Eroticon, Part 1
I’m home from EROTICON, an annual weekend conference for sex writers, bloggers, educators, and fans of sex toys (which all need to be tested and reviewed – someone has to do it). It was held in London, England, March 16-18, in Arlington House in Camden, an historic shelter for homeless men which provides resources for the residents to find jobs and regular housing. The building has conference space, and every organization that rents the space is helping to support the shelter.
(My spouse Mirtha, a board member of Carmichael Outreach in Regina, Saskatchewan, brought home a full sheaf of brochures from Arlington House as inspiration for coping with poverty.)
I’ll try to sum up the experience of attending Eroticon for those who weren’t there. In the lead-up to the event, Resonance Press (one of the sponsors) put out a call-for-submissions for attendees to send in short works of fiction or non-fiction on the theme of sexual truth or honesty. My new story, “Rendezvous,” was accepted. Truth, edited by Zak Jane Keir, was available for sale at Eroticon. The cover image was by Tabitha Rayne, who was also at the event.
Attendees were welcome to read their work during the dessert-and-readings session on the Sunday. I read my very short (under 1K), very Canadian story about staying indoors and masturbating to recover from a breakup, “Hibernation.” I was amazed at the variety of flash-length stories that were read, including one about body acceptance, and one about a male-on-male encounter which was clearly still raw for the writer. He got two rounds of applause.
On Friday, March 16, there was a meet-and-greet in the Holiday Inn at Camden Lock, very close to Arlington House. (I tried to get an on-line reservation there for Mirtha and me, but by the time I did this in January, it was already full.)
The event was held in the Glass Room, which offered a dazzling view of a canal which reflected the lights of the city by night.
Service at the bar didn’t live up to the view, but the Eroticon crowd was friendly, and we had some interesting talks about sex-blogging as a goal in itself, not simply as a means of promoting print publications. We met up with Remittance Girl, formerly of the Erotic Readers and Writers Association, who gave two talks during the weekend. (Read on.)
I would have liked to figure out the public transportation system, or even walk through Regents Park to Arlington House from the Danubius Hotel in St. Johns Wood, where we were staying. There just wasn’t enough time. We learned that London taxi drivers identify neighbourhoods by post code (e.g. from NW1 to NW8, or vice versa).
Plus the weather didn’t encourage leisurely walks. We went from the snowy streets of the Canadian prairies to the snowy streets of London.
Stay tuned for my post on the events of Saturday, March 17. (Note: I wore green for St. Patrick’s Day, but apparently this is not a tradition in England. I should have guessed.)