In 2006 my mother introduced me to a small literary arts-and-nature-focused journal called Heron Dance. I experienced her as saying she suspected it would resonate with me, and she was correct. I have been a subscriber and follower of Heron Dance, which has traversed numerous transitions of format, focus, and personnel at the helm, ever since.
The (both original and current) founder and painter of Heron Dance is Rod MacIver, whom I have mentioned or quoted a few times here at The Green Light District. A year and a half ago I even posted an announcement that he was beginning a new venture, an erotic newsletter to correspond with the nude and erotic paintings he had been doing. Shortly after that announcement, a number of transitions, including with staff, occurred at Heron Dance (a very small company and press), and my understanding was The Other Dance was put on indefinite hold in the face of more pressing business concerns that unexpectedly inhibited the practical embarkment on a new project at the time.
At this time Heron Dance has recently undergone a few transitions again, most notably in ceasing the print publication of its journal and instating an online membership fee (of $2 a month) for daily receipt of written content by Rod (entitled “Reflections of a Wild Artist”—this may still be received once a week for free by signing up here), discounts on the purchase of paintings, and access to certain areas of the website only accessible by members.
One of which will house The Other Dance, the erotic online newsletter Heron Dance is now ready to create and develop as an integral part of its professional offerings. The Other Dance will publish a new edition each Tuesday, featuring one of Rod’s nude or erotic paintings alongisde a piece of erotic fiction.
I am introducing and speaking about this so much because, I am thrilled and honored (and a little stunned!) to say, I have been hired to be the editor of The Other Dance.
Since The Other Dance area is only accessible to members, I will take the liberty to quote here from Rod’s paragraph introducing the venture from its page on the Heron Dance site:
”A common denominator in all of the diverse perspectives Heron Dance has explored over the sixteen years since it was founded is a probing of the boundaries of the human experience. The edges — the edges between wilderness and civilization, the edges in terms of the human search for meaning and in terms of what it means to live a highly-creative life. Delving into human sensuality and sexuality is a natural evolution of that exploration.”
As those familiar with me or my work will know, it has long been an aim of mine to open dialogue around sexuality, ease the collective discomfort our society seems to feel around it, relax the repression of the innate and exquisite phenomenon of the human sexual impulse, and ultimately support the cherishing and respect for this facet of life. Ingredients I see as integral to these aims include self-awareness, contemplation, openness, and love. Since I first heard of it, I have experienced Heron Dance as embodying a respect for and focus on the importance of these qualities as well, and my aim continues as the editor of The Other Dance to be to support the manifestation of these aspects in the context of sexuality.
Before I move into the business side of things, I want to mention that at this time, the publisher is only seeking to publish work by female (or female-identified) authors—and I personally and truly apologize to the numerous beautiful male authors I know and whose work I adore that I won’t (for the time being) get to seek to work with them in this endeavor.
With that said, The Other Dance technically launched May 3, when Rod published a piece he had received last year to officially solidify the creation of The Other Dance. After he got in touch with me a couple weeks ago regarding this endeavor, he wanted to publish an edited version of “Rain Check,” my story from Rachel Kramer Bussel‘s anthology Tasting Her (as I understand it, Rod’s introduction to my work was clicking on the video of my reading said story at In The Flesh in 2008 when he visited my website), and it went live last Tuesday, May 10.
Two days ago, on Tuesday, May 17, the first piece officially published with me as the editor went live: “Strands of Imagination,” by Robin “Erobintica” Sampson! It has been an honor and delight to work with Robin as I take my first steps into this venture, and I offer her my thanks and congratulations. Robin wrote “Strands of Imagination” for one of Alison Tyler‘s flash fiction contests some time ago, and when I presented it to Rod, I experienced him as very in favor of publishing it.
For any female erotica authors reading this, I would likely love to work with you in such a capacity too! :) The Other Dance submissions guidelines may found on the Heron Dance website here, and I plan to submit them to the Erotica Readers and Writers Association call for submissions page as well.
There is a page on the Heron Dance site where reader feedback is posted—and it is not confined to the complimentary. I have had the impression over the years that Rod has received feedback encompassing varying perspectives and levels of appreciation for his offerings throughout the 17-year duration of Heron Dance. As I recall his stating at the time, never did this seem so active as when he first introduced the subject of sexuality to the work he offered to the public and his followers. When I was perusing the feedback page a few days ago, this comment caught my eye:
“Please cancel sending me Heron Dance, after a number of years! I am a published author and enjoyed your readings and paintings, etc., until you got all hepped up about sex. You had a nice, decent, above board periodical, now you have trash just like the next guy.”
While I honor this commenter’s experience and perspective, I feel sadness that the inclusion of discussion about or the mere mention of sexuality would relegate a literary/artistic endeavor to seeming like “trash.” I was a subscriber to Heron Dance when Rod’s transition to sharing and speaking about sexuality occurred, and whether or not one desired to see or be exposed to the subject, I never felt like anything I read seemed like “trash” at all. Granted, I have tended to feel quite receptive of open dialogue about sexuality, but I also truly found what Rod expressed on the subject quite in line with the way I had experienced his sharing in general about art and nature—probing, thoughtful, curious, raw, and sincere.
At the time, I certainly never imagined I would be offered the opportunity to become the first editor of the project into which that orientation would develop: a weekly electronic newsletter created to feature Rod’s erotic/nude paintings alongside written content of an erotic nature.
It is my honor to accept it.
-LIVE “Dance With You”
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