Today is my dear friend Valerie’s 60th birthday.
I actually can’t really even comprehend this – that she could be 60 and that we could still be such close friends after all the things we’ve gone through.
We met in NYC, when I was 22 and she was 23. We became secret lovers soon after that, and remained secret lovers for the next 20 years, as she and I both also undertook committed relationships and marriages during that long stretch of time.
About 15 years ago, I wrote the short erotic memoir, “A Picture in a Frame,” that was published in the erotic memoir anthology, Entangled Lives. At the time, Valerie was just entering into another long-term, committed relationship and so I felt I couldn’t identify her by name. I called her “E” in the memoir. But now it’s okay with her to identify her by name. So “E” was Valerie.
I was tempted to post the memoir here on the blog today, in honor of her 60th birthday, but it is a wildly explicit and personal memoir and probably inappropriate for a huge portion of my blog readers, since it documents my life-long BDSM intensity and insanity and bliss and ecstasy – and Valerie’s role in that in my adulthood.
Lucky for you, though, it is included in Volume 2 of The Muse Revisited collection, which is free to download over at Smashwords until the end of this month. So, if you don’t already have that eBook, and you want to read “A Picture in a Frame”, you can go get it now for free. (Go to the dropdown menu above and you can find a link for Volume 2 of The Muse Revisited up there.)
For me, “A Picture in a Frame,” has some disturbing elements to it, and it’s not the elements you would think. I have no problem at all with my past BDSM stuff, or mindset, or lifestyle, or anything like that. What’s in there that disturbed me is the strange depiction I wrote of my adoptive mother.
At that time in my life – meaning when I wrote that memoir, and literally a ton of other explicit stories, novels, etc. — my adoptive mother and I were on reasonably solid ground. I was trying very, very hard to maintain a long-distance relationship with her, and she read pretty much everything I ever wrote.
The last time I re-read “A Picture in a Frame,” (when I was finally showing it to Valerie last year!), I was really saddened by the stuff about my mother. Not that she was abusive every single day, but I was clearly writing from the frame of mind that I’d had throughout most of my life: protect the abuser because I was terrified of her. And I knew she would read the darn thing.
That fear persisted long into my adulthood. It didn’t leave me, really, until about 5 or 6 years ago, when I was forced to make my final break with her. And the fear left piece-meal; it didn’t just suddenly evaporate all at once.
Now that I’m suddenly writing the memoir, In the Shadow of Narcissa (link to it is on the left side there somewhere), about my childhood years, growing up in the shadow of such a formidable adoptive mother, when I re-read anything I’ve written in the past that tried to present a sort of idealized situation revolving around her, I just get sort of sad.
Since “A Picture in a Frame” documents my first, and only, long-lasting affair with a woman who was a relentlessly dominant sexual Top, who had a super keen focus on Bondage & Discipline, but who, when all the torture was over for the day, was intensely loving and maternal towards me, unlike anything that happened to me in real life – well, clearly, there are some “mommy” issues there for me, folks. Always denying myself love because it seemed like that was what I “deserved,” yet when I did get that love, as an adult from Valerie, it was unspeakably beautiful.
And that juncture in my childhood, where my sexuality began to make itself known to me, and my utter fascination with sexual abuse & discipline came to the fore, and how that might have related to my adoptive mother (I was 5 when my sexuality started to come out of me) – I pretty much glossed over all of that in “A Picture in a Frame” and presented it so differently from how it was.
Still, it was a memoir about Valerie, anyway, so it’s not the end of the world. It just makes me sad to read the part in there about my childhood sexuality and to realize that, without my even knowing it 15 years ago, I was still living in fear and protecting my adoptive mother.
But I guess my need to write In the Shadow of Narcissa will attempt to finally deal with all of that. And I hope in a balanced way. Because there are vivid moments in my childhood where my mother was so beautiful to me; just breathtaking. I so much wanted to love her. But she was a narcissist, and I could only love her openly when she felt it suited her audience.
If you have read “A Picture in a Frame”, the memoir ends with a description of the picture that was indeed in a frame. “Blind Venus.” It is posted below. It’s a photo of a very old Polaroid.
Valerie is a painter. And this is the painting mentioned in the memoir, back when the painting was still in progress, in an easel. It long ago sold in some gallery in Brooklyn, NY. I’d say about 25 years ago, or so. (And the painting is not just of me; it’s a combination of me and another lover she had who lived in Germany – and who is now a grandmother. Where the fuck does the time go??)
All right. Enjoy her 60th birthday by doing something fun. Eat cake!! Why not?
Thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.