Emerges from her cocoon again...

Umm. I guess it has been a while. I'm sorry for the gap. Explanations and excuses follow...

So, my last entry was late April. At that time we were having constant rain. I'm sure you saw the news. Some parts of Texas were heavily flooded. On high ground, that wasn't something that worried me.

I was insanely busy with Rob, Clarice and Mara, and I was looking forward to everything calming down soon, as they left.


Either the weekend after my last entry or the one after that we all went to Scarborough Faire. Mara loved it, and Clarice claimed it brought back good memories. Rob was a little burned out, but that's hardly surprising.

I mention it as significant, now, because it was raining that weekend, too. Not so badly as it been; the Faire was muddy, and we mostly avoided direct rain, but after its cold start, I was thinking how much its run this year probably had suffered. The rain picked up again on our drive home.

The next few days were among the worst. Flooded roads on my normal drive meant I had to take alternate routes, which added to my frustration and tiredness.

Then, midweek, my roof collapsed.

It was only a small gap, really, but in the heavy rains it was enough to cause extensive flooding to the kitchen, carpet damage to the hallway, and blow some breakers, making approaching the flooded area worrying if not outright dangerous. Rob killed the house power and we started looking for help.

We gathered up everything of my guests over the next day - some of it was a little wet, but they mostly avoided problems - and moved into a hotel. Since they had a move-in date, they didn't much care about the short stay, and I used the time to get home repair started. It wasn't easy, because there was so much flooding that everyone was busy, and I've been constantly fighting with my insurance company since then.

When Rob and Clarice moved to their new home, the twins and Barry both offered to let me stay with them. In hindsight, it was probably a mistake to take Barry up on his offer.

The first few weeks were okay, but the constant stress - and, I think, my annoyance that I was dependent on him - led to us butting heads much more than I'd expect. When my place was finally livable again, it was a big relief to both of us. The relationship that never-quite-was is not again.

Not that I hate him, or anything. We still see each other. Since I moved out, we usually end up in my bed, not his. I guess, in a way, it's made us more free, knowing that there's no ambiguity about a long-term future. At least, it feels that way to me, and Barry's as energetic now as ever.

Had I moved in with the twins, and had we come to this head-butting stage, I don't like to consider the possible outcomes. I would truly hate to lose them as friends. Much more than if I'd lost Barry. Maybe realizing that, when he and I were arguing, made me realize that I don't really love him. Not in any permanent, relationship-demanding way.

Among all of this, I completed my MBA and passed my finals. My company gave me a bonus and a raise. Not because we'd agreed any such thing - the MBA was all on my own time and funding - or because my responsibilities have changed, but because, I suspect, that salaries for MBAs with my level of experience are quite high.

I've already rebuffed a few poaching attempts, and they were for significantly more than I'm currently being paid. I like what I've built here, though. I like the people, and I don't want to start over.

My life is finally, gradually, slowing down. Even so, it took an Internet outage at my company to motivate me to write this, and I think I will stay with my original intention when I reactivated the journal, early this year, of only updating occasionally. I just hope it's more frequent than it has been.

On the fiction writing front - I haven't had much time to think of new ideas. I have a couple floating around in my head, but one seems too predictable, and not in line with my intention to avoid purely situational sex. The other - well, I like the thought, almost to an obsessive level, but I don't know if I can make it credible. It's about a girl going from zero sexual experience whatever to discovering and being surprised by her feelings.

The surprise is important, but how can you not know what you're getting into? And who, really, has no experimentation? I'm not talking about "first times" here, I'm including masturbation.

There, I've said it. A word I've avoided from the start of the stories in 1999. I don't use it, because in the kind of stories I write it would be distracting. Masturbation isn't part of seduction, where the desire is for someone else. And it isn't part of my journal, because - well, because it isn't.

But when it comes to my protagonists, how realistic is it to think that even an inexperienced girl doesn't know what an orgasm feels like? At least among those girls likely to have a seductive / sexual encounter with a guy? I doubt that really exciting sex with a partner is often a girl's first experience. Or a guy's, though I'm sure his is much more likely to lead to orgasm.

For me - and I'll break my own taboo here - I discovered masturbation well before my age of consent, and liked it enough to want a guy to make me feel that way. Mostly, they didn't get close. I was with a few (let's say "more than two and less than ten") before I confused going to bed with Mark to being in love with him, because of the intensity of the experience.

(Not that the period before Mark was disappointing. Even when sex doesn't reach the heights you might expect for it, there's closeness and touching and good times that will keep you coming back for more. My liaisons were not merely educational. After Mark, of course, I was often educating, and I knew what to teach :)

So I guess I'm always assuming that my characters have some experience, even when I write a "first time" story. And in this case... I just don't know. I like the idea. I just don't know if I can make it work.

You know - I should ask that as a poll in the forums. It might help generate some activity. Was your first experience alone or with a partner? And, for that matter, with a partner of the opposite sex? Mutual masturbation isn't all that rare during that early discovery time, even among those who later identify as hetero.

So that's a recap of where Helen has been, physically and creatively. Maybe I'll be able to give you a little more about where she's going from now on... :)