October 22, 2023
Tonight at the Sydney Goldstein Theater in San Francisco, Werner Herzog told his audience that we were all living fictitiously—an amalgam of various presentations, none of which were entirely authentically ourselves.
He also noted that he did not believe in the concept of the present, going on to illustrate how the idea of the present is asymptotic with a metaphor from one of his recent books, The Twilight World: A soldier lifts his boot from the mud. The remaining print represents the past and where the foot will fall represents the future. The arc of every point in between, as the foot travels up and back down again, is what is imagined to be the present, though undefinably so.
Obviously, authenticity and temporality of the self are not new topics. So it felt almost stupid to listen to this guy simplify them to roaring applause.
A patchwork of fictions might as well make up reality as we know it, in which case, reality is fiction and by constantly performing versions of ourselves, we are being authentic. And the present needn’t be defined by a single static unit, but perhaps instead a tumbling aura of energy to which our collective consciousness seeds credibility.
Though Herzog is a legend, and downplaying his wise interpretation of profound concepts is akin to dismissing Picasso’s simple sketches as easy—in both cases, the autors earned their salt.
Quick tangent: Do you ever use a phrase and know in your heart it makes some sort of sense but have no ever loving clue how it weaseled its way into your mind hole? The salt phrase sounded right and I could rationalize the logic behind it with my cursory historical knowledge of the ancient value of salt, but some other sector of my brain questioned whether I made it up and the reader would have to either assume I know what I’m talking about or tally a bullshit point and decide whether to keep reading based on the veracity of my cerebral spewing.
Speaking of the present, my cat whose fur has spilled onto my bodily contour as waves lap the shore has decided to gaze up at me lovingly from an unfathomable slumber. I looked into his eyes and was reminded of the susceptible nature of writing—that producing an essay such as this cannot be completed entirely in an entranced state. And it made me think back to Herzog and tonight’s conversation and how mad I was at his own tired fiction. Here he was in the flesh, and I had to listen to the performative facade of his celebrity.
I really wish he had messed up somehow. Or been put on the spot. Or been hurled into some unknown, having to navigate on pure instinct. I include tangents and asterisks in my own writing because I want the production to be part of the product. The viscerality of reality should counterbalance the pretense of my uncertain, half-baked, poorly prosed, lazily unedited ideas. I want to offer the glimpse behind the balderdash, because I yearn for it in every piece of perfectly-polished media I guiltily consume.
That’s it for tonight. I lost my momentum. Katya stopped snoozing and summoned the popcorn. Pepper’s tufty tide has receded into an ocean of blankets, away from my typing elbow. It’s past midnight, as usual, and my daily regret for lack of a diligent sleep schedule has surfaced. I’m just glad to get something new up on the site to push the porn piece down a chronological notch—I was riding on that reflection for too long and need to make way for the next escapade. Until then, my drafts folder is fucking massive.
May tomorrow’s fiction turn instantaneously into the past with great vigor.
October 7, 2023
This post is NSFW.
I’m now officially credited in a professionally-produced porn film. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing. A friend texts some vague details and asks if I want to check it out, and next thing I know I’m filling out a 2257 adult model release form in an alley-entrance venue buzzing with curious characters.
I felt confident in the company of my friend, but unsure what I’d gotten myself into. I’d been curious about getting into porn before, having worked on the business side of the industry for a brief time. But showing your face is different—there may be future consequences. To hell with it. I was exhilarated. Everyone has seen porn. How many can say they’ve been part of it? It was an honor, really, to have this opportunity, and I surely wasn’t going to let it slip by. But it was especially an honor because the star was a famous trans actress—and trans porn is what clued me into the existence of trans people at a very young age.
Growing up, trans people were far more taboo than they are now. Despite the political scapegoating, I’ve seen so much positive progress in my lifetime surrounding transgender identities. And it fucking rocks. I wish I could have started my transition earlier, but it’s still a sweet time to be in the midst of it. It’s a bona fide renaissance.
Back to growing up… trans representation in media like movies was fucking terrible. Trans people were always portrayed as conniving and undesirable. There were some saving graces I discovered later, like the 90s television series Twin Peaks by David Lynch, where Detective Cooper sticks up for his colleague Denise. But the primary place where trans people were, er, appreciated, was porn. Porn overflowing with disparaging slurs abused by cisgender people to make a buck off fetishization. But I didn’t know any better, and it didn’t just turn me on, it turned me all the way up.
I felt guilty or dirty in a bad way for enjoying trans sex on screen. Looking back, it’s easy to see that these feelings stemmed from the cultural taboo—and also internally feeling bad for the objectification. And not objectification in a sexy, consensual way, but one that defames an entire vector of identity that has so, so, so much more dimension.
I now know that I was jealous—internally screamingly jealous—of those beautiful people in those photos and videos. As I write this, it’s the night after the night of the filming. A bit earlier, I looked up the actress from the shoot and tapped on one of her videos and had a revelation. A flood of warmth kicked in during the plot buildup of the porn, and dulled a bit during the more frictional frames. I found myself scrubbing ahead to the dialogue, wanting so desperately to know what happens next. I cared about the characters. And I felt what they were feeling before any on-screen stimulation even began. Can thank the proper hormones for this—the mystified feminine libido that recently decided to blossom within me. Oh god it’s amazing.
We’re back at the shoot. After grabbing a drink and mingling around, the florescent setup lights overhead cut off. The gloriously quirky cast converged outside for the first scene. We were told to stand in front of the lights and cameras, obviously, but some oddly didn’t and so I stepped up and made myself seen in the crowd. It was public-humiliation themed. There was main interplay between a sub and her dom, and the rest of us were to participate however we felt appropriate—inappropriate?—at any given time. I was sheepish but did try to get in a few slaps, etc. I scribbled a word on her body, which was actually quite difficult thanks to a combination of fluids lacquering her skin. Took a few selfies, as encouraged by the director. And more. Sensory overload.
Some were pros, others there for the very first time, like myself. I made a connection with someone who’d had their own production studio for a while and was considering getting back into it all. I met someone who gave me a wallop of an ego boost, saying I should be the one front and center, getting all the group love. I was simply amazed every second I was on set. I kept trying to imagine how it would be edited and what the final product would look like, stitching together the pieces in my mind. Thinking how fucking stupid I looked being a combination of bewildered, turned on, fulfilled, enlightened, concentrated, and careful not to get my nice leather jacket stained with lube.
This film will end up tossed atop an infinite pile of online smut, existing within a very specific, likely not often sought niche. Good for my more traditional career, maybe. But it’s different. The actress preambled the performance with a monologue on her efforts to change the tune of trans porn by reclaiming agency within it. She spoke of eradicating slurs and letting trans actors take on roles they were traditionally barred from. The next part gets a bit bitsy—I’m going to talk about girl dick.
Traditionally, as I understand it from my cursory knowledge of the porn industry, trans women were always expected to top, or penetrate other people using their penises. I wager it has something to do with fetishists harboring internalized homophobia and wanting to be dominated by women, albeit with dicks. “It’s not gay, bro.” But gock, shenis, whatever you call it, doesn’t function that way, for me at least. Nor for many of my girlfriends. Sparing you too much detail on my genitals, my parts simply work more like I imagine a vulva to work. It’s like a, uh… floppy clit. I could go on about the magic therein, but perhaps not on my website where anyone may lovingly attend. Though I would like to document it, especially for trans posterity. Maybe later. Just gotta preface with something like: “Mom and dad, I love you, but get far the fuck away from these words.”
It was empowering to witness a trans woman treated wholly as a woman in porn. It’s what I wish I had while coming of age—maybe I would have recognized myself sooner. It makes me question chasers, too… take a long look in the mirror.
What a ride. A night to remember. I’d definitely do it again, but there’s nothing like the first time doing anything, really. It’s pure elation. And if you were there with me, or you happen to come across this piece of pornographic art, you might not sense any of this through my anxious expressions and back-of-the-pack reticence, but my mind was abuzz and still is. I wasn’t the star, I wasn’t getting railed, but I didn’t need to be. I got to step into the looking glass of my childhood imagination and be on the other side. To live vicariously through someone confidently expressing herself with raw, unwavering vulnerability. How fucking cool.
I know who I am now. I feel alive. I want and feel wanted. Tarnished guilt buffs off with every swish of blush. Old shame wicks right off my swan feathers. My senses have breached the limits of vividity. And whatever the result of my participation brings, bring it. There is no time to do anything but that which makes you exuberant. Find your inner glow, and radiate.
October 1, 2023
This is a follow up to my previous post, Patina. My writing can get a bit boggy and I wanted to know whether what I banged out at 1am last night was coherent, so I asked ChatGPT to evaluate. Here’s what it had to say.
This essay reflects on the fleeting nature of achievements and accolades in life and explores the concept of self-appreciation and motivation. The author begins by contemplating the diminishing value of past accolades and questions whether the pride associated with achievements diminishes over time. The essay delves into the idea of not resting on one’s laurels and ponders the appropriate duration for basking in one’s accomplishments, drawing a distinction between different types of achievements.
The author contemplates the significance of validation in the creative process and questions the motivation behind one’s work. Legacy, validation, and external acknowledgment are all explored, raising existential questions about the purpose of human endeavors. The essay touches on the superficiality of curated online personas and the potential disappointment when reality contradicts the image presented online.
A personal reflection is woven into the essay when the author discusses their experience with hormonal changes and how it has made them more attuned to their own fragility. This reflection on physical vulnerability is metaphorically extended to the concept of emotional and creative vulnerability, suggesting that being open to damage allows for personal growth and a deeper connection with the world.
The essay challenges the conventional value of awards and job titles, suggesting that the proliferation of accolades has diluted their significance. The author expresses a preference for decentralization, hinting at a shift away from traditional structures of recognition and meaning.
The essay concludes with a statement of self-affirmation, emphasizing the importance of feeling accomplished for one’s own sake, regardless of external validation. The author finds fulfillment in self-expression and the act of creating, suggesting that genuine self-satisfaction is a powerful motivator.
Overall, the essay is a contemplative piece that delves into existential questions about achievement, motivation, and self-worth. It combines personal reflection with broader societal observations, inviting readers to consider their own values and motivations in the face of societal expectations and external recognition.