Author Archives: Shannon Barber

About Shannon Barber

I am a strange little woman who likes pie.

All the News that’s Fit to print.

OH hey y’all.

How about a lil update on your favorite indie writer’s writin’ life?

First thing.

I still haven’t named my computer yet and it’s bothering me. I think once I get the protective thingy on it and some stickers on that I’ll figure it out. I’m leaning towards calling it the Recalcitrant Dick but I can’t blame the hardware for Windows 8.1 shortcomings.

That said I’m learning win 8.1 and it’s foibles. I am going to have to pay for my year of Office and that bugs the fuck out of me but, of the free word processing programs I’ve used none have ALL the stuff I like so office it is.

What else?

I’m starting to fall back into the rhythm of how I work the best. If I’m going to be natural about myself, I do my best work between midnight and about 6 AM. I’m trying to relearn how not to be so excited and desperate to write that I stay up that late and wind up dead ass tired at my dayjob.

Patrons are getting a HUGE chunk of the Daiyu Saga for the month. I’m talking like 5K words. If you aren’t on that Patreon train go check it out here.

OH so through my homie Mensah and some other folks I’ve been exploring Catapult and I really am enjoying it. I even posted a lil thing there. Check that out here. I even took the photo.

What else?

I’m mostly huddling up, hiding out and writing like a mother fucker. This process of pulling together notes I’ve been taking, having time to write things I’ve been desperate to write about but now while I’m sitting at the dayjob because I might start wailing because it hurts is just…it’s fucking everything.

I’m trying to pump my brakes in regard to making more money and doing more freelance. I’ve walked down that road and it’s not good for me so I’m trying really hard not to put that pressure on myself. I’m mostly doing okay except for when like today I just want to buy a new dress and not have it out of the house budget.

Slowly and not so surely I’m working up to getting my writing life shit together.

I’m also working on a couple of sooper seekrit projects that I’m very into.

More about that another time.

That’s all for right now.

If you are jonesing for some Self Care Like A Boss talk, head over here and see my latest.

Yeah, Write Entry # 233- Into the World

Into the World 


Shannon Barber

I put my headphones on before I get on the bus. Most nights I put on soaring beautiful vocals that make me close my eyes and rock.

If my eyes are closed and my head is full of Maria Callas or Marvin Gaye, I can’t see them.

Tonight, none of my usual playlists will work. I shuffle albums with crackhead concentration. Opera? No. Delta Blues? No. Old country? Not even the voice of the dying Johnny Cash can save me. .

While I wait for my bus I see them fluttering at the periphery of my vision. Shadows darker than the night as gossamer as silken draperies. They are bold tonight, their edges glide across my face, they tug at my braids. I close my eyes, trying to will the music pumping in my ears to do what I need it to do.

I switch stations, Billie Holiday crooning so sweet and sad won’t do it. I frown down at the screen of my phone, scroll faster through noted playlists. Killing Time. Buried under Etta James and my Bad Girls Twerk Forever playlists.

My Father told me once that we carry the blood of mythic ancestors. He claimed that we came from bloody Haitian rebellions. He told me violent extravagant stories about The Ancestors. He taught me about machetes and graveyard dirt.

While the shadows writhe and start to whisper I duck behind the bus stop to get ready.

My Mother taught me too. From her I learned the quick and dirty magic. We spent many afternoons cuddled together on the couch, her teaching me the stories of peoples from all over the world and how to spot the truths.

I screw my earbuds in tight and tuck my little mp3 player into my bra. I stash my backpack under a bush and squat a few feet away to pee.

Always pee before going into battle. Mama’s cardinal rules. Never go in with a full bladder or hungry. Always warm up at least a little if you can.

After I finish peeing I slip out of the world and into The World. It is so easy for me now, the words come almost unbidden to the beat of 2Pac speaking in my ear.

All I need in this life of sin…

In The World my swords are stashed right where I left them and the shadows look hungry tonight. I say one more prayer and let the thousand names of my ancestors ring in my ears while I pull my blade across my palm. I smear the blood across my face and hit my stance.

“First blood mother fuckers. Come and get it.”


Stuff I like

So hey my homies.

I’m coming down from an epic migraine and I wanna show y’all some stuff I like. Tomorrow I’ll post some craft nerd stuff about my Billy Remixes and ways to use a small prompt to explore some things.

The first thing I’m super into. The Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo. They are just..fuck they are everything I love about solidarity and some bad assness. Check out their website, follow them on tweeter and decolonize your mind.

Next up, my friend Anna March is doing some awesome mixtape things at The Rumpus. The first one “FOR WHITE FOLKS WHO THINK THEY AREN’T RACIST” is pretty damn good.

And Daniel José Older on Prose and Music at Electric Lit is well just go read it.

While we’re checking out men of color I like a lot, Mensah DeMary has this piece on Catapult and I love it. Read it.

If you can afford it and can get there, Lidia Yuknovitch is doing some workshops that I’ve heard good things about. Go check it out.

One of my favorite online used bookstores is having a great coupon. Go to Thriftbooks and enter LITFIC for This coupon is good for 15% off books in our Literature & Fiction category (except Thrift Deals.) This is an awesome deal. They have great prices AND free US shipping over 10$.

Look what I got from them just last week:


Wanna read some fiction? Head over here and check out Laura Lucas. No for real if you want to check out how Yeah, Write Microfiction is done, go to the blog tab and behold. Awesome.

Who else am I super into? Dark Matter Poetry. I just..y’all I can’t. I have the worst of literary crushes on them and can’t stop. Go check them out and love them like I do.

Want to see more Yeah, Write? Check out my friend Rowan. GO tell Rowan I sent you.

While I’m talking about folks I love terribly. Motherblazing has a brand spankin new and shiny website. My publisher made something really good looking, so go here and check it out. AND while you’re there sign up for our mailings lists. We won’t spam you but will send some love letters and stuff.

Next, go read this by my friend Wagatwe Wanjuki over at Upworthy. No for real real go forth and read it.

Read this article on gender. Yes, please read it.

Over at Buzzfeed a favorite artist of mine, Mykki Blanco talks about hip hop, coming out and all sorts of goodness.

This poem How To Make Love to a Trans Person  has not left my head lately. Enjoy it here.

Follow my homie Ki Russell over on the amazons. I know it seems weird, but liking author pages is totally a thing. So do it.

Wanna read some kickass writing about women in butchery? Content warning for cut up pigs. This is a great piece by my friend Sarah Grey .

Just read this poem by Dana Koster. Just..ugh yes.

More Yeah, Write homies and some generally good writing follow Seraphina Maria.

AND go follow my homie Sara Habein. Say hi Shannon sent you.

Um nerds…fantasy LOTR type nerds. Hold on to your drawers and check this cookbook out by my friend Chris-Rachael Oseland. An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. UM FUCK TO THE YES. No I’m serious holy shit that’s fucking awesome. Elvenses anyone? Second breakfast? FOOL OF A TOOK…ahem. Sorry. Nerded kinda hard.

A few more. It’s been too long since I’ve shared my reading with y’all that wasn’t books or a book review.

Read this piece on MFA’s and POC over at The Offing. It’s just it’s important. Read it.

Tomorrow starting at 7 PM MDT to celebrate the first issue of WITCH CRAFT MAG they are doing this awesome internet reading event thing. I’m stoked AND you can see my fave Milcah read too. Check it out on facebooks.

GO read and/or listen to this story on Lightspeed it’s fucking amazing. Also it is hosted this time by Mur Lafferty whom I find delightful.

Now how about a lil self promo?

Free stuff first okay?

Join my email list. It is Self Care Like A Boss related and full of love. My love for y’all.  I promise zero spams.

If you are in Seattle come see me read on Saturday. Imma be spitting some fire. Because I am pissed off and poetry is my current method of not punching people. Gallery 1412 18th Ave, Seattle, WA at 7 PM Oct 3.

AND you can head over to the side bar and buy SCLAB, or you can check out the few things I have up at Etsy right now. Or if you are a commitment type, come check me out on Patreon.

Now there is a good number of you and I invite you if you have stuff to promote, drop links in the comments. SHARE WITH THE CLASS.

Tomorrow, something new for Yeah, Write since I’m done with Billy remixes….for now.

Now go forth and read some awesome stuff.

Yeah, Write #223- Goodbye Mother Fucking Billy. The Last Remix.

Goodbye Billy

The last Remix.


Shannon Barber

Billy is a watcher now. He watches her slow dancing alone in her room at night. He can almost hear her rusty, squeaky little singing voice, “better ca-all Tyrone.” She still wears the ivory nightie he bought her. The pale silk glows against her brown skin, her braids brush against the fabric as soft as his touch used to be.

Billy watches as she lays on the couch talking on the phone. He watches her walk to work, her hips swaying to the music she listens to. The beautifully genderless one watches Billy.

“Why?” Billy doesn’t cry this time. He keeps his eyes on her as she reads in bed.

“Until you’re done.” His watcher leaves him to his solitary pursuit.

Billy has learned so much about women and how their private worlds operate. He never knew how contorted her body could be while she painted her toenails, how she spent hours searching her face for things to pluck out. He saw her cry when her favorite dress didn’t zip all the way to the top and then she rallied and wore something loose and to his pale eye exotic and mysterious.

Being a watcher is not what Billy wanted to be. Billy remembers poetry and music, basslines that unfurled in his veins.

And now he is this.

Billy watches, Billy dreams. Billy wants to weep, but finds himself unable. As he watches her dancing around her apartment while she cleans, he wants to lay his head in his hands and sob.

The other stands next to him again, their beautiful face impassive and serene.

“I don’t want to do this anymore.”

Billy’s watcher lays a hand on his shoulder and speaks so gently through closed lips Billy’s thought of tears flees and he relaxes.

“You’re done?”

Billy looks again at her, he musters what substance he has and says the only thing he can think of.

“Goodbye. I’m sorry.”

She looks up and raises a hand to her cheek, she felt his breath. Smelled the natural if chilled scent of his breath. Her tears and smile are bitter.

“Mother fucking Billy. It’s okay. You can go. I love you asshole.”

Billy turns from watcher to what? Air? Light? She doesn’t know. Billy doesn’t know. Billy’s watcher takes his hand in theirs and with the speed of a whispered goodbye they are gone.


What it is, what it is.

I think I finally slept off the last of my cold. I honestly hate the snotty type sickness so much.

BUT there are things I have to share with you.

My publisher Motherblazing now has an official website!!

Check it out here and check out the news about Milcah’s book ‘Sisterhood’ coming.

Sisterhood: Ate is a teaser of Milcah Halili Orbacedo’s work-in-progress memoir. This excerpt explores the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality in the context of their experiences with Lorelei Lee in her writing workshops and as a BDSM scene partner at Milcah writes with the intention of inspiring folks who feel bogged down by marginalization, to encourage them to make the changes and risks they need to make in order to embody the realest versions of themselves, and to seek a healthy and loving community to support them in this crazy mess we call life.

While you’re checking it out, join Milcah’s email list here.

AND if you’d please head to twitter and tell Milcah happy birthday. That would be awesome.

ALSO you can pick up a teaser of their book and I feel like you should read it. Go here and get it.

Here’s what Milcah says about it:

Sisterhood: Ate is a teaser of my work-in-progress memoir. This excerpt explores the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality in the context of my experiences with Lorelei Lee in her writing workshops and as a BDSM scene partner at Your purchase of this teaser will go towards my living expenses while I finish Sisterhood and make the transition (from performer to writer, from woman to man, from San Francisco to New York City) to a life I’ve always dreamed of. I write with the intention of inspiring folks who feel bogged down by marginalization, to encourage them to make the changes and risks they need to make in order to embody the realest versions of themselves, and to seek a healthy and loving community to support them in this crazy mess we call life.

Ate (pronounced ah-TEH) is a Tagalog word for “older sister,” an identifier I’m proud to call Lorelei Lee, a writer, porn performer, director, and teacher. Ate is a title meant to honor the sisters who came before us, those who are kin. In people of color and church communities, to be a sister is to be someone’s darling, dear to one’s heart. Being a sister can also mean being queer, being a feminist, being chosen family. In my heart, Lorelei Lee is all of these things. Lorelei paved the way for me to feel free in my gender and sexual expression and unlocked a world in literature for me so full of diversity and self-reflection. Her influence in my life helped wake me to my most authentic self. I hope you enjoy this excerpt, and that you’ll email me with feedback at

And let me say, you should get in touch. Knowing Milcah has been amazing and transformative for me.

We are doing important work. So come on and help us out.

What else?

Well I’m still getting my docs and shit moved to my new computer and getting used to it. I’m going to try and get a little desk like this to use at home.  I’m going to try out making some chit chat youtube videos too.

That’s all for right now. I’ve got a new essay cooking and it needs stirring.

Against Diversity.

Given the further ramping up of racism in the lit world, I have to confess something.

In recent weeks I’ve watched digital yellowface, more White lady authors defending each other from us savage Brown, Black, Queer, Disabled and countless others, I have seen White people do intellectual 10.0 tumbling routines in order to make sure everyone knows that it’s never their fault, they aren’t racists, they are just trying to get what we others have.

I have witnessed male poets sexually harass, objectify and gaslight women.

I haven’t commented on every single thing because I was busy putting out a book.

Here is something I’ve come to understand.

When they say they aren’t against, diversity they just are against censorship and racial nepotism they want us others around but quiet.

Yes, it’s reassuring to know that we Wise Old Negresses exists, but naturally only a precious few of us should be visible or audible at any one time.

If more than one of us speaks at one time, it’s just PCness taking over and tantamount to murderous terrorism and censorship on the level of book burnings and religious extremism.


I see exactly what’s happening.

Solidarity amongst us others is threatening to Whiteness because we have our own voices, and will not only have our own spaces but will be heard in those spaces as well.

I see the patterns in this behavior.

The fear based posturing. The apparently righteous cause of freedom of speech. The White Flight. The victim pose, oh poor picked on White people being held accountable for their words and actions. All of it.

And it is exhausting.

I endure the micro aggressions. I quietly unfollow, unfriend, put literary magazines on my verboten list. I note who I will and won’t EVER work with at my own peril.

And yet, YET I am still right here.

I wrote an amazing book that is vital and important and yes, it is fucking expensive. 

I’ve stood up for my work because god damn it, this is years of my life, deep life changing work for both my publisher and I. And yes, it is that valuable.

I do this work in the face of the wall of White tears, White outrage, Silencing, Othering, and cowpie dodging that is the publishing industry.

I do this work because it is what I am meant to do.

I don’t do it in order to lead White folks and publishers by the hand into the land of milk, honey & diversity.

I do it because I have things to say. Because my voice, the voice that I have struggled to find and learn how to wield like a machete and like a lover’s hand is important.

So yes, YES, by all means keep tumbling and cartwheeling to justify why I should remain silent.

I will not name you all.

But I see you.

I see you.



Things I Dug Out of My Own Saltmine

I have been busy migrating documents from cloud storages, a little folder at work, emails etc. I could not sleep to save my life so I read some of what I’ve been writing in the past year or so.

Before I get to the meaty part, I want to say that it’s long been deeply important to me to know myself and my heart. Whether or not I share that with anyone is a whole other beast. I lived with so much shame, the type of shame that seems to come from your DNA I’ve made it part of my business as a human being to see myself for what and who I am regardless and deal with it good or bad.

One thing I keep seeing is that there are some things that I have come to (laughingly mind you) accept about myself as a creator and artist.

I try really fucking hard to be lighthearted sometimes. Lighthearted does not come naturally to me at all. I’m a goofy but very serious person. It is super difficult for me to do light. It is also super hard for me to be funny on purpose.

It’s not hard in the way that say, writing about racism in lit is hard for me. It is a whole other level of difficulty.

Part of it is that every piece I write whether it comes through or not, is about survival for me. It is how I live through ALL of the other bullshit and at this age, I have an agenda and I want to get that shit done. My writing time is precious and finite and I have shit to say.

There is that layer.

Then there’s the layer of well, okay. To put it in a different context. I do not have good hand eye coordination. My vision is very poor, like I’m pretty helpless without correction and can do nothing but lay around making sloth noises. In spite of that, I LOVE playing video games. I like violent, bloody, scary video games. I’m awful at them. Like, I bought Lord of the Rings Return of the King at Game Stop the night it came out (which I NEVER DO, baby do not pay retail) and took it home and real talk it took me four months to get to 15 minutes of saved game time.

I rage quit that bitch so hard I not only uninstalled it while cursing and naked, I made Uniballer my partner legit get rid of the whole shebang.

Now doing lighthearted work is not that kind of difficult for me. It’s more like it taking me four tries and copious notes to finish Silent Hill 1. I love it, I try really hard I’m just not good at it.

I felt some angst about that for a bit. I mean, everyone loves people who are delightful and funny. Sometimes I am delightful and funny (I AM DELIGHTFUL -imagine me bug eyed and screaming at the void-) however, it’s not really my jamz. I have come to the realization that it’s okay. While I do have the ambition of being a can do everything type writer, I’m just not.

And that’s okay.

It’s not just okay, it’s pretty fucking fantastic.

It is fantastic because that is one less layer of stress and pressure for me to put myself under. I have just freed myself of this weird uh, choke hold. Sometimes I strangle myself with these out of control beliefs that if I think I can do something I should be able to regardless. I did the same thing with art. I love art. I grew up mesmerized and comforted by Bob Ross. That said, I cannot draw. I failed one of those everyone can learn to draw a pony classes and the instuctor felt so guilty because I was so sad he gave me my money back out of pocket. I got very disciplined and made myself practice a skill that only served to stress me out and give me another reason to be shitty to myself.

Now rather than writing stuff that I have worked to death and lost all love or hope for I’m not going to force it.

I ain’t wid it.

What I am for, is honing my voice and what’s important to me to write about. I’m about embracing the serious little fucker I am, and running with it into the wild.

I am a savage.

I will continue to go for the throat.

I won’t make myself feel bad for not being more entertaining.

That’s all for now friends.


PLS come sign up for my self-care newsletter. I am SO excited about doing it because I like writing love letters to folks and these are loveletters. For srs. Come on. It’s free bruh.


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