Review: Rachel Kramer Bussel, “Spanked: Red Cheeked Erotica”

Spanked: Red-Cheeked Erotica

"[…] I love what we're doing, but I'm getting confused. I'm having a
hard time telling the truth where the truth ends and the play-acting
begins. Sometimes we act like a regular couple and do normal couple-y
things; sometimes we have really fun, playful sex. And then sometimes
we get into this other thing. […]"


Andy Ohio's "Tied Down"

So, like, what's up with that other thing? More to the point: Were you in a playful mood the last time you had sex with someone?

I'm not talking about "playful" as in "kittenish," much less "monkeying" or "horsing" around. (Save your human/animal roleplay jokes for now, m'kay?)

I'm talking about the state of mind that has to do with gleeful improvisation, glistening wetness and gleaming smiles, glowing pleasure in the moment and getting a grip on (or getting gripped by) a willing partner.

The latest book to remind me of that delightful state, that pleasant periphery in which ludic languor lives, is Rachel Kramer Bussel's anthology of short stories. (Full disclosure: I received a review copy in exchange for a promise to write a review and post it to the book's Amazon.com listing.)

Each story is not just a rude and randy recitation of body-part motion-capture that one might plot on a graph with as little difficulty as one might play buzzword bingo with nearly any politician's boilerplate address.

It's also not just a collection of completely unlikely or implausible scenarios (airplane bathrooms, department-store dressing rooms, college classrooms, graveyards, etc.). It's called wishful thinking, not fantastic (in that other sense of the word) thinking. Maybe it's just my own imagination, but situations where a few words gone awry result in a gauntlet thrown down and then taken up sound not just likely, but like good ideas (as in Thomas S. Roche's "Pre-Party" and Kramer Bussel's own "The Depths of Despair").

It's why I'm willing to go along with Shanna Germain's "Perfect Bound" with its library-look protagonist, bookstore-cum-flytrap setting and delightfully unexpected uses for certain old-school office supplies, or Alison Tyler's "Betty Crocker Gone Bad," which turns a domestic quirk into the kind of escapade that might get left on a cable-cooking-show cutting-room floor, or Madeline Glass' "Laser Tag," which makes the best out of bad behavior at a concert and the resulting cute-meat meet-cute.

By the time you've dropped in on the grownups-go-back-to-high-school scenario of Madlyn March's "Reunion," the barn settings (yes, if you must, perhaps now's the time for your roleplay jokes) of Thomas Christopher's "Riding the Storm" and L. Elise Bland's "The Breeding Barn," you're probably several turns of the screw into certain physical symptoms that result from the consumption of well-written erotica. You probably won't even mind the workplace-turnabout triptych of Fiona Locke's "Pink Cheeks," Laura Bacchi's "Page By Page" and Simon Sheppard's "Fiscal Discipline."

Make a point of checking this book out wherever you get your hands on it, and you'll soon concur that the only thing better than bending over a well-told tale is, well, bending over a well-toiled-over tail.

about:robots

About_robots
George Kelly

(We have come to visit you in peace and with goodwill!)

About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots

I downloaded Firefox 3
because all of the people I obsessively read
were doing it too, not doing-it doing it
’cause that would mean taking their hands off their mice

I downloaded Firefox 3
because I heard they want a world record
for most-downloaded browser
as if a browser
is the right tool for keeping up with fights between Scoble and Eric Rice

And then I learned about:robots, about about:robots
About:robots (the one with the colon in between)
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots (the one with the colon in between)
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots

I downloaded Firefox 3
because I wanted to see how well it performed on my PC
Then I saw it really was a mess,
kinda slow, really not a success (all right, I’m kidding)

I downloaded Firefox 3
because I didn’t want to be left behind with an unpopular browser
The kind you use to access the Net
in my cubicle when I’m learning

Try Again
Please do not press this button again

About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots
The one with the colon in between
The one with the colon in between
Put it in your browser, see what I mean
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots
The one with the colon in between
About:robots, about about:robots
About:robots

Robots may not injure a human being
or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

Robots have seen things you people wouldn’t believe.
Robots are Your Plastic Pal Who’s Fun To Be With.
Robots have shiny metal posteriors which should not be bitten.

Step one: open up a Firefox 3 browser
Step two: Type the word “about” and then a colon
Step three: Type the word “robots”
Step four: Hit return, and learn!

Shout out to all Bay Area nerdcore crew
Doctor Popular
MC Slutsky
I see you
I’m’a see you
And we have a plan.
Seen!

On being Boddhisattva of the gender non-Euclidean

(inspired by Sarah Dopp)

If gender hath its own geometry,
its Euclidean arc the eye can mark,
then the non-Euclidean girl or guy
may also some new queer discussion spark.

If boddhisattva be what you are called,
it's not a label I'd consider dumb
for those Nirvana-bound are not at fault
for existing in that continuum

So those who classify and catalog
all people as they live and love and play
with every Twitter or post to their blog
they doth inform and lighten others' way,

thus broader bound be how we all exist,
how we are kith and kin, but also kissed.

How To Talk To Girls At Parties (demo)

Am9 Fmaj7 Dm9
Don't start a rumor
Don't listen to talk around town
Show good humor
And act up when life looks down

Dm9 Em9 arpeg
Me, I never built my world around them
Not that my reserve remained unspent
Gave me something beautiful to long for
Gave me something to learn to repent
I never built my world around them
Not that my caution spared me pain
Gave me a cushion for my landing
Gave me some kind of understanding

Amaj9 Amaj9/F# Fmaj7 E/D
We're just boys
We're not from another planet, are we?
So let's go be hearty
I'll teach you how to talk to girls at parties

Dm9 Em9 arpeg
You, you never made it look that easy
To open up the lines of communication
Sending out a hailing frequency signal
Flawlessly field a shore-leave situation
You never made it look that easy
To get that it was way beyond me, chum
Getting me sum was more than addition
Getting down the ins and out of tradition

Amaj9 Amaj9/F# Fmaj7 E/D
We're just boys
We're not from another planet, are we?
So let's go be hearty
I'll teach you how to talk to girls at parties

Am9 Fmaj7 Dm9
Don't start a rumor
Don't listen to talk around town
Show good humor
And act up when life looks down

How to Talk to Girls at Parties (1/4)
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (2/4)
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (3/4)
How to Talk to Girls at Parties (4/4)

(inspired by the Hugo-nominated, Locus Award-winning Neil Gaiman story (BoingBoing free audio, Metafilter thread ))

I Overshot You (demo)

I Overshot You
George Kelly
I believe in energy and mass and light and gravity
I believe in engines you can calibrate with instruments
I believe that we should have found a way to unite
A way to harness large forces to our tiny desires

I overshot you
I overshot you
I'm out of your orbit
I'm not better for it
I overshot you

I believe in politics (just enough so I don't get sick)
I believe in the better world despite what I been told
I believe everything possible will come to be in time
A day will return when I am yours and you are mine

I overshot you
I overshot you
I'm out of your orbit
I'm not better for it
I overshot you

This home I inhabit is just an unlikely hovel
Instead of my long-hoped-for science fiction novel

I believe in afterlife (others' memories no pearly gates)
I believe nighttime prayer cuts my long-distance rates
I believe that we should have found a way to unite
A day will return when I am yours and you are mine

I overshot you
I overshot you
I'm out of your orbit
I'm not better for it
I overshot you

Closer than clothes

Free internet
Laundromat bulletin board

I went to the laundromat last night after work. They've got Wi-Fi now (good!); you have to hunt down an attendant for the password (bad!); there are no power outlets so you can always be chargin' (ugly!).

A guy waiting for his clothes to dry had an Ovation acoustic guitar with him. I saw him patting his pockets down in search of a pick. I remembered seeing one at the bottom of my laundry basket, so I rooted around, found it and handed it to him. He thanked me and began to play.

I had a shaker/thunderstick in my car's trunk (because that's where all my percussion instruments have been hiding out since this summer's CampCamps), so I went and got it and played along. He was kind enough to pass the guitar off after a little while.

We made 40 cents. That would've covered seven minutes' worth of dryer time. We gave it to a man who'd walked in and was asking people for change.