In Search of Subtitles (for my books)

Image by hudsoncrafted from Pixabay

Ever since I started my non-fiction book projects, I’ve been in search of a subtitle for each one that fits the book. Why? Because I feel like the subtitle gives the reader an expectation about what they’re going to be reading about. The title is like a summary and the subtitle is like a bit more detail. Today as I got out of the shower, five subtitles came to me and I scribbled them down onto a piece of notebook paper before I updated each page here with the subtitle. Now here’s the story and meaning behind each one:

Breaking Radio Silence: A Self-Help/Memoire Hybrid

In the Fall of 2016 when I first conceived of what would become ‘Breaking Radio Silence’, I simply labeled the file ‘Untitled Self-Help/Memoire Hybrid’. The goal at that time was to use writing to try and figure out why I thought and felt the way I did and to use my own experiences to illustrate anything I learned in the process. The title ‘Breaking Radio Silence’ wouldn’t come to me till the Spring of 2018 and it fit perfectly from the moment it came to me. But for the last four years this has been a book project in search of a subtitle until today. And as I start writing this book in earnest now, I need all the focus I can get so this is why a subtitle was so important for this project.

Stand or Fall: A Rebellion of Hope

After the US Presidential Election in 2016, I (along with millions of other people) went, “What the hell just happened?” I came up with an idea to use writing to try and figure out how things got so fucked up. Now of course I didn’t know what the next six years would go nor could I have imagined what’s happened even in my worst nightmares. At the time I first came up with this project-idea, I simply labeled the file, ‘Untitled Political Book’ because at that time I knew this book was going to be seen as political. Like, duh but I’m not a scholar so I thought I’d make it personal and tell my own story alongside what’s happened in the last forty years or so in terms of politics and the world in general. I was searching for a subtitle for this book because I kept asking myself what the purpose of writing this if not just for myself? And then the quote from the movie ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ came to my mind, “Rebellions are built on hope.” That’s what I want this book to be, a statement of rebellion and hope.

Behind the Story: How I Write and the Stories Behind My Writing

This book’s origins are a bit murky though I think I came up with this one sometime in 2018, I think around Fall if I remember correctly. Initially I wanted to do a straight how-to book but then I realized for me writing is more than just how-to. There’s a lot to my writing and I think my story in regards to that is worth telling. Now the title of this book was a struggle for me as the title just came to me a couple of months ago but without the subtitle until today.

Uber Tales: Stories and Observations From Behind the Wheel as an Uber Driver

Not long after I started working as an Uber driver in 2017, I began to post on my personal Facebook page stories and observations from the road that I titled ‘Uber Tales’. They took off and people really like hearing my stories and observations so I began to think there was a book in there. As of right now, I don’t have any really crazy or outrageous stories from the road and a lot has happened and changed since I started driving. Also, I’ve read a lot of news articles about Uber driving and I don’t really think a lot of these journalists have talked to a lot of drivers, or any at all. So I want to tell my story and it’s just my story because each driver has their own unique experiences and observations though over the years I’ve talked with other drivers and we do share some common thoughts and experiences.

Dirty Thoughts and Stories: Talking Dirty About Sex and Other Naughty Things and Fiction Inspired By My Dirty Thoughts

This is in its’ earliest stages right now mostly based on my blog here though I think over time I’ll have enough material for a book. This is a mix of non-fiction blog entries that might get expanded into longer essays along with fiction stories. The title is sort of self-explanatory as talking about sex is seen as dirty by a small yet very vocal segment of our population who really just need to learn how to get over their hang-ups and have some fun in life instead of trying to control every aspect of everyone else’s life, especially their sex lives. And naughty fiction is just fun to write and I’m not going to back down on that.

So this is where I’m at on these projects just to give out an update. It feels good to have subtitles I like and that fit well. Now I just need to get my ass to writing, which I will be doing in addition to everything else I need to do (like earn a living, eat, sleep, bathe, take care of my pets, etc.).

Dirty Thoughts and Stories – Taking Pride In My Writing (no matter what it is, even the ‘dirty’ kind)

In the early 2000’s, I sold a story to ‘Playgirl’ magazine (got paid $25) though I didn’t get a byline and I didn’t tell anyone. I wish my mom had been alive to tell because I think she would have gotten a kick out of it, and I wish I had told my dad because he would have been supportive (though if I’d left him a copy of the magazine to read, I would have asked him not to read it until I was a few zip-codes away from him). But the biggest reason I kept silent about that back then wasn’t potential embarrassment. It was ‘offending’ someone’s fragile ego they would have masked as pearl-clutching bullshit.

All my life I’ve downplayed my accomplishments or achievements because someone would inevitably come at me downplaying what I’d done or worse, shitting all over me but they’d try to hide that by telling me I was being too proud of myself. For too damn many years, I believed their bullshit but now I’m rejecting with a resounding ‘fuck you’ to anyone who ever decides to come at me and try to shit all over anything I do.

As I look back on my life, this downplaying bullshit came at me in two ways, the first being the ‘well-meaning’ one. My father used to say the road to Hell was paved with good intentions and boy was he right. The ‘well-meaning’ and ‘good intentioned’ ways were that if I kept at what I was doing and got too proud I would be so devastated if and when I fell that I would never recover, and no one wanted to see me fall on my ass and fail.

I have fallen on my ass so damn many times I’d be a multi-millionaire if I had a dollar for every time that’s happened. Yet every single time, I got up and kept going. Of course, I’m sure some asshole would say that was pride that got me off my ass instead of sitting on the ground bawling my brains out. You really want to know why I never sat on the ground bawling my brains out: because I NEVER expected anyone to pick me up and dry my tears if I had cried in front of anyone (which I tried really hard not to do). And no one ever did. In fact, I got told more than once not to even think about losing my shit on the ground or the shit-storm would really come down on me.

One of the most hurtful things I have ever been told is that I have a shit-ton of pride stuck up my ass when that was, and still is the farthest thing from the truth. Now I realize that was just a weapon of a weak-willed asshole who had no real confidence in themselves despite acting like they did. In plain English, people loved to project their dumb-ass shit onto me and I thought I had to take it. Because of that, I kept so much to myself and worst of all, I held myself back from really pursuing anything.

I’m glad I have rejected that bullshit and that no one has had the tits or the balls to come at me now because if someone did, I don’t think the end result would be very pretty. In fact, I think if someone tried I’d fire a warning shot by going, “You really want to go there with that shit?” And if anyone reading this has deliberately shit all over someone’s achievement simply because you think you know better than they do, or you don’t like it, or whatever bullshit you’re selling yourself: shut up and ask yourself why you feel like you have to shoot your ignorant mouth off and keep asking until you find all the answers you can. And if you don’t like those answers, tough shit, they’re yours to deal with.

My questions and answers have been hard to deal with but I’m glad I’ve dealt with them. And if I do sell something, publish something, get a good review, or hit a best-seller some list someday, I’m not going to give a single shit if someone doesn’t like it or if I’m going to ‘offend’ someone’s fragile ego. My purpose in life is not to walk on eggshells around people who don’t like what I do or just because I’m pursuing something they think I don’t have the ability to succeed or fail at. Writing like I do, even if I write ‘dirty’ stories and publish them, is not wrong or immoral (or any bullshit like that) because we still live in a free country, and I think this country will stay free despite the hard attack coming from right-wing fascist sources.

To anyone reading this who wants to write or create, or just do something you want to do and not just to please someone’s bullshit-fragile ego, DO IT! Take pride in your work and achievements, and if you do fall on your ass get right back up and keep going. Someone won’t like you for who you are or what you do but you can’t live your life trying to appease those bastards. And in reality, they only have power over you if you give it to them so don’t give anyone power they have done nothing to deserve.

And speaking of that story of long ago, I wrote a new version of it and am working on editing and revising it but I should have it ready in the next day or so.

Dirty Thoughts and Stories – The ‘M’ Word

May is National Masturbation Month (thanks to the Love Shack Boutique here in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas: check them out here) so the ‘M’ word here is masturbation, which I will define as giving oneself sexual pleasure. And since this is still something that isn’t talked about, I’m going to talk about it here today. Because yesterday I wrote about the attack on abortion rights that is extending to other rights such artificial birth control, artificial conception, and same-sex and inter-racial marriage. But Justice Alito missed one big one here: the battle against the sex toys (though I’m sure he’d be pissed that he missed mentioning that one).

In 2004, several companies in Austin, Texas challenged a state law banning the sale of sex toys. Defending the state in court was future Senator Ted Cruz who wrote a seventy-six page brief saying the state had the right to ban the sale of these devices for private use since the right to privacy didn’t extend to solo sexual pleasure in the privacy of one’s private residence.

Seventy-six pages to argue against dildo’s and other sex toys… yeah ‘ol Teddy boy doesn’t bring that one up anymore and didn’t mention it in his book, but for all the juicy details of this case you can read the Mother Jones article here (blue hyperlink will open in a separate window). In 2007, Teddy Boy lost his case before the Court of Appeals and decided not to appeal it to the Supreme Court (though I would have loved to have seen that).

The attacks against reproductive rights are an attack on the right to privacy which though the word ‘privacy’ isn’t in the Constitution, it has been interpreted as a right people have in this country. But the American Taliban as the Christian-Right/conservative Republican establishment see it, the only people who have any right to privacy are married couples getting it on strictly for procreation purposes. Yes, this is an extremist view held by a good number of religious theocrats who see sex as only for procreation purposes and feel sexual pleasure is evil.

Luckily, I wasn’t raised by religious theocrat parents though my mother had been raised in a religious theocratic household, also known as strict Catholicism. As I wrote last week, as I was coming of age in the 1980’s my mother was rebelling against her upbringing and she took me along for the ride. And one thing I learned about early on was masturbation and that it wasn’t wrong, just something done in private and not talked about.

The reason I want to talk about is the American Taliban will not hesitate to talk about forcing women to give birth, take away their babies to maintain a supply of infants to adopt (the Handmaid Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barret wrote this in a brief supporting the overturning of Roe vs. Wade), and die in childbirth or from ectopic pregnancies. But talking about sexual pleasure is taboo to these assholes and we need to stop letting these assholes control the conversation once and for all.

I own a device like old Teddy-boy tried to ban. It’s the third one I’ve owned and since I’m single and live alone it’s mine to do with as I please. Personally, I think these things should be given to every woman in this country along with an instruction manual. Because if more women had orgasms without guilt and shame our country would be rid of the American Taliban in a heartbeat. Because the American Taliban want women to be silent, totally submissive, and without any joy or happiness. Why they want it is just pure evil because every cult deprives its’ followers of any form of joy and happiness to insure blind obedience.

So I’m not a silent obedient devotee of a joyless life and they probably hate me for it. Fuck them all to hell for that belief. There is NO SHAME OR GUILT in being happy and finding pleasure wherever you can, including getting help with obtaining joy and pleasure in a sexual way. I’m so sick and tired of shame and guilt being pounded into people for no reason by people who are NOT capable of feeling any shame or guilt for the pain and suffering they perpetrate onto other people. These are the people who are going to hell and not those of us having orgasms and wanting other people to live and love as they choose to.

The Sexual Revolution of the 1960’s and 1970’s, and into the 1980’s for me was about rejecting this bullshit shame-and-guilt about sexual pleasure and I’m all for the Revolution to keep going and roar to new life with a multi-setting battery-powered buzzing. I think at reproductive-rights rallies now women need to raise their sex toys up like wands or light-sabers instead of protest signs.

I feel just a tad bit sorry for right-wingnuts who don’t believe in sexual pleasure, sexual freedom, and flat-out joy and happiness. They must be drowning in so much shame and guilt they only have hatred to breathe through. And if any right-wing nut has made it this far in reading what I’ve written here I’ll say this to you instead: learn to love yourself and experience joy and happiness. Be brave, be bold, and buy your sex toys through the internet if you want to.

Dirty Thoughts and Stories – My Mother’s Rebellion

I just want to start off here by saying that I seriously thought about doing this under a pseudonym on another webpage but then I thought: I’m a grown-ass middle-aged woman with nothing to lose. There will be bad language and talk of sex and other ‘dirty’ thoughts and ideas. Read at your own pleasure, or peril if you’ve got a stick jammed up your ass.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” – “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince and The Revolution

In 1984, Prince came out with ‘Purple Rain’, a brilliant and semi-autobiographical film about his life and music. It was a raging success and also a raging controversy for the song, “Darling Nikki”, which was cited as a horrible and corrupting song for its’ explicit lyrics by the Parent Music Resource Center, a group of Congressional wives, representatives, and senators from both sides of the aisle (yes there were Democrat members of this bitch-squad). My mother played this album for me, including ‘Darling Nikki’ and >gasp< we talked about the song and what it was about (it’s what I call a raunchy fuck-you that may be considered a bit tame by today’s standards). My mother felt like since she was the parent she was the one who would decide what I could listen to and talk about it with me and not let someone else do her parenting (an exact summary of what she told me back then).

In 1984, my mother was in the midst of what I call her ‘rebellious’ phase. I call it ‘rebellious’ because she was defying her extremely conservative Catholic upbringing by reading books that were ‘dirty’ (explicit, and a lot of books about gay people), watching R-rated movies, and yes, listening to rock ‘n’ roll brilliance like Prince and The Revolution. In fact, she went to see ‘Purple Rain’ on her own and I’ve wondered if anyone other than me knew she did that, or knew what she was reading/watching/listening to (I have a feeling she kept a lot of that to herself like I have until now). Personally, I was thrilled as hell my mom was so freaking cool and so willing to talk to me about sex and let me read, watch, and listen to whatever I wanted to.

Now I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking my mom was nuts and that I was thoroughly corrupted. No, I wasn’t. I was raised by her to be a free-thinking and confident young woman and I’m forever grateful for that. I miss our free-wheeling conversations about sex and other related issues like relationships, abortion, birth-control, and women rights. She didn’t want me to think of myself as ugly and stupid like she’d been raised to believe about herself. One time when I was about eight years old, she went nuclear on my grandmother when my grandmother started giving me shit about losing weight (my mom reduced my grandmother to tears by telling her, “You won’t do to my daughter what you did to me”). My mom always complimented me on my sense of style, my taste in music/movies/books, and loved talking with me because she said I was so open and a such a good listener.

And what I’m sure will blow some more minds here is around 1984, my mom showed me my first issue of ‘Playgirl’ magazine. This was a magazine for women that showed full-frontal male nudity, published articles about sex and politics, and a lot of good erotic fiction, too. My mom let me read her magazines whenever I wanted to and yes, we talked about what we read. Because of this, I was raised with a healthy attitude about sex in that it was natural and all about pleasure and consent. And the really great thing about my mom is her attitude never changed because although a lot of assholes in this world will say you get conservative as you get older, like my mom I not only stayed liberal but have embraced more than ever now.

So what’s the purpose of this piece here and this ongoing feature? It’s about me writing about stuff that is considered ‘forbidden’ and ‘dirty’. Because there is a vocal wave of assholes in this country who are hell-bent and determined to stamp out every bit of happiness, joy, pleasure, and the voices and freedoms of anyone who isn’t white, heterosexual, and Christian like they are. They are just as uptight and shitty as their predecessors but the problem is they have social media, Fox News, and state legislatures to amplify and put their plans into motion. This is my fight against that kind of shitty thinking and to tell anyone reading this there is nothing wrong about healthy, consensual sex and everyone should be free to live and love as they are without anyone making them feel shame and guilt for doing nothing wrong. The ‘love the sinner/hate the sin’ is shaming bullshit that I will stand up and call out every chance I get, starting here.

In addition to my weekly rants and reminiscences, I’m also going to be publishing erotic fiction as PDF files for viewing. I’m not going to police this site though I will post warnings that stuff may be explicit. So read at your own pleasure.

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