Does Sex really Sell?

Ionia and Charles are up to mischief again…

And don’t I just love the firestorm of discussion that occurs when they are…

Today, the conversation got started by Is Sex Always about Love?  from the writer’s perspective over at Ionia’s.

Which resulted in Charles wading in with Idiots Guide to Writing Sex Scenes, to help us all out with the quandry of sex scenes –

I encourage you to take a gander at each, good for a laugh and the comments area is full of some true gems from other writers….

Which is why I’m posting my two cents….

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A trip through the comments indicates to me there is a population of writers who understand the sex scene is necessary for showing the motives, motivations and or moving the plot along, but don’t always feel comfortable writing such scenes….

It also indicates there’s more than just a few readers who skip over such parts, or laugh and make fun of them…

If this little slice of statistical heaven indicates such thoughts, then why, exactly, are we stuck with the cliche, “Sex Sells”?

Are we perhaps not being totally honest with ourselves and others?

Or are we being totally honest and the media world insists on reminding us their illusion is much preferable to our reality?

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This may not have hit my radar so pointedly, if Cranky hadn’t written about the F word recently in What the Feck?.    Apparently, saying Feck or Frack is acceptable, because it takes the sexual connotation out of the mix…

Quite frankly, I think the whole enunciation of the ‘u’ versus the ‘e’ or ‘ra’ in the word is what brings about the visceral reaction, rather than the actual meaning of the word.

But then, I’m weird – there are folks who have said, “F**k you, you’re just a mess” and I’ve laughed right along with them all while secretly wishing I had gone ahead and punched that other loser who said, acidly sweet, “Good morning, how are you this fine day?” when I knew durn well they didn’t give a feck how I was doing…

Different strokes….

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What defines our cultural rights and wrongs regarding what’s vulgar and what’s not?  Our preferences?   Is it just our nature/nuture?  Or are there somethings we instinctively know are more important than others?   Do we disdain the words, simply because they accomplish nothing?   Do we refrain from speech because the vocalizations of some sounds are just too ugly, too harsh?

In the end, does it really matter what we say or write, as long as the intention is clear?

Inquiring minds want to know…

I’ll take Flattery with a side of Criticism and Spam, Please

Yes, I admit, I read my spam comments before I “Delete Permanently”.   Sometimes, the software gets it wrong, right?

After my absence this week, I had four comments in Spam –

The usual mistyped messages that look like someone took phrases from an “Effective Leadership” phrase book and lumped them all together.

But one caught my eye – I deleted it, and so cannot give you it verbatim, but here’s the gist:

“I enjoyed your blog – you’re such an expert – maybe you should put a couple of pictures in to illustrate it better.”

Which is quaint – how do you picture me musing?  A brain with some flashes of lightening over it?

Or the overused and much cliched light bulb?

But it did get me to thinking….

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What if we all replied to the spammers?  What if we could send them private emails, call their house at 1:00 in the morning (hey, it’s 10 a.m. where I live – deal with it).

We could tell them thank you so much for helping me to make my blog better – any other hints?   In fact, since my blog has followers and yours doesn’t, because anyone who clicks to your site just gave you the door you needed to access their financial information, how about a cut, eh?   How much is it worth to you?

Since my blog will soon be shut down, due to the poor judgement of allowing you to display your link on it, it will take me some time to get up and running again.    And if I continue to help you, I will need to re-do my blog and blog name every two weeks or so….

So, if you’re a spammer, I’m happy to do business with you.  By my estimations of what you’ll get and what I’ll lose, I’m thinking that you can pay me $765,912 for each comment I approve.

Unless, I have some better offers from other spammers, in which case, the price just went up….

What?!? You’re upset?  Deal with it buddy, this is your version of capitalism…

Where did I go?

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.”
― W.B. Yeats

When my son died, many well-meaning people informed me I would never, never, get over it.

And I set about to prove them wrong.

It’s my little pet-peeve – people who tell you stories that aren’t in your best interest.

It’s been five years and  I will tell you, they are wrong.

From my point of view.

From their point of view, they are right –

How can that be so?

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From the outside looking in, it would appear the consensus of society is correct.    There are those who view my life, my dreams, my passions and priorities as not quite right yet.

They patiently (or impatiently) wait for me to return to the me I was before.

And so, in their eyes, I’m not over it, yet…   But they will continue to hope, pray and nudge me until they see signs of me ‘being myself’ again.

They’re in for a long wait and their insistence has started to wear my patience thin…

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Here’s the list of things that will assure those around me I’m back to being myself and have overcome the shadow of grief, followed by my thoughts on the matter:

  • I will find gainful employment in a high-paying job that has prestige.
    • I will never, ever, work that many hours a week again and I especially won’t contribute that giant slice of my life to helping to build the empire of someone else.   I missed too much by doing it before and I won’t make that mistake again.
  • I will spend hours of my life on idle chit-chat, light gossip, judgement of those around me or those featured in news stories and what sitcom characters might do next episode.
    • I have little use for anything that does not educate, inspire or enlighten me.    The above is time I could have spent reading, writing, pondering or engaged in getting to truly know someone else and seeing the world through their eyes.
  • I will skate through life, eternally optimistic and will disdain from talking about the dark or negative.  I will see the best in humanity and blithely ignore the rest, because, hey! It isn’t my problem!
    • I’ve walked through the dark side.   I came out with some really awesome gifts in the way of courage, strength and wisdom.   Sorry if you’re too scared to walk that path, but I tell you, you’re missing out. As for it not being my problem, well, it may not be, but I’m sure not going to contribute to it by ignoring it or supporting it with my dollars or silence.
  • I will drop everything to rush to the aide of someone else who needs my help, because I’m no longer angry and bitter.
    • Um, no thanks.    Of all my losses, only two can be laid at the door of Fate.   Every single other one was the result of me spending my time and energy on the problems of other folks, instead of doing what I needed to do for myself.
  • I will forgive and forget those folks who leaned so heavily on me and did not heed my cries for help.   When I can return to our former toxic relationship in the manner which is beneficial to them, they will know I’m healed.
    • Yeah, I didn’t think I needed to explain this one – I knew you’d get it…

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I’ve written about this before.  Nearly two years ago.    After my retreat at Wallaburga Abbey.

I realized the immense stress I was experiencing was from buying into the ‘milestones’ others had deemed as evidence of my healing.

That sunny June morning, in 2010, remains crystal clear in my mind.  I sat on the rough wooden bench, listening to bird songs periodically interrupted by bleats of the pastor’s goats, anxiously pleading for open gates and the freedom to graze lush hillsides.

In a blinding flash, I realized I would never again be the same person as before.   That trying to gauge my healing by a yardstick full of activities and priorities I no longer had any use for, was ludicrous.  As the rightness sunk into my soul, I became so very aware of who I was now.   What had changed for the better.   I also grasped, at the cellular level how right for me, the new me was.

So why are you hearing about this today?  Isn’t this old news?   Yes and No.

It’s old in the realization – new in the fact I’ve spent the past two years trying to communicate this to some in my circle.

Their vision of the ‘old me’ – the me they are waiting to show up, clouds their vision of who I am now.  They do not see or hear ME.  In their minds, I’m still missing in action.  They plead for me to get better.   They pray for me to heal.  They lovingly go over, time and again, what they expect to see when I’m well.

I’ve wasted precious time trying to convey the fact that I’m very happy until they inform me I’m not.  By doing this, I’ve missed out on time spent with those who see me exactly for what I am, and like what they see… or at least find me intriguing enough to stick around and see what shows up next…

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I yearn for the authentic life.   When my inner world and outer world mesh in a way that makes me feel whole.    It is my primary focus.   When I focus on this congruity, everything else works…

Until it clashes up against the reality of those who yearn for the old me to show up again.

When I look at the issue in this way, there is no longer any resentment or bitterness.   I no longer feel the need to explain or try to make things work.

It simply becomes fact that who I am isn’t what they desire and hey, the world’s full of those who would be a better fit… for both them and me…

Thanks for listening – you know how I just have to audibly process things – – thanks for seeing it as part of my charm…

😀

Listening

“It takes two to speak the truth –

one to speak, and another to hear.” – Thoreau

I’ve spent most of the week burying myself in books.   An emotionally trying day last Tuesday sent me scurrying back into my hermit’s hole and dealing with the physical fall-out of having allowed myself to get so upset over the antics of others.

First, I read Heidi – I’d been thinking about it for awhile and realized somewhere along my downsizing phase, I made the awful error of letting my copy go.   The one from the library was apparently an earlier mis-translation, because there were scenes that were not as I remembered.   Still an enjoyable read and soothed my wounded soul.

From there, I dove into trilogies by Nora Roberts – The Three Sisters and The Key Trilogy.   Simply because these never fail to reignite my faith in the power of  friendship.

The above quote greeted my eyes when starting book #2 of the Keys trilogy.

And set me on the pondering path of how important listening is to friendships.

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I’ve come to the conclusion these past few months that many in my circle lead a dual life.   There’s what’s going on inside and what gets displayed or communicated on the outside.   While I have been aware of this concept for sometime, I did not fully understand how much it impacts me, as I say what I think and rarely if ever have a clash between my outside personality and my internal musings.    “What you see is what you get” is my trademark and only someone really gifted in creating drama could hope to twist my words into meaning something other than what I was saying…

At least, from my perspective…

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I cannot remember a time when I did not use all my senses to Listen.    I’ve always just naturally tied together the words spoken, the tone and inflection of the words, the facial expressions, eyes and body language.   I listened for what was not said, but rather implied and felt no shame in asking questions to clarify when all the information gleaned did not seem to add up.

I was blissfully unaware that not many listen this way, until the day I was editing a policy manual for a law enforcement agency and came across a list of items for officers to follow when interrogating a suspect.

Many of the things listed were things I do when I listen.   I was confused as to why these things needed spelling out and I started my quest by observing the conversations of those around me.

And came to the conclusion, most people don’t listen very thoroughly.

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Because of the way I listen and my memory, I spent much of my life assuming when I spoke, others heard and remembered.

This assumption is why I get into trouble so often.

ASS-U-ME – who can forget that lovely little lesson?

I say something once… and unless clarifying questions are asked, or a response indicates they truly did not get what I was meaning to convey, I assume my point has been made.

If I ask for help and the answer is No, I move on.  I do not beg or plead or ask again.  They said No, I believe them.

If I state that I’m struggling with a certain task, and the answer is, “Just do it, cheerfully, anyways, and NOW.” I do my best to finish the task and move on, permanently, from the person who would insist on someone else sacrificing their well-being for their little project.

This past week tells me that either people are manipulative as all get out, or they don’t listen very well until they hear the answer they want.

I still have faith in humanity, so I’m going to believe the latter is what is really going on.

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Coming out of my hermit’s pondering time, I realize that those who do not listen to nor remember what I’ve said previously are very good at taking care of themselves.    A skill that I suck at, if you ask the opinion of the various life coaches and marriage counselors I have worked with over the years.

Since I only ask for help once it becomes apparent that there is no other alternative left, I assume those who ask me are in the same predicament.

It appears, they are not.   They simply ask, ask away, to anyone who will listen until they discover either a Yes, or someone who can be bullied into saying Yes.

So my goal these next two weeks is to say “No” –

I’ve learned that it’s quite easy, as long as you don’t give a flip what the other person thinks of you.

Which is, I might add, my strong point.

I don’t give a flip…

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I surmise my pondering time is not quite over yet – – While the base decisions of just what to do regarding various relationships in my life have been made, I have no wish to sever ties in a mean or hateful way.

Sever yes – destroy in the process, not really my cup of tea –

Karma’s a witch, ya know…

But I was ever so grateful for the wisdom given me through my reading journey.

There’s nothing can’t be solved by some reading and thinking time…

See How Much Money it Takes to Be Financially Secure in Your Town

An interesting exercise – here’s my results:

Rural (CO) – One Parent, One Child

  • Monthly Housing $774
  • Monthly Food $369
  • Monthly Child Care $728
  • Monthly Transportation $570
  • Monthly Health Care $1000
  • Monthly Other Necessities $292
  • Monthly Taxes $399
  1. Monthly Total $4132
  2. Annual Total $49581

Does anyone else find it curious that Taxes and Healthcare combined result in more expenditure than Housing and Food?

Data Driven Viewpoints

What follows is a Family Budge Calculator put out by the Economic Policy Institute. www.epi.org/resources/budget/ The example shown here is for a two parent family with two children living in the capital city of New Jersey, Trenton. A typical family there needs over $75,000 in income per year to be financially secure. That means each parent would have to work full-time and be making at least $18/hour. Or, if only one parent worked, they would need to be pulling in $36/hour for their family to be financially secure. This is a long ways from minimum wage.

Family Budget Calculator

EPI’s Family Budget Calculator measures the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard by estimating community-specific costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types…

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