Saturday, April 28, 2007

Polymer Clay and Erotica with Soul

Polymer clay is my new hobby, and in this entry I’m going to amaze you by actually finding a connection between this craft and my other fascination, erotica with soul. I mean it, just see if I don’t.

What is polymer clay? Here’s the short course: it’s a modeling clay of similar chemical makeup to PVC. It is a dream to work with and cures at low temps in a regular oven. You can make everything with it from jewelry to household items to art pieces. It can be made to look like, well, clay, or semi-precious stones, or fabric, or food, or, well virtually anything. Check out some samples in my humble little project gallery.

Okay, the sex connection? (No, I’m not going to tell you how to make sex toys out of polymer clay, but I do know you could.) Remember my very broad definition of the erotic in life. To me, creativity is inherently erotic, because you exercise your imagination to explore beauty and the life force. Whether you compose music, write fiction, or paint watercolors, your creative endeavor expresses your sexual energy.

When I first discovered polymer clay, I began by reading voraciously, both print books and websites. Again and again I encountered a caveat that this hobby was addictive, that it would end up making me obsessed and changing the way I looked at things. I find this to be completely true. This medium is so easy to work with and so endless in possible uses, it is a veritable short cut for creative expression. So many things I always wished I could do artistically, I suddenly find I can, and this had changed my outlook on the exercise of my own creativity.

Many years ago, I tried my hand at whittling. This skill requires strength as well as dexterity, and wood is not a forgiving medium. But I adore wood--the grain and colors are so beautiful. Wood is one of those things that demonstrates God’s talent in a big way. Well, guess what? With polyclay I can make my own faux wood, and I can carve it too.

All my life I have just been obsessed with rocks. From childhood on I have collected them, from lapidary stores, souvenir shops, beachcombing, etc. Well, I have now made my own Lake Michigan beach-style rocks with polymer clay, and my own faux semi-precious stones too (so far, malachite). This is something I thought only nature could do, given a few thousand years.

Using clay I can invent my own species of bird, contriving my own style of fabulous plumage. I can devise color schemes precisely to suit a particular d├ęcor design or clothing outfit (mixing clay colors is a joy in and of itself).

In short, I find I can create nearly anything I can imagine, so consequently, my imagination is now constantly at work trying to come up with expressions of beauty of all kinds. How could I decorate (or replace) my office paperclip dispenser in a more gorgeous or whimsical form? How about our living room coasters? The perfect clock we’ve been searching for in vain for our studio wall? I suddenly feel so empowered to make over my world in a much more beautiful way. And that’s, well, a feeling I’d definitely throw in the “erotica with soul” category.

Pretty stuff that feels good isn’t always Hugh Jackman; sometimes it’s your latest polymer clay project.

Told ya I could do it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Make My Body Move

It’s hard for me to listen to my new flamenco guitar music
without fantasizing about dancing. I’m doing the tango with Edward James Olmos. Or the rhumba with Sawyer. (To his Phil Collins mix tape? Okay, that doesn’t work too well.) I’m resurrecting past fantasies with John O’Hurley. You get the general drift.

In the collage of my thoughts is material from recent viewings of the Discovery Channel’s fantastic “Planet Earth” series. We’ve seen a lot of “mating dances.” Apparently countless creatures on our planet do not mate without the male first proving his sex-worthiness through some exotic show.

So I ask myself, how do these fantasy dances of mine work as “mating shows”? If doing the mambo with Sawyer is a turn-on, and you bet your sweet bippy it is, why is that? Why is any romantic book or movie, from “Dirty Dancing” to “Beauty and the Beast,” enhanced by including some dancing? Why does a guy’s ability to dance so greatly increase his sex appeal?

I fell back on my recollections of real dancing experiences and how they made me feel. One in particular came to mind, so I will focus on that one. I wish I could say the guy in question was my husband, but alas, for all David’s fine qualities, grace is not one of them! It was actually a friend of mine. So I recalled this occasion, and tried to remember what was the reason it felt so good and this fellow seemed so attractive on the dance floor.

Here’s your answer: he led.

That’s the thrill of dancing, to a female. The guy moves you, literally. The key to slow dancing from the female point of view is surrender, letting the man lead. You turn your body and its motion over to him and let him rock you and spin you and propel you, in pleasant accord to the melody and rhythm at hand. Your motions and his coordinate in a lovely way, all because you have let yourself go and given him control over you.

And as I’ve often said before, nothing is so sexual to a woman than surrender.

I hadn’t slow danced with a guy in a long time when I went out on the floor with this friend of mine, with the exception of my beloved husband, who alas cannot lead. (Well, he can, but the consequences are disastrous.) Therefore I was somewhat stunned to feel the sense that I could put myself in the hands of this man and he would control my body in this gently graceful act. It was all particularly potent as there are few social or vocational activities left in which a woman figuratively says to a man, “control me.” But dancing remains one, and even in a chaste slow dance where there is no breast-to-chest contact, if the man leads it is most definitely sexual.

The sexualitometer reading goes up when the music/dance is something particularly dramatic and/or rhythmic, like so many Latin dances are. Throw in some elements that mimic the sex act--maybe dipping, or movements where the private parts are in proximity--and you’re dealing with something a lot more potent than the crazy mating dances those birds of paradise do on the Discovery Channel. (Although I suppose a b.o.p. would beg to differ.) I guess we should have had more respect for John Lithgow’s character in “Footloose”...this dancing stuff really IS dangerous!

A corollary to this dancing phenomenon is the effect a guy can work on a woman by making music. It’s possible of course to listen to music without surrendering your body to it, but if you do, there is a similar thing happening. The musician is controlling your body, you are turning yourself over to him. The movement is one step removed, I’ll grant you: he is touching his instrument, not you. Nevertheless it can have a similar sexual effect. And this is why I get kind of crazy watching videos of my flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook perform. Would that I were those guitar strings.

But in lieu of that, I am content to imagine myself at Kate and Sawyer’s wedding (sorry, you Kate and Jack fans). For the occasion a truce has been declared and the Others invited as well. A few of those extras who rarely talk have worked up a little tropical band (there’s a coconut mandolin, cool!), and they’re playing Santana’s “Smooth.” And wow, can you believe it? The evil but strangely compelling Ben has asked me to dance!

Man, he’s good.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Flamenco Guitar = Audio Sex

Yes, you read that right. And I’ll stand by that statement.

I recently blogged about the sex appeal of music, and quoted from John Mellencamp’s song “Play Guitar”...well, I’d like to amend that post and suggest to you men who really want to attract women: learn how to play flamenco guitar. I find it hard to imagine a guy ugly enough not to seem sexy if he were playing this lovely Latin stuff.

Okay, so here’s the back story: A week ago I was driving home from work, listening to the local jazz station, and had one of those experiences when you hear a song for the first time and all the while its playing, you’re praying the DJ will tell you the name and performer afterwards.

He did. It was “Mario Takes a Walk” by
Jesse Cook. And I am officially in love with Jesse Cook.

The guy is a Paris-born Canadian (he’s Canadian! Another plus, if you’re a canuckophile like me) and has been recording for many years. Happily, he has a most excellent website with lots of audio and video clips on it, all of which I listened to last Friday at least ten times apiece until I was convinced I need to get every CD he’s ever done.

Is Jesse Cook good-looking? I’ll be danged if I can tell you. He looks hotter than hell to me, but then, how am I to distinguish the real truth when he’s playing that...that...that music. Ye gods.

The rhythms and melodies that come from Jesse’s fingers just assault a person like someone kissing you and touching you in the most expert manner. Sometimes it might as well be that he’s touching you there. And when the music isn’t all sexual and arousing, it’s tender, or teasing, or pining, or something you’ve felt in the most acute throes of romantic love.

Up until I found Jesse, I had been giving thought to trying to blog about the tango, both the dance and the style of music. To me the tango is pretty much sexier than sex itself. Actually, a number of Latin styles of dancing are, and if you haven’t seen “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” then I recommend you make a beeline for Netflix and put it on your queue. Andrew Blake can eat his heart out, he’s never made a porno movie as hot as those dancing sequences with Diego Luna. Swoon.

But flamenco guitar is like distilled tango to me, the pure and uncut stuff, because there’s nothing to distract you from the music. Nope, it’s not the moves of the dancers, it’s not how hot the guy tangoing looks in those tight pants. It’s just the melody, rhythm, harmony making you feel this way.

I suppose I can’t speak universally on the subject of flamenco guitar. But to my credit, I used to watch the video of Sting’s song “Fragile” at least once a week. (Did I mention Jesse Cook covered that song?) Anyhoo, all I know for sure is Jesse Cook makes it happen for me: He “rhumbafies” a lot of pre-existing tunes and imparts them with sexual fervor. He utilizes a sort of African tribal percussion a lot (another wonderfully sexy technique). And he just seems to imbue every song with so much raw emotion you can hardly bear it. I give him all kinds of credit, but then, some of this must simply be inherent in flamenco guitar. I suspect Jesse might say it’s the nature of the beast, and if you play this stuff properly, women will melt for you. (Jesse, if you google yourself and find this, I hope you’ll comment!)

All this and he probably likes hockey too.

Do I feel I’m cheating on my other beloved Canadian guitar player, Les Stroud, by carrying on so about Jesse Cook? Nah, I think Les would understand: it’s not the man, it’s the music.

And what’s a girl to do anyway? It’s flamenco guitar!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

5,363rd Day

This Saturday Davie and I are celebrating our own rather unique romantic holiday. It’s 5,363rd Day, and no, there is not a Hoops and Yoyo ecard available for it.

Saturday is the day I will have lived with David longer than I did with my first husband. I’ll try to explain the romantic significance of the occasion, and I imagine anyone who flubbed up on their first relationship but succeeded in their second may understand.

My first husband was gay, and a Lutheran pastor, and while I’ll spare you the details, you can imagine there were problems. (For more details you can always read my book Living Beyond Reality.) Needless to say, I came out of that two decade relationship a little bit messed up, especially since the last ten years of our marriage, I was actually aware of the infidelity. But we finally split. I met David and a couple of years later, remarried.

My first marriage seemed like a lifetime, and I wondered how long it would take till I felt David had more of an impact on my life and my children’s than my first husband had. Then I happened to find out about my great-aunt Isabel’s first marriage. All my life my Aunt Isabel and Uncle Louie had been like grandparents to me. I knew Louie was Isabel’s second husband, but then I learned that her previous marriage had been 15 years long, just like mine! She started over and made a “life long” romance with someone new, so clearly it was possible.

And I knew one day would come when my relationship with David would pass up my first one in duration. I vowed I would take note of that day and be thankful.

Hence, 5,363rd Day.

I guess I’m a little wacky to value something like this, but with my past, it makes sense. (Heck, I also keep a tally of how many times David and I have made love, but remember: gay ex-husband, okay?) Marriage or a long term sexual relationship necessarily involves a deep degree of intimacy, and each partner leaves an indelible mark on the other. If for some reason, like infidelity or abuse, a person hopes to rid him- or herself of that mark, doing so will not be easy.

But in fact, making a home with David and raising my daughters with him restored my heart and soul a long time ago. I guess 5,363rd Day just drives home to me that the restoration really has been accomplished.

Now, imagine this: I’ll be only 64 when I’ve lived with Davie twice as long! That will merit another romantic holiday for sure.