Tag Archives: center for sex and culture

interweaving (&) metaphor

street art of a nude woman, folded into a tight crouch, looking up and holding an umbrella above herWhew — be safe out there today, Bay Area-ers. That wind is crazy, fickle like dice, snapping back in your face just when you thought you had the umbrella situated right and held tight, flipping the metal framing inside out, leaving your safety shield as a cup for the moon and wet.


We had a lovely Erotic Reading Circle last night, the first one at the Center for Sex and Culture‘s new space at 1349 Mission St! (Will you join with me here in a moment of good wishes that the CSC has found a good and solid home for awhile? Hooray!)

There were stories and blog posts, and fantasy worlds galore (some of our world, some of parallel universes or future times: fantastic) — and once again, as happens every time, I felt such gratitude for these readers, these folks willing to bring their words out into the world in front of strangers (who maybe don’t feel like strangers for long), folks willing to be present and engaged with others’ writing, folks willing to discuss erotic writing like it matters — because it does matter.


Thinking about many things this morning: writing as liberatory practice, grad school, oatmeal with quinoa, Access databases, green tea with mint, rain, relaxation, the ways our muscles and organs hold and store our histories, haircuts, deep breathing, the Real, metaphor as finding language for the unspeakable. None of these things is not like the other. What’s interweaving itself through your thoughts this morning?

An idea for a prompt: Write for 5-7 minutes about umbrellas as objects, as real things. Then write for 5-7 minutes about umbrellas as metaphors (for whatever springs to mind for you as you write). Write for 5-7 minutes about how rain feels falling on your body. Write for 5-7 minutes about rain as a metaphor (for whatever springs to mind for you as you write). Read back through what you’ve written, and circle lines you like, that pop out to you. It could be fun/productive, too, to interweave the ‘real’ and ‘metaphorical’ writing, like in the prompt described in this post.


Stay as warm as you can today, prefearbly as warm and dry as you want to. And if you want to go walking with your body up against the power of the wind and rain, I hope you have a good warm regathering place to return to, with blankets, hot tea with honey, maybe even a terrible movie that you love way in your bones.

Thank you for your generosity, the ways you have found to describe what they meant to be indescribably, for your words.

filling up, if not spilling over (and pup-love)

graffiti -- child releasing a red-heart balloonToday I am thinking about all the ways we replenish — or don’t.

Slept a little too much, and that only means that I didn’t get up early enough to do as much writing as I’d like to do.  It definitely doesn’t mean that I slept enough. Still tired, but in that bone-dread way, like I could never sleep enough.  That tells me that I’m empty somewhere, putting too much out and not filling back up enough, not replenishing the stores.

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky talks about this in Trauma Stewardship, when we’re thinking about self-care — and remembering that self-care is community-care is care and commitment to the work and the struggle, since, when we burn out, we’re defeating our larger purpose. We can each, always, find even five minutes a day to recenter on wellness, take a break, meditate, breathe deep, laugh hard. These things, even as brief as they have to be sometimes, keep us in our skin.  Let me use I-statements: they keep me in my damn skin, keep me ok with being in here.

So what are the things I’d can do to take care of myself, even without endless time and resources?  Maybe I’ll actually take my lunch break today, take it away from my desk, go over to Borders and read a non-socially-conscious book for an hour.  Maybe I’ll ask for more help — I need it.  What else, Jen?  You can think of things.  Forget that this is a blog post.  What else can you do to save yourself?  You can walk along the water.  You can put your hair up so it doesn’t drive you crazy. You can make a list of everything you need to remember to do so that you don’t have to keep rehearsing what you’re forgetting.  You can write on the bus.  You can look out the window and listen to music on the bus and forget about writing.  You can wear just a little bit of essential oil, just because the scent makes you remember and smile.  You can take more breaks from the computer, from the keyboard. Maybe you can spend the morning at a cafe, with work-work, drafting out what needs to be typed later.  You can step away from Facebook, just for today — Facebook sometimes makes you crazy. You can listen to music that reminds you how much you love to dance.  You can wear clothes that you honestly feel good in. You can get a cup of coffee at the cafe.

Maybe, on the bus home from work, you can write more of this list in the back of your notebook — more easy things you can do to take care of yourself, to fill back up, so you don’t get to where you feel like an empty husk walking around, offering only shadows of smiles.


Here’s something that always fills me up (no, really): the Erotic Reading Circle is this Wednesday — tomorrow, 7:30-9:30!  We meet every fourth Wednesday at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission St (between 11th and So Van Ness). Carol Queen and I will be there, with a group of gifted and surprising writers sharing their words for everyone’s enjoyment and feedback. Will you be there? We have memoir, fiction, poetry and sci-fi — whatever erotic work you’re writing, whether explicitly carnal or not, we’d love to hear it.

And I really do feel filled up after: I feel so excited and grateful that folks are willing to gather to share these stories of desire, lust, longing, loss — of body, of fantasy, of remembering —  I’m always so fucking inspired to be more brave.  That’s what it is.


Here’s a prompt for today — I may have offered this one before.  It’s one I use at the beginning of a workshop, as an intro exercise (and thanks to Chris DeLorenzo for offering this one the first time, at least to me): write about an animal you’ve had a strong relationship with, whether positive or negative (doesn’t have to be a pet).

I brought this one to the July Writing the Flood, and of course the writing in response was strong, emotional, inventive.  Here’s what I wrote:

This was the longest escape hatch, walking slow and deliberate out the stony front door with my black dog on a short leather leash (I can’t really remember if the leash was leather or not but I have to move on from here) and every day we jumped into a new step of being away, we ran aground of the sinking ship of home, she and I were the one true pair of escapees, solitary explorers in the wilds of midtown Omaha, quiet and concrete bound, we stalked the lush tree-lined streets looking for echoes of some possible future. She was really just looking for the now, I was looking for a way out, and of course, all roads lead to home, led back to that fat grey house with the fat grey man inside, the one who hunched with anger like a caricature of himself, and me and my dog, twice a day, we were free of all our tenements, the concrete horror bled from our veins,  from our ears, she as my one true way to be free.

Body Heat: queer femme tour shows! this Friday and Saturday (1/29 and 1/30) in San Francisco!

The Center for Sex and Culture presents

a special SNEAK PREVIEW of BODY HEAT: a femme porn tour — 2010!

Sizzlin’ Fierce Fiery Queer Femme Porn – 2 Nights, 2 Different Shows! ***DO NOT MISS THIS EVENT!!!!!!!***

Friday, January 29 and Saturday, January 30
Cost $10.00 – $15.00 you pick :)
At the Center for Sex & Culture, 1519 Mission Street (between 11th and South Van Ness), San Francisco, CA 94103

Come to the Center for Sex and Culture for the one of these barely-legal Bay Area performances of the Body Heat: Femme Porn Tour. Each night will offer up decadent performances/readings by fierce local queer femme writers, performers and devastritixes!

These will be your only chances to catch Body Heat during this spring!

Both shows begin at 8pm SHARP, $10-$15 (help us fill the kitty for Body Heat’s 2010 cross-country tour!), no one turned away… FMI: http://www.myspace.com/femmeporntour

Friday, January 29th Performers:
Carol Queen
Kathleen Delaney
Jen Cross
Madison Young
Amelia Mae Paradise from Diamond Daggers

Saturday, January 30th Performers:
Shar Rednour
Daphne Gottlieb
Kathleen Delaney
Jen Cross
Alex Cafarelli
Lady Fantastique

Body Heat is a collective of fierce, sassy, irreverent Femme artists setting ablaze performance art communities and smashing Femme stereotypes. Porn, Kink, Smut, Erotica – Body Heat is not reclaiming our sex so much as OWNING it.

We will turn you on.

We will challenge all of your gender, sex, feminist, social, & political boundaries & assumptions.

We will entertain the hell out of you.

Mostly we will leave you panting, begging, dripping for more.



Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission St., bet 11th and So Van Ness, San Francisco!

the femmes of the Fall 09 Body Heat East Coast tour, tearing up the pool table in all the wrong ways...
fishnet knees, just before...

12/17: Holiday Dirt: fecund new erotica! A benefit for writing ourselves whole…

Please help to spread the word! xoxoxo

Writing Ourselves Whole presents
~Holiday Dirt: fecund new erotica~
a benefit reading and celebration!

With special guest Carol Queen!
Featuring Alex Cafarelli, Lou Vaile, Amy Butcher, Renee Garcia, Jenn Meissonnier, Blyth Barnow and Jess Katz!

Burlesque! Sweet treats! Chapbooks!

When: Thursday, December 17, 7:30 SHARP
Cost: $10-50: sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds
Location: Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission Street (between 11th and South Van Ness), San Francisco, CA 94103

Your winter holidays shaping up to be a bit too wholesome? Never fear — join Jen Cross as she presents these fierce new works from the Writing Ourselves Whole workshops, sharp and sexy writing that will delightfully sully your holiday spirit and open your mind to all sorts of new reindeer/dreidel games!

Celebrate risky writing and readings — let us inspire your erotic imagination.

~~ Can’t make the reading on 12/17? You can still help writing ourselves whole! We are raising funds to pay for our workshop space: whatever you can give will help! Click the link/button below to use PayPal to send your donations. Thank you so much!

A fundraiser for Writing Ourselves Whole (Declaring Our Erotic/Write Whole workshops), which exists in the service of transforming trauma and/or struggles around sexuality into art, and creating spaces in which individuals may come to recognize the artist/writer within.

Holiday Dirt: fecund new erotica, 12/17/09

ERC: something else that gives me hope!

Last night was the first Erotic Reading Circle of 2009. We had a gorgeous gathering of writers, readers & listeners at the Center for Sex and Culture, some ERC regulars, some newbies, some in-between! The writing was varied and hot, layered and good and challenging and fun. Thank you, writers!

I felt last night the joy about people coming in to a roomful of strangers and — god!– reading their erotica, their secret bright desires, their difficult gorgeous art — people *so* put themselves on the line. It’s beautiful in ways I still struggle for words to describe: words like hopefulness and bravery.

This is a risk every time and people take it. They take that risk. We do. And so that’s what’s giving me hope right now — that risk has bravery in it, honest, self-confidence and shaking hands, a faith in art and craft and a passion for language and play, a willingness to listen and be heard. These things are what we need right now to keep this world changing, and so I am grateful!

Next ERC is on Feb 25 — all are welcome, even if you just want to come on down and listen!

This Wed is the Erotic Reading Circle!

Voted Best of the Bay 2007 by SF Bay Guardian! —
“Best Erotic Resurrection”

with Carol Queen and Jen Cross
Every fourth Wednesday of the month

August circle: 8/27/08, 7:30-9:30pm
At the Center for Sex and Culture
1519 Mission @ 11th, San Francisco

Thanks to all of you who came out to the ERC Anniversary party earlier this month! The amazing readers showcased are representative of the breadth of erotic work shared every month at our Reading Circle! If you come to the CSC on the fourth Wed of the month, you can hobnob with this greatness… and share your own!

Come join readers this coming Wednesday and share your erotic writing & art! Bring something to read or just be part of the appreciative circle of listeners. This is a great place to try out new work (ask for comments if you like), or get more comfortable reading for other people. Longtime writers will bring their latest… newly inspired writers, bring that vignette you scrawled on BART while daydreaming on your way to work! Non-judgmental listening guaranteed, all orientations welcome. Carol Queen and Jen Cross host/facilitate this space dedicated to erotic writers and readers!

Sugg. donation: $5-up sliding scale, but no one turned away for lack of funds.
At The Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission St, between 11th & So. Van Ness

Write to jennifer@writingourselveswhole.org or visit www.centerforsexandculture.org for more information!

Upcoming events!

Feb is turning out to be a busy month around these parts! Come on down for one or more of these events in San Francisco:

Feb 15: Open Mic at the Exiles!
Keep that V-day energy moving! Gina De Vries and I will be the features at this first ever kinky and erotic open mic sponsored by the Exiles! Open to all Exiles members and guests. 5 min per performer, signup at 7:30, program begins at 8. For more info, visit The Exiles online (http://www.theexiles.org/).

Feb 16: Philosophy/Art Salon: What is Erotic?
Join us for a Socratic dialogue on the question: What makes for erotic art? Philosopher-at-Large Rita Alfonso, Ph.D., will be joined by erotic Writer Jen Cross and visual artist Dorian Katz for a brief show-and-tell followed by philosophical discussion. At Femina Potens, 2199 Market St. at Sanchez, SF. Admission is $10-$25 sliding scale. (www.feminiapotens.org)

Feb 27: Monthly Erotic Reading Circle at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1519 Mission Street, Suite 1, SF. Admission $1-5, no one turned away. (www.centerforsexandculture.org)

March 8: New Erotica Reading at the Center for Sex and Culture.
Join recent and veteran Declaring Our Erotic writers as they share their brave, blistering and brilliant new writing! More details to come: watch this space!

April 3-April 20: Jen joins the Body Heat: Femme Porn Tour (image heavy/prob. not work safe) as we read and riot across these peculiarly united states. Opening stop: Thursday, April 3 at the Center for Sex and Culture. Next stop: San Diego — warn your friends! We’re coming to their town…

And then, of course, the Spring workshops get started!

More info about these events coming soon!