Tag Archives: readings

you can do whatever you want to do with words

Good morning good morning. It’s been quiet around here, partly because so many other parts of my life have gotten a bit noisier recently. It’s good noise, though, and I’m grateful for that. How is morning breaking outside your window today? What does the sky sound like already?

This week I’ve attended three performances in which Writing Ourselves Whole writers shared their work. Nomy Lamm, a member of our current Dive Deep cohort, read from her book 515 Clues and put together a gorgeous and elucidatory Kaballistic Collaboret last Sunday evening — as soon as this book comes out, you’re going to want to get your hands on it. And then on Monday night, I attended Breaking Code, a reading curated by Blyth Barnow and Oscar Maynard, a powerfully beautiful event which offered pieces that tangled with the lived realities of queerness and madness. Breaking Code featured, among other former Writing Ourselves Whole writers, our very own former Deep Diver Renee Garcia. We had current Deep Divers in the audience at both events (and supporting from afar, too), adoring our sibling Divers who took the stage and shared the work we already love with the world.

Then last night I went to a Why There Are Words reading in Sausalito, which featured a literary venue called The Fabulist. Most of our Dive Deep group made a pilgrimage up to Marin in support of one of our own, John Zic, whose work will be featured in/on The Fabulist soon, and who read to the assembled listeners from the novel with which we in Dive Deep have been getting to spend so much good time. The Fabulist publishes, as they say, yarns, fables and tales — they focus on the fantastic: science fiction, otherworldly work, fantasy, and other odd and wonderful writing that reaches outside the realms of those particular genre labels. I loved being at this reading — it reminded me how much I adored reading science fiction and fantasy as a teenager, and how much possibility I felt in those stories. I felt that same possibility open up in me last night: you can do whatever you want to do with words — there is a place, an audience, for anything you can imagine. You can let the words (or your readers!) fly off the page; you can follow them into other realms of knowing or reality; you can study with a scrub of language what otherwise could never be known; you can make wild associative leaps; you can let your human protagonist grow a tail and wings; you can write into a world or a happening that doesn’t make logical sense (at least in our known world, in this particular consensual reality we inhabit most of the time); you can let the monsters under the bed have their say; you can experiment and play with time, form, and the laws of physics — and there’s someone (many someones, actually) out there who will want to read what you come up with.

In my workshops, I invite us, over and over, to follow the writing wherever it seems to want you to go. Even so, these days, for me, the writing stays in a pretty “safe” place – I want my words to be met and understood, and I get caught in the fantasy of being able to tell it “straight.” But didn’t Emily Dickenson tell us to “Tell all the truth but tell it slant”? When I really let  writing go, I often drift into a realm of the fantastic: often, that feels like the best place in which to illuminate and unravel into the lived reality of trauma aftermath, the magic and wonder of having a body that loves and feels anyway, even after all the loss and pain and scars.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Writing the Flood, where I might bring some prompts to try and encourage the gathered writers out of the realm of straight narrative and into something more experimental and fantastical. We’ll see what happens — whenever the words are flowing, though, I know good stuff is emergent. There are still a few spaces open in tomorrow’s Flood, if you’d like to join us and write into your own fabulous imagnings.

Jen reads at PPO and LitCrawl!

Every now and again, I get out into the world and back at the mic to share some new words with the world. Join me at the pre-Folsom edition of Perverts Put Out or at Carol Queen’s stop on the LitQuake LitCrawl for some pervy new words. (Thank goodness for the recent round of the Reclaiming Our Erotic Story workshop, which helped me generate some new story ideas — I’ve got some writing to do between now and the end of the month!) Read on for more details — I hope to see you out and about!

Perverts Put Out’s Frisky Folsom Fling!
Join a sexy celebration of leather and lust at Perverts Put Out!’s
annual pre-Folsom-Fair show, with performers including
Jen Cross, Greta Christina, Steven Schwartz, horehound stillpoint,
Naamen Tilahun, Xan West, and more perverted geniuses to be
announced, with your hosts Simon Sheppard and Dr. Carol Queen.

Saturday, September 28
doors 7:00, show 8:00
The Center for Sex and Culture
1349 Mission Street, San Francisco
$10-25 sliding scale

$10-25 sliding scale, no-one turned away. A benefit for the Center for Sex and Culture.

~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
Smart Smart Sex
LitQuake LitCrawl Phase 2
Saturday, October 19, 7:15 – 8:15 pm
Good Vibrations, 603 Valencia St.

Essayists, memoirists, and smutsters of high pedigree come together! Sure to be full of surprises (including proof of which sex organ is really the biggest). Hosted and curated by Good Vibrations staff sexologist Carol Queen, PhD. Featuring Amy Butcher, Jen Cross, Marco Gayle, Conner Habib, Lorelei Lee, and Lori Selke.

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

San Francisco tonight!

If you’re going to be anywhere near the Mission District tonight, or can get there, you won’t want to miss this reading!

January 14, 2008, 7pm
Achy Obejas & Dorothy Allison

Where: Galería de la Raza, 2857 24th At (at Bryant), San Francisco, CA 94110
Cost: $5-10 donation

Pulitzer prize winner, Achy Obejas (Days of Awe, This Is What Happened in Our Other Life) and Robert Penn Warren Award winner, Dorothy Allison (Trash, Bastard Out of Carolina), start the new year with a special, exclusive reading at Galería de la Raza. Born in Havana, Cuba, Achy Obejas is an award winning journalist, novelist, translator and poet. She is currently the Sor Juana Writer in Residence at DePaul University. Dorothy Allison grew up in Greenville, South Carolina. A self described “working class story teller,” Allison was a finalist for the 1992 National Book Award for her novel Bastard Out of Carolina which won the Ferro Grumley Prize, an ALA Award for Lesbian and Gay Writing, and was made into an award winning movie.