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Beers With Violet Blue; Mother was a Coke Dealer and Crack Head; Hates Most Porn Writers

[San Francisco Bay Guardian] While we’re on the subject of Violet Blue, we figured it’s time to post Justin Juul’s recent interview with the sexy local celeb. Read on!

Violet Blue is one of those people who builds robots, dreams about cupcakes, and has twelve phones. You know the type. They usually write about porn and sex on their award-winning blogs and you can pretty much count on them to release about three books a year. They often pose semi-nude for well-known photographers, write columns for daily newspapers, and make appearances on national television shows. Wait. I don’t know anyone that cool, or at least I didn’t until I met Violet. The Guardian recently had a few beers with Ms. Blue to try to learn the secret to her seemingly impossible career and life.

SFBG: So whatcha been up to lately?

Violet Blue: Well, one new thing I’m working on is a series of interviews for Kink. They’ve really been stepping up their production lately so there are more big-name porn stars coming through. I’ve been interviewing all of them.

SFBG: Who have you interviewed?

Blue: Oh, I’ve done tons. I’ve been gathering them for weeks and I’m just writing them up now. I’ve got Ariel X, Flower Tucci, and a bunch of other famous people. I like doing the interviews because I’m kind of outside the porn industry. So instead of asking them how big their boobs are, I’ll maybe ask them if they have names for their boobs, which I actually did ask a couple girls.

SFBG: How did you start writing about porn and sex?

Blue: Well I worked full-time at Good Vibrations for years and I kind of just fell into writing copy for videos and erotica collections, the educational department, or whatever, and it just kind of took off from there. I had a few lines on the back of someone else’s books and publishers noticed. So I started doing more book cover quotes and then eventually other publishers noticed me.

SFBG: How was working at Good Vibrations?

Blue: It was cool. I don’t think I’d want to work there at the counter now, but it was fun while I was doing it. I would just hang out and talk about sex all day long, or make fun of ugly sex toys with my co-workers. And the strange quirky, homeless people who came in were always entertaining. We had an underpants gnome that was especially funny.

SFBG: What’s an underpants gnome?

Blue: He was this guy who would wander in with his underpants on the outside. He never stole anything, but he was kind of crazy. He would pick up books and show them to customers and be like “that’s my daddy.”

SFBG: He was pretty good for business then, right?

Blue: Ha, yeah right. It was always a challenge to keep him away from customers because we’d have people coming in to buy their very first dildo and some crazy dude in his underwear would be waving around porn talking about his daddy. We tried to keep him away as much as possible, but we didn’t want him to get arrested or anything. He never got agro or anything.

SFBG: Were you writing before you worked at The Good Vibrations store? I mean, did you study journalism in school or anything, or did you really just fall into it?

Blue: No, I never went to school at all.

SFBG: Oh wow. I didn’t know that. What’s your back-story then? How did you become Violet Blue?

Blue: Well, I had a strange sort of life. I never met my father, or any of my family, and my mother was a coke dealer and a crack-head. I ran away from home when I turned 14 and I lived on the streets of San Francisco. All told, I think I attended about six months of high school. So I never graduated high school and I never went to college. I got off the streets when I was about seventeen and just worked in cafes and restaurants until I got the gig at Good Vibrations.

SFBG: Holy shit, that’s amazing. Were you writing the whole time?

Blue: Yes. Well, I got into the whole Upper Haight ‘zine scene pretty early. I did stuff for Filth and other zines and just sort of stayed with it the whole time. I also wrote for some of my friends’ webzines. I wrote for Gothic.net and wrote and edited for Necromantic from 1999 to mid-2001, and I did some work for Survival Research Laboratories’s website too. Basically, I was just friends with a lot of the early online-webzine people. The way that I came into writing was really unconventional.

SFBG: Did you keep a blog the whole time?

Blue: I actually already had a couple book deals before I started blogging. But after I started Tinynibbles.com everything just sort of blew up for me.

SFBG: It seems like you were right there in the middle of something new, like the whole web 2.0 thing sort of made space for someone like you to find success through a different channel.

Blue: Yeah, I think it really speaks to blogging and self publishing’s role in how journalism has changed and how it must continue to change. I’ve always just tried to be there where the technology is changing, trying to discover new ways to communicate.

SFBG: Yeah, I know what you mean. One thing I like about blogs, when they’re done well like yours, is that they make you feel like you’re talking to a friend. Like when you write about sex, it never sounds sterile like an “expert” might sound, but it doesn’t sound sleazy either. It just sounds like when you have beers with your friends and talk shit. Comfortable is what I mean, I guess.

Blue: Well, for me, I think I try to write that way because I don’t like how most people do it. A lot of sex writers seem to want to make it all about themselves. Or they over-glamorize it. Or they make it really gross. Or they make fun of the sex act or the people who are reading it. And I think it’s just better to talk about the act itself and then we can laugh about it together or enjoy it together. It just doesn’t have to be so weird.

SFBG: Yeah I think it’s important to understand that your reader is as smart as you are.

Blue: Exactly. That’s what I hate about most porn writers. It seems like they think whoever reads their stuff must be stupid or flawed because they’re interested in sex.

SFBG: So have you always written about sex, even before the Good Vibrations thing?

Blue: Pretty much, yeah. It’s interesting. I never suspected as a little girl that I’d grow up to be a sex writer.

SFBG: Yeah, well, I guess I never thought I’d grow up to be a…

Blue: …a journalist who drinks beer in the park on Wednesday afternoons?

SFBG: Yeah, ha! How did you get started with the whole blog thing anyway? Did you find it personally gratifying or did you see it as a way to get publicity?

Blue: I think I started as a way to just get my feelings out there. It feels good to have people read your stuff even if you don’t get paid for it. Some of my earliest posts were just about my personal relationship struggles, and sex-ed stuff, and blowing off steam at Good Vibrations. I think I used it as a coping mechanism. And I think a lot of people do that.

SFBG: I can relate to that. Even if people don’t see my stuff, it still feels good to get a piece of myself out there.

Blue: Or even to just write things down for yourself can feel good. I know a lot of people who do the Live Journal thing, but they’ll keep it private or maybe just share it with one other person. What really did it for me, even before I started blogging, was this experience I had. I was working at an occult book store on Divisadero. It was pretty intense over there, before they called it NOPA or whatever, and before they tore down the projects and built new ones. I saw shoot-ups all the time, people getting their brains blown out and stuff.

SFBG: Yeah, I used to live over there. I’ve heard stories.

Blue: Yeah, it used to be a whole lot worse than it is now. There were gangsters all over. But we also used to get these little old ladies coming in to buy candles all the time too. Well, one night this old woman came in and she was walking really slowly. I was in the back with the incense so I didn’t notice anything weird at first. But as she got closer I noticed this trail of blood behind her. She had gotten stabbed in the leg. It was jutting out in spurts. I didn’t freak out, but I was pretty upset. So the thing I did at that point, as a coping mechanism, was I went down to Survival Research Labs’ shop to see my friend Mark and I just told him the whole story, just let it all out.

SFBG: So you felt like you had to share the experience to get over how crazy it made you feel?

Blue: Yeah, exactly. But also, the first thing Mark asked me was if I had taken any pictures. I was appalled at the thought of it, but then I got to thinking how much better it would have been if I had taken an artistic photograph of the blood or something. I could have shared the story more accurately. It sort of shifted my perception to where I could understand the power of documenting and sharing your experiences. I think that sort of carries over into my blogs. I just feel like it’s important to document everything.

SFBG: You mean like all the porn you watch? Wait, I meant to ask you. Do you just sit around and watch porn all day?

Blue: Ha. No, but I do look at porn everyday day, for sure. I mean I have to stay up on it. Sex culture online has just grown in so many ways, that its something you really have to keep up on if you’re going to write about it. It’s not just about what new videos are coming out or who has a new photo-shoot up. It’s about who got a new book deal, or what this or that person is saying on their blog. It’s really a lot.

SFBG: How often do you come across something that offends you or something you are morally opposed to?

Blue: You see, that’s the thing. A lot of people think that being sex positive means you don’t have boundaries. The Wikipedia entry for sex positivism suggests that a sex positive person just accepts and likes everything. That’s bullshit. I have boundaries. That’s just part of human sexuality. So of course there are things I don’t like. There are things I definitely don’t want to see. And there are things I wish I could un-see.

SFBG: Yeah, I know what you mean. Two-Girls One-Cup is probably a good example, but I also hate it when the dudes in those videos choke girls with their dicks. One of my friends is really into that for some reason, though.

Blue: Oh totally; I don’t like that either. But it’s important to realize there’s a fantasy dynamic in there. If I found out that a guy in one of those scenes really was a misogynist bastard that likes to choke girls because he hates women, I’d wanna break his kneecaps with a tire iron. But I can accept it as a fantasy, especially now that I know professional submissives who enjoy that part of their work. It’s not until you meet someone who really enjoys something that turns you off that you start to realize you shouldn’t fully reject those things.

SFBG: It’s like the idea of cultural relativism Anthropologists used to talk about all the time: the idea that since everything is ok to some people everything actually is ok in the grand scheme. The practice may be weird, but it’s not necessarily bad. But I think they stopped thinking that way when they found some cultural practices that just couldn’t be ok. There was this one example where women were getting pieces of their fingers chopped off for, like, not getting up on time or whatever. And then there was another culture where young boys had to spend years performing oral sex on their elders. After anthropologists came across things like that they started re-evaluating the idea that everything has its place, that everything is ok.

Blue: Well, I see what you’re saying, but you’re talking about fingers getting chopped off and I’m talking about porn scenes. It’s important to remember that those people are actors. I mean they don’t show porn stars going out and getting their HIV tests.

SFBG: Yeah, I guess that was kind of a drastic comparison.

Blue: Yeah, these people are working and you don’t see the behind the scenes stuff. You don’t see them warming up their anuses. I mean, they’re like acrobats, or performers anyway.

SFBG: Wait. How do you warm up your anus?

Blue: Oh, you know, with sex toys. But they never show that.

SFBG: Hmm, well. That certainly gives me a lot to think about. I think that’s about it though. Thanks Violet.

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