I learned a hard writing lesson last week — wouldn’t you know it, it is an extension of what some friends of mine call The Usual Error, the idea that everyone thinks exactly the same as we do. In this case, it was assuming that everyone has the same definition of an “interview” and as a result, hours of writing work was lost and almost no one will get to read a great interview I performed with the host of a local sex party.
Unfortunately, that host had different ideas than I did — I believe what I produced was an honest and informative discussion of what it means to run a sex positive event. To me, the best interviews read like a conversation between the journalist and the subject, and not a perfectly polished presentation — why not just have the subject write an editorial or a puff piece then? It’s actually standard journalistic ethics that the subject of an interview does not get to preview the article written about them. I have done so in the past, and again in this case, in part because of the sensitive nature of the topics covered. I’m a paid freelance writer, however, and don’t have time to engage in a lengthy editorial process with the subject of an interview.
None of the lessons learned here were completely new ones, but they were good reminders: Sometimes hard work and good art gets “wasted” — your article, story, or even novel might never find a suitable home or be finished to your or others satisfaction. The writing practice is hopefully still good, and writers are great recyclers — we’re always finding ways to reuse things we learn in one place in another. I’ve already shared the unpublished piece privately with some other party hosts as a way to make new connections.
The other lesson learned was of course about definitions — be very, very clear about them. This is true in writing as it is in relationships. Next time I conduct an interview I will be much more careful to set up how we’re going to proceed from start to finish, and answer questions about the editorial process up front.
My last week has also had some other stresses in it, but I won’t go into it here — they’re just the unfortunately common ups and downs of being a freelance writer. And there have been some very good things too — there was a party at my house, Avocasa, my housemate Kristen’s fifth Taste Sensation Party. Not only was a lot of great food consumed, but it was a much-needed bonding experience for Pet and I, helping us clear up some tensions that had formed between us which we’d already begun fixing through some good conversations in the week prior.
In other great news, I’m about to become a sex toy reviewer for Good Vibrations. Good Vibrations are one of the first woman-owned, sex-positive vendors of vibrators, dildos, books and other products for adult sexuality. Not only did they help set the trend which so many other vendors have imitated in the years since their founding in 1977, they were actually the first place I ever bought sex toys. Long before I ever dreamed of becoming a reviewer — or a professional blogger for that matter — I bought myself some lube and some warming gel from the first sex toy shop I’d ever heard of, and a name I knew I could trust. It’s exciting to look forward to reviewing for them — my first toys include the First Mate dildo, a Good Vibes exclusive.
I’m going to Art Outside this weekend where I’ll be volunteering at the main stage. HoneyJ and I will be arriving on Friday morning and staying through Monday. This will be my first time at this commercial, but Burner-inspired art and music festival and I’m excited to share my experiences (and hopefully some photos) with you next week. If you’re going let me know or look for me there!