Joan Larkin

Not sure if her writing is autobiographical, but Joan Larkin’s poetry on addiction is really powerful. A friend just pointed her work out to me today.

I wanted to share this poem.

The Guilt in Healing

I got word recently that someone I cared about had health consequences which crept up due to his addiction. It occurred to me that when you are in recovery, and you are able to move away from addiction, you can feel a sort of betrayal for the friends you have that did not make it out of those throes. I never knew quite how to name it before.

Using is something people often do together. They share it. They bond over it.

You can want so badly for someone to join you in getting better, and you can still feel bad when they do not. I wonder if people who survive disasters or catastrophes experience this. It is a complicated and specific feeling.

I still have hope that this person and others can swim to shore. He is creative and always has been. I hope he can transmute that creativity into a strategy towards living. And fighting.

Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist and Pornographer

I recently went to the Museum of Sex with some friends. It was my first time there. I enjoyed a lot of it, though some of the placards had spelling errors, which I was not too crazy about. The exhibition that most surprised me, though, was that of Samuel Steward in an exhibit called Obscene Diary. I had never heard of this man, but became incredibly fascinated with his life.

Photo from Exhibit

Steward’s self documentation included a catalogue of every partner and sex act, illustrated through photos, diary entries, sexual record keeping, explicit drawings and erotic literary musings. He was a gay man who documented a number of his sexual escapades, was following avidly by Kinsey (sex researcher), and got involved in tattooing as a way to meet sailors. He was a documentary maker, and his life is incredible. Also, though, he shared a lot in his writing and work about sobriety and creativity. He expounded on sobriety as it relates to one’s sex life, as a creative person, and I found myself unable to read enough about his thoughts. He struggled with an addiction to barbiturates later in life, and had lost his father to opium addiction. Clearly, sobriety and addiction were heavily in his thoughts throughout his life.

He is a man worth investigating. Click here to check out a video of him and learn more.

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