This book started because we were writing each other stories, almost every day, before we had ever met. Neither of us was writing just for the other. We were writing for the Internet, for the Anyone that might be reading. Sometimes our stories were about sex, but sometimes they were about disappointment, bravery, being smaller or bigger than we imagined. Our storytelling emerged not out of a desire to make big claims about The Truth of Sex but from feeling how vital it was to report back. We said what we’d always been told were the worst things to say, the things not to say, and when we shared them, no one blinked. They seemed to need it, too. We asked each other for more.
So even in the very beginning we were not alone.
We knew from our earliest conversations that Coming & Crying was meant not to be erotic but true. We wanted to make a book that charged people with telling real stories about sex but didn’t pressure them to turn anyone on. Coming & Crying aims not for conclusions about sex but for the truth that is found in our shared experience of it. We recognize each other as human not through a singular narrative, but in our own particular stories.
There are twenty-four stories in this book and we hope all of them will knock you out or wake you up or make you feel less alone. You’ll encounter at least twenty-four people in a way one does not usually. Some of the names you’ll recognize, because they are established writers or your friends or people you follow on the Internet already. That’s how we know them, too.
These are stories told from the point at which we’re at our most vulnerable. They have in common a rawness that might not emerge with the act of sex itself, but from a fear of seeing or feeling or saying too much. They may reveal a desire for all of that, too. There’s love in the book and also the stark lack of it. There are beginnings – first kiss, first handjob, first sex tape„ first rabies scare – and there are many more endings: some are sad, some bold. Most fall somewhere in the middle.
Coming & Crying is premised on an offering of self, a saying Yes when one of us asked. These stories are inseparable from our willingness to go there, our need to deliver something that isn’t often told but that is essential to have in our hands as we make our way in the world with each other.
Meaghan and Melissa
Brooklyn, July 3, 2010