Well, good morning, friends. Bear with me, ’cause the post your reading is going to be a little off, since I’m frustrated as heck and exhausted. So not only did I write/save a WP draft of this post, but (yes, for all you folks who say, “Did you have a backup document?”) also had a Word Doc which has also vanished. Since I believe The Universe Is Talking To Us, I took the cosmic hint and am rewriting. Clearly, the original was such bad stuff that it even was not meant for a blog no one reads where I do my navel gazing. It’s so far past bedtime. We’re talking 4:00 a.m., and I’m normally in bed by 10 because that’s how I roll. But now I have to do a rewrite, so I’m not tossing and turning and mad as a hornet.
For the last several hours I’ve been up reading this stained, sticky, torn up manuscript; highlighting, and making notes in margins as though they belonged to a student. Apropos, since I wrote it high school. They were fair comments…encouraging, but honest. More honest than when I graded term papers and Intro to Comp essays. For example, I never wrote “WTF…HAHAHA” on any student’s work. Get this: the last chapter is stuck together, so I’ve no idea how this draft ended. After a long, hard think, after a lot of sorting through memories Just Like Honey ignited, I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t know myself so well when I was sixteen years old. Or I did know, was scared to death of myself, lost as eff, and desperately needed someone to talk to.
So I wrote a book.
I remember reading every chapter to my high school girlfriends and then slowly my not-girlfriends from outside cliques who kind of joined us in whatever little corner of the hallway, library, top of a picnic table, wherever we were having story time. Boys were not allowed at these gatherings. Since it grabbed so many of us, something must have resonated with Bridget and Aaron to all of us. What if there was some kind of Troubled Hurting Guy who was so totally wicked mature and super hot. One who could make us feel wonderful, horrible, and beautiful? Here was a story to fill the void of our own unfulfilled fantasies. After all, we lost our collective virginity to the wrong people at the wrong time, and it was mostly a bummer. Sometimes problematic. Sometimes traumatic.
Because, let’s face it. I don’t know how things are with those crazy kids nowadays, but no guy when I grew up had heard of Astroglide, and –far as I can recall– any joy resulting from sexual intimacy was not because our boyfriends or random goons we hooked up with at parties had mad skillz, it was that we girls tried to make it somehow work for us. Otherwise, what was the big deal? Aaron was a wizard in bed. See, he was…well. I’ll stop. Think that was about to be a spoiler, and I haven’t pitched this thing to anyone yet.
In a previous blog, I mentioned how back in the 80s, for “sex ed,” there was lots of info about wet dreams and erections for the fellas. It was like adolescence was this awesome thing that would feel great, and well…just take care of it. What girls were taught about were periods, pregnancy, and birth control. Any physical, explorational happiness adolescent women experienced was something we figured out privately, then shared with each other, and tried to make it work. No biology teacher ever mentioned that girls could masturbate, how to get more relaxed, and quickly. So we had a hormonally brilliant, curious hive mind thing going on.
There were, of course, the Phoebe Cates from Fast Times at Ridgemont High type chicks who were a couple years older, all-knowing, already had A List, and tried to convince everyone they had some kind of cool thing we were missing out on. And yeah, there were a few who brought cucumbers to school to show us how to give a blow job. But, you know it and I know it. Nah. Those boys weren’t cucumbers. We didn’t have any kind of guidebook. Going back to seventh grade? Judy Blume’s Forever had some things wrong. Like It’s Cool To Have Sex Without A Condom. Or first time a girl has sex with a near-virginal guy, has a vaginal orgasm. I mean, come ON. So to speak.
Well, Fifty Shades of Grey confirms the virgin/vadg-gasm, so…anyway.
Okay, there was a copy of The Story of O circulating, and also Anne Rice/Rampling was becoming a Thing. Wait…yeah, I had some bodice-rippers (no apologies, fellow erotica writers) bought from used book stores with babysitting money. But none of this was real life any of us teens could relate to, though we tried. None of the sex slaves and ravished maidens were characters we could relate to. Sex was such a mysterious thing, even after you’d “gone all the way.” The fear, excitement, disappointment, confusion, hope, emptiness, and longing. We had to discuss amongst one another, trying to put it together. And hope, at some point, we wouldn’t have to keep explaining to some pimply-faced boy with dyed-black hair, “No, the left. No, the right. Jeez, never mind.” Then give up, because they all were somehow obsessed with “fingering.” Oh, and what to do with the boobs.
Hold on! Just remembered that I had a copy of The Sensuous Man which I started circulating for the boyfriends to pass around. You know, to give them a clue.
Back to the story.
No wonder I decided that writing erotica would be fun. Oh! I should’ve mentioned: the new novel is not erotica. That’s right! It’s NA or YA, depending on how much of The Sexy is in the final draft. Currently, most of the luvvin’ takes place offscreen. And there’s not an awful lot of profanity or hot ‘n dirty talk. Bridget Waters and Aaron D’Amour are no Lily Dewitt and Dorian Holder.
The story was originally called No Strings Attached. It was a gazillion [that’s ’80s teenagerspeak for 200 on a Brother Word Processor] pages long. Since everyone fell in love with the sordid tale of Bridget and Aaron, I decided to call it Bridget and Aaron. Because girls kept saying, “Read more Bridget and Aaron. Write more Bridget and Aaron,” and I’ve always been a people-pleaser. But after rereading it two decades later, and seeing how prominently 1980s pop-culture fit into the story, I’m going song title-y. Come on, having the Boy You Liked give you a mix tape was the best thing, it would make your week.
Not sure HOW many things were described as being “honey,” but Aaron’s flowing locks, endless cups of coffee, and even kisses were bee-friendly. So Joy Division gave me a the title.
For now. But it might change.
So will this post. Like, tomorrow, because I don’t feel like going back and editing right now. Also, there’s a spoiler alert, which is so not a spoiler. Just don’t want to go into Aaron’s Big Seekrit right now. It’s just too darn PAINFUL. He is, after all, a New Adult Novel hero. Pretty sure this one can’t be YA, but we’ll leave that to whomever decides what genres are, these days. Oh, did I mention I need an agent so I don’t get into a FOURTH snafu with a publisher? Because I so do need one.
I’m so tired.
It’s so late.