Posts Tagged ‘traveling’
Can you believe it’s the last day of February? I know there are literally fewer days in this month, but it always seems to zoom by, more than other months. Maybe it’s the beginnings of spring coming back and my eagerness for more spring. Fall is my favorite, really, but that baby-green color that the brand new leaves are? And the first signs—the magnolias, the crocuses, the daffodils? I love that so much.
Aside from it being a quick month, I traveled a lot. Which meant I did have some good time on airplanes and transit to read, but that I was usually using it for other things (like going over my notes for workshops). I’m learning that I can’t really multi-task effectively when I travel. I tend to think of the verb “to travel” as something I do in the background, and other things happen at the same time, but really when “I am traveling,” that’s sometimes all I can actively do.
(I know touring artists have said this kind of thing all the time, but it’s still interesting to discover for myself.)
So, this month, I read:
Choke by Chuck Palahniuk. I picked up a few books by him because his work has been recommended many times over the years, and I thought it’d be an engaging, somewhat light read. This was the one I started with (though I did read Fight Club a while ago, after an ex of mine said it was her favorite book). I can’t say I liked it. At one point I tweeted, “I’m not supposed to like this main character, right?” I didn’t, but I understand he’s supposed to be an anti-hero. I guess I didn’t even like him enough for the anti-hero to work, I wasn’t that sympathetic to his stories and I didn’t like his level of manipulation. I don’t know if I’ll pick up another by Palahniuk. If I do, which do you recommend?
Then, because the first one was such an easy and fun read last month, I picked up Allegiant by Veronica Roth. Unfortunately, I thought it was the second book in the series, but it was actually the third, and because it’d been about a month since I read the first one (and it was light breezy skimmy reading for me, not deep attention), I was a little lost at the beginning but just went with it. I didn’t even realize until about halfway through the book that it was building up to The Big Reveal of the series. A variety of folks who saw I was reading this series recommended to stop with the second one, because the third was so bad; I didn’t think it was bad exactly, and the twist was somewhat interesting, though of course the science is not sound at all. “Because genes!” is not good. I kinda blew the wad with reading the third one second, so I probably won’t go back to the second one. Still, it was a fun read.
I picked up Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marsha Pessl because I read Night Film last month and loved it, but it was what stumped me. I was totally on a fiction roll until I started this one, and then it was just a liiiiiittle too dense and just a little too smarty-pants for me, and I put it down and stopped. I didn’t finish it, though someday when my attention span is a little better, I’d like to try it again.
After an absence, I picked up Switch by Astrid Knowles again, which I’d seen some smart quotes from on Tumblr I think and figured it might be a promising BDSM novel. Uh, not really. Thin and trite and not very good writing and not very hot. Still, it’s written from a submissive girl’s perspective, with a lot of dominant worship, so I like that part. Enough to finish the book, though not really enough for it to have made an impression.
I’m constantly in search of really good power dynamic writings, so I picked up two. The first was Protocols: A Variety of Views (Power Exchange Books Resource Series) by Robert Rubel, which was a disappointment. It’s a collection of essays from a variety of well known M/s and D/s folks, many of whom have excellent credentials and have been instrumental in the leather communities for a long time. I suspect that they as people are amazing, and that they have lots of great ideas that I would love love love to learn from, but they didn’t translate very well to these short essays. A number of the essays started with, “What is BDSM?” which could be useful if you’re writing an entire book about BDSM, but these are short essays on protocol specifically, so I suspect the average reader already has some knowledge. I would’ve loved more advanced ideas and less beginner, and more editing so that the writing wasn’t quite so clunky.
Along with Protocols, I finally picked up Erotic Slavehood by Christina Abernathy, which is actually two books together: Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual and Training With Miss Abernathy. The first, the slave training manual, is quite good. It is a bit elementary, a beginner-to-intermediate level, but I really liked the writing style, the knowledge, and the smarts of Miss Abernathy, and I don’t say that about very many d/s books. The second half of the book is a training guide with exercises, suggested readings, journal prompts meditations, and all kinds of things for a submissive/slave/s-type to explore. I loved it! I wish I’d read it before Submissive Playground, though perhaps it’s good because it could have been influential. I highly recommend it to s-types, and I promptly passed it off to rife to work through.
The Journey from Abandonment to Healing: Turn the End of a Relationship into the Beginning of a New Life by Susan Anderson … I don’t have much to say about this. I am still grieving, and on any given day somewhere from 10 to 70 percent of me is in some sort of despair process. I assume it’s temporary, I trust it will keep evolving, but it’s been hard lately. So I am trying to learn about the grief process, to lean on the teachings and helpers who have done this kind of thing before, and not just dwell in my own heartbreak hotel.
Sexy Sailors: Gay Erotic Stories edited by Neil Plakcy was so much more than I expected. Not just better (though yes, better writing than many of the other books I’d read this month) but also more engaging, more interesting, more fascinating. I’m not really into sailors or boats, but there’s a whole language associated with it, and in addition to the language, an entire men’s culture that is quite curious to glimpse into. And, I really liked all the cock-centric dirty parts. I don’t read much gay boy smut, but I think I should change that. I fucking love Cleis Press—any time I pick up an erotica anthology by them, it never fails to have high quality writing, dirty scenes, thoughtful characters, and so much sensual, smokin’ hot language (which is exactly why I pick up erotica instead of watch some dirty scene). It’s so good for sex geeks like me.
Last but not least, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future by Chris Guillebeau. I was hoping this had business advice in it, but it reads much more like The Four Hour Workweek, which is useful for motivation but not so much for detailed infrastructure implementation, which is the phase I’m currently in. I’m looking to make some business decisions and studies in the near future, so I took a shot in the dark and started here. Not so much. But I’ll keep shooting—I have some other ideas.
If you have any book recommendations, I would love to know them! What have you read lately that’s been amazing? What do you think I’d love?
It’s that time again! The kids are back to school, and I’m back on the road. Okay, so I never really stopped being on the road—this past year I have traveled more than I ever have before, and I love that this is now part of my job.
I’ve been working on my workshop offerings a lot in the last month or so. I had some photos taken to use as promotional materials, I redesigned both Sugarbutch and mrsexsmith.com and jazzed them up, and I’ve spent a lot of time on new workshop topics, structures, and outlines.
I’ve got some exciting new classes and talks I’m thrilled to start offering! Some of the new ones include:
- Butch & Femme for the 21st Century (lecture)
- Best Sex Ever!
- From Sexual Shame to Sexual Mathlete
- The Feminist Fist: Sensation, Power Dynamics, and Consent
- How to Change the World Through Sex: Careers in Pleasure
- The Sexual Politics of Topping
- So You Want To Be A Daddy?
- Protocol in D/s Relationships
- Leaving Marks: Biting, Punching, Cutting, and More
Check out my updated workshop list with descriptions and details. I’ve also got two new snazzy PDFs—one aimed at colleges with more academic workshops about sex and gender, and one with my kink classes for sex toy stores and BDSM retreats and conferences.
I’m aiming to travel in October and November, and then again in February, March, April, and May. I already have many dates and aims for where I’ll be.
October 17-19, Washington DC
October 20-21 Hartford, CT
October 26-28, Springfield, MA
November 2-4, Albany, NY
November 9-11, San Francisco, CA
November 14-15, Durham, SC
November 16-18, Austin, TX
November 22-24, Dallas, TX
November 25-30, Houston, TX
December 6-9 Seattle, WA
January 25-27, Albany, NY
February 7-10, New Haven, CT
February 15-18, Washington, DC
March 1-3, Philadelphia, PA
April TBA, Toronto, ON
April 10-11, Knoxville, TN
April 18-21, San Francisco, CA
May 10-12, New York, NY
May 23-26, New Orleans, LA
June 14-16, Anchorage, AK
June 19-24, Baltimore, MD
July 17-21, Walton, WV
July 24-28, Albuquerque, NM
August 15-18, Oakland, CA
August 30-September 2, Baltimore, MD
September 11-15, Baltimore, MD
September 29, San Francisco, CA
October 25-27, Albany, NY
November 8-10, Albany, NY
I am looking to visit Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Sacremento, Reno, Carson City, Palo ALto, Chico, Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, Portland OR, Seattle, Vancouver BC, Portland ME, Boston, DC, Philadelphia, and wherever else y’all might want to bring me.
Are you in one of those cities? Do you want to do an event with me? I’m particularly looking for colleges and universities, but I am open to bookstores, sex toy stores, community centers, your living room for a house concert/performance, book groups … Email me, [email protected], and I’m glad to discuss options and compensation and possibilities.
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.