As I grind towards the end of the year I’ve produced a few things that I am quite fond of.
On the non fiction front, outside of the parcel of still needing rewriting essays (they languish in my hard drive) I have not written much non fiction.
Outside of one tiny experimental narrative thing, non fiction writing has been difficult for me the last few months. Apparently if I write it, it has to hurt. It has to bleed like I hit a fucking artery. I have a hard time writing through that.
Too many things I want to/am writing about strike a chord of pain and anger inside me. Thus, a lot of the essays I’ve started and abdanoned read like this:
FUCK FUCK RAGE FUCK RAGE SAD RAGE RAGE FUCK RAGE SAD RAGE FUCK MURDER KILL ME FUCK MY LIFE…
That is not really conducive to me writing the non fiction I want to write.
Learning to write past that feeling and get to a place where I can tell the story in my way is really fucking hard but I feel like I am chipping away at it.
I wrote a little essay about my break up with feminism as it is done these days. I just about a half hour ago wrote about how much the pressure of performative Blackness hurts and paralyzes me. I didn’t even say fuck once.
This weekend I finished the longest story I’ve written in a while. More identity things.
Looking at the stories I’ve had published this year, this is the year of me delving deeper into the stories that wrap around complicated identities that lay far outside of Whiteness as a normative thing.
Can a patron saint be living?
This year I’ve been exposed to writers who write stories that resonate with me on this frequency. I feel like I am reading in circles that are less interested in Whiteness as the literary (and therefor only good) canon and that feels good to me. That is something I have lacked previously.
It’s not really solidarity, more of an invisible hand on my back. It’s the idea that no I am not toiling in an absolute void all by my damn self. Other people, people I believe are important are also expressing things I think and voila we have a kind of validation in the industry that I didn’t believe existed previously.
Even as recently as 2011 I would have never sent this story to SmokeLong ever. I would have never answered the interview questions honestly the way I did because, it’s the honest to Bob mother fucking truthy truth. And no one even bothered to try and come at me about it or decide that because I was a bit cheeky am therefor not serious. This is possibly one of the most empowering things I’ve said publicly about my own writing:
The idea came from me watching booty shake videos on YouTube and dancing around at my desk, combined with a picture of this gorgeous woman in booty shorts and some little ankle boots. Not to mention my own love of women in summer and my special love of my fellow Queer Femme women of color.
I have learned that the people who enjoy my work the most get it.
There is a base fundamental level (hence my previous usage of my term Cunt Lit) deep inside vibration, frequency, whatever. That is where I work best. That is where I shine. That is where people get me or they don’t.
You don’t have to have a vagina to get what I’m saying here.
This is what 2012 has taught me.
When Remittance Girl told me in a critique of a story No you can do better, I looked at her comment and said to myself, yes you can do better. I didn’t believe it just because I think she is amazing author and very smart critique giver, but because I fucking knew it to begin with. I knew right after I hit send and reread the piece, that her gaze would drag on whatever phrase it was. I love her because she told me no. I also love her because despite some differences in taste, she also gets it. There is that deep cunt level understanding that is rare and special. It was there when I was fapping away reading her fiction because I’m a perverted little fangirl, it’s there when we talk to each other on twitter and when I read her work.
There have been other authors, there have been editors who rejected me with notes that they were blown away or loved something.
That is that gut kind of, fuck I love this and maybe I don’t know why but it’s fucking cool kind of thing.
It’s what I like.
It’s what I crave first as a reader and second as an author.
I want that gut clench, I am greedy for that moment of shared consciousness where an author does something, I may gawp at it like a moron or be pissed off but our hearts and minds are metaphorically fist bumping each other.
As an author, I hope in my little heart that sometimes my work gives some other people that feeling. I want a reader to get that throb in their crotch, or that they make an involuntary face, or they are reading and nodding, or they are looking puzzled but happy.
That is what 2012 has opened up for me in terms of what kind of writer I am.
I feel like this is how I am supposed to be doing it.
So I’m going to keep doing what I do.
Writing the stories I write.
I wish I could thank everyone who silently, vocally, personally, impersonally etc etc nudged me along the way. I want to kiss all of tehse people (and please forgive me for not remembering everyone or doing links I’m really tired) ready?
Antonia Crane, Jerry Stahl, Henry Rollins, Dena Rash Guzman, Jenny Forrester, Nalo Hopkinson, Lavie Tidhar, Milcah Orbacedo, Court Merrigan, Roxane Gay, Len Kuntz, Dave Clapper, Anna March, Anthony Beal, Sherman Alexie, Junot Diaz, Dennis Cooper, M. Christian…I could go on forever.
All of you listed and all of you I didn’t list have done things for me and most of you have no idea. Consider this my eternal thanks for your existence. However you’ve touched me I appreciate it in ways I can’t exactly name.
But thank you.
Now, I need to get back to work. Stories to write and whatnot.
Rejections to get.
More writing to be done.