News on Not Winning and How Millennials Continue to Suck

This minion has been so busy supporting millennials, I haven’t had a chance to write one word of personal dissent.

[It’s 3PM. I’m making the time now.]

I had 3 submissions looming in the ether for the longest time; mere threads of writership, fraying away as the time lengthened into becoming writer-dormant. The editors told me these essays had ‘promise’ and in compelling fortitude, had a good chance of surviving the longest yard [$].

Final rounds of Women on Writing Q1 2017 Writing Contest knocked one of these submissions out of the running and the editor slapped a salty bandage over the blood gushing out of my gut with an Honorable Mention. This essay, a Seattle Slew of a piece if there ever was one, is particularly juicy (spoiler alert: I could not bring myself to read the ‘placing’ work which surely would stand inferior to my elaborate depiction of scene e.g. ‘hoo-hoos,’ ‘guilty dick,’ streetwalkers ‘nailing it,’ STD clinics).

The Gentlemen’s’ Agreement is a hugely personal account, incriminating not only my sweet husband [‘honeybee’] on a certain undertaking while in Vegas, but zillionaire ‘Max Litoris’ who I happened to be having an affair with when I met the honeybee. To his grand astonishment, I read Gentlemen’s to the honeybee one Sunday morning over breakfast. I could no longer keep the delicious secret to myself that I had potentially broadcasted the intimacy of our relationship to the world at large.

“I’m only going to read you the title and the first sentence,” I told him.

His complexion had flushed with scarlet fever by the time I finished the last sentence.

The second submission, an essay entitled Saving Bill Wilkerson opens this way:

I’m lying on his pullout couch and masturbating, a stone’s throw from where the British retreated across the North Bridge and faced the Minutemen. It’s 2003 and Bill, my boyfriend and “abiding” Christian, is downing Metamucil at the kitchen sink and calling me a sinner. Bill believes cheating on his taxes, doing things half-assed, and pocketing donuts, creamers and packets of sugar from Bible Study is peccadillo. We’re equal, alas; our Misbehaviors though varied, tally up to the same double-scored piety digit. Sixty-five, give or take, out of a one-hundred-point scale. Who can endure pure faithfulness, I ask? Not Paul, Peter, or Judas. I tease him. Not about his Transgressions, but with my Garden of Eden. He can witness my indulgence into my labyrinth of folds, my middle finger, my gyrating, by simply looking through the opening carved out of the common wall that partially separates the two rooms. He chooses not to; stares into the white waxy bottom of the crinkled Dixie cup. He doesn’t want to shake his hearty stamina for abstinence, the one teaching to which he abides.

I submitted Saving Bill Wilkerson to a nonfiction contest call for ‘Scintillating Starts’ and again surmised it was a sure bet because, well, how could a Christian masturbating not be ‘scintillating?’

The editor contacted me a day later—oh, the excitement that coursed through my patched-up gut when I saw her email!

But she did not rave about my ‘scintillating start.’

She asked me if the piece was fiction.

I guffawed.

My dear lady, I wrote back, I have never written a word of fiction in my entire adult life.

[Does this mean I’m out of the running?]

The third submission [sigh] is a personal favorite of mine. It’s about a certain demise. My account of my sister’s husband’s death by hanging on Thanksgiving Morning, 11 years ago [no, I’m not keeping track]. No hoo-hoos, guilty dicks, masturbating or streetwalkers nailing it. Just a broken-necked coward hanging from a tree whose body was found by a 12-year-old newspaper boy and most likely still overwrought with horror, is living his life in one of McLean’s padded rooms. Rejection of Forgive Me came by way of an announcement of contest winners. It’s a Canadian publication, so the informality comes as no surprise. Eh?

Oh, and last but not least, the topper. The millennial kind.

So, over the Christmas/New Year’s break, work was shutdown. Like it was so seriously shutdown, your badge didn’t work to get you into the building (or gym). This is a grand benefit for those who have tenure since the dawning of time and never left for another company out of fear of change or lack of ambition. I got permission to work because I’m not one of the Chosen and upon one of my bosses asking if I’d be interested in doing some writing (we’ll call him Turdman), I drafted an article recapping the most-socially shared content of this blog I help manage.

Now, understand that Turdman told me, ‘make this your baby.’

Well, I made it my baby. Weaving and vomiting in nervousness and contributing my blood, chasing after some recognition, a work-related publication credit. And when I pushed out the thing, glass at my sides and my bottom lip stretched over my head, he accepted my flesh and blood, swaddled the thing and put his name on it.

# # # # # # # # # #

Dear Lisa,

Congratulations on winning an Honorable Mention in the WOW! Women On Writing Q1 ’17 Essay Contest! We all loved “The Gentleman’s Agreement”! You have such a great voice and your essay was riveting. I was glued to the page. Thank you so much for sharing, and keep up the excellent writing. We hope to read more of your work!

Write on!

Angela & WOW

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Who’s Biking Her Porker-Sized Butt Off?

Chick and dog donning the type of orange you can see from outer space.

Me. “Mace.”

I’m down 50 big ones.

In 4 months.

At 52.

How’d I do it?

I quit indulging in the Drinkeepoo and family-sized bag of Chex Mix every night, traded my flat bars in for drops, and got my porker-sized butt out on the road.

The catalyst?

Self-discovery stumbled upon through free-writing.

Huh?

Free-writing.

Two paragraphs to be exact.

Long-ass sentences that explained why and what I’d been running from all these years—the bouts of drinking, the trying on the wrong different people, places and things, the “girls don’t come along askin’ for ranchin’ chores.”

The unreconciled grief.

The “inflicted void.”

When I was on the edge of 20.

Edge of 20?

19. (Not 17, like Stevie Nicks.)

The discovery?

It was so powerful I sought a path to recovery.

I ride that path on my Trek Alexa.

A 47-mile bike ride down the Cape a couple of weeks ago helped shed those few pounds to achieve the big 5-0 milestone. Calcium was leaching from my muscles making my quads scream. The popping a squat to dispense fierce diarrhea and relieve the cramping in my lower gut didn’t derail me either.

Just made me dirty.

Hell, yeah. 52 and riding strong.

I got no strength, but I got endurance.

I got no core, but I got guts.

And I’ve dropped from an all-consuming 3X and comfortably sitting in a size 16 (know it sounds big, but think in relative terms). My inner thighs no longer bunch together and become one when I roll over in bed.

Does it feel great?

It rocks.

Has my presence of mind returned?

Not the kind I need to secure my smaller porker-sized ass in the technological workplace amid the Millennials. It’s troubling. What’s left of my mind is fleeting. And it’s not entirely due to alcohol consumption ’cause my high school girlfriend’s Cyndy and Kathleen’s minds are like sieves too.

And they ain’t boozers.

Nothing stays in my mind for long and there’s not alot of computing going on, just anxiety. Cycling helps. Yoga helps. My former writing coach did yoga. I wrote about the paradox (her doing yoga and my doing drinking to acquire the same effect) in the essay called My Dear Friend the Dirty, which the editors of Elephant Journal scooped up and devoured nearly 3 years ago.

My coach has since left me to pursue work with ‘better’ writers, those who are book-publishable-friendly and can afford her soaring hourly rates.

(And tolerate her sense of self-importance.)

I kept drinking the Dirties.

She used to say before reading one of my manuscripts:

“I’m eager to read me some Lisa Mae DeMasi.”

That translates to, this is going to make me laugh in parts but it has no depth or meaning.

I write when I can; back on the subject of my time spent in Cody. When I fell in love with toiling in the elements and fighting the boys to do the chores they hated. A 3-month period when Heartbreak was displaced by the cows and horses and mountains.

Saying goodbye to a foal in Cody at the Grin-N-Barrett Ranch, September ’95. My knee got torn up by a hit-and-run driver in Cody Central just days prior, necessitating my left leg remain immobilized. I’m styling a full leg immobilizer here before grease, dirt and tomato sauce made it visible. Wonder where my crutches were.

I wish I had gobs more time to write.

I chant every morning for a grant to fall from the sky and into my lap. Especially now since I can finally give meaning to my work. You know, having discovered the discovery, and feeling like a person again without all that “blind heartache weight.”

****************

The impact of loss scars the heart and you go on living your life ’cause you’re young and have to conform and can’t fall apart and you don’t realize those wounds are still there, throbbing raw, the fibers of tissue meshing over that open gap of mess. You don’t realize you mask that pain with the alcohol thirty fucking years later, that there’s a reason why you drink until the TV and the stand it rests on becomes unhinged.

You write and write and write. For seven years, straight, you do nothing but write and you’re told your writing has no depth or meaning. You keep writing because you’re still madly and blindly driven to it despite having lost all your assets and pockets are filled with nothing but dust and lint. You’re there writing, looking up the definition of a word online, fact checking, and you read, alcoholism is a well-documented pathological reaction to unresolved grief and glance down at the billionth line you just put in black and white and Jesus, the whole goddamn story comes clear.

****************

Adanna, a journal for women, about women, printed in its October editionWhy I Love Bike Commuting in Boston.

I no longer get to play chicken with city buses living in the Metrowest.

Damn, I miss it.

My work was also published in an Anthology last month, nestled inside other essays and poems by 50-something kick-ass women writers who are still enjoying sex with others and themselves. I flew out to attend and read at the launch in Santa Barbara, but never made it due to the fires.

Pick up a copy on Amazon and read it in the bathtub.

With rose pedals. And bubbly.

Unmasked: Women Write about Sex and Intimacy After 50

Time to go to spin class to burn away the remaining excess weight.

Where’s my low-calorie Gatorade.

Write to me at lisa dot demasi at gmail.

The Kickass Formula that Restored My Libido

Through the closed lids of my eyes, I feel the morning sunlight streaming in.

Hey, it’s the weekend.

I take inventory of my brain for traces of a hangover.

We’re in the clear.

And then I check for any activity that might be stirring in the netherworld between my legs which has, of late, been about as playful as a schoolmarm.

Nothing.

I can hear Chris breathing beside me. Sweet beautiful man, and yet for weeks now no amount of touching or stroking or licking on his part can bring back the phenomenon of rapture, nothing eases our hearty pursuit of it. Chris has tried, I’ve grimaced.

Sex-wise, everything was going great until I hit 50. Because it had been so easy before, I couldn’t understand why climaxing had become like trudging up Mount Washington with a dead body strapped to my back.

A quick Google search advised me to: “Get a pedicure, touch up your roots, spritz on your favorite perfume, get some exercise, schedule your sex, add a toy or two, try porn…”

Nothing.

But lately I’ve wondered if this was about something that KY Jelly can’t fix.

Hidden in my bedside drawer are sweet almond and rose oil and some ylang ylang I got at the organic food store. These oils are aphrodisiacs, but they are also antidepressants, hypotensives, nervines, and sedatives, and while I want that man sleeping beside me to slip inside and have a go, there’s also a reason I want the regular, easy cures to work.

I don’t want to acknowledge the changes going on in my 50-year-old body, the fact that I am no longer wet at the drop of a man’s hand feels like a failure somehow.

And, because I feel like a failure, I’ve been avoiding my body and therefore my self-Reiki practice. Reiki, a wild healing energy we can apply to ourselves, seeks out what’s maligned and out of whack in the body — blocks to creativity, depression, grief. It’s a catalyst to deepening spirituality that can offer glimpses of the divine.

On this Saturday morning with the aromatherapy hidden in my bedside table, I think: And isn’t sex divine?

With self-Reiki, you put your hands on yourself (absolutely anywhere, it really doesn’t matter… your arm, your belly) and bring your life force through your hands and into the body.

So, on this light-filled Saturday morning, because I am dying (literally) to be with the guy I used to crave, because last night during a scotch-induced haze I fell asleep while he was saying, “How about this?” and I was saying, “Nothing,” I put my hands on my abdomen and start.

My hands get warm, and I feel a deep sense of relaxation, not sleep but something wider, more alive.

That energy, whatever it is, doesn’t care whether you can have sex or not, how old you are, if you are getting a pudge around your middle, how many wrinkles have settled around your eyes.

Time slips away, I slip away, all that remains is blissed-out peace. Like drinking a martini — without the edge.

When I finish, I eyeball Chris. His eyes are half-mast, he’s styling an alfalfa hairdo, an imprint from a crease in his pillowcase runs across the right side of his face.

Not exactly a turn-on, but I don’t care. “Let’s give it a go,” I say.

Being a man in love (if he’s not too far under the influence of scotch), Chris is always ready to give it a go.

With a blind hand, I pull the end table drawer open and fumble for oil I concocted from the health food store.

Forget the sticky KY goop, this stuff glides like heaven.

Chris gets his hands on the love rub, goes about the business of inducing the hopeful rapture amid my numb equipment.

I anticipate the onslaught of banter that has ensued for the past few months like doc to patient:

“Here?”

“No.”

“How about here?”

“Nothing.”

Those myriad times when I can no longer tell if his are the hands of a green gynecologist or a prospective cow buyer at auction.

But today something whispers: Hang in, be still.

Be still?

Stop trying so hard; relax. Look, there, out into the horizon.

That little voice sounds suspiciously like my intuition. I don’t hear it very often, mostly because I’m too busy listening to the voices saying I’m not supple enough, pretty enough, I’m past my prime…

The horizon? I ask it.

Behind your eyes.

There’s a horizon in my head?

Just close your eyes.

The atmosphere changes.

And the change is charged.

“Here?” asks Chris.

Humidity — wet blanket type — sweeps in.

“Lisa?”

The storm hits.

The rapture fills me — a delicious swell that comes from the bottom of the ocean, too big to be experienced but a moment or two.

The wave recedes, leaving me pie-eyed, legs in rigor, fists clenched tight.

I look to Chris, who is hovering over me, his expression one of delight, the crease from the pillowcase stretched thin against the smiling muscles of his cheek. Given that he has a technical mind and has a limited repertoire of reactions, it’s rather comical.

“The self-Reiki,” I say, “the essential oils.” I catch wind of my torso. It’s charred in places and emits wisps of smoke.

We may have a formula to bring about a bit of the ol’ spark.

As the blood begins to seep back into my flesh, I let out a laugh — ribald, raucous. Besides having a great partner who will push and prod without feeling like a jackass, and will let you get as woo-woo as you want in the sack, I no longer feel old. Sex can last until 90. We just need to nurture ourselves in order to feel sparked about anything, including our libido.

And, in order to feel the wonders of the Universe, we need to let go and let god, whatever the hell your definition of god is, to be a part of it.

This essay appears in the anthology, Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty