The Writing Life: There’s No Porn Here by Lisa Ahn

The title got you, didn’t it? And it’s completely true. Sorry. There’s nothing remotely racy here. People generally keep their clothes on in my writing. If they do get naked and slip between the sheets, well, there are sheets. What happens in between is left to your imagination. I’m strictly PG rated – and that’s been disappointing some visitors at my website. A certain slice of readers has arrived there looking for something more explicit. Something a bit more physical. They’re searching for porn.

Now, my writing life has had its share of twists and turns. An abundance of rejection letters. A concussion. Dog wrangling. Cat fostering. Child juggling. I usually write with a fair number of distractions. For example, at this very minute, I’m pretty sure my kids are popping balloons all around the living room. No one’s screaming, and it’s not too quiet, so I let it go. If I get up for everything, I’ll never get this essay done. Anytime you stir kids and pets and health issues into a day of writing, it makes for a lively mix.

None of that prepared me for my new emerging audience. It started a few months ago when I noticed some . . . unusual search terms in my site statistics. Most blogs and websites use analytics to track the number of visitors each day, the pages that get the most views, and the search terms that lead people to the site. For the most part, people end up on my site after searching for my name. But not lately.

In the last few months, the term “hot lisa ahn” (or “lisa ahn hot”) has cropped up quite often in the lists. “Bluegate escort services” has appeared several times, along with “lisa ahn xvideos”, “lovely naked girls bodies” and “milking lisa ahn”. I’ve also seen “lisa ahn scanlover”, “lisa ahn lap dance video”, and the straight-to-the-point “porn lisa ahn”. There are more examples, but that’s a fair sample.

True confession? I’ve never been a porn star. I’m not even a good dancer. I had to Google “milking” and “MILF”. After that, I scrubbed my brain with Brillo. There’s nothing in these new search terms that fits me or anything I write. So, what’s up with the racy and risqué? How am I attracting an audience that is after a bit more than I’ll give to anyone but my husband?

It turns out I’m just one small letter change from a different business altogether.

My name is Lisa Ahn.

Lisa Ann made a lot of adult films in the mid 1990’s. She’s worked in strip clubs across the country. She runs a talent agency for porn stars. Several years ago, she made a comeback in the parody “Who’s Nailin’ Paylin”. I am not making this up. I found it all on Google.

One letter can make all the difference. As a writer, I have to appreciate the power of a small linguistic change. I doubt it brings comfort to those folks who are looking for the non-me Lisa Ann when they end up on my site. I’m sure they’re disappointed. Sometimes they find me because they can’t spell or type. On the keyboard, “h” sits just above the “n”. More often, it’s a glitch within the search engine. The numbers are about equal for “lisa ann” and “lisa ahn”. Somehow, I show up where I’m not supposed to be. From my stats page, I can click on visitor search results. There I find myself, Lisa Ahn, tales of quirk and wonder, sandwiched in between some stuff I really wish I hadn’t seen.

So, here’s my clarifying statement. There’s no porn here. I am, at best, a forty-something writer in yoga pants and loose sweaters, hair half-grey, crow’s feet around the eyes. I don’t have decent cleavage. I write literary fiction, quirky tales where magicians play chess with temperamental lions, where retired witches worry about zombies, and leprechauns have rotten luck. My stories feature recalcitrant bank robbers, talking crows in graveyards, operatic genies, and teacups with the weight of history. Ghosts may come and go. A door can lead exactly anywhere. My world is suffused with just a touch of magic.

These stories, my stories, have a different type of racy edge. They upset expectations. They dust old street corners in yellow butterflies. Long ago, I fell in love with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, with the graceful sweep of magical realism. I read Sarah Addison Allen, Erin Morgenstern, Joanne Harris, and Neil Gaiman, Borges, Allende, and Calvino. These are stories where the impossible blooms inside the everyday. This magic raises questions, confronts assumptions, disrupts the easy categories. It makes you think.

It isn’t porn.

I’m sure the devotees of Lisa Ann find their own particular magic on the screen. Mine’s a different sort, twined with imagination, seeped in wonder. A bit playful. Unexpected. Just like a writer’s life.

The stats surprised me. A few times, they left me discouraged and depressed. If half the people who pay a call are there for something else– someone else – it puts a slightly different spin on all the hours I spend revising, polishing, coaxing words out of the corners. Maybe my time would be better spent in the living room, picking up split balloons. Maybe my site is a revolving door, with puzzled, horny viewers clicking in and out. Well, at least I get the pun. And my vocabulary has improved from all the Google research. Who knew “milk” had such a very different meaning, so far from the cow?

But in the end, it’s all food for stories. Nothing is exempt. In one novel by Neil Gaiman, a man discovers he’s the son of a spider god. Jael McHenry wrote a lovely book where recipes can conjure ghosts. Joanne Harris makes chocolate into revelations. So, a snafu in the search engines, a bit of curve-ball porn? I can handle that. It sounds like the beginning of a story, something unexpected, fuel for the imagination. Just exactly where a writer lives.

Lisa Ahn, Columnist emeritus

Lisa Ahn's writing has appeared in Quiddity, PANK, Limestone, Prick of the Spindle, Toasted Cheese and Literary Mama, among others. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two spunky daughters, three cats, and a dog who steals everybody's socks.

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  • Sorry Lisa I had to laugh but I’m sure it’s not funny. I have no idea what milking is but I’m sure I don’t want to find out. I can just imagine the surprise and confusion on some people’s faces when they click on your site expecting something else. I have to wonder if people searching for you also experience the same surprise and confusion!

    • Oh, it’s funny! Let me know if you’re ever looking for me and end up . . . elsewhere!

  • Vaughn Roycroft

    Who knew that porn afficionados were such poor spellers? Very funny stuff, Lisa! ( Did you find out who’s nailin’ Palin? Or was Todd the costar? 😉 ) Good luck ridding yourself of your new non-followers!

    • It’s those typos that get you every time. Thanks, Vaughn!

  • Oh, my! This one had me laughing out loud. I can’t wait to read the story that results from this “snafu in the search engines”. Perhaps you will convert some of those porn searchers to your brand of magic – now THAT would make a good story 🙂

    • Thanks Brenda. It’s one of those strange, little twists, isn’t it?

  • Julia Munroe Martin

    This is hilarious! And I agree, it would make the great beginning to a novel or short story. And as you say, your vocabulary is improving, too. Trust a writer to find this bright side — I’d have done the same! Nice essay!

    • Thanks Julia. It was too funny NOT to turn into a story.

  • So funny! But in all seriousness, wouldn’t it just be SO wonderful if even a few stayed on your site no matter how they got there??

    • Oh, absolutely!! I hope they stay, read, and return!