I can’t believe a week has passed since Eroticon began, with the meet and greet on March 3rd, then a whole weekend of brilliance over the 4th and 5th. It’s about time I recovered from my time away (admittedly, it was slightly extended beyond Eroticon) and wrote about my time there.
I’ve never dithered about anything quite so much in my life. Should I buy a ticket? Shouldn’t I? I’ll be bloody terrified and not know anyone, and I’ll get lost, and not speak all weekend, and… Complete anxiety attack – right up to the moment of actually turning up, when I wondered what the hell I’d been worried about.
Before I say anything else, I want to give a huge shout out to the organisers of the event, Molly Moore, Michael Knight, and Girl on the Net, all of whom made everyone feel welcome and part of the entire weekend, whether an Eroticon virgin like myself, or a seasoned attendee. I don’t know what else to say about them except that they were completely amazing from start to finish, and tireless in their efforts to keep everyone happy and everything running smoothly. Their drive and energy left me speechless. This was blatantly obvious from the moment I collected my attendee’s badge on the Friday evening.
I must have been at my ease because I did something most unusual for me, and chose a lanyard to denote that photos could actually be taken of me. For those of you who know me well, you’ll also know that is one almighty leap for me. I actaully don’t think it would have been possible for me to do it without the support of my wonderful friend, Alun Norley, whom I most possibly drove half (or completely) insane by the end of the weekend. I’m sure he’d tell you so…!
Early on the Saturday, after the issue of the goodie bags, I was utterly delighted to meet Anna Sky, the brilliant editor and publisher of the Eroticon anthology, Identity. I think everyone was amazed and elated to find that the anthology sold out during the weekend – in fact, I think all the copies had sold by the end of Saturday, which was really impressive! Mine are nestled in the photo of some of the goodies I managed to acquire over the course of the weekend. Victoria Blisse did a fabulous job of running the bookstall almost all weekend – except when she was playing with grapes (more of that in a minute).
I found myself sitting next to the amazing Kayla Lords in a really fun and informative session on blogging, hosted by Innocent Loverboy, and Kayla invited me to submit to #MasturbationMonday, something, to my disgrace, I have never yet done. I do have something I’ve been working on today that will be posted next week – I rather enjoyed writng it, and it tapped into the notion of erotic fantasy that I had the privilege of discussing in a fascinating session run by Meg-John Barker, on auto (erotic) ethnography, and learning about ourselves through erotic fantasy.
I have to admit to fangirling over Meg-John Barker, whom I first met when I gave a presentation on gender and British mystery writers at a conference in 2012, and Meg-John gave a fantastic talk on 50 Shades. The session at Eroticon delved into the power of erotic fantasy as a channel to learning about ourselves. It was fascinating, and something I’d like to do much more work on. I left the session brimming with excitement, and haven’t shut up talking about it yet (apologies to anyone on the receiving end of my enthusiasm for this. I can seriously get wet about erotic fantasy – which may well be the point…).
Malin James’ brilliant session on writing flash fiction has inspired me to write much more of this kind of tight work. I have every respect for anyone who can do this; it’s not an easy thing to do well, but I have a much clearer idea of how to approach it now. Victoria Blisse’s workshop on sensual erotica and using all the senses was invaluable, serving as a huge reminder that there is so much about the human body that is affected by the erotic, or even the erotic in the everyday (such as grapes!).
The sessions constantly maintained an incredibly high standard. I attended Ashley Lister’s ‘plotting the erotic story’ which was both enlightening and hilarious, and was immediately treated afterwards to Kate Lister’s talk on the history of erotic writing and obscenity in Britain. Both brilliant, as I expected them to be! Anna Sky gave a fabulous and really informative talk about getting your work into print, which I left very excited about doing precisely that. Rachel Kincaid did a fantastic job of alternative stories and endings, proving to me that the kind of strange, disturbing literature I can often write has as much validation as anything else I create, as long as it’s authentic and heartfelt. To cap my weekend of talks, I attended a very interesting session by Val Prozorova on the power and reach of fan fiction, for which I have a new-found respect.
The weekend finished with readings by different authors, amid the hail that was banging like mad on the roof! I wish I’d had the guts to read out something of mine. Maybe next year… There were so many sessions I enjoyed, and I wish I’d been able to see more, because everything I missed sounded wonderful, too.
One thing I haven’t mentioned yet is the wonderful array of stalls, boasting some amazing ranges of sex products, from the Ruby Glow to the Doxy (one of each, please…). I did spend quite a bit of time talking to the owner of Ceramic Pleasure, and who makes ceramic dildos (I ended up buying two, as well as promising him a blog post, which I’m delighted to do, and it will be up on the blog next). They’re beautiful pieces of individual artwork as much as anything else. Lots of writers bought at least one! The whole event was marvellous, and I did also happen to win a gorgeous little pink bullet in the raffle (first battery already dead…um…).
I can honestly say that I can’t wait for the release of next year’s tickets! Do keep an eye out for them – they’re being released very soon. I would recommend Eroticon to anyone who writes intelligently in the area of sex and the erotic, and who wants to know more about the work we can all achieve, and the pleasure we can give by working, reading, and writing, in such an amazing area of our lives.