Poverty and the Writer.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m working poor. I need to hash some stuff out that involves money and art and ethics and stuff so buckle in.

First thing, I sat myself down and figured out that I need a list of things in order to do a few things:

  • Writing lesson stuff.
  • More paid content for Patreon in order to possibly increase revenue from that.
  • Short poetry/experimental films

So that’s the short n tiny list. I have a list of the things I need to make these things happen and all of it costs money. I’m in a position now where I’ve pretty much adjusted to the reality of my higher cost of living.

It’s not great, but it’s not tragic still.

Currently for basic living, not counting food or things like new underwear, socks or medications I spend about 41% of my monthly income.

Add in stuff like cell phones, internet/landline, medications, food, and things go up to almost 85-90 depending on what bills are due that month.

I’ve been looking at and rearranging my budget. Last month I felt pretty confident about life and added an extra few dollars so I could have Audible again. I suspended the service for a few months. I have been toying with getting Netflix because the partner and I aren’t able to get out as much on weekends, so it’d be nice to have a wider selection of new stuff to watch.

Whew.

Currently the plan I had worked out previously to get the things to make more money things happen is pretty proper fucked because my phone is dying. It’s served well, but it is a very low end smart phone from a long while back and poor old thing is trying but just kinda not working out.

Almost all of the things I want to do that involve some new to me ways of using social media, etc. rely on either having a camera or a good phone or both.

I have neither.

I had planned on working with my phone as is until about Xmas ish. I need a new plan.

This is where stuff is going to get intersectional.

Because of the changes (out of my control) in my household (read dayjob money) finances, I’ve had to restructure how I use my Patreon and other monthly donated or writing hustle money. (Note to self update Patreon about this) That being what it is, I’ve been working on adjusting while not killing my personal quality of life.

Initially I killed it. This is something I have a lot of economic trauma about and (as many poor kids will tell you) is something I fall back on. When things first started changing I did what came naturally to me. I killed my entire entertainment/self-care budget. I took it from about 35$ a month and maybe 50$ quarterly extra, to 14.

For a while I switched out my audible for keeping myself in a pound or so of good coffee a month for work.

I also downgraded the quality of food I was taking to work.

A few months of that as it always happens took a toll. I decided to rework and got a few extra writing hustle money dollars and reinstated my audible and a few times a week getting good food.

However, because I made those choices I had to stop my saving up for X thing (camera, tablet, phone) budget because money doesn’t come out of my ass.

Fast forward to right now.

Recently I’ve been encouraged to do a lot of writing work that would be great experience, great fun, etc. but none of it has been paid gigs. I can’t afford it monetarily or in terms of the finite amount of energy I have for my art.

So that’s not a viable avenue for me right now.

Next recent development is that I am so disgusted by so much of the freelance industry, my options for work there are limited. Yes, this is by my own choice. Frankly, it just stresses me out too much to compromise my ethics for 50$ here and there.

I decided to work out what I am going to need in the coming months and currently the cost (not complete) is just over 500$.

It is the season of my partner and I needing things like new underwear and pants. We need to replace some household stuff. We both need new pillows etc.

Me personally, I’m going to need Femme stuff. Foundation, bras, hair stuff soon.

All this in mind, here’s where I am.

I don’t entirely know what to do.

In order to produce my best work I need to not be in a constant state of panic and stress. In order to be in that place I need to know that my little family has our needs met. I need to be able to work my dayjob and write through my fatigue.

In order to do those things, the number one thing I need is some financial breathing room.

I can give myself, some by cutting out my quality of life again. I don’t want to do that, I know where that leads and the end result is that I can’t write my best.

I know I have patrons and some stuff, but the way my life has changed, it’s not enough. I have nightmares.

I believe in my art and ideas right now. Not in their profitability, but in the value of them.

But belief don’t pay the bills and a bitch gotta eat.

I know I could do another Gofundme. My last one to help me get to AWP wasn’t a total success but it was very very helpful.

However, I am very nervous about trying that again because I, uh, had an inability to raise ALL the funds left me feeling really terrible about myself and I am not sure if I’m ready to put myself back into that position.

I don’t know what I am going to do.

I also want to say that my actual lived life puts more of a light on the lie that I can not go to Starbucks my way to a better financial position. There’s been some great articles disassembling that whole mindset from the perspective of folks who don’t have 5$ a day to spend or save.

So here is where I am.

I’m trying to figure it out.

Right now I’m going to work out just how much the stuff I/we need will cost. Then, once I get a goodish on the high end total I’ll figure out how to pay for it.

In the meantime, the stuff I mentioned up top is going to be delayed again. That sucks, but, what’s to be done?

 

 

Arty Dreams, Costly Dreams. And the Hustle.

I’ve been allowing myself bigger artistic dreams. I have a whole emotional uh, issue around doing art. I am very uncomfortable calling myself an artist but I’m working it out.

That said, I’m realizing very strongly just how much I’ve denied myself these dreams because of a lack of resources and access.

I sat down and made a list of the stuff I want to mix together to make a Shannon Created Art Thing.

  • Experimental film
  • Poetry
  • Self portraiture
  • Field recording
  • Spoken word
  • Make up

So those are some of the things swirling around my brain in the form of dreamy ideas about ways to present myself/my work to the world that belong only to me.

The thing that I’ve found that gets me stuck is cash. I don’t have a good camcorder, I don’t have the time to create the stuff to make the portraits. I don’t have a good digital camera.

I started doing Patreon to help myself save up for that stuff but, my Patreon cash has mostly been swallowed up by life. I’ve been trying not to kick my own ass over that. I don’t control gentrification and cost of living increases. Logically I know I’m hustling as hard as I can but fuck y’all, shit is fucking hard.

And I’m not the sort of person to just let it go and hope shit will turn out for the best. I’ve done that and honestly the stress is too much for me.I’m not a single person with no responsibilities. I can’t just up and wander off like dandelion fluff.

I’m just not about that life or that method of funding my artistic life. No shade, if you can let go and let the universe do what it do, get it booboo. Do you.

Y’all, I’m so at a strange place.

I have all this desire burning in me. I have ideas and spend hours jotting down things I want to try out. Things I want to say and do with visual/audio art. I don’t know how to carve out that cash.

So I’m doing what I know how to do. I’m saving up Amazon affiliate money, Bing search amazon gift cards for a camera. One I can use to shoot photos and videos. Nothing too complicated. Just enough. By the way, I added a ton more books to my little amazon store. Check it out if you would please.

Uniballer my partner is researching video editing software that is less complicated so I can learn it.

I’m not freelancing as much as I could be but, we know that is better for my actual heart if it hurts my wallet.

I’m letting myself learn to write about art without the weird shame/embarrassment I have surrounding it.

I’m on that grind y’all.On that hustle.

I will be/do the art I want to fucking do. I will make that shit happen. Trust.

The State of Things In the Shannonverse

I’m skipping Yeah, Write this week because reasons.

So how about an update in all things art in the Shannonverse:

  1. I am starting to collect up my The World stories. Once I have them somewhat in order I am going to maybe experiment with making them a KDP select thing if I have enough pages.
  2. For right now, I’m keeping the Etsy store open. A few more orders have come in and I have no other plans for the stories that are available right now so why not?
  3. In my semi retirement from freelance work state, I still have a Contently page. You can check it out here. I feel like some traffic through there might be helpful to me? I dunno.
  4. I have a few big swing essays out. I’m sending another tonight.Only one of them pays but whatever.
  5. I’m kind of trying again, not to stress about freelance work so hard for SO many reasons.
  6. A very dear friend has suggested that I try my hand at (when my laptop is done being rebuilt) actually giving some writer talks for my Patreon account. Things about my flash writing methods, maybe some reader/writer questions? Maybe.
  7. I’m working on some other things, passion/putting my blood into it things that I’m not ready to talk about yet.
  8. I also made progress on teaching myself how to write about art.

So I’m doing a lot behind the scenes here. I’m a duck, floating and paddling madly under the water.

Outwardly I’m feeling kind of lacking, however looking at my files I know I’m doing shit. I’m just very impatient with myself and I want to put some stuff in the world.

That said I’m going to try really hard not to be an asshole to myself about it because that never works out for anyone.

If you want to read some new stuff or see some archived stuff head over to Medium and have a looksy around.

I’ve gotten some questions from folks about Medium and I’ll to a post about it later this week.

The Goddess Cycle#2

Sekhmet

 

Them women raise hell. That’s what the bartender told me when she caught me giving a brick house butch the eye.

“You seem like a nice girl. Stay away from them, especially tonight.”

I nodded and thanked her. I found an empty back booth and posted up to watch. It wasn’t my town or my crew. I knew well enough that I was fresh meat and fresh meat causes problems. I have sense so I stay in my corner.

Two jukebox songs later, a beer appeared at my table, followed by a cat who sat in front of me meowing in my face.

“Well, you’re a pretty girl.”

The cat rubbed her face against mine and made herself comfortable laying half on the table and half on my tits. I stroked her back and felt her rusty purr.

“Just like back home.”

She murred at me and I murred right back at her. I do love my little sisters. More beers slid onto my table, the waitress leaned down to speak in my ear, her lean body radiated lust.

“These are all from Vic. The big bitch with the fade. Careful baby.”

She turned away and I lifted my mug to Vic, the same brick house butch I’d been eyeing earlier. I’d wait her out. I saw the narrowed eyes from a few other femmes in the room.

After another few beers Vic sauntered over and slid into my booth.

“Hello Victoria. Thank you for the beers.”

I watched her squirm and tilted my head. Outside there was ruckus going on, the sound of glass shattering. A red faced woman ran inside, her face streaked with tears.

“They fucked up my car.”

Victoria and I rose together and she grinned at me, I saw in her eyes that she knew me finally.

“To battle.”

I pounded the last of my beer.

“Hail unto me.”

We went into battle armed with bats and chains and blades. The fight as battles go was small but glorious. We drank the shrieks of pain as we would drink rich dark beer later. Those girls did indeed raise hell and I was the demon at the head of their pack.

In the grayness of dawn sated and my need for destruction softened to blunt hunger, I went on my way. My blessings had been given.

Look for me in the corner of your favorite bar and when you know my name, I will come.

###

Things. Failure. Brokeness.

Let’s talk lit world stuff I’m into right now.

The first thing is that Yeah Write is doing something great. The Super Challenge:

The yeah write super challenge is a prompted challenge, where writers compete to complete the best work of short creative nonfiction in a single weekend. Prompts are released on Friday, and the completed work must be turned in by Sunday night.

The competition is run in three rounds. Half the writers will move to the second round of competition, and approximately ten writers will advance to the final round of competition. All competing writers will receive feedback on their work at the end of each round from the judges. The final ten writers will compete for cash prizes for first, second and third place.

Go check it out here. I think if you want to learn about flash essays, this is a great way to do it. No, they didn’t pay me. I just really like them.

What else?

So I’ll be unpublishing my chapbook The Motherfuckess Manifesta here soon. If you’d like a copy head here. It is 3.50 and all proceeds go towards keeping yours truly housed and fed.

Also one other thing before I get hella emo. Over at Patreon I posted a free Daiyuverse story you can get here. It is my first try at a romantic YA flavored thing.

Okay, I’m gonna put in a read more because I’m having feelings about being a failure. Being poor and unable to do all the things necessary to make my art/writing life more sustainable.

Continue reading “Things. Failure. Brokeness.”

Yeah Write# 272 entry- The Goddess Cycle #1

The Goddess Cycle #1

Innana

by

Shannon Barber

When the sweet brown girls call, she comes. She weaves herself from their dreams and candles and incense smoke. The sweet brown girls know her when she moves into their circle. They call her Mother and Lover and General.

Her body made them feel good. Her pot belly and jiggling thighs and sagging breasts takes their breath and fear.

“H-hello sweet children.”

Their tongue feels strange on her lips, but she can manage a greeting. She understands their words, their language comes to her in song and prayers.

She dances with them, all naked and in love and free as wild weeds.

The girls know her names and respect the old dead tongue she knows intimately. She stops their dancing and settles each one to hear her prayers.

The first is lovely and shy, her cock lays half hard on her thigh and she lowers her eyes.

“What is your prayer?”

The girl murmurs,

“I want to be a Mother.”

She is blessed with the cupped palm of the Mother against her groin.

“Get your wife with child.”

The rest of the girl children ask for similar things. One wants to change her body to be fertile, another wants to grow her garden, another to be a nurse. Each gets her blessing until she gets to the last.

The last child does not sing nor does she grin. She stares at her Mother, her Lover and General, calls her with the scent of blood and need.

“Yes, Child?”

The girl has her fists clenched into tight little chubby brown balls and her body vibrates with rage.

“Mother, my Lover, my General. I want to fight. I want to go to war.”

“If you want to go to war child, can you name me?”

They stand up together and the child puts her fists on her wide hips.

“You are the Queen of Heaven.”

The Goddess nods.

“Louder.”

“You are the Daughter of  Sin and Ningal.”

“More.”

The girl’s heart thumps and she pounds her chest with one fist.

“You are she who descended into the underworld and returned. You are my Mother. You are my Lover. You are my General and we want blood.”

The Goddess howled and the divine light of war blazed from her eyes.

“My sweet child. Come, I will teach you the ways of war and the sacrifice of your enemies shall be my glory. Eli baltuti Ima’ ‘idu mituti.”

The naked girl  repeats the ancient words with pride.

” The Dead Will Be More Numerous Than The Living.”

The others cheer and rise, dancing again. Their ululations and sweat and love will carry their goddess and their sister into battle.

The other Gods look and see and smile.

Even old Delight of Frigg smiles at this new crop of prayers and songs.

“God Speed dear Innana. Goddess speed.”

###

Bucket List Progress.

Did I ever post my artist bucket list?

I think not, so here is it in part:

  • Make short poetry film
  • Submit to paying poetry market
  • Do some lit related youtubes
  • Keep Patreon going- up my content and maybe funding
  • Submit to contests
  • Arrange my own little writing retreat
  • Apply for some type of grant
  • Create/perform performance art
  • Write a short horror film
  • Build somewhat of a freelance thing
  • Create and sell writing classes
  • Break into a mainstream something

Those are just some of them.

So far this year I’ve kept my Patreon going. If you haven’t checked that out, here go look at this post. I posted my first YA-Queer romance flavored thing. A little side short story in the Daiyuverse. 

I’m trying to hype myself up to blend Patreon and the Youtubes and do some video. I’m still pretty self conscious about my webcam quality and fake teeth lisp.

I’ve started researching video editing so I can find software I can use.

What else?

I’ve made uh, inroads into trying my hand at mainstream pubs. On the advice of freelancers I trust I set myself a Contently portfolio.  Given my clips I am not sure I fit in but whatever. I figured I’d give it a shot. Why not?

What else?

Just today I made my first submission to a paid poetry thing.

Other arty farty shit.

I’ve decided not to print my own Motherfuckess Manifesta.  I’ve tried a few more times and frankly shit just makes me so anxious and upset because I can’t get it figured out. I am not a Zine Queen. That said, maybe should I save up enough dollars I can do a limited print run?

On the writing class front I have my curriculum for three classes. I want to write some more content and exercises for each and take some photos for them. I’m going to do a dry run on some folks and then release them probably by October.

What else?

I’m trying really hard to hang on to the idea that my goals and personal ethics in terms of what I will and won’t do with my work is okay. That no I don’t have to change so much I don’t like myself.

That said, I’m pretty knee deep in I don’t matter/I ain’t shit feelings and poor kid anxieties. I’m working really hard on not sinking into that, but shit is a fuckin struggle.

OH! Also, I did more work on my laptop *Gertie* and discovered that I didn’t make a bad decision. She’s a good little machine. The problem is mainly that EVEN microsoft does not recommend an OS above 7 for machines like her because they come stock with not that much memory. Not enough memory for 64 bit Win 8.1 which is what came stock on Gertie and has fucked her ALL the way up.

I dipped into my savings again so I could buy some new memory and will install that this weekend.

To help me increase my, uh, side hustling. I got back into the Amazon affiliate program and am building a little store. Basically right now it’s all beauty stuff, but I’ll be adding books, gadgets and other stuff. Consider it my ultimate dream store and if you click/buy I get some pennies. Check it out here. Hopefully with that side hustle and a few others I can buy this for myself in a few months.

So that’s it for now. I’ve got writing and submitting and research to do.

This has been an installment of Be That Shit University.