The importance of self-care and sexual health can never be understated; the Lust Zine Wellness Series invites various experts and guides to help teach practices that will greater expand what wellness means to you. All episodes of the series are available to watch on my Youtube and right here on Lust Zine for free.
Rachel Rabbit White is a poet, author & former escort. She is the author of Porn Carnival, an aesthetically and conceptually rich debut full-length collection of poetry, followed by the expanded Porn Carnival Paradise Edition. Rachel Rabbit White is married to author Nico Walker, whose debut novel Cherry was made into a feature film by the same moniker starring Tom Holland.
In this Lust Zine Wellness Series video Rachel tells us how she makes her home space a sensual space, and why it's important for her and her partner Nico to live in something beautiful. Watch the video below to find out more!
Q: Why is it important to curate your home?
When I left New York, I'd retired from sex work to focus on writing. This was in December of last year. I moved to Mississippi to live with Nico. We were engaged and he was on federal probation and couldn't leave the state to travel except for work. I mean, he still can't travel south of Jackson without permission. So we're here in Mississippi for now, and we don't yet know where we're going to end up, but it was important for me that the house we're living in feel like a home and not an in-between space for us. We definitely have more space in Mississippi than we would in New York.
It was important for me that after the decade Nico spent living in prison, living in a tiny space where no one was allowed to decorate their living area, that I could make an environment for us full of beauty and art. A space where we want to spend hours lounging listening to music, talking all night, both being writers. We get a lot of inspiration from each other from reading the same books, talking about them together.
Q: What is your decorating philosophy?
My decorating advice is, first of all, don't be afraid of being a maximalist. If you like that style, you can do it cheaply. It's not about expensive luxury, but filling your space with things that you find beautiful that you want to look at every day.
Q: What is a “sensual space”?
To me, a sensual space is about a space that brings you joy. So it's about taking your time to find things that feel right, that make you feel good. And, of course, it's an ongoing process. It's a never ending process. But that's also what's fun about it is to just have a project of continuing to create your life more and more beautifully every day.
Q: What is your relationship to porn?
I guess this depends on your definition of porn. Can anything be porn? I mean, even the Supreme Court said porn is hard to define, that you know it when you see it. But if that rings true, doesn't it mean it's more like beauty? Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, each person being able to decide what's beautiful. I have a poem about the tension and the lead up to sex, and the poem says, “everything we do is porn, and we'll know when the time is right.”
It's very freeing to become the beholder of what you find beautiful. To realize that you can make your life into porn, into art, into what you find beautiful for yourself.
Q: What changed between the release of Porn Carnival and the extended Paradise Edition?
When Nico and I met, Porn Carnival had just come out, and then I ended up writing a bunch of love poems that became the Paradise Edition – the new edition of Porn Carnival, my book of poems. I guess one thing that has changed since my book first came out is that now I have more time to attempt different genres of writing, to drive my hand at things longer than poems.
Q: What are your style and aesthetic inspirations for your home?
The style inspiration came from the fact that we're in Mississippi, and there's a lot of amazing vintage here. A lot of great thrift stores. A lot of our furniture is vintage, but the mix of eras are eclectic. I like pieces that feel whimsical, glamorous, maybe a bit dramatic.
Q: What are your self-care rituals?
On the mornings that I start the day in bed, I will get up, make tea, check my lashes from the night before, see if I can sort of press them back on, maybe brush my hair. In New York, I was more of a coffee person, but that's inevitable in New York.
Now that I've moved to Mississippi to be with Nico, there's no Bodega to order up from or no coffee shop to pop down to. And I found that I like the whole ritual of tea drinking – the filling and refilling of the tiny cups. It gives you something to do with your hands that isn't just checking your phone.
Q: What does your ideal day look like?
Well, there's a difference between my ideal day and my “everyday.” Ideally, I like to get straight out of bed, get dressed and get straight to it. But sometimes you just have to go with your mood. And in fall as it gets colder, it can be nice to start the day in bed. I mean, I do still get upset at myself when I don't wake up with the alarm, but I've always gravitated to jobs that allow me to keep sort of manic depressive hours, and I've kind of accepted my fate as a fuck up, or a poet. I mean, really, what's the difference there?
Q: How do you stay inspired?
I try to write by hand as soon as I wake up. There have been so many times that as I was drifting to sleep the night before, I thought of a great line or a character or a next move on a plot, and you always think you'll remember it. There were times I was sure I'd written entire poems in my head as I was drifting to sleep, and I'm sure I'd remember them when I woke up, but as far as I know, they never came back up to consciousness unless I wrote them down.
Q: What do you lust for?
I lust for more time. I lust for the day that Nico is off paperwork and will be able to travel and move freely. Still, I feel most free when I'm in the moments when I can find beauty in the moment. In my dream world, we all have time to slow down, to connect more deeply and appreciate the ambiance and rituals of everyday life.
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