I’ve never attended the Lit Quake Festival in San Francisco before. Last Saturday evening was my first time.
And what better way to dive into this iconic literary experience than as a participant — joining writers, Jen Cross, Amy butcher, Horehound Stillpoint, Anain Bjorkquist, Seeley Quest, and Erin M, at the Good Vibrations Store on Valencia Street, where we teased our audience by reading hot bits from our stories in Sex Still Spoken Here — a new anthology of stories and poems from the Erotic Reading Circle, co-edited by Dr. Carol Queen, Jen Cross and Amy Butcher.
My story, The Gambler, is a semi-autobiographical tale, inspired by a hot erotic encounter I had with a professional gambler, whom I met at Bay Meadows Race Track back in 1977 — when I was a girl of thirty-three.
The receptive audience of perhaps one hundred, steamy story enthusiasts filled Good Vibrations to overflowing, making it the largest group I’ve addressed to date. I’m pleased to report I felt entirely comfortable standing before them, and the most relaxed I’ve felt at a reading thus far. So relaxed, in fact, I even ventured to lift my eyes from my page as I read, to engage in eye contact with audience members — beginning with my husband, always the friendliest face in the crowd and always there to support my endeavors.
I’m also getting a sense of pacing my words and pausing at strategic points during a reading to let my words sink in. I don’t think I’m imagining that my story was well received. Afterwards audience members stepped up to congratulate me on my reading, and I was asked to sign newly purchased copies of our anthology. And as my husband and I left Good Vibrations and joined the Lit Crawlers heading up Valencia Street, several people called out their congratulations on my offering.
Virgin experiences are so exhilarating, don’t you think? Before ending this post, let me offer a huge than you to Carol Queen, co-facilitator of the Erotic Reading Circle and founder of The Center of Sex and Culture, for inviting me to participate. Sorry you were down with the flu, Carol, and missed out on the evening. But rest assured we did you proud, and thank you again for the opportunity. Reading is in my blood now. What better way to celebrate a published piece than to read it in public? I hope to do so again at Lit Quake next year with a new story — with many more readings at other venues to come between now and then.
In the meantime, I invite you to come hear me read my latest story and bring a story or poem of your own, to the Erotic Reading Circle, at the Center of Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission Street, in San Francisco, from 7:30 to 9:3o PM, on the fourth Wed of each month.