Sunday, June 23, 2013

Greta Christina is in the Salon!

"Delighted" doesn't even begin to describe my emotions at hosting an interview with Greta Christina. Rather than call her as a "femme fatale," I'll call her a "word fatale." 

Here is a snippet from "Changing the Scene," a story in her new collection, Bending:

It is important to her that this should be about punishment; that he should be pitiless but fair; that he should be correcting her, and inspiring her to do better. So he counts out her offenses, and marks them on a chalkboard in her line of sight, and erases the marks as he proceeds through her punishments. Offenses against the world, and against him. Her offenses against him are few, but he counts them for much more.

It is important to her that she be exposed. But she is overcome with sudden shyness when he instructs her to do it, to lift her skirt and lower her undergarments. He generally likes women to expose themselves for him -- it makes him feel desired, and powerful -- but it soon becomes clear that she can't. So he does it for her. He only gives her the barest hint of a withering look, and two marks for her disobedience in the "offenses against me" column. One for her skirt, and one for her panties.

It is important to her that this be a little bit hard. Not too hard, but a little. She wants him to be a little forceful, to make her a little afraid, to make her take a little more than she thinks she wants. So he holds his black rage tightly in check. He limits himself to his hand, and to a wooden ruler at the very end. Her bottom turns bright pink, and then bright red; but it should fade soon, with no bruises. And he keeps his tongue in check: keeping his language harsh but not brutal, his tone biting but not vicious. She has tears in her eyes when he is done, but her pussy is wet, and she seems essentially fine.

And now that I have you in the mood, here is a little bit more about GC:

Alison Tyler: Do you need a certain mindset or tools or other to enable you to get into your writing, and if so, what?

Greta Christina: Tools, for damn sure. I am very attached to writing on my own laptop. It would feel weird to write on anything else.

As for mindset: It definitely helps to be in a certain mindset for certain kinds of writing. It helps, for instance, to be horny when I'm writing dirty stories. If I'm not horny, I'll generally do other kinds of writing instead: like atheist rants, or cat blogging.

That being said, though: A deadline for paying work is powerful inspiration. If I have a deadline for a specific piece, I just bloody well work on it, whether I feel like it or not. I flesh out the skeleton if I haven't yet started a piece, or work on polishing and revisions if I have. Starting to write a piece can get me in the mindset to write it. And starting to write porn can definitely make me horny enough to write porn. If I can't get revved up any other way, then I'll read some of my older porn. It can get me very... inspired.

Alison Tyler: Do you have a writing ritual or routine? Do you need quiet or noise? Can you work at a café, or do you have an office? Are there ways you like to warm up?

Greta Christina: I have a routine, more or less... but I need to be flexible with it. I travel a lot -- I do a lot of public speaking -- and my schedule is often seriously wonky. If I were deeply attached to a ritual or routine, there would be days, and indeed weeks, when I couldn't work at all.

That being said, the ritual/routine that I have when I'm able to is: Wake up. Pee. Come back to bed and meditate. Get up for real. Make breakfast and coffee; consume. Open computer. Check blog comments, email, Facebook, Twitter. Then start: either writing, or working my way through my to-do list and the business-y things I do for my writing career, depending on which is more pressing that day, and on how much of a hellscape my email inbox is. I work on my laptop on my sofa, which is horrible for my neck but seems to be wonderful for my writing. Somehow, writing at a desk or in an office paralyzes me. It feels like, "Now you have to be writing! Now is your responsible work time!" Which is the worst mindset for me for getting any writing done. If I'm on the sofa, it just feels like I'm dicking around on the computer, and I can ease into actual work without freaking out my brain.

And yes, I love writing at cafes. I have a whole set of cafes around San Francisco that I know and love. If I need a break, or a little outside time, or just a shift in perspective, moving from home to a cafe often does the trick. Also, cafes let me squeeze a bit of writing into a busy day of running around doing errands. (Also, I have a cat who loves to chew computer cords, so I can't charge my computer while I'm working, so I only can work a few hours at a time before I need to either take a break or move to a cafe.) It does need to be a quiet cafe, though.

Alison Tyler: What's your favorite season?

Greta Christina: I know that the proper poetic answer is autumn. But honestly, I go back and forth between summer and spring. I love taking long walks, not in the freaking rain. And I love the feeling of air on my bare skin, and in San Francisco, you don't get that very often. I treasure it when I can. So really, the answer is summer. The only reason spring is on the list is that in spring, summer is still coming up. In summer, there's not enough summer left.

Alison Tyler: Do you hang out with other writers for inspiration and critical feedback or do you self appraise?

Greta Christina: I run everything I write by my wife Ingrid if I possibly can. She's a great copy editor. She's more nitpicky than I am about the standard rules: I don't always do what she tells me, but she's always worth listening to. And she almost always has good suggestions, about both form and content. The only downside is that I often asking her if there's something I can cut... and she almost always ends up with new things she wants me to add!

Other than that: I'm a blogger, and the name of the game in blogging is speed and volume. If I tried to run everything I wrote by other writers, or even a significant amount of what I wrote, I'd never get anything done... or I'd get it done days after anyone stopped caring. And my colleagues would get fed up with it, fast. But if I have an especially important piece, or a tricky piece on a delicate or unusually controversial subject, or just a piece where I'm not sure I've gotten it right, I usually run it by writers and friends I respect. And of course, one of the great things about blogging is that you get instant feedback from readers/ commenters! My commenters have shaped my writing significantly.

Alison Tyler: Describe your ideal lover.

Greta Christina: Ummmm... human?

Honestly -- I don't think I have one. So much of what I like about sex is (a) surprise and (b) human connection. I don't think I could get that from an ideal. Within that framework, though: My ideal lover is smart, funny, sexually imaginative, sexually open-minded, a basically decent and ethical human being with politics that don't make me nauseous, comfortable talking about sex, comfortable asking for what they want in bed, caring and generous about what I want in bed, not hung up on gender norms, and kinky as fuck.

Alison Tyler: Describe your ideal meal.

Greta Christina: It really depends on my mood. Sometimes it's a huge salad with loads of healthy delicious unpredictable tidbits. Sometimes it's a slice of toasted cherry chocolate bread, generously smeared with mascarpone, and a big bowl of raspberries. Sometimes it's some pretentious locavore foodie thing, asparagus soup with fennel and cardamom garnished with creme fraiche and smoked salt and served with Indonesian flatbread, or something. (I'm totally making that up. I don't even know if Indonesian flatbread is a thing.) Sometimes it's macaroni and cheese. Sometimes it's two cups of coffee and a slab of flourless chocolate cake. Sometimes it's vegetable korma with onion naan. Sometimes it's broiled salmon with roasted cauliflower and sweet potatoes. Sometimes it's a honeycrisp apple and a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. Sometimes it's a grilled peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwich.

As I guess you can see, I like variety. I'm like the character Jack in my novella "Bending." Variety is my fetish.

Alison Tyler: What color are your sheets? And are you going to send me a picture of your bed?

Greta Christina: Most of my sheets are cream-colored. I have some in midnight blue, though.

And no, I don't think I'm going to send a picture of my bed. I have a definite zone of privacy, especially as I become more of a public figure, and I think that crosses it. Thanks for asking, though. And thanks for the interview!

Alison Tyler: Thank you very much for stopping by the salon. 

"Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories About Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More" is currently available an an ebook on Kindle, Nook, and Smashwords. Audiobook and paperback are coming soon!

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