In late 2004, after Paul opened an account for us on Typepad and, after I played with a personal blog and got the hang of it, I wrote to a few friends. These were women I'd met online in the previous decade, but also gotten to know on different levels in real life. We were very different, but had in common a love of writing and a fascination with the use of discipline and punishment in real life relationships. You see, I had an idea -- we could start a group blog (there weren't many then) as a place to discuss the nitty gritty of trying to make a discipline relationships work in our respective "real" worlds. Because they're such good friends they claimed to be both excited and flattered and were sure it would be great fun. From the start, I knew we should call it "The Punishment Book."
February 2005, the blog entry officially opening and explaining The Punishment Book read:
Punishment books were records kept by schools and reformatories recording punishments given. Records were kept of who punishments were given to, how much and why each punishment had been given. Most often, though not always, the punishments were corporal.
Though we took our banners from scans of historical punishment books, that history is not what this blog is about. There will be accounts of punishments here, of course. The punishment book dot org is about punishment, especially spanking, being used to correct real life behavior. This is something the authors of this site all have in common, the use of disciplinary punishments in our real lives to some degree or other. Not as role play, although some of us are role players (and in some cases real life can feed role play). Not as foreplay, though some of us are into erotic spanking, but as part of our real lives and relationships. We're all pretty funny (well, I mean, in so far as we amuse each other), but this isn't a game. The issues of discipline and punishment are something seriously important to each of us.
There's a lot of stuff about domestic discipline out there on the 'net, but not much any of us felt related to our lives, for reasons that will eventually be discussed in some detail somewhere on this site. The blog is our attempt to explain it all.
Oh, and just in passing, each of us have our own opinions, own lives and at least slightly different takes on every issue. Assume each author is only speaking for herself, her own situation and point of view.
While all of the above is still true, lots has changed since then -- there have been marriages (including my own), interviews and articles, break-ups, reunions, graduations, relocations, illnesses, children and some grieving too. Some you've seen here or on our individual blogs. Other changes, since this is just a window on our lives, have been private.
There has also been the addition of other friends, people we've come to know, again in our real lives. Something that's been central to this blog is our need to keep it real, to know that the other authors are both celebrating and struggling with their own relationships, not an idealized fantasy (there's far too much of that on the 'net already, especially with regard to "DD"*).
What have we discovered? I can't speak for anyone but myself, but my first thoughts are:
- This Thing We Do (TTWD) is hard, but enriching. There's an intimacy to it that I recognize across our relationships.
- TTWD doesn't touch us the same way. Some (sparkle leaps to mind here) suffer from guilt, others, like me, not so much.
- Our partners are all different people, but they share a courage and commitment that at times blows me away.
- TTWD isn't a magic cure to relationship woes. In my experience, the relationship needs to already have a solid foundation with good communication and trust. In fact, TTWD isn't a magic cure, full stop.
- It's not easy to write when things aren't working. Much as I always plan to share that too, I find it difficult / impossible to be that vulnerable. Maybe in the next 5 years?
There's other stuff too, but my brain is full of memories of reading wonderful posts and discussions here. Which gets to something else -- how much readers of the PB mean to all the authors here and how much we love knowing you're reading, nodding along, disagreeing and thinking about these things too, whether this is your thing, you think it might be or it isn't at all but you're trying to understand. You've stuck with us even through silences that last months -- something for which I'm very grateful.
So this entry is my Valentine to Zille, Bridget, Iris, DykeGrrl, Angie, sparkle, Natty, Haron (who find time to write here, have lives and keep up their own blogs too!) and you our Dear Readers. It's been a fantastic five years.
[Replies should list favorite wooden implements in honor of our the start of our fifth year. I'll start with the ebony hairbrush as it holds a horrible fascination for me.]
* yes, 5 years on and I still don't identify with the label "DD."