The Writer In Distress.


The face I’ve been making for a week.

So I am a writer in distress.

Don’t worry finances or sort of okay and it’s mostly emotional.

I wound myself up so hard I gave myself the anxiety shits for days last week.

I am deep in rewrites for SCLAB and a noir story I was commissioned for.

I hate most words that I produce.

My current level of both metaphysical and physical agita is pretty huge.

So here I am about to make a list of my personal grievances, or I”m going to vomit feelings in list for to make myself feel better because I have fucking work to do. Please I’m actually okay. This is just how I process so I can work.

  • My writing is trash panda level.
  • Patreon continues to work my nerves.
  • I am finding it difficult to settle down and write things that are not trash.
  • Pretty sure everyone hates me.
  • Kind of hate myself.
  • Not enough hours that are not dayjob hours for me to write what I wanna write.

Let me stop with that last thing.

I am hugely ambitious. Having a computer at home again, hasn’t totally helped me fight the urge to write myself into the ground.

Here’s what happens.

Shannon the Fancy Pants Writer Man has goals. Said Fancy Pants Writer, Writes like the proverbial Mother Fucker, comes up with more things to write, is not able to keep up with self imposed production schedule, Fancy Pants Writer Man gets VERY FUCKING ANGRY AT FANCY PANTS WRITER MAN SHANNON who then gets the anxiety shits, feels terribly depressed and like the fakingest ass faker ever.

Add in that I am ass deep in SCLAB rewrites and I’m tussling with that hard. I have such high expectations for what I believe I can do with the material to make it Bigger, Better and More Fucking Awesome…I wind up really hating what I’ve done.

This is an area where I have always had a problem.

I have always put this huge amount of pressure on myself because I always believe I can do better. I am supposed to be able to write like a mother fucker and have it not be 105% garbage.

However, what I lack is the ability to cut myself slack on a regular basis.

Even as a wee baby I had this problem. I expect a lot out of myself in terms of what I believe I am capable of and I’m not always great about letting myself suck a little bit, or think I suck without turning punitive with myself.

This is a part of my writing process that I thought I had a firmer grasp on and as it turns out I don’t.

I’m in a place where I’m deeply frustrated with my inability to do for myself what I’m really good at doing for other people.

When it comes to other folks writing, I am encouraging, nurturing, cheerleading, supportive type. I might do this for other folks for monies someday, but for the few people I do it for, they always say it is the business.

When it comes to myself, my attitude is fuck you, fuck what you have to say, fuck that trash you’re trying to get someone to give you money for you fake mother fucker.

Y’all see where the problem is.

This is something I work on constantly. I cannot do the shit I want to do when I’m being an abusive asshole to myself about EVERYTHING under the sun.

Now, in all actuality some really amazing things are coming. I have my very first essay on my genders coming out with folks I love. I have new fiction coming out after the first of the year.


Milcah and I are guest editing the CNF portion of The Citron Review’s first Queer Issue. 

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I am so excited and honored to be doing it and…lemme keep it 100% right now I’m fucking terrified. I’ve never done anything like this and..yeah.

So please bear with me in the coming weeks.

I’m trying really hard not to come all the way the fuck undone and not be such a dick to myself.

What I need is to figure out HOW to do ALL of the shit I want to do without giving myself the anxiety shits.

That’s it for now.



Thoughts on my latest Yeah Write series.

If you’ve been following my Yeah, Write tag  you’ll see that after a while of what I called Billy remixes, I’m doing a whole other thing.

Uh, I’m going to try to explain what’s going on in my head because it’s sort of a mess and a very large experiment.

I started with a few different ideas/goals I wanted to play with.

  1. The concept (one of my FAVES to play with) of the multi-verse.
  2. World building in a very slow paced, not super descriptive type of way.
  3. The concept of a mainly anonymous protagonist.
  4. Conceptually telling only small parts of a story and have those small parts hold up on their own, and then later as part of the whole.

Right as I was starting these I’d just finished rereading a favorite book of mine, Imajica  (no more amazon affiliate links I got booted off of it) by Clive Barker and ugh. Okay, first of all that book is a masterpiece.

I hadn’t read it in years and Barker’s ability to create a world next door just kills me.

While thinking of that, I was done with Billy and decided to try world building my way.

When I write horror, I like to write about the stuff I’m scared of. Any sense of disreality, disorientation etc scare me.

Being a lifelong sufferer of a lot of sleep disorders one thing I have experience with is hallucinations. I took inspiration from that, and have been thinking about what could be lurking in the blurry shit moving I see out of the corner of my eye.

Read here for some quick info on some of the insomnia related hallucinations and sensory stuff I’ve had.

I also really want to explore these creatures/people The Innocents, The Warriors, The Generists, etc without giving them an immediate definition and backstory. It’s difficult to do while maintaining interest in the individual stories for the reader. I want you the reader to feel a bit uncomfortable and disoriented and confused, but not so much so you don’t want to keep reading.

Going forward I want to delve more into some sensory/body horror. I also want to get into some things that will muddy the waters as to what is good and what is bad. I really love a horror story that has no clear good guys.

I’m also thinking about messing more with tense as I did in the last entry. I feel like when you’re reading something and the tenses change, if you can tell it’s done purposefully and can keep reading without your inner editor freaking out, it’s very disconcerting. I also really like the idea that the story is happening now, and when you started reading it and later on while you’re sleeping.

I wasn’t super pleased with that try. It wasn’t exactly what I was going for.

I think I might redo the tense experiment, but use it in a more subtle fashion. So it registers, but isn’t so much of that thing.

Coming up I am going to introduce the Generists. And I have a plot to reach back into history and put the story on Mt. Fuji when it was dark.

Also, if you’ve noticed most of my characters when I describe them are POC and that is on purpose.

I will probably post something a little inane tomorrow. I’ve been thinking of the soundtrack to these stories. I also think I would really like to when the mood hits, create an apotheosis story and make it a hypertext story. That was my other interest here. I love linked short stories and I haven’t done a proper hypertext story in a long time.

So that might happen.

That’s all for now.

Later taters.



Yeah, Write #240- Thin Places.

Thin Places


Shannon Barber

In places where The World and the world meet through thin membranes made of time and place, things are always strange.

It was, it is and it could be tumble together and smear.

These are the places where The Innocent sense a stillness compressed into a spot of darkness or the air is silent, save for the scuttle of some single unfortunate thing. Time stalls, it jerks like a bad spot in a video stream.

The Innocent know in their guts to turn and leave. They wander away, holding their bellies in the place where time sense is felt or with hands cupped over genitals like those waking from a coma. Things are as they were a moment ago, but they aren’t, things were never the same were they?

The Warriors step through through these thin places. Those who battle without talismans or who are not civilized enough to deal with The Doormen. The Warriors drag the light across time, what was lit becomes dim and tenuous and is resolved into The World. 

The Beholder only sees. They stood and stare. They see as is their job, they only see and wander away to wait to see the monsters and wickedness that crawls from The World. What The Beholder sees, The Generist fuels.

Those places, these places must be hidden. Of course, they must be tucked in wild places in the Congo or in the deep secret caves in the Andes. That would be only right. That is only fair.

The World doesn’t care about right or fair. The World peers out from where it pleases. On sidewalks at high noon in London. In storm cellars in Kansas. Where the membrane is thin, where the Shadows ease out and cavort and touch, this place is all places and The World and the world mingle.

They say these places, this place in the suburban basement or apartment wall, in the shadow of a child- are what they are and will continue to do what they do without regret for what they have done.

The World pushes, spreads and reaches for the burning light it is and the hot breath of avarice and the fiery lover of our most solitary, sordid dreams. The world sighs and trembles like the sweetest ingenue with the first touch of a lover.

Humanity and the associated and other beings, have always been the decorations on the skins of the world and The World. Both of these places, with their accessory beings are singular and not. Together and not. They are now and they were then. They are the bent of time, the hour that passed while a human man blinked.

These are only two of the directions things are pulled in constantly, only two of the vying suitors trying for the attention of time and space. Only two of starved lovers waiting to devour their prey.

When you feel that pull in your gut, the unreasonable frisson of fear as the shadow moves from your left to your right in a blink, remember this, it’s only a moment that was gone before right now. Time and place are only here for the moment it takes to feel them, but the dangers that lurk beyond the thin places and deep inside five minutes ago are what we must truly be afraid of.



This is heavy, heavy experimentation.

On Risk and some other thoughts.

I was talking to another writer not long ago and the subject of risk came up.

This got me thinking about the risks I take to do this.

Like poor folks everywhere, every word I write that I don’t get paid for pains me in a special way. The time I spend writing, editing and trying to promote those things, could be time spent earning income some other way.

This is a mode of thinking I fight daily, or every time I need a new pair of pants or socks. I look back at things like my pieces at Medium, or the reprints/originals I put up at Etsy (I even have a coupon code right now PCMADNESS for 15% off your total order). And those do little for me in the way of income. And income is the thing that I tend to need the most.

While I’d love to breezily give my words away whenever I damn well please, it’s a risk for me. It doesn’t always but days like today when I realize how badly I need new glasses and I feel slightly guilty for buying stuff for my house- well the risk and the reward just don’t really add up together.

Before I started this entry I had to fight myself pretty hard not to go into a spiral of shame because my freelancer abilities aren’t up to whatever random ass standard I think they should be at today, part of this is also sparked by the loss of a bunch of work because of tech problems.

I know damn well that I’m not good at being a timely money making machine type writer.

I know that.

That said, I do get discouraged when I see folks banking on work that is very similar to my own in terms of content. And when I realize how much shit I need for my house, and I need new underwear and glasses it stings a bit more.

I’m struggling with not feeling good enough. If X person can write about the same stuff I do and make money at it, I must be shit at at it.

And please I’m not fishing for compliments here. I’m trying to keep it 100% as I keep promising.

So this is yet another risk.

I don’t want to be poverty, pain porn for anyone.

Yet, I do feel like  it’s probably valuable in some way to talk about this stuff shame and all.

This feels like a bigger risk than all my yelling about racism in literature, my ragey poetry where I name names, or anything else I holler about. Showing my tender underbelly and expressing my fears about money and art is fucking hard.

I think a lot of my difficulty is that while intellectually I can shout from the rooftops that my work, my voice, my labor is worth compensation.

Emotionally, I still grapple with this. Emotionally, I still don’t feel good enough. I still don’t feel confident enough to just say hey fuck you pay me.

Sometimes I am crippled by a wide ranging reeking jealousy that I can’t always shake.

Today isn’t that day, but I’m struggling today.

All that said, I have work to do.

I am going to pout about my data loss for another ten minutes, then get to work.

Including, later today a brand new love letter from me to you if you’d like to sign up for my official writer loveletters.

Yeah Write entry #239- The Generist is Born

The Generist is Born


Shannon Barber

He stood there with the sun beating down on his dark, sweating face, his head tipped back, lips peeled back from his teeth but the scream stuck in his throat. Nothing moved.

Around him the dry field didn’t even rattle. Nothing scurried or flapped, the whole universe ceased  and hung on the broken scream. He felt the hand of something cold and full of dense evil touch him inside and the scream died. The world paused in a moment of near death.

One ragged intake of breath released the universe and he felt the world jerk back into hot ragtag life. Dry naked corn stalks rattled, crows burbled then screamed. The World released him with a grudge, it left him shivering and sweating without even the strength to cry.

His belly seized and he fell to his knees trying to sick up the darkness like saltwater. The Shadow wriggled in his own lean shadow and he found his voice, thin and strange and reedy.

“Let me loose demon. Get out, get out. Go now. Go.”

His Black body doubled and the darkness came out of his mouth and nose. It trickled from his eyes and rectum, he felt it ooze from the tip of his penis and he fainted.

He lay there under the traveling sun in an oily puddle of filth that stank of something worse than the grave. As day gave way to night he dreamed of death. He dreamed of strong, thin arms lifting him from the filth and he opened his eyes, ready to behold God and saw the face of a boy.

“Hold on. I got you. You’re safe.”

The man stared at the boy’s broad dark face and let sleep take him back into his dreams.  The pretty boy carried him to Auntie’s house and laid him in a cot on the sun porch.

“I found him Auntie.”

She nodded and pulled off her shawl, she smiled at him and her whole little raisin face lit up. The bones hadn’t lied, she’d sent her protege out with news from the bones and a sliver of hope.

“You did good baby. Now go heat me a basin of water. You remember the herbs?”

The boy beamed, he lived to please his mentor.


He scurried away and she looked down at the whimpering unconscious man.

“Too much time in The World son.”

The man opened his eyes again at the touch of her soft old fingers on his forehead.

“I have to, to tell you.”

She kissed his dirty forehead gently and stroked his short Afro.

“We got time Generist. Now sleep.”

Peaceful dreamless sleep settled over him like a blanket. Her light filled his being and the memory of the grip of The World, The greedy cold World, finally slipped out of him and he felt solid and ready to get to work.


Get to Know the Writer.

The writer at work.

The writer at work.

In case you haven’t seen me before there I am.

How about a list of some random shit about yours truly?

  • My two favorite types of tea are genmaicha brewed extra strong and pu-erh.
  • My absolute favorite coffee in the ENTIRE fucking world is Death Wish.
  • I am extremely persnickety about what ink pens I use. I only write in purple ink and these are my favorite pens. Pentel R.S.V.P. Ballpoint Pen, 0.7mm Fine Tip, Violet Ink. YES sorry amazon affiliate link.
  • My favorite Yankee Candle scent is Midsummer’s Night. I hardly ever buy it because it’s fuckin expensive but I love it.
  • I am an aging Goth. I am totally unashamed of this fact.
  • I have trashbag taste in TV but at the same time am extremely picky about what I watch.
  • I LOVE perfume oils. Generally indie. A gift of some BPAL started it all like 12 years ago. My favorite notes are: smoke, leather, tobacco, dark vanilla, honey, clove, cardamom, chocolate, roses, dirt, musk, dragons blood. I am so good at buying unsmelled that 99% of the time if a scent doesn’t work on my body, it works on my partner. My tastes tend to run to spicy/more masculine.
  • I can talk about things like makeup, skin care, body care, bath fancies, perfumes etc FOREVER.
  • I really love creepy things. Bones, teeth, taxidermied animal parts all as jewelry.
  • I am a compulsive reader. If I get desperate I read shampoo and body wash bottles while I poop.
  • I have an undying love of the original Castlevania (OG Nintendo) because it was the first video game I ever finished by myself.

There was an actual purpose to this.

I’m teaching myself to write more autobiographically without relying on issues. For me, it’s easier to write about how racism or sexism or whatever thing hits me personally and make it a lesson. I think those are my activist roots showing.

So I’m working on writing about who I am as a human and how I got to be this human.

Behold what some of us lovingly call The Stabby, or The Establishment. This is woman funded, woman founded media.

Holy fucking shit.

These are the folks I met with in person months ago and had my first writer/editors in person dinner meeting.

What I pitched to them at dinner was the piece I will link in a minute. I had been wanting to write about being a big nerd and some of my trials and tribulations in my life. Now, initially my notes for this were very rigid and I am a dork and nerd culture makes me upset type thing.


I decided to try something new.

I showed my tender little nerd underbelly and talked about who I am in real life. I talked about some crap that happened and getting through it.

You can read my piece here.

Y’all that was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever written. I battled and sweated. I had to fight myself, like knock down drag out fight myself to not rescind my pitch and not to try so hard to be a Strong Black Woman Who Don’t NEed Nobody.

And you know what?

It went live during their launch week and people like it. I got messages from other Black nerds my age who experienced some of what I did. I got fist pumps. I had baby Black nerds telling me YASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

That kind of freaked me out if I’m gonna be real about it. It was such a departure from my rage pieces where people are angry along with me.

I don’t know how to put it, but it just felt different and gave me some deep pause.

It feels alien (and yes, I know this is my anxiety and shit talking) that people like it because it’s me. Like the actual MeatWorld Shannon, who often flails and twitches and flaps and squeals.

That me.


Most of what I say here is me. Like pretty close to actually talking to me though, I am nicer on the internet. But it still feels weird that someone gave me money to write about how much of a potsie nerd I am.

Okay that’s all.



Oh y’all. Go get yourself some coffee and then come back because I have MANY things to show you. Per usual any Amazon links will be affiliate links.

Some of this stuff I bookmarked for this other stuff I asked for. All of it is awesome. Hand curated stuff to look at, read, buy and otherwise enjoy.


First up, my fave Milcah has announced they are relaunching their blog with a WHOLE NEW THING. I’m very excited about it and you can go read about it here.

Next, my friend s. j. bagley turned me onto a new project he got involved with called Thinking Horror. The blurb from Amazon:

THINKING HORROR: a Journal of Horror Philosophy is a nonfiction journal devoted to modern and contemporary horror literature consisting of essays, editorials, and in-depth interviews. The journal will be focused on the contexts and concepts of horror fiction.

I am SO FUCKING INTO IT HOLY SHIT. I just yeah. No for real go check it out at Amazon. I’ve been waiting since he announced it forever ago.

Next a new thing by someone I admire greatly. My friend Aaminah Shakur writing about art and watching you watch art. Y’all, their writing about art even when I don’t understand it just floors me. GO LOOK.

Now how about some poetry? My friend Noemi Martinez has a new piece up that I just love. Check that out here. Also check out Hermana Resist here. Fucking awesome.

My friend Lily has launched something really amazing. I can’t even…I mean. Okay, just go here to facebook (and like her page while you’re there) and look at her message pills. Buy some for someone because it’s a fantastic, loving idea. Lily is fucking magical.

This essay by Sarah Boyle at Gorgon Poetics, YASSSSSS. BURN IT DOWN! Um..that is how I express my love of this sort of thing. BURN IT BURN IT BURN IT!

How about more poetry? Hear my homie Kenzie Allen read her poetry and read the rest of this mag there is a lot of loveliness to be had. AND audio…I swooned.

A writer I adore is doing tiny letter. HOLY CRAP. GO GO GO and get letters from Mo Daviau. It will be great I promise.

WOW. Just going back and LOOKING at all these things is just making me do a little happy wriggle in my chair. I legit know the most talented amazing people in the whole world.

Ready okay let’s continue.

Next up I read this book by Ki Russell a while back and it just stayed with me. How to Become Baba Yaga by Ki is just. It’s so beautiful and mystic. I love it so fucking much. Read it.

I came across this piece via my FB feed and it is really great. I am a black woman in the American south. And I’m not leaving by
Latria Graham. It just, yeah it gave me a lot of feels.

MORE POEMS. This time by the delectable Sonya Vatomsky. Their poetry is just…just buy the book.  Their book Salt is for Curing is just..yeah. Go. 

LOOK at how lovely Sarah Khan’s official website is.  Check the photos tab. The b/w shot of the stem and leaf is just..totally my aesthetic and I would put that on my wall.

You want to see some more stuff to check out? My homie Sara Habien does Notes from Elsewhere over at WordRiot and real talk I totally stole the format from there. Go check out more things.

Lynn B. Johnson has the Oldest Blog Alive. And I am so delighted by that. HOW can you not love that?

We have a shy poet in the house too. Bronwyn Petry  has a website and writes and edits and has one of my favorite names. I know that’s a weird thing to say but I think Bronwyn is just a really lovely name okay. Go show some love.

Let’s take a reading break and how about some art? I stumbled across Hal Rotting Graphics on Tumblr forever ago and I just..unf. I want ALL of the things and am probably going to snag a sticker pack for my laptop here soon.

Next up, nerds pay attention. Go like the page for American Witch comics. I AM SO HYPE ABOUT THIS!

Are you Canadian? In or around Toronto and into film? My homie Trista DeVries has somethin for you! Pretty cool magazine on the film scene.

Are you writing things? I have some stuff for my writing friends.

First up read and then submit to Dead Housekeeping. It’s just, heartbreaking and so good. I cherish it while I read it. AND if you’ve been here a while you’ve heard me say it time and again, COME JOIN US AT YEAH, WRITE.  No for real do it do it do it do it.

Need translation? Some bad ass poems? Non fiction? You need to meet Shabnam Nadiya. All the yes.

And we all need more amazing non binary trans-masculine types in our lives right? NO seriously, you do. Meet AJ Ripley and well, you’re welcome.

Listen to Gyda Arber talk about her new really cool project.  It is a podcast AND one you can download and listen to on the go. Fuck to the yes.

Now meet Stephanie Georgopulos. Freelance writer and she runs Human Parts. Awww, yiss.

Speaking of Human Parts, my friend Laurence Dumortier did this really great piece over there. Go read it. 

More stuff to listen to! Katie Klabusich hosts a podcast I really enjoy called The Katie Speak Show. I’m SO here for it. Bookmark, listen love.

More stuff? How about some real good nerd stuff? Via my homie  Alisha Karabinus and her academic team, ALL THE THINGS GAMING! Podcasts, videos awesomeness. If you are trying to get your nerd on in the context of amazing stuff like race and gaming, get it.

I also want you to meet Jen Selk writer and editor of awesome. Reviews, journalism, checkout her statement at the bottom of the page. TROLL BE GONE!

NOW okay this is pretty cool. Via Hanna Brooks Olson and Sarah Anne Lloyd, SEATTLISH. I didn’t realize I KNEW THEM. And that’s pretty fucking cool.

WOW this was a beast. Are you still here? Thanks for hanging out. I’ve been squirreling links away for weeks and I just get so excited about sharing my community with y’all. AND I don’t want you starved for great stuff to read and look at.

What about yours truly?

Well, actually naw. Check out the sidebar for my stuff. We’ll do me another day.

Except to say that I’ve been crocheting again after not doing it for a while and it feels great. I’m working really hard to work up the courage to sell some of my wares. Until then look at this beauty I’m working on now. I will be adding some gorgeous deep, vibrant teal and he’ll be done.

Thanks for reading and as always, if you have stuff you want to share with everybody, LEAVE THEM LINKS BOO!



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