Thursday, May 22, 2008

with open hands

For the first time in a squillion years, we at the Godhaven Ink collective have published something new, as in an actual paper thing. Even then, it's not wholly new, mind. But still.

It's With Open Hands, a little pamphlet of beginners tips on open relationships. I first got a copy in 1999, shortly after publishing a pamphlet called Sexyouality: Challenging The Culture of Monogamy. Where my pamphlet was a collection of writings from a variety of authors, and mostly concerned with the principle and philosophy of polyamory, With Open Hands was one person's work, and very much a practical piece.

The author started a relationship with a woman who felt that it was fine for him to have multiple lovers, but she didn't want to do that herself. Then she met a guy called Chuck and things got complicated. She asked her first lover to help her to avoid some of the mistakes he'd made, so he wrote her a letter. After talking with some friends, it was expanded into the With Open Hands zine.

I loved its straightforwardness, its compassion, its calming and steadying feeling. I've been meaning to do a reprint of it for yonks, but was delayed by knowing that my copy was too shoddy a photocopy and I'd need to retype the whole text. I finally got round to it though, and as I did it I found myself adding quite a bit of new text of my own. Certain points wanted expanding on, or there were perspectives and angles not covered.

Given that the original publishers had, like Godhaven Ink, actively encouraged people to copy and reproduce and generally use it as they wanted, I didn't feel it was too cheeky. So, it's a collaboration between an English bloke and an American, even though they did their bits in different countries at different times and never met up to do it. Just like Ebony And Ivory.

As with all Godhaven Ink publications, it's printed on recycled paper and it's dirt cheap.

More info here.

With Open Hands cover


Fantasy Writer Guy said...

It's entirely without sanity - the limitations we impose on ourselves in terms of relationships and how we so rigidly define them. Everyone running around thinking they must find precisely one person to be their exclusive or primary partner in every one of dozens of categories - sex, emotional support, cohabitation, finance, vacationing, social activity, parenting, etc, etc...

We make a couple great connections natutally with someone special and the next thing you know we're buying rings and trying to force-fit every other connection that doesn't come naturally and next thing you know the relationship is filled with confusion, frustration and rage. Now we break up/separate/divorce and move on to destroying another potentially excellent relationship. Romance movies rarely come true. Pretending that they do might make for comfortable ordered steady logistics in which to raise children but at what price?

In other words I applaud any endeavor to explore and recognize legitimacy in 'alternative' relationships! Bravo.

merrick said...

Fantasy Writer Guy, that's precisely my motivation in abandoning the monogamous model of relationship; so many wonderful intimaices are denied or spoiled becuase whilst they're more than 'nothing', they're not 'everything'.

Romance movies rarely come true. Pretending that they do might make for comfortable ordered steady logistics in which to raise children

Actually, I'm not sure I agree. i think people who'd make fine co-parents fuck each other up 9and catch their kids in the blast radius) because of resentments at not being 'everything' and 'happy ever after'.

Conversely, many people who have fine romantic relationships are conditioned to believe that parenthood is the essential next step in proving the totality of their love, and find that actually they're crap at it. They then fuck each other up (again, often catching the kids too) and lose something that was great.