Archive for April, 2011
How are you going to celebrate official smut day?
By finishing this anthology! Or at least, finishing the manuscript to send to the publisher so we can go on to the next stages, which are probably critique and more editing and contracts and accounting and marketing and all that. Which means editing my introduction and finishing one of the pieces I’ve been writing as possibilities for inclusion in this anthology, but I am feeling way stuck and not sure which one to pursue. I want it to be dirty dirty dirty and quintessential BDSM and unlike anything else in the anthology and good. No pressure, right? Maybe I should work on it being a shitty first draft, first. Right now I’m going to go back to the knife play piece that involves cutting holes in her stockings until I rip them off and fuck her.
So that probably means I’ll be taking breaks to “gather my energy and inspiration,” which means jacking off.
But now that you ask that, maybe I should make it more official and fun and do something, like getting Kristen to read smut aloud to each other when she gets home. I’m just hoping she’ll bring some cupcakes in honor of Sugarbutch’s anniversary.
I finished More of This World Or Maybe Another by Barb Johnson recently for the monthly queer book group I’ve been in for almost five years, and it was phenomenal. At April’s meeting we all agreed it’s one of the best books we’ve ever read in book club—even the usual folks who hate all the books or don’t generally like fiction really enjoyed it.
It is incredibly well written. I was at times in awe of her sentences. It’s a collection of short stories, but they are all linked with the same characters, switching perspectives and sometimes decades to show the interconnectedness of a small southern community in New Orleans.
It is at times violent and heartbreaking. The abuse is awful. A child is forced to slaughter a pig and I found that part unreadable, because it was so well done. The lovely relationship between Delia and her partner is so real. I kind of miss these characters, now that I’ve finished the book.
I have much to do today, so I must cut this short and get to it. Just want to encourage you to pick up a good book over the weekend, be it this one or another.
Oh, one more quick bit of news: The Publishing Triangle’s annual award ceremony was last night, you can check out all the winners over on their website if you need more recommendations for good stuff to read. Wish I’d attended but my week was too busy (it’s free and open to the public!). Lambda Literary’s award ceremony is coming up on May 26th and I wouldn’t miss it, I was a judge this year and I just interviewed Val McDermid for the program (!!). I’m especially excited to meet Amber Dawn who wrote Sub Rosa.
Pick up More of This World or Maybe Another at your local independent bookstore, or over on Amazon if you must.
Oh so much has changed since then!
Though while I’m going back to see what I wrote last year, for the 4th anniversary, I’m still on that same path as I was then. Though my columns at CarnalNation.com and SexIs have ended, I’m still writing for AfterEllen.com, the Lambda Literary Foundation, and Good Vibes Magazine. I’m still keeping up with MrSexsmith.com for my speaking gigs, travels, and tracking my guest posts and interviews elsewhere, and still playing with Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. I’m trying to figure out what it is I’m trying to build, and where I’m going, but I have some ideas and things are coming together, I think. I’m still writing about my main relationship and the turmoils—and thrilling joys—of constant intimacy.
The biggest news, perhaps, is that I’m editing a book of lesbian BDSM erotica for Cleis Press, which I am thrilled about. Actually, that manuscript is due this weekend, so I have officially declared today “Smut Day,” because I’m editing and compiling and putting all the last minute details together.
I woke up wondering whether Cleis includes a dedication standard in their book, so I flipped through some books from my smut library to see what I could find.
(You’ll just have to buy the book to see whether I am able to include one or not.)
I’m really enjoying this erotica anthology editing process, and I think the collection is going to be fantastic. I can’t wait to share the final product with you all! I don’t have a publication date yet, but you will be the first to know as soon as I do. I hope to do more of these, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself—this one isn’t even done yet. (Getting closer!)
I’ve got some other things in the works, but I’m mostly just focused on writing columns elsewhere online doing some more editing, and traveling to do workshops and speak. I’ve got some exciting gigs coming up this summer!
And now, on to the Sugarbutch anniversary tradition: Ask Me Anything.
I get a lot of emails asking for advice or help or clarification or what my opinion is on something, and though I’ve never formally written an advice column (though I would be interested in doing so—anybody want to hire me for that?), I have kept up this “ask me anything” tradition for a few years now, so perhaps that’s where y’all get the idea to email me questions. I always put those emails in a special folder that I swear I will get to, when I have time, but y’all, I never have time. I’m sorry. I feel bad not replying to your personal crises, and sometimes I write back to say “I’m sorry I can’t answer this,” but there are only so many hours in the day and any of those extra ones I would like to spend kissing my beautiful girlfriend rather than answering even more emails.
This is why I do not have an “ask me anything” on tumblr. They are very time consuming.
But! This is your opportunity! Got a question you crave to hear my advice about? Did you email me and I never answered (sorry)? Here’s the deal. Leave a comment on this post and ask me whatever you like. You can ask anything, from personal details about my life that you’ve always wondered, to questions about advice for sex toys or your relationship, to philosophical musings on identity, gender, or sexuality theory. The shorter and more specific the question, the better.
I will answer every single question asked by the end of May. That is my vow to you, especially since last year they dragged on and I didn’t answer them until the end of October. Read back on some of the former “ask me anything” questions if you like.
Apparently the 5th anniversary tradition is wood, so, well, try not to make too many jokes about that.
So go ahead—what do you want to know? What are you curious to read my thoughts about? What have you always wondered? What kind of dirty things will you get me to reveal?
And along with myself, I’ve brought some jam from Lucille’s Kitchen Garden, thanks to Lori‘s suggestion. I am devouring the garlic pepper version right now on a grilled cheese sandwich. I would be eating the raspberry pepper kind, which apparently is the star of the bunch (their website quotes a fan saying, “I would eat my own arm if this was on it,” which I find hilarious), but we’ve already gone through more than half a jar since I brought it back on Saturday afternoon and I’m trying to save it for more goat cheese, or the garlic & brie recipe that uses it.
Apparently the jam is made by queers, too. Bonus! Midwest, I am very jealous that you have access to this at all times.
So of course, since I was gone for a week and really intently focused on the events and workshops and performance I was doing (I was only late to my own workshop once!), I have a million things to do now that I’m back in town. I have many deadlines coming up in early May, so forgive me if things are quiet around here for a bit.
Meanwhile, there are some great things to do in NYC if you’re nearby:
Special queer literary night:
Queer Literary Night (free!)
Wednesday April 27, 2011
Phoenix Bar, NYC (447 East 13th Street)
RSVP on Facebook
Come hear the wonderful queer literary talent of the Columbia University Writing MFA program, including poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers: Josh Edwin, Nadia Waggener, Eliza Schrader, Muna Gurung, Stephen Moles.
Also, our featured reader is David Ebershoff, author of “The Danish Girl,” “The Rose City,” “Pasadena” and “The 19th Wife” and Professor at Columbia University.
The event is free and open to the public.
For all of you butch appreciators out there:
L Boogie Productions Presents:
Boxers Off! An Evening of Butch Burlesque
The Spring-Has-Sprung April Show!
with emcee Lea Robinson as L Boogie
Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher St .)
Saturday, April 30th, 2011
RSVP on Facebook
April showers, may flowers, and pagan revelry! Which hot performers will help you shake off the winter chill? Performances will include new work by Drae Campbell, Laura Turley, Cal Trumann, Daddy TYE, Molly Dykeman, Susana Cook, Susan O’Dea, and Shelly Mars… And Mieke’s Go Go dancers will be there to get you in the mood.
And not to be missed in NYC in May:
New York launch of Persistence: All Ways Butch and Femme
Saturday, May 14, 2011
The Stonewall Inn (53 Christopher Street)
RSVP on Facebook
Hey folks! I’m here in beautiful (rainy, snowy) Milwaukee, had a great time at The Tool Shed last night. And did I mention the cheese plate I had for dinner? These folks know how to do cheese.
I’ll be at UW Madison tonight in Madison, Wisconsin, and since I didn’t ever post the info, here is it:
I don’t know which room exactly but I assume there will be signs. I’m looking forward to it! This is one of my favorite workshops to do.
Big day ahead of me, better get going—see you tonight!
Kristen and I lucked out and got tickets to see k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang at Le Poisson Rouge last Thursday night. I love that venue, it’s small and classic; we saw Amy Ray play there a few months ago and that was my first time there, but I hope more queer folks come through there.
The concert was kind of last minute, and we already had a big week planned, with another concert on Saturday night (Coyote Grace & Girlyman!), a day-long workshop on Saturday, and of course full days of work during the week, but we couldn’t pass it up.
She ran down there and got in line early. I joined her just before they opened the doors and we hustled to the stage the moment we got inside, and stayed there. We were far right, isn’t that stage left?, in the very front, and I snapped some good photos.
Kristen and I ducked into the photo booth after the show. k.d. was SO CLOSE. The show was fantastic. Even The New York Times says so. I was a little giddy and high after, being so close and her amazing voice and awesome performance. I’ve seen her once before, but I was in the eighteenth balcony at Radio City Music Hall, and could barely see her, aside from the shape of her white suit and bare feet moving on stage. It was so different to be so up close. She looked even more familiar, like family, with her sweet and awkward and hot butch dancing and her shy smiles and flirty attention to the audience.
I’m still kind of obsessed over her newest album, Sing It Loud. I wrote about her evolving masculine style over at AfterEllen last week:
I have lots more to say about that, actually, but I haven’t had any time to organize my thoughts. And I’m about to leave for Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Madison tomorrow! I’ll update details on that “What’s Happening in April” page and on mrsexsmith.com when I have more of the exact details (I know the Madison workshop is still TBA—working on it!).
I’m loading up my ipod with k.d. tracks for the trip. I haven’t listened to Watershed in a while.
And while I got some pretty decent photos, I did notice quite a few folks around me taking video too, and lo and behold, the entire show is on YouTube. I remember these folks, with their phones and tiny cameras held up throughout the show—I was kind of hoping they would put them on YouTube, and kind of thinking they were being rude. At one point k.d. sang right into someone’s little device. I haven’t seen that one yet (maybe they were taking photos, not video?)—I don’t recall which song it was.
Almost all of the songs she did were from this new album, with the exception of “Constant Craving”, which sounded a bit different than it used to. I suggest listening to “I Confess,” “Constant Craving,” and “Sugar Buzz,” those three were especially amazing. But if you’ve got some time, and since I snagged the setlist from the electric guitarist’s station right in front of us, I know exactly the order she performed them all in, so you can watch it all, if you’d like, and pretend you were there with us. Read More
I have to go move the car, and I only have about an hour of battery time on my computer so I can’t really be online today until I go swap out my power cord, it looks like my old one is dead, and I have about ten hours of work to do, and Sideshow is tonight, and we’re planning to do something special for Cheryl who is still in the hospital, and I’m already dressed to go to the gym—so what I’m saying is that I can’t sit here and write you a post, but then I got this via email and I just had to share it, because Kristen is a huge Stevie fan.
And hey look, her first album with new material in a decade. And it’s beautiful. The first single is already out—Secret Love—and the full album is due May 3rd. Now, to get tickets to the New York City release show!
from Shelby at godshomemovies.org
I posted way too much on Friday, so while the Butch Lab’s second Symposium topic went live on Friday too, I waited until today to cross post it to Sugarbutch.
I challenge y’all to comment on every single post. They’re beautiful, and I think this conversation is important.
Butch Lab’s second Symposium is about Stereotypes and Misconceptions around butch identity.
Now apparently masculine-of-center people aren’t supposed to be bottoms. In fact, one of Jae’s former girlfriends called her appearance misleading. Um…wtf? How Jae responded and responds is by making her sexual preferences really obvious and open. Have I mentioned that we met on OKCupid? “Bottom” was in the first sentence of her profile. I think she should have responded by leaving that tool. … If we’re talking about who wears the cock, that’d be me. If we’re talking about who has shorter hair, that’d be her.
It’s actually a fairly simple thing to avoid, too, though it takes a conscious effort. DON’T ASSUME. It’s just that easy. Just because K is butch doesn’t mean that she will bristle or bite your head off if you open the car door for her. The fact that she doesn’t like acts of chivalry directed toward her means that she might just bristle or bite your head off if you open the car door for her. G loves pink. Doesn’t mean she isn’t butch. That hot pink cowboy shirt she had on yesterday was WAY masculine, and super hawt, too! The only cure to making assumptions about people is not admit to yourself that you don’t know what they like ,what they don’t like, or how they’ll act in a specific situation based on any group that they belong to. You only know these things about them once you get to know them personally, as people, and not as gender identities.
The misconception: Butch is a dirty word. Something less than, something too extraordinarily ‘other’ to be acceptable. Butch is threatening as an in-between, an indefinable and therefore unknown entity. Our hair dresser keeps trying to give S a softer haircut, until we explain that S identifies as butch, and expects to look butch. The hair dresser laughs and blushes a bit, but starts getting the cut right. The truth: Butch is hot. Butch is cocky and shy and gorgeous and loving. Butch is an identity one can be proud of.
I am far from being a stone butch. I have my moments of weakness both physically and emotionally. I feel all kinds of emotions and most of the time I have absolutely no way of hiding them. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I definitely want to be touched, bitten, kissed, licked, penetrated and everything else when it comes to sex. … While it’s true that I can fix a lot of things, I definitely can’t fix everything nor do I want to. I am, sadly, not the owner of many tools, although I really would like that assumption to be true some day. I like tools. I like them a lot. I certainly am not threatened by a strong, independent femme. As a matter of fact, I’m really turned on by them. I mean, think about it. A femme fixing things or building things, knowing how to use her hands and get dirty? Yeah. So sexy.
Being butch doesn’t, or at least shouldn’t, mean I have to have certain interests (e.g., sports, which I largely don’t care for), skills (e.g., Patty changes lightbulbs and deals with tools because I am largely useless at these things), and social and sexual roles (my own being unnecessary to describe for the sake of this entry). And it certainly shouldn’t require me to be misogynist, which is something I see more and more gay women complaining about lately — butches that assert their butchness by denigrating femmes in all the same ways that women get denigrated by men in het culture. But, if I reject the external assumptions of what a butch is, what’s left to define me as butch, at least on the days where I would consider myself such? The answer, is, simply, that I don’t know.
We are inundated by images and stereotypes equated with masculinity. As a young queer person wanting to express my masculinity, it seemed to me there weren’t a lot of options. If I wanted other people to recognize my butchness, I had to copy the attitudes and behaviors of the boys, and other butches, around me. I played along for a while during high school, ending up with a combination of chivalrous and sexist behaviors. I was sweet to my girlfriend, holding the door for her, doing all I could to be the gentleman. However, I also went along with my butch buddy and other guys when they spoke in not-so-complementary terms about their girlfriends and girls in general. As time went on, it was clear to me that if being butch meant being sexist and chauvinistic, I would have to find a different identity.
Butches hate men. Butches drive motorcycles. Butches wear leather jackets. Butches are the “man” in the relationship and perform all the “male” duties. Butches work with their hands. Butches aren’t intellectuals. Butches can only have short hair in a men’s style. Butches like beer and sports. Butches are mean. Butches cannot access their feelings. Butches want to be men. Butches will only date Femmes and do not date other Butches. Butches are (always) the sexually dominant ones. Butches only wear masculine attire. Butches under the age of thirty do not exist.
I’ve heard a range of cliches, misconceptions, and flat-out assumptions that would make your hair curl. Butches are sexist, chauvinistic, misogynistic. They’re all blue collar. Butch and stone are the same thing. Butch is the queer equivalent of a “strong, silent type.” Butches are only attracted to femmes and straight women. … It’s almost like the image of butch, even (and maybe especially) among gay and queer society is some kind of adaptation of the Marlboro Man, crossed with Rooster Cogburn. … I’ve written a zillion blog posts about how these stereotypes annoy, irritate, and generally piss me off.
For many people that I know, “Butch” means man. To identify as butch would signify an identification with men, and therefore would want to be a man. I run into the assumption that I’m actually trans, due to my supposed “strong desire to be a man.” The difference is that my gender identity is female, rather than an identity as male. When I finally settled into a masculine style of dress, I felt like more of a woman than I ever have in my entire life.
My academic background is in math: specifically, probability, and a growing knowledge base in statistical theory. … Gender is pretty much THE example of a binary variable in introduction to statistics classes. I can’t tell you how many times I sat through an explanation of a binary variable only to hear, “The categories are male and female: each person belongs to one, and one alone.” And every time, it really really hurt. But it doesn’t have to. Consider that there are different types of variables. We, readers of gender blogs, already know that gender does require interpretation. How are you measuring it? Self-reporting? Survey collector’s impression? How are you accounting for error or bias? The truth is that gender alone could be its very own statistical model. To us, it is vastly complex. Why is that? I’d argue it’s because of something that a professor once said in lecture: No model performs well on its boundaries.
“Well,” I replied, “I have a pretty good sense of people. But mostly, you were by far the hottest butch in that bar, and I wanted you.”
“Oh,” she said, smiling, “I’m not butch.”
“Yes, you are,” I said, eyebrows raised. Is it possible that she doesn’t know? It’s not like she’s some college kid, she’s old enough to have figured out at least some of this identity stuff.
“No, I’m not,” she said again. “I used to think I was butch. I lived in the city after college and I played pool with all the butches at the lesbian bars, and they thought I was one of them. I thought I was one of them. And then I realized, spending all that time with those butches — that wasn’t me. I’m not that kind of tough. I’m a faggy genderqueer.”
For years, I was afraid to appear masculine; I struggled with feminine gender presentation, referred to myself as a ‘lesbian’, and felt totally…awkward. I also grew up in a conservative town, where any woman seen as not being feminine (i.e. passive, submissive, quiet, etc) was sometimes referred to as ‘butch.’ This word was bad, it meant nasty, un-feminine, not to be trusted, disgusting. … In the gay community, I think that stereotypes of butch-ness exist too. Specifically in communities where there may not be a lot of masculine gender presenting folks. … There was a lot of ‘dabbling in butchness’ going on. People just barely sticking their toes into the masculine gender presenting pool, afraid of being seen as butch but unable to control it, and judgment of these presentations ran rampant. People in the bar (not that I had a fake-id or anything) would openly state that they ‘didn’t want to date butch girls.’
- Ali Oh at Made of Words: Bottoms Up, Thumbs Up
- Madeline Elayne: Butches Don’t Wear Pink (and other fallacies)
- Victoria Oldham at Musings of a Lesbian Writer: Misconceptions
- Wendi Kali at A Stranger in This Place: Butch Stereotypes, Cliches, and Misconceptions
- RM at Letters from Titan: Butch Isn’t Ugly
- Kyle on Butchtastic: Butch Stereotypes, Cliches and Misconceptions:
- EST at A Lesbian Christian on Butch Stereotypes
- Joliesse Soul at This Side of Changed on Butch Stereotypes
- Laina at The Bookish Butch
- Harrison at How to Be Butch on Stereotypes, Cliches, and Misconceptions
- Lenore Louhi at Twenty Pebbles, a piece titled “Smoke”
- Cody on Cowboy Coquet on Stereotypes, Cliches, and Misconceptions
from Mistress Justine Cross (@justineplays)