I am a very lucky person.
It would also be very easy to say that I am a lucky writer. But I am not going to say that.
The label "writer" is one of the ways in which I think about myself, and it's the way in which many of you readers probably think of me. But I am a person first, and always will be.
And what happens to people at a fabulous event like Southeast Black and Blue is most important. It's at SEBB that I understood what a lucky guy I am.
I was invited by Pup Nitro and Loki this summer to give a reading of How to Kill a Superhero at the SEBB weekend, which was devoted to education sessions in BDSM and other community topics. This is the first year the organizers devoted the event to education sessions, and it was a huge success. It sold out weeks in advance.
I had only visited Atlanta in trips before on business, and I knew SEBB was going to be different. The event is pansexual, and it draws some of the best kinksters from the area.
I only spent two days at SEBB, but my eyes flew wide open during my visit. First, I was floored by the hospitality and charm of attendees. The sense of community in the world of kink felt strong, very strong. I was able to plug into deep conversations here ]in a way that is simply not possible in New York City. I had many great conversations about what it's like to live in Atlanta as a kinky person.
The education sessions also expanded my horizons. I chose on purpose sessions that were outside of my own comfort zone. As a result, I attended a session on primal play and one on the basics of fire play. Both left their mark on my psyche, and even if I may not incorporate all of what I saw there into my own practices, I was able to understand these kinds of play from the perspective of the people who love doing it. Sadly, I had to fly back to NYC before I could see the sessions about knife play, which also had me intrigued.
The Atlanta Eagle hosted all parts of the event, and as an education space, it felt safe and comfortable. At night, the bar came alive with music and other people (it was open to the public in the evenings). One of my favorite highlights was being able to wear my full Robin costume and visit the boot black station to get my Doc Martens shined.
SEBB confirmed for me what I already suspected about smaller cities and their kink communities: They foster strong bonds, and they offer friendship and space readily. At this event, I was there in author mode, but just soon after arriving, having dinner with Loki and his pups, I only felt like a person, and not like a writer on a business trip.
My reading went very well, and I read a selection from A Gay Bondage Manual. I also discussed elements of superhero fetish with the attendees in my session. If SEBB will have me back next year, I have some very devious ideas on how to make cosplay, perilous bondage and reading come together.
If you live in the Atlanta area, you have no excuse to miss the talent and knowledge that is shared at SEBB. If you live further away, this event is worth your travel dollars. I am already cracking my knuckles about what superhero gear I'll wear next year, and that's not such a bad thing to worry about.
NOTE! If you want to see even MORE photos from SEBB, check out Hotlanta Voyeur's Flickr stream!