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SMUT STAND REPORT: Oct 10, 2016 (New Orleans)

what do you get for a woman who has everything? Smut and profound sexual metaphors.

what do you get for a woman who has everything? Smut and profound sexual metaphors.

WHEN: 5 hours (7:30pm-12:30am), October 10, 2016. WHERE: In front of Bicycle Michael's, Frenchmen Street, New Orleans. OUTPUT: one quarter-sheet and four full-length pieces, including a male-submissive bondage session with a mirror next to the bed and a day-time back-alley fuck.

Second night back at my usual stomping grounds in New Orleans, and I don't know whether I'm glad or sad to be only getting a tiny bit of time in New Orleans this year. On the one hand, money and Matt-the-Poet and sometimes people are So Damned Sweet. On the other hand, ever-present territoriality and I don’t like drunk people and I'm still—always—a target on that sidewalk for sex-negative hostility.

On the other hand, money.

I am trying to get my ass over to Manchester at the end of the year, and this year’s Fringe tour fell far short of projections. So I will make my money where I can, and if nerdfucker is an uncertain buy for many audiences, Sidewalk Smut lands reliably and well. (When did pounding out custom erotica for strangers on a sidewalk become the fiscally sound option? I don’t know, but this is my life.)

Of course, the first rule of anything is don’t want too hard. People can smell desperation, even among the festering gutters of Frenchmen Street. Be cool, I’ve been telling myself. I am just here to make space for that Sidewalk Smut magic to unfold. It’s very meditative, when I can manage to find that space, and personally growthful, on a number of different levels. Wait, I know that's woo. Let me explain.

I do not hustle and bark when I am smutting; I do not call people over. They need to notice me, and approach me, so I put out the clarion cal, the click and ding of the typewriter, and I have to keep the typewriter cranking away. Those warm-up pieces are invariably shit. Six times out of ten, they read like bad drug trips. They shift grammatically all over the place, they use clichés, they’re Shit.

But I make myself keep typing and do my best to stay calm. These pieces are not for other people, I remind myself, these are for me. By giving myself space to be imperfect, and forgiving of that, I can relax into that play mind, that Sidewalk Smut mind, and be open to whatever bubbles up.

Sure enough, these last two nights followed the pattern: an hour to an hour and a half of sitting out on the sidewalk, just typing up random bits and waiting for those literary pheremones to kick in and draw people over. And then, suddenly they do kick in, and I’ve got a wait list. Two of the people flaked, but I don’t care. WAIT LIST, MOTHERFUCKERS.

There was one customer who I thought was going to be a bad one; I had heard him first chatting up the three poets next to me. He set them all to typing poems on one theme; originally he had put it out there as a Poetry Face-Off, which, I dunno, I hate when people try to pit poets one against another, as though the situation is not already weird enough, when you look at it. Then he came over to me and asked about a piece of smut. He didn’t have a lot of time to stick around, so I suggested the quarter-sheet. It would be part of a birthday present for his wife, and was going along with the three poems he had gotten from my colleagues (he had paid them all, this is a big deal). I felt the smut was one of the better ones at that length, sealed it in an envelope for him, because HE DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO HEAR IT, whoa! Talk about trust! He didn’t read any of the poems or my smut, just tucked it away, and said he wanted to surprise her. Tipped me a tenner while he was at it. Thanks, mystery literary dude! I like your style.

Of note last night were how many Londoners were in town, including one young woman who is a sex educator for teens and vlogger. She stopped by for a piece—“of course I had to get one for myself!”—and then afterward she did a quick video interview with me, and then OF COURSE I hit her up with a Smut Slam card (I had run out of business cards the night before), and said when that first London show is coming up. I think I got my first judge for the panel. There were at least three other Londoners who stopped by the stand, and they all got cards. It is never too soon to start marketing.

So, yes, networking and promotions, that all still happens out there. So do the conversations and interpersonal connections. Most important, though, is that i always get something out of my time there, too. My practice shows me that I just need to show up and become earnest, forgiving, relaxed toward myself. In the middle of the chaos of Frenchmen Street in New Orleans, that shines out like the sun. And the people who can see that, are the ones I want to meet.

*****

With the touring and the writing and smutting it up in the face of pervasive side-eye, I need an army of guardian angels! Enlist now, by becoming a patron of mine over on Patreon!

 

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