The most important (to me) reading I'm doing this week, is, of course, the one with the free cupcakes on Thursday from 8-10 (though cupcakes tend to go fast we will have plenty of other snacks, plus a great lineup) at In The Flesh Reading Series but I'm also doing a reading on Wednesday, January 14th for the new Seal Press anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and an End to Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti.
Left Bank Books book buyer Sarah apparently loved it, I took this the other night:
I haven't read it all yet so can't fully speak to the content, and to be honest probably can't separate my extremely rough time writing my essay about consent from the book. Suffice it to say, it was harrowing so I'm just glad that the powers that be accepted it. I'm proud of myself for finishing it. There are some amazing authors in the book who make it well worth checking out - Toni Amato, Javacia Harris, Samhita Mukhopadhyay. There is also a reading I'm not part of on Monday at Bluestockings at 7 p.m., and there's also, of course, a blog for the book for more information.
And author Stacey May Fowles had an excerpt from her essay, "The Fantasy of Acceptable 'Non-Consent': Why the Female Sexual Submissive Scares Us (and Why She Shouldn't)" published on Alternet a few weeks ago, which I thought was excellent:
Feminist pornographic depictions of women being dominated for pleasure are often those involving other women -- that's a safe explicit image, because the idea of a male inflicting pain on a consenting woman is just too hard for many people to stomach. For many viewers it hits too close to home -- the idea of a female submissive's consensual exchange of her authority to make decisions (temporarily or long-term) for a dominant's agreement to make decisions for her just doesn't sit well with the feminist community.
It's important to point out that, however you attempt to excuse it, this inability to accept BDSM into the feminist dialogue is really just a form of kinkophobia, a widely accepted prejudice against the practice of power-exchange sex. Patrick Califia, writer and advocate of BDSM pornography and practice, wisely states that "internalized kinkophobia is the unique sense of shame that many, if not most, sadomasochists feel about their participation in a deviant society." This hatred of self can be particularly strong among feminist submissives, when an entire community that they identify with either dismisses their desires or pegs them as unwitting victims.
And by the way, yes, I am indeed working on being more confident. This is not a confidence issue, it's just that when the process of creating writing is so trying for various reasons (I just remember crying at The Chambers Hotel and not being able to stop), in my head, the outcome really doesn't matter. The difficulty rested with me, and writing this piece was different from other pieces where I'd come up with an idea from scratch, but I wanted to rise to the challenge after flaking on some excellent anthologies and promising myself never to do that again.
But I'm not gonna lie about how awesome my essay is, cause I don't think it is. It's done, is how I see it in my head. I worked under the constraints I had, and somehow eked it out, which is much much much more than I can say for my general writing of late. To me, that is the achievement on a personal level, that is what matters, that it got done. I'm learning that sometimes it's really not about how good or bad a piece of writing is, but whether you can get it done, because once it's done, it can be finagled and edited and tweaked. If it's never done, well...welcome to my world/life.
I tend not to reread my published work, perhaps a poor decision, and obviously at live readings I have to, but I'm always going to be infinitely more interested in the next thing I write than the thing I already have.
All that being said, please come to KGB and Happy Ending this week! At the very least, on Thursday I will feed you.