Category Archives: indie adventures

How It’s Going Down

First this is a new thing for me:

OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 0 0 0 0
Sent Past 12 Months: 24 15 7 2
Sent This Month: 0 0 0 0
Acceptance Ratio: 26.1%* 20%* 33.3%* 50%*

So weird. I do have one non Duotrope submission out.

Normally this time of year I have anywhere between 5-10 pieces out at any one time. This current state of affairs is mostly due to a lot of factors.

As I said in my shall not be named post, (the first Paris Review thing) I have been settling in with myself and rethinking how I go about this thing.

This time last year I had my method down. Spend money (sometimes more than I should have) on lit mags, read lit mags, follow links from writer’s I know and like.

Do that some more.

Then write, rewrite, remix.

Submit.

Rinse repeat.

Granted in the last couple of years I’ve been published more than I was in the years before.

It has been working in the YAY GET YO SHIT PUBLISHED SENSE but at times on a personal level not so much.

I’ve been thinking pretty deeply about the ideas about a community of lit people. And sometimes when I’m doing my research and reading and trying to expand my literary world, I keep feeling like the community is not for me if I’m being a loudass Black lady.

I suppose this is yet another round of writer growing pains. That now rather than trying so hard to get published everywhere that catches my eye, it’s time to be a bit more selective.  And it’s not even really about getting paid. I like getting paid but I realize that the short fiction market is pretty huge and the money for somebody who’s not generally a name author can be scarce and I’m fine with that. I just don’t want to feel icky I guess.

That said, I need y’all to see some things. Ready?

Check out Independently Published a blog by my friend and publisher Milcah. As we’ve talked and everything I am so beyond positive that my first book is going to be made with her. Just, y’all. We are learning together and doing this shit together and it makes me so damn happy.

What else?

I dropped a new reprint in my Etsy store. Have a looksy at Bite as it appeared in Freaky Fountain Press. Keep an eye out I will probably be dropping a literary genderfucking story in there a little later.

I also have a new poem up at Ink Node and you can catch it here. I am deeply amused by the fact that all the poetry I write lately is about women in one way or another.

Other stuff.

I’m going to do more book reviews. The long nerdy ones of course. Coming soon I have two urban fantasy reviews, a noir review and I’ll probably nerd out about some lit zines I’m really into right now.

Be on the lookout I also have yet another post about transgression in my head. I have more thoughts.

 


After the Ballad.

So the rage fueled thing I wrote about the Paris Review the other day has grown some wings. Mentioned in a Huffpo article by Annie Finch.

I am a tad overwhelmed. I’m very tired of clearing messages (fifteen er twenty today) telling me how racist I am and what a shitty poet etc etc. The best though was the accusation that I am bullying the Paris Review.

Because obviously a relatively unknown Black writer from Seattle has the power to bully the Paris Review.

Okay so here’s the thing and I want this to be absolutely clear because I think some folks have got it twisted.

I don’t actually give a hot shit about Seidel’s work. After I read the piece on PR I read some of his other work and frankly it is just not my jam. I don’t give a shit.

The thing I care about is the usual response to Black people’s pain. White people running us over to make their own pain the focal point. I care about a publication I have read for most of my life when I have been able to, doing the same shit again.

My hope that a highly visible publication would take the opportunity to say to everyone these are the voices we need right now has just been dashed. No fuck that. My hopes that the mainstream literary community would step up in a time of such great need has been shit on, set on fire and tossed.

This was a chance for an organization to say loudly and without qualification, Black Voices Matter right now and we are here for it.

Now is the moment.

Now is not the time to make White voices the voices. That is how everything is all the time. Literature is now and has been the outlet for every White opinion ever about everything.

And yet, people keep telling me that those are the voices to be given primacy right now.

Because that’s how it always is.

I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing that if we damn loud ass Negroes want to be heard to do it ourselves. And when we do that, White people run in to make sure they get their piece. Or when we have the audacity to hint that maybe we know a little something something about an issue, we’re “reverse racists” and oppressing the White Voice.

This is me and I am fucking exhausted.

 

Portrait of the author right now.

Portrait of the author right now. 

Why at this point in time, in 2014 when so many White people want to claim to be anti-racist is it so goddamn hard to admit that sometimes, their voices are not the ones that need to be heard?

That maybe Black Lives Matter is a.) something being said, because clearly culturally America doesn’t believe it and b.) such a controversial thought, that Black people specifically matter.

And before anyone busts in here with that “all people” bullshit let me shut it down.

If you would not walk into a Breast cancer awareness event saying, ALL CANCERS. If you would not walk into a stranger’s funeral and say, BUT I KNOW DEAD PEOPLE TOO, shut the fuck up and work it the fuck out. If you cannot abide the idea that Black people need and want to make it clear that we matter, you have some racist shit to deal with and I am not here for that.

Moving on.

We live in the fucking future. It is 2014. Even a publication as old as the Paris Review knows this. They have a social media person I’ve followed them (I have unfollowed).

It took me approximately two minutes on google to find over a thousand amazing poems written by Black people young and old, known and unknown. THOUSANDS.

And they chose Seidel.

I took to facebook and searched the hashtag #BlackPoetsSpeakOut.

THOUSANDS OF POEMS.

How is it that while working my dayjob, writing a fiction piece and eating I could find current amazing poetry by Black people that could fill forty five Paris Reviews and they picked an old White Man.

That is what this is about.

It’s not about the quality of the poem. He can write whatever he wants to.

It is about the gatekeepers of the literary canon in this case the Paris Review isn’t coming through.

It is about how disgusting it is to me that organizations that wield power in the lit world in a real big way, didn’t do shit.

This happens over and over again.

Don’t get it twisted.

I don’t care about how that crusty ass old man writes his poems or what he writes about.

I don’t care if EVERYONE writes about Ferguson.

I care about representation and the missed opportunity to show that that Black lives and Black voices matter.

Understand that White folks you can write a million poems about Ferguson, Eric Garner, lynching, racism whatever. Just remember that when you prioritize your own voices over the voices of those of us living this shit, you are upholding White Supremacy and taking the easy way out of owning your own racism.

And we see you.

We. See. You.

For those of you who want to see what Black poets are saying I’ll make it easy for you. Check out this tumblr project and listen to every single poem.

 


Now for something totally different.

I have a bunch of people to get back to so today I’m just gonna blabber about some of my new work.

Those of you who are new round these parts, I do write stuff beyond rage fueled blog posts.

So.

Recently my last column at XOjane met with mixed reception. I dared to make a slight poop joke. I still think it’s funny. You can check out my short n dirty tips on surviving the holidays. I’ll probably not do another holiday one because I don’t really get down with the holidays.

I made myself go back to Inknode. I still have trouble thinking of myself as a poet rather than a writer who likes to write poems sometimes. I’m working on it (I can feel my girl Dena giving me such a look right now, also check her out, she’s an amazing poet) and thinking about the poems I’ve been writing in the last few years. All my poetry is about women in some way. As much as I poke fun at myself when I’m scribbling in my notebook at the bus stop or a coffee shop, I do kind of love that writing poetry is like my girlfriend and I’m obsessed with her. All that yammer and here is my new poem at InkNode Snake.

Did I mention my hiatus from submitting?

I didn’t take one intentionally really it just kind of happened. After yet another unpleasant exchange with one of my fellow writers I really needed a time out.

When I said in my previous entry that I have seriously been reconsidering the trajectory of my writing career I was not fucking around.

How much effort do I want to expend trying to get into a community that doesn’t really give a shit about me if I’m noisily or stridently Not White. I don’t mean that I never write White people or White folks adjacent because I do.

I am torn per usual.

I also think I needed a time out. Reasses. Remember why I do this shit to begin with and it apparently isn’t to impress people who don’t matter to me.

This is why I will probably never be famous and that’s fine.

I think I’m ready to roll.

Tomorrow I am posting my yeah write entry. A dirty story this time. And later this week I think I’m going to need to fangirl about Jerry Stahl for reasons.

Later homies.


Dear Former Fan.

I’ve mentioned before that I occasionally get long missives about my work and awfulness.

Over the weekend I got one that is very long and from a lot of the “critique” this person is at least superficially aware of my work and they are now as they put it, a former fan.

Put your goggles on I’m going in. I’m not quoting the whole thing because it was hurtful and I rage deleted it but some key phrases have stuck with me.

Consider this an open letter to Former Fan and anyone else who believes that if I’d just be a good Negress I’d succeed.

Dear Former Fan,

First of all, I appreciate you having some knowledge of the body of my work. If as you said you’ve been a supporter since my first ventures in getting published online, most of those being erotica thanks. I do appreciate the ride or die type.

However.

Your objection to the changing of my voice and the tone of my work is fucking bullshit.

Given that you went to some lengths to conceal your identity and used a fake no longer functional email address. I’m going to assume you are sitting back reading my blogs through an anonymizer and that’s fine. So listen because I’m talking to you.

How dare you put your racist feelings on me. How. Dare. You.

You took the time to quote me some passages of my own work as examples of how “brain washed, ” I’ve become in terms of how I talk about race, racism etc. You quoted this piece as the penultimate example of just how far I’ve fallen into what I can only assume is a type of Blackness and Black expression that makes you uncomfortable.

One of the things that I have learned about the nonfiction I write is that when people are the most uncomfortable or buck the hardest are probably the people I’m talking about. You are the people I am talking about.

If the only way you can find value in my work is if I am expressing a type of racialized pain, or erotica that is just queer or non white related enough to seem exotic to you-you are a fucking racist.

Let me explain you a thing.

As I have mentioned in this very blog previously if you cannot look beyond your own Whiteness (and don’t front like you didn’t lead with “I”m White and I think”) to understand that Whiteness is just not ever going to fit me or my expression and that is okay it is natural and real; I am not for you.

If you “agree with other commenters on XOJane” that my writing is terrible and harmful, it is not for you.

If I am not the kind of fat bitch you fucks with, don’t fuck with me.

Don’t contact me again.

If you are really serious about making sure that folks know that my work is “against White People” as you put it, go ahead and leave me the fuck out of it.

If your goal is to somehow shame or hurt me into silence. Nice try. You tried but that is just not going to work.

Let me confess something here. I have a terrible need to accept people at face value for what they have said. Including when people don’t like my writing. In the case of some of the commentary on my XOJane series I have taken the time to talk out some of the points that folks have had because I couldn’t see it and find a lot of the constant cherry picking and nit picking disheartening and hurtful.

I had a few very important realizations after talking to others about it. In spite of how invested in being of service especially in terms of that particular subject matter, I can feel about the useless commentary the way I feel about it in my real life.

I don’t have to explain things that are pretty clear to a lot of other people.

I don’t have to sit and be hurt because I feel like regardless of what I do or don’t say, the same three points are going to be made over and over again.

Also as this article says about trolling:

“Both trolls and sadists feel sadistic glee at the distress of others. Sadists just want to have fun and the Internet is their playground!”

This applies to you Former Fan.

You seem to be deeply concerned for my well being but only if I behave and write in ways that make you feel good about how racist and shitty your behavior is.

Wrong. Negro.

As I have gotten older, I am exploring being more vulnerable in my writing. It’s fucking hard. It hurts. And knowing that there are “fans” who wait for me to be vulnerable and then use that vulnerability to attack is fucking awful.

You are fucking awful.

So 800 some odd words later it boils down to this.

I will say again.

Don’t buy my shit.

Don’t read my shit.

Don’t fucking contact me again.

Don’t contact my friends/peers.

Don’t come here proffering your hurt fucking feelings couched in, I was just trying to help.

Understand that I do not ever want to be in a position where my “success” is defined by my proximity to and acceptance of Whiteness as rightness.

Not. Fucking. Ever.

If you want to hold that against me, tell potential publishers on me or follow me around so you can have proof of my malfeasance come the fuck on.

I’m fucking tired of you and your ilk.

Find a new hobby or just don’t talk to me about your shit cause ain’t nobody got time for that.

And no, lastly I will not cease code switching in both my speech and writing.

You have fucking google.

Okay that’s all.

There is your response Former Fan. I hope it hurt your fucking feelings.

 


So many things.

So hey.

Outside of everything in merica being real fucking terrible right now some good stuff is going on in my writing life.

Ready?

So firstly new publication news.

I have flash fiction in Ex Fic. A tiny story about a prostitute that does not invoke Pretty Woman nor is it anti sex worker nonsense. Go forth and enjoy it here.

AND I have tiny prose poetry in Urban Graffiti (I think I told y’all?) my type of romance between cutters. Enjoy. Also the art the editor chose is really beautiful. Kinda NSFW.

AND one more little flash piece in Black Mirror Magazine. Get it here.

All of these acceptances came in a little succession and as I was organizing my rejection list/submission list I realized that traditionally for at least the last five years, June-about now is ALWAYS a dry season for me and I don’t know why.

The next new thing is in anticipation of a super special thing happening, I now have an author page on the facebooks for writing related stuff. If you have one too, drop me a link and I can like it. Here you will find mine, it’s kind of naked right now but that will be changing soon.

What else?

OH I got a new to me laptop. It is a little (not so little) used Dell and I make a little nest in my bed, with my bulldog puppy lapdesk and go. It feels pretty good to have my technology handled.

I have been writing like a mother fucker and nestling in this feeling of having a very special community of other women writers I’ve found who are ready to yell and talk about pooping and make up and thing.

And to still have the support of women I love and admire. To have them tell me yes. Having them tell me when I have ideas WRITE THAT SHIT.

Writing life feels right.

I could be getting published more. I could be submitting more. My output could be bigger but things feel nice and right right now.

Now I should probably eat some food because I am exhausted and in need of something

That something is going to be rewatching Carnivale (someone remind me to go blog about the one Cooch dancer in my other blog alter) and I will get through the remainder of my shift at my dayjob without falling or goig to sleep.


On freelancing research and whatnot.

Okay first thing.

To the person coming in to tell me to “stop whining” about white people, fuck off.

You come in trying to cheerfully do something, anonymously grow a spine or stay the fuck out.

Okay now new business.

I have been doing a lot of research on getting myself more freelance paid work.

Given the subject matter I like writing about generally speaking mingled with uh, the dearth of writers of color at a lot of the venues I have been introduced to I’m feeling a little uh, unsettled.

I’m not awesome at writing on spec all the time and that is a skill I am working on.

And I’m not great at pitching but I am working on that as well.

I feel like until I get my tech situation worked out, I should just write some shit and keep on keeping on.

This stuff is daunting but I am ready I think.

What else am I working on?

I am working on lightening up in my non fiction. I don’t know what it is precisely but writing the shit that just guts me comes too naturally and I dont’ know how to deal with the emotional depletion and often following racialized bullshit. Recovering takes a lot out of me and I’m still trying to figure out what to do with all that beyond shut down.

Since I got a new phone I have been writing tiny flash fiction things on it while I wait for the bus.

One of these recently got published, see it here in Black Mirror Magazine. The most amusing thing about that is mainly that I wrote it standing at a bus stop, while a homeless woman was calling me satan. I see her every now and then, I gave her a cigarette once because she was staring at me while I was smoking but now she calls me satan every time I see her.

I’ve written about four other tiny flash pieces. I’m calling them experimental horror flavored retellings. Brief. Non specific. Experiments.

I am getting back into the swing of submitting fiction.

After my initial freak out about things happening for me that I hadn’t foreseen I am ready. Well maybe not ready but I am at least working it out.

That is all the news. I have work to do.

 


On Ambition and publication news

First the publication news.

I wrote a poem about/inspired by my dear friend Haddayr and it got picked up at Leaves of Ink. I’ve known Haddayr around the intertubes for years now and there is something about her that just touches me in my soul area and I love her so much I want to hug her until she farts and then we can laugh and yell and probably fall down. This poem was inspired by something she said and I am so so honored it got published. ALSO she is a kick ass fucking writer. Seriously. Essays, fiction. Read her.

Next I had an essay edited and published by Antonia Mother fucking Crane. I admit I freaked out a bit when she asked me for a thing about kink and the first thing that came to mind was the topic of my failure to fulfill the pisser portion of being a piss queen. Read it here at The Weeklings. There are few things I love more than having a good editor and Antonia is a fine editor. She coaxed better timing out of me, writing in a world that is very stuck on quick fast and in a hurry she encouraged me to get back to a slow burn.  It was also my first serious try at being on purpose funny. I am a funny person, but never when I am trying to be funny.

I am also cruising along at Xojane with my self care series. Some folks hate it and hate me and that is kind of great. So many other people have left comments there and elsewhere telling me that they need to hear this stuff.  This is my first thing I’ve been paid for on the regular and had it be such a serious affirmation of things that make me feel like a better human. I have a lot of feelings about it.

I am still working really hard on figuring out how to balance writing freelance things, submitting things, writing fiction and working my day job and managing my fucking feelings and holy shit it is all so much.

OH I also relaunched my personal blog. You can see my new spot here.

Watch me segue really smoothly here.

As I am doing these things and gaining exposure to new audiences and doing so while feeling like an actual part of a writing community that accepts and loves me for who I actually am and what I actually write and not my potential to be the next Alice Walker, I am realizing that my ambitions are changing in ways I did not anticipate.

At one time, maybe six years ago I would have said that my ambition was to write novels, get them published with some critical acclaim and to ease off the teat of the dayjob.

Right now honestly all I want is that spreading readership, my writer homies backing me and maybe enough spare money made to get some tattoos, replace my electronics and whatnot.

Some fun money and an awesome readership is what it boils down to.

I am still only semi invested in mainstream publishing and that finally feels okay to me. The more I learn about big deal “serious” publishing the less I see a place there for myself.

I feel like I am learning to put less pressure on myself to be the Big Bad Black Trailblazing Negress. I do it when I feel like it. When I can but I’m not going to eat myself up trying.

I think that’s all for right now. I should update my website but I don’t feel like it. Instead I’m going to eat something tasty and do some work on something close to my little heart.

Later taters.


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