Yeah, Write #280- Meeting God

Meeting God

By Shannon Barber

CN murder, choking.

I remember everything. Her soft hands, the look in her big black eyes, the sound of my breath entering her- I remember every centimeter of her. Her hands closed around my throat, she whispered her love against my lips, I knew she was God. She guided me into the promise of love and immortality with those hands. I died gasping,gape mouthed and in love with God. As she kissed my last breath away, I entered her to live inside her sweet mouth forever.

I was never a religious person. I never prayed, I barely hoped. I only survived. There was never a need to pray  until she was on top of me.

There was no goodbye. There was only her hands and heaven inside her thieving mouth.

And finally-

Peace.

###

Call me Daddy.

Okay first read this storify of some tweets from the other day.

A few weeks ago after yet another shitty interaction with some fellow “professional” writers, I was musing to my partner Uniballer that they pretend to be so clean but I see through them. I told him that it was/is easier to deal with fuckin dirty ass hood people, than it is with them.

We got to talking about how for me, dealing with pimps, dealers, gangsters and other criminals is just easier. When I deal with those people, we can establish a boundary and 90% of them I have ever dealt with have respected it.

Dealing with some of these writing world, people feels like they are trying to turn me out in the way that pimps did when I was 16. I remember one in particular who would alternately tell me how smart and beautiful I was and then would tell me how nobody else could do for me what he could do for me.

Cue emails/contact from people who offer me “opportunities” which, when we get down to brass tacks means me doing the heavy lifting and them giving me a chance to do a lot of work, get seen maybe and not get paid.

Then there are the (always men) like the one who approach me with some weird Daddy type issues. They always offer to show me the error of my ways, it has happened a million times. I know it has happened to other writers, some of us it happens in college or for me it started happening the first time i went to a writing class taught by an older dude.

There is always an air that they have the answers to make you a better writer, to help catapult you from kinda good scribbler with nice tits to their Lolita brilliant protege ingenue.

Don’t get it twisted, if you want to do that. Do you boo. For real. Do it.

However, I personally don’t. Even way back when at that first writing class in the moments after the glow of this learned fairly handsomish Daddy/Humbert type told me how much potential I had, I got it.

What makes me so angry I rant on twitter like that (or if you know me, I do it in person as well) is I don’t have time for this fucking bullshit. Like, I’m not stupid. I see you mother fucker and no. And don’t keep trying once I say no.

Inevitably, these people who want to take up my damn time, who want to use me as a resource and a way to say OMG LOOK AT DIS NEGRO WE GOT, and AND who are trying to use me as fap material or fuck me, not one of them wants to pay.

As I have been known to say many times, this ePussy ain’t free.

You want to fulfill some Daddy/Humbert fantasy shit? Pay me 25$ a page and I will write you some self insert smut that will spin your fucking head around. But, the essential bit here is:

fupayme
Image description: Bold white text on black says. Fuck You. Pay Me.

Short of that, I ain’t fuckin with you.

Not to mention the level of entitlement and privilege it takes to then be offended when I SEE what you’re doing and call you on your bullshit?

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I used to work graveyard shift. Every morning I’d get downtown about 6:20 AM and I’d head into a restaurant and have breakfast. I got the same thing every time. Four slices of bacon, two biscuits, one fried egg. That’s all I could afford. I usually sat at the counter and read while I ate because the first back to my neighborhood didn’t come until around 8 and I usually took the 8:45 bus because it was less crowded.

I met a prostitute and we would eat together. We talked hair and nails and how tricks were. Eventually she introduced me to her Pimp and when she stopped working mostly, I had breakfast with him. At the beginning he was grooming me to turn me out. I knew it. I allowed it to reel out a little bit before I let him know in no uncertain terms that we weren’t gonna be fuckin, if I was gonna work it would be for myself and naw.

After that, for months we had a decent relationship. Every now and again he’d pitch me on being his newest in his stable, it became a joke. He taught me how to drink bourbon, he gave me a bottle for my birthday and stuff. I went to his birthday party and her birthday party. It was fine.

I knew he was shady. I knew he was up to no good, but he didn’t try to rook me into thinking otherwise.

Unlike these fucking men who bother me.

At one point in my twitter rant, I thought of something I’d seen my homie Kitty Stryker say and you can buy the shirt here.

It says, I want to fuck the privilege, right out of you.

Yes, I want to.

I mean, if dick is a cure all, I have a big dick and I will travel. Like if we presume that these dudes are right and dick is a cureall, I have experience. I will brag and say that once upon a time I very good cocksman. Like I will try to fuck the privilege RIGHT the fuck out of you.

Just saying. I know where the prostate is and I’m a fair but firm Daddy. You want to play Daddy, I know how to be your Daddy.

But as always, fuck you pay me. I am legit too fucking poor to even be thinking about all this.

Another Turn of the Wheel- Big Promo post.

Oh hi.

I’m gonna keep it 100 as usual. Recently (last night) a source of some of my extra survival income has abruptly dried up.

After some panic, I’ve got myself in check and I have a bit of a plan to bring in more monies.

Some folks have asked what I need.

Promotion.

So if you haven’t bought til now, now is a good time. Let’s start with some lit.

First up, Etsy.  For under 11$ you can get everything I have listed. That’s a whole lot of poetry and literature. You can get two slipstream stories featuring different Magical Black Girls and the as yet not notorious Motherfuckess Manifesta. Now, due to fees and whatnots, likely this will be the last month I have Etsy going so go get it now. Don’t have 10.50$ to spare? Please, PLEASE share the link to the shop. Tweeter, facebooks, whatever.

If you want to drop a tip in my tip jar and stuff, you can do that here. 

Want some bang for your tip? Head over to Medium where I have a good amount of exclusive content that was very time intensive (my series on Diversity in lit is a good example) and a lot of labor. You can also share those links and encourage folks to kick down some coin.

I will be reopening my Teespring shops with some new tees. I will make a post about that.

Now for transparency, let’s talk about my situation.

(I’ll be updating my Patreon to reflect what’s going on as well)

In the Spring there was a corporate level change at my dayjob that changed the frequency I get paid. The consequence of that has been that I have to use 95% of one paycheck to pay just my rent. And generally speaking, the last week of one moth and the first week and a half of the next are tight. We (my partner who is disabled and gets a small amount of disability) have to cover rent, food, medication for the partner, and any incidentals out of that check+his disability.

 

After that, we were able to reconfigure stuff. I’ve been using my Patreon money and a bit of other money to cover survival stuff and bills between paychecks.

Now, because I’ve had to shift pattern/side hustle money into survival money, I’ve not been able to really save up for things like a camera, start up costs for my writing lessons/classes. I’ve cut back on my for funsies stuff. Due to this situation, I’ve decided to cut back on my passion project writing (Medium mainly) so I can use what energy I have to pursue more freelance work.

For those who hate it when folks like me ask for money let me (I really don’t want to get trolled about this) explain what I’m doing to mitigate my need for extra cash/donations/sales:

Stuff I’ve cut from my budget:

  • Audible
  • Beauty Con box (quarterly expense)
  • No self-care/skincare/haircare purchase this quarter
  • Two domains left to expire (annual expense)
  • Twice a week coffee at whatever coffee place.
  • Postponed buying a new phone, extra glasses, tablet, birthday piercings for Uniballer and I etc.

I’ve also not been dividing writing/hustle money and dayjob money. It’s ALL household/survival/life money now.

I have, as I mentioned, a plan in place to get my teespring open and keep it running. I have some other plans that will take a bit more time to get in place, but will hopefully bring in that extra long term bit of coin.

I say this because I hate it when people assume that if you need help you are doing nothing.

And honestly given my stress levels right now I can’t deal with that.

So here it is. Basically, please boost my links, don’t be an asshole to me about it and if you can toss me some coin that’s cool too. Thanks.

 

 

When things are real.

This is what I’ve been doing a lot of but not enough of:

workbeforework

Arty n instagrammy.

What else have I been doing?

Writing like the proverbial mother fucker.

I’ve been writing a different form/style of essay lately. They are likely unpublishable but I’m enjoying them except-no that’s a lie- the parts that just scorch my soul.

I’ve got a little series at Medium going about diversity in lit. You can check those out here.

I’ve been doing pretty well with my writer love letters. 

I’m having yet another bout of what magazines can I read/deal with that aren’t doing really bullshit things that bother me. I could call them all out, but I’m not going to, I just would like to have stuff to read where I won’t be shitbombed with bullshit.

What else?

OH something super important happened. I started this weird little experimental thing months ago. I wanted to meld together a cowboy story (as inspired by a reread of the original (amazon affiliate link, sorry bbs) Gunslinger book) and a story I’d listened to probably from Pseudopod maybe? I dunno, I had mermaids on the brain.

In my head, I wondered (because every piece of fiction I write starts with what if) what would it be like to make a legend or myth, the sort of thing you tell around a campfire, about a dry dissociated world, a cowboy and a siren. I started with siren.

It took me about 6.5 tries to get the voice and POV right. And all in I probably wrote well over 10K words on this one piece in the last six months or so because I kept feeling unsatisfied with what I was doing. It felt trite and not what I wanted to hear.

I finally finished it last week and it’s a chubber story at almost 4K. I reread it this weekend and holy fuckballs I’m kind of really into it. I created an entire base for a mythology that could go lots of places. That’s what I wanted.

As I get older I’m finding that rather than having a random idea and just going when I write fiction, I have things I want to accomplish. Things I want to try to get into a particular fictional framework and when it happens I just feel so happy.

I find this turn of events and change in how I write very interesting. The process has changed for me and I am really into where I’m heading I think. As long as I don’t fuck with myself too hard about it.

Okay that’s all for today. I have stuff to work on. New Daiyu to work out.

 

When it Burns or rather I beez in the trap.

Lately, as I’ve been working on The Poems (current name of my untitled poetry book thing) I’ve also been working on some fairly emotionally intense non-fiction.

Today I finished an essay thing that is about how I experience anxiety. It’s not really something I necessarily want people to read, I feel a mix of shame and ridiculousness and like it is a risk I don’t know if I can afford taking. Writing it hurt. I talked a little bit about it on twitter, but the truth is I feel flayed.

I am feeling the mix of feelings where I’m very keenly aware that I have a not entirely unexpected expense (I need to buy a new phone soon) and I know I should write something more saleable and that’s what came out. That piece in particular is like a piece I have out already in that it doesn’t end on a note that really engages with bigger issues. It is intimate in that at the end, we (reader and writer) are face to face, nose to nose breathing the same tainted air that came out of me.

Neither of these pieces (and at least one other that is in progress) is what I intended to write. I wanted to write something bigger, something that engages with the big issues. That at the end comes out like a powerful telling and calling to The Issue at hand. That’s not what happened.

For years, I have avoided writing intimately this way. Mainly because, I don’t always have the wherewithal to cut that deep in that way. I can write about being harassed and being a Black person in the world and what that is really like in this age. I tell myself this is because I’m good at Big Issues. I’m good at making the connection from my lived experience to racism and sexism etc. I know how to do that.

I also lie to myself and say that I’m not good at intimate. That showing my scars this way is not in my wheelhouse. Leave it to the famous lady writers who lead workshops on writing dangerously and writing from the body. I explain it to myself in terms of profit. They are already famous enough to do this and make it. Their bills are paid, mine are mostly but not comfortably. Their risk is as risk goes, not the type of risk that takes food out of their mouths. The risk for me is food off the table.

I tell myself, this is stupid. Why are you doing this? Why can’t you write to sell? Why can’t you write on spec? Why can’t you write something about lipstick that doesn’t involve Blackness or intersectionality? Why can’t you write something that will titillate just enough, but won’t burn? Why can’t you write timely? Why? Why? Why?

Rational writer me understands that these questions are part of my anxiety brain and will pass. That I know why, it’s just not what I do and logically that’s okay. There’s room in the big bad world for all of this and what I do. I know. Sometimes, it’s okay.

And then I poke around in my drafts and I see blood. Part of me sees it wasted, not profitable because I have bills to pay. Part of me sees freedom and my naked heart on a page in a way that baby me would have cherished. That part of me knows that while I have an aversion to pain porn it is important to be a vulnerable, sad, anxious, fucked up Black person with problems. That part of me knows that vacillating between being proud of me for saying HEY I AM FUCKED UP and being ashamed is natural and saying that I do vacillate between those things, is valid and necessary.

I know that.

I feel that, fuck it, I don’t know it, I feel it. That is the level of importance that representation means to me. I know that right now my 39 year old fucked up baby self can be conflicted about this and work on it and express it because that is part of who I am.

I am conflicted and wounded.

I beez in the trap.

I don’t say all of this to engender pity. Don’t feel sorry for me. Understand that my honesty about my situation in life, whatever it is and how I talk about it, isn’t’ about your  out eyes it is about mine. I have to remember that yeah, I’m poor and I’m terrible at ambition in the proscribed ways, and I’m bad at even nodding at journalism and I’m not palatable to a lot of people and it’s fucking great.

It’s not pleasant. It’s not lucrative. It’s not even easy 99% of the time.

But really, if I’m honest-

it is satisfying.

I think baby Shannon would maybe be disappointed that things like dayjobs and bills have an impact on the work but, baby Shannon would read all of this and feel it and feel seen and validated. So right now, I’m okay.

I’m anxious and a jittery shitbucket of terrible feelings-

but I’m all right.

The work hurt but I’m okay.

 

Writing Bucket List

Okay I am in dire need of limbering up my lil brain so let’s talk about bucket list stuff I’m either writing about or have plans to write about.

Non-fiction first:

  1. I want to/have been making notes on writing about the romantic love of my Queer Femme friends. I realize hetero ppl have JUST fucking discovered this and I want to talk about it, especially in the context of marginalized Femme People being there for each other when the rest of the world wants us dead.
  2. I want to write about how when I most needed role models, my role models were sex workers. Not the thin, pretty White kind who are always top notch blablabla, but girls on the streets. How when hardly anybody gave a shit about me, they quite literally saved my life. And how much I loved them and how they set me up for what is turning out to be a lifetime of loving and identifying with sex workers who are not on the “glamorous” or pure tragic end of the spectrum of experiences.
  3. A probably super snarky guide for the writing world on how to stop saying diversity and being about shit. That’s in progress.
  4. The highly syncretic nature of my work and a more in depth look at why that is a problem for publishing as it exists now and the problems that poses for me as a creator.
  5. More real talk about perimenopause and bodily shit.
  6. I want to write deeply about how alienating and terrible I’ve found the freelance industry to be. From the racism I’ve experienced at the hands of non Black writers who are totally not racist and are totally allies, to the issues I see with what is published to the problem of White writers straight up stealing from POC writers and getting their coin for it and generally being shit.
  7. A (kinda?) funny essay about a bad dating experience I had written to correlate with a rom com.
  8. A defense of fast fashion that is instructive and doesn’t skim over the fact that poor people need pants too.

These are all pretty much in progress. Some are more time intensive than others. There are some other things I want to/am writing about. One of them is an issue with using Brown/Black avatars in games I’ve played only to have that become the basis of harassment and how I’ve stopped playing those games. I’d like to insersect Blackness, representation and sexism, and ask a lot of questions. BUT, I don’t want to get GG up my entire ass and I can’t afford a lot of their fuckery so I haven’t.

What else?

In terms of fiction I’m pretty ass deep in slipstream/spec fic. I haven’t been doing Yeah, Write but it’s on my mind.

I’m trying really hard to finish some straight up high fantasy but it’s been difficult because I feel like I lack a proof of concept? I mean, the two stories I’m working on are not at all what I’ve ever read in fantasy for the most part other than one being kinda romantic and swords and shit but I’m doing stuff that is uh, not super out there logicall but it is very Black and not here for White centered fantasy I dunno. It makes me nervous.

Also I am in the process of figuring out how I want anthologize The World. It’s gonna be pretty labor intensive so I’m waiting to really get into it until after Gertie (my laptop) is fixed.

I think that’s all for now. I have a lot of stuff I want to do today.

OH no wait one more thing. You can go here and get yourself an about weekly little love letter from your fave indie author. This week I talk poetry, fear pooping and feelings. It isn’t a formal author newsletter but it is the closest to one that I want to put out.

That’s really all. I love y’all. Thanks for hanging out here.

What had happened was.

So officially I’m working on a legit poetry book from Lark Books. No for real like they said my name and I feel like I can tell people, that’s one of the things I’ve been working on really hard.

Lily from Lark peer pressured me into it and it’s pretty fucking great. I find it really scary due to the fact that I still wrestle with considering myself like a real actual legit poet. I don’t know why I resist that so much, it scares me. My poems are not as, uh low key as I make them out to be.

I don’t know. It is the same kind of tension I feel with myself when I think about/talk about being an artist.

It’s scary because it’s vulnerability on a different level than other things. In my head poetry is art and art is being entirely not naked, but armorless.

So this his huge and scary. It is what I’ve spent 80% of my time writing.

The other 20% I’ve been writing some new essays. I’m working on one about all the shit White people say about diversity, inclusivity and whatnot in the literature and goddamn I’m sarcastic.

I’m also uh, working on the Daiyuverse and some fiction here and there.

So blogging has slowed all down, but shit is happening. I’ll post some stuff for funsies soon.

I love y’all.

Also, seriously, this coming month will be a great time to go throw down a buck a month for some Daiyuverse action. Shit is starting to heat up. I will likely release some of the new chapters/rewrites in my Etsy store down the line if folks aren’t keen on Patreon.

Okay, that’s kinda it for right now. I’m in the midst of a major energy crash that is a combo of perimenopause and a migraine that can’t decide if fuck my brain or fuck my brain twice.

Goodnight loves and stars. I miss y’all.