BUTCH Voices 2013 conference starts tomorrow! “What are you doing after that, Sinclair?” “I’m going to Disneyland!”

August 15, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Oh hey there! So, the BUTCH Voices 2013 conference starts tomorrow. I’m at the conference hotel as I type this, in fact, sending out last minute press details and doing last minute updates to the website.

Speaking of the website …


Clipped from http://www.butchvoices.com/

 

Doesn’t it look fantastic? I’ve been managing the Media Team throughout the summer, but the last three weeks we have been in FULL high gear, with details and edits and errors and last minute additions. I’m so very grateful to all the people who have been putting in many hours to put the polish on the media presence. THANK YOU Miriam, rife, Roma Mafia, Amber, Angela, Broch, Kaye, B, and Tootie for all of the hours of work you put in.

I’ve been learning management in a trial-by-fire kind of way … I have only managed in small ways in the past, with some personal service relationships and some intern management experience, so this has been intense. I did hire a couple of interns for the summer, also, but because I’ve been traveling and so insanely crazy with all the things I’ve been doing for BUTCH Voices, I have barely had a chance to delegate tasks yet. I have a lot of ideas, though, and I’m really looking forward to getting back to my own tasks, writing more smut, launching my coaching business, and finishing some of the projects that I’m really excited about.

I’m really looking forward to the conference. Now that my job of setting up all the media is almost—almost—done, I can actually enjoy some of the amazing things that are going on. We’ve got a big Kick Off party tonight with an ally performance, a welcome from an Oakland city councilperson, an artist’s reception, and a meet and greet; and then tomorrow the workshops start, and the first keynote happens, and there are community dinners and a film night; Saturday is a BUTCH Nation performance in the evening after the first keynote and a day of workshops; and Sunday there’s a spoken word show (that I am performing in!) and the closing party. Whew!

So after that, what’s next? Well … I keep saying, “I’m (we’re) going to Disneyland!” And while I’m half-joking, I’ve also been having conversations about what my personal “Disneyland” might be, what it means as a metaphor.

Did I mention that I just signed a lease for an apartment in Oakland? Yeah, so I live in the Bay Area now. That’s kind of a big deal, though it’s also kind of overshadowed by this giant national conference. So part of my personal Disneyland in the weeks to come is going to be settling in to my new place, getting unpacked, going to estate sales and thrift stores and finding some key comfortable furniture, and then getting back to my own work. I’m really excited to set up the new apartment, and I really like it, it’s part of a house, really big and has beautiful old wood, was built in 1901, and it has a yard! I can’t wait to start growing things in the ground, that’s perhaps the most exciting part. I definitely have some shock about being in a new place. After traveling near constantly since January (or since last fall, really), I have kind of gotten used to being on the road. But now, it’s starting to hit me what I left behind in New York, how I completely disassembled the household I built for almost ten years there, how many things I just got rid of, cutthroat-style, and how much I am still grieving for that loss. It’s starting to stare me in the face in a different way.

I’m also going to be extremely focused on my own self-care for a while, and keep asking myself, “What would feel pleasurable for my body right now?” I’m really excited to be having some new ventures planted and just beginning to grow, and I can’t wait to reveal them to you, and to write more. I miss writing. I have loved management and event planning and identity politics and wording and branding and all the things that went into this media, but I miss putting stories together.

So, you’re coming to BUTCH Voices right? In spirit, at least? Tweet us and use #bv13 and I’ll retweet you from the @BUTCHVoices account. And follow along! It’s going to be quite the weekend.

Want to promote your cool thing at the BUTCH Voices conference?

July 31, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

The third biennial national BUTCH Voices conference happens August 15-18 in Oakland, CA, and we are looking for awesome things that our conference attendees would want to know about.

Who are our conference attendees? Butches, AGs, studs, tombois, and all sorts of masculine of center identities, and a huge range of folks who want to spend some days talking about those kinds of identities. Largely queer, but not entirely.

Do you have:
- Flyers for your newest project?
- A little gifty item that could go in our conference swag bag?
- An exciting win for the BV raffle?
- Some amazing products to vend at the conference?

We want ‘em!

Or maybe you want to take out an ad in the program? Heck yeah!

Deadlines are fast approaching, so let’s get going with this if you want to be involved. Contact [email protected] to sign up and arrange the details.

Press passes and press kits are available if you’d like to cover the conference for your media outlet.

New workshop in Albuquerque July 21: Pleasure Lab

July 1, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Have you ever witnessed a green growing thing and wondered why it could grow so effortlessly? is it possible for YOU to grow that effortlessly? How do you channel the force that drives the seedling toward the sun? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be more at home in your own skin? Have you wondered what embodiment is, or really feels like? Have you desired to have deeper experiences of pleasure, joy, and ecstasy?”

That’s the beginning of the description for my new workshop, Pleasure Lab, co-taught with Amy Butcher. It’s an “embodiment” workshop—meaning, feeling deeper into one’s own body, expanding the senses, getting in touch with desires and pleasure, and encouraging more aliveness. We will spend quite a bit of time creating a safe circle to play within, exploring our own boundaries, and really feeling into our yesses and nos before we build to offering some supportive, healing touch to each other.

That sounds less fun than it’s actually going to be, though. We’re going to offer all sorts of experiments that are juicy and thought-provoking and heart-centered and we’re going to take risks and dive deep into ourselves and learn all sorts of embodiment concepts that we can take home with us, to our partners or friends or lovers or whomever.

It’s a half-day workshop, from 12-5pm, Sunday, July 21st in Albuquerque, New Mexico. $50 donation requested, no one turned away for lack of funds.

Details below.

pleasurelab

PLEASURE LAB: An embodiment workshop with Amy Butcher & Sinclair Sexsmith
Sunday, July 21st, 2013
12-5 pm in Albuquerque, NM

Cost: $50 donation requested (no one turned away for lack of funds; please contact Kat at [email protected] to discuss) space is limited; pre-registration is encouraged.

Pre-registration available at: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6909818453# or contact Kat.

What is the Pleasure Lab?

Have you ever witnessed a green growing thing and wondered why it could grow so effortlessly? is it possible for YOU to grow that effortlessly? How do you channel the force that drives the seedling into the sun? Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be more at home in your own skin? Have you wondered what embodiment is, or really feels like? Have you desired to have deeper experiences of pleasure, joy, and ecstasy?

Come explore with us.

Come to this master workshop and begin to harvest the erotic knowledge in your body. Through experimentation, we’ll learn tools to be deeply present in our bodies, to feel the powerful connection between genitals, heart, and mind.

This program will help you tap into the nutrient rich soil of erotic play which will help fuel your erotic self-discovery, compassion, and self-confidence. Explore a variety of playful experiential exercises to increase embodiment while respecting everyone’s boundaries. Learn some simple games and tools to feel erotic energy, build connection to your desires, and feel more alive and at home in your body, and experience the taboo power of sharing this exploration within community. All exercises will be clothes-on, and any touch is optional and always consensual.

When completing this workshop, participants wishing for more will have a grasp on the skills used in the Celebrating the Body Erotic workshops offered by the Body Electric School (thebodyelectricschool.com).

The Pleasure Lab workshop is open to women, trans, and genderqueer identified people, regardless of ability, ethnicity, class, or experience. The Source is fully accessible. Food will not be provided but we will have breaks; bring a snack if you may need one. Please wear comfortable clothes that are easy for you to move in, and bring a water bottle and a journal.

About the Facilitators:

Amy Butcher (amybutcher.com) and Sinclair Sexsmith (mrsexsmith.com) met at a tantra retreat in 2009 and have worked together for deeper embodiment and gender liberation ever since. They both work with the Body Electric School, study erotic energy, and write smut.

About the coordinator:

Kat Heatherington is poet, artist, polyamorous ecofeminist pagan, with a background in literature, who lives in a sustainable intentional community south of Albuquerque, Sunflower River. She has been studying with the Body Electric School since 2010.

Want to attend the BUTCH Voices 2013 Conference for free?

July 1, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

BUTCH Voices 2013 national conference postcards are here! Rife designed them, and I love how they turned out.

Now, we just have to get ‘em out into the world. And that’s where YOU come in. We are forming Street Teams in the Bay Area in California as well as in all the cities where we held Community Conversations in 2012-2013: Dallas, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Toronto.

If you are in one of those cities and want to help out, here’s what you’ll get:

  • Big thank you from BUTCH Voices!
  • Volunteer hour credit: 4 hours of volunteering = ticket to one day’s worth of the BV 2013 conference.
  • The fuzzy-inside feeling you get when you’re helping to build community. Aww.

Contact the Volunteer Coordinators to volunteer, at [email protected].

streetteam

Press release follows:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY

Contact: Sinclair Sexsmith
Media representative, BUTCH Voices
+1 (917) 475-6316
[email protected]

Opportunities available with BUTCH Voices: 2013 Street Teams!

June 24, 2013

Oakland, CA: BUTCH Voices, the organization which will host its third national conference August 15-18, 2013, in Oakland, California, has opportunities for volunteers to distribute flyers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in July.

“Volunteers for BUTCH Voices can volunteer in exchange for comped days at the conference,” said Meg McEachin, BV board member, “but Street Team members can rack up volunteer time before the conference even starts. For four hours of volunteer time, we’ll give you a one-day ticket to the conference; for eight hours, two days.”

“It’s a great way to give support and a helping hand to the organization,” Meg added, “and for folks to get financial assistance to attend the conference.”

BUTCH Voices Street Teams are being formed in Dallas, Seattle, Portland, Toronto, Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Oakland. “We’ll have Street Teams in all cities where 2012-2013 BUTCH Voices Community Conversations took place,” said Meg.

People interested in participating in Street Teams should contact the Volunteer Coordinators at [email protected]. Postcard-sized flyers will be provided to you by mail and you must have them distributed by the beginning of August.

BUTCH Voices expects more than 300 attendees for the conference. More information can be found at www.butchvoices.com. Further inquiries can be sent to Sinclair Sexsmith, Media Board Chair, at [email protected]

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Summer Internship Opportunity with Mr. Sexsmith

June 20, 2013  |  miscellany  |  2 Comments

Finally! I’ve been working a lot on my management skills lately, and one of the reasons behind learning that skill is to have an intern help me with some of the maintenance of my job that I either can’t get to or that is time consuming and keeps me from what I really should be doing, which is writing more smut.

So here’s the write-up that I came up with. I made a form to submit as an application (resumes are not required, but you can email them to me if you’d like to supplement your application with one).

Summer internship will be July – September, for three months, and then we will decide if we want to keep working together of if I should reopen the application and work with someone new.

Perks include free sex toys, books, and DVDs for review and for personal pleasure, as well as skills, learning, training, experience, and references.

Details below.

Who I am: Sinclair Sexsmith, mrsexsmith.com and sugarbutch.net. Writer, educator and coach in the sex, gender, and relationships fields; works with queer, genderqueer, trans, butch/femme, and transformational communities interested in personal growth and social change in the fields of queer literature, sexuality education, blogging, and erotic embodiment.

Time commitment: Approximately 5-10 hours a week, minimum of 5. Weekly check-ins. Schedule is flexible. Internship will run for three months and we’ll decide if we want to continue or not.

Location: Telecommuting interns welcome. Must have access to the internet. Slight preference given to Bay Area residents so we can meet in person occasionally.

Projects include, but are not limited to:
- event production & creation
- booking workshops, gigs, clients
- blog maintenance
- editing, proofreading, copywriting
- prioritizing and replying to email
- graphics creation
- social media and marketing
- networking and contacts
- ebook editing, formatting, production

You should:
- maintain contact, keeping in touch regularly
- meet deadlines
- have an eye for detail
- catch grammar and spelling typos
- be able to do internet research
- be capable of basic web design (photoshop skills, HTML, wordpress, newsletter creation)
- have access to Gmail, google documents, gchat, Skype

Compensation: Experience and training in the fields above; products for fun and review; references. Willing to work with your school to get you college credit.

Bonus if you are good with graphics creation, back end domain maintenance, if you are skilled at video or sound editing, or press releases, if you have good visions and suggestions for making systems run more smoothly.

Apply online at http://bit.ly/1av4dRu


Clipped from https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1jnhjD_3YNWPcbQuPAzcF2ylEVasCpjzbVkdLY95lcrQ/viewform

 

BUTCH Voices Call for Proposals due in two days!

June 19, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

extended

From the BV press release:

BUTCH Voices third national conference has extended our call for proposals to June 21st, 2013. We are currently seeking workshops submissions of all kinds, and in all formats: films, performances, skill shares, readings, meditation, and movement—anything and everything that addresses the cultural, sexual, emotional, physical, and psychological relationships that arise in the lives of butches, studs, tombois, aggressives, machas, etc. We are open to all perspectives–queer, feminist, womanist, neither or beyond! We particularly encourage proposals by and for people-over sixty, under twenty-one, by and for the working-class, people of color, and persons with disabilities.

“We have incredible submissions so far,” said Joe LeBlanc, conference founder and board chair. “We have received so many authentic, solid, and heart resonating responses that we want to leave the window open just a bit longer.”

The BUTCH Voices National Conference, happening at the Marriott Oakland City Center in Oakland, California on August 15-18, 2013, has happened twice before and boasted community conversations and regional conferences between national conferences. Each national conference has brought together hundreds of people to discuss issues related to masculine of center identities.

“There is currently a thread on our facebook page,” said Sinclair Sexsmith, media chair of the BUTCH Voices board, “discussing what kind of workshops the attendees would still love to see happen. Ideas range from latino/a butch identity to butch trans women to butch fashion to youth to allyship to hairstyles. We are expecting a wide range of offerings at the third conference. As always, the programming committee’s choices will center around our three initiatives: community building, social and economic justice, and physical and mental health. But there will be a lot of fun, playful things thrown in there, too.”

The full call for proposals is on the BUTCH Voices website at http://www.butchvoices.com/call-for-proposals .

BUTCH Voices expects more than 300 attendees for the weekend gathering in August. More information can be found at www.butchvoices.com.

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“How Poetry Saved My Life” Reading with Amber Dawn (& me!) on Wednesday in SF

May 21, 2013  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I’m reading as a special guest for Amber Dawn‘s San Francisco book release party for How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir this Wednesday night, May 22nd, at 7pm at the Modern Times Bookstore Collective.

Sub Rosa remains one of my favorite novels that I’ve read ever, and definitely in the top 3 in recent years. She received a Lammy in the lesbian fiction category for it and it is well deserved.

I haven’t finished How Poetry Saved My Life yet, in part because every time I start reading it, I read it slowly, taking time with each word, and I put it down often to jot down my own poetical thoughts. It’s inspiring.

“I’m asking you to entertain that wish I made earlier. To treat this like a two-way conversation. My dear reader, you’ve caught on by now that this is not really about sex work. Sex work is only one of many, many things we learn we are not to talk about. Sex work is only one of many things we’ve been asked (but never agreed) to keep silent.
This is about the labour of becoming whole … Locate yourself within the bigger, puzzling, and sometimes hazardous world around you. You are invited to do this work.”

I’m working on a new piece, chewing a lot on the connections between poetry and sex work, between gender and sex, between desire and language. I think there are so many overlaps and connections and I’m striving to connect the dots in a poem for Wednesday (tomorrow!) night.

If you’re near the Bay Area, please come! I won’t be reading much more before I head up north for June & July, so this’ll be a rare appearance. And you really want to hear Amber Dawn read from this new book—trust me!

howpoetryAmber Dawn reads from and discusses her new book, “How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir
*Joined by Special Guest Sinclair Sexsmith*
Wednesday, May 22nd: 7PM
Modern Times Bookstore Collective
2919 24th St (at Alabama)
www.mtbs.com

Amber Dawn’s acclaimed first novel Sub Rosa, a darkly intoxicating fantasy about a group of magical prostitutes who band together to fend off bad johns in a fantastical underworld, won a Lambda Literary Award in 2011. While the plot of the book was wildly imaginative, it was also based on the author’s own experience as a sex worker in the 1990s and early 2000s, and on her coming out as lesbian.

“How Poetry Saved My Life,” Amber Dawn’s sophomore book, reveals an even more poignant and personal landscape―the terrain of sex work, queer identity, and survivor pride. This story, told in prose and poetry, offers a frank, multifaceted portrait of the author’s experiences hustling the streets of Vancouver, and the how those years took away her self-esteem and nearly destroyed her; at the crux of this autobiographical narrative is the tender celebration of poetry and literature, which―as the title suggests―acted as a lifeline during her most pivotal moments.

As raw and fiery as its author, How Poetry Saved My Life is a powerful account of survival and the transformative power of literature.

Sinclair Sexsmith (www.mrsexsmith.com) is an erotic coach, educator, and writer. They write the award-winning personal online project Sugarbutch Chronicles: The Sex, Gender, and Relationship Adventures of a Kinky Queer Butch Top at www.sugarbutch.net, have contributed to more than twenty anthologies, and edited Say Please: Lesbian BDSM Erotica. They travel frequently to teach workshops on gender and sexuality.

Amber Dawn is the Lambda Literary Award-winning author of Sub Rosa, as well as a filmmaker, and performance artist. She’s appeared at dozens of universities and literary festivals, both for readings and to sit on discussion panels. She is often invited to speak on topics such as “writing from the margins,” queer identities in writing, and sex-positive writing. She also leads creative writing classes with high-risk youth and/or sex workers populations. She has toured three times with the Sex Workers’ Art Show and is the former Director of Programming for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (VQFF). Her website is amberdawnwrites.com.

Exploring Gender Through Photos: The new headshots by Meg Allen

May 17, 2013  |  miscellany  |  10 Comments

I had some new headshots taken, with the aim to actually capture some joy and pleasure and fun, instead of someone who has “been through the ringer” and “in the wars”. I’m spending a lot of time thinking about my business and what I’m doing and how I’m representing myself, in no small part thanks to the Catalyst Conference I attended in DC in March and Barbara Carrellas’s Urban Tantra training for sexuality professionals.

BD Swain (who is a butch kinky erotica writer—if you aren’t following her blog, you should be) hooked me up with Meg Allen, whose portraits immediately resonated with me. Meg is also working on a portrait project she’s calling BUTCH which features—wait for it—masculine of center folks.

Working with Meg and talking about photographing butch identity, what makes it different than photographing other gender presentations, how to encourage butches to feel more at home in our bodies through photography, and a dozen other things, made me think about all the other butch portrait projects that have been popping up lately, like BUTCH: Not like the other girls by SD Holman and the Butch/Femme Photo Project by Wendi Kali. I’m starting to put together a panel for the BUTCH Voices conference that is full of photographers of butches and I want to address exactly those questions.

BUTCH Voices call for proposals is open, by the way! Submit art, workshops, lectures, panels, or performance ideas before June 1.

I know for me, having my photograph taken changed significantly after I came to a butch identity. I actually started liking how I looked in photos. I actually kind of recognized myself. I spent some years obsessively taking self-portraits, from 1997 to about 2002, and maintaining personal photo blogs online, and one of the major reasons for that was experimenting with visual representations and markers of gender. After I came to a butch identity that I was pretty solid and comfortable with, somewhere in 2001 or so, I took fewer and fewer self-portraits and felt much more at ease having my photo taken by others. Having professional photos of me taken, starting in about 2006, has continued me on that journey of finding myself through visual representation and continuing to feel comfortable with the way that I look, my gender, and my body.

Which is yet another reason why I started craving new headshots for the summer. I want it to reflect where I am, and how I feel about myself and my work. They needed to be updated.

Here’s about 30 of my favorites from the shoot. I’m still experimenting with which will be my new avatar for Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and for the sidebar and my about pages, so I might pick one and then change it up in a week or so, test some of them out.

If you can’t see the photos, here’s a link to the full set on Flickr.

Here’s the other thing about these photos: they look like me. They don’t really look like “Sinclair,” they don’t look like some persona I’m putting on, they look like me, how I look on a pretty much daily basis, how I look when I’m hanging out with friends or teaching a workshop. Maybe if I would’ve dressed up more that would be different? Maybe it’s the sweater over the polo, too casual for this shoot somehow.

Not that that’s a bad thing, exactly. I am aiming for more integration. The difference between me and my “Sinclair” persona/character gets thinner and thinner. It’s just kind of … odd. Unexpected. Interesting.

What do you think? Which ones are your favorites? Any advice for headshots or representing my work?

More dirty things than you can read in one sitting

May 10, 2013  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Alright, so they’re not all dirty. But many of them are very dirty. Definitely R rated, sometimes NC-17.

Remember back a few years ago when I used to have a reading list of links in the sidebar? It was powered by Google Reader, and it was awesome. Instead of keeping a links/suggested websites in the sidebar, I’d just subscribe to all of my favorite blogs in my reader, and then “share” the posts that were excellent and touching and interesting, and the shared items would appear as a list in the sidebar, complete with my notes about them.

It was great! I don’t know if you ever clicked through them, but there were dozens (hundreds?) of amazing articles shared through that.

(You can still see them on the somewhat-hidden community page, which I don’t really update anymore, or you can check out the whole google reader shared items archive of mine here.)

Unfortunately … trouble came into paradise. Google Reader integrated with Google Plus and they stopped offering the “share” feature. Curses! Looks like it happened sometime in October 2011, since that’s when my shared items stop.

I have used Google Reader less and less since then. Fuck, it’s been a year and a half! I have often thought that I should put a list of links in the sidebar, that I should promote other bloggers, because I like community and I think sharing the love and pointing you to other thinkers and writers and artists is important, but I haven’t had the time. This past year and a half have been insane, you might’ve noticed. (Was it insane for you too? Seems like it was insane for everyone.) I looked, but I didn’t have any luck finding a decent RSS reader to dump all my hundreds of subscriptions in and share.

And then … they announced in March that they’re discontinuing Google Reader entirely. What! The fuck. Argh. This does not go with my plan at all. I thought they’d figure out that Google Plus is not the new Facebook and put my beloved “share” feature back.

But with the demise of Google Reader entirely, new readers have popped up! The one I’ve settled on is The Old Reader, built after Google Reader at its prime, but a little bit better. Sweet! (The only feature I’m really missing is the “email this” article link, which I used to use a LOT. Oh, and an iPhone app. Please and thank you!)

So here it is folks: My shared items are now BACK in the sidebar, thanks to The Old Reader. If you use TOR, you can subscribe to my shared items there, or use the RSS feed of my shared items for your rss reader of choice.

This geeky internet reader post has been brought to you by the letter <.

PS … instead of maintaining two separate RSS accounts, as I did before with my two separate Google/gmail accounts, one for my personal use and one for public/Sinclair use, I dumped ALL of my RSS feeds into TOR and they’re all there at once. So you’ll get shares for sandwich recipes, writing prompts, and dirty dirty smut all in the same place. Integration! Yay!

“Let Them:” A Request To Help Keep Me Writing

May 10, 2013  |  miscellany  |  11 Comments

TL;DR version: This is a request for financial help. Donate some cash to me, if you can, to keep enabling me to pay my bills and keep writing. Thank you.

The long version …

So, Give Out Day came and went yesterday, a drive “supporting the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) community through a new national giving campaign. … Give OUT Day will mobilize thousands of donors across the U.S. to contribute to 400 participating LGBTQ causes.” More than $500,000 was raised. I wanted to write a post about how I’m not a 501c3, but I need your donations, too, but I couldn’t figure out what to say.

Yesterday, I watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk, The Art of Asking, again, which is up there with her piece Why I Am Not Afraid to Take Your Money, things I go read when I need inspiration. The artists going directly to the fans for financial support seems to be more and more of a common model. And yet … and yet. I don’t bite my fingernails anymore, but I start biting the inside of my lips when I think about money.

In March, I put a really weak little hidden sentence in the middle of a paragraph, “If you feel inspired to donate to me as I restart and recalibrate and transition into a new incarnation of myself, and figure out what the hell I’m going to do with Sugarbutch and my heart, that would be incredibly helpful.” Two people emailed me after that, saying that the donate link in my sidebar was broken and they wanted to help and how could they best do that?

I blinked. Really?

It was a weak request, buried and almost a sidenote, something shadowy I didn’t want to cop to. But I actually do need it. So I fixed the donate button in the sidebar. And I added a donate page in the top bar which includes a link to my Amazon wishlist, if you want to buy me practical gifts or books or other kinds of presents instead of sending money.

One of the biggest goals I have for my work, as I’m continuing to claw my way out of this fog, this year of grief, is to make it financially sustainable. When I started this site, I had a corporate office 9-to-5 job which made it possible for me to concentrate on writing all the time. When I was part of the jobs cut in their downsizing, I had unemployment compensation right after I left my corporate office job, but that ended last year. I used to have a tiny but regular income from affiliates, but as I am doing less and less product reviews, and as many sex toy stores have closed their affiliate programs, I have much less of that. I also used to have a long term partner with a day job, until she lost it last summer and, later, we split up.

All these things, all that financial support, enabled me to do this work.

Have you noticed that I have spent a whole lot more time on Sugarbutch in the last few years a) promoting workshops and events that I’m doing and b) promoting products? That’s because the workshops have been my #1 income, and the products often give me that affiliate kickback of $100-200 a month, which made a big difference. Workshops have been my most reliable income in order to keep paying rent and keep eating—and keep doing this work. I spend so many hours a day pitching and replying that sometimes I just can’t stare at a screen anymore, and that means I don’t write those exciting productive things.

This past year, I’ve been focusing hard on how to let this work make me money.

Not because my only priority is making more money, but because I need some money to survive. To eat, to pay rent, to attend the events that I write about, to travel, to buy a new suitcase. (Did you know that the wheels on my carry-on suitcase, the one I purchased in 2002 to study abroad when I was in college, are almost completely broken? I basically drag the suitcase along the ground now. It makes a terribly loud noise. It also makes me feel like everyone knows that I am that dirty, broke-ass kid, just like I’ve always been, and I can’t afford new things. The business people in the airport look when they hear my suitcase chunk-chunk-chunking down the moving walkways and look at my suitcase and give me that pathetic smile, eyebrows kind of raised, skeptical. I shrug, feel sheepish. I don’t need a new suitcase, because this one technically still closes and holds my clothes. But it’s on its last legs. I should add that to my Amazon wishlist.)

Part of my aim in leaving New York and moving to the west coast is to cut my expenses down significantly. I know the Bay Area isn’t exactly cheaper than New York City, but that is part of why I’m sublet-hopping and spending two months in Alaska with family this summer—to cut down on my expenses, to hopefully build up my bank account for a little while, have some cushion when I start having more regular bills again. I’m not sure I want to live in the city proper—I’m not sure I can afford to live in the city and still do this work.

I don’t quite know how to get from here to there, but I’m starting to formulate a plan. This homeless summer on the west coast where all of my stuff is in storage is part of that plan.

Since last weekend, I’ve noticed my traffic on this site has been up, both because I have written more here in the past week than I have in probably two months together, and because Rife spent many hours debugging and finding all the malware in the backend of this site. (So useful, that one.) I spent some time looking at my traffic statistics this past week, and I noticed that my traffic dropped by almost half between February 2012 and March 2012, and it’s been down in that almost-half range ever since.

My dad died in March 2012. Maybe you remember that—I put up a request for donations then, too, and received enough that I could buy a last minute plane ticket home to Alaska and be with my family the week he died. (Thank you. Thank you.) I think that’s about when the spyware/malware issues first showed up, too, when readers started telling me my site wasn’t loading, and I didn’t have the emotional capacity to fix it. I limped along, this site limped along, my relationships limped along. And some other things happened then, too. I continued the year long Tantra training, and I went on tour for Say Please. My relationship with Kristen started falling apart, though I didn’t know it at the time. Everything changed that month last year. And the site statistics reflects that.

I want to build it back up. Keep including my personal struggles here, and write more poetry, write bolder, tell more rather than less, answer your questions, finish more videos, more advice, more theories. In order to do that, I have to be able to pay my bills. I don’t want to spend all my time hustling for college workshops—I want to spend time musing about power theories and what it’s like to grieve and what it’s like to be a Daddy when my dad died and how to make deeper bruises and how to fall in love and how to heal and of course dirty, dirty smut.

So I’ve been looking around, spending more time on this site, writing things, fixing up the sidebar, researching advertising. I received an email just this morning from a potential advertiser telling me that my site had too much “adult content,” even though they are an advertiser that is friendly to sex related stuff. Specifically, they had problems with the recent tags like “daddy/boy” and “my boy’s cunt” and “resistance play”, which, they said, “pushes the lines of what BDSM content we could accept.”

Hm, I thought. I could tone it down. I could take those tags off. I could stop writing dirty Daddy stories about force. Is that what I have to do in order to make money? Am I willing to compromise my art in order to have sponsors? No, probably not. But if I can’t have paid ads on this site, how can I afford it?

You could ask for help, my mind prodded. You could let people help.

I feel guilty asking for money. I feel failed. Amanda talked about how, as a street performer, people would drive by and yell, “Get a fucking job!” That’s what it looks like, right? That I don’t have a job, that I just play on the internet and live my life and do fun things like have a lot of sex and wear ties? But what’s underneath that is that I am an entrepreneur, even a business owner (I don’t want to be that, I didn’t aim to be that. I just want to be a writer. But if I want to keep it up like this, that’s what I now am). What’s underneath is that I am a figure, a mini-celebrity (very well known in tiny, tiny circles).

What’s under all of that is that I work so hard on the exchange between us—that moment where something I do connects with you.

Amanda talks about that moment as part of the exchange for the immense amount of help she’s had all along the way. Fans leap forward everywhere to offer home-cooked food and places to crash and entertainment for her fans. “Is it fair?” she asked in her TED talk. Is it fair to receive that back from her fans?

It’s an energy exchange. Is this energy exchange fair?

This site is free, always has been. You can read all of it—seven years of thoughts, musings, theories, my personal sex life, my best writings, poetry, breakdowns, ecstatic moments, feelings, recommendations for music, sex toys, books. And, yeah, smut. Lots and lots and lots of dirty stories to turn you on. I donate my time (and, when I can, my money) to my community, to people directly and to events and to products I support. I give away my time and my writing and my teaching. I give away hundreds of days of work on this site.

I don’t know how to ask for money. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had much of it. I’ve never lived anything but paycheck to paycheck, and now in my creative class/working artist life, I barely even have that, because the paychecks are so irregular.

I’m still trying to figure out how to make this work successful, how I can have enough space to write deeply. Do you want me to keep doing that? Is it worth it to you, to keep reading those things here?

“Don’t make people pay for music,” says Amanda Palmer. “Let them.”

So I’m letting you. I’m letting you help me, by letting you know that I need help—financial help. I don’t need a lot to cover my expenses, but right now, I’m barely making that from this work. I have to keep seeking other supplemental income, and I am and will. Anything you give me will enable to me keep writing.

I am so very grateful to have people I can ask, to have the privilege of even asking. Thank you. For reading, for sticking with me while I’m struggling to make this into something I can keep doing.

Oh, one last thing: everyone who donates $25 or more will receive a special sponsor smut story unpublished anywhere else. (It’s a good one, too.)