I have just returned from a fantastic weekend away in London at Eroticon. This is the third year that I have attended this amazing event, and I can honestly say that I’ve never felt there have been two years the same. How Molly Moore and Michael Knight organised it all, I will never know! So, before I start rabbiting on, thank you so much to them, and to Girl on the Net, for having the passion and energy to keep putting this out there for those of us who find it so helpful, educational – and fun!
So, in light of the new Eroticon anthology being entitled ‘Discovery’, what did I discover this year? In short, some things that I’m glad I did, some things that gave me a lot of food for thought, and some things that … yeah, well … you’ll see! (And please forgive this post for having no active links – WordPress decided not to let me put any in. Not a clue why!)
The new UK porn laws and age verification are a little bit like the handling of Brexit…
Will we have age verification? When? Does anyone actually know what the hell to do with it and how to implement it when someone actually decides what’s going to happen? Does anyone really know which website owners it’s actually going to affect, in reality? Why does no one in government want to listen to an opposing view, or accept help from others who might know what they’re actually talking about? Does the general public have any clue what is going on at all because has anyone actually told them that they’re going to have to hand over their personal details to watch – and it seems, even read – sexual content? Is anyone aware of what is legal and not legal? And is anyone ever going to be able to have a wank in the U.K. to anything ever again? Maybe we should have a meaningful vote about it, and see if it’s the will of the people… (okay, teeny pissed-off rant over).
Thankfully, the brilliant lawyer, Myles Jackman does have a bigger clue than the rest of us, and I am exceedingly grateful to him, and to the Eroticon organising team, for getting Myles there to talk to those of us who have a commercial interest in what we do, as we are the ones who will be targeted (conversely, it appears – possibly – that, should a blog be ‘non-commercial’ – as in, if authors like me, for instance, aren’t trying to actually include the books they write or earn a living (!), it can continue to include the same kind of sexual content as, for instance, I have done in previous posts, yet no age verification will need to apply. So, to say that the whole process is flawed if the idea is to protect children from accessing sexual content would be an understatement. That’s without even considering the impact age verification will have on the privacy of ordinary adult people trying to access their dose of sexual content, and the likelihood of it sending under 18s who really want to access it to the dark web for their searches, where the dangers are likely to be much more real and damaging). There’s so much more to say about this topic and there are many more people who can do it better than me.
You’ve probably figured that this topic was first and foremost in my mind this year. I have to admit to going to Eroticon this year, seriously debating whether I should close down this blog altogether, and have had my finger on the ‘delete blog’ button several times in the last year, knowing that this was all going to hit the fan. I am a real worrier, and some things scare me easily. This is one of them. In fact, I’m bloody terrified that, somewhere along the line, I’m going to be accused of doing something wrong that I’m completely unaware of. I’m not a lawyer; I don’t know every law there is about sex and erotica (and I’m not convinced even the powers that be know what they want them to be, either). I am still deciding what I should do with my blog, and the direction I should take my work. Myles Jackman has given me much to ponder over.
The speakers always inspire me
As always, I’ve left Eroticon with some very passionate thoughts about a variety of things that I would like to write, try, or implement. This is wholly due to the incredible speakers over the course of the two days. There were so many of them, and they were all amazing, but there are one or two I’d like to give a special mention to, purely because everything they had to say really resonated with me.
As always, Kayla Lords delivered some fantastic and informative sessions on achieving goals, and in conjunction with other writers on the topics of memes and being an anxious writer. It was really comforting to hear about other people’s anxieties where creating and releasing their work into the world is concerned, and something I suffer with all of the time, although less so when writing here than when creating my other ‘non-Ina’ work (it’s just taken me ten years to release a short story collection under my other name, so that tells you all you need to know there!).
I admire those creatives who work so tirelessly to keep their memes going every single week, and it was fascinating to hear how long some of these have been running for. If you haven’t ever taken a look at erotic memes, take a look at Molly Moore’s MollysDailyKiss (there are so many run many Molly, I don’t know how she does it!), Marie Rebelle’s #WickedWednesday, Kayla Lords’ #MasturbationMonday and Hyacinth Jones’ Boobday, for starters.
And goals… yep, I know what my big goals are, and what my medium goals are. Will someone give me a regular kick up the arse to make sure I meet all the little goals to get there?!
Jaime Mortimer’s session on the history of BDSM Literature was fascinating! I’ve studied ancient Roman and Greek literature academically, some to postgraduate level, but I learned an awful lot about ancient texts and images that I hadn’t encountered before, and noted a lot of names whose work I am going to want to research much further. For a Literature geek like me, this was perfect!
I absolutely have to mention Exposing 40’s discussion on photography and its role in personal power and self esteem. I almost didn’t attend this session, as my relationship with the camera and body image over the last several years has been problematic at best and borders on phobia in the extreme. But, having been encouraged to do so, I’m delighted I did. The sense of positivity I felt in her exploration of ways to empower yourself through self-photography was stunning to me. A sense of the artistic shone through and, while I’m still very nervous about sharing photography, it gave me food for thought about how I might be able to work with this in an artistic way.
As ever, I looked forward to Molly and Michael’s session on how to look at your blog with a critical eye. I always learn so much from them about ways to fine tune my website. As I’m considering having a radical blog theme change, once again, their knowledge was extremely educational. Similarly, Girl on the Net’s talk on raising blog traffic was quite simply awe-inspiring. The energy in her delivery was was incredible in itself, and she definitely left me with lots of thoughts about using audio on my website. If you’d like me to start using audio, either on the website or in audiobooks, please do let me know, either in the comments or by emailing me, because it’s something I’ve been discussing a lot recently and am actively working towards.
So… a massive thank you to these wonderful people. In addition to inspiring ideas, I feel that they have left me with more than just a renewed enthusiasm for writing what I love. I left Camden with a feeling that there’s more to what I’d like to say than can be expressed only through the kind of fiction I’ve been writing for the last few years. Expect me to mix it up a bit, and expect the passion that I have to infiltrate my work in a bigger way than before.
Ooooh, the raffle! I won something!
I may have looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights, but when my name was read out for a raffle prize, I was really excited! I never win anything! I picked up an absolutely gorgeous, cute, Cosmic Ultra Delight vibrator by Rocks Off Ltd. I will post a review of it sometime soon but if first impressions count for anything (and the following *cough* several after that), I love it!
And lastly… (but definitely not leastly)
It was lovely to get to spend time with people I generally only communicate with online: I’m so happy to have had a chat or two with missy and His Lordship, and it was great to see Drew Bigglestone again (thanks for the hug, Drew), and to meet Posy Churchgate for the first time. However, even more than that, Eroticon is one of my favourite times of the year for the best reason in the world: I get to spend it with my very best friend. I’ll be really candid here when I say that I literally could not “do” Eroticon (or probably much else, sometimes) without the endless, never waning support of Alun Norley. I really do mean that, very literally. Without him, I wouldn’t have made it through last year’s event, such was the dreadful mess of my mental health. I only managed to remain in the building due to his care and understanding. And so, this year, it was a joy to spend (a much larger portion of) my time in a better state of mind, with my unfailing (and long suffering!) very best mate. Alun, from the bottom of my heart, I thank you.
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