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The addictive magic of Sidewalk Smut

WHY do I always look constipated while I'm typing? I need to work on that look...

I am leaving in about two weeks for a couple of months in Australian and New Zealand, performing at festivals in Perth and Wellington, and WOW, am I pumped to be getting down there with Phone Whore and Smut Slam. This trip has been four years in the making, and thanks in large part to Perth Fringe-edge producer Tomas Ford, I’m doing it and I can’t wait.

You know what I’m most excited about, though? I mean, not to set up a hierarchy of excitement, because it’s all pretty mind-blowing, but when I think about what I’m really looking forward to, this pops up first thing:

Setting up the Sidewalk Smut stand again.

I use my typewriter year round for smutting—oh, hey, Valentine’s Day is coming up, drop me a line if you celebrate it and want to get your sweetie(s) some custom erotica for the occasion!—but it really does belong outside, on a rickety fold-out tray table that isn’t balancing quite right on the pavement. And I belong in front of it, on a folding chair that I worry about, with a humid breeze making the paper a little floppy and damp and a cup of coffee near my feet.

It almost doesn’t matter what my Smut Stand experience is. (Hint: it involves shlepping that typewriter in carry-on and doing hourly ergonomic stand-up breaks and making myself look as innocuous as possible when cops walk by. It’s not that exciting by itself.) What is fantastic is making the Smut Stand experience happen for everyone else.

I can’t wait to be out there again, to be the thing that makes people trip over a crack in the sidewalk or run balls-first into a bollard. I want my signs to make passersby stop in their tracks and ask each other, “What the hell is that?” I love making people bust out laughing, or circle past two or three times, or stand there and stare for a minute or two, trying to work it all out.

And then, when the passersby finally suck up the courage to approach me, I want those conversations again, where I explain how Sidewalk Smut works and they say "no way" and laugh some more and take one of my cards. Or they say "no way," and immediately follow it up with "No, wait, you’re on, right now, let’s do this thing." Or they say, "Hang on, let me check with my husband/partner/girlfriend."

Inevitably, out of all of this chatter and confusion and laughter, someone will sign up to get a piece written. The people who want my work will find me, eventually. And then the real fun begins, with the interview.

This really is the part of Sidewalk Smut I enjoy most of all. I like asking serious, graphic questions, in a serious, attentive way, and watch people blink as they adjust to this new reality where a strange woman is asking intensely personal questions and they are answering them, right here on the sidewalk. I want to create that moment of pause, when they hear their partner say something they didn’t know, when they hear themselves say something they hadn’t even realized until that instant.

Listening is transformative. Writing down what you hear is powerful. I can’t wait to get back to this magic.

*****

If you think the work I do, either on the pavements or from the stage, is an important part of changing the world, consider becoming a patron of mine on Patreon!

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