Fifteen Years of Russophilia in Review

The house I grew up in is cozily cluttered, bookshelves lining many of the walls. My mom, a voracious reader, liked to tell me about her love of Solzhenitsyn and Tolstoy even as a teenager, and many of those shelves were stuffed with Russian classics. It was about my junior year in high school when I first became interested in them, and for a year and a half I carried around a battered paperback copy of The Brothers Karamazov with its work burgundy cover everywhere I went. Ten or fifteen pages at a time, I fell in love with Dostoevsky’s language and characterizations, and came to call the novel my favorite for about five years. It still ranks in my top five classics, but I will admit here something I never told a soul: I never actually finished the novel. Like Les Miserables, another brooding and beautiful master work, I fell in love with the language but couldn’t quite see the relationship through to its bitter end. As a college Freshman eagerly starting Russian 101, I told the class I was studying Russian to be able to read Dostoevsky in the original, when in fact it had more to do with my recent ex-girlfriend and I’s obsession with fake lesbian pop duo tAtU.

I’m currently taking a MOOC on Understanding Russians, and I’m reminded of this theme in my Russophilia: a fascination with the language, the culture, the style, the pathos, alongside an utter lack of commitment to actually delve deep into what Russia is. I’m a Russian dabbler: when I meet a Russian person, I’m as excited as an Anglophile is hearing Tom Hiddleston’s accent, but then I hit the embarrassment of not being able to respond to a simple inquiry in Russian about my studies. Re-learning Russian is somewhere on a to-do list along the 13 other languages I’ve studied, and I have to admit that the Russian culture is not very suited to dilettantes.

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I’m Doing a Thing! Submissive Playground Starting Soon

banner reading Submissive Playground: Your Subby Summer School Starts in July...Come Play With Us!So I’ve been reviewing sexuality and erotica books for a while now, and I’m also looking into opportunities to review toys. But to be perfectly honest, books and toys aren’t where my most amazing sexuality and relationship-related experiences come from, and the same is probably true for you. To add to this part of the site, I’ve been wanting to write about sexuality and relationship experiences: things I can review that are interactive, interesting, and available for you to find out there when you’re looking to go a little deeper in your sexuality and relationship exploration.

The good news is that just such an experience showed up in my inbox recently, and so I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reviewing friend and fellow educator Sinclair Sexsmith’s Submissive Playground, an 8-week e-course that stars in July. Here’s how Sinclair describes the course:

Submissive Playground is an online course with five live calls, eight weeks of creative, sexy explorations, and four learning modules—Bondage, Discipline, Service, and Masochism—all with the goal to take your submission deeper. And, you’ll get to explore it in community, making friends with other s-types through the course, and learning from each other. The entire course is online, and done within your own levels of comfort. Registration is open at www.submissiveplayground.com.

If you’d like to participate alongside me, registration is still open until June 30th (that’s this coming Monday), and there’s a sliding scale that includes a package as low as $150 for the eight weeks. I look forward to letting you know what this new-to-me journey is like!