It’s been a few weeks now, but I still get buzzy and excited when I think about my experience at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival this year.
As exciting as it was to have one of my short stories, Asphalt*, featured in the Literary Exhibit and the SEAF Anthology, the highlight of that weekend was spending Friday night with Roxy. She had three poems featured, some of my favorites: When We’re Dangerous Like This, Yes and What is Butch.
I met her at the airport, in our usual spot, and it was just as amazing as every other time. I get to talk to her on the phone, and see her on webcam and read her words every day, but being with her physically is like eating the best chocolate, slowly, after subsisting on cocoa puffs for months. She is just that good. I could go on and on about how good she smells and what it feels like to have her body pressed against mine and how wonderfully satisfying it is to kiss her, but I should get on with the story.
I had only done one public reading before, Roxy had never. We were both nervous and excited. After “settling ourselves down” with some hot hotel room sex, we heading over to Fremont for the show. I managed to get us there in good time, despite some navigational errors. The place was hopping, definitely the place to be that Friday night. The crowd inside and out reminded me a little of Folsom, with an artsie kick. We headed inside to pick up our special Exhibitor passes and took in the masses of eye candy already roaming about. Of course, I was with the hottest woman in the whole place. Dressed in drop-dead boots, sexy short skirt and a vest that displayed her body so well, I was the proudest guy in the venue, I have no doubt. We held hands and worked our way to the corner where the readings were taking place. After checking in, we went back to the Festival store to get copies of the anthologies. Good thing, since they sold out of all printed copies that night.
What an incredible experience. I haven’t done much public reading yet, but I know I love it and want to do more. Before our turns, we watched some others read. One poet, David Jones, was a particular favorite. Roxy and I joked together that it was a family affair, since she and I are also Joneses. Later, we made a wonderful connection with him that turned into a bit of a love fest between the three of us. We got him to sign our copies of the anthologies, and we signed his.
Soon it was time for me to get on stage and do my thing. I was feeling pretty good. I had a little banter with the audience, got my mic adjusted and then it all flowed just the way I’d rehearsed it (and I’d rehearsed it a lot). I got the laugh just where I wanted it, and the finger-snaps in just the right places. I could feel the audience, feel the wonderful energy they were sending me, feel their enjoyment. I felt high as I came off the stage to applause. The exhibit curator and anthology editor, Kerry Cox, took the mic after me and explained that she and the other jurors had loved my story already, but after hearing me read it in Buddy’s slow drawl, they enjoyed it even more.
Roxy was up next, thinking she’d read one of her pieces, but ended up reading all three by popular demand from the audience. They were hungry for it. Her style stood out, her delivery was excellent, and I’ve already told you how hot she looked. She got great responses and applause for each reading. I fell in love with her all over again watching her weave her spell on the audience.
Oh, and I almost forgot, Jay Walls was there as a volunteer, working the film shorts venue. Jay stayed to see our readings and was very wonderfully complementary afterwards. It was really awesome to have a friend there.
After the readings, it was time to enjoy some of the other performances and exhibits. There was so much to see. As always when we’re together, most of our attention was on each other but we did see and appreciate a lot of the art being exhibited.
We got our fill of erotica and decided it was time to create our own erotic scenes. The drive back to our room was filled with excited conversation and the sexy promise of what was to come. Yes, we were tired and, yes, she’d flown up that evening and had to leave the next morning but we made the best of the time we had, as we always do.
I came back the next night, without her, and without the same confident bounce in my stride. It just wasn’t the same without my muse and partner there with me. I did manage to have fun and meet more writers featured in the anthology, and generally warmed up to the occasion as the night went on. I was standing in line for a beer when one poet, Tracy Lee, came up to introduce herself. She heaped ample praise on me for the story and the reading and then introduced me to others. Tito Titus and his wife are lovely people, and we had a great conversation about writing, gender and the poetry scene in Seattle. David Jones was there again, and we greeted each other with hugs. My confidence up, I sought out other writers. Layla Tromble is a fellow butch and poet, Evoe Thorne was striking in appearance and word. She wrote about the experience on her blog, confessing to having a bit of a crush on me (*blush*).
I had some great conversations that night, one with a juror and poet, Dobbie Reese Norris. Dobbie was wonderfully candid about the process of selecting the submissions chosen. He explained that they received hundreds. My short story was apparently a stand-out for him and the other jurors, notably a very choosy and particular member of the jury who only chose one short story, mine. Dobbie was free with his praise and encouragement for which I was very surprised and am very grateful.
I had to drive all the way back home that night, so I didn’t stay much past midnight. I called Roxy on the way home, telling her all about it, enjoying the sweet sexy sound of her laughter and the companionship of our shared experience. It was an amazing event for us to be involved in and we felt very excited about our writing partnership. We’re having some wonderful successes — for both of us in writing and for her in photography as well. It’s wonderful to have such a versatile and intelligent creative partner to help me push myself to do better.
Here’s a video of my reading. Sorry about all the background noise, it was a busy venue.
The SEAF Anthology can still be purchased in print or downloadable form. It’s a great collection, even beyond Roxy’s poems, and I encourage you to add it to your collection.
* The version featured in the SEAF Anthology and this reading is slightly different than the one I posted originally.
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