Tag archieven: The Write Life

LS 13



The magazine didn’t have a very clear idea on what they wanted when they contacted me. Hot stories?  Hot pics? Or was the interview request a wile of the pretty-faced reporter to maneuver himself into the lair of his online cougar LS Harteveld? The latter was unlikely. The journalist was known to flirt strategically, just to keep the lines of communication lubricated. He didn’t do it to have sex, didn’t need to either.

I had just positioned myself in a stand-off with my fans, foes, and a handful of admirers who had crossed the boundaries of courtesy, privacy and good taste. I was sick of them calling me names, leaving rude comments, and next to their foul mouths, I was annoyed by men not taking NO for an answer. NO! I don’t want to have sex with you “for an erotic story”. That was kind of included when I said I didn’t want to have sex ever. NO! You’re not my type, and I told you once and I shouldn’t have to tell you twice. NO! You don’t need to call me out of the fucking blue to criticize my work!  NO! NO! NO! It was one of those weeks when you know the next hard cock pointing at you, will have you grabbing for some scissors.

After two days the reporter wrote a formal request to me and the rest of the mixed-age group of female writers with dirty minds. The magazine had decided on their demands: a) you had to write hard core porn and b) agree to pose with your face to the camera. (dramatic pause) That’s right: they were planning on publishing the portraits of women who describe every deviant sexual act in the Universe, to it’s last pounding, shivering, succulent detail. “The more explicit the better”, the reporter hammered his point, hopefully referring to our work not the pictures. “We’re a man’s magazine!”

There is a famous blog by Joris Luyendijk, about the banking world of London. He interviews the people who willingly plunged whole businesses, countries and ultimately continents, into financial mayhem. It would have remained a very small blog, if the confessions were to be published with portrait pictures, instead of with light blue standard avatars. Six-figures-a-year suits in the City have rights. Massacring gang members in El Salvador have rights. Robbers, rapists, stalkers and double murderers; they all have rights. And no one would dare to violate them.

But what about the victims? What about #bedofshame where a guy tweets a photo of a naked one night stand, that he secretly takes in the morning? Your ex placing your old sex videos online? What about the women who are followed home when they return at night, or can’t leave their house without some weirdo on the street making kissing sounds?

Victims do not have any rights, until the moment they are brutally violated. Until that video of you getting raped in the school yard is played on the late night news. Until your son is beaten, MS13 style, on a school square in effing Den Bosch. Until it’s all too little too late, and no one saw it coming. The moment the knife of your stalking ex slits your throat, that’s when you get your rights.

So yes I refused. And I will keep refusing. My stories are for everyone, but my face is for myself. Not that I don’t want to show it, but because I don’t live in a secured all-white suburban compound, with two pit bulls and a house ninja. I live alone in a small house, on the ground floor, in what they call “a colourful neighborhood”. Since I write erotica I have had prank calls on my home phone, old dates calling my cell in the dead of night, and strangers emailing me why I deserve the worst. They react on first impulse, exploring the boundaries of what they can and can not do in a trial-and-error like fashion. Until now, they all seem reasonably docile. They retreat when I scowl them, leave when I slam the door, and stop calling me after a month or two. But I’m not going to give any rejected date, jilted lover or perceptive neighbor, a reason to focus on me, more than I apparently already do.

They all have two topics, the men’s magazines we have in the Netherlands: sex and crime. And if I am to end up in the crime section, it will not be as a victim. I will poison the reporter. I will slay my competitors. I will breed an army of 22 year old cubs, who will kill at my command. Because then at least, none of the mags is allowed to show my picture.

We can do this differently.

Vertaling. Klik hier voor het origineel in het Nederlands.

Every time I heard “You are too eager,” I shook my mane, as if I was chasing flies away; “Stop searching, and you will find it,” and I raised my eyes to heaven; “Why do you attract such men?” and I wondered if I could hit an artery with my fork; “Pain is perception.” Of course. How about I permanently separate your head from your torso? Let’s see how that works for your perception.

In short, the well intended advice from friends and relatives was beginning to irritate.

As were the men to who I owed it to. You can only hear : “What lingerie are you going to wear?” so many times. The second 20 year old who doesn’t want to see you in his own city because “not all his friends have to know it yet”, and the oasis between your legs becomes and impregnable fortress. If I give lap dances. If I swallow sperm. And that he thinks about me a lot. Especially on Wednesday night when his wife is out.

Instead of being approached like a delicate oyster, that requires gentle opening before you are allowed to taste it’s salty sweet content, I was being treated like a fast food drive-through. And no one even bothered to look for pearls.

It was Monday June 6, 2011. I had been single for 4 years and 7 months, and a writer for the same time, and in me something vanished.
It wasn’t a “Fine! I’ll leave!” where the departing party hopes to be begged back.
Neither was it a departure where tasks are handed over to the new employee.
It was a woman gathered her belongings, she packed her lingerie,  her diary.  She put the chilled bottle of wine and the chocolate in her handbag. Her replacement wouldn’t enjoy them anyway.
When she got into her cab she caught a glimpse of a motorcycle pulling into the street, speeding over the hump and against traffic. The slim rider wore her long hair in a pony tail.

I re-read emails that came without hi or bye. The DMs that offered or asked sexual services. I was called for phone sex and turned off my cell phone. I removed all men I had been in love with from my address book.
Slanting penises. Suddenly I thought a lot about slanting penises. And half-hard penises. The ones that stood out straight, possessed other hilarious features. And the muses I had never slept with all turned out to have some ridiculous quality or other Achilles’ heel, that demanded them to be written off as lover, muse and man.
It took me less than 24 hours to extract root and branch of all my unseemly feelings.

I cleared out my schedule in order to make time for publishing my books, and I estimated if I had enough Dutch erotica to turn it into a book. Since the writer of those stories had left, I would have to manage with what she left me. She was probably in Cyprus on a beach by now, dressed in a golden bikini, and interrogating some Muslim boy if he was circumcised.

It was a Thursday night, I was writing a blog post. “You were cuter on your previous avatar!” one of my 370 Twitter followers cheered.

The quiver was leaning against the antique desk. A pink heart was hanging down from it, as were a miniature perfume and a keychain with an A with little diamonds. My fingers slid over the smooth leather before I pulled the arrow out. The bow was behind the computer. It was a smaller model than I was used to, but it would suffice. I placed the arrow. The string creaked when I drew the bow.

“Liked the previous one better?” I tweeted back. “Deal with it! I’m not here for my pretty face. And  for hamburgers you can piss off to the Mac.”

The time I was shooting hearts was behind me. From now on I was aiming below the belt. I would leave the slanting penises up to my imagination.




Het kan ook anders.

Iedere keer als ik “Je wilt het te graag,” hoorde, schudde ik met mijn kop alsof ik vliegen kwijt moest; “Je moet stoppen met zoeken,” en ik sloeg mijn ogen ten hemel. “Waarom trek je zulke mannen aan?” en ik vroeg me af of ik met een vork een slagader zou kunnen raken; “Pijn is een kwestie perceptie.” Natuurlijk. Zal ik jouw hoofd eens duurzaam scheiden van je romp en kijken wat dan je perceptie is?

De goedbedoelde raad van mijn omgeving irriteerde dus al een tijdje.

Samen met de heren in kwestie waar ik de bijdehante adviezen en het psychologische geneuzel aan te danken had. Je kunt maar zo vaak horen; “Wat voor lingerie ga je dragen?” zonder te braken. De tweede 20-jarige die niet in zijn eigen stad wil afspreken omdat “nog niet al zijn vrienden het hoeven te weten” en de oase tussen je benen verandert in een onneembare vesting. Of ik lapdances geef. Of ik sperma doorslik. En dat hij veel aan me denkt. Vooral op woensdagavond want dan is zijn vrouw er niet.

In plaats van benaderd te worden als een delicate  oester, die voorzichtig moet worden geopend voor je de zilte inhoud mag proeven, werd ik behandeld als een Febo loket. En naar parels zocht al helemaal niemand.

Het was maandag 6  juni 2011. Ik was 4 jaar en 7 maanden single, en even zo lang een schrijver, en in mij verdween iets.
Het was geen “Nou, dan ga ik wel weg!” waarbij de vertrekkende partij hoopt  teruggesmeekt te worden.
En ook geen vertrek waarbij de taken zakelijk worden overgedragen aan de nieuwe functionaris.
Het was een vrouw die haar biezen pakte, de mooie lingerie bovenop, samen met haar dagboek. De koude fles witte wijn en de chocola stopte ze in haar handtas. Haar vervanger zou er toch geen plezier aan beleven. Toen ze de taxi instapte zag ze nog net hoe een motor de straat inreed. De tengere berijder scheurde het woonerf op. Haar lange lokken waren in een functionele staart gebonden.

Ik herlas de emails zonder aanhef of groet. De DM’s waarin seksuele gunsten werden aangeboden en gevraagd. Ik werd gebeld voor telefoonseks en zette het toestel uit. In mijn adresboek verwijderde ik alle mannen waar ik de afgelopen twee jaar verliefd op was.
Scheve piemels. Ik moest opeens veel denken aan scheve piemels. En aan half-harde piemels. Bij degene die wel loodrecht geschapen waren drongen andere lachwekkende eigenschappen zich op. En ook muzes met wie ik nooit het bed had gedeeld bleken allemaal wel een bespottelijke zwakte of een andere achilleshiel te hebben, waardoor ze als minnaar, muze, mens en man direct afgeserveerd konden worden.
Ik had minder dan 24 uur nodig om schoon schip te maken en al mijn misplaatste gevoelens met wortel en tak uit te roeien.

In mijn agenda ruimde ik tijd in om uitgevers te benaderen voor mijn manuscripten, en ik telde hoeveel erotische verhalen ik had en of het genoeg was voor een boek. Aangezien de schrijfster ervan was vertrokken, moest ik het doen met wat ze had achtergelaten. Zij zat nu waarschijnlijk in een gouden bikini broekje aan het strand van Cyprus een onschuldige moslim jongen uit te horen of hij besneden was.

Het was donderdagnacht, ik schreef een blogpost. “Op je vorige avatar foto stond je mooier!” twitterde één van mijn 370 volgers opgewekt.

Tegen het oude bureau stond een koker met pijlen. Er hing een roze hart aan, een miniatuur flesje parfum en een sleutelhanger A met diamantjes. Ik gleed met mijn vingers over het soepele leer voor ik de pijl eruit trok. De boog stond achter de computer. Het was een kleiner model dan ik normaal gebruikte, maar het zou volstaan. Ik plaatste de pijl. De pees kraakte bij het spannen van de boog.

“Vorige foto mooier?” twitterde ik terug.  “Deal with it! Ik ben hier niet voor mijn mooie koppie. En voor kroketten flikker je ook maar op naar snackbar.”

De tijd dat ik in harten schoot lag achter me. Voortaan richtte ik onder de gordel. En scheve piemels verzon ik er wel bij.




Coitus Interruptus

“Writing a book is like seeing a lover.”
from the movie (about Françoise) Sagan

From the countless quotes, metaphors and comparisons I find this one most striking. Because writing is like a lover to me. The status of our relationship qualifies as “complicated”, “under construction” or “temporarily celibate”. And it is a lover I was never prepared for. But let me start at the beginning of our affair.

It started with tears. It started with writing. It started with memories dug up from my teenage diaries that needed to be processed with the same pressing urge you would feel to clear out the attic if the floor started to collapse under the burden, threatening the entire house.

Unless I was prepared to take my chances dying and reincarnating a Tibetan nun, NotWriting was not an option. The job had to be done. And even though I felt humiliated by all this belated grief I found a new love too: writing.

Fears were far less daunting when you trusted them to paper, instead of letting them torment your soul.
Crying was not as devastating, if there was a diary entry waiting.
In the darkest corners of your past a little light shone through, allowing you safe passage.

Writing became like a big brother protecting me, the wise one giving me advise, and yes: writing became the lover waiting for me.
Anticipation. Lust. Intimacy.
I lost sleep, lost friends, neglected my tasks and was completely unavailable at times when Writing and Me made sweet love. Or when we fought. Or when we made up.

Dutch American Diary. Erotic Stories. Blogposts. My website and computer were swarming with stories and concepts that I wanted to send out into the world. That couldn’t wait to find their way to bigger audiences. Would I contact English publishers or just Dutch? Should I self-publish or go for the much slower road of reputable publishers?

And what to do with Mango? With the manuscript that started it all but that still needed an adjustment that I just couldn’t come up with? What to do with Mango, that had the potential to outdo all my other writing, and to make a debut worth to remember?

Somebody advised a Script Bureau, where you pay to get your manuscript reviewed. Somebody else advised it too. Another year went by and although I made some changes and improvements I knew it was not getting the breakthrough it needed. Me and Writing would just fall quiet every time Mango came up.
We could be funny on Facebook, but now we just sighed. We were making all of Twitter horny, but now stared at our shoe noses. Our work started receiving praise from fellow writiers but in the privacy of our manuscript we lost confidence. Even our faithful companion Crying had moved out a long time ago.

And that was when Writing and I decided we needed help.

It was on the Friday before Queensday that the thick envelop arrived. On Saturday my best friend came to pick me up to go to the flea markets, and she encouraged me to open the envelop from the script bureau. And I did. We did. We read the report together.
The next three hours she held me, offered help, consolation, unconditional love and her most sincere apologies as she comforted me through 3 hours of non-stop crying.

After the bureau’s bash it took 10 days before Writing and me dared to look at each other again. We felt like we had invited a professional in our bedroom to improve our sex life who had in turn declared us impotent, frigid, unfertile, and suffering from multiple sex deviations.

Writing and me made two blog posts since then, but nothing sexual yet. It will take time before we get there I guess.

And as for Dutch American Diary? The publishers? Mango?
Things are even more uncertain than they were. I paralyze at the thought of letting someone help me with Mango.

But I know my lover Writing is still here, despite serious efforts of the bureau to chase him away.

And for now, that is all that matters. 

I write, therefore I cheat

Not so long ago an ex emailed me. If I had a list of People To Least Likely Hear From Ever Again, he would have been number one. Just seeing his name brought me to the brink of a panic attach. I vividly remembered the cold words of his last correspondence.

The years apart, had made him milder. He confessed he had Googled me.
“I see you have not published that novel about you and me. How are you doing?”

Hungry for his approval I responded. A warm and intimate email conversation followed. He excused himself for his past behaviour;
“I am sorry I lashed out at you before. Your presence and your writing made my girlfriend jealous. She didn’t like what was going on between us.”
“ So you two still together?” I emailed in between my neutral lines.
“ We are. But what can you do? We men simply have too much hormones to be faithful.”
Ah! There was a surplus of hormones and I was asked to audition as mistress. I lived at safe distance from him (check), was unconnected to his circle of friends (check), and the chemistry between us had not been put to the test in over a decade, but the first signs had been promising (checkcheck). Perfect material for an evening with wine, memories and love making. And if he played his cards right? Memories and wine would not even be necessary. My own 30+ set of hormones would work all the magic we need.

But before I had time to reply, the writer in me started to protest.
“No!” she yelled. “I don’t want him in my life again! Not his cold shoulder. Not his mixed signals. Not his stupid wish to keep everything a secret, and not tell.”
Now of course, a lover’s wish to be discrete is not stupid. I know that. But to a writer? It is very very inconvenient. If you want to date a writer whose novels are practically memoires, you have to come up with something good. You are, after all, robbing your beloved from her future material. Bidding should not start under:
“I will take care of you for ever, love you for ever, be there for you for as long as you need me “
Then, maybe, a writer will take your request for secrecy into consideration.
If you are offering Miss Broken Heart (me!), all the sex and intimacy you can squeeze in between your mandatory sms texts to home, you are not a nice guy.
But if you are seducing a novelist (me!), for late hour romance, early hour rendez-vous, or the days you can lie yourself to a “conference”, you are making a BIG mistake.
Writers, bloggers and novelists are the last women in the world you want to be having a secret affair with. We want to write about it. Because that’s what we do.

“Let’s not go there,” the novelist in me now answered his last email. “You never liked what I wrote about you in the past, you will certainly not like it anymore today. I am the last person in the world any man should have a secret affair with.”

“Can’t you just not write about it?” he inquired.

“Can you just not cheat?” I replied.

We all have our vices. The things we are so passionate about, we do them regardless of who gets hurt. When we’re in love, we melt, promise to do better, and stay straight for a little while. Romantic hearts make the craziest of promises. But in the end? He is a cheater. I am a writer. And the only thing we can do to protect the ones we love, is to be honest, insist on condoms, and to always use fake names.