But okay so like..I have questions.

I just read yet another super Anti-Black piece of trash in a “well regarded” supposedly venerable publication.

Okay I have fucking questions.

So, in the past few years I’ve not been trying to get as involved with lit world fuckery. That said, I see it. I watch publications publish and pay for boldly Anti Black, racist, transphobic shit and y’all just…

I have mother fucking questions.

Nobody can ever tell me why these are the voices folks choose to put forward. Or why aside from mealy mouthed declarations of freedom of speech, that those things need space.

And then so many of those pubs turn around and brag about their commitment to diversity.

Y’all.

Can I be honest?

Shit like this, is what propels me out of the lit world.

In 2016 I made less than 30 submissions. And most of them were rejected.Most of hte stuff I’ve gotten published that I haven’t done myself has been solicited.

It’s not for lack of done work. It’s because I don’t want to have to wade through the ugly shit to see if I even should submit. I don’t want my name associated with venerable well paying publications that like to post racist or whatever shitty shit without comment except, oooh freedom of speech.

Man.

I have to deal with that.

I have to deal with sooper seekrit lady writer groups where I’ve opened my big ass mouth about injsutices, and said no to whiteness and worry about being told that editors will tell other editors that I might be a problem or hard to work with. I have to deal with the very real thing (that has happened but not lately) of having my ideas stolen and fucked up because I asked my “peers” for advice.

And I have to be able to actually write the shit and not have it come out only FUCK FUCK FUCK MOTHER OF FUCK.

Maybe it is getting older or maybe it is the fact that this election has pretty much destroyed any chill I had left but I just don’t want to do it.

I have SCLAB to do and that is my heart. And I can’t do that if my heart is torn to shreds because the lit world is a burning garbage fire on the regular.

I am so frustrated.

I am angry.

I am so tired.

I feel like my opportunities in the lit world are shrinking.

I have a submission almost ready because someone told me I should submit to their thing. I have a few more like that.

What I don’t have is the strength or girded loins to do deep market research anymore because I keep running into this bullshit.

I dunno y’all.

2017 might be the year I go full indie because I just can’t deal with this AND do my art.

I just don’t know.

Doing the Work

The greatest and best method for me to do the work and show my love for my community is to write.

In the last few years, every word I’ve written. Every. Single. One of thousands comes from my deep need to express my love for my community.

The essays, the stories, the rants the everything.

It is how I say I love you when I’m too overwhelmed to talk.

It is how I do the work.

That said, I need y’all to do me a favor.

Go to this piece on Medium and share the fuck out of it.

From the piece:

Right now in our political climate in the US, folks like me are not only dealing with our usual shit but also the added terror of worrying about being attacked, watching our White “allies” forget how to say White Supremacy, being called on for extra emotional/intellectual labor, having to (for my fellow writers this one is especially terrible right now) watch our White lady ‘allies’ do the most in order to get our help/labor for their own work and they offer nothing in return.

My community is in need.

This is the work.

Please help us.

Thank you.

Staying in my lane and some other noodling.

Over at Patreon I posted a chapter from my OG Daiyuverse and talked a bit about a chunk of plot I took out of the story. Here have a looksy.

I want to talk a bit more about staying in my lane and how I’m looking to pull inspiration from other cultures in this particular verse.

My particular situation arose from a subplot involving a cultural misunderstanding between a Creole Skinwalker and a young Navajo man over the name Skinwalker. The Creole boys people are able to literally walk in the skin of animals by psychically occupying their consciousness. Navajo Skinwalkers are not that in any way.

While I was making notes and researching this, my uppermost concern was that I wasn’t just being appropriative and grabby because it could make for a shiny bit of conflict. I am working really hard on creating ways of bringing together disparate cultures and creating magical traditions within those cultures and not falling on OH MAGICAL NEGRO tropes.

This bit of storyline in particular, I think I can do without being disrespectful, but in terms of the Daiyuverse it may not happen there. I’m not trying to be hamfisted about it. Also, I wasn’t entirely ready to talk about things like tribal solidarity and how that wound function in a sort of pancultural thing like The Institute, how could a Navajo sorcerer reconcile sharing his cultural religious practices AND his magic with outsiders?

I didn’t have answers for that so- bloop plotline put aside.

And this is where I say, I’m gonna stay in my damn lane.

Too many writers I see decide to take something shiny from a culture and run with it without there being a foundation of understanding of both the shiny bits and the struggles of a culture. Personally, I think that is how we wind up with so many Magical Negroes, and sooper spiritual Native folks etc. Too many people don’t take the time to dig deeper and work from a space where yes, YAY magical and brown, but also, this is shit going on within that culture that would shape this character.

For me, this is where I’ve seen things like the Strong Black Woman that don’t need nobody tropes come from and flourish. Even other Black writers can fall into the trap of wanting so badly to create a bad ass amazing character, that they forget that nobody can be that all the time. In the need to defy negative stereotypes, folks forget the squishy bloodiness that makes us human and characters become cardboard cutouts.

I’m currently re-reading Midnight Taxi Tango: A Bone Street Rumba by  my homie Daniel José Older and this is an area where I will point to and say LOOK at how he builds the humanity of his characters through their moments of weakness. In his universe, he’s populated this book with bad ass killers. These are mother fuckers you should be afraid of.

My personal favorite character Reza (if you haven’t read the book read this short and meet her) is one of the folks to be scared of. She’s confident and a gangster and through her swag and gun toting badassery, we see her afraid. We get to see her heart aching for Angie. We see her in full vengeance mode and she’s a person. 

Daniel took what could have been a badass butch cardboard cutout of a gangster and gave her a pulse.

In the context of my own work, especially within this urban fantasy Seattle/US I’m building, I’m paying close attention to the people who are inhabiting this world. I want them to have life and pulses and I don’t want to reread what I’ve done and wind up rolling my eyes cause I’ve not taken enough care to incorporate what I feel is important into the framework of these people.

I’m also taking an opportunity to poke some meta fun at Whiteness tropes. Especially in terms of the hippy dippy pretendian White lady fucking things up with her ignorance and sealioning (I JUST learned that word and it fit so perfectly in what I had notes about doing) causing problems with the legit magical culture in this world. I’m also doing it in an urban fantasy short that makes fun of the Whiteness of Elves type fantasy and the justification of it being “tradition”.

An interesting side effect of not only Turnip Winning but also of my own reactions and health is that, I’ve found a certain freedom I’ve not felt before and I’ll talk about it more when I don’t have a cold.

That’s all for right now y’all. I’m at work and really tired and about to pound coffee and pie until my teeth vibrate.

I will probably be doing some more process/craft nerdery soon because I have many thoughts.

But Can I be Honest? Or Can a Bitch live?

Okay, so, in this post election Trumpfuckian* nightmare, being that I am a creator of things, I have been creating things.

I already published one essay about my real feelings post election. Find it here at Medium. I put a general content warning on it for everything. If you’re feeling fragile do not read.

Ahem.

If you’ve been here for more than five minutes you could fairly say, I have a salty tongue. I’m a foul mouthed heathen. I use the Seven Dirty Words quite liberally in my work.

I have long understood that because I stand by my bad words as being necessary, that precludes me being published a lot of places. I get it. I know.

I know I am a difficult sell even when I’m not saying mother fucker every few words and it’s okay. I made peace with that.

I. know.

Now, before I was totally done with the essay, I had a nibble of interest that quickly turned into a, well if you (insert edits that would strip it of it’s power and turn it into Nice Black Lady Pap+end with hope I don’t feel) and I am not with that.

Now, since I published it myself, the reception has been pretty great. Way less pushback than I expected, some folks saw fit to use my tip jar and send some donations which is incredible. I’m about that life.

That said, I find it interesting that when I’m completely naked honest, I’m talking ass out bucky ass nekkid- I self publish and things tend to go well.

I take that same energy and what I think is an integral part of my voice to the markets and I fail. Miserably.

My literary partner in let us call it impending Unfuckwithableness Milcah has pointed out to me, I’ve succeeded when I’m just 100% about who I am and not trying to pretend.

It’s true.

And we come back around to me being me and my, uh, not quite fitting a lot of the narrative places have of what they want to say.

For instance, some okay, no let me be real about it all of my poetry lately has been bloody, bleak, and not uplifting. Basically how I’m feeling. I clocked some very swift rejections for a piece I’ll put at Ink node later on. Keep your eye out here.

Being rejected doesn’t but me by itself. What bothers me are the notes that came with the rejections about how these pubs are going for Hope and Unity and Feelgoodness (my word) right now.

But why isn’t there room for me too?

I really hate the idea that we as creators must immediately go to the hope and not document our grief and rage. My grief, my rage isn’t going to end with all of us holding hands and singing Old Negro Spirituals.

It’s going to end in blood because that’s how I feel.

There’s room for more than happy uplift.

There is space for those who are despairing and only know to make art or otherwise create to help get through it.

I’ve talked to some friends and a lot of us are in this same boat. We need to scream and make bloody rage filled art and we’d like for it to be valued as much as the uplift and shiny hope.

So yanno, if you have space, consider making space for us less shiny  minded folks.

Giving what I have right now.

I can’t be in so much pain and anger today.

That said, I’d like to share some beauty.

First up, please enjoy a little video of me reading my story The Beloved of Colel Cab you may need to crank the volume, my new phone isn’t the greatest for video but here you go. Feel free to share it, like it, subscribe to my youtube channel. I will have more lit vids coming.

If you’d like a copy to read or read along (I am working on a good transcript) click here it is available as a free post at my Patreon. 

I have some new self-care stuff coming. Emergency stuff.

I have a new piece of work a prose-poem thing on Ink Node.

I am very well and truly out of spoons and this is what I know how to do. This is what I can give to my community. Some things from my heart that might be a bit of a respite.

I also offer up the pieces on self-care I wrote a while back and put on Medium. Take them and share them if you know folks who need them. Here and Here.

Check this slipstream flash story. It’s a happy little thing.

And one more, a favorite story of mine. A little Queer Flash fiction love letter to my fellow Brown Femmes. Check the link for the story and an interview.

This is all I have right now. I’m so not okay I have nothin else.

When I have something, it’s yours.

Until then, take care of yourselves and each other and I love y’all.

Nope.

Or I could call this survival in the face of White Supremacy clocking a big win.

If I’ve questioned myself as an artist lately, last night and today changed my mind.

I don’t know a lot of things. Including what my future holds, but I know this. I know why Trump won and I’m not surprised. If you are surprised, you’ve not paid attention to what people like me have been saying.

White Supremacy is a mother fucker.

The only reason I was with her was because I didn’t want this.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve been having nightmares, I’ve been anxiety shitting and living with aimless terror.

Today I’m enraged.

I’m angry on multiple fronts. Last night I wrote this poem because I had to remember that’s what I know how to do.

Now I need to talk about something else entirely.

This is a real bad time for so called progressives to be abusing POC creators. Don’t ask us to contribute for free. Don’t ask us to continue to do the heavy lifting. Don’t turn to use to teach you how to fight, how to organize or where to pitch your bullshit.

Already just today I’ve had to fend off queries from folks who admire me and my work and my social justice warrior shit and who love me so much and value me so much, they want me to work for them for free. They want me to give what amounts to consults and talks and special writing and help placing their own work about this clusterfuck of a moment and offer zero compensation.

I woke up to several emails from different white people who are these type of fans. Not one of them offered me anything in return.

Not boosts for my various funding links.

Not a fucking Uber.

People in my direct community are terrified. Trans kids have been harming themselves. Friends who are in similar or worse financial straits as I am, have been questioning the purpose of them continuing to live and these mother fuckers want me to lean the fuck in?

White people.

White women, especially I’m talking to you right now.

How. Dare. You.

How DARE you try so hard to co-opt the struggles of MY foremothers the DAY after all you could talk about were your White Suffragette faves.

How DARE you disrespect us and expect us to come running to work for you for free.

We are not your goddamn mules.

We did not make this happen.

This post was partially spurred by my friend Wagatwe Sara Wanjuki. This happened to her today as well.

Now, any time people ask me to do shit for free, there is a process I go through to figure it out.

I will generally consider it more heavily from POC and Queer folks. For instance, when Yellow Chair offered space for WOC I jumped. I needed that. Offering space is something a lot of us need.

That is entirely different than one email I got in particular urging me to come lead some folks and make space for them and basically hold their hands and lead them to the promised land. They wanted my time, my work (work done just for them), step into a position of some type of instructor/mentor/Sweet Negress- I mean overall the outlined “position” was a fuck ton of fucking work.

If I did that, it would amount to probably a good 18-25 hours a week of unpaid work on top of my 12 hour dayjob.

I didn’t even count meatspace time.

Now, I dunno about y’all but I work on a limited number of spoons this is unreasonable.

Beyond that, this person and I are acquainted. Well we were, she blocked me on social media after I let her know how inappropriate her ask is. She KNOWS my situation in life. She KNOWS how hard I need to hustle to both survive AND create.

She used that whole well solidarity and racism is bad…yo.

You want to fight the good fight? Fucking fund it.

Look at my friend Wagatwe’s project here. You want to do some good? Stop giving your money to big ass faceless shit. Put up or shut the fuck up.

We (I will speak for Wagatwe here as well) have been doing the work. We are struggling so fucking hard, her in many similar and different ways than me.

And you have the gall to demand we show you solidarity?

Nah son.

Bitches can’t eat love or adoration or admiration.

We gotta eat.

So you know what? Don’t ask us to be your mule for solidarity.

Pay us what we’re worth.Go to Wagatwe’s facebook page and say, I value your work where do I send my money?

Don’t have money? Boost the FUCK out of our stuff. Help get us paid.

I will refer you to my recent post about helping me get funding.

Y’all I’m so tired.

I’m terrified. As much as I usually am. I’m disappointed mostly.

And I feel disrespected and like somebody (more than one right now) is trying to take advantage of my nature and you know what? No. Fuck out of here with that bullshit.

How to Support your fave Indie Weirdo

This will be my new masterpost of ways to support my work.

First up the free stuff.

Come follow me on Medium and share pieces you like on your social media. Also, if you like them hit the heart and recommend them.

Want to hear about writing and creative stuff? Every saturday I send a writer email newsletter that I call loveletters. Get them here and you can share them with your friends. I promise no spam and no bullshit.

The important bits here are shares. It’s free and maybe you know folks who like lit stuff.

Money stuff:

Okay I have money stuff for all levels of cash.

First up, shop my Etsy store. Currently I have three things available, these are very accessible prices and yes, I know I gotta keep value blah-blah, but this is where I’m able to really make some of my work accessible and get a little coin in my pocket.

Next, you can check out my Patreon. If you don’t mind a recurring thing it could be for you. Right now I’m offering up an in progress (with mistakes and stuff) look at my urban fantasy novella in progress. If I can rustle up sufficient interest I may add a shortish bi-weekly/monthly podcast type thing where I talk writing stuff.

Don’t like commitment? If I’ve posted or written something that you really appreciate, tip me. I’ve got options. You can go with paypal here. I’ve got Venmo. My other option is a Gofundme campaign I’m running to help put myself and my partner a little ahead in life. Find that here.

Last up my little merch store. I have some poetry stickers, some tees/shirts. Check that out here. 

That’s pretty much all of it. I’ve got a little something something for everyone.

Go forth, check it all out. Enjoy. And remember shares are cares my loves!