I’ve been negotiating a pro blogging gig for a while, and that has been keeping me from posting as much as I otherwise might. I’ve been trying to save my best ideas for pro work! But due to contract considerations, it’s looking like I’ll keep most of my content here, even if I do work as a pro blogger. (Those “rights”! They are so pesky.) It’s also been making me think about how I want this blog to look — I had a strong vision when I thought about blogging elsewhere, with the chance to start over and build an opus from the ground up — whereas this place is a little bit more of a hodgepodge. That’s okay. But I would like a unifying theme.

When I first started this blog, I styled it “Clarisse Thorn: BDSM Outreach”. I retitled it simply “Clarisse Thorn” later, as it became clear that I was going in a much broader sex-positive direction what with my sex-positive film series and my current work in Africa and all, though my main interest will always be S&M. And then there were the pesky gender-theory outposts, like my crowd-pleasing manliness series, which has nothing intrinsically to do with BDSM or sexuality at all. (Over 800 comments now on my final post in the series! And the conversation’s been going since 2009. I call that a success.)

So now, the title you see above. “Clarisse Thorn: Sex-Positive Outreach, Open-Minded Feminism”. I think that covers it.

This also seems like as good a time as any to explain my icon, the white rose in a pool of blood. Blood is, in fact, a serious fetish of mine. It’s certainly attracted me for years — since before I had any real clue how deep my S&M sexuality went. And then, I mean, what kind of romantic doesn’t love roses? (I assure you, despite any sarcasm or sadomasochistic cravings you may have noticed, I’m a definite romantic.) In college, years before I came into BDSM, I was seized by mad genius to do a quick series of ink pictures: roses in blood. The picture that’s currently my universal Internet icon was my favorite.

It’s funny to me, looking at it now, that I had no real clue how much I was craving hardcore S&M. But so much of it was buried. How could I know?

And then there’s that song from the Smithereens, one of those older rock bands that no one in my generation has heard of: “Blood & Roses”. The song didn’t inspire me so much as slot neatly into my mind when I first heard it, mid-teens. Here’s the chorus (and I promise, I will not make a habit of posting song lyrics!).

It was long ago, but seems like yesterday.
I saw you standing in the rain and then I heard you say:
“I want to love but it comes out wrong.
I want to live but I don’t belong.
I close my eyes and I see blood and roses.”

Sometimes I think the blood-and-roses were a mental shorthand: the back of my mind trying to tell me what I was looking for, despite all the repression and anxiety; despite the fact that I had no clue how to name it. I want to love but it comes out wrong. I wanted it so much, but it could never come out right until I understood what I needed.