I’ve been a bit caught up in figuring out how to market Seducing the Muse, the workshop I am facilitating with Gwenn Cody. I’m been struggling with my own creativity. How to give it space and time when I don’t feel drawn to writing, even though I have projects that need my attention. I have a hard time shutting myself up in a room and making myself Be Creative.
Friday night I hosted a party that reminded me of one of the greatest sources of creative inspiration available – collaboration.
Some background –
I’m in a group on Facebook called Sex Culture Revolutionaries, started by a woman named Poly Superstar, and in that group there was a lively thread discussing porn. Specifically, why porn gives some of us the heebie-jeebies (this conversation was inspired by Russel Brand’s video about porn addiction). A man named Andrew Sullivan wrote the following:
But my real issue with porn (even so-called ‘feminist porn’) is that it focuses on what sex looks like and not what it feels like. There is no understanding of how to use sex as a narrative tool and how to shoot, edit and score performances so that they elevate and arouse the entire system. Standard porn is the visual equivalent of a run-on sentence.I think if porn had better grammar (broader intellectual scope) there would be a better discussion about the various needs porn either serves or doesn’t. Right now, the adult industry is essentially releasing one violent action movie after another. I think this is about to change, however:
Turns out this guy is the director of the the movie Marriage 2.0. I went to the link and watched the trailer – it’s a film about a couple with an open marriage, and features both a story, and sex. This is something that I’ve wanted to find forever in the movies (and was thrilled when Shortbus came out. And as most of you know, I’m also a huge fan of Hump).
So I invited a couple of friends to have a viewing party (thanks Alex, for cohosting!).
The director contacted me and offered to skype with us before or after the movie, if we wanted to ask questions or share our experience. I said “Of course!” How cool, I thought, to get to hear from the director!
Turns out, my idea for an intimate party grew to over 40 people. Friends brought lovers, and food ,and whiskey, and more friends, and the evening blossomed into a happening.
At 8:30, with a living room full to bursting, we tried to contact the director on Skype. My friend Alex had set up the screen so that it projected onto a wall. Unfortunately, Andrew wasn’t available, so we went on to screen the movie, and figured we’d talk to him after. We streamed from the website hosting it, and for the first 15 minutes or so, all was well. There seemed to be something of a story, and the sex scene we watched, while not drastically different than much of the porn I’ve seen, felt effective, respectful. Arousing even. There would be occasional stalls in the buffering, and we made the rule that when the video was stalled, you had to snuggle someone nearby. We made the most of the technological glitches. But about 15 minutes in – the streaming went kaput. We couldn’t get it to load.
So there I was with a group of snuggly people, all looking at me expectantly. What are we going to do now, fearless leader?
It was a terrifying moment.
The truth is, I am an entertainer, and I love to facilitate people having fun and playing games, but I am not an improv artist. I love to have a script, a plan, I love to feel prepared. I felt like I got caught with my pants down. I didn’t have the first idea what we (all 40+ of us) should do instead. Make our own porn?
So I did what I could – I suggested different games we could play, different improv exercises we might try. A few people jumped up to volunteer, or tell stories. We had some good laughs, but it felt rocky. I’m not particularly good at inventing games on the spot, and having such a huge group of people felt unwieldy.
I kept breathing and trying not to panic and think “I don’t have to figure this out on my own. Trust that something will come up. This much arousal and creativity in the room – something is bound to work”.
We decided to take a break. People got up and got food, started talking to each other. And a friend of mine said, “What if we play something like ‘I never?’ We could write down a bunch of scenarios, and have people read them outloud. And then if you HAVE done it, you could act it out.” Another friend said “Yeah, or what if you HAVE done the thing, you have to kiss someone near you?” This was getting good. I said, “what if instead of acting it out, we invited people who HAD done the thing to tell a story about it, if they want to?” (Logistically, I knew this would work better than trying to act it out).
We quickly got paper and pens and began writing. (We changed it from I Never to I’ve Never to leave room for the potential of it happening someday!).
I’ve never made a woman come.
I’ve never had sex with 2 people at once.
I’ve never had sex with someone who’s name I didn’t know.
I’ve never come from riding a horse.
I’ve never gotten turned on watching porn.
We had a whole bowl full of slips of paper in a matter of minutes. We gathered everyone back in the living room, and one by one, passed the bowl. (My friend Callay spearheaded this- and she was awesome at getting people to participate). Each person got to read a statement, and sometimes, they’d kiss someone near them. Often the whole room either kissed someone, or got kissed. And there were some WONDERFUL stories. We heard about a night of spanking sailers, and anal beads that got caught and experimenting with a cat licking your pussy. The stories were so funny and real and honest and intimate. The entire party took on a very different feel.
Everyone got to participate to the level they felt comfortable. Everyone got to play. We left that night feeling closer to one another, and that we had created our own entertainment.
As much as I want to see what happens in the movie, I’m so grateful that the internet prevented us from being passively entertained.
We participated in something very special that night – the birth of a brand new party game. All because some ideas got together, and had sex. They inspired and evolved, affected and changed one another.
Collaboration. When you’re tired of trying to make it happen on your own, ask a friend to brainstorm. Bring in a someone who’s mind turns you on, and sparks your own creative fire. That’s the lesson I walked away with. That, and I have some incredibly sexy friends.
P.S. In a weird zeitgeist of the Universe, turns out Ellen played a version of this on her show last week! She had Madonna on as a guest, and announces they are going to play “Never Have I Ever.” Then she says, “It’s always fun to play with more than two people, so let’s bring out Justin Beiber!” (the crowd goes wild). She then gives them statements like “Had Phone Sex” and they have a paddle that says I Have or I Have Never. I learned more about Justin Beiber in two minutes than I ever have. I LOVE GAMES!
P.S.S There are 3 spots left in Seducing the Muse (April 10-12). If you are feeling inspired to get creative, save your spot NOW. Early bird special ends Mach 23rd.