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Author: camerynmoore

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FROM THE FUCKBUCKET: What are some ways poly people make commitments to partners?

One interesting potential side effect of exploring polyamory is that it can bring people way down deeper into the question of “what does this relationship mean?” It doesn’t always—some people just don’t want to go that deep—but for people who are trying to pay attention to how they do relationships, extracting the notion of sexual exclusivity from the ingredient list can somehow ease the rest of it open for examination, discussion, and conscious choice as well.

So, what are some ways of making commitments once that whole “sex/love with you only” thing has been taken off the table, you mean? Well, here are some common options for commitments…

  • Supporting each other, materially and emotionally, in pursuit of their individual and mutual dreams.
  • Taking care of one another when they are poorly or injured.
  • Creating a happy, comfortable home together.
  • Showing up on time for date nights, social gatherings, airplane departures, and other important events.
  • Being careful and aware about sexual health matters.
  • Talking about relationship problems when they arise, and maybe checking in on a regular basis just for emotional maintenance.
  • Being present and supportive when the other is having emotional challenges.
  • If in a shared household, contributing an agreed-upon amount to shared expenses.
  • Doing one’s best to be caring and conscious about the other person’s feelings.

The list goes on, but the point is: it’s not a different list than one that people in monoamorous relationships might make. A lot of it works for platonic friendships as well. All the commitments that could conceivably go into creating a solid, loving, good relationship are there for you, whatever your style of relationship arrangement.

The keen-eyed among you may have noticed that I didn’t put “getting married” in here. This was deliberate on my part; after having been married/civil-unioned three times, I have become very careful about just throwing marriage out there as a catch-all commitment array, or using it as a shorthand for some kind of higher-level relationship package, because falling into unexamined shorthand agreements as a default is a sure way to wake up one day and say, I thought we agreed to do this for each other, and then realize that was only your expectation, and it was only in your head.

Whether co-writing a set of wedding vows or having “the talk” (e.g. “what kind of relationship is this exactly?”), I find that commitments in relationships work best when they are discussed individually, with an eye for what the people involved need, and what they can actually provide. Clear expectations and caring communication: that’s what makes a commitment more likely to work.

*****

Yes, sometimes the Fuckbucket goes into relationship territory. But don't worry, I'm still getting stuck into sex stuff up to my elbows most weeks, with Smut Slams around Europe (and mentoring them around the world) and new shows and programming happening all the time. If you like what I do for facilitating awkward but essential conversations around sex, sexuality, gender, and relationships, consider supporting me on Patreon!

A brief overview of hustling for too-weird artists

I’m in the middle of doing and booking and prepping for shows right now, looking ahead for a few months, six months, next summer, okay, what do I have for Edinburgh Fringe 2019 (yes, of course I am thinking about that, I’ve been thinking about that since before the last Fringe was over, it’s part of the reasons why I’ve been away from here for so long).

I’ve been whirling around like a dervish for weeks and weeks, doing shows and traveling and doing more shows, and that pattern will continue for some time, it looks like, which is hilarious because one of the feelings I carried with me from EdFringe 2018 was that no one was ever going to book me in any normal way because I am Too Damn Weird.

"Too Weird" is a hell of a load as an artist. On the one hand, I think most artists with any background in fringe would feel a little proud of that, or at least pretend to be proud, like, yeah, motherfuckers, I’m punk rock, I’m so fucking edgy, bookers don’t know what to do with me.

From a practical point of view, though, "Too Weird" does make it a lot harder to make a living. I mean, you can’t live off radio silence from venues, and you sure can’t make a pull quote out of it for your marketing materials.

In terms of emotion, too, it is hard and confusing as hell, because here’s the thing: I feel totally reasonable and normal in my performances. Of course I do. This is my world. The audiences respond well, and in the case of Smut Slams, we are creating a good and exciting experience together. How is this weird?! I think. This is the way the world should be! But righteous indignation is not a sustainable state of being.

So I’ve been wrestling my way through all of that—processing, some people call it, I just call it bulldozing—and in the meantime, SHOWBIZ. I send emails and meet up with potential collaborators and make Smut Slams happen and book spaces for this next thing, and things just tick on ahead. A couple of months ago I looked at my calendar and realized, hey, it sucks that no one else is willing to produce me yet, but I think I’m doing okay, kinda, hanging in there and producing my own damn self. I have to. If I want to keep doing it, I have to DIY it.

Take Smut Slam, for example, because that is a lot of what I’m doing these days and making it happen is hard work, especially when I’m going someplace new. Gotta find the right co-producer for a new city, someone who is not doing it as a favor to me or because they’ve got a blank spot on the calendar, but because they see the radical potential of the event and they want to be a part of it.

Judges, can that co-producer find the right judges? What about prizes? What communities do they know there? What communities do I know there? What about a venue, can we find the right one, the right size with the matching vibe? Is it private enough for the vulnerable intimacy of sex stories? Do they have booze? Do they have good chairs?

Some things I can only really assess once I’m in the performance space, but in the meantime, the show must go on and it takes at least 4-6 weeks to get a show up and running. So I squint at bad photos of the event space, and ask my performer friends for recommendations, and listen at length to these co-producing partners. I send the thank-you notes, and schedule in follow-up dates and set up skype calls. I listen to my gut, and then back it up with spreadsheets.

This is just Smut Slam, mind. It’s a different set of considerations for every other show that I do, if I’m traveling with it or not, if I’m doing it solo or working with other performers, if I’m working with a university or with a scrappy feminist festival run on a shoestring and chili cooked by the co-op. Every single performance possibility, I’m checking through the logistics, running the numbers, and ultimately seeing how well the event answers two questions:

  • Does it help me make a living?
  • Is it an event or experience that shapes the world for the better?

Producers and bookers would help me with the first question. But they wouldn’t have anything to say about the second, and they certainly can’t help me figure out where the balance must be struck between the two.

So yeah, as much as I wish someone else would produce me, as much as I know my work is worth picking up, I know it’s a long shot. The great part is, though: I don’t have to wait. I can keep doing it for myself.

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If you would like to support this "Too Weird" work that I do, around sex and relationships and bodies, now is a great time to become a patron of mine over on Patreon!

SMUT STAND REPORT: Edinburgh Fringe (Aug 3, 2018)

WHEN: 4 hours (3-7pm), Aug 3, 2018. WHERE: Grassmarket, Edinburgh Fringe. OUTPUT: three full-length pieces, including a romantic, gender-fluid, outdoor threesome up against a tree; a passionate fingering in an overheated tent; and a voyeuristic group-sex party on a houseboat with lots of nautical puns.

It has been nearly six months since I went out for a hardcore work shift on the Smut Stand. I’ve been trying to find a productive location in Berlin since the spring, but NOTHING. I cursed the lack of income and dearth of smut in my life, but consoled myself with the knowledge that I would be coming to Edinburgh in August and here I would find my people.

It is more accurate to say that my people find me, and here in Edinburgh they always do. The poster banner goes up and I start typing away, and they just step up and ask. I don’t do any persuading or selling, soft or hard (heh heh). I just explain the service and the process and the price, and they either go for it or they don’t. Sometimes peer pressure or begging from a partner persuades someone who might be on the fence. But some people know; they have some intuitive sense before I even open my mouth.

During this particular shift, everyone was fully down. No hesitant customers, I didn’t have to drag anything out of anybody. That’s another great quality of the real eager beavers: their interviews are FULL and COMPLETE. If anything, I have to tell them to stop overthinking, but I'm happy to let them ramble for a bit, because it gives me all the material I need. I was worried about the bridegroom whose buddies chipped in for his piece, but he was actually the most sensitive, considerate bridegroom that I’ve ever encountered out on the stand. It was sweet.

I found myself particularly challenged—in a good, writerly way—by the customer who wanted a romantic piece for herself and her partners, one of whom used “them/they.” Since I don’t use proper names in these stories (I think it gives it a Mad Libs feel), pronouns actually are REALLY important, and third-person singular pronouns in a three-or-more situation can get confusing if I’m not careful. It turned out really well though—reminded me that I’m ALIVE!

The customer was from a city in Germany that is on my target list for taking Smut Slam to, and when I told her more about Smut Slam, she was like, “Hey, I know someone there who would want to help with this.” GREAT. Networking is soooooo random sometimes.

The paying customers aren’t the only things that make doing Smut Stand rewarding. I get to meet ALL KINDS of people. Yesterday’s Passerby of Note was a young woman, mainstream attire, mainstream makeup… she looked young and conventionally pretty and mainstream, the kind of girl that would normally be walking with friends and pass me with lots of giggles. But she was by herself, and she stopped and asked about the smut. And then she asked for one of my brochures and studied it for a few moments.

“Are you a feminist?” she said. “Because you say ‘slut-shaming’ here, I just figured.”

- Yes, I am a feminist, and so is my show, basically.

“Oh.” <pause> “This is a pretty unpopular opinion,” (I braced myself) “but I think that convicted rapists should get the death penalty.”

- Um!

“It’s because in the UK rapists don’t get long prison sentences, they just get out of jail and go free and most of them go and do it again, so I think it would be better, you know, for society.”

- I see. I personally don’t think anyone should get the death penalty, but I can see why your proposal is attractive.

She further went on to say that assault weapons should definitely be banned, but she thought concealed handguns for women would be a good idea, “to defend themselves.”

- I would prefer a less deadly defense, I said, like cat-ear keychains or pepper spray.

“Pepper spray is illegal in the UK, unfortunately. But there are youtube videos on how to make your own! You just have to boil down a handful of really hot papers, and let it soak for a long time…”

And then she went into really detailed recipe mode, and it was slightly terrifying how specific she was.

By the end of our conversation, she said she wanted to bring her cool mother to see Terrible Sex Tips. I hope she does. I also hope she can talk with her cool mother, because something is clearly going on there in this young woman’s life, or most likely already has. It was a weird combo: she was noticing the fucked-up things, but was being drawn to strangely anachronistic solutions.

Watch out, Edinburgh straight men. There is a very pretty young woman out there who has had enough of your bullshit, and she will not hesitate to shoot you, chop your balls off, and/or douse you with homemade, organic pepper juice. And probably laugh while she’s doing it.

*****

Ah, my lovelies, it has been too long since my last blog post. But trust me: I'm out here working my ass off in theatre, storytelling, and other media to make space for authentic sexual stories. If you like the work I do, consider becoming a patron of mine on Patreon!

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