Laying there, one fleshy pale leg resting on top of yours. Layers of blankets hugging us to the bed, I pretzel and twist – one of my arms over my head, one of yours, over yours. I find your fingers with my left hand and you squeeze them, even though you are mostly asleep. I try to touch as much of my skin to yours as I can, curved like a bean next to you. I lay my head in the sweet spot that your body has made for it. Was made for it, long before I met you. When you were born, maybe. I put my right arm across your chest. I know you love this – a woman resting on your chest. “There is something so…satisfying…beautiful, about it,” you once said. Or something like it. And even years later there is an impression there, and an image in my head. It’s faded like a washed-out photograph. You know the one. And it doesn’t hurt anymore, but it’s there. Maybe it always will be. I decide it doesn’t matter and I start a poem in my head. God, it’s almost 4 a.m. and I am composing words as I feel you breathe. None of the words are good enough. Some of them don’t even make sense. I will never be good enough, my brain says. But you already are, I counter. Your thigh is twice the circumference as his. And it feels good for that not to be something I hate. It’s a non-issue. I take that back. It’s a celebration. Continue reading
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Earlier in June my friend Erica came over and brought her portable podcasting studio with her. We recorded a couple of podcasts – one about my book, which is being released in August, and one about body-positivity and some of my artwork. The one linked above is the latter, where we discuss Legoginas, Amanda Palmer, Tess Holliday, Body Politics, body-positivity, and Caitlyn Jenner, among other things.
Here are some links and thoughts that are a companion to this podcast:
Tess Holliday – I refer to her as “Tess Munster” which is what she went by for a while.
Amanda Palmer – Since the recording of this podcast Amanda lost a dear friend and I want to offer my sincerest condolences.
“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~Khalil Gibran
I mentioned a story she told on a podcast (which I cannot find) about being told to lose weight by the label she was with. Rebellyon is what followed.
GLAAD gender guide – Trans? Cis? What? Here is a guide to help you out.
I wish I had been clearer in my explanation about the photographers. The point I was trying to make was that I know a number of photographers and I don’t know their specific policies, but I’m guessing they would never use a photo that somebody was unhappy with. But these are folks I know. There are many photographers out there these days. I’d even wager that there are more than ever. Some are legit, talented and ethical. Some aren’t. Before you sign a paper allowing a person to use whatever image they take of you wherever and however they want, make darn sure you trust them.
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I mention that I am using a Lego base that is in a “flesh” tone, in this case, the one flesh-like tone available I could find thus far, called “sand.” The large base pieces I build the vulvas on come in only three colors online at this time – grey, sand, green, if I’m lucky I can find a bright blue at the Lego store. I’m not being super realistic with the Lego vulvas – I mean, I’m using bright pink and purple! But it would be nice to have some other tans and browns available. I’m glad to see things like Louboutin making a wider line of “nude” tones available now and NubianSkin.com, an undergarment line in darker flesh tones, so yay!
Below is my sweetheart, best friend, partner in art, writing, and love-making, in his glorious Lego crown. (If I leave out that last comma, it might be a party! Now I gotta cross my fingers the rest of my grammar is correct.)
Legoginas – or Legovulvas. They aren’t available yet because Will has to mount them. (Yup.)
Drawings that will be available in my vulva coloring book, which isn’t done yet.
These are examples of some of the vulva pride accessories I sell at my online store.
You can find my vulva art, as well as other types of jewelry, altered clothing and some perfume I make at GypsySiren.com
One of my biggest art influences and mentor is Tammy Vitale, also a Southern Maryland artist.
I made a goof trying to say, “I want to take my life’s lemons and make lemonade.” I just have the one lemon apparently. Baby wants one lemon.
Thanks for taking time out of your day to listen to the podcast and read this post. I know how precious and short time can be.
For several years now I’ve been working on a project I call “The Goddess Next Door.” The initial intent was to take photos of the sensual side of various female volunteers, either nude or in some kind of sexy clothing. It was a simple concept meant to show that any woman can have a sensual side, not just those who are professional models. It was meant to humanize sexuality and sexiness, to show that a sensual photo of a woman doesn’t have to make her an object, that she can be self-possessed.
Though I’ve long finished shooting for the project, many blockages to my path have presented themselves. The first of those was my photography style and how it evolved. I thought that if I were going to present a professional book with a certain goal then the photography style ought to be consistent.
This created a self-imposed roadblock to my project. Then my life and artistic focus turned elsewhere for a while. With no clear direction on the project and uncertain of how to present the work, I put it on a back burner for a while. In some ways I felt like I was really letting the models down for doing this, but I also wanted it to be well presented work.
A couple of months ago I was looking over the shoots for the project and it occurred to me that the book could be more than a set of photos about various women. It could be about how they feel, as well. About their bodies and sensuality. And since it has been a few years since I took their photos, maybe it would be good to check in with them and see how their feelings about their bodies has changed or evolved.
Additionally, the book could be about how I have changed and how my photography has evolved.
Between then (the summer of 2011) and now I had a job as a craft designer at a large craft store chain. I was excited and fascinated by the variety of art papers and scrapbooking supplies. Not being much of a scrapbooker I got heavily into visual journaling. I designed journaling styles and taught some journaling classes. It occurred to me just recently that I could do my Goddess Next Door project in that style. Even though it would be much more difficult to lay out and plan than just organizing photos onto a page, it would really add layers. Literally and figuratively.
Above is an example of visual journaling. Combining photos and aspects of journaling may be a good way to organize “The Goddess Next Door.”