Time for the obligatory year-end navel gaze, everybody! And what a navel gaze. This year has been really crazy for the world, and for me personally. Sometimes in a good way. Sometimes in a holy shit what just happened way. Sometimes in a don’t let the door hit you on the way out, 2016, way. I’m gonna talk about my year, though, because this is my blog and I do what I want. BYE 2016!
2016 started out rough. I had a raging hangover on New Years Day–my first in my new home of Missoula, Montana. I had the vague feeling that I’d crashed my neighbor’s party upstairs and that there had been Everclear. It was ugly.
The year looked like it was looking up when, on his 69th birthday, my ultimate idol and inspiration, David Bowie, released Blackstar, a simply stunning new album. I listened to it on repeat through the 10th, as I packed to go to L.A. for Xbiz and then to Vegas for AVN to gather interviews and insights for the book I was working on. At about 2:00 a.m. on the 11th, I was scrolling through Facebook on my phone and saw that David Bowie had passed away. So I spent that night and all day the next day crying in the dark and listening to Blackstar some more, before boarding a plane to L.A.
In L.A. I attended the Xbiz conference for three days and learned a ton…and then got horrifically sick the day of the Xbiz awards and spent about 24 hours vomiting in my AirBnB.
During the rest of my research/interview/writing trip, through my trip to Vegas, through the AVN expo, and for a while after I returned to Montana, I couldn’t keep down anything other than fruit, water, and Alka Seltzer. I managed to have like two beers over the course of the week.
And so 2016 got off to a spectacular start.
During that rough time I saw a lot of friendly faces, interviewed some really amazing people, learned a lot about the trends in the adult entertainment business, came home and wrote some cool articles…
And then I wrote a goddamn book. It’s been in the works for a long time, but 2016 was when I finally sat down and did the work and wrote the thing. It was definitely one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, especially because my lifelong dream, literally, has been to write a book. This meant that I put a ton of pressure on myself. And during the time I was writing, not one but two different editors I was working with left the publishing house, so I’ve been through three editors in the course of a year. This meant that I had very little in the way of support while trying to write a book that’s half-memoir, half-informative text about the porn industry. I spent a lot of time locked in my office hating the world. But now that I’m in edits, I’m looking at my work and I’m actually pretty happy with what I made! The book is called Watching Porn, and it’s due out from The Overlook Press in June! I’m terrified and excited and kind of jittery about it. More on that soon!
As the year wore on, I also launched my own publishing company! We both have numerous projects that we’re obsessed with putting out into the world, but the state of the publishing industry currently doesn’t leave much room for our visions. And so, with our combined decades of experience in all aspects of publishing, in April of 2016, we launched Oneshi Press in order to get our art-based books out to the world! We’re almost finished with a fantasy art book, and we’re deep into work on my graphic novel, Tracy Queen, and a comic book, PACK. We’ve crowdfunded support on Patreon since April, and we’re almost ready to put out The Great Nations of Rendaraia! We have some big announcements and even bigger hopes for 2017!
I also started working as a consultant and editor for The Nooky Box, a Missoula-based sex toy subscription box company whose sex-positive message and upbeat look at the world of sexuality makes me so happy! One of these days we’re going to launch a themed subscription box called The Lynsey G-Spot Box! Trust me, it’ll be rad.
And I got back into modeling, working with a few different photographers over the course of the year. The highlight was a two-day pin-up shoot at multiple locations around the Missoula area. So much fun!
I began an ongoing and completely amazing relationship with MEL Magazine, for whom I’ve been writing about the porn industry, brothel museums, trans issues, and Standing Rock since June.
I got published in BUST Magazine, too! In print (and also online)! Writing about my obsession, artists model and silent film star Audrey Munson.
I journeyed to the Standing Rock #NoDAPL camp at the end of October to write a piece for MEL that I’m very proud of. I was there briefly, but I learned and saw and experienced so much. The anti-pipeline fight has seeped into my blood. I’ve become a water protector in my small way, blogging and agitating from my desk here in Missoula. I would love to go back to the camp and be of more help on the ground, but I have to admit my physical and financial limitations, sadly, keep me from doing as much as I want to.
I also wrote a few pieces for Leafly, since I’m now living in a medical marijuana state and am a patient of that system for the chronic pain caused by my rheumatoid arthritis! Because I was doing live coverage of Montana’s medical cannabis legislation on Election Night, I was forced to sit through the majority of the vote count… completely sober… at home. And watch, stunned and with a sinking feeling in my stomach, as all the progress that we have made as a country in the past eight years were stripped away like so much pretty wallpaper over a dry-rotting foundation. It was terrifying, and I am still terrified. I just cannot believe that as a country, we are so stupid.
But here we are. Ready to fight for what’s right, I hope. Because we’re going to have to.
2016 was also a huge year for my personal life: I settled into my new home in Missoula with Jayel. We learned the lay of the land out here in our little liberal bastion of God’s country. I rode horses on mountaintops. I went hiking. I visited natural hot springs. I traveled quite a lot around the American West, visiting some really amazing places like the Red Rocks Amphitheater; the world’s largest thermal hot springs in Thermopolis, Wyoming; the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington; Yellowstone National Park (many times); the Beartooth Mountains; the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas; the Cascade Mountains; Donner Pass; brothel museums in Butte, Montana, and Wallace, Idaho; and a bar in Great Falls, Montana, with LIVE MERMAIDS. I’m not kidding. I joined a gym! I started seeing a chiropractor and a massage therapist! I cut back my medication for rheumatoid arthritis drastically! I did a lot of spiritual journey work on myself this year, too. I struggled with intense insomnia for the first few months of the year, averaging something like three hours of sleep a night for almost four months, but in that time I spent many many hours looking at the dark parts of my brain and soul that don’t get a lot of play. It was hard and it was extremely unpleasant, but I’ve made a lot of positive moves because of it that I may not have otherwise, and I feel closer to where I want to be inside than I have since I was a kid.
Life is pretty good.
Oh! We also adopted a cat! Or maybe I should say he adopted us. This summer he just started showing up at our house every night until he moved in. He’s eight years old, and nobody knows what happened to his other family; he’s chipped and had all his shots, but his people are nowhere to be found. So we re-registered his chip, got him booster shots, and now he lives with us. His name is Chalithor and he is the coolest, most laid-back, handsomest, best cat ever in the history of the world. And he loves pretzels. And beans. …I dunno.
I look forward to 2017 with a lot of hope and a similar amount of trepidation. My low-cost healthcare may be axed with the ascension of Donald Trump to the presidency, and my chronic condition does not allow for me to be uninsured. I’ve spent the past year making the bulk of my income as a freelance journalist and editor, which allows me to pay the bills and to continue working on my unpaid projects, like my book and my publishing company. (The major reason that we left New York City was to pursue these projects in a place where the cost of living is low enough to survive on a fraction of what we made before.) But if my health insurance disappears, I will have to find full-time work again. Stop editing or writing or being a publisher. There’s just not enough time in the day to do it all. I hope that this won’t happen, but the powers that be don’t give one single iota of a shit about that. So we’ll see what happens. I’ve spent my entire life up until this year as a hostage to my chronic disease; I don’t want to go back to that life, but I will if I have to.
And so, my darlings, with a glass of champagne held high and a prayer for the future on my lips, I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and send you my love and hopes for a tough but ultimately excellent 2017! It won’t be easy, but I guess this is one of those times where we get to see what we’re really made of.
Oh, and one super-cool side effect of all the craziness in 2016? As of January 17, 2017, I will have gone an entire year without coffee! When I got sick in L.A. at the beginning of the year, I stopped drinking coffee because it made me super-sick. When I was finally was better weeks later, I figured I’d already gone through the withdrawal phase of quitting, so I just went with it. And here I am, almost entirely caffeine free (except for the occasional cup of tea) for a year!
So I guess good things can come out of bad things, right? Let’s hope the next four years give us lots of those good things.