Age 5: The phone rings. A stranger on the other end of the phone asks, “Do you play with yourself?” I consider telling the truth, but I’m embarrassed. No one has ever asked me about this before. My aunt swoops in fast, telling me to hang up.
Age 7: A bully on the playground tells me to pull my pants down OR ELSE. He flicks his Swiss Army knife open. By some stroke of grace, he doesn’t chase me when I run.
Age 9: Enter Judy Blume. Are you there God…? Yes. God is there. On every page. Of every book. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing; Then Again, Maybe I Won’t; Deenie; Superfudge; Blubber; Forever (Forever, forever, forever).
Until Judy Blume’s novels came into my life, the only people inclined to communicate with me about sex were predators. The impact her work on my formative years is immeasurable. She shaped my ideas about myself, about love, about sex. I can’t fathom what waiting for my first period would have been like without having read Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.
Take this: a boyfriend’s palms covering his soon-to-be ex-girlfriend’s naked breasts. He squeezes (gently, if I recall) one, then the other, over and over. He is sad. And she is, too. But they’re parting ways because it’s for the best. That’s from my memory of Forever, and the image has stayed with me all this time. I swear if I hadn’t read that book I would have married my first love. I would have missed out on zillions of adventures. I would have been trapped in rural suburbia, the best thing on my calendar dodging former classmates and allergens at the annual hay-infused county fair.
Judy’s stories didn’t have to be about puberty or sex. I loved getting lost in her characters’ lives. She made me into a hungry reader. And I suspect she made me into a writer, too.
This post was written for Wicked Wednesday, a site where writers share erotic stories (fiction and non) every week. The fun is hosted by the brilliant and gorgeous Marie Rebelle of Rebel’s Notes, whose endeavors you can support at Patreon.
Read more fab Wicked Wednesday “Books” entries here!