First I’m talking about Susie Bright of course. A while back I wrote an entry about saving up to get her new book and she was so sweet she sent me one.
I loved her before but that was a super super sweet thing to do.
So I finally read the last five pages of her book last week and have been ruminating about it. I’m going to try not to be spoilery.
Here is the book.
(Also damn skippy I’m using amazon affiliate links here, mama needs to make some pennies.)
I have to confess that I love memoirs. And they must be memoirs I don’t care for autobiography, memoir seems more personal more secret. I am very nosy. I like hearing secrets and when I meet or discover people as adults I want to know about their childhoods and the things they did and their families and all those things.
On that level this book is very satisfying.
One thing I really appreciate is the way Susie talked about her parents. Her Mother in particular. It would have been very easy to gloss over the hard things and the painful things.
The first part of the book told me the things I’ve wondered about Susie Bright since I was 19 and got my first copy of On Our Backs. I learned about Susie as a young person. There were a lot of moments where I paused and thought holy fucking shit that’s so crazy.
I’m trying really hard not to give too much away here. It’s hard.
I stopped reading for a few days once I finished with the first portion of the book just as Susie was talking about her early adulthood. The way Susie writes is so personable and accessible that even though I don’t have a very good working knowledge of her early political leanings, I understood why she was doing it. That’s very important to me as a reader. There are a lot of things I just don’t know about and when someone can talk to me about them in a way that is understandable and without too much jargon I really appreciate it.
As Susie started talking about adulthood and working at Good Vibrations and my favorite part On Our Backs.
Gosh, On Our Backs.
That is what I was the most curious about honestly. Since I got my first copy of the magazine in hell 1996 or something from a friend I was blown away. I remember I spent hours reading every single word and examining these pictures of women who weren’t Playboy centerfolds. Even though I was too young to have gotten in on it in a major way, what Susie and her friends/family did for me is really unutterably wonderful.
In the book Susie talked about the Gay Daddies of OOB and that touched me really deeply. My own life as a young trysexual was heavily influenced by Gay men who loved me and supported me. Almost all of my early kinky and otherwise weird sexual experiences and exposure to queer writing was from my own set of Gay Daddies.
I am a bit of a sexuality/queer etc..okay let me stop minimizing. I spent years and years reading everything I could get my hands on about porn, sex and the sex culture in San Francisco as I could. I am a bit too young to have experienced a lot of it and from about the age of 16 I felt like those were my spititual people you could say.
I loved reading more about the interpersonal connections between people in SF in the sex industry. I spent a long time lingering over the repercussions and backlash that OOB caused. The death threats and anger in the feminist community about what they were doing. I was disheartened when Susie talked bout how many write in to OOB to complain about the women featured because they were fat or butch or hairy or whatever.
That broke me a little bit. As much of a realist as I can be, I had no idea just how much opposition to what OOB was doing came from inside the lesbian community. That was a bit of a blow.
I’m glossing over some stuff here. I’m an awful reviewer.
Susie talking about being pregnant with Aretha and being a Mom was just beautiful to me. You have to read it I don’t want to ruin it. Just…fuck just read it okay.
To sum up yes, yes if you have enjoyed Susie’s writing and you’re into memoir go read it. If you’re looking for more sex writing you’ll be disappointed.
This book felt to me as a reader like I had curled up at Susie’s knee (yes, I have fantasized this scenerio for years shut up) and had her tell me her stories while we drank wine and fed each other cookies.
Then of course we have pie and cuddle in my fantasy.
I do want really want in the most selfish BUT I WANT IT NOW DADDY Veruca Salt way is for Susie to write another memoir in ten years. I would also settle to hug her and tell her I love her in person.
Okay review done and you can click away I want to write Susie a little public love note.
You have no idea but you had a hand in raising me. As a young erotica writer I read the stories you chose for Herotica, Best American erotica. You took me by the hand when I read The Sexual State of the Union when I was 21 and still so damn confused. You helped me discover other role models and people to look up to. Thank you. Thank you for being there when I was alone and fully believed I was the weirdest little queer in the whole wide world. Thank you for guiding me to places, people and books that had it not been for you I might not have discovered on my own.
This is a weird thing to say maybe but in a lot of ways you played the role of Mama to me in the biggest most universal way in that a lot of your work and your struggles helped make me the woman I am right now and that is the best and most wonderful gift.
PS..your lapghan is just about finished. :*