They don’t call it the land of the midnight sun for nothing.
We were just leaving the “Sinner’s Dinner” on the last night of the convention and walking back to our hotel. And as the sun set into the sea in the West, I observed aloud, “Holy shit, it’s 11:45!”
This has been an incredible weekend. I will focus on the professional bits here and leave the naughty details of the play party for another venue.
To begin, I have to say that I was honored to be invited to present at an out-of-state conference of any kind, but that honor was compounded by the fact that this was their first. I was among those who would set the bar for the future, and I took that role as seriously as I could manage. I later learned that I had been selected because the theme of the event was “Community” and they felt that my available workshops would assist with that theme.
Yes. I have a lot of philosophical and challenging topics on my workshop list. They take a significant amount of time to prepare for. It’s not that technical presentations like rope bondage or needles don’t have value, they do. And that’s why I teach them. But there are a thousand others who can teach that just as well as I can. What I hope to bring to the table is something a little deeper.
At my very first large scale BDSM event (in fact, my first public BDSM event at all), Master Skip Chasey taught a class called “The Servant Master”. That class changed me. It didn’t just improve my craft, it improved me. And as I have begun to pass on my own knowledge and experience to others, I hope to do the same. I am not arrogant enough to believe that I can play in his league. I still have much to learn myself. But I do hope to follow his lead.
For that reason, I offer classes that are challenging. This weekend I taught two of them.
The first was a discussion on BDSM Ethics and Etiquette. I tried to be cognizant of the fact that I was in someone else’s house. This is not MY community, so don’t be preachy and don’t influence the group. Just ask questions and prod them for participation. At first, the room was pretty quiet, but by the end, we had survived a few debates, settled a few arguments, and agreed on a point or two. And that was all I could really hope for. As I closed the class, I told them that, with a topic like this, the point of the discussion is to not finish it. You have to keep talking about these issues because they are never solved or settled. People change, communities change, and with it must the rules change, whether spoken or unspoken. Later that evening, I overheard a small debate about a certain dungeon rule. As one of them began to get frustrated, the other reminded him, “remember what the guy today said, the point is to talk about the issues, not to agree on them.” I smiled to myself and went on with what I was doing. If that person was the only one I reached, I can be happy with that. If there were more, I’m ecstatic.
That night, I did a few covert demos: exhibitionist type scenes that are designed to show people something without necessarily making them a part of it. I accomplished what I intended, my wife and I both got lots of questions afterward.
The next day, I got to relax a bit and see some other presenters. I saw a great class on abduction scenes and even got to help a bit. I had a lunch break before my first class of the day (Negotiation), which is a good, simple class to present. It’s a “how to” class. Very straight forward. Then a dinner break before the last class of the day, and the most difficult of the weekend.
“Defining and Refining Your Role as a Submissive” is a class that I have put a tremendous amount of work and a huge amount of my heart into. This is the third time I’ve presented the topic and the third method I’ve used to do so. I had asked that only submissives attend this time, something I had never done before, and due to the small size of the room we were in, I am really glad that we made that choice. We were able to keep it very intimate and have a great conversation about how to understand what makes different submissives different. I talked about the results of the study I did over the summer and the trends I observed. My wife and I shared with them our own roles and analysed them as an example. And finally, we opened it up for discussion and we all shared with each other. It was really great.
With the first two classes, I let the event staff pick up the evaluations without peaking, but this time I couldn’t help myself and I took a look at a few of them after everyone had left. Most of them were simple notes or quick thank you’s, but one of them near the end said, “You just changed my life, thank you”. My wife and I exchanged a quiet smile. This is why we are here. This is why we sat for hours on a plane with a crying baby and dealt with the incompetence of the hotel staff and lost sleep preparing with workshops. This is why we have traveled so long to speak with a community that isn’t ours in a place that we don’t know. Because maybe, just maybe, we might change one person’s life. And hopefully it’s for the better.
Along the way, I met someone amazing people, and I played with some amazing people. And as I left the conference hall on the last day, I got a hug from Ms. Alaska Leather. So all-in-all, a pretty great weekend.
Thank you to all those I met this weekend. And to those who are visiting my page looking for the handouts, if what you want isn’t here, send me an email. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you. Really.