The reading I attended was a little different from Bussel’s normal fare. Not in content, as the erotica was still very much in evidence, but because last night was special for the author. She was celebrating the release of her newest erotica anthology, Obsessed, which was published earlier this month by Cleis Press.
I hesitate to call Bussel’s reading a performance, as the woman we watched on stage is the same person you would encounter if you met the author on the street. Forgoing any type of persona or role, the Bussel reading her spicy story was exactly who I met a week earlier when I sat down to discuss Obsessed. Wearing a similar high-waisted summer dress, bright red nails and glasses, the only real difference I noticed between “everyday” Bussel and “stage” Bussel were her shoes — in deference to the festive atmosphere of the reading, she exchanged her flip-flops for high heels.
Bussel’s willingness to share her true self with her readers and audience sets her apart from a lot of other erotica authors out there. With sensationalized news stories in the press about school teachers being “outted” as erotica authors and facing other forms of discrimination, it is not difficult to understand why many in the genre choose to remain anonymous behind catchy pseudonyms and websites void of author photos. Not so for Bussel who hops into bathtub for her book trailers and has no problem writing about her own sexual experiences. (For the record, Rachel Kramer Bussel is the author’s real name and her friends, family and the public knows what she does.)