Diary of a Darklady
They say that December is the most popular month for depression. Something about the holidays and the cold and the lack of sunlight supposedly sends otherwise well balanced people into an inky spiral. I don’t know if this is true or not. Personally, although I get a little pouty during December, I reserve February for my depressive month of choice.
The end of December and beginning of January are a whirlwind of activity for me as I prepare for and then enter the AVN Zone. Selecting, purchasing, and packing clothing, tweaking and printing promotional fliers, fretting about my hair, my complexion, my body, the files on my laptop, my Internet connection, how many pens I should carry, which cameras and recorders to bring, where I’ll sleep, how I’ll get around town, and whether or not I’ll come home from Las Vegas sick are the activities that occupy my obsessive mind. Along with all of this, of course, my daily, weekly, and monthly deadlines still need to be met, the holidays must be endured, my annual New Year’s Eve party needs to see the new and old years pass one another with a number of “bangs,” and somehow I need to fit in a wee bit of time with my loved ones. Then it’s time to get on a plane and head to the real city that never sleeps: Las Vegas, where time only exists on your wristwatch (or cell phone, in my case, since I don’t wear a wristwatch).
I’ve been writing for AVN (Adult Video News) Magazine for more than six years. Mostly I write reviews of adult videos, publications, and toys, although I’ve also written several feature articles. It’s my work for AVN that qualifies me to be a judge at each year’s straight and gay awards shows, which are each the porn equivalent of the Academy Awards. I was an associate editor for AVN Online Magazine for a year, as well. That’s when I began attending what is now called the Internext Expo, the twice-yearly convention for adult webmasters. Internext is followed immediately by the Adult Entertainment Expo and then the AVN Awards. Since I work with both the traditional porn industry as well as the world of adult online, I stay for both of the conventions and the awards show.
Three years ago, I took the leap and went 100% freelance, working for two years as the Content Editor for Adult Buzz before moving on to porn scriptwriting, sexual Q&A columns, reviews and a column in Playtime Magazine, and other writing ventures. No matter how many additional writing gigs I add to my client list though, all roads currently lead back to AVN and that week of insane sleep deprivation, partying, smoke inhalation, irregular meals, increased blood alcohol levels, overt sexuality, strippers, porn stars, prostitutes, cameras, noise, and people everywhere.
Each year’s trip is a transformational journey. Travel always results in some kind of change for me, but the Las Vegas experience is surreal in so many ways that it’s especially conducive. The crisp, dry, desert weather provides an environment entirely unlike my Pacific Northwest evergreen, overcast and possibly raining hometown. The constant exposure to thousands of people while in full Darklady Drag is a fun but frenzied departure from my usual semi-reclusive existence at Darklady Estates. Bright, flashing lights are everywhere; voices and the eternal clatter of slot machines become white noise; and sudden movement is all around in the adult theme park called Las Vegas. Quite a contrast to my laid back office filled with music, books, quiet conversation, and pornography.
The first few days of my Las Vegas experience tend to be moody, as I adjust to the differences in schedules and social obligations. I ponder my career path, feel like an outsider one minute and an insider the next, contemplate whatever relationship(s) I’m in at the time, fret about the status of writers vs. just about everyone else in the industry, and confront the increasingly unhappy condition of my feet as I put in untold miles on the convention floor. This year I stayed in the Tam O’ Shanter motel, which was a brilliant logistic and economic decision in spite of its ever growing collection of increasingly big cockroaches. Alas, the Tam O’ Shanter is no more. It closed its doors for the last time on the day I returned home and is scheduled for destruction in order to accommodate the Venetian’s next stage of development.
The weeks following my return home are invariably filled with Nyquil induced sleep (while I recover from whatever infection I managed to pick up in Las Vegas), sorting through piles of brand new business cards from people I sometimes don’t quite remember meeting, getting film developed and hoping there’s nothing on it that will get me busted, following up on conversations about brilliant new collaborations, and catching up on all the work that has piled up in my absence. There’s no time for depression! That comes later. That comes in February, when things slow down and series love and loss related anniversaries pile on top of one another in their eagerness to bring me down.
When I was a young woman, my father would sometimes become so enraged that his blows would fall upon my upraised arms like a steady, hard rain. As I trudge through the still smoldering memories that litter the emotional battlefield that is February for me, I am reminded of the quiet place inside of myself that I would visit during those tender, intense times. January is mad, giddy, and exhausting. February, by comparison, is quiet, solitary, and efficient. With the threat of Valentine’s Day smack dab in the center, it has become a landmine of mixed emotions. In February I remember falling down drunk and in love with a man who no longer speaks to me, the final break-up of a love affair with a man who still tells me I’m beautiful, the death of the little tuxedo cat that stuck with me through the worst of times, the birthday of a lover who despised the day of his birth yet chose it for the day of our wedding — and left me shortly afterwards. These and other phantoms make February far more appropriate for depression than December. It is during this month, perhaps more than any other time that I am glad to have my writing and my work as quiet places where I can go for structure and purpose when the world gets a bit too tender and intense.