Author, Jessica Anya Blau, has recently released her debut novel, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES. It’s a coming of age story about a teen and her unconventional family. Jessica has written a hilarious guest post for Planet Books and I am so excited to share it with you. It’s laugh-out-loud funny and the tone of the post gets me even more excited to receive and read THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES.
Summary ~ The Summer of Naked Swim Parties: It’s the summer of 1976 and fourteen-year-old Jamie has a list of worries: What if there’s an earthquake? What if the police come while her parents are swimming naked or, worse, smoking pot? What if her friends come over while her mother is cooking waffles wearing only cut-off shorts and an apron, her giant, almost pornographic breasts unbound and free? And, most pressing, what if someone dies? Jamie sees death everywhere: in the pool, on the backyard trampoline, and even on a blanket on the beach, where a piece of glass could break through and stab her. Indeed, there will be a tragedy that summer, although it’s one that Jamie hasn’t imagined. And by September, even though her tan is mahogany, Jamie will discover that the beach is not always a refuge, sex does not bring forth love, friendship can be as heartbreaking as romance, and her family– no matter how crazy, no matter how naked– may be her salvation after all.
Motherhood and Celebrity Penises
One question I am often asked by readers of my novel, THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES, is, “Have your daughters read it?!” The question is always asked in a way that demands at least one exclamation point, as the novel is full of sex. (Most of it is uncomfortable sex that does not turn out very well for the protagonist, Jamie. In fact—I’ll digress here—one person at a reading raised his hand and asked if Jamie ever went on to have great sex!) The novel also has mild drug use (marijuana), alcohol (beer), and lots and lots of naked swimming. The answer to the question is that I have let my 16-year old daughter read it (she claims she loved it) and I have not let my 11-year old daughter read it (I told her she could read it when she’s fourteen). They both seem fine with the fact that their mother wrote a book that has sex in it—they’re big readers, they’ve read about sex before. Also, and I’m not sure this matters much, I don’t drink, or smoke, or swim naked (although I have tried all those things in the past) and so my daughters fully understand that it is not ME, their mother, who is doing the stuff in the book, it is the character.
Now, onto my thoughts about blogging: The wonderful thing about blogs is that it is not characters we are reading about, but the writers themselves. Blogs are like public diaries, or musings—we, as readers, take what the blogger says to be true. Also, because they are on the Internet, blogs are more easily consumed than a book that you have to borrow or purchase, then peruse (or all-out read!), to find some tidbit that might titillate you. A blog can be pulled up in seconds, depending on your Internet connection, and read within minutes.
When Karen asked me to blog for this site, I considered writing about a weekend I had spent with a somewhat-famous, male, sex-symbolish celebrity (we were both guests in the same home) who did a small jaunt around the house naked and then swam naked in the pool while I, fully clothed, sat on a cushy poolside lounger reading the Los Angeles Times. The interesting thing to me about this story, is that the celebrity had a very, very, very tiny and pale penis. It was like a flour-white thumbtack pushed into his pubic hair. I think a tiny penis is fine, I certainly don’t care and would never criticize anyone because they have a tiny penis (I’d hate to read the blogger who got a good gander at me strolling around naked!). What shocked me about the penis was that he seemed to have no shame in it—no worry that I would reveal to anyone the fact of his thumbtack. How marvelous to be so comfortable with whatever you were given at birth. How liberating to think, “This is it! Voila! Take it or leave it!” I envy that poorly-endowed celebrity as I would love to be so accepting of myself, so comfortable in my own skin. Alas, I am not. If I leave a room naked and someone else is in that room (my husband, for example) I back my way to the door so as to spare him the view of my undulating rear.
This brings me to my problem with blogging: the easy access, the eternal life on the internet. If someone were to type into Google Jessica anya blau tiny penis would they pull up my blog? Would my daughters be forever ashamed because their mother wrote a nonfiction posting about a weency celebrity penis?
Let’s hope not.
You can check out Harper Collins page on Jessica and THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES HERE, Jessica’s personal web site HERE and her MySpace page HERE. THE SUMMER OF NAKED SWIM PARTIES is available in stores and on-line now.