Polyamory in the News!
. . . by Alan M.

May 25, 2007

Upcoming poly books and movie

Several polyamory guidebooks are currently on the market. If, like me, you're not altogether happy with any of them, I know of four new ones that are in the works to one degree or another.

1. The Ethical Slut is the most widely read guide to multipartnering, with 70,000 copies sold to date — even though it was issued with no advertising or real publicity by a tiny independent publisher, Greenery Press, which is run by co-author Janet Hardy. But the book is getting old. It came out in 1997, and the polyamory world has grown and evolved a lot since then. So it seems high time for the long-rumored new edition.

It's happening. Co-author Dossie Easton talks about it on this week's Polyamory Weekly podcast with host and producer cunning minx (episode number 110; May 24, 2007). Here's some of what Easton says:

We've started writing a second edition, a revised edition, of The Ethical Slut.... At the time we first wrote it, polyamory was like this brand new word; this was very, very new in public discussion. There had been some books published in the seventies — Open Relationships and Beyond Monogamy were written in the mid-seventies — but nothing for a long time, so it was kind of a very new thing in the beginning.

Once Slut was out there, we started hearing from a lot of people who weren't part of our personal community, particularly me as a therapist. I started getting families, couples, relationships, triads, quads, what have you, people who were very different from my direct community, coming to work with me on whatever they were struggling with. And that was fabulous for me, because I got a chance to learn how a lot of different people deal with polyamory.

So one of the places that will be expanded [in the book] will be a lot of exercises and things you can try that come from me doing work with different people on polyamorous issues and trying out a lot of exercises and seeing what works and what doesn't.... Some of [the exercises are] about talking about emotions and communications techniques, some are about constructive ways to deal with conflict; we're going expand that greatly, we're going to expand the uses of the yes-no-maybe exercises....

Also, the online world has expanded exponentially since '97.... The way we communicate has changed — and we wanted to put in more things about internet communities, internet cultures, finding partners over the internet, and that sort of thing.

Beyond that, the world has become a lot more open. Both of us have been hearing from people for 10 years now, their concerns and issues. There are a lot of small chunks of information we are going to add.

Easton also had this to say about the Ethical Slut movie being made:

It's a romantic comedy about a young man from Middle America who comes to San Francisco and falls in love with someone in a poly family. It's this charming film about the collision of this extremely naive young man with San Francisco's full range of wondrous sexual cultures. It's quite delightful and educational at the same time; and funny and both lighthearted and serious. I think it's going to be a real interesting film when it gets out there.

...[Director and producer Moses Ma] wanted us to consult with him on the script, which we have done, and essentially get our feedback on what's realistic and true, and what were important things for people to know....

...This is going to represent people as they really are, which includes some struggle.... One of the things that's important to me about the veracity of the film is to say that all the characters struggle with coming to terms with the lives they want to live, and what they need to learn about themselves and how they need to grow and heal in order to do what they want to do.... It's an opportunity to show the people doing the hard work, and succeeding.... It is an attempt to model what high-consciousness people do.

Could the movie turn from an independent with a message into a disappointing sellout?

It's within the bounds of possibility that somebody will come around with massive amounts of money and decide to make it into a bigger, more expensive, fancier picture, only they want it to come out with their ending, and then it will be different. But as it stands, it's coming out as a small indie movie... and we're hoping that it will come out as loving and charming and beautiful as its producer wants.

Easton is wonderful through the whole interview. Listen here (MP3 file). It'll be continued next week.

2. Farthest along in the pipeline is Opening Up: Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships (Cleis Press). It's by Tristan Taormino, well-known queer/ kink/ poly/ sex-radical book author and columnist for the Village Voice. The publication date was set for October 28, 2007, but may get delayed. From the publisher's blurb:

Sex and relationship expert Tristan Taormino shows how to create joyful, fulfilling polyamorous relationships.... With wise and practical guidance, Taormino helps readers decide if polyamory is right for them, explains different styles of non-monogamy, and offers options for transforming a monogamous relationship into a non-monogamous one. For those already exploring non-monogamy, Opening Up offers realistic strategies for making an open relationship work, including tips on communication, negotiation, jealousy, boundary setting, and conflict resolution, as well as such practical issues as sexuality, community, child-raising, and legal considerations. Woven throughout the book are interviews with real people in polyamorous relationships who candidly share their struggles, fears, hopes, and successes.

3. Franklin Veaux (a.k.a. Tacit) runs a polyamory website that much of the poly world regards as the place to send anyone who wants to learn about the topic. Its many articles are full of insightful, practical, voice-of-experience wisdom (with some personal quirks, of course). This site is the closest thing we currently have to a general-purpose how-to book.

Veaux has been working on an actual book, with the working title More Than Two. I asked him about it, and he writes:

I'm not entirely sure when or even if that book will ever see the light of day. I'm still working on it, albeit slowly, but the editor I had been working with has left her job and moved to Germany, so it's now an orphan project. If it does get finished, it may end up being "published" through CafePress or something.

You're welcome to talk about it if you like. Who knows? Might end up helping find another publisher.

So, anyone know a publisher or a book agent who's smart enough to grab a hot prospect? Veaux is an excellent, natural writer, a widely respected name in the community (meaning the book is pre-sold to its key audience), a practiced public speaker who has appeared in the media — just the kind of author a publisher's marketing department wants. And the topic is becoming a Hot New Thing.

4. Anna Sharman in England has self-published a little 36-page book, Open Fidelity, that she plans to be the first of a series. She intends to get them published eventually as Open Fidelity: The Complete Guide. Blurb from her site:

Anna has been researching honest nonmonogamous relationships for several years. Her insights come from her own experience and research and also from interviewing lots of people, of all ages and in all kinds of complex situations, about their relationships. Because she is a scientist, and also being a Quaker, she takes the problem back to first principles, doesn't accept any dogma and draws her own conclusions.

Here's another opportunity for a publisher who knows how to spot a coming thing.

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