Monday, September 24, 2012

FOLSOM! In Pictures!


Yesterday was an amazing day. I got to see friends, make some new ones, check out the sites, watch some scenes, and learn a lot of new stuff. I also got to buy a lot of stuff, as you'll see below.
(I also caught a cold. I personally think I caught this cold from Husband, who has been coughing and sneezing for the past three days, and not from Folsom. But I've decided it might be wiser for now to claim I caught it at Folsom, after the conversation Husband and I had this morning, which went something like this:
Me: You gave me your cold. This is non-consentual sharing, and I don't appreciate it.
Him: No, I didn't give you my cold. If anything, you stole it from me. You took it from me without permission, so if I see any sign the cold you have is mine, I won't be happy. 
At which point he gave me That Look, which you probably know what I'm talking about. So...we're going with "I caught a cold at Folsom.")

And now! On to the pictures! Captions are on the bottom.

When I got to Folsom, the street was nice and empty.
People were still setting up.

I headed over to Wicked Grounds for some coffee, but
ended up saying hi to some friends, instead.
Then it was time to scope the place out.
The ponies tend to come out early for their strolls, while there's
still room to walk.
People were already getting flogged. You PAY to get flogged there. The money
goes to charity, of course.
This was one of the funniest things I saw at the Fair. This guy got a
phone call in the middle of the scene, and ANSWERED HIS PHONE.
As he's talking, he's just kinda rubbing and slapping the woman's butt, and she's moaning.
Then he's like, "yeah, well, I'm flogging someone, gotta go, bye," and
continues with the scene. It was hysterical.
Then I started to do my shopping. I thought these were cute.
This booth was amazing. Ah-may-zing.
Then it was time to start taking in the locals.
This couple was cute.
Can I just say, SOO many hot guys? SOO many.
But there were plenty of hot women there, too.
(The cock in the photo is completely gratuitous.)

Some pony traps were still on the street, but not many.
The crowd was starting to build up.
One of these people is my RL friend.
Many of the booths were not from stores, but were put up by organizations, clubs,
websites, and the like. I can't remember what this booth
was for, but they had the best props.
Ring Around the Cock game. The pics of STDS on the
wall were something of a buzz-kill.
This booth was offering waxes. As you can see, someone
took them up on it. The guy started really pushing me to try it
though, and I got pissed off at his attitude and left. 
This was for a Shibari organization. The rope work they were doing
was beautiful.
At this point, the crowds were really starting to build, and
not all the scenes going on were at the booths. A lot of spontaneous play
going on in the street.
I decided it was time to get serious with my shopping,
but kept getting distracted by all the funny things I saw .
Like Fetish Dog.
And Naughty Teddy. 
I REALLY thought this woman was a
mannequin until she smiled. She had been so still before that.
At this point, the crowds were getting insane. You couldn't
walk two feet without rubbing against someone's ass, which was often naked.
I decided it was time to call it quits, but on my way out, I checked out
Kink.com's street space. They always have a huge space with a
big stage. Lots of good stuff to watch. I'm sure I missed some good
scenes, but I was tired.
This one was funny. This woman was really good with the crowd.
Kink.com stars, I guess. I don't know who they are.
When I got home, I laid out all the stuff I bought at the Fair,
and admired it lovingly.
What I bought at the Fair:
  1. A black leash
  2. A matching black collar
  3. "Thuddy Sticks"
  4. A knotted flogger
  5. A large rubber flogger with serrated edges
  6. A printed leather flogger
  7. A soft flogger with anal-insertive handle
  8. An impression paddle that says "SLUT"
  9. An anal hook
  10. A speculum
What I wish I had bought, and now regret passing up:
  1. The matching black cuffs that went with the collar and leash
  2. The two other sized speculums they had, one smaller and one bigger than the one I got
  3. The two glass butt plugs I admired for a long time (I couldn't decide which one to buy, and thought I'd think on it and come back, but I never did. Now I realize I should have just bought both.)

Things I saw but ended up not buying:
  1. A jeweled butt plug. It was lovely, but $75 bucks. 
  2. A hitachi wand. 
  3. A violet wand. Can I just say, OUCH. I know not everyone gets a shock out of it, but I sure do.
  4. A chainmail collar. It was beautiful, but the guy selling them was an asshole. He quoted me $40 bucks, but then said he'd bring the price down in return for sexual favors. I couldn't tell if he was kidding or not, but he was so crass, I walked away.
So that's it. I have other pictures, like of the guy I saw behind a booth, wearing a yarmulke. I was so taken aback, I asked to take his picture. He wished me a "shana tova," (a good year, because it's the Jewish new year) and I said, "you know we're all going to hell, right?" He said, "no we're not, and I know this, because I'm a Rabbi." It was just so funny.

Can't wait till next year's Folsom. 



Saturday, September 22, 2012

Folsom Tomorrow

Tomorrow, I will be attending Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. I intend to get there early, before the huge crowds. (I also intend to leave early, once things get bad. I hate pushy, jostling crowds.)

My list of things to buy (if the price is right) in order of desire:

  1. A heavy leather flogger, anal-insertive handle a plus.
  2. A long whippy flogger, either leather or rubber, anal-insertive handle a plus.
  3. A jeweled butt plug.
  4. Two impression paddles, one that says "slut" and one that says "bitch." 
  5. Matching set of cuffs, collar, and leash.
  6. A dragon-tail whip.
  7. Anything else that catches my eye that I don't think I'll be able to find anywhere else.
As you can see, I plan on spending a good chunk of money. 
I usually make a number of purchases online during the year, but in the months leading up to the fair, I save my money, in the hopes I'll find exactly what I'm looking for there. There's always a risk, buying something online, that you're not going to get exactly what you want; and there's something very satisfying about feeling a new BDSM toy under your hands, and taking it home with you.

If you're interested, I will be tweeting about the fair on my twitter account, Shelby _Cross. You can follow along there. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not All Art Speaks To You

Writing a book is a lot like trying to create a piece of art. You don't just work hard at it, you put yourself into it. Your time, your emotions, your dreams, your fears...you lay its foundation with a piece of your soul. And hopefully, if all goes well, when it is complete (or at least, when you think it is complete), you can stand back, wipe off your sweaty brow with the back of your hand, and stare at it in wonder. 
You can think, "this is a marvelous piece of work."
Riding on the heels of that thought is the cloudy fear: "Will anyone else like it?"

All artists dream of seeing their work in places like the Louvre, the Metropolitan, the National Gallery in London. They--we--want it to be loved, appreciated, given the respect and admiration we think it deserves. But often, that does not happen. Our work is passed on, dismissed as something lower than "true" art. It is cast aside.

We get angry. We have worked so, so hard for our art; we don't want to be told all that hard work amounted to nothing. Nobody likes to be told that. But we forget that hard work is never pointless. Sometimes, it just takes a little longer to see the rewards, and often, those rewards are not what we thought they would be.   

We don't always know when we're done, when we've reached the end. Nobody is waving their arms wildly at the finish line, letting us know where that line is, how much farther we have to run. Sometimes, we have to just keep ourselves going, convince ourselves to take just one more step, one more step, go a little bit farther, that line is just around the corner. Blind and ridiculous hope is often the only thing that keeps us going.

We're crazy, of course. There is no finish line. (Or maybe it's more accurate to say, life is full of finish lines, and when you've crossed one, it only means there's another on the horizon.) But we're used to be called crazy. We're artists. It kind of comes with the territory.

Then there are the times we go visit other galleries and museums, looking for inspiration, hoping to meet other struggling artists like us. Instead, what do we find hanging from the exhibit walls? Nothing but crap. At least, we think it's crap. If that's what's being called art, what do we know about what art really is?

And we think to ourselves, how can anyone like this? How can anyone find this worthy for public viewing? How is this work better than mine?

The answer is, it might not be. Or it might manage to affect some people in a way you can't feel. It might have a story behind it you can't see at first glance. Or it might have just gotten lucky, plain and simple.

None of us wants to be the creator of the painting people look at and say, "Why is this considered art?" But is it better to be that person, or the person whose art is never viewed at all? I don't know. All I can say is, it takes is one heart, just one, to touch with our art, and it's all worth it.

This whole post has been my longwinded way of saying I got a rejection letter from a literary agent today. It wasn't the first. It won't be the last.

It never hurts less.

But that doesn't stop me. I'm going to keep going, push myself further, run a little harder...that finish line might very well be just around the corner. I have to keep writing.




Monday, September 17, 2012

What Would You Do For A Klondike Bar?

As we were snuggling together last night, Husband and I had a funny conversation.

Me: Remember years ago, this one time I tied you up?
Him: Yes, I remember.
Me: You weren't against the idea. Would you let me tie you up again, if I asked?
Him: You tied me up and gave me a blowjob.
Me: So?
Him: If you tied me up and gave me a blowjob, I would let you.
Me: Would you like it?
Him: The blowjob?
Me, rolling my eyes: No, being tied up.
Him: No. But if you want to do that, if that turns you on, then I'd let you. Does it?
Me: No.
Him: Good. Cause I'd much rather grab your head and pull it in to get a blowjob.
Me: But you'd let me tie you up if I really wanted to?
Him: Of course. I want you to be happy; then I get more blowjobs.
Me: What if I tied you up and didn't give you a blowjob?
Him: I'd cane you till you bled.

There are many ways to take this conversation.
One way is to see that Husband is willing to indulge my wants, my fantasies, to please me, even if they make him uncomfortable. But he expects something in return.
Another way to look at it is to assume Husband is willing to go way, way out of his comfort zone for a blowjob.

The way I see it, Husband just set down a challenge, to see if he would really cane me till I bled. He never has before.
I have a feeling he's hoping I take up the gauntlet. That way, he gets to give me a royal caning...and he gets the blowjob.

He's sneaky that way.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

25¢ Valor

I promised The Swallowologist a follow up to yesterday's post. (I also promised a shout-out to my friend, Shadow. Hi Shadow!) 

A lot of people think The Husband's and my relationship came easy from the beginning, and has been nothing but smooth sailing. This is far from the truth. Husband and I have been through some very tough times; we've fought, and we've struggled, and we've shed tears and blood. We have not always been kind to each other, or to ourselves. Like many couples, we had to pay our dues to get where we are now, and those dues were steep. 

Was it worth it? Yes. But that doesn't mean it was easy.

There were times along the way my instincts were completely wrong. There were times I jumped to conclusions that were completely wrong. And there were times I know I expected too much from him, held him to unrealistic and unattainable standards, and basically, set him up for failure.  
There were times he did the same to me.
At the end of the day, we're human. We have to take responsibility for what we should, fix what we can, and accept what we must.

But the bottom line is, even with the best men in the world, even with the crème de la crème, you are going to have problems in the relationship now and then; it's unavoidable. That is why it is so important from the onset to make sure you're finding all the right signs he's the right guy for you, and not overlooking any signs he's the wrong guy for you.

That said, sometimes, little things you take as signs of what kind of guy he is can be understood completely inaccurately, and end up turning into some funny stories. Like this one:

Once Husband and I had established ourselves as a "dating couple," we began to spend a lot of our time together. During the week, this was hard, but on the weekends, I was basically living at his house. 

One day, he realized he was out of groceries, and we went to the supermarket together. Now here's what you have to understand: as a student in Israel, I had not been to a "real" supermarket in a really long time. 
In Israel, they have these little grocery stores called "Makolets" on practically every corner. These mini-stores sell a variety of fruits, vegetables, dairy products (Israelis are very into cheeses), grains by the kilo, and other staples. You grab a small basket, do your shopping, and carry your bags out. 
As a student, I was used to walking down to the local Makolet, getting what I could afford (often nothing but a kilo of macaroni and some ketchup) (did you know Israeli ketchup is much sweeter than American ketchup? Well, now you know) and carrying my stuff back to my dorm room.

Husband got a cart, let me pick out a whole lot of groceries (stuff I'd never tried before because I couldn't afford to take the chance on it), and after paying, pushed the cart to his car to load the bags inside. But after the cart had been emptied, I was ready to just wheel it to the side and leave it in the parking lot, as I was used to doing in the States. 
Husband wouldn't hear of it. "I'm going to go return it to the store," he said. "It'll just take a second."

As I sat in the car, waiting for him to return, I was filled with warm fuzzy feelings for him. He didn't want to make extra work for the supermarket workers! He wanted to be considerate, and not leave his cart where another would have to wheel it back to the store! What a polite man he was. To me, it was another sign of what a great guy I was with: if he could be that thoughtful to a supermarket employee, imagine how chivalrous he would be with me!

Years later, after we were married and son #1 was already born, I got the true story.

As I was recanting this little tale to my family, gushing on about all his good qualities, he stopped me. "I didn't return the cart to be nice to the supermarket workers," he said. "I wanted my shekel back!"
"What?" I asked him, dumfounded.
That's when he explained to me what I failed to understand at the time:
In many supermarkets in Israel, they have a system with the carts that you have to put a shekel into the line of carts to pull one out. Once you are done with the cart, if you return it, you get your shekel back. If you don't, you are out your shekel. 
A shekel back then was worth about a quarter.

So basically, Husband didn't return the cart out of any sense of chivalry or goodwill; he just didn't want to be out 25¢. 

Now, I laugh about that story. But at the time, when he explained to me the truth of what really happened? I was pretty pissed off.

(I have to add, though, that since we moved to the States, he does usually return the cart to the store, and nobody's giving him 25¢ for his trouble.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Dom By Any Other Name

Yesterday I had a tough night. I wasn't feeling well, I hadn't gotten enough done, I knew I was pushing off so much stuff there would be no way for me to get it all done today, either (and there is not), middle child was being grumpy, and the six-year-old was being, well, six. Husband was trying his best to be helpful, taking Youngest off my hands for me and offering to make dinner.

But what really helped me the most? He stayed close by my side. He hovered by me, never too far away, and when I went upstairs for one thing or another, he would only wait for a couple minutes before coming up after me. He would make it look like he was just coming up to give me a kiss on the forehead, or a pinch on the leg, or a smack on the rump. And all that was true, but he was also coming up to check on me, to see for his own eyes I was okay.

And when I needed a touch of reassurance, a smidgen of support, I would lean my forehead against his chest, or lightly kiss his cheek. He would hold me for an instant, or rub my back, and as far as I was concerned, everything would be better.

Later, I thanked him for his help.
He looked at me with a tilt of his head, confused. "What did I do?" He asked.
"You were supportive," I said. "You braced me up."
"What do you mean?"
"Every time I felt like things were getting out of control, you were there. You made me feel better."
"Well, you're welcome," he said. "But I don't think I did anything."

It made me realize once again how there are so many little things that set apart men who wish they could be Doms, and men who are real Doms--real men of authority, power, strength, and influence.

  • A Dom does not need to make a conscious decision to act as a pillar of strength and stability for his sub. He just is.
  • A Dom does not need to decide to control his temper and keep his emotions under check. He just does.
  • A Dom does not need to remind himself to watch out for his sub, and make sure she is well under his care. He does it no matter what.
  • A Dom does not have to debate if it's right for him to step in and help his sub. He knows.
There are some men who want to earn the title of Dom, and think there's a magic checklist they need to go through, like getting a degree or certificate of completion, and once they've done all that, they can call themselves Dom. 
But other men, men like my Husband, were bestowed the title of Dom because of who they are. The qualities in character they possess are innate, intuitive, they make up the fabric of their personalities. These men are not aspiring to be what others have told them to be, in order to fill a specific role; they are the role, they are the example of what other young men should aspire to become.

I'm tempted to say you either got it or you don't. But I'm not willing to go that far; I do think people can change their ways, change their personalities. I guess I'm a prime example. But I do feel lucky to have come under the care of a man like Husband, who frankly, doesn't care one whit what honorary title I bestow upon him, so long as I love him with the same reverence and respect he deserves.

And that, dear readers, is the mark of a true Dom.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

When the Sub Doesn't Fit the Mold

I am faced, once again, with writing a story surprising difficult for me.

There are so many nuances and inflections that go through a sub's thought processes as she's in entering subspace, little things that can have a big effect on the rest of her journey. Paths in her head divert and converge, depending on responses to the smallest observation or variation in the scene as it unfolds.

A scent of adrenaline in the air. The clenching of a jaw. A short raise of the Dom's eyebrow. The way he purses his lips; the way he looks away when he utters a single word, or the way he meets her look head on. The light coming from the window. The height of the pillows, scattered across the bed; or, perhaps, the fact that there aren't any. So many things that can alter a sub's reaction in different ways and compelling ways.

Things get even murkier when the woman in question does not fit the standard "sub" stereotype. Maybe she's not really a sub at all, but what I call a "Surrenderer." These women don't walk the middle of the road, but live on the extremes; they will fight back, hold their ground, and not give an inch. But once they surrender, they relinquish everything: heart, mind, and soul. There is very little negotiation that can guide these women, because with them, it is all or nothing; they give their complete self, but only to select few. 

Or maybe she identifies as "Prey." For these women, it is all about the raw, physical, and yes, often brutal, elements of the dynamic. She wants to be chased, hunted down and captured. She wants to be outwitted and outmaneuvered. She wants a predator who can prove he is above her in the food chain, and has earned the right to play with her the way he does, the way a leopard will play with its food before it eats it. She is strong, fast, smart, she has what it takes to survive; she is game for the apex predator alone.

The woman I'm writing about now falls somewhere between Surrenderer and Prey. Or maybe she has elements of both. I'm not quite sure yet. I know she's not the average sub, and so writing her out takes a bit of thought and careful planning on my part. But it's fun, too. It's fun, and exciting, and exhilarating. At the end of the day, I'm so happy doing what I do, writing what I write.

And really, that's why I go on doing it.