Writing on Writing and Why I Love Zora Neale Hurston

Chapter 1

Paragraph 1

The sky was yellow. The wind was strong. The sand storm tore at the face masks of the passengers. They clamored across the tarmac, climbed the staircase and disappeared. Inside she sat down, two stones in her pockets. In the right pocket she carried a smooth grey pebble with the word, “Hope,” carved into the surface. In her left pocket was a white crystal, plucked from the mountains near her home. Around her neck hung a piece of amber surrounded by silver in the shape of a tree, bent by the wind. Wound about one of her hands was a piece of hair, dark kinky hair she once twisted into a loch, many years before. Finally she reached into her purse and pulled out a cartoonish figurine in the shape of a moose, a tiny red scarf wrapped around it’s neck, and placed it on the empty seat next to her. Then the pre-boarding announcements began, first in Chinese, then in English. Next stop Tokyo.


I have no right to invoke her name. She is Zora Neale Hurston and her book changed my life.

It wasn’t the story per se, although that was magnificent, but the structure that struck me. A woman not much older than I am now returned to the front porch, wrapped herself in a shawl like the nets of the sea, and told her story.

My undergraduate degree is in English. I studied a lot of literature. I loved it. My professor described this style of narrative like bookends, a framework that completes a story by giving it the boundaries, the shape it needs. I never forgot that. I knew someday my story would fit into that frame.

So here I am, in Japan, and I’ve finally found my second bookend. I’m about to sit down on the porch and tell you a story. My story, taken with liberties. Taken from real life but produced in a way that is more true to the form than the art. As an english major, I’m a story slut. I tell you this now, that when it comes to this project I will be more concerned with the quality of the story telling than the details. My goal is to convey the truths of my journey, not the details of my life. It also makes me feel safe to cling to story rather than life. And I’m also sick to death of all the tell-all tales out there from fly by night ‘pros’ that take advantage of the misunderstanding of my craft in exchange for a dollar and that encourage the mainstream to continue to stigmatize my craft.

I’m also more than a Dominatrix. And frankly, as I get more in touch with my heart and the reality of my vulnerability (and courage) I find that much more interesting. It will all be there though, don’t worry, because it is all part of my journey and I loved every second I spend in a dungeon. Every second. So I will share, I want to share. I want to share aaalll of me with you. I hope that the revelation of my own complex, multidimensional self and sexuality will help you appreciate more your own amazing universe.

And they say the first page/paragraph of a book determines whether someone will want to read the book.

So here goes, two weeks after the journey completed and I escaped to Japan, this is what I have...it’s not much. But it’s a start.