Why did you do that?

I have received my first appalled note from a fellow writer about my collection.

An old acquaintance of mine purchased a copy and (shit I’m going to try really hard not to name names, I’m not trying to throw this person under the bus) she was horrified that I purposefully put something out in an imperfect state.

Horrified. As in she is pretty sure that this is the death knell (my words not hers) of my busted ass writing career.

I figured a few people would say that.

Here’s the thing. I realize that it is very popular for authors to say they are embarrassed by their early work and that some of their writing will never be seen.

I mention this in my collection I think that’s sad.

I look at it this way.

I don’t hide pictures of me when I was 5 and decided every day was dress up day.

I am not embarrassed that once upon a time I shit my pants and didn’t know how to walk.

I am not embarrassed that I didn’t know how to read at some point.

I’m not embarrassed by my own developmental milestones.

I find it terribly depressing to think that I might look back at myself at 16 years old, remember the overwrought love sonnets and replications of Ginsberg I wrote and be ashamed.

I wish I would have had access to my favorite authors mistakes and early writing when I was that age.

Honestly if people can’t understand that in the span of let’s say 15 years (I think the earliest thing I have preserved and put in the collection is about that old) that I have grown and changed as a human being and an author what’s the point?

I have enough faith in readers and people in general to believe that they will understand that 19 year old Shannon is not 34 year old Shannon.

I am proud that I found my voice.  I am proud that I have experimented and written things that aren’t my go to comfort zones. I’m proud that sometimes I write poems that are probably not great.

I’m proud of those things, my failures and oopses and holy shit what the fuck was I thinking-

I’m proud because I have kept writing. I have continued to learn. I keep working and trying new things and refining my voice and my tastes.

I am proud because I have spent a shit load of time working on technical things like grammar and formatting.

I am proud because god damn it despite my frequent rejections, despite the moments when I am fairly certain this is all bullshit and that I should stop inflicting myself on the world I am still doing it.

I work through it.

I power through my bad days.

Yesterday I was still having a bad day. I was doubting my judgement, my aesthetics, my writing abilities. And I powered through it. I made four submissions. I did my submission ritual. I did my thing.

So those things.

In other news I am exhausted. I haven’t been sleeping well per usual and with the weather changing I’m a little fuzzy in the brains.

Now go read these things.

In my imagination Remittance Girl is my mistress and I sit at her knee, at her beck and call while she reads me her stories. One of her recent ones hit all of my happy places both in my brain and in my pants.  There is blood play in this story so if that isn’t your jam don’t read it.

I got word from Brett at Specter that my non fiction sex essay about the first girl who made me squirt will be up in December. I’ll let y’all know. While you wait read this piece by Court Merrigan at Specter.

Speaking of Specter, you should also read this piece by Mensah DeMary over at Fwriction.

If you like academic blogs you should read my bestie’s new blog.  You should read it not only because she has a fantastic rack (no she does I have touched them myself) but because she’s really fucking smart.

Pank is invading NOLA. Oh Pank..my love for you is getting creepy.

Dennis Cooper whom y’all know I just love. Along with all my other d.l’s has been posting Halloween things. BUT you should really read this entry.

Akashic Books posted an excerpt from a new book by Robert Arellano called ‘Curse the Names’. I have a deep and long standing need to own the entire Akashic catalog. Our love is getting creepy.

Under the read more enjoy a tiny horror story I wrote from a prompt over on Google+. I don recall if I posted it or not so I’ll just post it now. The story was written on my commute home, half at the bus stop and have on the bus. And it’s yep, raw.

The Fog Giveth…

by Shannon Barber copyright 2011 do not steal my shit.

The man wished he were dreaming. Thick wet fogged rolled in and he knew it was no dream. No dream could mire his will and trap him in it so completely.

Before the real fear could get hold of him he straightened himself.


He could not stop the quiver in his voice and hear it fall flat into the fog.

The Fog gave no answer.

Minutes ticked by, he could feel the fog touching him. It seethed against his woolen coat, tried to wriggle cold membranous fingers under the earflaps of his fur hat. His lips stretched into tight bloodless tubes, words fell aborted out of him.

“Now you have Russian?”

The voice boomed and pulsated. Not just in his ears but deep in his guts, for a moment he thought he may have lost control of his bowels and he waited for the disgusting flood of heat in his pants. That passed and his testicles drew up tight, sweat pooled in the small of his back and in his hair.

“N-nnno I have no Russian.”

In every day life he had a lovely speaking voice. A rumbling bass voice women loved and that was his best feature in his own mind. The Fog robbed him of that beautiful voice and reduced it to the warbling squawk of a petulant child.

The Fog nibbled at him with thousands of sensual toothed little mouths. He wanted to tear off his clothes and run mad until clean light be it sun moon or star hit his skin and purified it of those touches.

“Don’t weep Timofey. Don’t fight us, all you have to do is say yes.”

The Fog was using such a sweet cajoling voice.

He groaned, fists clenched at his sides. The Fog wanted, it lusted; it wasn’t his soul precisely it wanted him to partake in it. To revel in it. To become a part of it.

“Yes, yes join us Timofey.”

The voice mutated and grew. The Fog became The Voices; in them he heard the damned and the mad. The cackling babbling voices of chaos itself.

Timofey fell to his knees and the Fog shimmered around him in anticipation. He could hear all those mouths salivating.

Through the noose of his own fear his voice came back to him full and peppered with the rumble that his lady friends loved.


The Fog warmed in its pleasure let itself turn silk as steam.

Timofey rose and began to twirl, his arms upraised in apparent triumph.


Timofey Lantsov, the first American born son of his clan was found still laughing and dancing the next day, shrieking in apparent glee.

He fought and cursed his captors. Shrieked at them in the Russian he had never spoken at home. Just before he was tucked into the police car he turned to the older officer and spoke his last sane words.

“The Fog, they giveth and The Fog they taketh away.”

The Fog had taken the sane steady core of Timofey Lantsov and given him madness and his mother tongue in return. None could say it was a fair trade.



One thought on “Why did you do that?

  1. yes to all these comments. you should be proud and totally disregard whatever that email said. i have resisted the urge to throw out all my adolescent writings (i’m talking sixth grade TERRIBLENESS) and i’m glad for it. it’s nice to see how far we’ve come.

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