Archive for July, 2012
I’ve started crying on airplanes. It used to be ginger ale, now it’s wine. I probably should have eaten more than a bagel, should have had more for dinner last night than a whiskey flight and a kiss, but now I am crying and beginning to hear the beat of a second heart in my chest.
I am exhausted. I’d like to sleep for a year. By which I mean, I’d like to turn down my consciousness in order to have some rest. My rest has not been deep enough, has not penetrated my bones. Too much has happened in the past year. I opened up my chest from the back and wings sprang out, and now I cannot wear my shirts or binders or coats or old patterns anymore. Nothing fits. I am running, running to catch up with myself, when really I’m supposed to be flying. Why else would I have these new tools?
But sometimes my pen won’t move. I love and love and love, aching to make sense, make meaning, make love with my every movement, and sometimes all I can do is collapse because I’m overfull and not full enough. An underactive nervous system prone to depression and shutting down, a blank page. Still I ache and move and nourish and detox and meditate. Still I feel this pulsing in my chest, faint like something coming from within the walls, this second heart beating and every once in a while blinking a tiny little light like a pulsar star. I want to build. To do something with all of this love and throbbing energy and heat and pure life force I am lucky enough to have. I hope to never forget to be grateful for every breath of air I magically take in, every moment of reception, penetration, release, surrender, power. I can’t help but course it all through my every vein.
I am starting to cry on airplanes. It is a place I can rest, so high above my email inbox and big loves (I count five) and the ground floor surface of earth’s crust. I am lightheaded up here, stripped of the daily needs of the world, and when I drop down under my days I find this ache. This exhaustion. This ongoing fear of misunderstanding. This curse of a body, of mortality, of injustice. I haven’t reconciled. I miss the clarity and discovery of youth, of innocence. I’d like to make sense of so many things, like how the black holes grow within us and what it could ever take to fill them, like how stone can trickle away through consistent gentle water, like why humans destroy each other from the inside out. I can’t seem to find meaning in wars, but still I engage, sometimes late at night with the ones I love most. Sometimes silently stowing my own cocks in empty boxes unworthy. Sometimes desperate sorrow. Sometimes the silent blank faith of the line without the next word.
The first day I had wings, it was awkward and inconsistent. The second day I toppled over, top heavy. The third day my errands were effortless.
I guess that’s all I want. Less effort, more sweetness. Less struggle, more radical empathy. To cry because it feels good to release, above, hurdling through the sky, the taste of wine on my tongue.
I’m in Chicago this week, I return back to New York City tomorrow, and I keep talking up the Femme Conference that is coming up in Baltimore in just a couple of weeks—August 17-19.
I’m not sure why it keeps coming up—maybe because it was an all-femme lineup at the Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Chicago Say Please reading last night, and so all three of the femmes who read with me came out with their various friends and posses last night? Maybe because the friends I have here are primarily femmes, so naturally the conversation rolls around to femme identity? Maybe because I think these folks are cool and I am curious if I’m going to run into them again at the Femme Conference? Or maybe because my only experience of attending the Femme Conference, until this one upcoming that is, was the 2006 Femme Conference which was held in Chicago?
Whatever the reason, it keeps coming up.
And while some folks are well aware of it and (usually) have strong reactions to it, either “Hell yes! See you there!” or “No, uh uh, absolutely not,” there seems to be an even bigger group of folks in the middle who are obviously intrigued by the idea of attending, but are skeptical.
“I don’t know,” they say, hesitating, but sparkling a little bit at the mention of an entire conference devoted to this complex femme identity. “I mean, would I fit in there? Is it going to be a big judge-fest? Would they even recognize me as femme?”
These questions are so common. I mean, I remember hearing some of that around the BUTCH Voices conferences too, but the fear around one’s identity being policed didn’t feel quite so … panicked.
I think the bottom line is that it’s incredibly complicated to occupy a socially-recognized identity like butch or femme, because while we have stereotypical versions of what those things “should” look like in our minds, we don’t necessarily have the complex deconstructions (and reconstructions) necessary to be able to see that person as butch or femme and all their other pieces of self too. Or, if the person doesn’t quite look like the stereotype, we don’t recognize them as “legitimate.” These queer cultures still see someone, recognizes them as butch or femme or neither, and draws all sorts of conclusions based on that.
People are probably always going to do this. I don’t mean that in an I-give-up kind of way, just in a this-is-probably-true-and-I-will-have-less-strife-in-my-life-if-I-accept-that kind of way.
And y’know, fuck that. I mean, I completely understand that that is a challenge and hard and sometimes makes me return home defeated after a night and just kinda cry and whine for a while, I also think part of the work of having these identities is recognizing that we are trying to rise them above stereotypes, and that the cultures we’re in still largely use big fat markers to draw pictures of these identities, not slim exact-shaded pencils. And part of our work, I believe, part of the work of occupying these identities, is uncoupling them from the heteronormative gender roles, and making them big enough and accessible to anyone who feels a resonance with them. They can be liberational, and the benefits of identifying with a gender lineage, a gender heritage, feels so important to me, putting me in a historical context with people who came before me, so I feel less alone in my forging forward. I’m not doing it exactly as they did it, I’m doing it my own way and in the context of my own communities and time and culture, but I am able to remake it and make more room for freedom and consciousness and liberation within it because I am on their shoulders, using the tools they left for me—us—to pick up.
That is all to say, you are femme enough to attend the femme conference. Or, you know, if you don’t identify as femme but you have some interest in learning more about femme identity and being around femmes and folks who are puzzling through femme identity, you can come too.
I’m not going to promise that nobody is going to give you shit about your identity, about being femme enough, about whether or not you belong there, or about what you wear (because as much as I’d like to say it’s not true, there is a particular focus on aesthetics in femme communities). I don’t know if they will or not. But I’ll also say this: By the end of the conference, you probably will not care as much.
That, more than anything else, has been such a key piece of learning around these identity conferences, the Femme Conference and BUTCH Voices.
And I’ll be honest with you: there will probably be drama. There almost always is at small, incestuous community conferences, and this is definitely one of those. There are not that many people who self-identify as femme. There are not that many people who date and are into and fall in love with and are fascinated by people who identify as femme. There will probably be people there that I don’t want to run into. There will probably be people there who have particularly bad opinions of me, even. I don’t anticipate that being easy. But I care more about the philosophies of this identity, the many folks in my life who identify this way now, and the forward movement of radical genders in this era than I do about being worried that someone will talk shit. I’m bored with that. I’m sick of letting that affect what public spaces I’m involved in.
I submitted a workshop proposal to the Femme Conference—so did Kristen. Neither of us were accepted. I could let my mind roam and draw conclusions about why, but who knows what the actual reasons were. I chose instead to brush it off as not fitting with the conference, for whatever reasons, and I’m still planning to go and have a great time. So many amazing people I know are planning to be in attendance, so many more than I knew when I attended in 2008 (can’t believe it was that long ago!), and I am so looking forward to seeking out the ones that I think have amazing philosophies, meeting new folks, talking about new ideas, and enhancing the ideas I’m already chewing on.
I don’t really know how to explain all of that to people who say, “Would I fit in there? Am I femme enough?” Maybe you would feel like you found your people. Maybe you would be super excited to be around all of the talking about femme identity, but only really connect with one or two other people. Just because we’re all talking about femmes doesn’t mean we’ll get along! But maybe you’ll find a sense of self, in between all of that, that you didn’t know you were seeking, that missing piece that caused you to ask would I fit in there in the first place. And maybe, after attending the conference, you wouldn’t ask that again, because somewhere, deep down, in a soothed and solid place, you’d know.
Registration is still open: The Femme Conference happens August 17-19 in Baltimore, MD.
I kind of suck at blogging lately. I have been doing all these offline things—events, trainings, readings, workshops, traveling. Tons of marketing and promotion, very little writing. But I want to—and plan to—get back to more of that, soon. Maybe this week, even.
I leave for Chicago tomorrow and I’ll be doing three events Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night before returning to New York on Thursday. Hope y’all will come out and see me while I’m there! I’m trying to get the word out about this book every possible way I can, and that has included doing all sorts of workshops and performances in every place where the book has contributors—I’ve been in Atlanta and Portland already this month, and now Chicago! I am still kinda in love with this book, so I hope it’s helping to get it into your hands.
I’m not sure if you know, but it’s kind of a misnomer that people make money from writing books. I mean sure, the bigwigs make money, when they’re at major presses and have print runs in seven digits, but Cleis Press, while very widely distributed and respected, is still pretty small. I actually owe them money right now because I bought some copies of the book (which I have to pay for—at a discount, but still, out of my pocket) to use as promotion in the Amazon reviews and blog tour. I have been paying that off slowly while still trying to buy plane tickets to places like Chicago and Portland and Atlanta—which also come out of my pocket, Cleis doesn’t pay for those things. Most of these trips I have broken even, but none of them have I made any significant money.
So it really does make a big difference if you come out to these events. Your presence helps. I love a packed room, at workshops or at a Dirty Queer Sex Tour performance. Buying copies of the book helps—from me directly, at a reading, or online, it all helps. It’s where all my energy has been going to, so much so that I haven’t been keeping up with my writings here.
Hope to see you in Chicago!
MONDAY: Sparking Forever: Sex in Long Term Relationships
New relationship energy can propel a couple into a phenomenal experiential phase of sexual energy—bursts of passion, exploration, and intensity. Long term relationships, however, face the day-to-day life navigation of bills, scheduling, job and career difficulties or changes, disappointments, changes, and grief. How do we build a long term relationship that keeps the passion alive? How do we ensure we have enough time for our partner(s), and for ourselves? How do we both separate from our partner to have our own rich inner life and come back together to build a loving bond? And what kind of kinky play can be used to keep the fire going? We’ll explore all of these concepts and more at this interactive workshop.
RSVP on the Fetlife event or Facebook event
$20 per person ($15 low income/students). All adults welcome.
This workshop is being held at Early to Bed, at 5232 N Sheridan Road
Preregister and save your spot by visiting http://bit.ly/spark4ever or calling us at 773-271-1219
TUESDAY: Steamy: How to Write About Sex + Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Chicago
8-9pm: How to Write About Sex
To write about sex well, you need both the boldness to describe the dirty and delicious acts we humans explore, and the basic technical skills of plot, setting, and character. In this pen-to-paper writing workshop, we’ll look at some examples of successful and unsuccessful erotica, discuss how to write steamy love letters for your sweetheart, and discover how to take your blogging to the next level. We’ll also explore where to submit your erotica for publication, and some quick basics for editing your work.
9-10pm: Dirty Queer Sex Tour: Chicago
For the release of SAY PLEASE: LESBIAN BDSM EROTICA, come join us in Chicago for dirty queer readings from contributors to the book and special guests!
ABOUT THE READERS
Christina is a Queer, Capital-S Submissive LeatherFemme with masochistic tendencies. She holds a Master’s Degree in English and Comparative Literature, and her writings often focus upon the complexity of the feminist Leatherwoman’s journey. Her free time is spent serving as the new International Ms Leather (IMsL) historian and archivist.
Vie La Guerre is a femme wordsmith who lives in Chicago with her kittens, Foxy Brown and Zora.
Lyzanne Trevino promotes sex-positive community health education and exploration of kinks and fetishes in her project SexPositiveBlog.com. She is also an LGBT youth advice columnist at AskGayWrites. She works with the Hot Queer Porn Fest committee in Chicago to ensure a place for trans* and queer porn, and although this queer femme is a newcomer to the world of writing queer erotica, she is a long-time reader and enthusiast.
WEDNESDAY: Cock Confidence
Come learn the nuts and bolts of strapping it on and fucking. Writer and sex educator Sinclair Sexsmith will reveal the best cocks for packing, which options exist for pack-and-play and the ins and out of selecting a harness. You’ll learn about positions, how different products work, what “cock confidence” means, and the psychology behind strapping on and playing with a cock with a partner, or with oneself.
Thanks, e[lust], for featuring my recent story about the Tantra “three minute game.” I like thinking about it spreading throughout the sex blog readers and queers and kinksters, and how we can all get a little more of what we want.
Welcome to e[lust] - The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at e[lust]. Want to be included in e[lust] #39? Start with the newly updated rules, come back August 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!
~ Top 3 ~
Wrong On Every Level – “If you wouldn’t ask them to borrow $20 bucks, how the fuck is it ok for you to ask them to fuck you? Oh right, it’s not.”
Good Girl – “She nearly melted into me. When I finally released her, she exhaled–she had been holding her breath.”
The Three Minute Game – “The timer went off and I breathed out, both a sigh of relief and disappointment that it was over.”
~ Featured Post (Picked by Lilly) ~
Bitch- “I don’t let her run the show…but she’s always around. She’s in the background saying: Bullshit”
e[lust] Editress: Dangerous Lilly
All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7 days. Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy! Read More
What is a #pornparty, you ask? Well, it’s a worldwide gathering on Twitter of folks who like queer porn. Simply tune in, press play, and then follow the hashtag #pornparty while you watch for commentary and discussion. If you want to join in, make sure you have your own Twitter account, too (and make sure it’s unlocked for the evening if you want others to see your tweets!) and tag your posts with the hashtag so we’ll all see them.
We’ll be watching something through Hot Movies For Her, and viewing this film will be completely free. You don’t have to buy it or download it or purchase VOD minutes to watch it with us. You will need a HotMoviesForHer.com account (which requires a credit card for verification purposes), and simply use the access code (to be announced). When you sign up and you’ll receive 95 minutes free to watch! Those 95 minutes will expire the next day.
So don’t you want to know what we’ll be watching?
Hotttt. Here’s the description:
“Doing It Ourselves” is a hot collection of trans women and their partners of all genders engaging in sex the way they want to be represented. Starting with a group of trans women who are tired of the way that they have seen trans women portrayed in porn, this film tells the story of its own creation when they decide to, well, do it themselves.
So how do you tune in and watch this video for free with us?
NOTE! If your Twitter account is private, we won’t be able to see your #pornparty tweets show up under the hashtag. If you want to join in on the conversation (hope you do!), you may have to unprotect your Twitter account.
So all you have to do is:
1. Make a HotMoviesForHer.com account, if you don’t have one
2. Use the code “DoingIt” to get 95 free minutes
3. Tune in Thursday night, July 19th at 6pm PST, 9pm EST
4. Enjoy the film with us
5. Follow & contribute to the Twitter discussion with the hashtag #pornparty
So, are you game? Who’s in?
Update! Tobi Hill-Meyer is currently doing a Kickstarter for Doing It Again, a sequel to Doing It Ourselves, and while it’s met its basic goal, there are still “stretch goals” for the project to raise. Support if you can!
Kristen & I answered Laura’s question on video this morning from Seattle … hopefully our colds don’t make us sound too weird.
Laura asks: “I am a kinky queer femme bottom/sub and have read your blog for a long time. The thing that strikes me most is how open you, and also Kristen, are about your explorations and your celebration of your gender and sexuality. I am only 23 but have known I was queer and a submissive since pre-adolescent years, and it feels like I will never be comfortable fully expressing myself or finding my voice except with my partners, because I still get ashamed/embarrassed about all of it sometimes, especially when I think about my family or straight and/or vanilla friends finding out. How did you overcome those feelings to be more open, if you ever had them?”
Come hear Sinclair Sexsmith and local authors BB RYDELL, JOE LEBLANC, WENDI KALI, SOSSITY CHIRICUZIO and ALEKS STEFANOVA read kinky, dirty, queer smut including their stories from Say Please and celebrate this kinky queer collection. In Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica, editor Sinclair Sexsmith presents a cornucopia of queer kink: tantalizing tales rich in variety and saucy details of girls put in their place — and held there firmly. Whether readers dream of surrendering to a lover or of taking control, Say Please offers plenty of erotic inspiration and gives readers exactly what they want.
Sunday, July 8th, 2012, 7:30pm
at She Bop the Shop
909 North Beech Street
RSVP on Facebook
Sinclair Sexsmith has been writing since 1996 about identity, queer culture, feminism, and self-awareness, and teaches workshops on BDSM, gender, and getting the sex life you want. They produce the award-winning website Sugarbutch Chronicles. Contributing to more than fifteen anthologies, including five Best Lesbian Erotica editions and Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, Mr. Sexsmith is also on the board of the upcoming 2013 BUTCH Voices conference, and serves the Body Electric School as a coordinator. They are the guest editor of Best Lesbian Erotica 2012.
Sossity Chiricuzio is a working-class/fat/poly femme who hosts and produces Dirty Queer, a monthly X-rated open mic, fund-raiser, and community gathering. She has a CD, Hand to Mouth, and has released Stir the Juice, a book of erotic poetry about queer passion and adventure, in 2011. She lives in Portland.
Wendi Kali is a part-time writer and photographer and full-time motorcycle-riding butch. She is currently working on a manuscript about her life as a gender-bending butch. “First Ride” is her first publication. She currently resides in Portland.
Joe LeBlanc is a genderqueer poly butch who is the Founder and Board Chair for BUTCH Voices, a social justice organization for by and about butches, studs and masculine of center individuals. He is a lover of language and writes poetry while also advocating for gender and racial justice both as a community organizer and as a local Portland activist.
BB Rydell promotes queer visibility, expression and grass roots community building through writing, filmmaking and performance. This native New Yorker co-produces “Seattle Spit,” Seattle’s longest running monthly queer spoken word event, and is a member of the Producers Collective, an intentional artist and producer community that values social justice, camp, and diversity. BB is published in Tales of Travelrotica: Volume 2 and Penetalia, and has two self-published zines.
Aleks Stefanova Is a poet, activist, and a full time dreamer. The creator of Q Poetry, a network for queer poets, artists, activist, and other folk, she is on a journey to unite all queers through the art of poetry and spoken word in one safe but free for all zone. In July 2010, she recorded her first poetry CD titled 9 tales of love and loss. Recent Portland transplant she runs the monthly queer poetry slam (A Q Poetry Night) that features some of the best queer poets around the nation. She’s currently working on several different projects some of which are a collection of erotic poetry, a poetry chapbook, and a new CD all to be finished by the end of 2010. For more information, and some of her poetry go to q-poetry.ning.com/profile/aleks.