Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Learn Ninja Flogging, Hometown Pride, and Jewish Dancing

I just got back from a two-week road trip through Ohio and the DC area, to visit friends and be in a wedding. It was actually one of the best trips I’ve taken, which is saying something, because I take a lot of trips. I have some kind of locational ADD that means if I stay in one place for more than a month, strange things start happening. Cats go missing. The rivers swell though the moon is in a quarter phase. My mother receives an inordinate number of phone calls from me complaining that I haven’t “been anywhere in a while” and asking, “Can you take the dog?”

Here were some highlights:

1. My hometown, looking sexier than ever because I don’t have to live there anymore. I’ve never been one of those writers who focuses on setting. I don't spend much time describing scenery, and I can’t describe buildings to save my life. See the building descriptions in the stuff Lisa Henry and I cowrite? I make her do those. I know some writers who write about where they're from and can make setting feel like a character, but if I made my hometown into a character, it would be the character you keep hoping will get killed off. But I sort of fell in love with my hometown this trip. Mostly because I only had to stay there three days. I could definitely see the ways it subtly features in my writing--and not just in that 95% of my characters are from Podunk, Midwest. I visited the combination haunted house/skating rink where I used to work, which now has a hobbit-themed section and a 3D theater. Also I rode a bicycle around my old high school, parked it in a police car spot, and yelled through the window of the main office that most of the notes I turned in during high school excusing my absences were forged. No one was there, but it felt good to get that off my chest.

2. I went to a really fun D/s party in southern Ohio, where I learned Florentine flogging. I felt like a total ninja. See this video? That was basically me, except I was a lot slower and said things to the poor guy whose top had ordered him to serve as my guinea pig like, “ARE YOU SURE I’M NOT HITTING YOUR SPINE?” Also my floggers were not on fire.

But they should have been.

Kidding, they absolutely should not have been. I would have burned down an entire neighborhood in seconds.

3. The wedding. Apparently the world has seen fit to keep it a secret from me that Jewish weddings are the most fun thing ever. Oh, the dancing! The singing! The smashing of various types of dinnerware with aggressive looking tools! The fact that people talk to you like you’re an old friend even though they have no idea who you are. I did not drop my corner of the chuppah during the ceremony, though there were a couple of close calls. A few days before the wedding, I decided I needed a small gift for the bride. I was standing in a TJ Maxx when I spotted a collapsible no-slip over-the-sink colander—the gift Alex gives Jayk for his shower in The Brat-tastic Jayk Parker because they’re just so damn handy. It was the only one left, so I figured it was a sign, and I bought it. Life imitating art and all that. Everyone deserves to be able to strain their pasta efficiently.

4. The Library of Congress. I’d never been. I have no words for it. Just…wow. The Library of Freaking Congress.

My favorite wall of the Great Hall was the one that said this:

Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act ii, Scene 1


  1. Did you embarrass yourself in the Library of Congress by asking to be directed to the m/m section? "Oh, so you're not that kind of library..."

    1. This did not occur to me, thankfully. But now that you've brought it up, who knows what might happen on a return trip...