It’s so cool to be proud of your friends. When they bust ass and eat blood, sweat and aggravation and finally give birth to something (provided it’s not an alien face hugger thing), it’s a great thing to watch. Because determination is awesome and has an infectious quality that has a ripple effect in the immediate area.
It’s also inspiring, because publishing your own book instead of doing the round of publishers and rejection letters and rewrites = rad. Because it’s YOURS, then. YOU did it. Well, you and the herd of cats you perform with, as is the case in this situation. You and all the people who believed in you enough to part with their filthy lucre and fund your Indigogo campaign. Which was many, as it turned out. People like being part of a creative process. Creative people, people who don’t consider themselves to be. Everyone likes to be part of creation.
Esoterotica is a performance group. They’re poets, talkers, spoken word-ers. They’re dirty, honest and insane. They talk about stuff you’re not supposed to talk about in public, not supposed to enjoy, and not supposed to admit to. They tackle hard conversations through an artistic medium. Conversations about being queer, about racism, about gender identity. It’s a beautiful way to deal with ugly subjects. They also talk about good ol’ fashioned boinking with enthusiasm and humor. They talk about beauty and love and pain and the fact that it’s really hard to separate those things.
I’ve never seen one of their shows, because Shadow and her cohorts started this thing well after I’d gone, and I haven’t been able to afford to go back for a visit in some time. (Dude, starting a business requires ALL OF THE MONEYS) But home girl reads me her stuff over the phone, and I saw one of the pieces performed last time I was back, before Eso’s provocateurs really got their feet under them. So I’ve felt connected to it in a way.
I contributed an amount that got me some righteous swag. Which just shows how good at budgeting and DIYing these cats are, because I only had fifty bucks to part with at the time. I got two copies of the book (one is personalized for me by mah boo gurl so it’s mine forever, one is going to a friend), like, a gazillion stickers (which were shared among appropriate parties) a poem written for me, an awesome t-shirt, and a bunch of other bits and bobs.
All this is awesome, you say, but was it any good?
Like any collaborative work, I connected with some of it, some of it not. But that’s good. If all of it had left me drooling it would have all been the same and that’s not what a collaborative work is about. That there were distinct voices with different rhythms means it will have something for everyone, and those things you don’t really jam on are still serving the purpose of exposing you to things you don’t really jam on and people, you need that. Otherwise how do you discover new things?
I had favorites, of course. If it’s egotistical to admit this, I’ll own that shit, but one of the standouts was a poem about me. The most beautiful “I love you” anyone has ever said to me, and it makes me weepy every time, Corneja, by Shadow Angelina Starkey, and I’m tickled it made the cut, because if a muse is a creative partner then I’m filled with joy to have been a part of this escapade. I love you too, gurl.
Another favorite was one called The Audacity of Grope, “an open letter regarding the ongoing mishandling of female anatomy”, by Paul Oswell. It was hilarious in the way that’s so funny because it’s so true. Another one by the same author, We Once Were struck me as well. There was a hot little bit of prose by Nicole Gruter called The Penal System that definitely did the job, and a poignant piece by Aime SansSavant called Without Sense that made me all emo and somehow reminded me of a Cure song (totally a not bad thing). And speaking of songs, Nan’s Song by Wendalyn Lewis was like something that should be paired with a baritone sax and a good single malt at 3 am, if you know what I’m sayin’. We’re Crashing in Reverse by Aurora was rhythmic and gorgeous and sad and made me want to dance in a thunderstorm. And then the other weepy inducing “I love you”, My Dearest Shadow by Invaluable Emily was wrought with the kind of emotion nobody expresses to anyone’s face because it leaves you far to exposed, and yet she did it anyway. Bravo girl.
Bravo to all of the Eso peeps for a job well done. And YOU all should totally buy this book. Yes, because my friend is involved and I want my friends to succeed, DUH. But also because I’m not a liar, and I wouldn’t tell you to spend your money on crap. I won’t let you walk out of my shop wearing the wrong colors either, so trust me. At the very least, go peek at their website, http://www.esoterotica.com, and see what they’re about. If you don’t like sex and literature, or either, or both, feel free to ignore this whole post. But otherwise, I mean it, go check it out.