The Big Dream

Another question by my writer friend. This person is a young POC writer and I’ve been delighted to be of some kinda service.

This also fits in with me really thinking about making a home for myself and my partner.

So here we go.

First a place to live. Where we live now is not terrible, but it’s not convenient for anything. Being that my partner is disabled and has mobility issues I want a first floor or small house with two bedrooms. No stairs. Laundry on site. I won’t live in another pretty much all White neighborhood again because last time was traumatic for me. So probably around the hood we live in now.

I want one bedroom to be my office. I want a big black desk. I want bookshelves. No phone. I want horror art and bones and skulls and taxidermy to decorate it. I want a couch in there and my yarn storage.

I don’t necessarily need to not have a day job.  Though I would not be at all averse to working part time and writing full time. With enough cash to pay rent and whatnots.

I want to be able to make enough money to survive comfortably and then to just have time to write without worry.

I want to be comfortable enough to know that my partner won’t go without meds, that it won’t fuck up our budget for two months if I need a new pair of pants or shoes. I want to be able to maybe go out to dinner once a month together. Or go on quick trips to Portland or up to Vancouver without scramble or months of planning.

I have some plans in the works to help make it happen.

Mainly though I just want to write.

Ultimately, I could just hole up and write all the things and emerge to socialize sometimes, then hole up and write some more.

I write the best when I can cocoon up and just go.

Time not taken up with money and work worries spent relearning to make my own clothes, and crocheting, and talking to my friends.

A little room for exploration. More of this feeling I have now that because I have Patreon and some folks have donated, I have that bit of ease that means I can write freely.

I low key feel greedy, but I want this feeling to invade my whole life.

So I’m workin on it.

I’ve got some plans up my sleeve.

Some things I’m looking into doing to create an income for me that does not come with the flavor of stress my dayjob comes with and allows me to help people.

Now if y’all will excuse me. I have more of that writing shit to do. I’m writing an essay for a new venture!!

I’m about done with that, I think. At least the first pass.

AND THEN I’m going to work on some notes for my next book which I’ll discuss later.

 


They always come calling. Soft teen girls nervous and giggling. Trying to be hard boys drunk and full of bravado. In the end, they are really all the same. Hot bags of blood and emotions that wake me from sleep to rattle my chains and deliver nonsense messages to the other realm.

I loved them once. I knocked and bumped and moaned when they chanted.

“Billy. Billy, are you here? Can you make your presence known?”

I don’t even know if my name was Billy but, they always seem to like it. So I answer. I whisper in their ears and blow graven breath on their sweet necks.

Now they bring hot lights and ridiculous men stomping around being skeptical.

“Come on Billy. Scare us. What, you only like to scare little girls?”

One dumb girl calls and wets herself and I am the villain. She demanded in her loud, shrill voice that I touch her. That I show myself to her because she did not believe..

Yes, I showed her.

I bit and howled. I loomed as a shadow bigger and darker than the night. I was proud, it’s hard to do and she messed herself and ran out screaming with her drunken friends.

Now here I am.

When the tough guys with their lights and camera are here.

They scream for evil Billy. They dare me to hurt them.

Yes.

I will show them bad Billy.

I am Billy.

I will be Billy.

When the loud man starts challenging me to touch him, to make myself known I get ready. I devour the batteries in their bright lights and gadgets, then I run just a bit of myself right up the cleft of his bottom. At first he only stood very still and then he shrieked.

Oh, did he shriek.

He jumped like the cats I play with sometimes and ran shrieking and clutching his cold violated bottom. The energy rippled from his fleeing self through his friends and into me.

I gathered myself and stood at the end of the only open hallway, I am huge and blacker than the blackness. My voice is real and so loud the man with the headphones on drops to his knees in pain.

“I am Billy. I am here. Leave me alone.”

 They run away and my place gets dark and quiet. The rats and cats and other little creatures come back over time.

I don’t know who I was.

Now, I’m Billy.

Big Bad Billy.

###

Continue reading

Some more how I work questions answered.

More questions. The same person asking and they really want to stay anonymous so I might get a bit vague.

One of the things this person and I have talked about is my less than stellar experience with writing groups and other writer spaces, both in meat space and on the internets.

Frankly, my experiences with writer spaces haven’t been great, honestly. My first experiences were so overwhelmingly White and cis male I did not feel comfortable sharing any of my work for the most part. And for a few years had an issue with men “finding out” that I wrote erotica and harassing me.

Later on, as I started to think more about my own identity as a human, and what I was writing and how, as I got to read more critically in terms of sexuality and the political I found a lot of writer spaces were just not for me.

I remember pointing out the inherent sexism in a story I read on a writer’s list, it was honestly coming from a deeply misogynistic place and I will say that I was fairly gentleish about it and after that, the man who wrote it was fairly short/had an attitude with me.

In meat space things haven’t been a whole lot better.

I was invited once to a meat space writing group for ladies. I went and immediately things were just not awesome for me. Things were okay for about ten minutes until I read my piece and it was kinda crickets and a lot of uncomfortable shifting. If I remember right, it was some of my first tries at crime fiction and it was just a terrible fit.

Then in modern times I was a member of that big infamous container full of women.

It was fucking awful.

My experiences there and the things said to me were the epitome of #solidarityisforwhitewomen. It was so incredibly awful that I rage quit and then cried about it because it could have been a great source of solidarity and resources and whatnot, but the racism from the color blind, to the level of swinging privilege like a bat and having women playing pinata with every WOC there was just too much. I felt so deeply disrespected by those women, I couldn’t hack it.

So honestly, I think I’ve just been burned too many times.

I think that my exposure ruined me for a lot of that experience. So I learned to write without it.

That said, from what I hear the right workshop can do wonders for folks.

For me I’ve really changed how I work in general and most of the time it doesn’t mesh well with a formalized workshop/writing group generally speaking.

That said, I study writing.

I read a lot of great books. I follow authors I’m really into on social media. I work on it. I play with it. I use things like prompts, and interview questions etc as ways to try new things and stretch my voice.

It’s why I love doing Yeah, Write so much.

So to answer the other question this person asked, no you don’t have to do shit.

The only thing you have to do as an artist is figure out what works for you.

Also in terms of access, those of us who are poor and working and have families blablabla, like we can’t always spend 485$ to learn how to submit or learn how to write a story or whatever. For folks who can, don’t stop get it get it.

A lot of us can’t and that information is out there.

What’s most important to my own growth as an author is that I learn how to express what I mean to express however I can. Be it poems, non fiction, whatever. For me that is super gratifying and having an audience is like having the tastiest most awesome you wouldn’t scrape it off frosting.

Work that shit out and write like a mother fucker.

I mean I’ve not done the conventional thing. And I’m very happy with where I’m at right now.

I mean look I have a book coming out from a brand new indie publisher who is my fucking dream.

OH shit that reminds me.

This is our shirts for SCLAB. We’re doing ONE more week of these then different stuff later.

But here’s the thing. No I’m not as famous as Roxane or a bunch of other WOC writers I admire.

But I’m doing this shit the way I need and want to and that is amazing.

So my friend, write like a mother fucker.

Work out what works.

Do the damn thing.

Tomorrow another Billy remix for yeah write.

YAY!


Yeah Write Entry #223- Billy’s Revenge (Another Billy prompt remix)


Billy’s Revenge-Another Billy Prompt Remix

By

Shannon Barber

Detective Billy Clark sat in the dark with a huge fluffy German Shepherd named Bootsy laid in his  lap. When he heard the soft snap of the safety on an automatic pistol he smiled.

“That’s my girl.”

The light flicked on and the woman in the doorway held her piece down.

“God damn it Billy. Next time I’m shooting you in the knee.”

Bootsy looked up at her with pleasure bright brown eyes. Billy grinned.

“Look in the bag on the table in the kitchen.”

She passed by grumbling and paused to touch the detective’s thinning gray hair. He closed his eyes and listened to her open the bag and gasp.

He walked in after moving the dog and held her from behind with one thick arm, with the other he stroked the thick scar on her soft brown cheek.

“It’s over. I got him.”

She held a knife in her hands, her body began to tremble. He felt the tears and the trembling, he said nothing.

“Tell me that mother fucker suffered.”

He smiled against her cornrows.

“He begged. He screamed. He knew why it happened. And nobody will ever ID him. It’s over. ”

She put the knife down and turned in his arms. She tried to speak and sobbed instead. Twenty years of terror and rage poured out of her. Billy carried her to bed and undressed her while she cried, he tucked the lilac comforter around her and gave her some space.

He walked Bootsy and when Billy went back inside she had washed her face and lay tucked into bed waiting for him.

In the dark, he told her everything. Every scream. Every sob. Everything.

The next day dawned bright and he woke to find her staring at him.

“Billy, you are the baddest mother fucker I ever met. I love you.”

They kissed and she lay on his chest and slept the peaceful sleep of a woman cleansed of terror by the blood of the man who terrorized her.

“I love you too baby.”

Billy kissed the top of her head and sighed deeply. His back hurt, his ribs hurt, but his heart and soul was clean.

While she slept Billy stroked her back and began to plan his retirement, as he drifted off to sleep, he heard the last word from the man who had hurt her so many years ago,

“I’m sorry man, just tell her I’m sorry.”

###


On Writing the Filth.

A while back someone asked me some stuff about writing Erotica and I figured I’d answer finally.

These aren’t verbatim.

First thing. This person wanted to know how I know what is/can be arousing to readers.

So this is really not how I work. My erotic stories start out like every other bit of fiction I write. There is a voice or a phrase, sometimes there is a theme type thing to explore or I will (as y’all have seen) I sometimes just grab a prompt and go.

The writing process for me doesn’t change with the genre or subject matter. If I’m writing fiction, there is a story to be told. Most of the time when I start I am not even sure it will be erotic or horror or whatever. I just go.

As for the question of how I know something will be sexy. Thing is I don’t actually. I know what want to explore and what turns me on but I can’t say the same for other folks.

Sometimes, I am working through things that don’t fit right into erotica in a neat and tidy way. I want to explore the things that are outside of just getting wet or having a boner. The tears. The internal machinations a person might go through because their own arousal makes them uncomfortable.

I like tension. I like finding the outer edges of what is generally considered pleasure and playing around there.

Next thing.

They asked about the markets and frankly, I don’t care about the erotica markets. I just don’t. I have not written anything appropriate for the market in general in probably 6-8 years. To read a good piece on E.L James and the current state of the markets go here.

I don’t think E.L James broke erotica. I think erotica was going into a weird place for over a decade.

If I look back at the first erotica that wasn’t mainstream straight stuff (Anne Rice) that I was reading it wasn’t just fap porn for the most part. There was plot and sctructure. Yes, the plot revolved around sex, but it wasn’t a Penthouse Forum letter style so there was some substance. I read a lot of non fiction sex writing as well that revolved around pleasure, body politics, queerness etc.

So my foundation is pretty good.

Now even way back when I saw a lot of things that indicated to me that erotica as a market for my own work was probably not going to be great for a long time. My characters were/are not all White with slim voluptuous (YES I see tht a lot) hips and perfect for the Manly Man’s boner. Or they weren’t the Dick Swingingest White Butches or the Dick Swingingest White gay men with muscles and perfect bubble butts..you get the picture.

The other thing that started happening was the slow melding of romance (HEA etc) and prescriptive “heat” levels in a lot of presses. That is a huge reason why I stopped being interested in the markets.

Frankly, writing with those type of deal breaking parameters just is not the business for me.

So the industry as I see it has grown smaller. We’re expected to produce a certain experience and if we’re not giving that experience or giving those covers (I’ll get to that) then there’s not a whole lot of space in the market.

 

There is also the issue of the appearance of diversity without any substance.

I was browsing an erotica press that was courting me a bit of a collection. As I scrolled through hundreds of ebooks I saw a lot of the same things.

In my, uh, bracket of heat ratings (scorching naturally) I saw a lot of thin White women in various colors of thongs. A lot of bare chested White men. A few scattered interracial couples etc.

Now that’s all well and good but, that is not something that would fit my work. Generally speaking, I’m not writing models having sex.

Industry wise, I personally have felt that there’s not a place in the market for my work for a long time. Long before E.L James wrote fanfiction and turned it into an empire.

I’m not mad that just is what it is.

For me, once I let go of the emotional dependence on having a chance in the marketplace, I have felt like the erotica I have written is better. It’s hotter. It suits my literary tastes.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but for me there has been a freedom in letting go of the idea of writing for a marketplace. It is a big part of why I don’t freelance more.

Really at the bottom of it I just want to write things. There are a lot of things in my head and writing them makes my life easier.

Same person asked me about writing the other but we’ll get to that another day.

Now y’all ready for an announcement?

It is official. August 31st my book Self Care Like a Boss is being launched into the world. In celebration of that my publisher and I have started a teeshirt thing. Come here to check it out.

Come read some of the book here.

More details as they come.

 


Yeah Write #222 Entry Mother Fuckin Billy- The Weeping Billy Remix

Mother Fuckin Billy- The Weeping Billy Remix

by

Shannon Barber

“Billy?”

My answer comes from under water. The air is still thick in my throat and I don’t want to let it out.

“Yeah?”

Answering feels like giving something important up. Like a broken moment. I want to suck it back in.

“You done?”

Panic, my stomach drops and there are tears coursing hot and too honest down my face. I can’t be done- I want too much.

I need more.

The thick air I coveted a moment ago is standing between me and what I need.

“Nnnn-no.”

I sound like a little dog barking at nothing.

“Oh really? Demanding little slut aren’t we?”

I hold my breath. Do I beg now? Do I let the sobs I keep buried in my belly go?

“Billy?

Funny- neither the cane nor the paddle, the whip nor the needle, not even the knives make me cry. But this utterance tinged with impatience and dry know it all arrogance undo me. To most the other tops I’m Billy the Motherfucker that can take it.

“Please, please, please.”

My sobs roll up from my belly like an orgasm. The thick air bursts out of me until my hoarse begging pounds the walls of the playroom.

“Poor needy Billy.”

I cry harder. My words dissolve into nothing but sobs.

It’s true.

I’m poor, needy Billy.

Right now, I’m not mother fucking Billy with the iron hide.

I’m Poor Weeping Mother fucking Billy.

Poor Billy.

Poor Billy.

###

PS I reused my Billy prompt. I will probably do it again.


Like to get fucked up and do Fucked up shit.

Yes, that is a Rob Zombie movie reference.

First (watch the whole thing) listen to this moment in my favorite documentary about Hubert Selby Jr.

There will forever be a link between Selby and Stahl for me. When Permanent Midnight came out (sorry affiliate link) in 1995 originally I bought a copy and it hung out on my bookshelf for a while because I was weaning myself off of The Beats and Henry Miller, Anais Nin and had found Hubert Selby jr.

I was given a shitty battered probably missing pages copy of Last Exit to Brooklyn by a man who was a lot older than me and likely had nefarious dick related plans.

Now at the time I didn’t know there was a connection, but after reading both, I felt them.

I was 18 years old and just starting to write fiction outside of the wanna be Henry Miller porn I was writing.

I had already been steeping myself in junky heroes. Uncle Bill, Jim Carroll (who NONE of my friends were reading prior to that movie coming out, I met him at a show for his band once and he signed my poor old shitty copy of Living at the Movies and gave me a hug because I was crying) etc etc.

Beyond the drugs there was that underlying darkness that I just craved. In the next few years (late 90s) I met and loved some drug addicts, I interestingly never had that romanticized phase of thinking about drugs like a lot of people. I did a shitload of drugs back then and knew why I was doing them.

I have this theory.

When it comes to drug use I feel like you’re either a TURN UP THAT CRAZY TO 11 FUCK IT! Type or you’re an …oh shit I must get numb type. Generally speaking, of course.

I am a turn up the crazy sort.

That’s a whole other thing.

I have a point.

OH right. Someone asked me the other day why I am so drawn to shit that is dark as fuck.

These are my people. It is in these sorts of books and bios where I started to figure out the people I can go to. I understood Jerry Stahl writing Forum letters and I understood Harry from Last Exit to Brooklyn.

I understood feeling alienated and weird. I understood something about this type of work that made me feel less alone.

It made me feel less suicidal.

It made me feel like I could write some shit and maybe it would make someone else who was just like me, feel better.

That’s why I like the dark.

That’s why I like to roll around in it, I like to live there, I like to visit and I like to create it.

It’s why I want a line from Bluebird by Bukowski tattooed on my body forever. Bluebird, that fucking poem saved my life.

These are feelings that often transcend for me. There is a desire in me to have that connection with a thing, darkness for our purposes and I don’t like not having it.

For years I tried very hard to not. I thought I shouldn’t feel so close to these writers, these themes, this type of literature because I don’t know why.

I didn’t believe I could write about it.

I didn’t believe I had a place there.

But the darkness always welcomes me home.

Sometimes there’s a light in it.

Sometimes there’s not.

The darkness is there.

Brought to you by some shit I wrote earlier today while sitting in the sun and thinking about how it would feel to be a Trap Empress.

Don’t ask.

I love y’all. Go read some of this stuff that I love if you haven’t. For srs.

Also brought to you by insomnia and me wanting to curl up in the darkness and write things and give zero shits about anything but the work.


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