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The Shy P0rn0gr@ph#r – With Drinks, Angst, and Jane Austen

Michael said I read too quickly and should have leaned into the mic at Writers With Drinks last Saturday night. Both of which are probably true, since in fact I was kind of nervous, due to a raging attack of am-I-really-a-writeritis.

Not publishing anything new for a few years can do that to you, I guess, especially at a reading series as good as Writers With Drinks, the amazing literary event that happens second Saturday night of every month at the Make Out Room, in San Francisco’s Mission District. Check out the list of authors who have been reading and are up to read later this spring (and then go read their books, as I’m doing, after hearing the four fantastic writers I, in my Molly Weatherfield guise, was lucky enough to be reading with).

Still, Carrie’s Story and Safe Word were new to much of this audience, and in truth my turn on stage went just fine. I got some laughs (and in the right places), heard some kind words afterwards, generally had a great time, and was even, dare I say, inspired not to give up my particular convoluted writing trajectory.

What’s particularly great about Writers With Drinks is its irreverence, its insistence that literary quality doesn’t have to be so serious. I came away recommitted to my own eccentricities, stirred and gently shaken by mistress of misrule Charlie Jane Anders. And if I sometimes need reminding that in the end we’re all a mixed bag of sexualities and sensibilities, what better way than by laughing my ass off at the wild, brilliant, freeform introductions Charlie dreams up for each author?

Charlie Jane Anders
Charlie Jane Anders

Mine, of course, was a cocktail of BDSM and romance motifs, campy and outrageous, complete with a shaggy dog Jane Austen vampire story, that oddly, presciently skirted the truth in more ways than one. Since although I haven’t actually written the BDSM Pride and Prejudice of Charlie’s fantasy, the truth of the matter (and of how I spent a chunk of these last unpublished years) is not entirely different, if a little bit stranger.

Because what actually sits on my hard drive is a large piece of a novel called Jane Fairfax’s Dream, which might best be described as “Emma with strong BDSM elements.” (It’s not ready for prime time yet — just ask all the editors who’ve passed on it, or better still, don’t ask them: when I think the rest of it matches up with my account of what really happened at Weymouth, you’ll see it one way or another.) While Charlie’s the Jane as Vamp stories bore a distant but distinct resemblance to Janet Mullany’s smart, funny, touching novels Jane and the Damned and Blood Persuasion.

Thanks, Writers with Drinks, I’ll be a listener with drinks for the next one.

While as for me and my writing: stay tuned. More events scheduled soon.

And yes, there’s also stuff besides BDSM/Emma on my hard drive, that I hope will see the light some day.



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