A week has passed since EroticonUSA took place, though it seems like both more and less time than it is. My goal was to post my thoughts fresh in the afterglow of the gathering. However, the time has simply not been available, and while I’ve spent some time reflecting on the conference it’s only now that I’ve had the time to actually consider a write up. I’ve always found it difficult to sum up a conference and both Eroticon2012 and EroticonUSA are even more challenging.
It’s a heady experience being a part of this conference. I’ve been honored to be a speaker at both that I’ve attended. I count Ruby as a dear friend and those two things combine to give me a specific sort of viewpoint on the conferences, especially this recent one as I acted as her feet on the ground here in my home metro.
But what is really amazing and unique is what happens on the day of the conference and at events surrounding it. Suddenly these incredibly open attendees are given a secure, private space. Discussions start, online friendships make the transition to the physical realm, and magic happens. There’s a special sort of discourse that happens in the safe confines of the conference venue, a sharing that goes beyond that which attendees already exhibit online and elsewhere.
The picture above is from my session, Word Discipline. I will admit to being quite nervous when I started the session; there were quite a few unfamiliar faces looking at me and public speaking has never been my strong point. However, the workshop went well and I think it’s safe to say we all had alot of fun. Check out some of the discussion and one tweet stories at #worddiscipline. My one tweet story, crafted while watching the gears turn, was:
Bowed heads, rustling noises. Prayers to the muse fanned in the smoke of inspiration.
I enjoyed the day so much I don’t know that I can pick a favorite session. The opening plenary with Jincey Lumpkin was fantastic and I wish I’d taken more notes on her advice on creating your public persona. Linzy Antoinette, Tasha Harrison, and Annabel Joseph gave a fantastic how-to on setting up a critique group, with insight into what can go wrong and how to address goal conflicts. Molly of MollysDailyKiss presented her top 10 blog tips, at least half of which I wish I’d known years ago! Annabel Joseph led an amazing discussion on sensation, emotion, and where both belong in erotica and porn. I had the pleasure of attending one of GrayDancer‘s demonstrations at the ERA conference in 2011 and I enjoyed his session just as much the second time.
There is no way to convey my enjoyment of the three social events that surrounded the conference. The Friday night meet and greet was simply a joy, and I loved all of the conversations I participated in. After the conference Burning Book Press hosted an evening cocktail hour at Einstein’s. I’m not sure if the establishment has recovered from our very fun, slightly tipsy, very sexy occupation of their bar’s lounge area. The Sunday morning brunch at the Broadway Diner was just the thing to feed hangovers(I managed to dodge mine!), continue conversations, and stave off the end of the gathering.
More than once I’ve heard(or read) that the weekend ended too soon. While I agree, that feeling means more that just wanting more. It means the conference has more to offer to the community, that there’s cause to have a second one on this side of the Atlantic(hopefully!), and that the connections made will be lasting ones.
As a writer, I took away experiences from both the sessions and the attendees at large that will inform my work, adding depth and reality. I have better understandings of so many things, more than I have yet been able to fully absorb. For that alone, the Eroticon conference, whether abroad or not, is worth attending.