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September 25, 8:15am • La Piscine • part of a series on Spectrum

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We are happy to announce that Daniel Baylis' The Traveler made it to CreativeMornings’ Global Book List this month. He sits nicely between Nelson Mandela, George Orwell and Harper Lee. Congratulations Daniel!


Nous sommes ravis d’annoncer que le livre de Daniel Baylis, “The Traveler”, a été sélectionné pour figurer sur la liste de lecture de Creative Mornings, tout juste entre Mandela, Orwell et Harper Lee. Tout va bien. On se retrouve chez Busbud le 30 mai à 8h00 pour une 13e édition ‪#‎MTLCM‬ !

We are happy to announce that this month’s speaker under the theme FREEDOM will be Daniel Baylis, documentist and founder of Sparks Publishing. A free-spirited writer and adventurer, Daniel has authored and published “The Traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World”.

Nous sommes ravis d’annoncer que notre conférencier de mai sous la thématique LIBERTÉ sera Daniel Baylis, documentateur (!) et fondateur de Sparks Publishing. Un esprit libre, écrivain et aventurier, Daniel est l’auteur et l’éditeur de “The Traveller: Notes from an Imperfect Journey Around the World”.

A 10 step program to master the art of sex

By Jonathan Mongeau

Photo: The Jakarta Post's review of Rica O. Darmawan's latest work at the Jakarta Arts Institute. 

For professional reasons I have been studying The Art of War by Sun Tzu. 

No, I do not plan on conquering or annexing any foreign territory. Although with Montreal’s fluctuating weather these past few weeks of “Spring”, the Spanish coast is looking real nice. Seriously though, I’ve been reading the classic 2nd-century BCE philosophical treatise to learn more about the timeless lessons of management and strategy. Most interestingly, however, during my studies I stumbled upon something that most scholars don’t know; Sun Tzu wrote another treatise.

Originally translated in the late 1770s by a French Jesuit, this treatise is focused on a topic that is as widespread and prevalent throughout the history of mankind as war: sex. The scholarly translation of the ancient text was based off this beautifully crafted bamboo book discovered in the Yinque Mountains in Shandong, China which dates from roughly the same time period as his well-known military collection, The Art of War.

What scholars have loosely translated as The Art of Sex, this ancient treatise on the topic of love-making is divided into ten chapters; ironically, all with similar titles to The Art of War. Their summaries are as follows. 

Calculations and Estimations explores the four fundamental emotions required for a successful sexual campaign: attractionseductionwillingness and horniness. By reflecting upon and truly understanding these emotions, the greatest of lovers can effectively calculate their chances of sexual victory. Any deviation from these key factors will certainly increase the odds of failure. 

Preparations for Sex explains that all lovers must be prepared to manage and organize the proper supplies required for their sexual campaign. Scholars have indicated that traditional supplies such as food, wine, and candles can prove effective in most campaigns. Similarly, modern supplies such as condoms and musical devices such as the Jambox can also increase campaign success. The enlightened lover will use an diverse mix of all these supplies to increase their odds of sexual victory.

Positive Planning discusses that force is never to be applied in a sexual campaign and that any hint of negative intentions can only lead to mutual disappointment. The wise lover knows that it is futile to strive for a forced sexual engagement. The awkwardness, tension and negative energy to stem from such ill-behaviour is bound to lead to an ineffective campaign and will prove that the lover has not prepared adequately.

Tactical Positions describes the most popular sexual positions that all experienced lovers have mastered. The ancient diagrams demonstrating other popular tactical positions inThe Art of Sex can be found here. To loosely paraphrase an excerpt from scripture: “In ancient days, lovers made themselves unbeatable through constant practice”.

Energy explains the use of maintaining and building up the proper momentum throughout all steps and undertakings of the campaign. Consequently, the reasoning, timing and execution of seasoned lovers are perfect. In short, every lover is in control of their own destiny.

Weak Points and Maneuvering highlight the need for great lovers to adapt. The planning of any campaign can change in any given moment. Being fluid to opportunities, wise lovers are quite aware of their limitations and address these immediately by always planning ahead and being properly, if not overly, equipped with all the necessary supplies. Most importantly, clever lovers never repeat their successful maneuvers in similar fashion; this ensures repeated success.

The Virtue of Changing Positions explains that all wise lovers know when it is right moment during a campaign to change Tactical Positions. Specifically, great lovers understand which of these said positions are best when used in a specific combination. They are attuned and responsive to the countless signals that may be evoked by their lover and, thus, are always ready to maintain control of any situation.

Control and Manipulation of Territory describes the common areas where most sexual campaigns occur. Some territories have advantages while others prove otherwise. There is an overview of all forms of territory such as higher groundplaces of ambivalencesteep ground and territory that is managed from afar. To quote an excerpt, “It is foolish to know the land and not the sexual partner well. The reverse is also true. One without the other is incomplete”.

Weapons of Fire explains the general use of certain devices or tools which may prove useful in various environments and under certain circumstances. Traditional scholars liken these to be an auxiliary set of supplies only used to compliment the campaign and the existing set of supplies set out in Preparations. For instance, lubrication (lube), vibrators and other sex toys qualify as supplementary “weapons of fire”. 

The Use of Spies focuses on the importance of building a solid foundation of information sources before and whilst on campaign. Depending on the available time to plan the campaign, the intelligent lover will gather information from all corners of the realm. In preparing for most campaigns, wise lovers acquire useful knowledge from numerous social sources such as friends and the target lover’s entourage as well as digital sources such as Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Information is power and can prove effective in increasing the odds of a victorious campaign.

By now, I hope you have realized that (sadly) there is no actual ancient scripture authored by Sun Tzu entitled The Art of Sex. But it’s cool, no worries. If you really are in search of guidance and practical advice about sexual behaviour feel free to check out legendary Hindu text that everyone has heard of, the Kama Sutra

In the spirit of creativity and sex, I figured it’d be a fun exercise to compare and explore the numerous components of sex through the lens of a philosophical battle. And while staying true to the actual titles and principles outlined in The Art of War, I came to realize that if, followed correctly, the ten steps outlined above may just lead you to sexual victory. 

But let’s be frank. The thought, preparation and organization outlined above isn’t always applicable. As the lyrical and literary genius of our modern times, Jimmy Pop, so eloquently put it in the late 1990s, sometimes we just wanna do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.


En prévision de notre conférence avec Emily Southwood prévue le 25 avril 2014, nous lui avons posé quelques questions à propos de la sexualité, de la littérature et du féminisme.

Leading up to Emily Southwood’s talk on April 25th, we asked her a few questions about our monthly theme “Sex”!


Many classical authors and philosophers have established a link between sexuality and creativity. Freud, most notably, wrote extensively about our libido and our desire to accomplish great things. In writing about sex and pornography, how do you feel creativity relates to sexuality? 

I’ve heard of the whole sublimation of primal, sexual energy into higher pursuits thing. Freud was a bit of a misogynist, so I wonder if he figured women into his theory. I personally don’t think I get any more creative energy when I’m repressing my base desires; they can coexist simultaneously.

Then again, I’m pretty repressed to begin with, which is why I channeled my discomfort around porn and sexuality into writing a book about porn and sexuality. I do know for sure that Freud was right about the whole penis envy bit.

While I was writing Prude I kept thinking: A penis would really help me get into the minds of men and what they think about porn. Damn, I wish I had me that penis to watch this MILF scene with.  


Today more than ever, sexuality is at the forefront of our collective literary output. So much so that books like Fifty shades of grey, which is nothing short of written erotica, can become an international bestseller. As an author, what is your take on this recent “mainstreamism” of sex-oriented literature? 

There’s no question that Fifty-Shades filled a niche and resonated with an enormous number of readers. But it’s still kind of a mystery to me why the world buzzed so much about this book, and not, say, Danielle Steel’s latest saucy tale. (I guess Fifty Shades is racier?)

In any case, readers, especially female ones, have been thumbing through erotica for as long as it’s been available in the mainstream, even back when they were reading banned copies of Lady Chatterley’s Lover. 

Personally, I think there’s something incredibly sexy and even subversive in reading about sex. It’s quite different than the close ups of hard core porn. There’s more left to the imagination and perhaps that connects with women. Plus, you can read it on the subway.

That said, there is nothing subversive about the plot of Fifty Shades. Take out the S&M and you have a really stereotypical tale— a young, beautiful-but-overlooked woman, a rich, handsome- but-troubled older man, she wants to fix him, blar de blar.

But hey, whatever floats your boat. Women and men alike enjoy their silly cliches in porn. 

Montreal and Los Angeles both openly promote diverse sexual services, and are active platforms for the blooming pornographic industry. As you have lived in both cities, how would you compare them in this light?  

I’d honestly never thought about this! My book is called Prude after all. While strip clubs and sex shops are ubiquitous in Montreal, I’ve never really been aware of Montreal’s porn industry per se. Someone once told me there’s quite a bit of porn being shot on the upper floors of Parc Avenue; I have no idea if that’s true.

In LA, I drove by the Vivid Entertainment sign on the 101 Freeway daily. It’s widely known that the San Fernando Valley is an epicenter of smut. It’s also home to family-friendly Universal Studios. 

Because of my husband’s brush with the porn industry, I’m aware that lots of porn is shot in random hotel rooms, poolside at rented homes, and in downtown lofts.

Porn producers don’t want you to know where it’s happening, nor does the public actually care to confront this reality. In effect it’s a mutual hush hush agreement in both cities, even though we all know it’s there. 

How have the experiences you depict in the book and the publishing process per se influenced your point of view on feminism? Does your perspective on womanhood and gender equality, differ from what you thought 5 years ago? 

My perspectives have changed tremendously in the last five years. I used to have more of a knee-jerk, what I once considered feminist, association of porn being degrading and demeaning to women. And I probably wouldn’t have figured that most porn stars actively selected their vocation as top choice.

My biggest eye opener was seeing that many of the performers Robbie worked with enjoy what they do. I no longer put myself on the moral high ground of presuming to know a porn star or assuming they are making a disenfranchised choice. I also now think the men in porn have an extremely tough job. Seriously! It’s a ton of pressure for the dudes and the pay isn’t nearly as good.  

Overall, I’m more pro-porn than I once was and less judgmental regardless of what isn’t my cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean I still don’t have my opinions and particular qualms. I think porn can warp our expectations of sex and put a lot of perceived pressure on women and men alike. I think addressing these byproducts of the industry are people issues, not just womanhood issues.  

MTLCM Instagram Challenge
Win your ticket for the next CreativeMornings/Montreal!

Take a photo of a Montreal landmark connected to our next theme, SEX, and upload it to Instagram. On April 21st, we will draw 10 photos at random from those that were submitted. The authors of these 10 photos will get a free ticket for the next Creative Mornings.

1. Take a picture of a landmark connected to the theme of the month, SEX. 
2. Upload it on Istragram and tag us in your post ( @Montreal_CM,‪#‎MTLCM‬). 
3. You can participate more than once, but using different landmarks linked to the theme. 
4. The challenge runs from April 6th to April 20th.

The winners will be announced on April 21st.

Défi Instagram MTLCM
Gagnez votre billet pour le prochain CreativeMornings/Montréal!

Vous êtes invité à prendre une photo d’un lieu de Montréal lié au thème du mois, SEXE, puis à poster votre image sur Instagram. Parmi les photos reçues, nous ferons tirer 10 billets par mois pour le prochain Creative Mornings.

1. Prenez une photo d’un lieu lié au thème du mois. 
2. Postez votre photo sur Instagram et tagguez nous ( @Montreal_CM, #MTLCM). 
3. Vous pouvez participer plus d’une fois, en utilisant différents endroits liés au thème du mois. 
4. Le défi prend place du 6 au 20 avril .

Les gagnants seront annoncés le 21 avril.

Sylvain David uses the infinitive to explore the inherent contradiction of a rebellion that is now mainstream, commercialized and continuous. How does one solve that contradiction, deep within oneself, and transform it into a vector for action?

Oyé, buveurs de café et thé créatifs! Dès l’événement de mars, nous vous invitons à apporter votre propre tasse afin de nous aider à réduire notre consommation de tasses non-recyclables. Bref, Creative Mornings/ Montreal devient BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug)! 

Ahoy, creative coffee and tea drinkers! Starting at our March talk, we invite you to bring your own mug to help us reduce our non-recyclable cups consumption. Yes, Creative Mornings is now BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug)!

(Image courtesy of Shutterstock)


En prévision de notre conférence avec Sylvain David prévue le 28 février 2014, nous lui avons posé quelques questions à propos de la rébellion.

Leading up to Sylvain’s talk on January 31st, we asked him a few questions about our monthly theme “Rebel”.

Vous avez été guitariste d’un groupe punk, et narrez dans Faire violence une vie, qu’on devine antérieure, composée d’actes de délinquance et de courses-poursuites. Comment le lecteur doit-il réconcilier la réalité et la fiction dans le « cas Sylvain David » ?

Faire violence est composé d’images fortes qui me hantaient depuis l’adolescence. Il s’agit de scènes vécues (ou dont j’ai été témoin) qui ont pour point commun le vandalisme, l’agression, la radicalité. Le roman cherche à communiquer l’intensité de ces moments négatifs, les sensations extrêmes qu’ils permettaient.

Dans cette perspective, j’ai privilégié une narration à l’infinitif qui offre un effet d’immersion, plonge le lecteur directement dans l’action en cours : « Allumer la mèche et, immédiatement, lancer. Contre une paroi. Tintement sonore du verre. Nuage soudain de feu. Vivant, souple, agile. Aspiration goulue de l’espace par le brasier qui s’éveille. »

Si une telle approche permet de vivre l’événement (plutôt que de simplement le comprendre), elle risquait de mener à la production d’un mode d’emploi nihiliste. J’ai donc, par souci d’équilibre, inséré à même le récit quelques éléments de réflexion sur la violence radicale et sa finalité.

Le « vrai » Sylvain David, celui qu’on peut croiser aujourd’hui, correspond probablement à ce second point de vue, plus critique et plus distancié. L’expérience destroy demeure toutefois en filigrane : elle informe et infléchit le propos.

Votre conférence s’intitulera « Être contre… ». Lorsqu’on met de côté cette « violence ordinaire » et quotidienne de la rue, « contre » quoi s’élève-t-on en tant que citoyens contemporains ?

Mon titre, volontairement flou, se veut révélateur d’un état d’esprit.

L’expression « être contre », parfaitement compréhensible bien que dépourvue de complément, suggère que la posture oppositionnelle vaut aujourd’hui en elle-même, ne nécessite pas a priori d’objet contre laquelle s’exercer.

De même, l’absence de sujet, qui ne nuit pas non plus à la clarté immédiate du propos, insinue que ce serait l’antagonisme en soi qui constitue l’individu contemporain, lequel se définirait davantage par ses rejets et dégoûts que par ses convictions et croyances.

Cette ambiguïté ne va pas sans rappeler le « rebelle sans cause » popularisé par la contre-culture du dernier demi-siècle. Elle peut se résumer en une formule paradoxale : « je suis contre, donc je suis ».

Mais c’est là une réponse un peu cynique, qui ne tient pas forcément compte des dimensions spécifiquement politiques du phénomène.

On dirait parfois que l’insurrection est « à la mode », en témoignent des ouvrages comme « Indignez-vous » (Stéphane Hessel) ou « La Voie » (Edgar Morin). Pensez-vous que les intellectuels sont capables d’influencer ce qui se passe dans la rue ?

Les manifestations de masse, ici comme ailleurs, expriment davantage un ras-le-bol généralisé et un sentiment d’impuissance trop longtemps contenu qu’un programme cohérent, constructif.

L’étymologie du mot rebelle – du latin rebellis, « qui recommence la guerre » – est à cet égard révélatrice : il s’agit de reprendre les armes, de relancer un combat pourtant perdu.

Or, les soulèvements populaires à avoir eu lieu un peu partout ces dernières années ont en commun de s’opposer à des régimes mis conjointement en place au tournant des années 1980 : le néo-libéralisme et les intégrismes religieux.

L’idéalisme des années 1960 et 70, qui avait pourtant à l’époque été déclaré vaincu, si ce n’est nul et non avenu, semble ainsi refaire surface.

Dans un tel contexte, le rôle des intellectuels est double : 1) proposer des analyses approfondies de la situation ; et 2) offrir, dans la mesure du possible, des moyens de se sortir collectivement de l’impasse. 

Vous avez consacré de nombreuses années à l’étude de Cioran, un auteur prolifique, et unique en son genre. Comment l’acte de « création » littéraire de Sylvain David s’inspire-t-il de cet auteur ?

Cioran est un auteur extrêmement pessimiste dont j’ai fini par connaître l’œuvre presque par cœur, ce qui n’est pas forcément une bonne chose dans la mesure où sa vision négative de l’existence en venait à influencer la moindre de mes pensées…

Cela dit, j’ai retenu au moins trois grands principes de ses écrits.

Tout d’abord, le sens de la vulgarisation. Les livres de Cioran, qui refusent tout jargon philosophique ou conceptuel, sont pourtant informés par une érudition massive, laquelle est synthétisée, traduite en une langue claire et imagée. Un savoir sur le monde est dès lors communiqué, mais de manière élégante, détournée.

Ensuite, le sens de la formule. Cioran est un auteur qui privilégie les formes brèves. Que ce soit dans le cadre de ses essais ou de ses recueils d’aphorismes, il réussit toujours à condenser sa pensée en une phrase choc, qui résume ce qui précède tout en poussant davantage à la réflexion.

Enfin, le jeu constant avec la contradiction. En dépit de ce que je viens de dire au sujet de la clarté et de la concision de son œuvre, Cioran joue constamment avec les affirmations vraies en elles-mêmes, mais incompatibles entre elles. (En d’autres mots, il dit souvent une chose et son contraire.) Un tel procédé suggère que la vérité est multiple, et que le défi du penseur est de tenir compte de ses diverses perspectives et manifestations.

Les réponses, parfois divergentes mais jamais fausses, que je viens de donner à vos questions témoignent d’ailleurs de mon intériorisation profonde de ce dernier principe…

Véronique Grenier raconte deux histoires de l’enfance : l’enfance conceptuelle, kitschéisée dans notre mémoire, et l’enfance réelle, avec ses pleurs et ses crottes de nez.

Véronique Grenier tells two tales of childhood: childhood as a concept, with all its kitschiness; and childhood as a “thing,” often rough and dirty.

CreativeMornings global sponsor Shutterstock (or, as they say, Official Partner for Visual Inspiration) created “Rebel Wisdom”, a series illustrating quotes from various talks around the world, including one from our November #BRAVERY speaker!

Les paroles inspirantes de notre conférencier de novembre, Jeff Lee de Marmalades, ont été retenues parmi quelques-unes pour une série d’illustrations sur le thème de février, #REBEL.

See the whole series here / Consultez le reste de la série ici :