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My Blissemas Celebration of the Dark

 

 

The season of Blissemas starts on the Ist Dec and will finish on the 17th. Every day of Blissemas a different erotic author will post up gems of delight in the guise of festive stories, excerpts, recipes, hints and tips, etc.

 

Leave a Comment on a Blissemas Blog and you will go into the Grand Prize draw to win yourself a Kindle 7 packed full of Smut! Come back each day for more chances to win.

 

 

 

Happy Blissemas everyone! Blissemas is my favourite blogging season. It’s always a delight to celebrate and anticipate with all my blogging and writing friends. Special thanks once again to Victoria and Kev Blisse for all they do to make Blissemas happen.

 

I’m a big fan of the dark. I love it a lot! What writer doesn’t love a character with a little darkness and conflict? Is there any better way to show the light in a character than by seeing it through his darkness?

 

The darkness is the realm of dreams and sleep. Bears hibernate, people bundle up and hunker down. I don’t know about you, but I’d happily go to bed at seven pm when it’s dark by four. And snuggling down under a nice thick duvet is one of the best things about the long winter nights. In the dark we reflect on what’s past. In the dark, we sleep and dream, and prepare for the return of the light.

 

The main reason I love the darkness is because it’s an exquisite showcase for the light. You can’t see light without darkness. And what that dark reveals is sometimes stunning. Ask anyone who has ever looked at the stars on a moonless night. Ask anyone who has ooohed and awed over the sparkling lights on their Christmas tree. Ask anyone who has huddled around a campfire telling ghost stories. It takes the dark to show off the light.

 

 

We humans know that deep in our bones. We’ve known that from the dawn of time. To me that’s what makes this season so special, so set apart from any other time of the year. It’s dark. It’s dark in the morning. It’s dark in the late afternoon. It feels like it’s been dark for-friggen-EVER! The days are short. And then it’s night and night and night …. Here in the UK, even when it’s day, it’s gloomy. But we know, we just KNOW like it’s some instinct inside us, that the light is coming back. Honestly, I’ve never felt the kind of anticipation I do this time of year. When I was a child, I anxiously looked forward to Santa Clause coming, but I don’t need Santa now. I don’t need gifts. Something even more amazing than Santa Clause and pressies and tinsel and trees is about to happen. The darkness has reached the tipping point. It’s as dark as it’s gonna get. And then … And then … Get ready for it. It’s time for the darkness to give it over and show off the return of the light.

 

Oh it’s not much at first. It isn’t even really noticeable. The Solstice comes and goes quietly and then like a coy seductive strip tease, the light is revealed, slowly, tantalizingly, flirtatiously. While we may not see it at first, we feel it in our gut, we feel it with a restless excited certainty that’s always there even if we can’t quite say how we know. And then, as the darkness gives up its best kept secret, that it’s the revealer of light, we look to new beginnings, new growth, new revelations that the light always brings. And we can’t help it really. We can’t help feeling like everything has been transformed and made new – axial tilt and chronobiololgy make room for a little raucous celebration and a whole lot of hope for what the light may bring.

 

Here’s to the light, my dear friends, and the velvety darkness that reveals it. Happy Holidays.

 

 

 

Be sure to check out the other fabulous Blissemas blog posts and comment for a chance to win the Kindle 7.

 

The Battle to Get “Fit Enough”

 

For those of you who have been following my pole posts as I prepare for a photo shoot, I’m very chuffed to announce that I just got bounced up to the big girls’ class … well the intermediate class actually, but it’s the big girls’ class to me. I’ve looked forward to this major milestone since my first session. I can now do my basic spins, I can climb, do basic stands and sits, manage some really cool looking poses and as of today … wait for it … I can do my invert! It’s not elegant yet, and it’s not without a lot of effort, but still, getting upside down is a major accomplishment. Happy dancing all around!

 

What being booted up to the intermediate class means is that the learning curve, which is already steep, just went off the chart again, and the hard work is just beginning. Like any other challenge, there are obstacles to overcome. With pole, once I was hooked — and that took me all of ten minutes of the free trial class, I began to realize that the real obstacle, as much as learning the techniques, is getting fit enough to perform them. Essentially that means getting strong enough. I started out fairly fit, but as my instructor,  Lauren McCormick, reminds me, everyone starts pole at the beginning, and being fit doesn’t necessarily make you fit for pole. I wasn’t … I’m still not … BUT I’m getting there.

 

I have two pole workouts a week – one with the group and one that’s a private lesson. I can’t afford to miss either if I’m going to get where I want to be. In addition to that, I have one brutal workout at the gym a week with Klaudia Cel. We train strength, stamina and endurance as well as coordination and balance. That workout is entirely geared toward pole. Right now with an occasional kettle bells class, that’s about all I can handle. I do my regular pole conditioning and stretching exercises at home as well as kettle bells and walking everywhere I possibly can. Am I a bit obsessive? Of course I am! But any of you who know me already knew that. Even so, I only have to be with the pole ten minutes before I realize just how unfit I still am. And no matter how impatient I am – which I am – it takes as long as it takes.

 

 

The lovely instructors at Polerocks have a fantastic way of helping us gage our improvements. It’s called The Board of Pain, which I experienced for the first time Tuesday. There a dozen and a half basic pole conditioning exercises written on said B of P with a space under each for our names and our times or rep counts. We record those as we complete each exercise. To complete the exercises on the board takes an entire class. We’re competing against only ourselves, but in three months time, we’ll do it all over again and see how much we’ve improved. The B of P is a way to chart our progress. Like any other discipline, the basics are the building blocks for everything else, and conditioning is a seriously basic build block essential for pole.

 

The other battle with conditioning for pole is the bruises. I’m getting fewer as I progress, but every time I learn something new, there’s a good chance I’ll do it wrong multiple times before I do it right. And, as I mentioned before, the pole is not the most forgiving dance partner. That being the case, there are only so many times I can practice a move with repeated bruising until I have to give it a rest and practice something else.

 

 

I know it all sounds a bit mad, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it, if I didn’t love the challenge of it. I push myself hard because I’m impatient, and I want to do really well. The truth is I adore the creative aspect of fitness. I completely understand why people get bored with the typical gym workout. It’s a bit like writing the same novel over and over and over again. My body craves creativity just as much as my mind does, and thinking through spins, combos, ways I can train core, ways I can gain conditioning and flexibility, is like thinking through the plot of a story.

 

This week’s challenge was the superman move at the top of the post,  which Lauren had me approach from an invert. Strangely enough though it was my first invert on my own, I was so focused on the superman, that the invert seemed secondary.

Slowly but surely. I’m learning the techniques, I’m getting stronger and more sure of what I’m doing. Progress, any progress makes me feel powerful, and I have to admit I like that feeling, bruises and all.

I’ll be back with another update in a week or two. If you’ve missed the first two installments, and want to read them, follow the links below.

A Pole, a Photographer and … Me?

Getting Upside Down

 

Getting Upside Down

 

 

As promised, today’s post is the second installment of Fit to Write and my challenge to prepare for a pole photo shoot in June 2018. (If you want to read the 1st installment, follow the link) For those of you who don’t know, I started a beginning pole dance class six months ago when Polerocks opened a studio just up the road from my gym – first lesson free. I wanted to give my workouts and my fitness routines another dimension. Well, that might have been how it all began, but it definitely evolved into something way more than that.

 

I just learned that I’ll be graduating to the intermediate class in January. I’m both pole-happy-dancing and biting my nails. I’ve been training for almost six months now. I can climb, I can do the sits and the stands, I can do the spins and combos we’ve learned – maybe not elegantly, but I can get through the techniques. At the end of the day, though, all the strength and conditioning, all the core training during those months, all the stretching and all the bruises have been leading to one major goal and that’s inversion – getting myself upside down without help from an instructor.

 

The thing about training pole is that unlike kettle bells, I can’t order one online and just stow it behind the sofa when I’m done with it for the day. My house is way too small to easily use one even if I did. That means my brain is constantly trying to think of ways I can practice techniques and core building and flexibility at home. That means every signpost, every light pole, every scaffolding pole I see, I speculate whether or not I could use it to practice when no one is looking. I can’t help wondering if a middle aged woman could get away with climbing the rugby goal posts in the middle of Stoke Park – when no one is using them of course. While I’ve not done that just yet, but there is a plan in the works for going over very early some morning …

 

Part of the reason I love pole so much is because it’s endlessly creative, even as I fumble about to figure how best to train when I’m not in class. Starting January 4th there’ll be pole classes two days a week rather than one. While I’m very excited, I’m now faced with the task of getting myself conditioned enough that two classes a week, plus my normal training, won’t kill me. That’s a post for another day. In the meantime, it’s all about getting upside down.

 

I had no idea just how complex the core is, and how much there is to training it just so I can pull myself into a v-sit position (a Teddy) and then into an inversion onto the pole. I’m close, but there’s one little sweet spot I haven’t quite trained enough, coaxed enough, strengthened enough to get my body over that one last hump. My goal, at the moment, is to be able to do that inversion from a Teddy on my own before the January extra classes start. Each night I sit in front of the telly doing v-sit leg lifts. At the gym, I practice leg raises from the dip machine, I do jackknife push-ups with the TRX suspension straps. I’ve even figured out how to use sheets of plastic or paper plates on the living room carpet to do sliders. And then there are the times when I’m just too tired to do anything at all, the times when my body reminds me that I ain’t twenty, and like it or not, my ass better get some patience or there’ll be hell to pay. In fact, I’m just getting over a nasty cold because I didn’t get me some patience when I needed it.

 

The shots in this post were taken last Friday. Having signed up for the June photo shoot, looking good upside down has become even more important, so most of the session with my pole trainer, Lauren McCormick, was about getting upside down. The screen shots are because I’m not quite brave enough yet to share the videos that happen in training, but this gives you an idea of what’s involved in getting upside down.

 

Oh! And did I mention skin? Yes, there’s a very good reason why pole dancers don’t wear a lot of clothes. It’s because skin grips and cloth slides. Gripping on the pole is essential, thus my exposed belly. It’s taken another level of courage for me to wear shorts, let alone expose the middle of me, but for the Gemini move, the extra grip along the side and hip makes all the difference.

 

 

I find it fascinating that all of our journeys, no matter what we’re doing or where we are, happen on so many more levels that we can easily see. I’ve never been more aware of it than I am now when my body’s journey mirrors, sometimes even predicts and leads the journey of my mind and of my creative self. There’s something about pushing, even when I’m scared sh*tless, that makes me aware there’s always so much more going on in all of us than we ever expect. We’re all capable of so much more than we think we are. That makes us all explorers of our own unknown if we’re brave enough to take that first step, even if we do it with knees knocking and heart racing. That gives me hope.

 

Instant Replay

When I lived in Croatia a hundred years ago, I spent three weeks every summer camping on the Adriatic near Pula. At the campsite where I stayed, there was a small store and a restaurant that had live music every night. There were several buildings with showers and toilets. That was the extent of the place.

 

One of the shower blocks not far, from where I set up my tent, was a narrow concrete pre-fab with a row of cubicles, each containing a shower, each with a door leading right out onto the main path through the camp. One year one of the six cubicles was missing a door. That meant more congestion for the remaining shower units, which were in high demand in August. There was almost always a queue.

 

Early one evening on my way back from the grocery store, I noticed two very fit German blokes I’d seen wind surfing earlier in the day queuing for the shower, but they got tired of waiting, so they stripped off their Speedos and waltzed right on in to the cubicle without the door.

 

I happened to be with a friend who was a bit more prudish than I, and she averted her eyes and dragged me away in a huff, me nearly breaking my neck for one last glance over my shoulder at naked, wet maleness. The whole incident couldn’t have lasted more than a minute. What I saw was fleeting. But what I imagined – over and over and over again – was most definitely not!

 

Sometimes it takes nothing more than an image to capture our imaginations, to inspire us. An image can inspire us because once we’ve seen it, processed it – especially if it’s a little scenario like mine with the shower and the naked wind surfers, our glorious, super-high-tech instant replay brains take over. Not only can we replay that image over and over again, but we can change it simply by imaging what might have happened IF … It’s were our fantasies come from, it’s where a writer’s story ideas come from, it’s built-in entertainment.

 

My voyeuristic encounter at the showers stands out to me as outrageously erotic, and yet nothing happened. Two blokes got tired of waiting in queue for the shower, probably anxious to get to dinner and a cold beer, so they chose to shower in full view of hundreds of people they didn’t know, hundreds of people who would never see them again. BUT, they were wrong, I’ve seen them countless times in my imagination – sometimes sun bleached and golden in the late afternoon light, sometimes dark, tattooed and dangerous just before dusk, beckoning me to come join them, speaking softly to me in German — words I don’t understand, though I completely get their meaning. I know exactly what those boys want, as they leer at me and I leer right back. Well, in my imagination at least.

 

In some of those instant replays, I meet them on the beach at midnight to share a bottle of wine and a naked swim in the warm moonlit waters. In some of those instant replays, I shoo my prudish friend back to her tent, then strip off shamelessly and join them, letting them soap me and rinse me and protect me with their naked, glistening bodies from gaping onlookers. In other versions, they come to the shower late at night when everyone else is asleep, and only I’m there to watch them lather and bathe each other, thorough in their efforts to get clean, more thorough in their efforts to relieve the tensions of the day.

 

Our delicious instant replay allows us to rewind, slo-mo, enhance, zoom in on any part of any experience or image that catches their fancy, and then enjoy it a second or even a 50th time around. We can take that experience and totally change it if we choose. We do it all the time; in our heads, we rewrite the ending of an interview that didn’t go so well or an argument with a lover so that we can take back what we wish we hadn’t said. Sometimes we imagine what would have happened next if things had been allowed to unfold to the end, if I had been allowed to linger a little longer in front of the showers. In fact, we can be really neurotic about it, playing the same scenes over and over and obsessing on them, for good or for ill.

 

Writers are especially adept at using this instant replay to inspire, to arouse, to tease out and focus on details we might otherwise have missed, details that might have totally intrigued us the first time around, even details that weren’t really there. Then we write those details into whole new scenarios, sometimes even whole novels.

I know, I know! It’s all a part of memory. Anyone can hit the ole instant replay button at any time and experience the

past all over again. We all do that. But there’s nothing ordinary about the ability to relive our experiences and imagine ourselves in a different life – perhaps even as different people who make a different decision; perhaps the decision to strip off and shower with the German wind-surfers. The creative process of a writer quite often depends on the exploitation of that instant replay button. I can’t think of anything I’ve written that isn’t grounded in some way, no matter how miniscule, in my recalling of an experience, my reimagining of a moment, or my reworking of an image that intrigues me. In a very real sense, we are what we write as we wind back the video in the editing room of our brain and hit replay, then hit slo-mo, then zoom in real nice and tight-like so that we can enhance and recreate every detail to tell a brand new story.

 

A Pole, a Photographer and … Me?

I just signed up for a photo shoot. That’s no biggie. Most novelists have PR photos taken from time to time. But this is different. This shoot scares me as much as it excites me. It challenges me as much as it intimidates me. This shoot is for pole dance.

 

 

I started a beginning pole dance class six months ago when Polerocks opened a studio just up the road from my gym – first lesson free. I wanted to give my workouts and my fitness routines another dimension. I’ve always thought pole dancing was incredibly beautiful and powerful. I knew that it would take my fitness to the next level. IF I could even do it at all. I am, after all, an old fart. Though I try to keep that fact a secret whenever possible, I think some people are beginning to suspect.

 

For the past six months I’ve come home from class bruised and battered and sore as hell. The pole is not a very forgiving dance partner. It has no consideration whatsoever for my delicate dainty body parts. And for the past six months, I’ve loved every minute of it. I’ve never done anything that has made me feel more challenged, or more empowered. On the pole I’m awkward and weak at worst, while I’m getting a grip on a few Spins and holds at best. But, wow! I’m stronger, more flexible and leaner than I’ve ever been. I’m discovering muscles I didn’t know existed. They usually introduce themselves to me in some way that involves pain.

 

 

Another benefit that’s worth a lot to an introverted writer who’s quite often only slightly less than a hermit is the wonderful community of women I’ve discovered in pole class – women of all ages and all skill levels, and every one of them laughing and joking and encouraging one another.

 

Me on the pole — well it’s not a pretty sight. So it’s quite possible that I may have lost my mind signing up for a photo shoot, but I did it anyway. Besides the shoot is seven months away.

 

You see where I’m going with this? I love a good challenge. And a good challenge often involves a bit of blood, sweat and flat out fear. And yet, now that I’ve signed up for it, I have to admit, I’m more than a little bit excited about the wild ride ahead.

 

 

SO today I’m posting the earliest photos I have of me and my new best friend, the Pole. Gird your loins, my lovely readers, because you’re gonna be seeing a lot more of the two of us as I record my progress for the next seven months.

 

And you’ll be seeing a lot more “Fit to Write “ posts in the future because my fitness journey has gone hand in hand with my writing journey for the past five years. It’s not only helps inspire me, but I’m pretty sure it helps keep me sane.

 

The combination of writing stories and getting and staying fit has led me into uncharted territory and I have no doubt it will continue to do so. The place where the two come together is a place of creativity and a place of personal power that I didn’t expect to find in the midst of the sweat and the gasping for breath and the sore muscles. Perhaps the most important lesson that I’ve learned and continue to learn anew every day is that I am capable of way more that I imagined. And I have a good imagination. I’m pretty sure that great revelation in the midst of sweating and grunting and writing is true for everybody in one way or another. I find that fact outrageously exciting. It gives me courage. It gives me hope.

 

It’s been a wild ride, and it’s just beginning. I’m glad to be sharing it with you.

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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