#SundayMusing: Susan holds the pen

Continuing the never-ending dialogue with those elusive characters, it is my pleasure to hand over the pen to Susan, perhaps the most sinful creation of this writer’s delirious imagination.

Leonard Cohen's quoteI dislike your introduction: yes, I recognise that you have placed me in situations that many readers may find distasteful. But, pray, remember that yesterday’s taboos are today’s fads, and, perhaps even, tomorrow’s traditions. The ancient Greeks and Romans, for example, had habits in cooking, dressing, and, yes, loving, that were anathemas to the Victorians. Und so weiter, and so on…

Still, I rather like what you have written of me and Paul, although, he, has another opinion of you (this will have to wait until he gets the pen!) I enjoyed the beginning of the story, and revel in the new “Retour à Roissy“, which is, really, a new beginning. I felt inspired to write this, and intend to continue the adventures of Myriam and O.  I am fascinated by O, and a little infatuated with the woman who created her. If we try and place ourselves in her time and place, the grim France of the after-War, a time of bigotry and falsehoods, that she could write a story of such audacity, was a miracle.

As for my relationship with Mistress G, I make no secret that we are very good friends – and more. She too is a source of inspiration, and I have learnt a lot from her. I do mean to ask her to train my new pet, you know, the one Paul drilled enthusiastically not so long ago. Miss G and Helen, are, in a nutshell, what I aspire to become, in the fullness of time, with pet. Yes, I hear from your corner of the room, more question marks than I will bother to answer: I do not crave your intimacy. You are the writer, not, underlined, not, my lover.

By the way, you haven’t given pet a name. Shall we call her… Justine? I know, not very original for this genre, but, Justine appeals to me, and it will suit her too. Talking about names, I have to say you confused us, Paul and me, totally, with the tale of the multiple Melissa’s. How many versions are they? Which one is “real”, which one is ghostly?

As for your style, and sense of storyline, well, to be absolutely honest, I think you are far too complicated. But then, it’s up to your readers to judge! See you around…

Régine Desforges and Pauline Réage: O m’a dit

I will be posting here the whole text of Régine Desforges’ s interview of Pauline Réage, author of Histoire d’O (© 1975, 1995 Éditions Jean-Jacques Pauvert).

Régine Deforges interviews Pauline Réage in 1975, twenty one years after “Histoire d’O” was published (1954).  Régine is then forty, and in 1968 founded her own publishing house, “L’Or du Temps”, and its first erotic novel, Irène, was banned by the censors.  Pauline is sixty-eight, but her true identity as the author of O has not yet be revealed (it will be in 1994, as the following text mentions).

For the new edition of O m’a dit, in March 1995, Régine wrote this introduction.  Pauline will die three years later.

“I have with the author of Histoire d’O a relationship of infinite tenderness, made of profound affection and respect, and I know she has for me the softest of friendships.

She is now an old lady [in 1995 Pauline is eighty-eight] but I cannot see her as such. I see her rather as a lost child, as I am, in the world of adults; always capable of saying things that surprise them or shock them.  This submissive is a free and loyal being.  Even though I am not so sure that loyalty be such a great quality.  One uses it when one needs it, as one can conclude by merely looking at our politicians…  The loyalty, which one believes to owe to others, is a trap in which someone as free as Dominique Aury [Pauline’s “official” literary name]  may sometime be caught. But I love her the more for it.  Don’t we love the very weaknesses of those we cherish?

Why Dominique Aury instead of Pauline Réage? She herself lifted the veil over the identity of the author of Histoire d’O in a long interview with the New Yorker, in July 1994 [Pauline’s/Dominique’s real name was Anne Desclos but she was known in her profession as journalist and literary editor only as Dominique Aury].  There she “admits” being the author of the most erotic and troubling novel of the 50’s, which only knows a worldwide success twenty years later.

Cinema has not done justice to the book, the great film of O and her love is yet to be realised.  Perhaps it is too late?  Histoire d’O talked to us, as a disciple of Fénelon and of Madame Guyon (classical mystics of the 17th-18th century), of “abandonment in the hands of the Loved one”.  This quietism is no longer of our time.

To please me, Dominique Aury agreed we composed O m’a dit. I owe to this proof of friendship to have overcome my fear of writing; she forced me to develop some of my questions or digressions.  I obeyed her and this work appeased my anxiety. One or two years later I published my first novel Blanche et Lucie [Blanche et Lucie is the history of Régine’s two grand-mothers].  For this I am for ever indebted to her.  The following year it was Le Cahier Volé [the Stolen Notebook], in which I tried to describe what would hinder my writing for more than twenty years.  Of that fear I am not completely cured.

For a while Dominique and I thought of adding a chapter to O m’a dit. “But my child, I have told everything and I am so tired”.  I did not insist.  This book expresses the essential on the manner (the writing of) Histoire d’O was undertaken.     Perhaps today I would be more combative, more incisive, more brutal?  But already then, I wanted to protect her, and, I admit, she intimidated me still a little.  I was amazed to know her so well, she the author of a book that had so much taken hold of me, that I had read so many times with the same emotion, the same deep effect on me.  This was childish on my part.

Now, when we evoke Histoire d’O and O m’a dit, we feel that a long time has gone by, that women and men, overfed by television and films with forcefully realistic images, can no longer be moved by O.  I did a survey of twenty and thirty year-old women [Régine writes “girls” and “young women”] who have read O. All have recognised, even when they disagree with the tortures O accept, that they felt like making love when they discovered the story.  Thus the words still have the greatest strength of evocation.  As for the men, something like nostalgia of a time that preceded feminism seems to float on their eyes.  But they are wrong, one can be a feminist and take pleasure, like O, in being a sex object.  For who decided to be that object, if not her?

O m’a dit is a sincere book, where neither Pauline nor I have cheated.  It still looks like us.”

Daily Prompt: Unconventional Love

Over the weekend, we explored different ways to love. Today, tell us about the most unconventional love in your life.

Departure She noticed him as soon as he walked into the bar. There was a sudden lowering of voices,           the other girls were quiet, their eyes down, and she saw that other men greeted him silently, with the sort of respect one owes to someone special. He went to sit in one of the leather chairs near the wide window, and to O’s surprise signalled to her to come to him. O stood in front of him, silent. “You are O”, he said in a deep and yet youthful voice, “Anne-Marie has told me about you, and Sir Stephen”. O could not stop herself shed a tear. “I have come to take you with me”, he said in a matter of fact voice. Then, against her usual discipline, she looked at his face, his eyes. He smiled. “I have told Anne-Marie to have your iron rings removed. I will give you a pair of rings to wear if you wish, but this time of silver. Also I have a new collar for you, and you will find it more comfortable.” His eyes were grey, the pale grey of autumn clouds near the sea. O knelt and started crying, unable to stop. He slowly pulled her to him, cradling her in his arms.

Later he took her to her room. He had brought her clothes, and lingerie. Anne-Marie came in with her tools. She showed great respect for him, as he watched her remove O’s rings. Then she asked O if she wanted her to undo her collar. O said yes, all the time looking at him. When this was done, he thanked Anne-Marie who left the room. He took O in his arms. She felt at the end of a long road, and she wanted to belong. She fell asleep in his arms. In the morning, he helped her dress in her new clothes. Then they left.

The following year O gave him a son.

(This story was prompted by a comment from Gemini on my previous post. The full story can be found here)

Sunshine Award from a Master

Sunshine Award I am tickled pink at receiving the Sunshine Award from a much admired blogger, writer and Dominant Master, Sir Joseph McNamara (@JMcNamara4), grand financier and world traveller who hailed from New-York City and his magisterial fortress. Being in the company of glamorous and talented bloggers such as GeminiswordsPenelope JonesRenee RoseAdaline RaineAna VitskyGreen Eyed GheishaAlice DarkGenevieve Dewey and MariMar makes this award an awesome experience for this timid scribbler.

Thank you for your kind words Sir, I am forever your liege.  I will attempt to answer the shiny questionnaire in a way that does honour the occasion…

Favorite Color: is green, for the meadows of my beloved Dolomites

Favorite Animal: the Salamander

Favorite Number: π

Favorite Non-alcoholic DrinkCoffee

Facebook or Twitter: different things I guess, my central character is on Facebook, just in case

Your Passionmy wife Gorgeous, without her the Universe would be a frozen desert

Giving or getting presents: Books mainly, signs of friendship, signs of love

Favorite Day: February 14

Favorite FlowersEdelweiß

My nominations:

Those friends are a constant source of inspiration and learning for me.  I apologise for nominating for an award already received, as may be the case.

Belinda Witzenhausen, writer and wonderful blogger and artist

Rick Stassi, who knows the way

Leslie Moon, poet and photographer

Louise Hastings, author

Mirabella, inspired, inspiring and a source of wonder

Jim Wright, writer, photographer and observer of life and of his beautiful country, Jordan

Diana Lee, writer, photographer and musician

Ash N. Finn, writer and blogger extraordinaire

Marny Copal, who has raccoons on the deck…

Romantic Dominant, who’s certainly not faded nor fading…

If you want to join in the fun, and continue the process, the rules are to:

(1) Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post.

(2) Complete the Q&A below in your blog post.

(3) Pass on the award to 10-12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.

The End of the Challenge #AtoZChallenge #WritersWednesdays

The End of the Challenge

O There is always an anticlimax at the end, like finishing the first reading of a beloved book.  But, somehow, one of the posts has given me an idea.  Doing research for the Challenge leads sometime to old friends, or friends one did not expect to have.  Thus I have met Régine Deforges, a celebrated writer and hell raiser in her own time.  From Régine I have promised myself to read several books, and more about those in due time.  For now I have picked up a new project: translating and commenting on Régine’s “O m’a dit” (© Société Nouvelle des Editions Jean-Jacques Pauvert, 1975, Nouvelle Edition, Pauvert, 1995), her 1975 interview – sorry – “entretiens” with Pauline Réage, author of Histoire d’O.  In fact there is yet another idea beyond this, but for the latter, my readers may have to look elsewhere in these pages.

I think a translation of “O m’a dit” in English already exists (if so I have not read it), but I relish the idea of doing something my own way, with my own bias.  “O m’a dit” is a fascinating piece of journalism and critique, one of only two interviews Pauline gave in her lifetime.  When, in 1975, Pauline and Régine met they were already friends, and they talked about O, of course, but also about many subjects they were keen to discuss: in those lines one can read the weight of their own success – published and successful author of one world-famous book for Pauline, Régine of many to come – as well of their phantasms.  Well, enough for now, and more later.  What I am planning to do is to translate (I think the whole text: 170 pages) and post in small chunks with comments, hopefully of interest to you, reader, and I’d probably do that every Wednesday or so under the tag #WritersWednesday!

So, what about the Challenge?  Well, it is now over for 2013, and I published the last post yesterday!  It has been most enjoyable, and I found it easier than last year, which was my first year of participation.

 

#FiveSentenceFiction: Angles

Angles

Susan You are working in our study, and for now you are on your own, in a space we share.

On the wide oak table are the latest photographs we have made: you, me, us, in different angles, seized in the slow motion of time arrested, provocative and yet romantic pictures of lovers…

You are choosing those for the next edition of our book, for which the publisher offered that huge advance: we were almost embarrassed, after all, it’s one of our hobbies – I see you’re smiling…

Now you’re looking in the mirror, and I know the reflection of you, the slender neck, the leather collar, the triumphant red hair, the delicate silver necklace, those eyes your master gave the world for.

And tonight, I will take your portrait, as you know, the angle which suggests, and does not show, just enough and no more, of your sublime beauty…

#FiveSentenceFiction: Paradise

To Susan

Daria Bagrintseva His dedication to his work is exemplary, and he is admired by colleagues and friends.

But in the depth of his heart he hides a wonderful secret, a secret always present, as he works through the day.

Only he – and the one who shares his life – know the secret: it is their shared treasure, the magic link between them when he is away.

She has the key, and she knows, every evening he will be there, at their door…

For she is the guardian, collared, fragile, her white skin like snow in Spring, her lips so red, waiting to open for him the door of Paradise.

Image: Daria Bagrintseva

#FiveSentenceFiction: Ringing

Owned The small torus was perfect, its pale colour matching her skin, its location a delicious dream, a constant evocation of a deep secret, his and hers.

They had chosen the craftsman carefully, an old Chinese silversmith who knew his piercing, and was discrete.

She had been a little afraid, but trusted him, blindly.

For him it was symbolic of his coming of age: him, the master.

And for her, the beautiful slave, it was her pride: she belonged, she was owned.

#WritersWednesday: September 12 – The Greatest Longing

Inspired by Wednesday Writing Prompt, courtesy Amanda L. Webster (@missmandy76)

The Greatest Longing

 He was away for a few days, the first time in nearly a year that they were apart for more than a few hours. On the morning he left she drove him to the airport: “I’ll be back in a sec…” he said to her, holding her high in his arms, his eyes locked into hers. Then he was gone, she got back to their place, suddenly silent.

In their study her pictures were everywhere, they had been editing the book they wanted to publish, soon. He was adamant they should do it, immortalise those precious forms, their intimacy. Her eyes were damp. She walked upstairs to their room, looking at the large bed, still undone, his books left open on the rug, a shirt of his on their chair, and… yes… his collar and hers on the little table. Slowly she showered, without him, on her own, the first time in months. Then she dressed, soberly, jeans, a black T-shirt, her hair in a bun.

Downstairs she got on with cleaning the kitchen, then the lounge. On the terrace she watered their “garden”.  She made coffee, and nearly choked in her mug, as she started crying, finally giving in. How will she cope tonight? Who would he meet at that conference? Will he call her? She thought of timezones, Japan was so far away…

In the evening she knew she would stay awake, waiting for his call. She got a text: turn on the Mac and the camera. He was calling her from his hotel room, on a video link. His face appeared on the large screen, smiling to her, incredibly clear: “First the good news”, he said charmingly, “I am back tomorrow, and expect you there on the dot!” She was now wet with tears and a little aroused. “And now for the very bad news: look at what I found in Tokyo!” He was showing her a little dildo, marvellously chiselled, in a beautiful wooden box covered with Kanji characters. Then his face came closer, his lips so clear, and she embraced the screen, her face flooded with tears of joy.