Movie Review – “Call Me By Your Name”

5a1341b115000046008590eb

*Contains spoilers*

I have watched this film three times now, and it gets better at each viewing.

Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is a feast for the senses – an erotic buffet filled to the brim with symbolism, intellect and culture.

But most of all, innocence.

Screen Shot 2018-01-05 at 3.21.21 PM

Call Me By Your Name is the story of 17 year-old Elio’s sudden infatuation with 24 year-old graduate student, Oliver, one of a succession of yearly summer visitors brought to the beautiful Italian villa by his father to help with paperwork and for the chosen student’s own intellectual and spiritual enrichment. It is based on the book of the same name by André Aciman, which I read before viewing the film. In this case, the movie exceeded the promise of the book – which in itself was wonderful – by immersing the viewer in the lush Italian summer that Aciman writes about and by selecting Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer as the two lead actors.

call_me_by_your_name_6

Their chemistry is palpable from the moment they first meet through the tentative attempts at flirting and seduction, through to the final moments at the train station when Oliver has to leave. Chalamet was deservedly nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor. Somehow, he is able to show every emotion and thought that crosses Elio’s mind as he tries to figure Oliver out and decipher his own confusing feelings of attraction.

d7477a0579654a9d70da82b1921d5ab0

This is one of the most mature films I’ve ever had the privilege to watch. It is a story in which sex is as natural as breathing, as wonderful a part of growing up as anything else, where nothing is shameful about embracing one’s desires and enjoying the fruit of life. The peaches that ripen in Anella’s orchard are as full of promise and as sweet as Elio. They are innocent but sensual in their own right, just like him.

As Elio and Oliver bicycle through the Italian countryside growing ever more aware of their mutual attraction, the viewer is treated to such a natural growth of love and longing that it becomes a part of the landscape.

5-CMBYN-feature-1600x900-c-default

The house in which Elio lives and where Oliver stays for the summer is a character in itself. Like Elio’s parents, the ancient villa is always welcoming, doors open wide to the sunshine, balconies overlooking vast expanses of grass and trees. But there are hidden passages and secret rooms too, where only the most loyal companions are taken. Elio’s private escape above back of the kitchen, where he brings Marzia to wile away the hours until his tryst with Oliver, is also the room where he has intimate relations with a ripe peach and later cries in Oliver’s arms over the fact that Oliver must soon leave.

DSoo1IYVMAAQuGk

This film is a celebration of summertime, first love, sexual exploration of all kinds — opposite sex, same sex, solitary sex with a peach — beauty and desire. It is also a celebration of how a parent can let their child become an adult by sitting back and letting that child explore the world on his/her own terms. By understanding that sexuality is a natural part of living and that putting barriers around who we’re allowed to fall in love with or engage with sexually is a losing game, and why would we want to play it anyway?

Call Me By Your Name Movie

Call Me By Your Name Book

Friday Flash Fiction – Jingle Balls

tumblr_p1nxwlbcg31ubczc1o1_540

Dear Lord, it was sweltering outside. How was I supposed to get in the Christmas spirit surrounded by palm trees, surfers and ancient volcanoes?

I’d jumped at the opportunity to move to Hawaii when the possibility of a transfer had come up within the company. It had been absolutely amazing for the first six months until I’d realized that nothing was changing. The weather was the same as it had been at the start of my stay.

Of course, that had been one of the major draws of moving here, but I hadn’t counted on the boredom of waking up to the same thing day in and day out. Sure, it rained sometimes. And some days the winds were stronger than others. But I had grown up in a climate that transformed itself on a regular basis. I had gotten used to the seasons changing and seemed to unconsciously have used them to mark the passage of time if nothing else. Here, on this island, I felt like I was trapped in a constantly repeating pattern. It was a pleasant pattern, there was no arguing that. Warm and sunny most of the time, with no hassles like shovelling snow, scraping car windows or trying to find a winter hat that looked half decent.

I couldn’t believe I was thinking this, but I missed winter. Actually, I missed the gradual change of Autumn to winter and the prospect of spring returning. Especially right now, with Christmas only a few days away.

The only good thing (and it was a really good thing) that made Hawaii feel like home was the fact that the man I’d met a month after setting down roots here had moved in with me and we shared a relationship that was astonishing in its honesty and passion.

As I pulled into the drive of our hilltop bungalow wondering how I’d get through the Christmas season without the things that made Christmas, well, Christmas, I knew that at least I had someone wonderful with whom to share my nostalgia and celebrate the season.

“Hey, Gorgeous, I’m home,” I said as I pushed open the door and dropped my parcels. “No peeking in any of these, by the way.”

“In here,” came Josh’s cheerful voice from the living room.

I toed off my flip flops and tossed my keys on the stand, then wandered towards the living area. When I got to the archway between the dining area and the living room I froze at the sight that greeted me.

“Josh? What the hall have you done? And holy shit, what the fuck are you wearing?” I said, staring open mouthed at my muscled boyfriend who stood in front of an artificial pine tree that was flecked with fake snow and decorated with white and blue balls and pretty paper snowflakes, in only a pair of tight white briefs embossed with the visage of the jolly old elf himself and the Aussibum logo.

He smiled and stepped back from the tree. “Ta da! What do you think?”

“I think,” I said, feeling the moisture collect in my eyes but fighting it back (it was just a fucking tree, for God’s sake!). “I think I love it.”

His smile grew bigger and the gratitude swelled inside me again. Then he gestured down to the tiny trunks he wore. “And these? Tell me what you think of these.”

My eyes drifted over the soft white cotton that contained his familiar package and outlined his beautiful, sexy ass.

I shook my head. “I can’t tell you that, Josh.”

He screwed up his features. “Huh? Why not?”

“Because my brain just exploded. Why did you get rid of the palm tree we decorated? I don’t miss it at all, but why?”

He shrugged. “Because I could tell you hated it. I wanted you to have something more reminiscent of Wisconsin. Something that would make your Christmas a little more enjoyable.”

I walked over to him and reached out to pull him in for a kiss. His lips were soft and welcoming and tasted of peppermint. “Have you been eating candy canes, Josh?”

He grinned. “Maybe.”

“You are the sweetest man I’ve ever known. Thank you for making my Christmas this year.”

“You’re welcome. Do you like the balls?”

“Oh Josh, I like them very much,” I said, staring down at his tiny white Christmas briefs.

He gasped in mock astonishment. “My goodness, someone’s in a better mood.”

“Thanks to you. Now let’s go pretend there’s a raging blizzard outside and we can’t leave the bedroom for three days.”

 

Scrabble – Nathan’s Flash Fic Challenge for March

My buddy, Nathan, runs a Flash Fiction challenge each month. He picks randomly from a selection of genres, objects, and locations and the results for March were: a Romance, with a VHS cassette, in a fire watch tower.

So I kind of played fast and loose with those guidelines because that’s how I roll.

Also, the stories are supposed to be within a 1000 word limit. Mine’s about 1500 words but I couldn’t bare to edit it down very much ’cause I like it the way it is.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to write but while researching fire watch towers I came upon this article about a guest house built as an authentic replica of a fire watch tower in Montana and my idea progressed from there. Especially when I read that it is occasionally used by fire fighters as an actual fire lookout.

FireNElv1
Photo by Heidi A. Long

SCRABBLE

After an intense hike to the top of Lion Mountain in Whitefish, Montana, I surprised my boyfriend, Michael, with the place we would be staying for two days and two nights to celebrate being together for six months.

“They wanted to recreate an old fire watch tower and went to pretty extreme lengths to make it authentic. And I found it on Air B&B. And now we are here.”

The wood-framed platform and cabin were perched securely on top of four wide flights of stairs that I had to force myself to ascend with the occasional encouragement from Michael who wasn’t afraid of heights.

The door was indeed unlocked and I was relieved to see the place looked just like it had on the website — the décor rustic and cozy. There was a small kitchen area, a tiny table with two chairs and a living space. I hadn’t yet told Michael that we’d have to climb down those steps whenever we needed to use the composting toilet.

“Wow,” Michael said as we looked at the panoramic view out the windows. The green and brown wilderness of Montana spread out in all directions. “This is beautiful.”

After staring for several moments we shucked our backpacks and collapsed on the banquet sofa, breathing heavily from the hike and climb.

Michael looked around the small cabin, taking it all in. I’d already seen the photos online but it was wonderful to see the place in person and know it was ours for the next forty-eight hours.

Finally, he turned to me. “But where do we sleep?”

I raised my eyebrows. As far as I was concerned, there would not be a whole lot of sleep going on this weekend.

He must have seen the desire in my eyes because he grinned and leaned closer, brushing my cheek with his nose and murmuring into my ear. “Let me rephrase that. Where is the comfortable but firm surface I can throw you on to have my depraved way with you? Please tell me there is one.”

His warm breath caused goose bumps to rise on me everywhere and my cock to thicken in my shorts. I almost couldn’t reply but when I found my voice I said, “There’s a pull-out bed in here.” I pointed down at the sofa we were sitting on.

“Oh good,” he said, nuzzling my stubbled cheek and nipping at my chin, which caused my mouth to drop open and my breaths to come more quickly. “Because I thought we might have to do it on the balcony.”

I pulled back and stared at him, eyes wide and my dick a steel rod.

“I think we may just have to now that you’ve put that idea in my head.”

He laughed softly and kissed me with increasing ardor, his hand finding its way past the waistband of my shorts.

Later, so much later, after we’d fucked on the pull-out bed AND on the balcony, and then again with me bent over the kitchen counter, we relaxed on the tangled sheets and enjoyed the peace of the dark forest surrounding us. It was so quiet but for the sounds of crickets and night birds and it made something deep inside me relax for the first time in a long while.

“This reminds me of something,” I suddenly realized and the words were out of my mouth before I could stop them.

“Yeah?”

I nodded, snuggling into Michael’s side and enjoying the smell of him and the lingering scent of our adventures. “This old movie I had way back in the day of VHS players. I can’t even remember the title of the thing and the cassette always came unwound but I remember there was this one scene where the lovers — they were straight of course— were chatting like us in a cabin in the woods with darkness all around, just like this, and it was so, I don’t know, evocative of something. Something important and valuable and beautiful.”

Michael stared down at me, breathing softly. “I like the way you say things, Mattéo.”

“You do?”

“Yes, I do. And I think that you are something important and valuable and beautiful.”

I swallowed, too overcome by what he’d said to reply. All I could do was lock onto his gaze and lose myself in the truth of his words.

A sound outside made me jerk in his arms.

“What the fuck was that?” Michael said as our quiet lover’s chat was interrupted by sounds of movement and talking below. We froze and listened.

A man’s voice, confident and deep: “I know. I just want to get a better look. Wait here.”

Soon we heard the sounds of booted feet on the steps below.

“Oh shit,” I cried out, scrambling to find my clothes. Michael did the same. But before we could get completely dressed the door to the cabin opened and a man stepped inside.

“Oh shit!” He exclaimed, his eyes flying over the scene of our debauchery with confusion and surprise. “I didn’t realize there was anyone in here.”

“Oh shit!” I said again, staring at the fully uniformed firefighter in his coveralls, boots and fire hat. “Is there a fire?”

The man stared at me, then at Michael as we continued to frantically dress ourselves.

He gave out a soft laugh and smiled. He looked back and forth between us again and I suddenly noticed he had the bluest eyes and a handsome goatee. “That’s what I’m here to find out. But nothing close.”

His eyes sparkled as he took off his fire hat and held out his hand. “I’m Officer Markholm. I’m so sorry to intrude but the owner lets us use this place as an actual fire watch tower when we need to. Unfortunately she neglected to tell us it was being used this weekend.”

Officer Markholm’s black hair was wet with sweat and curled charmingly around his ears. I didn’t realize I was staring until Michael told me to close my mouth. Officer Markholm laughed, apologized again and asked if he could just have a look out the back windows? He was just making sure a small fire that was miles away had been successfully extinguished.

Of course we said sure and moved aside, hoping the smell of the sex we’d had all over the place wasn’t as strong as it seemed. I suddenly noticed Michael’s jar of Boy Butter lube on the table by the window where Officer Markholm stood looking out. I nudged Michael and nodded toward it. He paled slightly. He moved quickly to the window beside the firefighter, blocking Officer Markholm’s view of the table.

“It’s so dark, what can you possibly see out there?”

I darted to the table and grabbed the bottle, whisking it out of sight. It was slippery, as lube bottles tend to get, and slid from my fingers, clattering onto the floor and rolling under the pullout bed as Officer Markholm said, “Fire. If there’s even a tiny fire, I’ll see it. But if we could switch the lights off in here, that would help.”

“Sure,” I said, backing up to do as he’d asked. At least the lube was out of sight.

We all stood there then, silently looking out the large windows, watching the forest for any signs of red or yellow or orange.

Officer Markholm scanned the distance and I tried not to imagine how hard his muscles probably were underneath that brown coverall. How it might feel to be picked up in his strong arms and carried down the steps. How comforting it would be to hear his voice in the middle of a crisis.

I noticed that Michael was watching him too. No doubt thinking the same thing I was. I grinned but I don’t know if he saw it in the darkness.

Finally, Officer Markholm turned and said, “Looks like it’s all clear. Thanks for letting me invade your love nest, boys.”

My breath caught in my throat. “Wh- what? We were just, uh, playing scrabble.” It was all I could think of.

Officer Markholm switched the light on and I could see his wry smile. “Okay. Sure.”

The blood rushed to my face. He obvious didn’t believe me.

“Who’s winning?”

“Him,” Michael and I said together.

“Uh huh. And where’s the board? Same place as the lube?”

We were so busted. We said nothing, just stared at the handsome firefighter and choked.

Then his soft laugh floated through the small space again. “Anyway, looks like there’s no fire anywhere but in this room. Just play safe okay?”

And he was gone, closing the door and clomping down the wood steps, while Michael and I stared after him.

One-Night-Stand – Friday Flash Fic., March 2nd

28377882_347743419056569_838276115672793006_n

He stood looking out the glass walls at the small backyard. Concrete walls surrounded the tiny space but for a large cutout at the side that let in the bright morning sunshine and gave a soft blue tint to the stone. Lionel could see greenery and remembered the lush surroundings of the place that he’d seen the previous evening when he’d stumbled onto the dark grounds with their owner.

The owner of this beautiful home was still asleep in the large master bedroom, and Lionel wondered whether he should stay or call an Uber. He wanted to stay but he wasn’t sure if that was a good idea.

They’d had fun at the bar, he and the slightly older man whose name was Marcello and whose green eyes had pierced through Lionel’s defences and shattered his resolve. His resolve to never engage in one-night-stands for the very reason he was now standing in this glorious space wondering what to do.

But he wouldn’t regret it. Wouldn’t regret taking Marcello’s hand and following him to the alleyway, wouldn’t regret letting Marcello kiss him, wouldn’t regret nodding and sighing yes when Marcello asked permission to reach into his jeans.

Definitely wouldn’t regret spending the night making out and then fucking in Marcello’s four poster bed.

The problem, and this was always the problem with Lionel’s one-night-stands, was he wanted more. It took alot for him to fall hard enough for a guy that he was comfortable becoming physically intimate. Usually it took more than one evening of flirting and penetrating looks, but sometimes it did not. And once he’d stripped himself of everything and opened up to another man, Lionel couldn’t help feeling bereft.

A sound behind him and a soft reflection of movement in the glass caused Lionel to startle and turn.

“Good morning,” Marcello said, blinking in the bright sunlight and giving Lionel the wide smile that had seduced him so easily. He was wearing only boxer briefs and Lionel couldn’t help that his gaze swept over the attractive man as if it might be the last time he could do so.

“Morning,” Lionel mumbled. “I, uh, I’ll make some coffee and then I guess, well, I guess I’ll go.”

Marcello yawned and shook his head. “I’ll make coffee, Lionel. You’re my guest.”

Lionel nodded, still not sure what the expectations were this morning. He hated not knowing what to do.

“Sit down. Relax,” Marcello said with a grin. “You must be tired.” he waggled his eyebrows, referencing how late they’d stayed awake, exploring each other and enjoying each other until the small morning hours.

Lionel felt the tightness in his chest loosen and he smiled in response to Marcello’s good humor. He sat in one of the soft chairs at the round breakfast table.

Marcello went about getting the coffee ready.

“Are you hungry, Lionel?” he asked.

Lionel cleared his throat. “I, uh, well, yeah.”

“Would you like to stay for breakfast?”

Lionel nodded, relieved. “Yes. Yes, I’d love to.”

Marcello batted his eyes and smiled again. “You know, I don’t do this very often,” he said softly.

Lionel felt a glimmer of hope in his chest. “Um, eat breakfast?”

Marcello laughed and shook his head. “No, I mean, I don’t drag home gorgeous men from bars.”

Lionel blushed. Gorgeous? Him? He let himself smile. “Really?”

Marcello nodded. “Really. I don’t usually go this far with someone I’ve just met.” He laughed then, shaking his head. “God, I sound like a high school girl. But it’s true.”

Lionel felt the tension drain from him and said, almost too quickly, “Me neither. Really, I don’t. I don’t know what came over me.” He realized what he’d said as soon as it had exited his mouth.

Marcello met his gaze and they both burst out laughing.

“Oh my God,” Lionel said, blushing furiously. “I’m such an idiot.”

Marcello shook his head again, placing the carafe on the burner and pressing the start button. “You’re not an idiot,” he said softly, eyes shyly glancing at Lionel’s and darting away as if he were nervous. But how could he be? Lionel was the nervous one.

“Stay for breakfast,” Marcello said quickly. He bravely met Lionel’s surprised gaze head on and held it. “Stay for lunch…”

Lionel felt the smile spread across his face this time, and he nodded. “Okay.”

The relieved and happy smile that spread over Marcello’s face then washed away all the doubt from Lionel’s mind. This was more than a one-night-stand. It had to be.

Is It March Already?

Whew, is it really March??? Winter flew by incredibly fast this year!

We just celebrated my son’s 11th birthday and spring weather is upon us a little early. I know that the snow and cold will make a reappearance before this month is over but I’m really enjoying it right now.

I only have one work week left (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) before getting 11 days off for March Break. Three years ago when I got this job I spend part of the March Break training but every year since I’ve taken the week off to spend time with the kids. Usually we travel somewhere nearby but this year we are staying in town. We plan to visit a couple of museums, go bowling, out for lunch and dinner, maybe a movie. It’s really nice to be able to spend a week together as a family once a year.

In February I read two really good books that I want to recommend:

The first is a book called Priest by Sierra Simone.

I don’t often read MF anymore because I love MM so much, but every once in awhile a blurb will call out to me and I’ll give it a try. This one got me with the whole conflicted young priest thing and the author’s very straightforward disclaimer that this book represented her own interpretation of the way sex and religion can go together.

Anyway, the sex was smoking hot, the angst bearable and appropriate to the story. I liked both characters very much and felt the writing was excellent.

 

The book I just finished reading is Verismo, by E.M. Lindsey. This one is MM and a slow burn which I also tend to not read as often as other sorts of stories, because I am obsessed with well written sex scenes – in my own work and in others’.

But I found the story entrancing from the start and loved all the classical music and piano references. It was fairly obvious how the story would play out and it was lovely going along on that ride. Again, both central characters were compelling and fascinating. I especially loved Cedric, the young, formerly blind pianist who I couldn’t help visualizing as being played by Thimothée Chalomet (Call Me By Your Name) in the movie that was running in my mind. The writing was outstanding and I will definitely read more by this author.

 

Anyone else read anything good lately?

 

Craving – Friday Flash Fic., Feb. 15th

27655280_341112789719632_4858157179615969323_n

I was on the treadmill at the gym when I got an idea for this flash fiction prompt.

I realized that these guys could easily be two characters from my Vampire erotica WIP, Diamond Dogs.

Theo Matowski is a devoted lover to my protagonist, Gemini (a bisexual, androgynous female vampire who keeps Theo and his male lover, Justice, as human pets/companions). However, when an older male vampire, Kristofer Vallespi, comes to Ottawa seeking excitement, Theo finds his loyalties tested.

Craving

Theo waited restlessly on the park bench, eyes glancing furtively about and hands in his jeans pockets.

Kristofer Vallespi had texted him the night before, requesting that Theo meet him here at noon because he needed to ask him something.

Theo knew he shouldn’t have replied. Shouldn’t have texted Kristofer that he’d come. Shouldn’t have thought about Kristofer all evening and all morning.

Gemma had told him that Kristofer was dangerous. She’d said Kristofer was not like she was. He’d want to take advantage of Theo – use him for sex or food and then toss him away like spoiled fruit.

But Theo didn’t believe her. He didn’t think she was lying. He believed Gemma supposed Kristofer to be like that. But from the moments Theo had spent in Kristofer’s commanding presence, he couldn’t believe it.

And now, as he glimpsed Kristofer approaching along the gravel path in his pea coat and jeans, looking so very human and yet not-at-all human, he wondered if perhaps Gemini was right. Theo knew vampires had powers he didn’t yet understand even though he’d been sharing Gemma’s home for seven years. Perhaps he shouldn’t have come.

But it was too late now.

Theo straightened as Kristofer approached. Even though he knew very well that most vampires could walk about during daylight hours, it still made him uneasy. These creatures were supposed to be night dwellers. But maybe that was what people believed in order to feel some kind of partial security.

Theo knew better.

Kristofer stopped in front of the bench. He looked Theo over with a frank and obvious hunger.

“Theo,” he said in greeting, offering a small smile and a glint of fang. So he was hungry. Hungry for either sex or blood, or his fangs wouldn’t have descended.

Theo shuddered in the face of such desire. “K-Kristofer. I wanted to see you.” This was the truth.

Kristofer nodded, sitting down beside Theo on the bench. “I know. I wanted to see you too. Needed to.” His vibrant blue eyes drifted over Theo, consuming him on the spot.

They locked eyes and Theo felt that connection, the same one he experienced with Gemma but even stronger here, now, with Kristofer. Was it because Kristofer was male, or because he was an older vampire?

It didn’t matter.

“Theo, I need to taste you. Now.” Kristofer’s voice felt like smooth amber covering him as if Theo were a tiny insect who would soon be trapped and paralyzed.

Theo nodded, his desire ramping up in Kristofer’s intoxicating presence. “I know.”

No sooner had Theo said those words than Kristofer’s cold hands slid along his neck and the handsome vampire pressed his lips to the younger man’s mouth.

A bomb could have gone off nearby and Theo wouldn’t have cared. Kristofer’s cool lips on his, the vampire’s soft tongue pressing inside Theo’s mouth, the fingers pressing against his pounding jugular – this was everything.

Theo opened his mouth and let Kristoffer have his way, loving how the vampire savoured his taste. He hadn’t taken blood yet, only kissed Theo like any man or woman would. But Theo knew it was coming. He moaned into Kristofer’s mouth and gripped his coat.

But Kristofer didn’t bite. Instead he pulled away and swore softly. “You do this to me, Theo,” he murmured, licking his red lips and gripping Theo’s neck tightly enough to alarm him. But just as Theo noticed, Kristofer’s fingers loosened and he let go. “You make me want you.”

Theo just sat there, trembling, cock hard and full of blood from that kiss and from Kristofer’s nearness.

“I want to really taste you,” Kristofer breathed, eyes drilling into Theo’s.

“Yes,” Theo replied without question. It was too late for any other answer.

“Do you know what I’m asking?” Kristofer said carefully.

Theo nodded. “Yes.”

Kristofer smiled, slowly, with genuine pleasure and relief. “Then come with me.”

Theo nodded again and stood, taking Kristofer’s offered hand.

He would go. He had to. He needed to experience everything that Kristofer was, everything that Kristofer had to offer him, if he was ever to sleep again.