I was quizzed about professional aspirations, I told people I wanted to be a veterinarian, and so I worked on farms. I told people I wanted to be a lawyer, and so I went to college. I told people I wanted to be a teacher and a writer -
No, I didn't tell them I wanted to be a writer. I never told anyone I wanted to be a writer. And the reason why is cause I always wrote. Writing to me is not exactly a profession. One, because, as a profession, it's just a little less financially stable than, say, oh, migrant farmworking; and two, because for me it's a compulsion, sort of like masturbation. I don't remember a time when I didn't write, and I do remember a time when I couldn't masturbate.
And if I won the lotto tomorrow, and I was set for the rest of life with money to do whatever I wanted to do, I'd still write. I'd buy a better computer, but I'd still write. I'd have to.
Given a choice between having health insurance or a computer I could take with me on this three-week trip on the West Coast, so I could keep writing, I bought the computer.
Given a choice between writing, or between not writing so that I could then collect government assistance and become a drain on the system, I chose working poverty.
If some perverse god decided to offer me a choice between orgasms and writing, I would become the become the stoniest stone butch you ever saw in your life.
Of course, I didn't always write what I'm writing now. In grade school I wrote the adventures of a vampire hunter, and in junior high I started writing science fiction, and that's also when I also started putting extra things in the story, like characterization and plot.
That's when I also started to write high fantasy, you know, Tolkienesque stuff. I envisioned my epic quest fantasy, elves, dragons, and all, at the age of 13 and started rewriting it seriously in high school, because I was so embarrassed at my childish scrawls. Over six hundred pages of blue- lined looseleaf paper.
In high school, I had a typewriter. In high school I also started writing about the things I didn't want anyone to see. The stories which were forbidden, marked by a scarlet F, if you will. I typed them feverishly, always in one sitting, because I never wanted to leave a sheet of paper in the typewriter for my mother to find.
I'd hide the pages under my mattress, and I would reread them long after my parents were asleep. In these stories, my various characters lived lives of desperation, frustration, anger, and fear. I still hid the facts. I've never kept a diary, but I remember what I was writing about, powerful villains who tormented brave young heroes, and the heroes rose up and killed them, or died.
I wrote about the beauty in a woman's body and voice and did it from a man's point of view, and I hated the changes in my own body that made it impossible, or so I thought, to love women I felt the way that men should. I didn't know how men actually did love women, but I had an idea about how they should.
One day I burned all of the stories that were under the mattress. I couldn't find a way to hide them. And I didn't know if I could keep them safe with me. I had fantasies of dying and thoughts of suicide - Hey, what teenager doesn't? - and I didn't want people to find those stories after I died. Talk about a secret.
I did find two ways to express the forbidden thoughts. One was entirely in fantasy. Every night before I fell asleep, I'd think up another chapter in this continuing soap opera drama that went on inside my head.
In my earliest fantasies, I was a character out of a book that I'd read as a child, which to the best of my recollection was called Greek Slave Boy. My fantasy self wasn't exactly a boy, though. And neither was it a girl.
My first encounter with the limitation of gender was writing my imagination where I was a person with long hair and long legs and a firm body who wore a blue tunic-like garment thing with a rope belt and sandals, but I had no idea what was under the tunic.
The fantasies were of bondage and servitude, mostly with this underlying soap opera drama of competition and humiliation. Punishments earned and unjust mingled with rewards that were all verbal, you know, "Good boy," or privilege-based. You know, now I am allowed out of the house.
Even as a kid, the old tie up and spank'em up routine was not interesting. In these fantasies I always start out as the lowest slave in the household and work my way up to being a favorite of the owner, pampered and in charge of all of the other slaves. And when that got too threatening, I'd arrange to have the evil overseer betray me, and then I'd be demoted back to the bottom again. Some kid, huh?
Later on, when Star Wars came out - this was 1977 - I left those childish fantasies of Roman villas and tunics and got into complex scenarios I developed in a science-fiction universe. I became a rebel fighter, you know, pals with Leia, who was captured by Darth Vader and remember the round thing in the movie with the needles and the shit? It broke me.
My endgame fantasies were even more complex. One scenario, my favorite one, had all of the brainwashing techniques actually work, and I was turned into the Dark Side of the Force, and I killed the whiny Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and all those groovy guys.
And I became a feared and terrible galactic agent. And my buddy was Darth. I hung out with the governor, and we just conquered the galaxy.
By then, as I began to examine the top side of my personality, my internal identity had kind of settled on female, and so my intergalactic secret agent was a woman. And of course, Darth Vader loved me, chastely.
So I became both victim and eventual tormentor in all of these late night dramas. A bad guy made noble by suffering. Isn't that cool?
The other way that these thoughts and images came out was due to the emergence of fantasy role-playing games, particularly Dungeons and Dragons. Always needing to be the center of attention, I was the Dungeon Master. The developer of games which all my friends played.
As I got older, killing the monsters and taking their treasure began to get a bit old, and so more interesting plots began to arise.
When I look at the notes from those games now - because I saved them - I wonder how it was none of my friends ever came up to me and said, "What kind of a pervert are you?" Because they were sadomasochistic. They were gender-bending. They were intergenerational sex including -
I mean, one scenario had this, like thirteen-yearish elven lad fall in love with a human bulky fighter played by a very straight fellow. And after a year of having this little elf follow him around and worship him, finally the guy went to me during the game and said, "Okay. In this culture, it's appropriate for me to respond to him, right?"
And I said, "Uh-huh."
And he said, "Okay. I tell him - I tell him, 'Let's go out to dinner.'" That was such a triumph. It was even better than when they killed Tiamat.
Anyway, as a teenager I began to discover all the things that have now shaped my current career: fantasy development, masturbation, and the whole cycle of human arousal, and the all-important instincts of a person who was never able fit in, and therefore had to make space for herself.
At the age of 18, I finally loved a woman who tied me to her bed, and that was the start of some new stories. Unwritten, but lovingly developed in my mind, because I knew that no one would ever publish them.
I couldn't stop writing though. Whatever creative energies that didn't go into my games or my erotic fantasies went into even more stories, which I claimed were about nothing in particular.
I even created a role playing game magazine in those days called Gateways, and I only gave it up after my much-more-organized partner decided to take a job with a major gaming company and leave me with a magazine and no idea of how to publish it.
Our biggest competitor in those days was this tiny little zine run by two kids our age called White Wolf. Maybe you've heard of them.
My fantasies about power and shame have stayed with me through the years. That is why, when people ask me what my orientation is, I tell them, "I'm a sadomasochist."
As I wrote in an essay that will appear in Califia and Sweeney's The Second Coming sometime before that event. God, I'm evil sometimes.
There are roles I've played all my life, some with more passion and truth than others. Roles people play because that's our way of coping. Dutiful child, diligent scholar, sardonic rebel, sarcastic undergraduate, sullen employee, enthusiastic volunteer, loyal lesbian. One part after another, and always an edge of distance that made me doubt my sanity and doubt reality.
That was how I saw my relationship with life. Somewhere underneath my roles, there was a person who was not relating fully to her circumstances, to her family, to her friends, to the rest of life. A role gave me a context in which to interact and a plan to follow. It wasn't real; it was a script.
I knew when I was real. It was when my body dripped sweat from fear and pain and anguish and indecision and determination and terror and the will to take just one more, to push harder until something broke.
I was real the first time a woman touched my face after she slapped me and then she kissed me hard, and it was the first time that a tongue in my mouth didn't feel like a nauseating violation.
I was real when I burned with this glowing apres-beating that made me aware that my flawed body was really an amazing thing that could make me feel alive and hot and desirable.
I was real the first time that my hand pushed past that last ring of tight flesh and there was a human being leaning back and laughing, poised on my wrist. My heart pounded with the beating of their heart, because I was inside them at last.
I was real the time that I passed a blade along smooth, unmarked flesh, parting the skin and drawing up the blood and fighting the urge to bend and lick it off, to suck their life right out of them, until I could hear that heart beat again, feel the pulsing in my body, and be with them utterly.
This reality, the sadomasochistic reality, kept me going. It was where I explored everything fascinating about human nature, conflict and resolution, passion and control, anger and conditional love. I ignored the nagging voice in me, which I still occasionally call The Chastiser, which continually wondered why the fuck I was doing this, what I was seeking.
In every physical experience I found another piece of brick to structure my support tower. If I had enough play time, I was sure I wouldn't need anything else. If I had just one more ecstatic experience, or if I could just extend it a little longer, I could be real that much longer.
I pushed myself, always looking for the heavier scene, the new kink. If I worked I wanted it to last longer, for the whole night, for the weekend, for the extent of the relationship, for the rest of my life.
I was real, and that was all that mattered. I did whatever I had to do to keep this physical wall going up. If I lacked a woman, I'd find a man. If I lacked a top I'd become one. Lacking the clothing to suit a lover, I'd buy it, make it, fake it. Lacking the endurance for a particular act, I'd cut my body off with too many drinks, or an interesting new drug, or just through grinning wildly and turning it all off, until the thumps and the sting were like echoes, insubstantial except for faint reverberations through my body, and I'd take an evil kind of pleasure in knowing that eventually the top du jour would give up, and I'd win.
I shut off the voice that kept asking what I was getting out of this, except for bruises, cuts, aches, and those incredible moments of timelessness, when there were no masks on me, and I was alone in my pleasure and pain.
That will be out next year, or so I'm told. The entire essay is called Electra on the Rocks, and it's mostly about my journeys through the daddy-boy roleplaying thing and the development of a new side of me, which I call The Owner.
In my time, I've been a bottom switch, a boy. I've been collared for a period of formal submission. I've been an exclusive top and an exclusive lesbian, and I've been a happy perv with a whip and a strap who'd take on anyone who wanted to play.
I've become an avid fister. I love bondage and blindfolds and beatings and buggery, in no particular order. I get cut, and I love to cut. I get striped, and I love to mark. I am drawn over and over again to gender questions and issues, and I fall in lust with people of intensity, especially people who bring out shadows and reflections of myself.
And now, instead of giving myself up to a moment, I throw myself into it with full awareness. I open my eyes, and I drink it in, and I celebrate it. Through my writing and my storytelling, I share it. What used to be a desolate place of desperation and frustration, I've made into a stage for my passion plays. And that's what live for, passion. I seek it out when I play; I watch for it when people tell me their stories, and I hear it in secrets and fears and dreams and visions.
And of course, I write about it. Writing about this stuff came very late in life. The first time I admitted I was a sadomasochist in print in a letter to the Gay Community News protesting an event for women at which leather women were not welcome: They would make the other women there feel unsafe.
The second time was in 1989, when I became a founding member of NLA Metro New York and decided to produce a newsletter. And it was two years after that when Richard K. Sines of Masquerade book approached me and asked me for a book about people doing S/M for the first time; he wanted a friendly book about S/M. I wrote it under a pseudonym, because no one at Masquerade published porn under their real name.
The saga of what happened with NLA and my experiences in the leather community, whatever that is, is long and frustrating. I'll only tell you the results.
I left the so-called community in 1993, quasivoluntarily. Since that time, I've edited five anthologies, written three novels, and about a dozen even short stories. I'm currently working on two more anthologies and a book of my own short stories.
It seems that all the energy I've spent to try to build communities, trying to make spaces for leather people, and leather women in specific, were energies I could have used writing books. All the political alliances I made, all of the meetings I attended alone, came to nothing. They don't call me.
The organization I helped nurture has self-destructed in a mess that made my exit seem genteel. The contest I produced - I didn't win a contest; I was a producer - raised visibility and money and gave New`York leather women their first public event ever, and it was never done again, because no one was willing to even do one-half of what I did to put it on.
And the people who I told stories to, the people who played with me and slept with me, the people who bought my books and gave me theirs, they're the ones who talk to me. They're the ones I get comfort and encouragement from. They're the ones I speak to. They are my community.
I travel all around the country, and I judge and MC contests, because in my heart I'm a stand-up comedian. The single most pervasive problem I keep hearing from men and women alike is how their local communities are created out of strife, supported through backstabbing and ostracization and greed and sometimes outright theft, how one club won't talk to another, or how one person controls this one, and that person controls that one, and if you take nothing else from what I say tonight, understand how vital it is to create and support your own family first.
There are some people who do seem to derive energy, support, and cheer from the extended community built around what we like to do in bed, but unless you are one of those people, God bless, you must be able to have a fallback position. My fallback position are the people who share my passions, who create drama for me and with me and who love me despite of, and because of, my politics.
Enough of that. I wanted to share with you some politics, and you can't leave. I couldn't wait to read this in Seattle.
It is called Unsafe At Any Speed, or Safe, Sane, and Consensual, My Fanny. No one will publish this, which is why I'm reading it out loud.
My fantasies have never been safe ones. Even back when I was a child, I remember coaching a playmate into behaving the way I imagined was proper for this little psychodrama we were about to enact. "You will be the one in charge," I said, pushing from the bottom as only a six-year old novice can, "and you're really mean. You tell me to do things that are impossible, and when I can't, you punish me and laugh."
What can I tell you? My tastes grew up with me. The amazing thing now, twenty-five years later, is how succinctly I captured the essence of S/M play. The role of the dominant as the active play-acting partner, and my role as a natural all-responsive passive partner, but only under the structure I created.
Later on, I discovered that to my mind power and sex were interlocked. There were no sexual feelings without dreams of rape, suffering, beatings, and torture. No imaginary relationships with partners of equal standing to me, only people who used me or people I used.
Dating in high school was a silly mess, a tangle of mostly forgotten fumblings in order to demonstrate my passing heterosexuality and/or my ability to feel something rather than silly and hungry when I was stoned.
The real-life power and danger that was my home and the man who married my mother, were more like what I imagined sex was. Forbidden. Secret. Painful. Confusing. Threatening. Awesome in the true sense of the word, capable of creating emotions so strange that words couldn't be put to them.
There was no sound a human being could make in order to express the terrible passion I imagined was sex. Unsafe, insane, and utterly nonconsensual.
Fantasies are not reality. I know, I know, I know. Except when they are. Except when you make them into reality. And fuck this. I didn't come out of years of fantasy rescuing myself from a toxic parent and guilt-tripping myself through anti-sex feminism, politically correct lesbianism, and socially programmed homosexual activism so that someone else could make my goddamn sex life into a slogan: Safe, Sane, and Consensual.
What does it mean? Assimilation, that's what. The politics of appeasement, the hope that, Gee, if we look and act just like everyone else, if we can only convince the dominant culture that we're really harmless and just like they are, except that where we put our dicks and clits and tongues, and what we like on our dicks and clits and tongues, why, we'll earn our civil rights, and everybody will live happily ever after, except for the boy-lovers, who give us all a bad name anyway.
Originally, Safe, Sane, and Consensual, hereafter referred to as SSC, came out of the mostly gay men's S/M movement, probably GMSMA, but I'm willing to hear about where else it came from. I've heard several different versions of who came up with our beloved slogan.
The first time I heard about it was in connection with the expansion of the National Leather Association in connection with a desire to create some sort of unified national network of leather persons. SSC was something everyone could stand behind. For a group of marginalized outcasts, it was supposed to be our rallying call.
A rallying call? Hello? Like Live Free Or Die? Remember The Alamo? Black Is Beautiful? Who Killed Karen Silkwood? Safe, Sane, Consensual.
Well, okay. It's as good as any, but why not Happy, Healthy, and Wise? Rational, Intelligent, and Sensitive? Open-minded, Empathic, and Cheerful? Willing, Hot, and Horny? I like that one. All these are laudable attitudes.
So some rallying cry; who's going to argue with it? I mean, what's more to the point? What social interaction should not be safe, sane, and consensual? Shouldn't all sex be like that? Shouldn't all relationships be like that?
But okay, it's just a slogan. Slogans don't mean shit. After all, what did Just Say No and Just Do It have to do with any kind of reality you understand?
Slogans give people something to chant, something to put on their banners, and something to distinguish the us from the them, and I guess SSC does beat Horny And Looking For Some Kinky Nookie Right Now; Are You A Top Or A Bottom, And What Are You Wearing?
But it's become so much more than a slogan. It's now a way of life. Every S/M organization has to include this little catchphrase into their statement of purpose, that is, if they ever get around to having one.
It has to be on every banner when they march. It has to be included in every titleholder's speech, in club banquets, on colors, and in newsletters. Every entrant into S/M, in one way or another, is assured ad nauseum that everything will be Safe, Sane, and Consensual.
The only activity we condone is SSC. Why, all good S/M is SSC. SSC is good. Isn't it good that we all practice S/M, that is, SSC?
I'm walking through a play party. I have black and red showing left and a bag of toys stashed behind the couch. There's this cutie I'd love to diddle, but right now she's getting tickled and a backrub.
Okay. I'll watch that scene over there. Two people are methodically going through their toy bag as he uses them one at a time on her. They chat.
Does she like this?
Giggle. Oh, yes, she does.
Smack. Isn't that nasty?
Oh, you beast. Giggle, giggle.
Let's try this one; it's made out of an old mop head. More giggles.
Fighting off a yawn, how rude. I wander past two girls earnestly discussing their upcoming scene. I eavesdrop.
Red means to stop; yellow means slow down; blue means I want to talk to you about something; green means you should go faster and harder.
I don't tell them about fisting and piss and cocksucking. Why do I feel older than I really am? I don't want to tell them about muffled yelps and screams and the moment before the tears start to flow, the terrible moment when you know that just one more sharp pain and you will not be able to hold them back.
I do want to tell them, on the other hand. I want to tell them about watching someone's control slip away. Touching a crotch to find that there's pussy cream mixing with drops of panic piss, and about the redness of her face when the sobbing has become deep and regular.
I want to tell them about the pleas of the damned, the cries when someone doesn't know when it's going to stop or how when they want their mommy, or they want their master, or when want to surrender and fall to the ground and feel a boot at the back of their neck and grind away until they come and it's terrible.
But I smile, and I nod, and I pass on, and I don't even say a fucking thing.
There's a whipping going on, so I go watch that. Oh, yeah, this is better. Thwack, thwack, smack, smack. Heavy red marks. Muscles straining. Grunts.
And then the whip lands around the ribs, and I hear the bottom yell, "Wrap!" And the top bites her lip and tries to aim better next time. Someone in the back snorts in derision. I guess their bottom had better manners, or maybe their aim is perfect, and they never, ever wrap.
That happened to me once. I grabbed her by the hair, and I pulled her head back onto my shoulder, and I shoved the handle up against her throat.
"Don't you think I know that?" I asked her, knowing that in one second, if she gave me the wrong answer, I was going to set her free, rub her wrists, and go upstairs for a cup of coffee. "Do you think I'm not looking at you?" I asked, "Do you think I'm an idiot? Do you think I'm your fucking whip slave that you can use that tone of voice with me and alert me to what I am doing?"
She did the right thing, and I whipped her some more. But later on, I pushed the envelope very, very far with her. I used my knife. It took a while to get her into the proper place. It took me even longer to get back.
What is happening to my sex? It's cold. It's passionless. And what's worse, it's dull. John Preston was right. S/M has become this nice, sweet alternative to heavy petting, and leaders of the S/M community wants to be us to be Elks or some other animal-named civics organization, gathering to sell each other expensive clothing and raffle tickets and congratulating each other on how nice we are.
This used to be about sex. The literature of my people is pornography. Filled with cries for mercy, drama enacted on people without prolonged negotiation. Partners engaged in a dance in the middle of a bonfire.
Now it's three-hundred-page manuals on how to make sure nothing bad will ever happen to you and twelve-page party rules that state that the utmost care must be taken to make sure that no one is frightened or offended, that no bodily fluids are spilled, and no cries shock the neighbors.
Nothing is safe. I have a new friend with an old problem. Engaged as a co-top in a scene, she was present when a well-trussed-up bottom had a seizure. There was nothing in what they were doing that was related to this event. It was one of those medical anomalies. Like a flash, the bottom was freed from bondage. 911 was called. There was knowledge of CPR. There was plenty of good, wise emergency care. The bottom got better, in fact, went home under his own power. They told them to check it out with a doctor, find out if there was a problem no one knew about. Everyone went to bed.
My friend, however, was very disturbed by this incident, as anyone would be. It's no joy to be present when somebody suddenly goes limp. But her initial reaction was that something had gone wrong with an S/M scene, and that someone had almost died on her. Suddenly, this awesome responsibility upon her as a top was revealed. She told this on ASB, as a matter of fact, alt.sex.bondage on the Internet, as a cautionary tale.
Bullshit. People have seizures. People faint. People have mysterious heart conditions that rear up and kill them at sixteen years of age. Do coaches then rise up and solemnly discuss about how all coaches should be heart specialists because of the great responsibilities of training potentially fragile athletes? No. They put the kid in shorts, and they put him out on the court.
If I'm driving my car and a friend in the passenger seat has a heart attack, am I at fault for not being a surgeon? For not having nitroglycerine on hand?
If I'm passionately screwing away at the advanced age of 97, and suddenly my entire brain explodes in one final orgasm that snuffs me out like a candle dipped in blood, will that sweet young thing beneath me be responsible for not knowing that that massive embolism was waiting for the right moment to end my lifelong perversity? Of course not. She has enough to worry about.
What goes on when people overfetishize safety is that they're relapsing in the old frame of mind that what we're doing is bad. It's dangerous. It's scary. It has the potential to get out of hand. That's why we surround ourselves with rules, and we make a slogan into a mantra. Why we police ourselves and each other with an obsession aimed at making our love life and play into the sanest, safest, most consensual drama ever enacted in a relationship.
Well, life ain't safe. I get up, and everyday I do things that place my body and life in danger. I take showers, and we all know how many people bash their brains out in the tub every year. I stand on rickety chairs to change light bulbs. I drive in New`York. I walk through dark Manhatten streets in a meat packing district in very queer clothing. I drink. I go to gyms, and I abuse my body, and then I sit in saunas. People die in them, you know. I eat meat. I eat sugar. I ride horses. I shovel snow, and I write, and I edit pornographic books under my real name in a conservative administration. I have joined the ACLU. If I wanted to, I could take up karate and I could go skiing. I could buy a motorcycle. This is all deadly stuff.
And life ain't sane, in case you haven't noticed. Any world where kids are born unwanted and people die from hunger, where tobacco is subsidized and artists are not, where one gender is dominant and one's skin tone, and where rapists get out on bail and pot smokers get thirty-year sentences, this is not a fucking sane world. So who gets to judge my relative sanity? Doctors? Lawyers? Or other perverts?
And as for consent, that is the real issue, isn't it? Except, surprise - It's just another shadow term, all substance and no real meaning. I can hear the whines now, "But it's bad to do these things without consent."
Well, no kidding. It's bad to subject medical experiments on people without consent, but I don't see the AMA adopting the slogan Healthy, Helpful, and Consensual.
All sex should be consenting, yet I've yet to see a dating service advertise as "fun, sexy, and consensual." The trouble is, S/Mers are allowing themselves to be defined by what we're not. We think, "Oh, so many people believe that we're all murderers and rapists, we have to explain why we're not." So a slogan for the gay civil rights movement should be Normal, Nonthreatening, and Not After Your Children?
What's worse is, the growth of that slogan into the labeling device it's become. Whenever someone is found to be unpopular or threatening, all it takes to get them out of the scene is to start a whispering campaign about how unsafe, insane, and nonconsensual they are.
Now, when the boys want that big old dyke and her bullwhip away from their sash parades, all they have to say is, "She's endangering people; it's unsafe," or, "She's not projecting a proper image for our community. That's insane." "The people watching have not given their permission to be shown this kind of behavior. That's nonconsensual."
And boom, they don't have to have no big old dyke with a whip leading their parade. They have good old SSC to rely on, and no one argues with that.
The fact is, I'm tired of being told what's okay for me. I'm tired of all the safe words. Sometimes I'm tired of safe words altogether. I don't want to negotiate everything to death. I want to be surprised or surprise someone. I want to be afraid, and I want to cause someone to piss in terror.
I want to have sweat and piss and cum and blood dripping, and not just because it's warm and late and the sex is nice. There are times when I want to walk into a room, grab that girl, slap her hard, and make her cry. I want to push her down and fuck her mind over twice as hard as her body. Sometimes I want to be that girl.
And the harder the SSC thing pushes at me, the harder I feel like pushing back. Passion, that's what I'm into. Passion and blood and honor. So powerful that it pounds through my veins and blinds me. So terrible I can't look away. Danger, dementia, denial.
I want to hear that panic. I want to scream, "No, please." And struggle through the haze of pain and pleasure and all the stuff that goes on between the moment that we touch eyes and the moment we both collapse and try to breathe and wonder how to break the silence.
My fantasies have never been safe ones. Don't fuck with me unless you understand that.
Having trouble publishing that. Gee, wonder why.
In answer to your questions: You become a writer by writing. You become a published writer by sending your work to editors and publishers in the correct format, typed or word processed the way that many books tell you to, and you always include return postage.
You avoid getting enmeshed in unhealthy relationships with the, community by remembering that ultimately you are a full person by yourself, and really, what do you want from any group of people gathered together just because they have an interest in similar sexual activities?
You get to play with me by being witty, passionate, interested in me, and able to carry on a conversation. It helps if you're a woman. It also helps if you're open to mixed-gender space. It helps if you're a hopeless romantic or at least a realist and a very good fuck-buddy. It helps if you're a confident, ruthless, and passionate top or surrendering, brave, and a noble bottom.
Now I'll open it up to questions from the floor.
Actually, before I do, I just want to - It's so cosmic. I can't believe there are so many people in here.
I brought books with me because writing is a terrible business, and I'm poor. So that's my commercial announcement. I have books; I'll sell them to you; I'll sign them; I'll write whatever you like. "To Matt, loved it."
So now I'm open to questions from the floor. If there are any left. I've really told you everything about me, huh? What?
AUDIENCE: You never told us why Seattle's so special.
MS. ANTONIOU: (Laughter) it's all because of you.
MS. ANTONIOU: Details. I'll give you details.
When I met Ice, she was wearing a Boy Scout uniform. I never saw a woman in a Boy Scout uniform before, and she took me to a place - I have no fucking idea where - and there were these other people there, and they were dykes, but they were daddies, and boys.
And I remember sitting on the floor, for once not under a chemical substance that forced a different kind of reality on me, because I was just stoned on what I was seeing.
What I was seeing was a very skinny dyke take an extraordinarily large black dick up her cunt and Ice's fist up her ass, and what I was hearing was, "Fuck me, Daddy. Oh, fuck me, please," and I was like, those were lesbians?
And I went home to New`York, in shock, and I sat down with my friends, and I said, "Well, I met some interesting people in Seattle. They do things a little differently there."
And the next time I came back to Seattle, I saw a cutting, and of course by then I already had one - of course that was Ice, too - and I started to get cut some more, and I went back to New`York, but now I was already a boy, and I went back to New York, and I had a scalpel, and I held it up at our meeting, and I said, "I was just in Seattle, and they do things different there."
Yeah. Yeah, between Lil's in Portland and Power Surges in Seattle, I single-handedly became one of the weirdest people in New`York because no one knew what I was doing. Wait a minute. I was a lesbian, but I was a boy, and I was involved with this guy, what does that mean? And I was into S/M, but I liked cutting people; what does that have to do with S/M? It was very interesting.
Now, of course, in New York it's all very trendy to be pansexual and wear your black leather, and the dykes and the fags kind of sort of mingle together, though they never touch, and it's very trendy to talk about things like blood play and breath control.
God knows what else Seattle's going to come up with, but I was there first. You might have called me an ambassador of good will, and every time I come here I try to arrange to have something new and different done to me.
MS. ANTONIOU: For the record, that evil cackle came from Karen, who's doing my guided tour of depravity this time around.
Anything else? Anything about the books? Has anybody read any of my books?
AUDIENCE: First, I want you to know that The Marketplace created a lot of changes in my household, and I wanted to know if you have any anthologies coming out.
MS. ANTONIOU: Well, right now there's one planned. There's a book now, that I have a contract for called Tales of the Marketplace. It's half- written by me, because it's a shared-world anthology.
I have been blessed with a number of fans who also happen to be very talented writers. And so ripping an idea off from Marion Zimmer Bradley, I decided to open up the Marketplace to other writers and pretty much sent out very, very basic guidelines and opened up the entire world, the characters, the settings, yadda-yadda, and people are now getting their outlines to me.
And what I'm going do is, I'm going to string all the stories together and have it be a collection of stories that Marketplace people tell each other.
MS. ANTONIOU: And there are a couple of people in this room who I want stories from, but I'm not going to pressure them by mentioning their names. I'll just stare at them suggestively from time to time.
So, yeah, the Marketplace will continue for at least one more book, and yes, that book will be the book that you find out the truth about Chris Parker.
MS. ANTONIOU: Anything else?
AUDIENCE: There was something else you never quite finished. You talked about, in your previous phase of S/M, how you were looking for the real, how you only felt real at certain times, almost like Pinnochio.
But then you just jumped into the next phase where you are appreciative, and I was wondering if you came into any realizations about consensuality when you think about how far you're willing to go to make something that you felt was real, and if in fact it was real, and if so, were you consenting to that or just some shadow?
MS. ANTONIOU: Okay, that's good. If I ever rewrite this, I'll have to put in a bridge.
The journey away from using scenes as a way to recognize reality to getting to the point where I lived in reality and used scenes to become unreal really happened within the context of a relationship.
After a lot of fits and starts with trying one way and trying another way, I happened to meet a man who was very influential in my life, who respected me and pushed me at the same time. And gave me the space to back off. Who wouldn't let me go away under the lash.
At the moment where I would start to, "Okay. I'm just going to go away now, and you just keep doing what you're doing," he'd stop, and he would force me to talk about it, and it remains to this day an extraordinarily difficult thing for me to answer questions when I'm bottoming, even though I ask them all the time as a top. What can I tell you?
Within that relationship, he kind of coaxes the real Laurie out, and when that relationship formally ended, I never went backwards. I'm just - I had grown so accustomed to facing the world every day as Laurie, that there were no more closets.
And so I started talking to people honestly about what I liked and what I wanted and what I was looking for, and I stopped playing the games of Guess What I'm Into and Beat Me Until I Don't Have To Talk To You Anymore.
And that was also when I started being a better top. Because, as a top, when I started out, I was just doing mechanical things, and after experiencing the joy of being a responsible bottom and having to talk about these things and having to reveal my secrets and having to admit that I enjoy it, I started finding other bottoms who enjoyed it and told me so.
And that of course fed into my ego. Ego strong is a good thing, so I'm now I'm the totally egotistic switch who just tells people what I want, and I get it.
AUDIENCE: I really enjoyed your thing on SSC. Could you tell me what your thoughts are on how to use drugs and alcohol in play?
MS. ANTONIOU: Ooo.
AUDIENCE: And how that affects SSC.
MS. ANTONIOU: Well, as you might have guessed from some of the things I've said and what I've read tonight, I am not clean and sober. I have been, but I am not now, nor do I regret not being now.
On a personal level - and I'm not advocating this - On a personal level, I believe that the use of controlled substances is an adult choice.
I also believe that it is an informed choice. I will play with someone who drinks or does drugs, but I want to know what they're on, and that way I can decide what I'm going to do, and when I am drinking or on something not so legal, I tell the person I'm with and leave it up to them whether they choose to deal with me.
I make it clear at the onset of a relationship that I respect sobriety, and if a partner wants to play with me and does not want me to drink or use I will not. If they'd rather not hang out in a bar, I won't hang out in the bar with them or insist that they should.
But at the same time, I insist on respect for my insobriety, should I say. Sometimes I go to a space. It might be a bar, or it might be a friend's house sitting on the floor with the pillows watching MTV and going wow.
Where it fits in in the whole Safe-Sane-Consensual thing, I heard a rumor that someone tried to raise Safe, Sane, Consensual, and Sober as an additional option, and I was so horrified I pissed myself in terror and decided I would never go to one of their parties, and that's about the extent of the activism I'd do. Like I said, I respect sobriety, and I respect my right to be unsober. Not sober. Fucked up.
AUDIENCE: I wanted to say that I really appreciated what you said about intensity. I found it, dare I say, sane, and I would think that I could add something that I've often thought and had difficulty explaining, and it occurred to me while you were talking, that I would think and feel that it is a coward who, in seeking constant comfort is consistently uncomfortable, whereas it is the wise who embrace agony and in so doing are able to find the most exquisite ecstasy and savor it.
MS. ANTONIOU: Are you single? That is an interesting and dangerous thought you have there. To surrender to agony, to refuse or reject comfort. One of the things that I found was that comforting, to me, has to be very brief or else it annoys me, cause I don't want pity for my agony. I want respect for it.
I want my top to look me in the eyes, as someone did recently, and say, "Good, good," (patting motion) and then turn away and deal with what they have to deal with.
Sometimes I want them to kick me in the ribs and say, "Come out and join us when you're presentable, slut," and leave it to me to put myself together because I'm a strong bottom.
That doesn't mean I don't comfort. God knows I'm a nice person - Well, sometimes - and when someone needs it, I want to be able to be there for them, but I think part of the wonder of some of the things that we do is that we are so strong that a top can be cruel and walk away, that a bottom can be strong and get up and put themselves together. That's romance, I mean, that is not the hearts-and-flowers romance, that's romance, from the guts. I was going to use a Yiddish word, but then I remembered what side of the country I was on.
AUDIENCE: You mentioned that you publish under your own name in a conservative administration as an unsafe act. Has there been danger to you?
MS. ANTONIOU: Only in that my books have all been seized at the border. Hey, I'm in good company. I am proud to be seized at the border in Canada. It meant that I got to smuggle in a caseload of them this summer, which was a tremendous lot of fun. I drove up with a faggot buddy of mine, and we played straight couple. I let him drive.
"What's in the box?"
It was real dorky. I had to put my leather jacket in the trunk, and he had to take his earrings and nose ring off.
But in terms of physical danger, I haven't been in any. In terms of professional danger, I can't even begin. No mainstream publisher will pick me up. Not one. And the gay and lesbian publishers will pick me up as, a genre item, and the ones that I've negotiated with have promised extremely low print runs and no promotional budget to speak of.
I've been typecast, and so next year one of the things I'm doing is I'm going with a small independent publisher, and they're going to publish a collection of my own short stories, very roman a clef, very personal, very dangerous stories. And that should be out in June, and I hope to be back West to help shop it around, and maybe that will be a breakthrough for me.
But right now, most of my pain, most of the danger, is it makes it very hard for me to earn a living. It means I have to spend an awful lot of time writing about things I don't care about. And it means I don't have health insurance, and it means that when I get back to New`York after this lovely trip, I have to actually think of getting a McJob just to help make ends meet. And, you know? I'd rather be mugged.
AUDIENCE: What circulation do you get on a book like The Marketplace?
MS. ANTONIOU: The Marketplace so far has told about six thousand copies, which would make it a runaway gay and lesbian bestseller if it was ever listed on a gay and lesbian bestseller list.
The Slave has sold over ten thousand copies, which the publisher put down to the fact that it was called The Slave.
I don't know. Maybe I should just title all my books Slave-something. Like Mercedes Lackey does, Winter Slave, Summer Slave, just kind of capitalize on it.
AUDIENCE: The Second Slave.
MS. ANTONIOU: The Return of the Slave. Son of the Slave. The Slave Meets the Aztec Mummy. Right, right.
AUDIENCE: Around the World With the Slave.
MS. ANTONIOU: It's all packaging.
The anthologies, particularly the Leather Women anthologies, sell much less, because their primary marketing is in gay and lesbian stores, and everyone knows that lesbians don't buy books. Go figure.
But my far best-selling book is the one I wrote as a gay novel. Far and away the best-selling book I've ever written. Why I haven't done a sequel, I don't know.
AUDIENCE: You haven't been going to the gym enough.
MS. ANTONIOU: I know. I need to get more inspiration. Oh, there he goes again. "Rippling thighs." "Massive manmeat."
MS. ANTONIOU: "Tumescent."
AUDIENCE: How many names have you published under? (pause) That you can tell us.
MS. ANTONIOU: About thirty. I write a lot of short stories for mainstream porn magazines, and they insist on a new name for every story, because of course none of these things are written by regular writers; they're all written by the readers who send in their true life, you know.
So I do a massive amount of gay writing, tons and tons of it. On my hard drive right now I have about half a dozen stories of vanilla gay love.
"Suddenly the boy next door grew up, and he was really handsome and tall and blond and strong and muscular, with slender hips and wide shoulders and a big fat uncut dick, and amazingly, he was interested in me."
That was all the first paragraph; now the rest of the story is the sex. Sells like crazy.
What can I tell you? It's not the gay porn I read. I read Drummer. Well, I read Drummer when it was good.
AUDIENCE: I really did enjoy your SSC, because I come from the Midwest, and the same thing's happening in leather communities there. It's really just a shame, and I don't know how to turn it around. I finally came out here, found people a little bit more open, but -
MS. ANTONIOU: I don't know how to turn it around either, except by being open, outrageous, and challenging it when I see it.
I've missed a couple of parties because I refused to sign the so-called party rules disclaimer thing at the door, because it requires that all entrants be safe, sane, consensual, and sober and fun and happy and clean and thrifty, reverent, right. Yeah, right. On my honor, I was somewhere we had to demonstrate how we would play with fire before we be allowed to play with fire.
AUDIENCE: Try burning the asshole's hair off.
MS. ANTONIOU: You ought to see me later. I'll tell you what I did today.
Yeah, that happened in one of the New`York clubs. A couple of people came in, and they did a fire demo with paddles, and it was so hot. I mean it was, well - I mean, it was so arousing. And I couldn't take my eyes off them, and it was just so beautiful and well done, and boy, did it add class to the place.
And then the management stopped, because they didn't even know what the codes would be for someone having an open flame on a human body in a club. You know, close the door.
And I used to go to parties where they had rules about no sexual touching, regardless of condoms, gloves, dental dams, whatever.
I suppose. Why don't we all play clothed? I'll bring my massage balls and we can rub them over each other's backs and listen to newage music - Excuse me - New Age, and we can all be lovely and fun together and sit on pillows and share our deepest, darkest secrets. Of course we'd have to get stoned first - Oops. That's a no-no.
Now I don't go to them anymore, and I told them why. And whenever someone I know has parties that are open to allowing people to express themselves in less-regimented ways, I make a habit of encouraging people to go, even if they're not going to play that way. Even if they don't like to watch.
They don't have to watch. Go to the next room. Have a good time. Eat some pate. Come back when they're finished. But just support the people who play hard. Because, come on. We need a space, too.
The people I learned from were not safe, sane, and consensual. The people who taught me first never even heard of Safe, Sane, and Consensual. The people who taught me how to top and put a whip in my hand didn't say, "Remember, ask permission." They said, "Find a bottom, and do these things. And the bottom will let you know whether you're doing it right."
And the bottom didn't say, "Wrap." The bottom said, "Yes, yes." Or the bottom said, "Please don't do that. I hate that, I hate that," and sometimes I listen. So, what do you do? You be out.
AUDIENCE: I was wondering if you had a chance in Portland to see or talk with Renee Denfield, and whether you had any opinion on her book, The New Victorianism, that talks a little bit about these issues.
MS. ANTONIOU: You know, I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, and it's definitely on the list of books I want other people to buy me, because I can't afford them.
I have read reviews of the book, though, and it sounds really interesting, much more worthwhile than Defending Pornography was, and I think she has some valid points, and I'd like to read more.
AUDIENCE: How do you feel about boxing?
MS. ANTONIOU: As long as it's not a gimmick, I find boxing an exhilarating sport, and in fact, if anything shows the right of an adult human being to put their body in danger and to endanger someone else, boxing. Come on.
We revere people who get into a ring and try to gave each other concussions. Next to that, hitting them with a big deerskin flogger is nothing. It was one of the reasons why I made one of the characters in my book a boxer, even though he was an amateur boxer, just because I wanted to show that, you know, this person could do real damage. This person could hit you in the nose and make you fall down and pass out, and that's a scary top. I'd play with him.
AUDIENCE: What effect has the Internet had on publishing?
AUDIENCE: It's sort of like we're supposed to be hip to all this, but are we? I mean, is it really that important?
MS. ANTONIOU: I'm very hip, I'm very hip. I am on the net.
AUDIENCE: What's your address?
MS. ANTONIOU: email@example.com. Ooo. I said the AOL word.
AUDIENCE: The great Satan.
MS. ANTONIOU: Right. Could it be - Satan?
I'm on AOL; I'm a charter member, actually. McGraw-Hill got me an account way, way back when I wore suits to work, and I've kept it mostly because it's so easy.
But I do have a real Internet account, as well, and that one's secret. I keep the AOL account because it's so easy to transfer files. I have a Mac. People send me their manuscripts as attached files, and I just edit them and dump them right into my manuscript. It's so great.
But ultimately, what the Net has done for me, other than waste hours and hours of time, is that it has kept me in contact with so many people.
I mean, I am an awful correspondent. I know, I promised I'd answer my fan mail on Leather Women Two, and sometimes people have actually been writing to me, and I am so bad. I put them all in my In box, and they vanish. They just kind of migrate to the bottom, and they sit there, and every couple of months it's like, Oh, no! And I write these terrible apologetic letters back.
But the Net, someone finds my email address and they say, "Loved your books. What's the deal with Chris Parker, anyway?" I answer them right away, and I say, "Thanks a lot. I'm not telling you."
I also get really interesting long things through my email accounts. People apparently do find it easier to send mail that way, and we are getting free from paper in a lot of ways, and I can understand that you're sitting at the keyboard; you write; you don't have to look for paper; you don't have to get an envelope; you don't have to get a stamp; you don't have to write anything down.
AUDIENCE: And you can wear anything you want.
MS. ANTONIOU: And you can sit there in your Snoopy boxer shorts and a tank top and yadda-yadda.
But one of the things that I did under a pseudonym last year - this is a secret - was that I wrote a book about how to find sex on the Net, and I subscribed to over 120 sexually-oriented newsgroups, and I read them all, every day.
AUDIENCE: Oh, my God.
MS. ANTONIOU: I am so amazed at the amount of time people spend talking about this stuff. Thinking about it, writing instead of doing it, probably. But oh, my God, I almost got turned off of sex.
On the other hand, I was jerking off compulsively every day. "Oh, my God, that sounds hot."
Lots of misinformation out there on the net, but of course, anyone can get net access, and the number of people who purport to be experts handing out advice is so sad.
Boy, have I gotten bad advice from the Net. There was a guy on alt.sex.oral who absolutely swore that heterosexuals never get AIDS. And I don't believe I'm hearing this. What year is it?
So I try not to get emotionally involved in the Net. It's sort of the same relationship that I have with the leather community. It's very nice. I am on the fringe. I'm never quite in, and I'm never quite out. I have access to it, but I don't take advantage of all of its benefits, and therefore I don't feel personally betrayed when it turns out to be a big mess.
I occasionally post at alt.sex.bondage or alt.sex.femdom, because I have a lot of friends I communicate with through those newsgroups, and I will actually have a Web page soon. I don't know where.
We're trying to find a nice place to park it, because I can't afford high monthly fees, but I'm going to have nice Web space with pictures of my books, and excerpts from reviews and probably excerpts from upcoming work, too, because I'm just such a showoff.
AUDIENCE: Do you ever pop up on the femdom IRC panel?
MS. ANTONIOU: IRC. I just don't get it. I tried, of course I did, for the sake of the book, but I have zero tolerance for it. Absolutely zero. I look at it, and it's like, shut the fuck up. Go watch TV. Go get laid.
Occasionally when I actually do IRC, to meet someone out there, I go to Channel Poweraction. BDSM is a morass. It's like stepping in glue.
MS. ANTONIOU: You know.
AUDIENCE: And femdom is like a spider web.
MS. ANTONIOU: But alt.sex.femdom is sometimes a fun group. I read a lovely piece by a guy in there who was writing about alternate paradigms for male submission, the poet and his lady, and all these really nice interesting ways that went away from the usual on your knees, worm, pondscum type of stuff, and I immediately wrote to him, and I praised him highly for it, because I try to do that, as you know. "Write more." And I encourage you all, write more. We need more writers.
AUDIENCE: Is censorship an issue on the Net, for you? Or in any of the things that you're working with?
MS. ANTONIOU: Not really. A lot of people complain that America Online's an extremely restrictive area. I've not found it to be so.
I'm very active in the Leather Lesbian area on America Online, and I have networked extensively using their library of gay and lesbian and trans organizations. In fact, Chris Parker could not exist without the extraordinarily long conversations I've had online with people who helped create the character, and if that isn't a giant fucking massive clue, I don't know what would be.
And general Internet access, I think it is a boon for someone who is anti- censorship, as I am, because it really does allow for such free exchange of information.
Of course, you could be there all day exchanging information, and why I wanted to read about the Church of Scientology, I don't know, but now I have eighty pages of documents all about them. Yes, I do.
And the Unibomber's madness, why? I was insane that day. I wanted to read about something other than sex.
AUDIENCE: I'm curious about - Taking off on this topic of the Internet and cyberspace. CD-ROMs and interactive technology, what do you see - Are you getting involved in any kind of porn in that kind of sphere?
MS. ANTONIOU: I don't even have a CD-ROM player, so I've never actually seen any of these wondrous things. Of course, I've heard about them rather extensively. I should go to your house and see them.
Okay. I don't know about what I could do with them, because I'm not sure what their capabilities are. The other night when I was reading at Love Season, one of the women there suggested that I make audio tapes, and that was an interesting idea, because I love to read, and I particularly love to read my stories. But I have no idea who would market such a thing.
AUDIENCE: Truck stops.
MS. ANTONIOU: "She mounted his throbbing tool - took it in her warm moist delta." Truck Stop Slave.
One of my favorites of old queer porn novels is something like Trucker Boys In Bondage or something like that. It was the most awful thing. Big, hairy, smelly truckers picking up these young, smooth, blond, uncut hitchhikers, and totally brutalizing them and then fighting each other on the side of the road to pick up the kid and like throw him in the coffin of the truck and take him to the next thing. Get out and fuck him, and then fight another trucker for him, and it was like, wow. Boxing, sex.
AUDIENCE: Is that still in print?
MS. ANTONIOU: I don't know, but if you ever find it. Ditto Greek Slave Boy, the children's book? If anyone sees it, I definitely want a copy of it. Boy, do I remember scenes from that book.
AUDIENCE: The '70s version of Convoy.
MS. ANTONIOU: Sort of, I guess, without CBs.
AUDIENCE: Speaking of books on tape, the Anne Rice Beauty series is available on tape, read by Elizabeth Montgomery.
MS. ANTONIOU: So ironic. Anything else? All questioned out? I am so glad you all came out tonight. I'm so glad we had good weather for this. I am eternally grateful to the Society for Human Sexuality for inviting me.
SHS: You're welcome. Thank you for coming.
MS. ANTONIOU: I have had such a wonderful time here this week, and now I'm going down to Portland, where I am going to be at the Rose City Discussion Club tomorrow night, and It's My Pleasure on Friday, and I'll be back here on Saturday to watch Karen heave her tiara into the crowd, and then Monday morning I take off for San Francisco, and I hope to be back to the Seattle-Portland area next summer.
And of course I'll probably be relying on the locals to spread the news again. And I really can't thank you enough for coming out and listening to my rambling.
And like I said, feel free to come up and buy books, and I'll sign them. I'll write whatever you like. And if you need to know anything privately, this is the time to whisper. Thank you.
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