The second part of my interview with RU Sirius, about "Drugs, Women, and Sex," is transcribed at ZenMonkey. We had a good time:
RU SIRIUS: Tell us a bit about your psychedelic sex workshop.
SUSIE BRIGHT: Okay... About a year ago, I got invited to this conference in San Jose called “Sacred Elixirs.”
I wouldn’t have paid any attention to that name because I’m an atheist. When people say sacred, I’m always snoozing… I don’t pay attention.
But then, I found out that it was a reunion of the heaviest, coolest, smartest people in psychedelics. Oh! That's sacred? I’m there! Oh my god, it was so fabulous. There were so many fantastic people there.
Sasha Shulgin delivered a chemistry lesson that made me realize that if I’d had him as a science teacher, everything could have turned out differently. For him, it’s like a musician talking about music. It’s a language.
RU: Plus he speaks in this rapid high pitch. It’s like getting a download of information from some kind of alien.
SB: I just couldn’t wait to go home and write about all the things people talked about. But while I was there, some of us women noticed that virtually every presenter was a guy; all the poetry was read by fellows — it was almost quaint.
We didn’t, like, have a hissy fit about it, it was just sort of dumb. There were so many interesting women there. Every woman I met there, I wanted to spend hours talking to. Everyone was so interesting and intelligent.
Some of us started brainstorming about what would be fun to talk about at a woman-oriented conference. And I suggested— well, so many things… but definitely, sex. And not just the erotics of sex, the pleasures of sex— but sex in terms of one’s sexual life cycle.
A lot of us here have our memories of what it was like when we discovered psychedelics as young people. But then, what happens when you become a mother? What happens as you age? How does your relationship to your sexual life cycle and your drug of choice change over time? I don’t know. No one talks about this! Wouldn’t it be great if we did?”
We got a group of women together at this crazy sort of “Peacock retreat” in Sonoma run by a woman who’s into Egyptology. She has a lot of gorgeous peacocks wandering around, which kind of added a little atmosphere. It was so much fun. It was like fifty people. You got to know everybody on a first-name basis.
The untold story — which I didn’t get until I was there — was the generation gap. We had a lot of good talks about it. There were these young people who were in MAPS and Erowid — they’re like these new groups that are trying to decriminalize drugs and raise drug consciousness in a very contemporary fashion.
RU: They’re very organized and intelligent and digital.
SB: Yeah. They’re very geeky.
STEVE ROBLES: Drug nerds.
SB: They’re drug nerds! Thank you. They aren’t drug hippies. And they said very politely – we don’t want to just sit around listening to how great your acid trip was in 1969. And they were right.They want to hear about stuff that’s happening now, and in their future. At one point this amazing young woman who everybody seemed to revere stood up. She looked like the all-American girl. She was like Gidget on acid.
RU: I think Gidget was on acid...
That's Thora Birch in Ghost World.