One thing I’ve realized that is so cool: now that I only get about 4-5 hours of sleep a night, I have increased my waking time by 672- 1008 additional hours a year.
This means I get so much more time to write. I can finally be like Michael Hemmingson and start blasting out a ton of projects every year!
Long-time followers of my career know that Michael Hemmingson was a very dear colleague of mine for many years. He was a prolific writer. For every sentence I wrote, he wrote an entire novel and had it turned into the publisher.
People who live in the real world (this does not include me in any way whatsoever), seem to think that Michael Hemmingson died over 4 years ago.
I am unwilling to accept this, to process it, to believe it. I have not grieved Michael’s death because I have remained in denial about it this whole time. I prefer to believe he assumed a new identity and went to live abroad, indefinitely.
Michael always had very, very difficult politics. His non-writing world was actually a little frightening to me. He was always at odds with some very dangerous people, both here in the States and, more aggressively, in Tijuana, Mexico.
Michael was the one who warned me not to fuck around with the FBI when they came calling. I got on the phone with him — me, in NYC; Michael in San Diego. He told me to just walk away. I said, it was too late; that I couldn’t. They knew who I was, what I wrote, knew where I lived, had my private email address, they had Xeroxed copies of my short-story, The Urge Toward Jo, from the collections of various known pedophiles. His advice was, “Well, just do what they want, then, and get it over with. Don’t provoke them.”
Crap. This was 20 years ago. I used to be really naive. I had no inkling that the FBI was at all sinister back then or anything. Don’t provoke them? Jesus. It was an eye-opener.
Michael lived in a whole different world from me, and in the various few fleeting moments when my brain tries to tell me that Michael really did die down there in Tijuana, the only way I can accept it, is to believe that he was murdered by one of the various drug cartel problems he had down there.
Michael tries to contact me from time to time, in spirit, and I block him. Only because if I don’t, it means I have to accept that he’s dead. This morning, having coffee at my kitchen table, 6AM, Michael came through. I was well into a conversation with him about a new collection of erotic stories that I want to write that I know he would really enjoy, before I realized what was happening. Then I finally acquiesced and said to him (in spirit): I guess this means you’re really dead, doesn’t it?
Michael was probably my only male colleague back then who (like me) had huge quantities of extreme sex but who did not either try to have sex with me; ask me to have sex with him; suggest strongly I should have sex with him; try to coerce me to go to an extreme BDSM orgy with him, or put me in a position where it would seriously trash my career if I did not have sex with him in some way.
Michael and I were actually just friends. We could talk about anything, not just sex. He talked to me about his family, his parents, his childhood, how much he really, really wanted to have a daughter (which he eventually did have & he loved her like crazy). I really, really liked him a lot. And I could confide in him about the others among our colleagues [who are obliquely mentioned above] who weren’t so savory, or who were downright sexually manipulative with me regarding my writing career. I couldn’t talk to anyone else about that stuff, because I found it so humiliating. But for some reason, I could talk to Michael.
One thing that was true about 99% of the erotic writers I knew back then, was that we were all practicing the things we were writing about. We lived primarily in NYC, San Francisco, London, Paris, Boston, and LA. In those days (the 90s), we were a relatively small group of writers, and we were just constantly having sex. And many of my colleagues were having sex with each other. Play parties were a huge thing. To me, it seemed really inadvisable to have all that unbridled orgy-type sex with a bunch of your colleagues. I just never could wrap my mind around that. I didn’t judge anyone else for doing it; I just never participated. I had one-on-one sex with one male writer/publisher, but it was a long-term relationship where we were lovers, we were extremely close for a very long time. But for the most part, my sex life involved people I didn’t work with. And Michael was the same way.
I was eventually put into a situation where I was pretty much forced to have sex with a publisher and it really, really made me sick. I worked well with him, thought that I really liked him, but I was never sexually attracted to him. But the day came where I was starting to get really well known, my career was on the brink, and my number came up, so to speak. I had to have sex with him or my career was not going to get to the next level.
He totally tricked me. You know, I was so naive. It was late afternoon in NYC, and we were on our way to a big press event for another writer, but an event where he knew all the important journalists who would be there and I knew none of them. I followed him, of my own accord, into his office “just to grab some paperwork”. And as soon as he closed and locked the door, I thought: You have got to be kidding me. I just fucking walked right into this.
He very plainly told me what he wanted me to do. I’ll only say that it involved me having none of my clothes on and him staying completely dressed. His office had a private adjoining bathroom, so I said I had to pee. I went into the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror. Really looked at myself. I asked myself, are you really going to do this thing?
I had come up against this very thing in my music career. Back then, though, I had been 22 years old, unbelievably naive, and had not known what reality was all about yet. A very powerful man in the music business, in the genre of music I was in, wanted to have sex with me, assumed I would have sex with him, and when I declined him, literally overnight, the potential for my career evaporated. All the doors closed. The silence that followed my music career after that was deafening.
it took me so long to understand what had happened. I ask myself to this day, if I knew then what I know now — how, sleeping with him, even once, would have ensured that I became a famous singer-songwriter all over the world — would I have gone to bed with him?
Standing in that private bathroom and looking at myself in the mirror, remembering my music, my songs, the death of all that — well, my writing career meant everything to me. Everything. It was my baby; my life. I knew full well what this man was capable of handing to me if he wanted to. I wasn’t sure he could destroy my career by then, because I was getting well known; however, I knew that with very little effort, he could put me right over the top. Open doors for me all over the world. Most “porn” writers don’t become famous.
So I took off all my clothes. I folded them into a neat little pile on the counter there, tried not to look at myself completely naked in the mirror, although I remember checking my hair, my make-up, and I went back out into that room. And what he did to me just degraded me so much. And the very worst part of it was that I had an orgasm. I could not help myself. I had no clue I was going to come; I suddenly just came. And I was, you know, privately horrified at myself for coming. And then he said, “I thought that would make you come.”
Wow. Talk about feeling completely, thoroughly, utterly humiliated. He knew that was going to make me come?! I had no clear idea what that said about me, but I did not want to think about it. Still don’t, frankly. But, then I got dressed. We went to the press party. I felt completely demoralized for the rest of the evening. Smiled as I was introduced glowingly to everybody who was anybody. And pretty darn soon after that, I got famous.
How do you weigh that? I’m just not sure.