On that Grind.

Okay.

Seriously I am on that grind this week. I’ve been writing like hell.

I’m trying really hard to figure out how to balance all the things I want to do and make a little bit of cash in the process.

Shit is fuckin hard y’all.

In other news I am plowing my way through a superb reading list. I’ll have some new reviews up soon.

Um whoa so this happened. Aside from being in excellent company it really touches me that my sort of off the cuff I want to write something today post made sense.

Over the years I’ve come from skipping meals to buy Poets & Writers or to buy “good” quality typing paper and renting time on ancient PCs at Kinko’s and shit to sometimes making a little money, learning how to unsubscribe from the fancy monied author mythos.

I have had to do a lot of stuff that has been hard. Figuring out how to balance my ethics with my need to eat. For instance when I opened my etsy store I had a rash of weird White dudes wanting 3$ Cuckold interracial porn. I’m talking dudes wanting like 10K words with these shortass turnarounds.

Once upon a time I would have done it. Enough 3 buck porns could someday buy me lunch or shoes.

I had to sit with it and do what other authors I’ve seen do. I had to set some rules and after a lot of self flagellation (How DARE YOU turn down actual income) and struggle I did this:

If you are looking for custom erotica here are the rules.

1.) My rate is firm at 25$ a page. This includes a first draft, final edit. Put together with a plain cover and available as a pdf/doc/docx file.
2.) I am not heterosexual. I will write hetero but it is not my forte.
3.) Do NOT send/offer to send me photos of your genitals I will ban you.
4.) No, I will not barter.
5.) No incest, underage, bestiality will be considered.
6.) If I am not into the idea I will not take the commission.
7.) If you want a sample of my work, buy one.

Currently I am not looking for/accepting custom work. When I am I will post a special listing.

Honestly y’all. Do you now how hard that was for me to do? To really put down in words that I will not suffer foolishness and that my porn is worth professional rates?

That started me on a path to wanting to Free myself with freelance work. I started grinding out research and things and realized that some parts of a freelance career are just not things I do well. Aside from that, I just don’t want to write for some pulications who would probably take me.

Pump the mother fuckin breaks.

I honestly had weeks of arguing with myself about it because as we know, there is a lot of pressure for especially WOC to go be in ALL the things and break through the whiteness of certain markets and everything.

I have been just, fighting with my desire to earn that money and those thoughts. The what right do have to not want those opportunities?

What kind of nerve do I have when I need money for shit like shoes and underwear, to not want to take the full leap?

WHO THE FUCK IS YOU.

And then I keep thinking about things my publisher Milcah has said to me. I keep thinking about what we’re doing with the book at Self Care Like A Boss. I think about what my best friend has been saying for almost 20 years. About when my partner is just like YES DO THAT SHIT.

I think about the authors I love the most and how many of them joke about low book sales and write shit that moves me.

I am the writer who write really fucking terrible copy for really fucking terrible heteronormative sex toy anon/affiliate websites because I wanted to save up for shoes.

I am also the writer who has turned down some amazing opportunities because they would make me feel bad in my heart.

I am book pregnant with the best book baby daddy Milcah. 

Way back when I was about 14 and dreaming about being an infamous writer, I dreamed about a life of liesure paid for by literary patrons.

I thought that was how I wanted it.

Looking back I realize that I would not be a bad ass writer right now without the struggle. If I had no struggle, if I didn’t have to write out all these fuckin feelings, if I hadn’t spent SO much time poring over literary magazines I couldn’t afford and low er high key learning how to absorb everything I need from as many sources as I can find that are free.

I would not cherish the lessons I learn from the books I buy.

If I wasn’t struggling with shit a lot, I don’t honestly think I would be so comfortable with how I am figuring out what my work is worth and who I want to work with.

One thing that goes through my bones is that easy doesn’t teach me well. It never has. If I didn’t have to work shit out I would not work it out.

I am on that grind.

I AM ON THAT MOTHER FUCKING GRIND and unlike when I was a baby writer, I value it. I love it. I am here for it.

Being ass deep in the struggle means I have found the path to my people. And I love my people. My people love me.

And that is pretty valuable.

OH okay a few more things.

I put up a story that is so close to my heart I can’t even. It is a slipstream story involving a wee Haitian girl and Hati and his brother. There is magic, the beginning of my need to explore how cultures can intersect, collide combine and exist together without throwing the brown folks under the bus. It is a bit more expensive than other stuff because of the sheer amount of work it took for me to get it done.

Here is a big ole taste:

“Mama was hurt, Papa was dead. She gave me water in a bottle and papers in my bag. Then she told me to run. She said I was too small and that they would hurt me. She said, Bernadette, you run you hide girl. Hide, hide hide.”

She trailed off, the counselor waited her out.

“I ran. Like a woof-”

The counselor arched an eyebrow.

“A woof? You mean a dog?”

Bernie glowered at her.

“No, woof, you know woof they howl like this at the moon.”

Bernie tipped her head back and let out a full throated mournful howl.

“Ah, wolf.”

“That is what I say. And then I found a place under concrete it was dry.”

[redacted, go buy for more]

“Ayti.”

It was a drawing from a Norse myth, the librarian smiled at her and nodded.

“Would you like to read about Hati?”

Bernie nodded, her eyes lit up.

In her heart, she chanted to the Universe, Ayti, Ayti Ayti. In her heart Bernie was mourning Haiti, the way her Maternal Grandmother had taught her. To think and feel the name of a thing or a person so as not to forget. She could not bring herself to sing the names of her parents, that hurt too much. But, when she spoke Ayti, Ayti, Ayti in the secret voice of her heart, it sufficed.

Next week I will get into how this story came about, that it was inspired by Roxane Gay and a woman I met on the bus.

Okay this  is way too long I need to calm all the way down and go do some editing.

Get Bernie’s Warg here. 

OH also per usual this is not kid or ya lit. This is grown folks business.


Yeah Write #202 Entry- Junky

 

Junky

by

Shannon Barber

How can I remember his snake’s name and not his?

His snake was named Percival the Pirate.

I remember his pale skin and terrible dye jobs. His long fingers and scratchy junkie voice.

I loved him the way you love the dog that shits on your floor then cuddles you when you cry.

When he was blue, I pounded on him and slapped his face screaming promises of retribution and butt sex until I hit his heart hard enough to get him going again.

I remember his terror, his voice broken like a child whispering into their mother’s ear at midnight, ragged words for nightmares too real to stay secret.

“Nobody is holding. Nobody.”

His voice in the phone echoed the reality of childhood nightmares.

He loved me. As much as he knew how to love anything. He loved me enough to never touch me. I would lay naked as he devoured me with greedy eyes. I showed him everything from the hot secret of my wide open cunt to my shy asshole.

He loved me in hot greedy looks and embraces so tight we couldn’t breathe.

The last time, I pounded his chest and screamed in his face. I screamed at the paramedics. I learned to hate him when I stood almost alone by his coffin.

I swear that mother fucker was smiling.

I hate him still.

I will love him forever.

###

ps…

Loosely based on someone I knew.RIP you fuck.


A New thing and some other things.

First thing my last  comment on my now infamous Paris Review Post is up as the featured essay in Literary Orphans.

The title is a nod to 2pac. This song in case you don’t know it.

What else?

I’m working on some new non fiction. An attempt at humor about sex work. My failed career as a foot fetish ho. Also in the pipeline some queer flash fiction, some more non fiction this time about my relationship with Western Beauty Ideals and how I came to reject them outright.

Shit even some poetry.

Speaking of poetry I have a new one up at Ink Node. 

I’m still working on my freelance shit. Y’all.

I find the whole process so intimidating. I have a collection of resources and some basic how to shit and I know I just have to fucking write the shit.

OH I will have some book reviews coming up as well. I’ve read some good stuff and I will probably dedicate an entry to the Sherman Alexie book I’m reading because several of my favorite of his short works are in it. It is just so damn good.

How about some more stuff to read?

Check out this interview at The Rumpus with poet Danez Smith.  Ugh yes. Fuck yes. Yes.

My Muse and beloved dear friend writer Remittance Girl posted this the other day about Bad Men.

This bit:

Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion life would be a lot easier if we shut up about our erotic fantasies? I do.

Just read it.

I am going to talk about this at greater length later but a lot of my work is rife with various evils. Some of them erotic, some not. It is what moves me and I want to go in about it because I find it really important to talk about. For now go read that.

OH y’all. So I am obsessed with podcasts and I gotta shoutout Mick Betancourt. A.) He’s a funny mother fucker. B.) he’s posted some tidbits of his memoir in progress. Just go look. Listen.

Also this is an old episode but another of my favorite authors Craig Davidson was on the LA Review of Books. Check it out. 

Tood Robinson from Thuglit posted a cool little Q&A type video on facebook. If you like your lit dark and grimy you for real need to read Thuglit. I’m serious and I’m not just saying that because I was in it once. Just do it.

Now a bit of self promotion.

As ever (I am getting better about keeping it updated) you can come like my official author page on Facebook here.

You can follow me on twitter @weebeasty but I warn you I ain’t shit. I livetweet things like my period and when I get street harassed. So yeah. That.

Read ALL the XOjane Self care articles here.

Milcah and I are working like hell on Self Care Like a Boss ahead of us birthing the book. Follow along here.

Keep your eye on the etsy shop. I have some new smut to add soon. I’m talking gender bending, Daddy/Girl/, Literary fetish deep dicking type shit. Until then a current favorite from readers is Bite An Erotic Tale. Remember this is grown folks lit.

Here is a taste:

He starts to speak and I lay my hand over his mouth and shake my head.

“Oh no. Not tonight. Shhh.”

I tilt my head forward and use my other hand to yank the collar of his shirt down to expose a patch of his fuzzy skin. I have to stand on tiptoe and use the hand on his mouth for leverage to get myself to the right height and angle, when I’m satisfied I lean in and bite.

OKAY enough. I have work to do.

What are y’all up to?


Yeah Write #201- Lady Dozens.

Those girls are dangerous.

That is my first thought when I see them, the three of them looking hot and talking shit about everyone else that walks by.

I need friends, I want those friends. I know what to do.

Breathe deep, start walking.

As I pass one of the girls snickers,

“Oh booboo I see them ashy ass ankles.”

The other girls giggle and I stop and tip my sunglasses down with a fingertip. I look her up and down and smile.

“Babygirl, who stole them edges?”

The rest of the girls erupt in laughter, howling and clapping. One of them points at me, nodding.

“That’s my bitch right there. My bitch.”

We all laugh, my opponent shakes her head cackling.

“You got me booboo. You got me.”

“So one of y’all got some lotion or what? I gotta do something about my ashy ass ankles.”

Purses are unzipped, first to quick draw a tiny tube of Palmer’s is the first girl who spoke.

“Thanks Ma good lookin out.”

I sit and lotion my ashy feet and we laugh about a crooked wig and a fallen track.

Now, I have friends.

###

PS…

If you don’t know what the Dozens is, click here. Then come back and reread pls.

 


On Lovecraft, horror, holy shit racism and writin thangs.

I first read a Lovecraft story more than twenty years ago as a young teenager. I cut my reading novels teeth on horror and discovering Lovecraft was like finding a new home.

Except, I couldn’t really be home because Lovecraft was racist as fuck.

Like holy fuckballs even when I was a “colorblind” young teen in a  super white environment and friends told me it was racist, holy fuck he was SO FUCKING RACIST…ahem.

At that age I was way better at compartmentalizing the racism and just kind of hunching my shoulders and getting through it because I fell in pure love with the mythos Lovecraft created. Elder Gods? Squiddy nightmares? All those words he used to denote the madnesses and things?

Fuck to the yeah.

So fast foward a bit.

In my 20s I wrote some Lovecraft influenced fiction with some friends. We used Lovecraft’s mythos as a bit of a blueprint and went wild. We created new races of monster, we played with noir and vampire horror and things.

Move ahead to the last couple of years. I have had this deep desire to write Lovecraftian type fiction with my own flavor. So that means a lot of POC, a lot of genderbending, the gay, lots of things.

My problem has been as it has been with returning to writing horror at all was how to get my shit in there, without feeling gross.

If you’ve been here for a while you already know I am a horror fanatic. I am a horror nerd of epic proportions. From basic fan squee to gettin real nerdy about the psychology of horror and shit once I get going it’s hard to get me to stop.

Horror from the industry side, so much racism, sexism and grossness when I dipped my toes in and lurked a lot of the industry side message boards and things I just got sickened and gave it all up.

Evidence of this can be found in my bucketload of novella drafts, notes and ideas.

Part of how I function as a writer means that I can’t always write through everything. And for years I could not write things that were horror or related because all I could think of was all the bullshit.

Also, at that time I was still really into the idea that mainstream publication was the way to legitimacy as a creator.

Fuck that.

Now that my position on legitimacy and industry bullshit has changed I am walking back into writing horror.

Going back to my Lovecraft story I have been nursing this idea of the Nyarlathotep.

Uh, it’s gonna get real nerdy from here on out. Fair warning.

So Nyarlathotep is canonically a “dark” Egyptian man, a salesman type. Showboaty.  This bit from Wikipedia is pretty relevant to the vision I am playing with:

Nyarlathotep, however, is active and frequently walks the Earth in the guise of a human being, usually a tall, slim, joyous man. He has “a thousand” other forms, most of these reputed to be maddeningly horrific. Most of the Outer Gods have their own cults serving them; Nyarlathotep seems to serve these cults and take care of the deities’ affairs in their absence. Most of the gods use strange alien languages, but Nyarlathotep uses human languages and can be mistaken for a human being.

Okay so in my vision Nyarlathotep is reborn into the modern world and has come to fuck shit up. She in my head looks something like this man but a woman:

egyptian

So you know not Hollywood’s EVERYONE EVER WAS WHITE version.

Incidentally, I frequently use google image search so I can have a picture in my head for a character or setting etc. We’ll discuss it another time.

There is my Nyarlathotep.

Being that she’s Egyptian dealing with (in that story) an American, I mention she speaks slowly. I use that not only to give the reader a downlow clue to slow down but because every Egyptian I’ve ever known speaks very quickly.

When I got the idea my Nyarlathotep was more fast talking greasy type but the slowed down type I find scarier.

Now the language. Lovecraft was very wordy. Not that I can’t be a windbag on occasion but, I wanted to cut it down.  Chill it out a little and modernize it without losing some of the great language he used.

A fine line to walk.

Lovecraft has a very particular vocabulary. See this list for reference.

I worked really hard to put in some of that Lovecraft vocabulary so that my fellow lovers of the Elder Gods would be like, oh I see what you did there. And other folks would just get the creeps. See here from the above link:

The best-known R’lyehian fragment comes from HPL’s story, “The Call of Cthulhu:”

ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn

HPL translates this as, “In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu lies dreaming.” Using this dictionary, however, a more literal translation is, “Dead, yet dreaming, Cthulhu waits in his palace in R’lyeh.”

My goal with this piece was to take a very small box *parameters of Yeah, Write*, a concept *Nyarlathotep*, remove the racism, add in my flavor and see if I could keep it sexy and creepy. Mainly because I like sexy and creepy.

I feel like I succeeded in my goals.

This is also why Clive Barker is such a huge influence on me. I really love when there is the sensual terror and erotic body horror in scary stories.

Now my Nylarthotep is not scary but I got some creep in there.

I realized I need to gently get back into the scary.

Next time I do a Lovecraft thing, I might take a new direction. Maybe some straight up erotica that isn’t necessarily tentacle porn.

SO yeah.

See I told y’all I nerd real hard. This is not even the tip of the iceberg with my nerding.

But I’ll stop now.

 


Yeah Write #200 entry- A New Girl for Nyarlathotep

A New Girl for Nyarlathotep

by Shannon Barber

“I want to be the vehicle of your annihilation.”

Her voice is smooth and she speaks slowly and carefully. I want to look away but can’t. Her big black eyes have me. I try to speak and fail, fidget with my drink.

“I don’t offer empty handed.”

Something about her manner incites a kind of gibbering desire deep inside me. It bubbles and burns like a madness that starts between my legs and spreads through me until I’m helpless and craving a darkness beyond midnight.

Her smile is wide and white, her teeth gleam against her dark lips. She leans forward and strokes my cheek with soft long fingers.

“I know the darkness you seek. The blackness you try to create in your body. I know that in your dreams you hear them, you know the dreams of the Old Gods.”

Her voice grinds to a gravid whisper, it pulls me in and holds me tight. Her words are a hand around my throat and one locked around my soul. I haven’t spoken in hours and when I do, I don’t recognize the cracked oozing thing that has become my voice.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” 

Her head tips back and she laughs, the noise is grating and enormous. Everything around us drops away to nothing, now that the darkness is revealed to me, the darkness I know I was born from. Nothing else can matter in the grip of the Old Gods.

I rock back and forth, my drinks and drugs and cigarettes forgotten. The Eldritch madness is coming, it is pouring into me like foul black water and I open my mouth wide to take it.

She leaves me there, screaming.

“Dead and dreaming dead and dreaming dead and dreaming dead and dreaming…”

I am hers, I know her name she is called Nyarlathotep. She is the daughter of Azathoth, she is the obscene desire in me and the horror I have been craving my whole life.

I am not her first. I will not be her last.

I will be hers, I will follow her into the darkness. I will ride her thousand forms and live in her crawling chaos.

Dead and dreaming, dead and dreaming…

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

###

p.s

I will be back tomorrow talking about why this little thing is special to me and my relationship with Lovecraft.


Writing bucket list 2015

Some shit I want to accomplish this year.

  • Get paid more. I want to gently step up my freelancing. While making sure I don’t get down on myself because I’m not a journalist.
  • Maybe get paid for some fiction.
  • Add a bit more to my etsy store.
  • Finish Self Care Like A Boss with a big ass bang.
  • Get back into writing about bodies and get paid for said writing.
  • Just get fuckin paid.

I am working on figuring out what kind of freelancing I can handle. I’ve discovered I’m not great at newsy current events type stuff. Unless it is something that comes out in a big ole pain porn flood and I can’t emotionally deal with doing that all the time. Especially if I know I probably won’t get paid.

That being what it is, I need to further work out my pitching terror. I have very little confidence about that type of writing and I need to get to a better place with it. Which is to say, I just need to fuckin do it.

I have ideas and notes for stuff that isn’t so rip my heart out but the idea of pitching them puckers my asshole.

I really want to ease into some changes. I want to back myself while I’m doing some new kinds of writing.

SO yeah.

Shit is changing and I’m working it out.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,180 other followers

%d bloggers like this: