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- A Story of O’s
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This was the holiday in my family growing up. My single, working mother put the emphasis on gratitude and a good meal rather than the consumerism of Christmas. That stayed with me into adulthood, and my Orphans Thanksgiving meals have been going strong since back when I played den mother to a bunch of rock bands. Everybody who knows me, knows that if they don’t have somewhere to go, don’t want to cook, or have plans fall through, my door is open and there will be a delicious meal on the table. One of my great joys is cooking for my friends and family, so expressing my gratitude for their presence in my life by getting to feed them? Heaven. Of course, I recognize how lucky I am to have the means to do this every year.
So I’d like to invite you to join me in a personal holiday tradition. I portion out leftovers on paper plates, wrap them with tinfoil, and roll plastic silverware sets in napkin/paper towels. Then I go stand on the street somewhere there is a large concentration of homeless people and ask passersby if they’ve had a turkey dinner. Don’t take it personally if anyone declines. Remember, it’s not about you. But trust me when I say the genuine gratitude you will feel- from both the recipients, and from inside your own heart as you realize how blessed you are- is worth the little effort it takes. And don’t forget the pie! The best smile I saw last year was from a homeless teenager who declined the turkey but started crying happy tears when she saw the pie. (I wrap pie portions separately, so folks can take dinner, dessert, or both.)
I hope you all have delicious meals and good company in your immediate futures, but if not, there is an open door policy at my Orphan’s Thanksgiving. Feel free to message me for the address.
Sometimes, when I need it most, the Universe gives me a little hug. I recently received this email from a client who wishes to remain anonymous but gave me permission to post his words here.
Welcome home and my most sincere congratulations!
It appears you were covered in accolades for the last few months with your Threads tour. That must be extremely satisfying for you considering the anxiety you expressed before leaving.
Letting go, as you referenced in your blog post, is something that holds quite a few of us back. Time goes on and we cling to the routine, unwilling to change, and so life and opportunities pass us by.
The universe doesn’t care about our dreams, and will let us die an empty, unfulfilled lump of unused potential if we just hold on to thestatus quo. But…it has no choice but to respond to the plans and actions of someone who is obsessed with a vision.
You have a vision, to combine a mere 26 letters, over and over again, in many different combinations, in such a way as to open the hearts and minds of all who you meet.
Keep doing it. The strong may survive, but the obsessed leave a mark that echoes down the hallway of literature and theater.
Best wishes and I hope to speak to you again soon.
Three and a half weeks ago…
I am sitting in a theatre in Winnipeg. It’s the last show of the night. I’m exhausted and emotionally spent, and I’d kind of rather be asleep. But I took an actual printed comp from my friend and promised to come support her. These 10:45pm-or-later shows are brutal, and we performers do try to help each other out where we can. It’s just good fringe karma. The show is hilarious and original, and soon I am watching with the joy and appreciation that makes me so proud to be a fringe artist.
I’m not thinking of the phone sex business back home that is merely treading water in my absence. I don’t think about the relationships that feel in danger of coming apart at the seams because I am not there to tend- or end- them properly. I am, for the first time in days, not bowed by the pressure of remounting Threads for the second year in a row at the same festival. I am just letting myself be entertained, allowing myself a rare moment to relax.
The performer begins a new story, one about going sky-diving for the first time with her deceased husband. She is describing standing on the wing, holding onto the bar, being paralyzed with fear. Her arms begin to ache under the strain of holding her to the plane. All that wind force and air pressure meeting her resistance hurts. It is the line she speaks next that hits me square in the gut:
“It’s not the letting go that’s painful, it’s the hanging on.”
I feel like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me, like I’m the one who let go of the bar, that my parachute didn’t open and I’ve smashed against the ground. I realize I’m crying.
Home to me is more a feeling than a place. Being back for a couple weeks, I can’t ignore that something feels wrong. I know I need to make some big, big changes.
Most importantly to the majority of you, my professional focus is shifting from phone sex, to writing and performing. I’m not retiring altogether or anything drastic like that, but I am no longer going to be putting the majority of my “work” time into BayCityBlues.com. I’ll still be available for calls when I am home, and the website will remain intact for myself and the few operators I’ve chosen to keep on. I will not be putting anyone new on BCB unless they pass a rigorous screening and application process. I may try new ops on the fantasy sites from time to time, but they’ll have to pursue the position heavily and meet strict minimums if they’re hired.
Being the head of a giant phone sex company is not my future. I have tried for nearly a decade; building the company up, burning it down, starting it over. It doesn’t work, not the way I want to do it. Sad to say, having ethics and respect for my clients and operators makes me infinitely less competitive in this industry. I’m great on the phone, decent at writing when I put my mind to it, and reasonably web- and social media-savvy. But the rest of it? The administrative and managerial nightmares that never seem to end? It’s exhausting, and it puts me in a sour mood that is directly contrary to being able to provide quality, authentic phone sex. I can’t and won’t do it anymore. The company will continue, but with only the core group of women we’ve pretty much had since the beginning and the few amazing ones we managed to find along the way.
I’ve started streamlining the sites, and I’ll continue to over the coming weeks and months. I’m surprised at the emotions this decision is bringing up. Part of me can’t help but look at this as epic failure almost a decade in the making: after ten years, I still can’t get it right. And another part of me remembers that phone sex was the job I took to get me through acting school, so turning my attention from phone sex to acting could be viewed as the natural, even overdue, progression. In 2012, for the first time ever I earned more from my writing/acting than I did from phone sex. So when the anxiety hits, I try to focus on gratitude for the blessings I have and the wonderful possibilities my new career endeavors will present. It’s exciting, and terrifying.
In addition to all this professional upheaval, I’m also dealing with the evolution of one of my personal poly relationships. Suffice it to say that this period of adjustment is difficult, awkward, painful, sad…and necessary. My heart is broken. It isn’t anybody’s fault, it’s just what happens when things don’t work out the way we hope they will with the people we love.
For some reason, this is the hardest and roughest break-up-type-thing I’ve ever gone through, including my divorce. Why do two people who deeply love each other find themselves growing apart? What do you do when clinging to what was threatens to render unrecognizable the love that does remain? Where does one find the strength to step out on that airplane wing and dive into the no-guarantee-there’s-even-a-parachute-strapped-to-your-back future?
RE: How to jump out of a plane
Take one step and hope the next one comes easier. Breathe. Be grateful for the air. Take another step. Feel your grip loosening against the wind. Stumble. Right yourself. Open your eyes. See the world in front of you. Breathe. Let go. Fly.
It’s not the letting go that’s painful, it’s the hanging on.
**Many thanks to Christine Lesiak. If you are anywhere near the Edmonton Fringe, go see her in Ask Aggie.**
Thank you thank you thank you! Hotline made their Kickstarter goal!
Happy New Year! All in all, 2011 was a fuck of a year. Some bad, plenty of good, more personal and professional challenges than I’ve faced in a while. I can’t say I’m sad to bid farewell to the old and start fresh in 2012…
This year certainly started with a shock. I found out a couple days ago that a still-dear-to-me former friend passed away on Sunday. She was the woman who hired me at Bay City Blues, way back in 2004 when I first started doing phone sex, long before I was a partner/owner. She taught me most of what I know about the business side of being a phone sex operator, and for a few years we were inseparable friends. However, I started developing my own philosophies about and approach to phone sex, which diverged wildly from hers in some places. We drifted apart over the years, and when we officially parted ways, it wasn’t on good terms. That unfinished business hasn’t sat well with me. I tried talking to her a year or so ago, but she wanted nothing to do with me.
I don’t blame her. I know that in her eyes, I made a hugely selfish decision in “coming out” as a pso, one that adversely affected her earning potential, as she was unable and unwilling to follow suit. I suppose on some levels she was right- it was a selfish decision. I don’t pretend to not be a selfish person; I know that I am. I believe that everybody is, if we get honest for a moment. But I also spend a great deal of my life in service to others on a myriad of levels, so I think I deserve to take care of myself as well. Still, it sucks knowing she felt that way about me. To this day, I miss having her in my life, and I always harbored the hope that someday we would reconcile.
I’ve been relatively lucky to have lost few loved ones in my life. And pardon me while I regurgitate some cliches, but there’s nothing like a sudden, unexpected death to make you reevaluate your life. To make you value your life. And I do. I am so grateful for everything and everyone that allows me the life I lead. As I prepare for the year ahead (Phone sex business expansion! Touring my one-woman show across the U.S. and Canada!), I am trying to be mindful of the little now moments that make it all worthwhile. You’re a part of that. Thank you.
I’m not much one for organized religion. I respect others’ right to believe what they choose to believe, but personally it’s just not for me. Which isn’t to say I’m not spiritual; I am. To sum it up…
I believe in a benevolent force that is beyond scientific explanation, though I am more likely to refer to it as a higher power/consciousness or call it “The Universe” than “God” or “Buddha” or “Allah” or whatever. I can’t prove it exists, nor do I feel the need to. It isn’t necessary for anyone else to validate what I think; I don’t care whether I’m “right” in anybody’s eyes but my own.
I believe it is my job as a human being to do more good than harm. To try, every day, to make the world a slightly better place. To avoid hurting others and our planet. To take responsibility and make amends when I make mistakes. To bring love, light, good- however you want to describe it- to as many people as possible, even if it’s just through a seemingly small act. One moment, one person, one human connection at a time…
I believe life is a gift, the living of it is a form of worship, and that everyday actions are our true prayers.
And I believe that in the end, when all is said and done, each of us gets what we deserve.
When I started working on Threads over a year ago, part of me thought it would be over and done by now, and another part of me thought I’d never finish it. Well here I am, with an opening night on sale, in the middle of pre-production, calling in every favor and good karma point I’ve ever earned and some I expect the Universe will extract payment for sometime in the future.
It’s humbling and amazing how many of my friends, family, and clients have offered their help. I have a director/stage manager, sound & light designers, box office manager, photographer, and graphic designer, all working for deferred pay and/or trade. I have connections at a bakery for my concessions needs. Two different people simply wrote checks to cover the cost of my Fertile Ground registration and my venue deposit. That so many folks believe in me enough to spend their time and money on my project, sight unseen…I have no words.
Well, that’s not exactly true. I have one word. Faith. Faith that if you stay true to what you believe in and who you are, if you passionately pursue your goals in an ethical and conscientious way, the Universe will reward you. You may not gain riches and fame, but you will get what you need to survive and even flourish. You will have enough for this life.
Oh…And one more word: gratitude.
Thank you. I have been overwhelmed by all the IM’s, emails, and phone calls of support and encouragement. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your kind words. This is, as you can imagine, a crazy time for me. So many blessings, difficulties, emotions. So much change. I feel like a phoenix rising from the ashes…
Thank you to all of my wonderful friends and callers for being the best presents a naughty girl could receive. I know it’s Christmas, not Thanksgiving, but I’m in a grateful mood…
I’m thankful for Season 4 of The Simpsons on DVD, courtesy of my Big Brother. Laughter soothes my soul when the heart and mind are weary. Like the comfort of family. *smile*
I’m thankful for the iTunes gift certificate from Miss Tonya’s Pet. Music has always been the pulse of my life.
I’m thankful that an Italian stranger randomly got me the fancy shmancy collector’s edition of Hoosiers on DVD. “Strap, God wants you on the floor.” The. Best. Sports. Movie. Ever.
I’m thankful for the sexy shoes an old friend decided I can’t live without. A naughty girl can always use a new pair of high heels.
I’m thankful for my Chicago Writer. He is muse and kindred spirit, friend always, even in absence. Few people in my life have managed that.
I’m thankful for my mother and sister, who love and accept me as I am.
I’m thankful for my kinky new friends and all the delightfully perverse things they like to do with me.
I’m eternally grateful for M, who opened the door and changed me forever.
I’m thankful for Howard, without whom my life would be incomplete. He encourages me to learn and evolve. He supports my discoveries and shares both my glorious triumphs and spectacular failures. He never means to cause me any kind of pain, yet he accepts that sometimes I want others to hurt me. He shares me with the world. And he does Christmas great. I’ve got a killer corset, tickets to the Blazers game tonight, and a giant gift card to blow at Nordstrom’s on make-up and skin care. He rocks.
And I’m thankful for me. I’m thankful that I have finally stopped hating myself for silly reasons. I sympathize and empathize with the younger me who didn’t know better, but I am celebrating my awakening. I will remember 2008 as the year I was re-born…As an actor, as a writer and artist, as a wondrous powerful new sexual entity…Mmmm, I can only imagine what 2009 will bring!
May whichever holidays you choose to celebrate be filled with joy and love…
***Originally published at LiveJournal.com under the name Donna Dione Hill***
I simply cannot sleep without writing this…I feel like I’m going to explode…I am THE LUCKIEST GIRL IN THE WORLD!!! I got a ring from a MYSTERIOUS NEW PHONE SEX CALLER…Who ARE you? From out of nowhere, with just a few words, you had the obedient sub in me gasping for air. It was both humiliating and exhilarating to be forced to tell you about all the naughty things I’ve done…I was honored to please you, Sir, and I hope to have another chance soon.
Then, just when I was about to go to bed, my biblical master took me so hard, I cried. What did I do to deserve this avalanche of pleasure? I don’t understand how it’s possible, but every time is better than the last…
WOW!!! I’m still afraid I’ll wake up and find this is all a dream…How can it be real? It’s too perfect! I adore you all SO MUCH…