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Back Issue #115

Whenever a tragedy involving children is publicized, the vultures are never long in arriving.  –  “For the Children

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People often use the titular expression as a generic expression of gratitude, but when I use it I mean it literally.  And by “you” I mean my loyal subscribers and readers who, even if they don’t actually subscribe, have always been generous when I ask for help with a specific expense, such as travel for speaking or a budgetary shortfall like the one I faced in the autumn.  Every month I see notice of incoming subscriptions from my stalwarts, some of whom have supported me in this way for the better part of a decade.  And when I ask for help with a specific goal, it rarely takes more than a few weeks to hit it.  I don’t know if that’s normal for blogs, but I do know that without that unflagging support this one would’ve folded years ago.  It’s not the hosting expenses; those are relatively small and I have no problem justifying them to myself.  No, it’s the sheer amount of work involved.  When I first started writing The Honest Courtesan, 40 was still visible in the rear-view mirror and I had years of pent-up anger and creative passion with which to drive my effort; now 60 is perceptible on the horizon and, as is the way of the world, my internal fires no longer  blaze as brightly as they once did.  If I thought nobody was reading this and few cared about my work, I would’ve closed up shop long ago.  But if there’s one thing being a whore has taught me, it’s that people value the things they pay for.  Whenever I receive a subscription notice or a contribution to one of my fundraisers, it sends me a message loudly and clearly: this reader cares about you and thinks what you’re doing is important.  And when I’m tired or feeling down, such gifts and their implied message give me a lift and keep me going.  There’s something beautiful, magical and a bit awe-inspiring about this kind of generosity; as I pointed out a couple of months ago, I haven’t paywalled this blog and I’m not going to even threaten to paywall it, because it doesn’t feel ethically right to me.  And yet, y’all give me what I need to be able to treat this as a part-time job without any kind of direct exchange or PBS-station-style-bribery on my part.  I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much that means to me; I’m not often at a loss for words, but my powers fail me when I sit down to try to express my gratitude.  In fact, I sometimes worry that y’all may feel I’m ungrateful or take all this for granted, and I cast about for some more concrete way to express it…only to realize that nothing I could come up with would express it any better than demonstrating my commitment to our implied pact by making sure that there’s a new post every day, and by reminding y’all that I’m only an email away if you need more direct (and, needless to say, discreet) advice or professional expertise.  But now my words are failing again; I feel the ones I’ve written here are woefully inadequate to express my feelings.  And yet, they’re the only ones I have, so I can only hope that y’all can sense the depth of emotion behind these all-too-limited sentences.

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Back Issue #114

Why is the reason two people choose to live together, sign a contract together or have sex with each other any business of the government’s?  –  “Like a Horse and Carriage

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Back Issue #113

The world is full of people who really cannot understand the difference between weed-smoking and assault or between prostitution and rape, and are willing to say so in courtrooms and legislatures.
–  “O Tempora! O Mores!

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I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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When you opened this page, did you notice the big paywall notice blocking your entire screen and demanding you pay to remove it?

No?


How about the huge popup bragging that my content is FREE if you’ll give me your information so I can constanty pester you with spam and sell your data to other spammers?

No?

Surely you saw the big autoplay video at the top of the page blaring out a commercial, which when you hit “stop” merely shrunk down, moved to the corner of the page, and immediately tried to play again?

Not that either, eh?

But you must have noticed the box telling you that I use cookies to IMPROVE your reading experience and demanding you accept them?  Or the adblocker blocker?  Or the barrage of blinking, flashing, jumping, sliding, up-popping ads that make it difficult to concentrate on what you’re trying to read even when they don’t block your view?

The reason why you don’t see any of these is of course because I DON’T USE THEM.  That doesn’t mean I’m independently wealthy and can comfortably provide content every day for free, yet still pay my bills out of some endless pot of cash; it means my principles won’t allow me to hold your wish to read my work for ransom.  So please consider subscribing via one of the handy plans in the right-hand column, or contact me using this link to custom-design an arrangement that works for you.  Because though I’ll never actually put a block between your eyes and my pages, I may soon need to start letting advertisers share the screen with my thoughts in order to keep the lights on.  As of right now, I’m $3000 short of my operating budget for this year; from now until the last day of Christmas I’ll be displaying a little fundraising thermometer in the right-hand column.  I won’t be harping on it, but I do want to keep a reminder around for awhile that while you aren’t billed for a resource like this blog, that doesn’t mean it costs nothing to produce.

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Holy Moly

Study, schmuddy.  As a writer who didn’t start using cannabis until she was almost 50, I contest this interpretation of the data.  What cannabis does is to still the random neuron-firing which distracts a creator from focusing on creation, and the head-voices which cause self-doubt about the quality and/or direction of the work.  This does not necessarily “increase creativity” in those lacking sufficient introspection to question the quality of their own work, but it does increase creativity in those whose distractability or self-doubt creates a mental/emotional bottleneck in the creative process.  In other words, for those whose neuroatypicality or lack of confidence impairs creative productivity, cannabis (used properly) can provide the equivalent of a creative retreat, a mental space where someone who might be more creative if freed from distractions can flourish.  It’s not a Magic Wonder Weed from the Muses which will mystically plant art in the barren soil of unimaginative brains; it’s more akin to a cabin in the woods or a studio soundproofed against traffic noise.  This is not a new idea, nor one limited to cannabis; it’s what Hemingway was getting at when he advised us to “write drunk, edit sober”.  Inhibitions can harm the initial process of creation, but can actually be helpful in the finishing/polishing process.

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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Back Issue #112

No normal person wants to control what other people think, and no sane person could believe that he can control what anyone else thinks.  –  “Thought Control

I find paywalls distasteful, and so many people find this blog valuable as a resource I just can’t bring myself to install one.  Furthermore, I find ad delivery services (whose content I have no say over) even more distasteful.  But as I’m now semi-retired from sex work, I can’t self-sponsor this blog by myself any longer.  So if you value my writing enough that you would pay to see it if it were paywalled, please consider subscribing; there are four different levels to fit all budgets.  Or if that doesn’t work for you, please consider showing your generosity with a one-time donation; you can Paypal to maggiemcneill@earthlink.net or else email me at the same address to make other arrangements.  Thanks so much!

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