History II — 2006 to now

A note from Lane alexandra, from the original website:

As I was sitting here this evening, working on the new website for NSWG, I kept trying to decide how I should introduce myself to all of you … and it occurred to me that I should probably just introduce myself to all of you the same way I introduced myself to Ambrose, the former group leader.

So here you go 🙂

~~

26November2006

AM said:

>Hi All

>This is a reminder of the November No Safeword Writers Group meeting.
>
>This will be the next to the last NSWG meeting that I will
>facilitate. At December’s NSWG meeting, I will be ready to turn the
>group over to anyone who can convince me they can do the job. This
>job is open as of 1/1/07.
>
>I’ve enjoyed my time running NSWG. I have learned and grown both as a
>writer and as a person from the experience.

hello there 🙂
you don’t know me…and that’s completely my fault…because–after 3.5 years in Seattle now–i’ve never managed to actually make it to a No Safeword group meeting…though i always intended to (we were going to have a National Procrastination Week…we just never got around to it…{chuckles}…you know how it goes)…but when i saw this note from you…i was immediately struck by the idea that–regardless of whether i’d ever made it there or not–that group serves a definite purpose in this area…and i would hate to see it end…in addition…it dovetails nicely with something I’d already been considering anyway…so i felt like this was a perfect opportunity for you and i to help each other out…that is…if you haven’t already found someone to take your place facilitating the group…
first, let me tell you a little about me…and what qualifies me for this position…i have a BA in Communications…with emphasis in Professional Writing…and i’m one thesis class/defense away from my MFA in Creative Writing…with a cognate in Professional Publications…what that means in plain English is that i’ve spent years in writing workshop classes…both as a student…and as a teacher…i’ve also written a number of academic papers that were delivered at international writer’s conferences…including six years of papers delivered at the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts conference…where my first one was on sex and power in the Gap Series by Stephen R. Donaldson… which i delivered with him sitting in the second row…right in front of me…so i have no problem being the center of attention…or right in the heat of things 🙂
i have 18 journalistic publications (on topics ranging from autism to nudism)…and 8 professional fiction publications… including a couple of PE-themed short stories featured in Night Magazine and Clean Sheets…i’ve also won three writing awards…and been the editor of four different publications (in both hard-copy and electronic media) and blah…blah… blah…{fill this part in with more of me tooting my own academic/publishing horn}
now…that all sounds pretty spiffy, huh?…{chuckles}…problem is…this all ended almost 4 years ago…i’ve been trying to finish my thesis (a BDSM-heavy murder mystery) ever since we moved to Seattle in 2003 (the hubby got a job up here…and i had to leave Texas one class away from my degree)…but being out of that workshop environment (along with quite a few other personal issues…including family and health problems) is NOT helping me…and I’m wallowing in the throes of the worst case of writer’s block I’ve ever experienced…as evidenced by the fact that I’ve barely written email in the last four years….much less fiction…and I’ve put my own feet to the fire recently, too…by officially scheduling my thesis defense for Fall, 2007…so it’s ‘rubber hits the road’ time for me…i have 150 pages written…and i need 150 more between now and this next August…so i really (REALLY) need something to kick-start my own muse….like, maybe…running a workshop class for others…{smile}…which is something I’d already considered doing anyway…before i saw your post about needing a facilitator for the No Safeword group….
i’ve been in a M/s relationship for over 8 years myself…so i know the material…{grin}…and i have kinky group management skills as well…in case that’s of interest to you…i don’t know if you recognize my email address/name as the list mom of the PNWMunchBunch/NorthEnd Munch…which is a group i sort of inherited right after we moved here (that was dying…but now it’s thriving)…in addition…i also run a D/s couple’s group that’s a small but growing private group (we only advertize it by word-of-mouth)…and a submissives group as part of that organization…so I’ve got experience in that area. too…
so I’m throwing the idea out to you, Ambrose…i have the skills…and the experience…probably more than you’ll find in most people…and i need to do something like this for myself…so i readily admit that the offer is not completely altruistic…but it is from the heart 🙂

let me know what you think…and i’ll plan on making my first (of many) visits to the group tomorrow night at the Spot 🙂

–Lane alexandra

 

 ~~

At this point, Ambrose began to grill me in email. If you ever wondered if he just handed the group over to a total stranger without so much as a whimper … think again! He’d put a lot of years (nine) into NSWG, he’d never laid eyes on me, and he wanted to give the group every chance to succeed once he gave up the reins. I respect that.
So I answered his questions in detail through several emails before we finally had a chance to meet face-to-face. I probably gave him more information than he was really looking for, but once you’re around me for any length of time, you’ll discover two things about me: I’m the Queen of “Too Much Information,” and I have no problem speaking my mind 🙂
And let me say this upfront … if you’re not a ‘professional writer’ … don’t let my education intimidate you and keep you away from the group. Those two degrees and a quick $4.50 will get me coffee in lots of places in Seattle ‘-)

I’m not the grammar police or some kind of ivory-tower academic, despite all my time in English classes. You have to understand, I went back to college at age 38, after a little 20-year break between my freshman and sophomore years. In the interim, I did a number of exciting and boring things. I worked in recording studios and traveled with rock & roll bands. Worked construction, where I spent time squatting on a roof nailing shingles. I worked as a bouncer, and worked in a sewing factory, marking the pockets for 32,000 pairs of blue jeans a day so the nice ladies with the sewing machines in the next row over would know where to put the fancy stitching. I’ve been a plain clothes shoplifting detective, collected credit card bills, and repoed cars. I’ve reconciled multi-million dollar general ledgers for conservative organizations like banks and insurance companies, bought and sold everything from mattresses to scrap metal, managed offices full of women and warehouses full of men, and even managed a team of Pakistani content developers who lived 8,000 miles away from where my desk was located at the time.

With that kind of background, becoming a writer just seemed to be a natural progression, don’t you think? 🙂

As far as my love of all things erotic goes, I cut my teeth on my parent’s porno collection starting at age eight. It wasn’t a couple of Penthouse magazines stuck under the mattress. It was a (locked) wooden trunk full of fetishes and kinks of all varieties: films, magazines, and book after book of hard-core interests (many of them completely illegal to even own) that my father collected during six years of military service in Europe in the early 50s. BDSM was one of three predominant themes in his collection (illegal, completely nonconsensual things being the other two), and it was the one that always resonated with me in my own life. If not, I’d probably have a teenaged horse in my back yard, rather than a dungeon in my bedroom ‘-)

So if you’re worried that your writing won’t be accepted because it’s too hard-core (or too soft-core) … put your fears aside. ‘Content’ doesn’t bother me. Bring it on! I love (and often write) everything from bodice-ripper erotica to hard-core smut, so whether you’re fluttering your eyes appealingly or breaking something off in some orifice somewhere … I’ll enjoy reading it! I discovered a love of reading hot literature almost 40 years ago. I’ve never lost the taste for it in all its forms. And I’m still honing my skills at writing it, too, because I really only started writing erotica in 1997 myself, right after I went back to school … so I’m excited about what I can learn from all of you, too!

As far as what I bring to NSWG goes, as I’ve already told several of you individually … this is your opportunity to tap into the fancy education I already paid for … for free 🙂

Sure, I can help you nit-pick your grammar. It’s a normal part of workshop. But I have more tools in my toolbox than just that, and at the heart of me … you’ll find a writer who loves voice-driven writing. So while I can (and will) discuss the mechanics of your work with you, I can also try to help you find your own voice, or hone the one you have to a razor’s edge. Erotica, more than any other genre, is about conveying emotion to your reader … and nothing conveys emotion better than a voice that strokes you like a feather or hits you like a fist … in addition to the more logistical parts of your erotic story. I’ll watch those, too. Don’t be surprised if I scrawl something like this on one of your stories:

wait a minute!…you just had his hands tied behind his back…did he grow a third one to grab her by the hair?
Beyond that, I have several ideas I’d like to follow through on with the group, so stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, my inbox is always open. If you have questions, send them here … and I hope to see all of you at a NSWG meeting sometime soon.

Let’s get writing!

Lane alexandra

~~

Update: I’m sitting here redoing the website in November of 2013, which means it’s been more than seven years now since I approached Ambrose about taking over leadership of NSWG. It’s been quite a ride since then! 🙂

We’ve definitely grown! In addition to growing the membership … about five years ago, the group decided that one workshop a month just wasn’t enough! That’s when we started meeting twice a month: on the 2nd Tuesday at 7pm, and on the 4th Sunday at 1pm! Then late this year–after meeting at the Center for Sex Positive Culture for more than 13 years–we made the decision to maintain our long and amicable affiliation with the CSPC, but–thanks to their own amazing growth in recent years, and the subsequent pressures on their calendar–to change our meeting place to The Hurricane Cafe in downtown Seattle instead, returning to NSWG’s roots from it’s beginnings at the now defunct Beyond the Edge Cafe.

I finally finished that thesis I was sweating so that I could graduate in 2008, thanks in no small part to the support of the other writers who attend our meetings. At 354 pages, it ended up being the longest thesis in my university’s history by almost 100 pages. According to the graduate office, it also had fewer errors than any thesis they’d ever reviewed. There were only three, two of those being two incidences in my preface where I’d forgotten to abbreviate the name of the school according to one sentence in their fourteen page list of formatting criteria. The third was where I’d lost a paragraph break somehow in the same 15-page preface.

I’m not telling you these details about my experience at graduate school because I’m bragging about what a great writer I am. I’m telling you these little tidbits because–over the course of a couple of years of workshopping it–the members of NSWG helped me find every single error in my 350+ page thesis.

Maybe I should have had them workshop my preface, too … huh? 🙂

Unfortunately, two car accidents (and–among other life challenges–our kids in GA adopting three teenagers … which, of course, meant that I had to travel there FREQUENTLY!) have left me with some physical problems that have kept me from pursuing my own writing career much in the last few years, but I remain as dedicated to NSWG as I was the first day I walked in the door. I schedule my months around it, and it’s a resource that’s helped quite a few writers over the course of its history, so I’m excited to see that continue with the new writers who find us!