I just agreed to move the Susie Bright reading from January 15th to February 19th, mostly because I didn't really have a choice. And then I get invited to debate at Oxford! Sigh...in reality, it probably would have been too expensive and used up too many vacation days, but still, I would in a heartbeat have looked into flights and had a guest host, were I not having Susie Bright come to read at In The Flesh.
I guess there is always an upside and a downside, the upside of moving the date being that the fabulous Marcelle Manhattan can now read her work immortalizing In The Flesh. Another downside is that I cannot have Live Nude Girl author Kathleen Rooney, who happens to be in town that night. Obviously, I realize that there are worse choices to have in the world, but for a girl who likes to say yes to everything, it pains me to have to turn down an honor like this, because the fact is, it likely won't come again.
Who knows what might have happened if I'd gotten this a month ago? I think I would have just gone for it, practicalities be damned. I'll get over it, and it's still an honor, and I also am a horrible debater, so I will look at the bright side, which is that I still get to host the one and only Susie Bright at my reading series. Part of me is tempted to give the reins over to Susie and just go, but then I'd be shirking my duties on that end and again, I have a job and bills and all that. Just wanted to share this since it certainly doesn't happen every day. When I went to London last New Year's, I went to Coffee, Cake and Kink and Sh! which both stocked my books and were very kind, and I have it on my "list of things I want to do someday" to go back and read, plus one of my Cleis publishers is there (I managed to be an idiot and miss meeting her at the Tate Modern on that visit).
Anyway, all of that is outside my control. I realize I couldn't have known this invitation was coming, but I feel like this is karma or whatever informing me to stand up for myself in the future and not kowtow to any random publisher's (or whoever's) requests. Well, aside from the fact that I'm not going to work with publishers directly, only authors, for In The Flesh anymore, I think that is good advice, part of my Big Life Lesson this year in standing up for myself (more on that later). And it's not anyone's fault, in the end, just fate I guess that these two events, both about female sexuality, to a large degree, fall on the same date so so far away from one another.
The letter I just received from the president of the Oxford Union:
Dear Ms. Bussel,
I am writing as President of the Oxford Union to invite you to speak in a debate which I am hosting on Thursday 19th February. The proposed motion is:
‘THIS HOUSE BELIEVES PROMISCUITY IS A VIRTUE NOT A VICE’
Whatever one thinks of sexual promiscuity it is undeniable that there remains a manifest discrepancy in our attitudes toward male (encouraged with positive terms such as “player”) and female sexuality (condemned with derogatory terms such as “slut”). To many feminist thinkers, therefore, it is a virtue for women to reclaim the legitimacy of female sexuality and stand proud of their sex lives. To some, however, casual sex between many partners is yet another example of the subjugation of women by men. Others would argue that promiscuity, whether among men or women, is inherently immoral and a key factor in the degradation of our society. Is the continued stigmatisation of the sexually promiscuous a sign that we remain repressed as a nation, and should we step back and appreciate the virtues of free love? Or is promiscuity an evil that
should continue to be scorned and vilified?
As you may be aware, the Oxford Union enjoys a reputation as the world’s oldest and most famous student debating society. Over the years, it has gained a reputation as the most prominent debating platform outside Westminster and contains the world’s oldest purpose-built debating chamber. Throughout our 180 year history, we have regularly hosted high-profile international figures here in Oxford to discuss contemporary and controversial issues. We are proud to be able to count amongst our past guests Mother Theresa, Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Michael Jackson and Her Majesty the Queen to name but a few. Last term alone, for example, we were lucky enough to host the US Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, along with the leader of the British opposition party, David Cameron. We would be delighted to be able to add you to the long list of pre-eminent speakers who have visited this prestigious society.
The evening usually starts with a drinks reception at 6.30pm, followed by dinner and the debate, which begins at 8.30pm. Should you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail: xxx@xxx, by mobile telephone: xxx or by
using the details at the foot of this letter.
At any rate, I can guarantee you unstinting hospitality and the warmest reception in Oxford. The Society would, naturally, be happy to cover your domestic travel expenses, as well as hosting you at the dinner preceding the event, the drinks reception afterwards and providing accommodation if required.
It would be an absolute pleasure to welcome you to the Union for this debate and I very much look forward to hearing from you soon.