So, firstly, you can now buy Confessions of a Pickup Artist Chaser in physical form. Yes! A real paperback! It took a lot of work to fix Confessions up for print, but it was worth it. I’ve got the first copy on the table next to me right now, and it looks lovely. Buy it!
Also, over the last week, I’ve given a bunch of lectures, and I’ve had the opportunity to visit my old college campus and talk to my old advisor. And I’ve been working on formatting my upcoming Best Of Clarisse Thorn. (You can download a free electronic sample over at Smashwords; I included 12 of my favorite articles. I’ll eventually be selling a version with a lot more articles, both in electronic form and paper form.)
It all leads me naturally to thinking about how far I’ve come, and the people I owe thanks to.
By now, I’ve given my lectures and workshops in a lot of venues, from museums to conferences to universities. Different people have worked to bring me in, but it’s actually most common for university students to raise money to bring me to their campus.
And these students floor me. Seriously. When I was an undergraduate, I spent all my time daydreaming and playing Dungeons and Dragons and hanging out with my friends. (Okay, I did schoolwork too.) I had so little interest in activism or organizing. And there’s nothing wrong with that; I love my college friends, and my college experience was good for me. It helped me fix myself up post-high school, which was the worst period of my life. But I feel like I was pretty different from the students who are hiring me now, and I admire them.
I get the most amazing comments. I’ll meet students who stun me with their poise and drive, and then they’ll say things like “Clarisse, I can’t tell you how much your writing means to me,” or “I read your coming-out story every three months because it makes me feel okay about myself.” It’s amazing and, in a way, it’s nerve-wracking. I kind of feel unworthy, because I mess up my relationships plenty … I mess up my activism plenty, too. Sometime I feel like I shouldn’t be writing about anything, ever, because I don’t really know what I’m talking about. When I started running lectures and workshops and other events, I did it for free or super cheap; I was grateful for the opportunity to practice, to create more conversation around topics I believe are important. At first, I never imagined that I’d get to the point where people fly me in, where I charge money for it, where I’m selling books and articles.
But what’s really astonishing is that I’ve gotten legitimately good at it. I was especially happy with how my sexual communication workshop went down, this week — it was such a good group, such a good discussion. I felt so much pride, both in myself and in the people who were attending. Later, I went to my old campus and walked through the library and had lunch with my advisor, and I felt nothing but gratitude. (My advisor, by the way, is totally amused that I’m a feminist sex writer now. No one saw that coming.)
And yeah, I guess I’m different from these students who bring me in, but I’m so like them, too. The same way I’m so like a lot of my readers and commenters and the other bloggers I’ve worked with over the years. I wouldn’t be able to do any of this if I didn’t have their support. Your support. Not just financial and organizational, but intellectual too. So I wanted to give you all some sappy reflections. I appreciate it so much. Thank you.