By Alana Noel Voth
My libido, these days, rages. It masses troops. It gathers at the border. It stands on parapets, dressed in neat military garb, shaking its small fists in telegenic emphatic gestures. It wears a distinctive hat. My libido plays marches through loudspeakers. I find myself overwhelmed with the claxon of my sexual desire. It rings in my ear, reverberating through my body, broadcasting some indecipherable and inescapable warning, making it impossible for me to concentrate on the task at hand. My despot is hungry: my very skin is ravenous for extreme sensation. For the first time in my life, I find myself enjoying pain, longing for the passionate sting of an open palm, the cruel pinch at my twiddly girlbits. To be wrapped in rope, uncomfortably. To be bitten. To be smacked, slapped, spanked and snacked upon. To have marks on this impertinent, needy flesh. To have the visual memory of having been fucked with abandon. Chelsea Girl “the despot and the bodhisattva”
When I proposed bringing Chelsea Girl, author of Pretty Dumb Things, to Lust Bites my peers rallied. Alison couldn’t wait. Tilly already had Pretty Dumb Things bookmarked. Kristina got the news then said, “Brilliant! She’s incredibly engaging and smart.” Chelsea Girl’s fandom doesn’t stop here. On June 15 2006, Susie Bright wrote this about Chelsea Girl. “I just discovered the most amazing erotic blogger. Her journal's name is Pretty Dumb Things and although she might be pretty (that part is left to your imagination) she is certainly not dumb; she is an incredible wordsmith and erotic storyteller.”
Sometimes when I’m lying under Donny, one or both thighs resting on his shoulders, or when I’m on my hands and knees in front of him, his hands spreading the halves of my cling peach ass, and his cock is drilling my pussy with pile-driver precision, sometimes at those moments, I think to myself, why am I doing this? Chelsea Girl, “a little gifting”
Chelsea Girl’s Pretty Dumb Things gets 2,000 hits per day, and to think she was once a sixteen-year-old girl like the rest of us dreaming about being a writer whose words might be read. In addition to blogging, Chelsea Girl has written for newspapers and magazines, and she also writes fiction. Currently, she contributes to Sappho’s Girls and Penthouse Magazine, and Rachel Kramer Bussel selected one of her stories for an upcoming anthology. In regards to the decision to blog, Chelsea Girl admits “total spite.” Although a close friend advised her not to blog, most writers I know are more likely to forge ahead in the face of opposition, and so on March 19 2005, Chelsea Girl birthed her Pretty Dumb Things with a post about her mother’s purse.
I think of my mother's purse from when I was a kid, its mysterious contents--Winston cigarettes, lipstick, bits of folded paper with hastily scrawled phone numbers smelling of perfume and pizza, the gritty flotsam of a single mother's edgily eked-out existence--and how it was the one object I was not, under any circumstances, ever, to the point of bodily harm, allowed to touch. The purse is, in many ways, the totem of the woman who carries it. Like the secret contents of a shaman's pouch, a purse holds a woman's self. The purse is power. Chelsea Girl, “heaven in a handbasket”
I don't know a lot about Chelsea Girl’s childhood. I often assume genius springs from a troubled past. I understand that's cliché. Having read Pretty Dumb Things for over a year, I’ve noted two things about the author. One, her life hasn't been easy, but it’s been busy and brave, and she's no stranger to humility. Chelsea Girl's father disappeared from her life. Her sister has schizophrenia. Chelsea Girl herself put a noose around her own neck and then checked herself into a hospital where she was treated for depression. She struggles with depression still and sees a shrink. She's filed bankruptcy. She suffers wicked insomnia. And when CG decided to earn a Master's Degree, her family and friends didn't believe she could do it. Chelsea Girl has confronted pessimism on all sides.
I felt like an island, or like an isthmus, more exactly, attached to one spit of land or another, but I couldn’t tell you which one it was. I was excruciatingly lonely. I have been lonely much of my life, but that period—the first year and a half of graduate school—that was the worst. And here I was 34, gorgeous, frisky and totally unfucked. The problem was that I wanted a boyfriend. I wanted someone to see me for who I was in all my flawed and confused glory and to love me . . . Moreover, I needed someone who saw the person inside the body, and no one did. Chelsea Girl, “of mariners and wedding guests”
The blogosphere assaults us daily with people who can't write, who can sort of write, and those who write well but don't have much to say. Few bloggers manage to transcend the personal for the universal. But writing is (should be) art. And art begins as a selfish act transformed through the process of expression to altruistic. Chelsea Girl is an artist’s voice for women: Ironic. Paradoxal. Introspective. Unapologetic. Sexy. Needy. Sad.
I find that taking a man’s cock in my mouth gives me an enormous sense of power and pleasure. I like reducing the guy to bad grammar, if not complete pre-verbalism . . . Chelsea Girl, “what it feels like for a deep-throating girl”
I am a great big Harry Potter geek. I have read each book no fewer than four times . . . When I am depressed, which has been often, though of late, rather amazingly, less and less so, I have soothed my fractured self with the calming balm of Hogwartian fantasy. I know the characters well . . . I love the whole swarming herd . . . But I don’t want to fuck any of them but the Weasley twins. Chelsea Girl, “power to the firecrotches”
My sister has the aspect of a malevolent spirit. I have a flickering three-dimensional substanceless corporeality. I have all the outward signs of physical presence, but put your hand out toward the shining light of my shoulder, my midriff, my face and there’s no there there. And while this incorporeality is nothing new—I grew up being soundly, distractedly and affectionately ignored—its current state is suffused by these pretty dumb things . . . ("Dumb," of course, means "speechless" as much as it means "stupid." I am only as ironic as I am earnest.) Chelsea Girl, “death in vermont”
A Q&A with Chelsea Girl
Where were you born and raised? Have you ever considered an environmental correlation between the place where you grew up and being a sex writer now?
I was born in Illinois and raised primarily in Vermont. I don’t think where I grew up was as formative as how I grew up. I was raised by a single mom who pretty much hit the sexual revolution running. She didn’t raise me to see sex as something that was bad, naughty, or verboten. I wouldn’t say that her construct of sex wasn’t deeply problematic, but I would say that it made me a person who could freely talk about sex.
Do you have a preference for blogging about your actual sex life over writing "fictional sex" between characters?
I have been writing less and less about my own sex life. In part, I find writing just about sex really boring after a while, and just too risky to my own self. I still do write about my sex, but it’s less often just a sexy vignette and more often part of a larger narrative of my life. I have written erotic fiction. I like it; it’s fun.
Does your writing talent legitimize your subject matter or make sex blogging literary?
I think writing about sex is part of life, of making sex and life as messy, complicated, beautiful and problematic as it really is. Mostly, I write about stuff that I need to make sense of for myself. If other people like it too, all the better.
How often do you receive fan mail? Favorite letter or message?
Sometimes I'll write something that makes people send me a big bunch of unexpected fanmail. Other times, I'll go weeks without an email . . . The best emails are the ones whose writers tell me that I've helped them with something I've written. I like those letters a lot.
How much of your blog fame do you think is connected to word-of-mouth, and can you think of a specific mention or shout out someone gave you that was like . . . major?
My blog fame is a complete word-of-mouth phenomenon. I’ve never done much to promote my writing beyond leaving lots of comments when I was first beginning to write my pdt. Now that I’ve figured out Bloglines and Google Reader, I still read lots of blogs, but I leave fewer comments.
I’ve been very fortunate to accrue an eclectic list of supporters in my writing. Viviane of Viviane’s Sex Carnival has been a tremendous friend and given me such support—it was she who helped me get my current Fleshbot gig. Susie Bright has been kind enough to link me a few times, as well as help me out in other ways, and I’ve felt really honored to have earned her respect. Terry Teachout has been phenomenally helpful; we’re now friends, and it makes my head spin to think that this man likes my writing enough to reach out to me and befriend me.
Most of all, I feel tremendously grateful to my readers, especially the ones who email me and tell me that they like what I do. I have often felt that I was alone in this wet blue planet. Writing—and finding that people like what I write—has helped me to realize that I am not. For this, I find myself prostate in abject thankfulness.
Chelsea Girl would like to acknowledge:
O of Eros, Logos
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
By Alana Noel Voth