Bloody Marvelous

Hemingway wrote in his collection, By-line: Ernest Hemingway, “You must be prepared to work always without applause.” He said critics would take joy in pronouncing your latest work a failure and you wouldn’t be able to look at it for years. And then, one day, in some other place, you would pick it up and open it, start to read and in a little while say, “Why this stuff is bloody marvelous.”

Have you had an experience like that, revisiting work you did years ago? I recently obtained the digital rights to Loose Change, my first book, published in 1977, about three women growing up in the Sixties. It was trashed by critics at the time, whose comments are embedded in my mind. Newsweek ran the picture of me and caption below.

“the sexuality of a goat”

But the book went on to sell more than a million copies.

I hadn’t looked at in 35 years when I sat down to read every word, to make sure the version I’d scanned into digital format was accurate. I squirmed at some of the sentences, but Hemingway was right. Bloody marvelous.

I wrote it just as the Sixties were winding down, when everything was still fresh and vivid to me. The three main characters were myself and two friends at Berkeley, the campus that became ground zero for the cultural revolution. The old chestnut that “if you remember the Sixties, you weren’t there,” doesn’t apply to this reporter. I not only was there, I took notes.

The book propelled me back to that time that belonged to the young, a time when we typed our papers with carbons and rarely made a long distance call because it was too expensive. Every Sunday I wrote home to my family, thinking of it as my weekly pack of lies, exaggerating the good and omitting the bad.

At the start of the Sixties, husbands weren’t allowed near their wives when they gave birth, blacks couldn’t vote in many states and women who weren’t married by 24 were called “spinsters.” We had no Internet, faxes, cell phones or computers, but we had time, glorious time. Time to experiment with people and substances, time to spend whole evenings lying on the floor, listening to music whose greatness we did not perceive for the anomaly it was until decades later.

I’d forgotten so much about the innocence of those years. What astonished me most was the tale of Susie Berman, who, at 22 married a star of the radical student movement, Jeff, who initiated her into political protest and sex. She stood by his side when Jeff made speeches at rallies, typed his leaflets and adopted his opinions on everything from capitalism to jealousy (it was bourgeois) and how often to do laundry. (hardly ever)

posing as the radical couple, with baby and gun

My friends and I envied Susie, thinking she was advanced and racy and that she and Jeff were the perfect free couple. What we did not know was that Susie had never had an orgasm but become an expert at faking it.

As protest and the counter culture spread across the country, their marriage began to unravel. In 1968, they joined an encounter group of couples who wanted to live together in a group house so they could “smash monogamy.” At the same time, Susie was invited by a female friend to attend a meeting of women in the Movement who were talking about women’s oppression.

“Women’s what?” Susie said with a laugh. She wasn’t oppressed—her husband sometimes cooked and let her sleep with other men. Her friend started telling her how women were like blacks, women were treated as inferiors and kept in subservient positions to men. “Look at you,” her friend said, “you’ve got a master’s degree but what are you doing with it? Typing your husband’s work?”

Susie went to the meeting with apprehension. She’d always preferred hanging out with men. But as she listened to these women, who were talking about their lives with such candor, humor and intimacy, she could connect with and feel love for each one.

Something far out was happening but they didn’t know what it was. They weren’t calling it “women’s liberation.” They didn’t have words like “consciousness raising.” They tried to draw up a reading list but could only come up with a few books, so they started collecting data about their own lives.

Before long, the “women’s thing” was all Susie could talk about. Jeff and his friends grumbled that the group was counter-revolutionary, a conspiracy of dykes who were anti-sex. Jeff came home one day laughing and waving a copy of an underground paper with the headline: “Our line on the women’s trip—LET THEM EAT COCK.”

Can you imagine? I’d forgotten how men—even the most progressive, enlightened men—had attacked women for putting forward their claims to equal rights.

Jeff was beginning to sound defensive, though. “For the first time,” Susie recalled, “he couldn’t tell me I was wrong or didn’t understand. He couldn’t quote Marx. He couldn’t mow me down with rhetoric. In fact I had Marx and Engels on my side.”

What made it confusing for Susie was that there were two revolutions going on at once. At the encounter group, they were experimenting with sex and relationships. “Let’s all be free, fuck each other and get rid of our bourgeois hangups.”

Photo by Peter Simon

But in the women’s group they were furious at being treated as sex objects, and vowed to stop shaving their legs and wearing makeup. “It was two different messages and I wanted to follow both,” Susie said. “I hadn’t fucked all the men I wanted to yet. But I’d been treated as a sex object all my life. I liked it and needed it, but it left me feeling empty and unseen. So those things were all mixed up and everything was changing so fast…”

Recounting this years later, Susie paused, and a gleam came to her eye. “But it was sure exciting!”

At one of the women’s meetings, the doorbell rang and an unidentified man left a package on the stoop. It contained a vibrator and a picture of naked girls breaking their chains. The women were outraged, but Susie took the vibrator home and in a private moment, turned it on and had an orgasm, her first, wham like that. “So that’s what it is,” she thought. When she told Jeff about it, he swept her up in his arms and danced around the room. “Oh, babe, don’t you see? Everything’s gonna be all right.”

To find out what happened to Susie and Jeff, to all of us, click here.

For one week, you can buy Loose Change as an e-book for $3.99 and read it on any device, computer or phone. Buy from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Apple iTunes. After that the price will be higher. You can re-experience the Sixties, as it was recorded right then, not as it’s been reevaluated or romanticized. It’s also a great gift for those who didn’t live through the period and want to hear what it was like, uncensored and unvarnished.

I’d love to hear your COMMENTS.

You can also read the e-book of Cowboy, for $3.99 — the story of a romance I had with an uneducated cowboy artist

Thanks to to Brian Schwartz, the Kindle Expert, for helping me publish the e-book of Loose Change, and to U.C. Press, which keeps the paperback version in print. I worked on getting this digitized for a year, and Brian finally took me across the finish line. He’ll convert your files and give you video tutorials so can publish the works yourself and keep all the royalties.

 

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54 thoughts on “Bloody Marvelous

  1. injaynesworld

    I loved that book. The movie they made of it was even decent — a rarity. Most of the time when I re-read my older work I say, damn that's good — did I really write that? And then wish I could write like that today. But then, maybe I'll be saying the same thing about today's stuff 10 years from now.

    My book of humor essays, “Suitable for Giving: A Collection of Wit with a Side of Wry” is also available on Amazon.

    And I really LOVED the short piece you recently did on Joan Didion.

    Reply
  2. Diane

    I have a hardcover version of “Loose Change!” I originally had a paperback, loved it, lent it to someone, and didn't get it back. This one has a note inside that I bought it at a library book sale in 1994 for 50 cents! It has an orange cover and a black binding. The paper cover was ripped so I only have part of that. I loved the book when I read it in the 70's and I loved it when I read it again in 1994. I remember loving the movie, too — I remember it was a 3-part TV miniseries. Wish it was available, I would buy it in a minute!

    Reply
  3. Stef

    Oh hell yes!!!! Thanks Sara for reviving some of MY memories as well. Forwarding this note to some of my survivor gal friends.

    Reply
  4. Harriet wrye

    I just bought it–I love this post and tweeted and FB'd about it–I love your writing, Sara–vivid, up close and personal and whoa, the chance to revisit those incredible days–brings back a LOT of anguish as well as excitement and huge gratitude to grok just how far we women have come in our generation!
    And thank you so much for your praise of my book–it will be out soon. the website is up with sample chapter, all the endorsements and where to buy. http://www.pullingupstakesbook.com

    Reply
  5. Dave Newman

    loved that book and your early works – what do women want story in particular

    Years ago at a reunion here in Madison I was walking behind a guy and gal.
    He was hitting on her big time and finally said
    “I always liked you. I don't know why we didn't sleep together”
    “We did you asshole” she replied.

    Sums up the times.

    Wisconsin had been alive and interesting in the mass movement opposed to the
    elimination of collective bargaining and other right wing stuff. Why don't you
    come here and see – and write about it?

    Reply
  6. Pat

    Just finished reading your blog and it brought me back to those heady, exciting but awfully confusing days. Confusing in the sense that at the time, I wasn't sure how a man should really act towards a woman. Growing up in the fifties, all I can remember is the John Wayne strong silent type being the model of a REAL man. Woman were usually portrayed as weak, fearful and always needing a man at her side to navigate the world. These principles were what most of us males, as teenagers, brought to the scene in the 60's.

    I remember the 2nd day I was in San Francisco in 1969, I attended a rally/concert for the MDM ( Movement for a Democratic Military ) in Peace Park in Berkeley. And although I noticed most of the windows on the storefronts of many businesses had masking tape criss-crossed all about, the concert itself was off to a very mellow and peaceful vibe. Bear in mind I'm this 18 year-old Louisiana hick boy experiencing my first visions of the San Francisco peace/ love culture and actually meeting REAL hippies ( the ones back home were not real hippies in my mind, they all had southern accents and their clothes were too neat ). After about 2 hours of listening to acoustic music, poetry readings and an occasional speech about the War, a woman arose from the crowd, charged the stage and grabbed the microphone from this bearded Alan Ginsberg type fellow in the middle of his poetry reading and shouted ” let's talk about the issues MOTHERFUCKERS!!!” and began a violent rant about women's liberation portraying all men as the enemy. As she continued, more and more women stood up (I think this was all pre-planned ) and were shouting their support. In a matter of ten minutes or so, it became a fell fledged riot with everyone either running like hell or trading punches with each other. Needless to say, I was running all the way to Telegraph AVe and the place were you hitchhiked back into the City………..In any event, you brought me back to those days. I intend to read Loose Change and perhaps we'll have a chat about it over dinner in the near future.

    Reply
  7. Anonymous

    I get your ocassional emails because I have been a fan since I read Loose Change and still have a copy in my '60's collection. Good for you on all your successes and surviving all the hard times (which we all have had). As a professional educator, I have kept quiet about what it was like in the sixties, but I haven't forgotten – how to inhale! Ha ha ha!

    Reply
  8. Unknown

    Dear Sara,
    I have been reading and enjoying your blogs for awhile now. Thanks for this one.
    I an 72 now and I lived thru the 60s, but on the periphery of the counterculture movements, having already been married with a child by 1963. But the 60s affected me deeply nevertheless.
    I have always meant to obtain a copy of Loose Change, but never did. So thanks for making it available as an ebook at a reduced price.

    Also… you must be familiar with the book, “Do You Believe in Magic – the Second Coming of the 60s Generation,” by Annie Gottlieb. (Perhaps you know her personally). It is similar, but covers a broader cast of 60s characters, their lives before, during, and most importantly, after that amazing decade.

    After reading Loose Change, some may want to check out this book too.

    Mitch Davis

    Reply
  9. Marion Goldman

    I own two copies of LOOSE CHANGE and rarely let them out of my sight. The stories that you tell and your own memoir within the book are extraordinary windows onto the West Coast Sixties!!! Thank you for making your book widely available once more and allowing readers to mull over your vivid descriptions and keen insights. I hope you think about a sequel.

    Reply
  10. katya

    I own two copies of LOOSE CHANGE and rarely let them out of my sight. The stories that you tell and your own memoir within the book are extraordinary windows onto the West Coast Sixties!!! Thank you for making your book widely available once more and allowing readers to mull over your vivid descriptions and keen insights. I hope you think about a sequel.

    Reply
  11. Sally Graver

    Buy it?? I still have my copy. Bought it when it first came out, a few years after I married and moved back to Chicago after U Michigan (yes, joined a sorority), Europe, back to Ann Arbor (but no more sorority), Berlin, Indiana, then Berkeley '68-'71. I loved it – both the time and your book.

    I vividly recall reading the scene you describe in which Susie tells the encounter group about her husband's sexual performance. Lo and behold, the group was not “confidential” after all, as the story rocketed thru the Bay Area. In my mind's eye, I can pretty much see what they were wearing, the look of the room and the feel of the group. You captured it. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    As I read your book I could envison the “loose change” scattered across the top of my own dresser in 'the house on Spruce St' in Berkeley, where I lived with 5 to 8 other students. (Anyone who crashed there for more than a month had to start paying rent – amazing how many spaces could be turned into bedrooms.)

    And now I see that Peter Simon's photographs capture it as well, including “the look” – the facial expression of the '60s, not at all like the oh-so-cheery “Hi!” smiles of 1990s Northwestern students thinking they could recreate “Hair” simply by putting on headbands and peace symbols. Not even close.

    So glad I was there. And so glad I came back to where I grew up. I'm still a bit odd, but mostly people here have no idea! Or, as I told a friend about someone who had mildly freaked out over some experience I had recounted, “And I only told her the stories I tell in public!”

    It was such an amazing time and place. Thank you for capturing it so well.

    Time to go retrieve my copy of “Loose Change” and read it again.

    Also, thanks for the “Bloody Marvelous” reminder. I've experienced that as well.

    Reply
  12. Andrew Daring

    I bought your book when it first came out and still have it. I loaned it out several times. My wife, after reading it, also loaned it out several more times. Eventually, we managed to buy a paper back copy so we could always have our original in case the new “loaner” never returned. I wish you had received royalties from all the folks who read your book at our suggestion.

    Reply
  13. Linda

    I read Loose Change lo those many years ago. Your life was different from mine now at UCLA. I started following your life via your writings. Luckily, I didn't marry by 24. But I did move to SF and enhanced the quality of my life. In no time I knew that there was a life without marriage that was fun and interesting. I worked, I traveled, I dated. Then, at 34 I married. At 68 I still am to the same man. I would never give up those single years that allowed me to get to know myself warts and all.

    Reply
  14. Unknown

    I just went looking for my paperback copy purchased in 1975 or so and couldn't find it. Will buy the ebook for sure.
    I manage to reread Loose Change every once in a while. I was old enough to see my older siblings living the 60s, although too young to participate. I've always loved your book and the personal insight into historic times.

    Reply
  15. Anonymous

    I am so happy that Loose Change has gone digital! My third hard cover copy of Loose Change sits on a book shelf in my bedroom and I have no intention of lending it to ANYONE. I made that mistake with copies one and two.

    Please send my regards to Susie, Tasha and Candy. :-)

    Reply
  16. Hilary

    So, what happened to Jeff and Susie? Do you have an afterword w/ this new digital edition? I’ve read the book MANY times and love it – and have always wondered what happened to all of the other characters – Candy and her husband, and especially, oh, especially… TASHA

    Reply
  17. Kenneth Halliburton

    I graduated from Berkeley in 1968. Your book seems to have the 3 women acting more like it seemed to be in the 1965-68 period, I thought. I had visited Berkeley on weekends in 1963, and it seemed conservative sexually, and there did not seem to be the politics that erupted in the Free Speech movement of 1964. I lived in the Northside co-ops from 1964-68. http://www.oac.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/tf7v19n9d0/ has my picture at the FSM, between Welcome to Mississippi & Strike Today.

    It's a good book.

    Reply
  18. bigpurplemachine

    Sara, I was a student at Cal from 1961-7 and then stayed in the Bay Area for another few years. I was a fratboy, a PiLam, just down the street from the AEPhi house, and I got stoned for the 1st time in the chapter room at the fraternity. I remember the day JFK was shot, the Free Speech Movement and so many other things. I marched for People's Park and was present when the Stones performed at Altamount.
    I wish you the absolute best with your writing. If you're ever in Hawaii again (I live on the North Shore of Oahu), I'd be delighted to take you out to lunch. Aloha, Bob

    Reply
  19. Bob

    Sara, I was a student at Cal from 1961-7 and then stayed in the Bay Area for another few years. I was a fratboy, a PiLam, just down the street from the AEPhi house, and I got stoned for the 1st time in the chapter room at the fraternity. I remember the day JFK was shot, the Free Speech Movement and so many other things. I marched for People's Park and was present when the Stones performed at Altamount.
    I wish you the absolute best with your writing.

    Reply
  20. Caroline

    Your piece on the 60's couple faking orgasms reminded me that you might well enjoy my memoir on having them!

    Love your writing… Hope you are well.

    Reply
  21. Anonymous

    I have remembered for decades after first reading Loose Change that scene of the vibrator anonymously delivered to the women's meeting and the woman who needed it most finding her orgasm with it.

    So, I did the same. Thank you, Sara.

    Reply
  22. Moyra

    Sara – thank you, this blog has been an oasis for me amidst the rubble of unanswered e-mails I yet have to find the will to answer.
    I love your writing, really love it. In fact – to quote you – you are Bloody Marvelous!
    Thank you also for renewing my own inspiration with those wonderful words of Ernest Hemingway.
    Love to you.

    Reply
  23. Gay

    I still have my original (hardback) copy of Loose Change — maybe it's time for a re-read…
    xoxo your -forever Berkeley- friend

    Reply
  24. Lindy

    One of my very favorite books… back then… and still have my copy!! Yes! Bloody marvelous!!! Now I must re-read it and I know I'll still find it… bloody marvelous!!!

    Reply
  25. Laura

    I was lucky enough to run across a hardback copy a couple of years ago, and several people, all younger than I am have read it. Your critics were very wrong, it was and is a wonderful, eye opening book. I thank you for it.

    Reply
  26. Sara Davidson

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your stories and enthusiasm.
    I'm in Hawaii for two months, on a writing retreat, hoping to get a first draft done of a new book.
    Your words spur me on.
    You can always contact me through my website “contact” page.
    Aloha!

    Reply
  27. S. L. Katzman

    “Can you believe it?” Sara asks of the 60s, of her reporting of that era in “Loose Change.”
    Yes, I can believe because I was at the University of California at Santa Cruz,
    Before gender studies and before graduate schools existed there
    When for me Berkeley was the destination of the inter-collegiate bus
    To walk to the Oakland clinic for birth control pills.

    Berkeley! People lived in Victorian houses, couches on the porch.
    San Francisco! We Santa Cruz students were recruited for a March against the War,
    Carpooled up to the Haight prepared with a fireplace and Beatles
    For a long walk through town to the Park.

    I first read “Loose Change” in the 70s, disappointed because of the obviousness, the familiarity, the truth.
    I recently read again that saga of the Sixties, welcoming the consummate story-telling, page turning.

    In the seventies, I reported the location of the closet the heiress Patty Hearst was kept in
    A discovery made lunching with a friend who owned the house renters had left in a strange state.
    Brainwashed? No, our party line –two reporters and me–was there is no brainwashing.
    We scoured Sara’s story on Patty Hearst, combing for new details, finding none, bedeviled by a sense of something, not a fact exactly, that we might be missing in our gargantuan tome “Voices of Guns.”

    Sara reported differently than we did.
    The reflected light of reporting shines into the future.

    Reply
  28. Debra

    Sara,

    Loose Change is one of what I call my “comfort books.” It's one of the books in my personal canon that I turn to when I want a good, reliable, satisfying, read. It's the book version of “comfort food.”

    I first read my mother's copy of this book when I was 14 (probably in the summer of 1977). I even saw the TV miniseries. I am turning 50 this year and have read the book at least 10 times over the last 35 years. I have a used copy and will probably be buying the digital version as well (and I don't buy many digital books).

    Around the time you began blogging, I contacted you asking if you would write a sequel to Loose Change. I was surprised to receive a reply but was sad to hear that the other women did not want their lives publicized anymore. I can certainly understand that but hopefully one day that will change.

    Thank you for Loose Change. I will always love this book.

    P.S. Isn't it wonderful that you're still around but Newsweek is in financial trouble? I haven't read that rag in years!

    Reply
  29. Debra

    Sara,

    Loose Change is one of what I call my “comfort books.” It's one of the books in my personal canon that I turn to when I want a good, reliable, satisfying, read. It's the book version of “comfort food.”

    I first read my mother's copy of this book when I was 14 (probably in the summer of 1977). I even saw the TV miniseries. I am turning 50 this year and have read the book at least 10 times over the last 35 years. I have a used copy and will probably be buying the digital version as well (and I don't buy many digital books).

    Around the time you began blogging, I contacted you asking if you would write a sequel to Loose Change. I was surprised to receive a reply but was sad to hear that the other women did not want their lives publicized anymore. I can certainly understand that but hopefully one day that will change.

    Thank you for Loose Change. I will always love this book.

    P.S. Isn't it wonderful that you're still around but Newsweek is in financial trouble? I haven't read that rag in years!

    Reply
  30. Anonymous

    I have always enjoyed this book, reread it many times, and still have my paperback copy through many moves. I found it applicable to my college experience a bit later in the early 70's, but yours was MUCH more exciting! I always wanted to know the rest of the story, and wanted to ask you 30 years ago for a sequel! And I am still asking! I think it would make another great book, digital or otherwise!

    Reply
  31. Anonymous

    Hi Sara :),

    What a wonderful blog entry about the book that made me a fan. I have still have the old paperbook, dog eared, but still re-read on occasion. My group of friends came of age in the 70's, a very different time that you so eloquently write of. I think my favorite part of Loose Change, is in the prologue is when you unexpectedly meet up with Tasha, after many years with no contact.
    So true, when one does meet up with old friends after it does seem as if life stands still and you remember the girl you used to be. Sadly our group came back due to the terminal illness of a member of our group. We banded together to bond over dinners and wine.
    Some of these women i had not seen since 1975, but the bonds of friendship were still there. Sadly, no one remained unscathed through life changing events. The loss of parents, spouses and even more sad, the loss of a child. Divorce and childlessness were all present. What we went through made us stronger as women.

    Reply
  32. Sara Davidson

    Many have asked me to write a sequal, or to tell them what happened later to the women I wrote about in Loose Change. I can't do this, because when the book was published, it brought the other women exposure and pain, which none of us had anticipated. It was my first book, and they'd never been interviewed before, and there was an air of unreality to it all. Until the book came out. People would stop them on the street and say, “I didn't know you did this… or that…” Former lovers and husbands were offended that they hadn't been consulted before their marriage or affair was laid bare to anyone who bought the book. We did get past it, in time, but they wouldn't be willing to go through that again.

    So, what I can tell you is: all of us had children, and one now has grandchildren, all of us found the work and path in life that most enlivens us, and makes us feel we're using our talents to contribute in the best way we can. There have been divorces, and new couplings, and two of us are presently independent. There have been mistakes, large and small, and we've learned from them. The 60s seem long ago and far away, and yet, the seeds were planted then that continue to bloom, though there's some wilting setting in now.
    Thanks for your interest.

    Reply
  33. Unknown

    Spurred on by your blog, I just watched Berkeley in the Sixties for the first time. I was surprised at the history I knew just from reading Loose Change. Your description of the SLATE and CORE movement matched the documentary. I would really love it if you could do some investigative reporting on how you think the Occupy Movement relates to the Sixties radicalism of which you reported on so well.

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    Hi Sara

    I just finished your book today. It's a hardcover copy with dust jacket that I found at a library book sale recently. I couldn't put it down. I graduated from college in 77, so I was just a little behind the hippies and always a little envious and curious about what it was like. I was in 8th grade in the Boston area when SDS was on the news and Rennie Davis was on TV. He was the one I had a crush on back then when I was 12 and 13 years old.
    I was shocked by one incident in the book when the father of the baby was indecent with him.

    glad I found your website

    Barbara T.
    New Hampshire

    Reply
  35. Lucinda

    Your work, all of it, is bloody marvelous! After Leap! I realized that I'd missed Loose Change and ordered a copy right away. As expected, I savored every word. I always appreciate your expert handling of the English language and your ability to make what you write so much fun to read. Loose Change was a “bloody marvelous” read!

    Thank you for bringing this gem back. Readers who didn't experience the Sixties can experience it now; those who did will enjoy the return trip. I'll be sharing this column and its good news with friends.

    Reply
  36. Bev Kai

    Hi, — I just started Loose Change, and find that this is the first time for me to read it. Don't know how I missed it in the past 40 years.

    In my own memoirs, I have come to the part where you writhe on the floor. Had no idea so much would come up from the Jungian depths.

    In “Change”, i have reached where your sorority makes you over into a lady.

    I didn't pledge at San Jose State (heresy!!!), but a year later I had the same number run on me by the Air Force wives. It was 1955, Jimmy Stewart and June Allyson were starring in a movie about jet bombers, and I had to buy hats for the first time in my life. Surprise— I love them. Have a whole straw collection here.

    As a dependent, I couldn't wear any kind of pants on base unless it was a severe climate.

    And one day, a few years later, Jane Fonda paddled across a lake near Tacoma, and “liberated the Officers' Club Beach in the name of the people.”

    I always thought I was one of the people, and that was the beginning of confusion. Fonda organized the young wives of draftees who had to work to make ends meet, but were not paid enough for child care. The commanding general had no tools to deal with marching young women led by a skinny movie star. Who were right. The military should have provided child care for draftee families. They didn't want to be there. It was the women who rebelled and were noisy about it. And it was only 1969.

    Reply
  37. VeronicaP

    Awe, I remember buying this book for one of my history courses at UC Santa Barbara in 1999-2000. I didn't actually read it then, but a few years later (I think 2006), I read it and just loved it! It made me want to move away and have some kind of adventure! I remember writing you about my feelings too, Sara. And you actually emailed me back!
    Thank you,

    Veronica Padilla

    Reply
  38. Anonymous

    I am male.

    I entered adulthood in the late sixties, and found it fantastically difficult to go along with the ethic that we were all supposed to have sex with anyone we felt like, and that was somehow taking the high road. It was incredibly hard for me to assimilate that! Man, did I try! Very painful to have my innate bias to have “one at a time or none at a time” pooh-poohed and looked down upon. It seemed like the most transparent kind of common sense to extend your partner the simple courtesy of not having a second partner at the same time, but no one seemed to care about that. Was I crazy? I really thought something was wrong with me when my beloved girlfriend was getting “done” in the next room, and I was supposed to be all bliss and bean sprouts about it, but all I was feeling pure primary incredible PAIN. I'd be accused by others of having the disease of jealousy, or would be tut-tutted for having the flight-or-fight response (“you need to meditate more”), but that didn't feel accurate. After looking inside myself long and deeply (this took years), I realized that my core emotion wasn't flight-or-fight, or jealousy, but just mind-blowing, primary PAIN! It's like having a hot clothes iron pressed on your face while you are sleeping. You don't feel jealous; you don't feel a desire for revenge; you don't feel the fight or flight response (at least at first); you just feel wild primal pain. And I realized that there's nothing at all wrong with that. It isn't a character flaw; it is a highly adaptive and biologically successful response that keeps families and social structures intact. Not everyone has this adaptation, but many do. There's nothing wrong with it.

    It is great to read about the social environment that brought about this grand experiment with keeping your pants off. It helps me make sense of a period that felt like rather like madness to me, and was intensely lonely and difficult.

    Thank you for a great piece of journalism, Sara Davidson :0) A very very important book.

    Reply
  39. Braeden Love

    Hi Sara, I’ve only just read the front page on your blog – found you thru Fakebook – hope i remember to get back & buy your e-book on your sixties experience. Thanks for being real, I really love your candor & tell it like it is with a what resonates… batt low gotta go :-)

    Reply
    1. Sara Post author

      Thanks, Braeden, for connecting! I hope you have a chance to read “Loose Change.” I’d love to hear your thoughts/responses.
      Warmest, Sara

      Reply
  40. Lynda Stevens

    I envied you three, experiencing such a pivotal period in social history. I grew up as a terminally geeky misfit in darkest most provincial Warwickshire feeling totally alienated from the complacent world of grownups around me, whilst frightening myself reading On the Beach and imagining Mother Russia immently raining down, though maybe it was the Americans who were more trigger happy.

    When I graduated in 1981 from Warwick University there were 500 graduates to one job and talk feom the underground that Work itself was redundant. I moved into a radical/alternative bookshop and went to peace demonstrations and hitchhiked to festival running into peace convoys and activists at Greenham Common.

    What I tended to experience was a deep polarisation between mystics and political activists, each convinced of the wrong-headedness of the other. I also encountered power struggles between all these radicalists on both sides, the lust to be completely right, eventually witnessing a woman being beaten up at a New Age camp of peace and love. The fact she was Jewish and wore glasses after meant it was obvious she was a Victim.

    I lived as a Struggling Artist in an inner-city ghetto for years and dabbled in astrology thoughit wasn’t until I left the UK for Hungary that I finally got Gainful Employment. The world has changed so much since the 80’s, never min the 60’s. I wrote something about my own odyssey and misadventures and got it published on an activist website but that is the size of it.

    Tales from a commie block from the former bloc

    Reply
  41. Jo

    Dear Sara, I was given a copy of “Loose Change” in 1980 when I was sixteen. It was so bloody brilliant I read it til it fell apart. Then I chanced on another paperback copy that suffered the same fate and I clung onto it, desperately holding it together with sticky tape and rubber bands, Then my darling Mum tracked down a hard back copy with photos and it’s a priceless treasure to me. I’m a huge reader – HUGE – and “Loose Change” is in my top ten desert island books. It made the sixties really alive and real for me. Thank you XXX Must say that I don’t hold with e-books – I’d much rather have a real book in my hands. Love and Blessings from Australia.

    Reply
  42. Hallie

    I am another woman who came of age in the ’60s. I just read your book.
    I miss the passion and hope we had back then.

    Great book!

    Thanks!
    Hallie

    Reply
  43. Keith

    I read this book when it came out in the 70s. It totally blew me away, so much so I gave it several readings. My best friend at the time also read it, and we would weave it into our parochial existence in small town Kentucky. Without knowing it at the time, Loose Change “changed” and charged my view of life, politics, aesthetics, etc. None of my classmates cared about issues addressed ,not just within the novel, but in the social and political climate of the times depicted in the novel. It defined Berkeley for me. It was also a litmus test for college in general when I enrolled a few years down the road.

    Ironically, I put this in my cart on Amazon recently as my original copy is long gone.

    Reply