Author Archives: Shannon Barber

About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.

How I’m Gettin it Done


I’m just about back to not being a complete fucker to myself.

I am almost done with one story rewrite.

I wrote a new thing which I’ll talk about in a minute. I stopped with the SCLAB rewrites being trash.

I’m cautiously upgrading my status from trash panda to majestic sea flap flap.

Because of this.

That is Missy Elliott’s brand new video.

Since it came out I’ve been watching it on average twice a day. Generally I turn it on at my desk. If nobody is around at the dayjob I do a little dance. I tell myself Missy would NOT be mean to me.

Then I’m getting to work.

Frequently I follow it up with Back Bend by Spice. I pretend I can twerk properly for a few minutes. I’m feelin myself. I know I can do this.

This is another reason I need an actual office. It makes twerk breaks so much easier.

While I’m at work I can’t necessarily get up and bootyshake, I’ve become the master of the full body wiggle while sitting and working.

My little non twerk (I cannot twerk and it pains me deeply) is not my victory dance. It is more like me powering and gassing myself up to get some shit done. Shit, I KNOW full goddamn well, I can do. Stuff I can’t bully myself into doing.

In order to work at my best I’ve learned that I can’t be tense about money overmuch, I can’t be trying to do too much.

The latter has been my struggle lately.

To celebrate me not being such a nuclear level fucking asshole fancy pants writer man to myself. I wrote a new piece over at Medium about selfie culture, and my place in it.

Now if you celebrate Turkey day in the US enjoy and be safe.

Personally I don’t really get down with the genocide holidays so I’ll be at my dayjob earning holiday pay and working on stuff.

Later y’all.


Yeah, Write Entry #241- Generists Dream

Generists Dream


Shannon Barber

They say that it was the discovery of the Generists by certain monied interests is what brought about the end.

It started with some sleep studies done on Generists, the power and frequency of their dreams correlated directly to the growth and shift in The World. Some doctors or some such found the magic and in secret harnessed it. Those interests found that there was value in the Darkness.

We have few records of how this began or transpired. What remains are fragments, when The World took over, we didn’t have a chance and our history fragmented and became the time we know only as The Time of Light and The Dark.

The Warriors genetic lines are broken. In The Dark, we all must learn to fight. The legacy of genealogical skill and magic is no more. If you cannot fight, you Behold. If you cannot Behold, you may be or assist the Professori.

The most unlucky of us are Generists. The Generists are the fuel of this new world. They dream, they wake and dream and sleep and dream and create an expansion that makes The World pulse and birth itself over and again.

Once, we were Innocents. There are no more.

Now we are survivors. We scuttle among the living Shadows, we run from the creatures if we cannot fight. This is not the beautiful world the tattered picture books show us.

Ours is no velvet deep night full of stars and romance. Our nights are eternal and echo with the dreams of helpless Generists and their collective untamed Id.

The World arose and spread, it began with a missed Spring solstice and the darkness came and it fed and it ended our world of light.

We are what is left of our Innocent ancestors. We who fight and behold and record are the ones who will find a way. We can only hope that some other breed, some creature among us will possess the right mix of genes and knowledge to begin to end The Dark.

Our light is running out, and it’s time to run.

If someone, someday knows or remembers, please know-

We hope you are all Innocents.


The Writer In Distress.


The face I’ve been making for a week.

So I am a writer in distress.

Don’t worry finances or sort of okay and it’s mostly emotional.

I wound myself up so hard I gave myself the anxiety shits for days last week.

I am deep in rewrites for SCLAB and a noir story I was commissioned for.

I hate most words that I produce.

My current level of both metaphysical and physical agita is pretty huge.

So here I am about to make a list of my personal grievances, or I”m going to vomit feelings in list for to make myself feel better because I have fucking work to do. Please I’m actually okay. This is just how I process so I can work.

  • My writing is trash panda level.
  • Patreon continues to work my nerves.
  • I am finding it difficult to settle down and write things that are not trash.
  • Pretty sure everyone hates me.
  • Kind of hate myself.
  • Not enough hours that are not dayjob hours for me to write what I wanna write.

Let me stop with that last thing.

I am hugely ambitious. Having a computer at home again, hasn’t totally helped me fight the urge to write myself into the ground.

Here’s what happens.

Shannon the Fancy Pants Writer Man has goals. Said Fancy Pants Writer, Writes like the proverbial Mother Fucker, comes up with more things to write, is not able to keep up with self imposed production schedule, Fancy Pants Writer Man gets VERY FUCKING ANGRY AT FANCY PANTS WRITER MAN SHANNON who then gets the anxiety shits, feels terribly depressed and like the fakingest ass faker ever.

Add in that I am ass deep in SCLAB rewrites and I’m tussling with that hard. I have such high expectations for what I believe I can do with the material to make it Bigger, Better and More Fucking Awesome…I wind up really hating what I’ve done.

This is an area where I have always had a problem.

I have always put this huge amount of pressure on myself because I always believe I can do better. I am supposed to be able to write like a mother fucker and have it not be 105% garbage.

However, what I lack is the ability to cut myself slack on a regular basis.

Even as a wee baby I had this problem. I expect a lot out of myself in terms of what I believe I am capable of and I’m not always great about letting myself suck a little bit, or think I suck without turning punitive with myself.

This is a part of my writing process that I thought I had a firmer grasp on and as it turns out I don’t.

I’m in a place where I’m deeply frustrated with my inability to do for myself what I’m really good at doing for other people.

When it comes to other folks writing, I am encouraging, nurturing, cheerleading, supportive type. I might do this for other folks for monies someday, but for the few people I do it for, they always say it is the business.

When it comes to myself, my attitude is fuck you, fuck what you have to say, fuck that trash you’re trying to get someone to give you money for you fake mother fucker.

Y’all see where the problem is.

This is something I work on constantly. I cannot do the shit I want to do when I’m being an abusive asshole to myself about EVERYTHING under the sun.

Now, in all actuality some really amazing things are coming. I have my very first essay on my genders coming out with folks I love. I have new fiction coming out after the first of the year.


Milcah and I are guest editing the CNF portion of The Citron Review’s first Queer Issue. 

Holy. Fucking. Shit.

I am so excited and honored to be doing it and…lemme keep it 100% right now I’m fucking terrified. I’ve never done anything like this and..yeah.

So please bear with me in the coming weeks.

I’m trying really hard not to come all the way the fuck undone and not be such a dick to myself.

What I need is to figure out HOW to do ALL of the shit I want to do without giving myself the anxiety shits.

That’s it for now.



Thoughts on my latest Yeah Write series.

If you’ve been following my Yeah, Write tag  you’ll see that after a while of what I called Billy remixes, I’m doing a whole other thing.

Uh, I’m going to try to explain what’s going on in my head because it’s sort of a mess and a very large experiment.

I started with a few different ideas/goals I wanted to play with.

  1. The concept (one of my FAVES to play with) of the multi-verse.
  2. World building in a very slow paced, not super descriptive type of way.
  3. The concept of a mainly anonymous protagonist.
  4. Conceptually telling only small parts of a story and have those small parts hold up on their own, and then later as part of the whole.

Right as I was starting these I’d just finished rereading a favorite book of mine, Imajica  (no more amazon affiliate links I got booted off of it) by Clive Barker and ugh. Okay, first of all that book is a masterpiece.

I hadn’t read it in years and Barker’s ability to create a world next door just kills me.

While thinking of that, I was done with Billy and decided to try world building my way.

When I write horror, I like to write about the stuff I’m scared of. Any sense of disreality, disorientation etc scare me.

Being a lifelong sufferer of a lot of sleep disorders one thing I have experience with is hallucinations. I took inspiration from that, and have been thinking about what could be lurking in the blurry shit moving I see out of the corner of my eye.

Read here for some quick info on some of the insomnia related hallucinations and sensory stuff I’ve had.

I also really want to explore these creatures/people The Innocents, The Warriors, The Generists, etc without giving them an immediate definition and backstory. It’s difficult to do while maintaining interest in the individual stories for the reader. I want you the reader to feel a bit uncomfortable and disoriented and confused, but not so much so you don’t want to keep reading.

Going forward I want to delve more into some sensory/body horror. I also want to get into some things that will muddy the waters as to what is good and what is bad. I really love a horror story that has no clear good guys.

I’m also thinking about messing more with tense as I did in the last entry. I feel like when you’re reading something and the tenses change, if you can tell it’s done purposefully and can keep reading without your inner editor freaking out, it’s very disconcerting. I also really like the idea that the story is happening now, and when you started reading it and later on while you’re sleeping.

I wasn’t super pleased with that try. It wasn’t exactly what I was going for.

I think I might redo the tense experiment, but use it in a more subtle fashion. So it registers, but isn’t so much of that thing.

Coming up I am going to introduce the Generists. And I have a plot to reach back into history and put the story on Mt. Fuji when it was dark.

Also, if you’ve noticed most of my characters when I describe them are POC and that is on purpose.

I will probably post something a little inane tomorrow. I’ve been thinking of the soundtrack to these stories. I also think I would really like to when the mood hits, create an apotheosis story and make it a hypertext story. That was my other interest here. I love linked short stories and I haven’t done a proper hypertext story in a long time.

So that might happen.

That’s all for now.

Later taters.



Yeah, Write #240- Thin Places.

Thin Places


Shannon Barber

In places where The World and the world meet through thin membranes made of time and place, things are always strange.

It was, it is and it could be tumble together and smear.

These are the places where The Innocent sense a stillness compressed into a spot of darkness or the air is silent, save for the scuttle of some single unfortunate thing. Time stalls, it jerks like a bad spot in a video stream.

The Innocent know in their guts to turn and leave. They wander away, holding their bellies in the place where time sense is felt or with hands cupped over genitals like those waking from a coma. Things are as they were a moment ago, but they aren’t, things were never the same were they?

The Warriors step through through these thin places. Those who battle without talismans or who are not civilized enough to deal with The Doormen. The Warriors drag the light across time, what was lit becomes dim and tenuous and is resolved into The World. 

The Beholder only sees. They stood and stare. They see as is their job, they only see and wander away to wait to see the monsters and wickedness that crawls from The World. What The Beholder sees, The Generist fuels.

Those places, these places must be hidden. Of course, they must be tucked in wild places in the Congo or in the deep secret caves in the Andes. That would be only right. That is only fair.

The World doesn’t care about right or fair. The World peers out from where it pleases. On sidewalks at high noon in London. In storm cellars in Kansas. Where the membrane is thin, where the Shadows ease out and cavort and touch, this place is all places and The World and the world mingle.

They say these places, this place in the suburban basement or apartment wall, in the shadow of a child- are what they are and will continue to do what they do without regret for what they have done.

The World pushes, spreads and reaches for the burning light it is and the hot breath of avarice and the fiery lover of our most solitary, sordid dreams. The world sighs and trembles like the sweetest ingenue with the first touch of a lover.

Humanity and the associated and other beings, have always been the decorations on the skins of the world and The World. Both of these places, with their accessory beings are singular and not. Together and not. They are now and they were then. They are the bent of time, the hour that passed while a human man blinked.

These are only two of the directions things are pulled in constantly, only two of the vying suitors trying for the attention of time and space. Only two of starved lovers waiting to devour their prey.

When you feel that pull in your gut, the unreasonable frisson of fear as the shadow moves from your left to your right in a blink, remember this, it’s only a moment that was gone before right now. Time and place are only here for the moment it takes to feel them, but the dangers that lurk beyond the thin places and deep inside five minutes ago are what we must truly be afraid of.



This is heavy, heavy experimentation.

On Risk and some other thoughts.

I was talking to another writer not long ago and the subject of risk came up.

This got me thinking about the risks I take to do this.

Like poor folks everywhere, every word I write that I don’t get paid for pains me in a special way. The time I spend writing, editing and trying to promote those things, could be time spent earning income some other way.

This is a mode of thinking I fight daily, or every time I need a new pair of pants or socks. I look back at things like my pieces at Medium, or the reprints/originals I put up at Etsy (I even have a coupon code right now PCMADNESS for 15% off your total order). And those do little for me in the way of income. And income is the thing that I tend to need the most.

While I’d love to breezily give my words away whenever I damn well please, it’s a risk for me. It doesn’t always but days like today when I realize how badly I need new glasses and I feel slightly guilty for buying stuff for my house- well the risk and the reward just don’t really add up together.

Before I started this entry I had to fight myself pretty hard not to go into a spiral of shame because my freelancer abilities aren’t up to whatever random ass standard I think they should be at today, part of this is also sparked by the loss of a bunch of work because of tech problems.

I know damn well that I’m not good at being a timely money making machine type writer.

I know that.

That said, I do get discouraged when I see folks banking on work that is very similar to my own in terms of content. And when I realize how much shit I need for my house, and I need new underwear and glasses it stings a bit more.

I’m struggling with not feeling good enough. If X person can write about the same stuff I do and make money at it, I must be shit at at it.

And please I’m not fishing for compliments here. I’m trying to keep it 100% as I keep promising.

So this is yet another risk.

I don’t want to be poverty, pain porn for anyone.

Yet, I do feel like  it’s probably valuable in some way to talk about this stuff shame and all.

This feels like a bigger risk than all my yelling about racism in literature, my ragey poetry where I name names, or anything else I holler about. Showing my tender underbelly and expressing my fears about money and art is fucking hard.

I think a lot of my difficulty is that while intellectually I can shout from the rooftops that my work, my voice, my labor is worth compensation.

Emotionally, I still grapple with this. Emotionally, I still don’t feel good enough. I still don’t feel confident enough to just say hey fuck you pay me.

Sometimes I am crippled by a wide ranging reeking jealousy that I can’t always shake.

Today isn’t that day, but I’m struggling today.

All that said, I have work to do.

I am going to pout about my data loss for another ten minutes, then get to work.

Including, later today a brand new love letter from me to you if you’d like to sign up for my official writer loveletters.

Yeah Write entry #239- The Generist is Born

The Generist is Born


Shannon Barber

He stood there with the sun beating down on his dark, sweating face, his head tipped back, lips peeled back from his teeth but the scream stuck in his throat. Nothing moved.

Around him the dry field didn’t even rattle. Nothing scurried or flapped, the whole universe ceased  and hung on the broken scream. He felt the hand of something cold and full of dense evil touch him inside and the scream died. The world paused in a moment of near death.

One ragged intake of breath released the universe and he felt the world jerk back into hot ragtag life. Dry naked corn stalks rattled, crows burbled then screamed. The World released him with a grudge, it left him shivering and sweating without even the strength to cry.

His belly seized and he fell to his knees trying to sick up the darkness like saltwater. The Shadow wriggled in his own lean shadow and he found his voice, thin and strange and reedy.

“Let me loose demon. Get out, get out. Go now. Go.”

His Black body doubled and the darkness came out of his mouth and nose. It trickled from his eyes and rectum, he felt it ooze from the tip of his penis and he fainted.

He lay there under the traveling sun in an oily puddle of filth that stank of something worse than the grave. As day gave way to night he dreamed of death. He dreamed of strong, thin arms lifting him from the filth and he opened his eyes, ready to behold God and saw the face of a boy.

“Hold on. I got you. You’re safe.”

The man stared at the boy’s broad dark face and let sleep take him back into his dreams.  The pretty boy carried him to Auntie’s house and laid him in a cot on the sun porch.

“I found him Auntie.”

She nodded and pulled off her shawl, she smiled at him and her whole little raisin face lit up. The bones hadn’t lied, she’d sent her protege out with news from the bones and a sliver of hope.

“You did good baby. Now go heat me a basin of water. You remember the herbs?”

The boy beamed, he lived to please his mentor.


He scurried away and she looked down at the whimpering unconscious man.

“Too much time in The World son.”

The man opened his eyes again at the touch of her soft old fingers on his forehead.

“I have to, to tell you.”

She kissed his dirty forehead gently and stroked his short Afro.

“We got time Generist. Now sleep.”

Peaceful dreamless sleep settled over him like a blanket. Her light filled his being and the memory of the grip of The World, The greedy cold World, finally slipped out of him and he felt solid and ready to get to work.



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