May 19th, 2011

Announcing The Other Dance!

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.

by Rod MacIver

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.

by Rod MacIver

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.

Love,
Emerald

“I want to dance with you, I see a sky full of the stars that change our minds, that lead us back to a world we would not face…”
-LIVE “Dance With You”

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10 Responses “Announcing The Other Dance!”

  1. Jo says:

    Exciting, Emerald! Congrats on your involvement!

    I love your beautiful male writer name check list, I hope you change things soon. There’s a certain discomfort factor in a male artist only using writing from women to … complement? his paintings of, I’m guessing, naked women? I for one would love to see male writers contributing their own portraits of nakedness, male and or female, to the site – I hope you get your say on that one :)

    Wouldn’t it be nice to see a day when appreciation of nudity sex is as acceptable as appreciation of food and eating? What a change in culture we need. I hope this endeavour helps promote that (if nothing else by welcoming the male voice!!)

    Have fun with it, I hope you’ll be hearing from me soon. x

  2. Emerald says:

    Hi Jo—I would indeed love to hear from you about this soon! ;)

    While I too would love to include writing by male authors in The Other Dance, the Heron Dance site itself does not seem likely to begin to accept portraits from others—its purpose as a business is an art studio for Rod’s paintings. :) The Other Dance is indeed a publication to correspond with the featuring of his erotic and nude artwork, which does, as you mentioned, feature women (from what I’ve seen).

    And yes, I quite agree with your wish for a general appreciation for sexuality! I also like the comparison to food and eating, which has occurred to me before too.

    Thank you for coming by and reading! Xoxo

  3. Justine Elyot says:

    What wonderful news, Emerald – congratulations!

    It’s a shame there are (and always will be) people who think sex should be relegated to a desert island of its own because it has no connection to the rest of our human experience…here’s to beginning to alter that perception.

    Best of luck in your new role.

  4. Erobintica says:

    Thank you so much for this Em, ALL of it. Taking on this task, and taking as seriously as you have, is a wonderful thing. I was so honored that little piece was chosen (I’ve yet to do my own blog post about it yet – that’s my next thing on my to-do list today). I’ve more to say, but I probably should save it for my post, LOL.

    Congratulations and Huge HUGS!

  5. Congratulations, Em, on this wonderful opportunity to bring quality erotic work to a wider audience. As a big fan of your blog posts and your stories, I know your sensibility as editor will enrich the erotica newsletter in ways large and small.

    As for the choice of limiting the authors to those of the female sex, well, this is certainly not the only situation where this is true. I see many reasons for that, one being men are strongly associated with pornography and “rough” sex, while it’s assumed women are more poetic and erotic, more polite, if you will. Also it might be assumed both male and female readers will be more comfortable with a female voice speaking about sex. Of course it is not ideal, but perhaps we can try to step into the shoes of people who aren’t as familiar with frank sexual writing. There is a delicacy to broaching this subject matter, and Mr. MacIver is choosing his own way to do that. Perhaps if he read some of the very sensitive and erotic stories by male authors we know and love, he might be “converted” eventually, but that’s not really the mission here. I hope this isn’t too controversial, but women have been silenced so long, especially about sexuality, I hope our male colleagues can take a step back and appreciate that this gives them the opportunity to know what it’s like to be us for most of the history of civilization. There’s value in that as well.

  6. Danielle says:

    ahhh…you make me blush..with happyness..not with shame:-)

    thats a beautiful post and congrats to the new editor job..as donna said your writing style is wonderful and special so i m sure you will be perfect for this position…

    hm..i ranted a lot last year about how erotica is a female orientated genre and how male writers are locked out so often..but i wont do that today..maybe next time:-)

  7. Jacque says:

    Congratulations, Emerald! I’m sure you will bring the same passion to this role as you do your own writing. And thanks for including me in your male authors links, I’m quite flattered ;-)

  8. Congratulations on this exciting new opportunity, Emerald! I wish you the best of luck. I know you will do a brilliant job!

  9. Emerald says:

    Thank you all so much for coming by, reading, and commenting as you did. I don’t know how to express how much I appreciate it. I just posted a post with some new news (is that redundant?…I guess so since it’s the same word…), but I still want to reply to everyone here.

    Justine—thank you so much! Yes, I feel quite the same way. Thank you so much for offering your support. I so very much appreciate it.

    Robin—as I’ve expressed to you privately, it was a delight to work with you, and I so appreciate your patience and support. Hugs right back.

    Donna, thank you so much. I so appreciate your support, and I too felt an appreciation for the opportunity to bring erotic literature to an audience that may not have been so familiar with it but might have felt open to it. Thank you so much for coming by and your comment.

    Hi Danielle! I really felt moved by your comment—I recall reading expressions of your perspective on the subject before, and I did not like the idea of not getting to publish male authors either. I found it so sweet of you to defer expressing how you feel on the subject (temporarily!) in lieu of expressing support for me. :) Thank you so, so much.

    Jacque, thank you so much, and of course the inclusion of you here was quite sincere. :) Specific pieces of your poetry occurred to me right away as fitting with how I envisioned (and how I suspected Rod envisioned) The Other Dance, and I truly was sorry to not get to consider them.

    Thank you Kristina! I so appreciate that and truly feel flattered that you feel that way. Hugs.

    Thank you all again for coming by; I experience such gratitude for the support I perceive in these comments. I truly apologize for announcing this venture when apparently it was not as solidly supported by its publisher as I had the impression it was. Sigh.

    Big hugs, apologies, and appreciation to you all. Xoxoxo

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  1. […] today with Rod MacIver, founder of Heron Dance and publisher of The Other Dance (see my previous post), and it seems he discerned over the weekend that he wants to take Heron Dance in a new […]

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