|Reading at the Erotic Literary Salon|
*from Memento Vivere
Last month I had the pleasure of reading at Philadelphia's Erotic Literary Salon with Jeremy Edwards. He was reading from his "eroto-comedic" novel, Rock My Socks Off and I read some of my erotic poetry, which was quite a treat. Also, Emerald, who will feature there this month, read in the open mike.
This reading series, begun two years ago by Susana Mayer, is a wonderful venue, and I only wish it was closer to me, so I could go all the time (I am going to hear Emerald read on Dec. 21). Emerald and I got to meet Susana in the afternoon (both arriving at her place at the same time!) and we had some fascinating discussions. I think both Emerald and I were coveting her bookshelves. Then Jeremy, his wife Helia, Emerald, my Philly friend Kam, and me, had a delicious dinner at a nice Indian restaurant around the corner from the venue, The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge.
The reading itself was fantastic. The open mike had wonderful poetry and erotica (check out Ricc Berra, who read an excerpt from this). I was impressed with the respectful and attentive crowd. How wonderful to have such a supportive-of-the-erotic spoken word series. Jeremy did a terrific job, as usual (I've heard him read before). If you want to watch Jeremy's reading, he has links posted at his blog, here. If I can figure out how to do the same, I will post mine here. Stay tuned.
This was the first time I've been able to do an entire reading of my erotic poetry, including my Seattle Erotic Arts Festival poems, as well as some of the ones here. Many of the poems are ones I've done in readings and performances during the past several years. But a few of them had never been read aloud before, poems with the words "cock and cunt." Poems that speak openly of my desires. Though I hate to use the word, because it's so overused, I found reading these poems before an audience to be very empowering. The audience's reaction to my poems really touched me. I know that my poems have meaning to me, because I write my heart out, but several audience members came up to me afterwards and commented that they were moved by my words. That's heady stuff for a writer to hear.
Afterwards, I celebrated by sharing an absinthe with Helia, who was also eager to try it. Needless to say, I liked it. The whole ritual of the sugar cube and the ice water, the clouding of the liquor itself, well, I guess I'll have to write a poem!
A week and a half later, I read again, this time here at home (sorta, about an hour away). I'd been debating whether or not to read one of my SEAF poems in addition to a few other erotic poems (I always do some erotic poems in my readings, surprise surprise). It was a small crowd on a very chilly night, and in a fit of bravery, I read Memento Vivere, a poem chronicling events of my sexual life. It's a very personal poem, and it's also a challenge to read, since it's partly visual. I was a little nervous about what kind of reaction I'd get here - most of the folks in the audience knew me and while some knew about my Erobintica activities, others did not. I'm happy to report that it went well.
I kinda find it ironic that my erotic poetry is bringing together my Erobintica self with my other writing self (maybe selves?). I'd thought to keep them separate, for various reasons, when I started out. Slowly, the lines have merged and blurred. Soon, I imagine (hope?) there will be no boundaries. That's one reason why I read under my full real name at the Erotic Literary Salon. I am proud of Erobintica. It's a name I will continue to use. But there will be no more hiding.
Several interesting writing-related opportunities have presented themselves recently, and it's not despite my erotic writings, but because of them. There's a lesson here for me. I'm hoping I'm an attentive student.