A few weeks back, to celebrate being (approximately) halfway through LOVERGIRL, I opened the floor to questions inspired by the book or by anything else I have posted on my facebook page. Here are questions that were submitted, along with my answers:
1. Aside from all things sexual, sensual, and otherwise erotic, what’s the most important and/or surprising thing you discovered about humanity as a result of your investigations?
That we’re all in this together. That as much as we don’t talk about sex, we all crave it, we all need it, and when our clothes are off, we are at our most real, our most raw, and that it’s a shame that sex has been become such a bad word in puritanical America. We’re all doing it, why can’t we talk about it? Why is that you can’t show a breast on television, but you can show a decapitated body? There is something pure about sex, something metaphorically, not merely literally, naked about two people coming together like that (pun intended). That’s why I started writing erotica. I wanted to spend more time in that headspace. I wanted to cut through the bullshit, the white noise, that fills our day-to-day life. People need to spend more time without their clothes and or their pretentions.
2. Why did you choose diary-style entries when writing the novel?
It felt more real and raw, more direct. I wanted to focus exclusively on that part of Adrian’s life. I didn’t want to distract with typical novelesque interludes. I don’t really talk about her job or her friends or her family. I wanted the book to feel like an expose, a documentary, more than a novel, and diary-style entries felt like the purest way of achieving that.
3. For the women whom you researched for LOVERGIRL and the sex industry in general, what was the best advice they said they received from other women in the industry?
I interviewed so many different women and at such a cursory level (in other words, I didn’t spend a lot of time with one single woman) because that felt too unnatural. One of the most interesting things about these women is that they really work alone. You may show up for porn shoots where you work with a team, but, for the most part, these women are free agents. They deal with clients, but those exchanges are superficial if not totally artificial. So there can be a lot of loneliness. And this loneliness is only exacerbated by the fact that the rest of the world judges what they do, so they can’t talk about it a lot of people. All of which means that it’s really important for them to create their own community. And these women are great. They are strong and driven (you have to be to step outside the norm of socially accepted behavior and make a successful living at it), and when they come together, you feel the empowerment. So the best advice is really to maintain a community. This kind of work is tough and solitary, so you have to keep a support network of like-minded women!
4. What was it like organizing events in Berlin during its most hedonistic, era? Was it really like New York was in the 70’s and early 80s?
Since I’m too young to have been in New York during the seventies and eighties, it’s hard for me to say. I’m not sure if Berlin was at its most hedonistic when I was there, but I do know that it was pretty fabulous. Although, for me, since I’ve never been a hedonist (I’m way too type A to really let loose), it’s hard for me to speak to it. Remember, I was running most of those crazy parties or performing at them…so I was “working.” I never did drugs, and I didn’t drink much. I had to maintain clarity and focus! I had to be in charge. But I can attest to the fact that the parties were spectacular and gorgeous and stimulating, and I loved every minute of them.
5. You’ve brushed up against celebrities in your career. Which encounter or near-encounter was the most special/poignant/funny/decadent?
The most meaningful near-encounter happened several months after I moved to Berlin. I’d taken out a loan to get me through the early days, since I knew it would take a while to build up contacts and set up tour dates (remember, this was before Facebook and MySpace made this so much easier), but by February, I was literally living on spare change. It was rough. I had a tour set up in Italy for March, but I had no idea how I was going to pay my rent March 1st. The winter is a tough time to book shows, because the weather is so rotten, so I hadn’t gotten any work in January or February. It was a little scary. So I did what an enterprising girl would do: I made a spectacle! I self-published a limited edition of my Lovergirl book, and I organized an accompanying art exhibition at the hip White Trash bar in Berlin’s trendy Mitte district. I figured, if you’re broke, you might as well make a splash. I’ve never been the type to just give up and fade away!
So I had this photo show going on, and I was trying to drum up press for my book, all while running on fumes and a dwindling bank account, with no clue how to pay rent that was due in a week.
And then I got a phone call from the owner of White Trash letting me know that Pink had come in after her gig the night before and bought one of my photographs! She had said it was so sexy, she was going to take it home and hang it in her bedroom. Boom! Like money from the sky, my rent had fallen in my lap. I couldn’t believe it.
I hung up the phone and sat on my bed, in a state of total shock. Two seconds, the phone rang again. It was the owner again.
“I made a mistake,” he said.
My stomach sank. I knew it was too good to be true. Back to square one.
“Pink bought two of your photographs.”
“What? Are you kidding?”
He laughed. “Nope. She took two. You can come pick up your money whenever you want.”
Just like that, my March rent was covered, with some left over. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. One day, I hope to meet her so I can tell her thank you in person.
6. What kind of party girl were you during your time in Berlin?
Haha. Everyone seemed to think I was much more of a party girl than I really was. I actually dated a guy who wouldn’t believe I wasn’t like that, no matter how hard I tried to convince him. I think my public image made me look like I was out all night, running around, high on coke or Red Bull or whatever. But the reality was pretty different. I may have been out all night, but I was working. I never drank when I was on tour, and usually, if I was out at club, it was because I had organized the event or I was supporting my friends. Otherwise, I’d be at home, writing, making music, or booking tours.
7. When you interviewed these girls for LOVERGIRL, what was one of the things that united them?
The quality that struck me the most was their toughness. They all seemed hard as nails, while also being incredibly warm. Again, there was this sense that we were all in this together. We’d all somehow fallen off the path of social acceptable behavior, we’d all made a wrong turn somewhere, but it made us stronger, braver, and definitely a lot more interesting than all those who never veered off the straight and narrow.