Category Archives: writing life

A Few Thoughts.

I’m really tired and feeling beyond crazy.

My brain is full of fuck and I’ve been unable to work on the self care thing the way I’d like so I’m leaving it alone until I can do it without fucking it up.

Rather than fuck up my thing I did some editing and submitting today.

I was pointed towards a couple of zines and I just, y’all.

I did some research as you do when you are checking out a new venue. The first thing that leapt out at me was I saw the word diversity in the about and faq a lot.

What I did not find in about 8 issues and the editors interview on Duotrope was the diversity.

So honestly if your diversity is made up of a textbook example of the Western Literary Canon excluding the few women, what the real fuck are you even talking about?

Real talk.

Since I have not been submitting, going back to it I just- I am growing this jaded disinterest that makes me so sad.

It is so exhausting to me to be reading magazines and understanding so keenly that my AAVE filled, no White people in sight stories don’t belong.

On the other hand I want to submit just to see if they get it or if I get another maybe if you adjust the language type rejection.

To say I am feeling some type of way about the publishing industry on the whole right now is an understatement.

This post is also brought to you by a situation I found myself in this week.

I don’t want to go into a lot of specifics but suffice to say, again my work was questioned on the basis of it not being about/in the realm of white men and it just makes me really sad and tired.

I’m feeling this way while trying to write uplifting beautiful things that come from my fucking soul and I just…I am so angry.

So yeah.

I will slog on but today, man.

Fuck publishing.

Fuck the literary world and the white dudebros who can’t see past their own dicks.

That’s all.


Craft Notes: How I use Free writing.

First have a glance at this.

Now a couple of people have asked so let me give you a sort of blow by blow as to how I utilize the concept of freewrites.

First thing to know is I have a very noisy disordered brain.

One of the problems with my sleeping is in face the crazy carnival (replete with barkers, geeks, music, rides and pink elephants). My brain is a stew of LOUD NOISES.

So I do a few things to help settle myself down enough to write so the LOUD NOISES turn into stories and shit.

One of the things I do is crochet. I make shawls mostly. I keep telling myself I am going to sell them but that is a whole other thing. Crocheting puts a good amount of order in my chaosroachbrain. I do it on the bus usually while I listen to audiobooks and my thoughts turn a bit more linear like my stitches. Rows and rows of orderly thinking.

The other thing I do a lot is free write.

Here is how I do it.

Something, be it a phrase, a concept, a photo, a voice, a word, the sight of a fine fine ass in some tight pants whatever, it gets in my head.

I’m going to use one I did recently as an example.

Open this in another tab. It is the side blog where I just kind of dump words. I was inspired by Dena and Milcah (side note, GODS my friends are some fine mother fuckers, like for serious) and periods.

So there I was with the image of Joseph from Dena’s poem.

And I just started to go.

When I do this, often it is my way of exploring correlations as they happen in my brain.

In this case we have menses, a man, destruction because most tend to associate periods with flowers and the birds and bees and bullshit. It’s not that pretty. I wanted to explore that without getting to the ugly right away.

I am obsessed with sexualized predation (not as in abuser as in an apex predator) from the POV of the woman predator. The ides of conquest as it has been applied to masculine sexuality forever. The beauty in being an apex predator or at least feeling like one.

I called the image of war and battle and victory and claimed the shed blood as victory.

That is where my brain goes.

I go until I can’t anymore and then normally as you can see there, I change something. Sometimes I use this method of freewriting to explore forms, to change the angle that I approach my subject matter.  I’ve found that once I’ve exhausted one means of exploring a subject/theme when I change something (form, formatting etc) that is when my brain really gets to work. That is how I work out the voice I use in a story sometimes. Sometimes it is how I figure out the road to the next thing. Or I figure out that the idea I had won’t work.

The aim when I do this is just to write. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is just fragments. Sometimes it kickstarts a whole new thing.

90% of these freewrites I have no intention of trying to get published. That is why I made that other blog. Occasionally I have had bigger better stories from those freewrites.

This piece I had in Fuck Fiction, started out as a freewrite.  Again, I was exploring that female sexual predator. A self aware predator who cannot help herself.  This one from the Molotov Cocktail started as an experiment with second person narrative. 

One of the other functions of this method is that for me I’ve discovered where my strengths are.

I am good at present tense first person POV.

I really LOVE writing second person narrative.

One of the other things to be gained from freewriting is freeing yourself of taboos.

Essentially if you are new to say writing sex use this exercise.

If words or concepts don’t do it for you here are some other options.

Read this post by Remittance Girl and try her challenge.

Here are some prompts for practicing writing on the body. In other words practice writing the physiological.

For instance. Your narrator has just fallen down some stairs. Write them checking themselves out, are they hurt? Where are they hurt? How do they hurt? Think about bumps and bruises. Try writing the aftermath, maybe your narrator fell two days ago and their body is just starting to yell.

Write a scene of arousal. Your main character here is getting turned on. What is going on in their body? I’m not talking a monologue about the most perfect tits anyone has ever seem but this is the viewer. Are they tingling? Is their skin covered in gooseflesh?

Do you like prompts? Here are some I like.

Personally prompts about meadows and  flowers and shit don’t do it for me. My taste runs to the darker and for that I picked up Michael Arnzen’s book Instigation. The beauty of this type of books that you can write a story, a poem, a scene, a flash piece. Anything. I really seriously recommend it.

I used one of his instigations and got this story published.

Think of this type of work as stretching for your brain. This is an excellent way to step out of your comfort zone. Whether it is style, format, subject matter. You can get yourself kickstarted with some practice.

I will also say that this is how I started to really find my own voice.

So there are your craft notes of the day. If you write something and post it somewhere come back and post a link so I can check it out.


Let me Explain you a thing.

I was talking to a friend recently about comic books and graphic novels and super hero movies and I finally figured out why so many of them make me nerd rage so hard.

Beyond the Whiteness of so many of them it is the women.

Okay.

I’m gonna get nerdy.

I am a woman, I have big boobs, sometimes I have long hair. I have been in a fight or two in my time.

Here’s the thing  that just shatters my suspension of disbelief as a consumer of the thing.

If you have big ole perky titties that seemingly are impervious to gravity, maybe you can really kick some ass without said titties flopping around or in my case hitting you in the face.

But it just irritates the shit out of me.

Let’s assume if you are kicking the ever loving shit out of your foe, one thing we don’t want is hair sticking to our (of course) glossed lips or getting in our eyes. Blind spots gets you hit in the face in a fight. If you look at photos of women MMA fighters for example, we see a lot of cornrows, low ponytails, braids or short hair.  That is for a reason.

You know when there is that ONE thing that just ruins a thing for you?

For me it’s the entirely tactically absurd women in so many of these genres.

See also costumes that have tightly laced corsets. I have also tight laced and doing a lot of ass kicking would probably make the heroine or evil doer pass out.

From a writing perspective my tendency towards nerd rage meltdowns has actually helped my writing quite a bit. At times when I’ve found myself about to write something that common sense tells me is wrong, I think about chicks in ring mail bikinis, with torpedo tits and apparently no worries about metal wedgies, fighting and I check myself.

Personally if I were a bad ass villainess, I would be covering up my tits, wearing a cup (yes those can be helpful even if you don’t have testicles) and getting my hair did before kicking ass. My hair would be up, my jewelry off and I’d be ready to buck.

This is where I also mention how if I got my hands on more of those visuals at an earlier age I might have gotten more into comic books.

I might have been a bigger fan of super hero movies in general.

I dunno.

As I get older I find my tolerance for a host of things has just withered in my old age.

And this is where I mention how much I love so much fan art I’ve seen on tumblr for instance.

A hijab wearing Black Widow, I have seen fancast stuff that blew my mind.

Naturally the ugly side of that is the absolute outrage of racist White fans. It gets ugly.

That is why I don’t fuck with fandom or a large part of nerd culture because I have no tolerance and I’m not trying to have racists fuck my squee up because X CHARACTER HAS TO BE WHITE FOREVER AND EVER.

Speaking of nerdy, while I pound away at the self care book I’ve been poking at a story about two little tween queer girl werewolves getting their wolfyness (I’m playing with the full wolf at puberty trope), one of them figuring out their gender and the two of them navigating first love.   Now what’s interesting to me as I write it is that Ikeep thinking of the people who freak out about OMG diversity.

Obviously someone can’t be a person of color, queer AND gender variant.

But, those people do exist in you know actual life.

What kind of lives do anti diversity fan types live that they have never seen anyone who is more than one identity at a time?

Gay Mexican AND disabled?

OH SHIT NO WAY. CANNOT HAPPEN.

I mean, really where do the people come from who cannot fathom that there are people who are not white and able bodied?

It’s weird.

I told a writer acquaintance about this little story and his reaction was not about the plot or my wolfy ideas but how I was “shoe horning” the POC, queerness etc in.

How can characters written as entire people, with complex identities be shoe horned?

Suffice to say I a.) set him straight and b.) won’t be talking to him about my work again.

And I’m off.

Brain unclogged.

Before I go I release a new essay on etsy about why feminism as it is done these days is not for me. With a bonus of a full chapter of the self care book. Get it here.

 


Stuff I just want to Whine about.

I’m tired and forgot to take some of my medications so I just want to whine a little.

  • I do not have enough money to buy everything I have been published in so I can have hard copies.
  • I also do not have the loose cash to buy my friends books, the new books I want to read and stuff.
  • I do not have the money to support my fellow POC in their endeavours when they ask me to and I feel some type of way about it.
  • On the flip side of that most of the people who ask me directly to help fund stuff know me and know I’m poor. So I also feel some type of way about that.
  • Wow I am super cranky.
  • I also feel some type of way about the many artists/writers/other creative types I know who will ask me for 99 different kinds of support but if I ask a favor or talk to them on a beyond marketing level, fuckin crickets.

I’m having kind of a day at work. My blood sugar is low. And I have work to do.

Speaking of work I’ve started rewriting my self care guide. I am very excited about the new structure and content.

I’m not as excited about some folks Iknow insisting I shop it when I just don’t feel that would be right for this.  I will put it out on Etsy and if there is a call I might put it up via createspace or something for a print version. The serious business fact is that I need to keep it accessible and it’s more important to me to get it out within the next month than it is to have it picked up by some publisher.

Blasphemy I know. I’m punk as fuck.

There are important to me reasons behind my methods.

The other part of my crabbiness is that I feel somewhat bombarded by morons. Mean, ugly spirited people saying mean ugly spirited things and I keep not seeig a lot of critical or any kind of thinking. So much down low and blatant racism and trans mysoginy from people I used to like/respect. It just wears me down. It makes me feel like I should be toughening up my hide but even at almost 37 years old I just cannot deal with it on such a daily basis.

It comes from everywhere, no where is safe. There is no place for me to go. Nothing I can read. No lols I don’t have shit.

No shelter.

That in mind I am going to finally get some fucking food, do some Kindle Cloud reading (someone please remind me to talk about how obsessed with kindle books I am right now), and do some more writing.

OH also I am hopefully going to recode my author site here soonish. After my birthday for sure. Stay tuned.


Wow I wind myself up like the Windup Bird.

While I have been plugging away in fits and starts at some unfinished work I keep thinking I need to do a thing this year.

What thing?

I am thinking I would like to write a novella. I’ve had an idea/some characters knocking around in my head and I want to get it down on paper.

The part I get stuck on is what do I do with it once it is done?

Here is where I let out some of my neurosis.

I am afraid of a few things.

If I focus on said novella, which will naturally make my time devoted to short stories and non fiction lessen, will the little (to me huge but whatever) success I’ve had in the past couple of years go away?

If nobody cares/knows who the fuck I am what do I do with this novella?

I am not a big deal in any sense of the word. I’ve been published a bit, not hugely. I’m trying to be a bit practical but my gut says fuck being read and write the shit.

So I guess I will try to produce some small works, make sure I put my Duotrope subscription to good use (that is a whole other thing) and write the shit.

I think I am going to try and schedule novella time and other shit time.

I think most of my hand wringing about this is misdirected anxiety.

I have made some changes in my financial/everything else life that are good but nerve wracking.

I’ve wound myself up.

I do in fact know what to do. I need to calm down and do what I do.

Write that shit.

Rewrite that shit.

Write like a mother fucker.

If you’ve read me for a minute you know I’m a really nervous person by nature and tend to wind myself up sometimes. I’m trying to yanno not do that and failing a bit.

Time to rally.

Also if you’re coming to AWP and wanna see me read/talk to me/possibly have my aggressive berserker hug attack unleashed on you drop me a note. I will also be posting information about my reading soon and hopefully if things work out there could be video of me reading.

Okay so that’s all for right now. I think I just had to get that out and now I can go do what I need to do.

Later this week I’m going to do a big ole geeky review of a book I really love and then I will probably make another nerdy fangirl I want to read these books post.

AH shit before I forget you can read one mroe new poem by me over at The Camel Salooon.


Holy wow stuff is happening.

Okay so already 2014 is turning out to be both awesome and overwhelming.

So the first thing was that Dena interviewed me for Luna Luna magazine.

Then I got a poetry acceptance at The Camel Saloon. I’ll let y’all know when it’s live. Also read that spot it’s good.

AND today I found out my essay from Literary Orphans is going into their anthology.

Holy shit.

I am to put things in internet parlance full of feelings I don’t know what to do with.

Glee. Fear. Nervousness. Expectation.

I’m having a hard time rebalancing work days with time to write. I’ve been tired. I get frustrated and ragey and full of feelings.

I am also frankly panicky.

So I’m trying to deal with myself.

AND you can buy a brand spanking new story in my Etsy.


Something happened, and another thing.

This year has started off pretty fucking good outside of insomnia to the point of hallucination (YAY ME) and I’ve already fallen down once.

First up my friend Dena interviewed me for Luna Luna Magazine and you can get it here.

Also I got my first poetry acceptance in forever. I am pretty stoked about that.

I am three rejections deep into the new year. One stung like a son of a bitch and two were super complimentary.

The shit balances out.

Uh other than that nothing super new is going down.

I have been writing some flash. I tried some noirish gangster flash. It’s not particularly a story-story but I like it.

I need to get to going with submissions and shit. I feel like I need to rearrange my writing time. Do I want to wait until I get home where I want to just go the fuck to bed or do I bring Bloop (my computer) with me and write somewhere for an hour at night and thus make my day outside of home go up to 14 hours?

Probably the former. My partner got me an adorable lap desk and I will get myself one of those bed recliner pillow things.

I will be updating my website here soon and please don’t forget. Women writers, if you know wo


Well…uh

Austa commented on my last post:

I love this post!!
Can I ask how you managed to get to where you are? With regards to getting your writing out there, and being invited to readings and stuff like that?

Okay Austa and everybody else, I have a confession to make.

I have no idea how the being invited to stuff even happened.

Basically, an author I friended on facebook said she liked me and invited me down to Portland to read at her gig Unchaste Readers and I read and okay.

Another confession. I almost shat myself, I hugged strangers too hard and was blown away that people I have never met in my life liked my story. I was a little drunk because I was nervous as fuck. People said I sounded like a TV actress, someone asked where my books were and then I hugged my friends who came to see me read, I touched Milcah’s butt and then my partner and I went back to our little hotel room and watched a fuckload of cable TV then we went out for Thai food and I got to eat the most delicious crickets.

As for getting my writing out there, I have on huge secret are you ready Austa?

  1. Write like a mother fucker.
  2. Rewrite.
  3. Submit.
  4. Get rejected.
  5. Submit again.
  6. Get accepted sometimes.

And there you have my secret.

Basically, a few years ago I started doing a few things differently. Instead of writing what I thought would get published I started writing basically whatever the fuck I want to. Sometimes nobody wants to publish my things and that’s okay. What’s important to me is the work. I also started looking at writing as my work. This is what I do. It is what I am supposed to be doing.

The fact that I work a job that stresses my shit out is secondary. It keeps my partner and I housed, in meds and socks and food. Sometimes if we do stuff right we can do something nice.

But this, this here these stories, the poems, the essays that make me vomit before sending them along is what I am supposed to be doing. Everything else is bullshit and necessity.

And invest in yourself. If you have a cache of stuff, save up the 50$ or spend 5$ for a month and get a Duotrope subscription and submit. Or set aside two weeks to read every lit mag you can find on the internet and work up a list of where you want to submit.

Submit often.

Everywhere.

Sometimes you’re going to feel weird or uncomfortable. Some of the rejections will feel like someone turned you down for a date and it’s okay. Just keep going.

This shit is hard as hell but to me it is worth it.

If you feel like you need workshopping or support you have the internet and the vast numbers of spots you can find to do that if you need it.

Get pumped up.

I personally have this need to get mean. I hunker down and bare my teeth, grow;, grumble and shove myself at doing what I feel like I need to do. I have this uh, war like mentality and everybody is on my shitlist. Not in a personal way but in a get the fuck out of my way I have to shit to say and do. It works for me. While I am getting mean and shit, I aso let myself do what I need to do.

Sometimes I write stuff because I have hurt feelings, because I’m angry, because I want to cry and I hate to cry so I write.

Basically what’s gotten me here right now is having support (my bestie and partner and other friends), figuring out how I work and working, and working and making myself submit even when I’m scared.

And now here we are.

Was that even a good answer? I’m not sure. I hope so?


Well damn.

I was doing some organizing earlier this week and found that I  a.) am running terribly low on ready work and b.) only have 2 submissions out.

Shit.

I am working on that.

Oh no wait I had 3 things out now four. Down from something like 10 last month. A few of those I finally formally withdrew after my queries languished unanswered for months. I hate doing that but you know how it is.

No I lied I do have some ready to go things but, I’m having aim problems.  At least one of them is too erotic for most lit mags and not really erotica so erotica is out.

I’m in another of my confessional moods so let me confess.

Sometimes I still get nervous when I submit stories that have AAVE to lit zines.  I worry that the editors won’t get the references or the language but will be too nervous to say so. And then of course I get nervous that they will say so and I will feel shitty.

Earlier while I was working on something, I had a moment (ah shit I cannot remember who said it) where I took that writer roller coaster of thinking YES YES YES FUCK LOOK AT WHAT I JUST DID to WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS? IS THIS SHIT EVEN ENGLISH? I ate some food, I stopped looking at it and decided that the story was better than what I had done and fixed it. Looking backwards I am very glad I have learned to ride that out. In my younger days that would have shut me down for a while.

I realized I’ve been heavily comfort reading lately. Too many things in the big bad world have been painful for me lately and I’ve retreated into familiar authors and things.

Now for some other stuff.

Have y’all read Bradley Sands? I’ve read Bradley Sands stuff for years now and I spotted him over at Litreactor. You should read this and if you write Bizarro go submit.

We know I love Lavie Tidhar and if any of you are into guns n sorcery type fantasy (honestly I’d never even thought of it but I now love it) you should pick up Gorel and the Pot Bellied God. I reread some of it today for comfort and just read it, it’s great.

What else?

OH the etsy adventure continues. I now have 4 stories available and have more on the way. Including probably a tiny collection of my poems.

I still want to concentrate mainly on reprints there but I may do some originals. I also am going to put some of my crocheted shawls up as soon as I get them ship ready. It’s not a money machine but I like it.

Since some of you donated I am super excited to tell you that I am mere weeks away from having my teeth worked out. I am so excited I can’t even explain.

What else?

I’m still plugging away at my urban fantasy thing. Truth be told I had a moment of doubt and had to put it away for a bit.

I’m about done reading Dr Sleep and will probably do a good hefty review. I decided against trying to review the A Song of Ice and Fire series. It frankly fills me with way too much nerd rage and I haven’t felt like seriously unleashing the beast.

Another confession.

I have had the worst hankering to resume collecting authors entire catalogs. This is an expensive habit and I don’t have enough bookshelves. I’ve also wanted to buy more indie art. I have a tiny collection and a few extremely cherished art photos that I have put away because of very complicated emotional reasons. Given that we’re likely not moving any time soon I will get them out. At least I need to get some of the stuff framed properly so I don’t fuck it up.

I think that’s all for right now. I have one more submission to get out tonight and I am going shovel spicy food in my face.

Oh one more thing. In my race to 120 rejections, I just logged #9 the other day. This tells me I need to get my ass in gear. I can’t drive down that acceptance rate if I’m not flinging words into the wild. I am hoping by the second week of January to get my pieces out numbers back into the teens. Off into the Blue Yonder I go.


Please do not ever do this.

So this weekend I got a note from a reader.

This is not a happy story and I was enraged on Saturday when I got it but I’m calmer now but we need to talk about this.

So this reader who lead their note by proclaiming their Whitey Whiteness basically told me they are “disappointed” that not all my writing is like my piece at Literary Orphans. Apparently this bit tickled this person:

This hurt is never small and has taken root in my soul. It is pain that reaches down and pulls at the things most private and most sacred to me. It blooms nausea and flaming shit.

Rather than telling me that my piece was well written or good or even thought provoking this person went on to tell me that they read some of my other work and was disappointed.

So basically this person wants m to be their pain porn presenting Negress.

When I asked for clarification about their disappointment basically this person told me I have the potential to write the “next Beloved” or something like it.

For those who haven’t read or seen Beloved it is fucking brutal. Don’t get me wrong Toni Morrison is one of my heroines but seriously, I will never read that book again because it hurt that much.

So here’s the thing. My piece at Literary Orphans was not fiction. That is my real life. That is my vomit, my flaming shits, my anxiety my real fucking pain and it was not meant to be entertainment for White people. I will never write that kind of thing just for White people to learn something or feel good about themselves that they are not guilty of (at least that they will admit to) whatever I’m writing about.

It is not for you.

As a matter of fact if you read something like what I wrote there or any of my posts or observations about my Blackness and my life and the only thing you get out of it is feeling like a Good White Person or a Nice White Lady kindly do not tell me

Don’t send me notes praising my ability to lay my racial pain bare for your fucking amusement.

Officially if you haven’t gleaned it before, this is a hurtful shitty fucking thing to do.

It makes me not want to share that sort of thing publicly.

Don’t write me to tell me how pleasantly surprised you are that I write/speak so eloquently.

Don’t write me to tell me how “bold” I am for telling my real truth.

Don’t write me to tell me how not racist you are.

Frankly if you (claim to have) read my work and you reduce more than 20 years of my work to “I wish there was more about race” (pain porn) fuck you.

I don’t honestly know how authors more famous than I am deal with this. I do want to be read by people with diverse points of view. I like it when people want to engage with me but, when people act out of pocket and demandy but sign off with a winky emoti (because obvs. a winky makes EVERYTHING permissible to say) I lose my shit.

My writing in all the forms and ways I do it, is not really always about one thing. I write a lot of things. I experiment. I try new shit. Sometimes said shit fails miserably (see my recent poems I’ve written, they are awful) and sometimes they are pretty great.

The ONE thing I cannot stand in my life is the expectation that I am only capable of a single mode of expression. I’m not here for that.

Ugh fuck.

This is the part of sharing non fiction that frustrates me.

I don’t want people reducing me to the one thing they want to fap to.

So I don’t know.

I’m just- fuck okay you want some pain porn here it is.

It fucking hurts me on a deeply personal level to be reduced to a source of pain porn entertainment for anyone.  Don’t tell me that shit.

Who and what I am is not summed up in that one piece.  That one piece is a part of me and not all of me.

I need to stop here but let me just say that if you as a reader are disappointed that I don’t lay bare ALL my soul deep pain, fuck you keep stepping. I am not here for you nor am I here r that.

This is probably why I am not more famous.

So yeah. That happened and I really hope it doesn’t happen more because I honestly can’t handle it. At least not right now.

In other news I will be adding some more things to read for a dollar or two in my etsy store. Keep your eye on (if it is not there wait a few minutes and come back) my little etsy widget for updates, reprints and original etsy only stuff to read. Eventually you’ll find some of my crocheted items as well but not before Christmas I think.

 


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