I've mostly retired from doing readings, at least for a while, but I'm very excited to read from Tristan Taormino's anthology Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica, which is a little larger than average volume of stories that I haven't read in full but can say I'm extremely honored to be sharing its pages with the likes of writers like Laura Antoniou and Ivan Coyote and Sinclair Sexmith. I'm going to try to bring cupcakes, but no promises. It's a milestone for me in terms of writing what I have no fucking clue about (being FTM, boxing). Lately I'm trying to write fiction in settings and about topics I'm not personally familiar with because it pushes me as a writer to create more interesting settings and stories. A decade ago, which seems hard to believe, I organized a reading for my very first erotica story, "Monica and Me," in Tristan Taormino's Best Lesbian Erotica 2011 and I still remember my awe that people showed up, people traveled for it, that organizing a reading was this thing I could do, not to mention writing a story.
I was such a newcomer to this whole world that is now part and parcel of my life, to the point that I sometimes forget or get jaded. I really do prefer the ease of being behind my computer than live readings, because I just don't think that's where my skill and certainly not where my comfort lies, but the camaraderie, the sense of community, the ability to connect with people who've collectively listened to sex stories and gotten something out of them? That's why I still do it.
Lately I have to push myself hard to finish every story, to get out the queries, to not want to go work as an admin assistant again, (falsely) assuming anyone would even hire me for that. There is an ease to that kind of monotonous work, in my experience, yet while the lazy side of me longs for that, the rest of me wants to be challenged, to see what's next. And every day brings a blank page and that same challenge. I may blog a lot or read a lot or do all sorts of other things to escape that challenge, but it's always right back there, in front of my face. Right now I'm trying to finish a few stories that seem impossible, and I often abandon stories, even though I know my ideas are good, because I can't make them work the way they do in my head. I don't blog about the non-successes, the thousand or two-thousand or three-thousand words without a home sitting in files on my laptop, waiting for me to wrap them up, because I don't want to project that image of failure. I want to celebrate the sales, the publications, but it's those failures that haunt me.
I'm trying to atone for not at least getting to the point where I send out the work, where I try, and risk failure, rather than not submitting at all. I'm atoning to myself, by staying put, no matter how long it takes, because in the end, getting to that ending, flawed and frustrating and imperfect though it may be, is worth it. Last night on my subway ride home I was thinking to myself, I have no idea what to pitch ___, and getting stressed about it, and then I literally walked into my bedroom, got an idea, and started an essay. That act, even more than whatever response I get, reminded me where I'm supposed to be right now.
Bluestockings, 172 Allen Street, NYC
Wednesday, October 12th @ 7PM – Free
Reading: Tristan Taormino “Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica”
With Laura Antoniou, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Sinclair Sexsmith
Come celebrate the hump day with some steamy readings from “Take Me There: Trans and Genderqueer Erotica.” Local legendary contributors Laura Antoniou, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Sinclair Sexsmith read their pieces. Columnist, sex educator, and “Take Me There” editor Tristan Taormino discusses the need for more Trans and Genderqueer erotica. Yes, Bluestockings will supply towels to mop up the sweat.
Speaking of Sinclair Sexsmith, I was looking up the details of this reading and found this column of Sinclair's: "Believe in Gratitude
I am grateful to every book I’ve ever read, all the writers who struggle to squeeze blood from a stone to get the right word on the page in the right place, making stories and sense of this world.
I am grateful to the Internet. Not just because that is the primary place of my career, but because I have been in touch with so many brilliant people because of the ways we share our lives online. It is the revolution of our times.
And if you're free Tuesday, you should also hit up Bluestockings for Samhita Mukhopadhyay's reading from Outdated, plus Thursday you can catch Justin Vivian Bond reading from the memoir Tango.
Tuesday, October 11th @ 7PM – Free
Reading: Samhita Mukhopadhyay “Outdated”
Status: Single, Married, Divorced, Desperate! Subscriptions to match.com and okCupid might be dragging you down instead of doubling your money. “Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life” shows how women have been coerced into believing their self-worth is tied to their relationship status, while addressing the difficulty of negotiating loving relationships within the borderlands of race, culture, class, and sexuality—and of holding true to your convictions and maintaining a sense of independence while doing it. Mukhopadhyay is the executive editor of Feministing.com.
Thursday, October 13th @ 7PM – Free
Reading: Justin Vivian Bond “Tango”
Growing up with the knowledge of being different from the other kids is never an easy task to tackle– especially when one minute you’re being bullied by the neighbor, and the next minute you’re making out. Justin Vivian Bond’s new book, “Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels” vividly details Bond’s coming of age as a trans kid. With inimitable style, Bond raises issues about LBGTQ adolescence, homophobia, parenting, and sexuality, while being utterly fabulous and entertaining.