C-belle and I went to the erotic love letter writing workshop at Babeland last month. The lesson learned from it was: read more James Joyce, his letters to his wife Nora were perverse, filthy, passionate and loving all at once. The workshop was in some ways like any writing workshop and much of the advice given was good advice for any writer. Except that some people were reading passages with graphic personal sexual content and we were sitting in room surrounded by dildos, vibrators, and whips.
It was the close of a three part tour I took attending three events having to do with sex and words. Interestingly, they were all organized by the same woman, Rachel Kramer Bussel.
All of this went down in January and I have put off writing about it. Because I came to no clear thoughts or conclusions about it. The readings, while all being about sex, were diverse in topic and presentation and treatment, at turns funny, embarrassing, surprising, informative, thought-provoking, boring, trite, disturbing, sexy, unsexy, etc and so on. And my reactions to them were far ranging as well.
Clearly, I did not die of embarrassment. But I am not sure that my comfort level with public discourse on the topic has increased, at least not by much.
At the point in the workshop where we were asked to turn from writing a love letter to writing something erotic, I totally blanked. I just sat there and blinked while everyone around me was furiously writing.
I keep flip flopping back and forth on whether to post my letter. The letter itself is really tame, PG at best. But it's about a real person. And as much as I try to edit it, and change details, and scrub it to protect them that needs protecting, for now I can't bring myself to post it. Even with every single detail changed it feels naked.
Which is the thing about sex reading and writing. The graphic stuff and the funny stuff and the shocking stuff is what you expect and on some level or another it will always deliver.
But it's the intimate and revealing stuff where the writer is vulnerable and naked that feels really dangerous.