Ay listen.

Hi babes.

Can we talk about some shit I’ve been learning lately?

First thing I’ve not learned but we’ll say that has been reinforced to me is that, a lot of general promotional advice is woefully out of date. It doesn’t account how a lot of us have our links on platforms like FB throttled so hard, even our “close” friends don’t see them.

So I kinda am trying to make a deeper peace with that. I’m working on it.

The other thing is that, I’ve noticed that even with me taking pains to reduce how much stuff I give away, I STILL don’t really generate things that are buyable by my general audience across a few platforms. How do I know?

Medium for instance. I currently have 19 pieces behind the paywall, a good variety of type of content. Here in 2019 I’ve made less than a dollar. I mean…my read ratio regardless of topic or length is under 2 out of 10. Then of course when I can read stuff on medium, I see a LOT of bullshit that makes hundreds of dollars likely.

It makes me tired.

I’ve been using KoFi for almost a month exactly and have three things to read. One poem, two essay type things. And goose eggs.

I talked about it on my main fb account a while back. And funnily enough when I said, don’t blow smoke up my ass if you’re not going to at the very least share, my share rate went from few to literally 2-4. And so did engagement.

So really, I’ve learned that the call to action, the asking my community for help etc etc. Ain’t for me. I’ve tried. I’ve modified my tone, I’ve changed what I’m giving, etc. I think I can make some peace with that. Silence and inaction says volumes. More so when the folks who do the share because they don’t have $$ to support, are literally the same 4-6 people it has been for a decade. That’s my real audience. They are the real Gs and I’m not talking about them.

What else?

In terms of Gasoline Heart here’s some interesting things. (NOTE TO SELF ASK PUBLISHER FOR NEW BOX O BOOKS) Some of the folks who’ve read it, really loved it. one of the things I’ve seen in several reviews are along the lines of, HOW DID I MISS THIS/THE WORLD MISS IT?

Easily. SO the above issues. I mean, a few people (the book has been out for a while now) who’ve known me for a long time have said, I didn’t see X links. Sorta believable. Also I am not represented, I am not a darling, I am not very famous or really even connected in the poetry world. So yeah, you won’t find my lil book in lists and shit. That is just how it is.

Also, I learned that I do not have the cash on hand to be trying to get my lil book awards. Shit is expensive. In secret I spent a few months last fall really dedicating hours of my week to submitting to free publicity or award things with my lil book. The hours cost me in terms of spoons and time not spent writing and netted me one very nice rejection letter.

And real talk. I STILL can’t get poetry published. At last submission spree, even with mentioning the book and including a poem or two from it, I don’t really get no love from the lit poetry world. That’s fine but it also means that I’m chasing my tail trying to promote my fucking book.

So yeah. That’s been a struggle but I’m glad I did it. I can see the whole pathway and what obstacles exist for me in particular and that I don’t honestly have the spoons to try to get around them. So I do what I have energy for.

NON BULLSHITS.

So last year I decided to focus more on getting back into the fiction world and boy howdy. Quite a few years ago I had about a 60% acceptance rate in the short fiction world. That was huge.

My return to it has been fucking lit.

This year I’ve placed stories in two anthologies that are both HUGE DEALS to me. Huge. I got an experimental horrory story into Would but Time Await: An Anthology of New England

I was REALLY nervous because the story was an experiment. It is a Black story and I haven’t really been in the horror community for a while.

THEN I got a little tiny horror story accepted over at Heavy Feather (will announce when it goes up). The editor Jason dropped me a note months ago and I FINALLY made something I’m into.

And then, I got the notification and one of the best damn acceptance notes ever. My lil supernatural noir story got into the Gimme the Loot: Stories Inspired by The Notorious B.I.G. Forthcoming from Clash.

The uniting theme in these is that, I’m at my best when I write what the fuck I want to write. I think freelancing really kind of crushed that in me to a degree. Yes there are some publishers who have been all the way the fuck in with me. But, largely that is not the case. This is the same thing with the flirtations with agents and mainstream publishing.

It is like, OKAY we fuck with you but about 40% so dial it back.

I don’t write great things with that in mind. I don’t write great things when I’m trying so hard to get paid what I’m worth.

All of this is really about me pupating so I can in fact find my place in the lit world. Someone who was trying really hard to be encouraging was comparing me to two very famous, very amazing Black writers and y’all, it made me cry. I like both authors. But, I am not like them and cannot be.

I hate this whole struggle between wanting a seat at the table, wanting some “success” (as termed by our culture) and just wanting to be my weird little self, make some writing, make some pomes, do my shit and maybe sometimes be shown appreciation in the form of coins.

I’m working on it. One lil thing at a time.

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Featuring- The ever Delightful Minister Faust

Hi babes!

We’re back with a whole ass new featured person I enjoy. Meet Minister Faust. Author, speaker, podcaster, and very interesting human. I’ve been listening to his podcast MF Galaxy for actual years now. I actually feel like maybe I was shown his podcast back in teh LJ days? I dunno. I just really enjoy his work.

I’ve listened to many episodes of his podcast and y’all, I so deeply appreciate what he does. His fiction=A++ too. For me though, the podcasts are really everything. I really HIGHLY suggest checking them out. Check out his Patreon here. Listen to some episodes and enjoy as much as I do. My personal recentish faves, the episode with MICHAEL DORN. I wanted to leave a question so bad but I remember very vividly I had like zero voice. I also must confess I have that episode saved on my phone. See also, the episode with Nalo Hopkinson whom I am helplessly ass over tea kettle with. The recent episode with the homie Daniel Jose Older…y’all. Just go dabble in the amazingness.

SO come meet the homie.

First tell my friends as much as you’d like to about yourself and your work.

I create stories and teach others how to do the same. The form doesn’t matter. It’s all about stories and their capacity to inspire and connect us. If you want to know more about me, this is my literary bio: http://ministerfaust.com/about

How do you like to work? Do you need your workspace to be any particular way?

I just need to concentrate. I prefer to work in my office, but I can work in a library or on an airplane or any place I won’t be distracted.

Who are your favorite artists or authors?

I’ve had the blessing of experiencing great work from countless artists. I do want to draw attention to some who inspired me to create either the types of stories I do, or the way I write: Richard Wright, Linton Kwesi Johnson, The Last Poets, Allan Moore, Frank Herbert, Claude McKay, Mzwakhe Mbuli, and Fela Kuti were all major influences on my work when I was younger and they still are. That list is all-male, but that’s only because I’m listing the work that inspired me when I was younger and when I was too male-centered. I do want to note I encountered Eden Robinson, Nalo Hopkinson, Octavia Butler, Ursula LeGuin, and Jan Wong (among others) later in life and found their work stunning.

Do you have any memories of the first piece of art or literature that really moved you?

The original Star Trek had a massive influence on me. I watched plenty of it in the early 1970s while sitting in my mum’s lap. Idealised friendship in adventures among the stars.

What makes you ridiculously happy?

I would never ridicule anyone for being happy. That being said, I love little in life more than laughing and playing with my wife and children.

Do you still feel awe? If so what fills you full of it? If not, tell me.

Of course. Couldn’t write SFF without awe. Contemplating the tiny and the grand and the stunning miracle of consciousness is all it takes to experience awe.

Free for all: Tell me something good. (Yes I did just quote Chaka Khan at you)

I’m pretty sure I make the best bean pies in Canada. I picked up the taste after attending the Million Man March. The last time I was in NYC, staying in Harlem, and I couldn’t find anyone from the NOI selling bean pies on the street. I got one at a slick corner store. That mass-produced pie should have been ashamed to know who ate it. (Ate part of it.)

~

 

On Fear and Freedom

HI babes.

GUESS who is back on their bullshit? YEP yo problematic fave.

I’ve been hard at work and I’ve been digging deep into my archives of fiction that I abandoned for various reasons. As much as I talk about how important to me it is to be writing what the fuck I want to write, I still have reservations and fears in terms of genre and style etc.

For me, reconnecting with genre work has been a long ass hard road. I follow a lot of genre related folks, mags, editors, writers etc. One of the things that I still struggle with is that as much as I read, I often feel like my ideas, the methods in which my Blackness informs my work, is a problem.

It is the type of cognitive dissonance that for me personally is just, so weird. I will watch folks talk and talk and talk diversity but, I still find a lot of places lacking. I have such a need to see a broader acceptance of Black narratives. The narratives that aren’t super comfortable.

HOWEVER.

Now that I have some distance on writing racial pain porn for pennies, I’ve found an old want and am able to fulfill it for myself. If you’ve been here for a minute y’all know that at the root of my work is the need to create representation. Until now, I have really wanted to find joy in representation, in creating something that is just enough to get me a seat near the table.

I wanted to be at the table.

Somewhere in my quest to provide the representation, things felt grim. Of course I’ve had the Daiyuverse but, things were feeling a bit lacking. I felt kind of constrained.

Representation by itself is not enough. It is great. It is my dream. But, it is not enough to sustain me in my creative life.

So, I let it go.

And then, I started fictioning again and I’ve found my joy again.

I’m remembering that I don’t have to give a certain narrative about or around Blackness. That I can do what the fuck I want and still represent.

To the end of joy and shit I love doing, here’s a bite of the fantasy story I am retooling.

The King came out of the privy still buttoning her breeches, her sword clanking on her hip.“So, I looked at him dead in his Gods Damned eye and said no but I’ll sit on her-“Her ribald story came to as abrupt a halt as she did. Standing right there, one ear turning, tail swishing, was the cat woman. She stared up at the King with her enormous pumpkin colored eyes.

“You’d sit on her what your majesty?”Her whiskers twitched. The King stammered and dropped to one knee, unfortunately her breeches were loose and several men got a good half moon. She was too rapt to feel the breeze across her crack.“I, I oh please a thousand pardons Lady Cat. I hope I haven’t offended you. May I ask, what is your name?”

With that, I say good day sir.

Good. Day.

Featuring- Most Beloved Jen Pastiloff. Writer, teacher, Mom, delightful human.

HI babes. Get a snack.

If you don’t know Jen I am so happy to introduce you to her. I’m not completely sure how our paths crossed but, she is one of the most giving, Jen Pastiloff is the founder of one of my favorite lit sites The Manifest Station and if you’ve been here a while, you might remember she published an essay of mine about my mental health (TW it is a lot of issues) and treated me with such love and dignity. That particular piece was one that I could not for the life of me sell in any form and she was so kind in her treatment of it. SMOL UPDATE:THE BOOK IS OUT NOW GET IT GET IT GET IT HERE. 

Jen is, the antidote to the sort of shiny, BE POSI all the time Mommyness, yoga doing, life living thing. Y’all know I am purely allergic to both bullshit and aggressive positivity and Jen gives me a person who reflects how I want to talk to myself. Y’all know what I’m saying? She speaks my language. When I see her post, don’t be an asshole followed with how she’s being an asshole to herself, and to stop I feel seen and heard.

Jen is a relentlessly loving person. A real person who wears some really bomb lash extensions and has a lovely family and chunky biscuit baby whoms

What’s your name/pen name.

“Ugh, why is this always so hard? Let’s see: I can’t hear without my hearing aids so that is kind of annoying. I have terrible tinnitus (ringing in my ears) 24/7 so I have a high tolerance for getting used to things, as well as pain. This is not always a good thing. I stayed at the same waitressing job for almost 14 years in Hollywood because I “”was used to it.”” I stayed in an abusive relationship for 2 years because I was “”used to it.”” You get the point.
I have a fear of dentists. I watch too much Netflix (thank God for subtitles and blue-tooth hearing aids), I drink way too much coffee and wine, I have a 2.5 year old who is the love of my life and also a high pain in the ass. I live in a one bedroom apartment and share a bed with my husband and son and my dream is to have another bedroom and a washer and drier. Really, those are my dreams. Oh: also finding a cure for Prader Willi Syndrome, which is the rare genetic disorder my nephew Blaise has. It manifests itself in many hideous ways but the worst is that it makes the person feel starving all the time. Like, he could literally eat himself to death. It’s straight out of a science fiction film. Fuck Prader Willi.
I went to NYU but took a semester off after junior year and that turned into… what year is it? So yea, I am a college dropout. And I have a memoir publishing June 4 from Dutton Books. No, I am not suggesting you drop out of college but for the love of coffee, sometimes our paths are crooked. Maybe college is not for everyone. Maybe the person I am is because I did not finish? Who’s to say?
I am saying this: Embrace the not knowing. You have no idea where life will take you or what will happen. The sooner you accept this, the happier (slightly happier, at least) you will be.
I post a lot on instagram at @jenpastiloff. Especially with the hashtags #realmotherfuckinglife and #nopantssunday which are exactly what they sound like.
I like being real and pantlessless.
I think Lidia Yuknvaitch is a fucking goddess. I lead workshops with her called Writing & The Body and it has changed me to my core. In the best possible way.
I don’t sleep with my hearing aids in so mornings and the middle of night are hilarious. “”What? What did you say? Mommy doesn’t have hearing aids in.”” I 99% mishear what you are saying, even with my hearing aids in, and usually what I hear is way funnier.
My father died when I was 8. He was my entire world. It messed me up real good but I turned out okay. Also; I wrote a book about it one million years later, so there is that.
I believe we get to change our minds about who we are and what we want, despite what the world (or our own Inner Asshole has told us.) \Ugh, I curse a lot.
My motto is “”Don’t be an asshole”” but I believe we are all sometimes assholes. Because: humans.
Sometimes I feel like a walking dead person. Less than I used to, but still. Sometimes I do.
I take anti-depressants. I teach yoga. I lead workshops around the world that I made up where I encourage people to become free and give less fucks what anyone else thinks. I love what I do.
I give away more than I have. I don’t mind that.

How do you like to work? Do you need your workspace to be any particular way?

I need quiet, which is hilarious because I am deaf. No, I was not born deaf. I am not Deaf with a capital “D.” I just get distracted easily so I can’t have noise (besides the ringing in my head.) That is the only thing I need. I need to be surrounded with books or mementos or photos. Things that inspire me, remind me who I am, make me feel grounded. Books do that. They make me feel less lonely. I feel like they whisper to me, “Go on, girl. You got this.” I know it’s corny but I do. My favorite words are “I got you” and I need things around me to remind me of that sentiment. My other faves are: It’s going to be okay. Basically, I need to feel that to write. I have no system. No routine. No high demands. I can’t even type. But, I get it done. Which is again to say: you do you. You do not need to fit inside any kind of box. I call it the “just-a’box.” I am just a waitress, just a mom, just a yoga teacher. Barf in my mouth. You (and me) are not JUST an anything nor do we fit inside a box. Make up your own damn rules.

Who are your favorite artists or authors?

“You, Shannon Barber. Truly. Your poetry. Lidia Yuknavitch. Roxane Gay. George Saunders. Cheryl Strayed. Sam Irby. Emily Rapp Black. Rene Denfeld. Alice Anderson. Naomi Shihab Nye. Toni Morrison. Jesmyn Ward. Alexander Chee. Claudia Rankine. Marlon James. Christa Parravani. Rumi. Stephen Dunn. Stanley Kunitz. Liz Gilbert. Zadie Smith. Brenda Shaughnessy, Miriam (Mimi) Feldman (paintinga and her writing!!) Megan Stielstra. Elizabeth Crane. Rob Roberge. Gina Frangello. Paul Auster. Virginia Woolf. Annie Dillard. Maya Angelou. Jess Walter. Jeanette Winterson. Tana French. Kate Atkinson. Omg- this is so hard. I could go on and on. Hold on, let me get more coffee.
Sylvia Plath. Caroline Knapp. Hanya Yanagihara. Margaret Atwood. Leslie Jamison. Nicole Krauss. patti Smith. Joan Didion. Alice Walker. Judy Blume. On and on…. ”

Do you have any memories of the first piece of art or literature that really moved you?

My first thought is Judy Blume. The first real book I ever read as a teeny kid was “Forever.” It was full of sex. I loved it. I hid in my room behind my bed and read it in 2 days. It was before my dad died so those memories are hardwired into my DNA. I have a deep love of Judy Blume. Hi, Judy! You make the best art. You inspired me as a small human to write and look at me now. It’s your fault! Also, you named a penis Ralph in your book and that still makes me laugh. Ralph!

What makes you ridiculously happy?

“My son’s laughter. Napping in the middle of the fucking day. My fake ass eyelashes. Finishing something I am proud to have written. Leading my On Being Human workshops. A book I cannot book down. When my husband brings me coffee in bed (he does this every day. Not to brag, but, okay, I am bragging.)
A show I cannot stop watching (I am a binger to the core!) When there is no traffic in LA, which is basically like two days a year (Christmas and Jan 1.), Italian food in Italy, Paris, light coming through a window. The idea of my own washer and dryer! The handmade “”don’t be an asshole’ and “”don’t should all over yourself”” mugs someone made and mailed me. They are just just so stinkin’ cute! I can’t even make chicken and someone made me these!”

Do you still feel awe? If so what fills you full of it? If not, tell me.

“All the time. I call it “”beauty hunting.”” My son’s awe fills me with awe. Watching his toddler brain process something. Last night i was working on this interview at my computer and he comes over and says, “”It’s not time for work. It’s bedtime.”” He was right. I closed the computer and cuddled with him. My 2 year old is teaching me boundaries.
Nature brings me to my knees. I am no Mary Oliver, but, my God, look at the sky. It’s breathtaking. How do we get to live in the world? Look what it does.
Honestly, wifi while I am flying. Utter awe. I am just dumbstruck. Like: how can I text you on your couch while I am high in the clouds above Cleveland? My hearing aids. Sometimes just the shock of sound when I put them back in brings me to tears. Anti-depressants. Look dudes, I probably still wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them so that is all sorts of awe-inspiring.
What happens in my workshops. Transformation, connection, lifetime friendship, fear gets told to buzz off, people find their voices, change their minds, allow themselves to be held, listen to other people in ways they maybe never had. I can’t believe I get to do this and IF I EVER STOP BEING ASTONISHED I WILL BE DEAD.”

Free for all: Tell me something good. (Yes I did just quote Chaka Khan at you)

“Well, I recently started lifting weights and I feel really great. I remember when I was nearly dying from anorexia, if someone said that I looked “”strong”” or “”healthy”” I would have a literal panic attack. Now, I soar. It’s a tangible feeling of growth. I don’t think we necessarily “”overcome”” things or “”get over them”” but we learn how to live so that they are not controlling us, so that we are able to find slivers of happiness, or awe, as you aptly put it. I have bad days but the majority are good.
I am part of something SHAPE magazine is launching called WOMEN RUN THE WORLD and I will be featured in the June 2019 issue. I sold my book in The UK to John Murray (Hachette UK .) I have clean sheets as opposed to cookie crumb sheets (I sleep with a toddler.) I have a retreat coming up to France and the day after I return from Europe, my book launches. That is actually good, or very, very bad. Hashtag jet lag.
We are closer to 2020 when we can vote the evil cheeto out of office.
I no longer care (as much) what other people think.
Something else good? Here’s the good news: I know it feels sometimes like there isn’t enough room (for you, for me, for all of us) but there is. That€™s a lie. That€™s a bullshit story-as I call it.
Sometimes it may feel like about she got there first & SO WHAT IF SHE DID? There’s room for all of our stories, voices, creations.
If you get sucked into that spiral of Not Enoughness “you won’t create. You’ll think â what’s the point?
The point is YOU. You are the point. There’s no other you.
It’s not a cliche. Or it is, but for good reason.
I lived in the Land of Lack for years but I escaped! Not unscathed: I have moments where I slip back.
But I remind myself that there’s room! And I surround myself with people who remind me, who lift me up, who make me see THE ROOM I WAS INSISTENT ON DENYING THE EXISTENCE OF. Find those people. Do your thing. We need you. Don’t be an asshole & hide. Tattoo this on your heart: THERE IS ROOM FOR ME.
your inner a-hole will try & trick you & tell you that it’s too late. It’s been done, there’s too many ______ (whatevs your blank is), you’re too old, too fat, too sad, too single, too smart, too dumb, too open, too potty-mouthed….WHATEVER THE F! It’s a dirty trick. Don’t listen. There’s room There’s room There’s room There’s room There’s room. MAKE ROOM FOR YOURSELF. We need you.

Extras?

“I have a workshop coming up in NYC March 16. PDX with Lidia Yuknavitch april 5-7, Ft Worth April 27, France May 25-June 1, London June 2, Book launch at Skylight Books in LA with Lidia June 4, Powells in PDX with Lidia June 7, DC July 14, Malaprops Books in Asheville July 16, Kripalu in Massachusetts July 19-21, Philly Aug 24. All info at jenniferpastiloff.com. Or go here https://www.jenniferpastiloff.com/events

Preorders are so important. And, if you send proof of purchase by Feb 28 you get a gift. order wherever you like and submit proof here https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfOG-KBufmq-DE5t7NnUekkOi0enMt_Dld_5sSNhICW9xZguA/viewform. Thanks for preordering. It truly means the world. I got you, too.
I have a scholarship fund for a woman who has lost a child called The Aleksander Fund https://www.themanifeststation.net/2016/10/17/aleksander-scholarship-fund/. I run a literary magazine with Angela Giles called The Manifest-Station https://www.themanifeststation.net.
Besides my own instagram at @jenpastiloff I also have @nobullshitmotherhood and @GPowerYouAreEnough.

More info here https://www.jenniferpastiloff.com/onbeinghuman”

~

AND y’alls I’m serious. You see why I love her.

Featuring- Caroline Blicq of Hexennacht.

Hello my friends.

A very long time ago on a blog far far away, I liked to post little interviews with folks I like. I decided that, we’re gonna do that here.

I’ll be featuring writers, artisans, other folks I find cool. First up the amazing scent witch Caroline Blicq, head spoopy babe in charge of and creator of Hexennacht. What is Hexennacht? First some background.

In the aforementioned blog far far away, I met someone who introduced me to the world of hand made perfume oils. For a good portion of my adult life, I was one of those people who would chase down the hood guy who sold oils out of his backpack, or I’d go to the Pan-African import stores for perfume oils. I love them.

I’ve used lots of brands and have a small but delicious collection. Right now, Caroline makes my faves.

hexen
[image description: HEXENNACHT in stylized font]
Before we get to the interview, let me give y’all a little review.

First of all, Caroline creates scents that are evocative, skin loving and frankly every one I’ve tried including my first order of currently unavailable scents, has just been delicious. My tastes tend to run to darker scents. I like notes like tobacco, leather, honey, candles, incense. My first two favorites were these:

Coffin Nails – Tobacco leaves, tobacco flower, whiskey, ginger, anise, coriander, clove, spices, fruitwood sap, juniper berry, hay, vetiver, benzoin, labdanum, vanilla pods, tonka bean, honey.

AND another classic fave:

Papa Legba – Aged dark Maduro cigars, spiced vanilla, beeswax votives, golden honeycomb.

If you click around the scent descriptions, you’ll Caroline has a nice hand at both humour and scent description. These perfumes are extra, the packaging is extra and much to my delight the human I adore, Caroline is also extra af.

Now, my last order was just a beauty. Check it out:

20190205_164713
[image description: a black package with silver writing on it that has my name on it, Shannon  a heart and a planchette shaped logo with Hexennacht in silver ink]
One of the reasons I love handmade items is, I like to feel special. Caroline puts care into her packaging and even just the touch of having my name written all pretty like that makes me really happy.

20190205_164903
[image description from the left: two sample sized vials of perfume oil. The top one is labeled Holy Water, the bottom is labeled Morning Star. In the middle there is a brown toned sticker with a photo of a pentegram on a wooden floor, it says hexennacht in lower case letters. On the right there are two perfume oil roll ons, the left hand one is labeled Black Phillip and the one on the left is labeled The Gunslinger.
Now, ahem. Y’ALL. Black Phillip is so fucking sexy. I feel like a whole ass Love Witch when I wear it. The description:

Black Phillip – black amber, dragon’s blood, black musk, tonka, black oak, firewood embers, black currant, soft woods, black pepper.

On my skin, immediately upon application I smell mostly the dragon’s blood and musk. Once it dries down it turns into this lightly sweet, peppery warm amazingness.

The Gunslinger I got for my partner (who by the way will wear whatever I put on him and perfume isn’t a thing that must be gendered), well actually I got it for me but it smells better on him.

The Gunslinger – Hints of sulphurous gunpowder, smoky, dark, mildly sweet, and spicy with notes of smoke and wood.

I LOVE the note of gunpowder. LOVE IT. It does not work with my body chemistry and turns weird and sour. On the partner, it is a sharp smell that mellows into that mildsweetness on his skin. Pure. Hotness.

Today I am wearing Inferno – orange pekoe tea, orange, clove, cinnamon, ginger. Y’alls. There is a tea here in WA that is so good and she managed to not only capture it, but on the skin it just smells so warm and soothing and another sexy scent. This scent is so fucking sexy, a straight woman kinda hit on me while we were sitting next to each other on the bus. That is how good she is.

Caroline’s scents are beautifully complex and so easy to wear in ways that have a low impact on folks around you. You can adjust the intensity to your own preferences. If you don’t like scent on your skin, try it in a scent locket. I have one I wear sometimes if I just want something to lift my mood.

NOW my loves, meet the divine Caroline.

What’s your name/pen name: Caroline Blicq

First tell my friends as much as you’d like to about yourself and your work.

I’m a Canadian transplant, and have lived in Seattle for 22 years. I started out making herbal infusions, tinctures, and tisanes 25 years ago, and over time, it gradually evolved into perfumery.

How do you like to work? Do you need your workspace to be any particular way?

I like to work in either complete silence or loud music. There’s no in-between. I also NEED to have an inordinate amount of “alone” time. I’ve always thrived on having minimal interpersonal interaction, and thankfully, working out of my home makes that possible. As far as my workspace goes, it doesn’t appear to be in any set “order”, but I know exactly where every single one of my 300+ blends is located at any given moment. For that reason alone, I’ll never be able to have assistants, but then again, that would cut into my alone time, so it all works out very well for me.

Who are your favorite artists or authors?

“Music: Kate Bush, Etta James, Fiona Apple, Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder.
Authors: Paul Beyerl, Judika Illes, c.s. lewis, Stephen King, Joe Hill”

Do you have any memories of the first piece of art or literature that really moved you?

I was OBSESSED with Lynda Barry’s graphic novels as a teen. I still am.

What makes you ridiculously happy?

Music, my home/sanctuary, my family, getting to make a living doing what I love the most.

Do you still feel awe? If so what fills you full of it? If not, tell me.

I was gifted a Hawaiian vacation last year, and snorkeling with tropical fish is by far the most amazing, exhilarating thing I have ever done in my life. I’m obsessed with going back there someday.

Free for all: Tell me something good. (Yes I did just quote Chaka Khan at you)

It’s 2019. I’m having to dig deep to come up with something good these days. Is it re-election time yet? Haha-

Extras?

Shop: http://www.hexennacht.com
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First Side Hustle of the Year Updates.

OKAY.

Hi y’alls.

Folks ask me so I will probably do a monthlyish hustle update. (Medium links are paid links)

Medium still fails, my stats, these are not ALL of the things behind the paywall just the “top”:

Adventures in Being Black in Public $5.99
How to Learn to Write Non Fiction $0.00
This is America II $0.00
Post FatAss: Current RageAss. $0.00
Dear White Feminists. 2018 is coming. $0.00
How to Make a Witch II $0.00
How To Diversify Your Literary Publication $0.00
Self Care Like A Boss $0.00
This is America $0.00
So a bit from my top earner for the month:
The weight of that look, the look Black folks who are in situations where they are the only Black person there, or are visibly in distress know. The curled lip, the purse clutch, the sneer, the loathing. It is the look when you are both invisible and hypervisible. I was already panicky, trying to text my partner through my tears, terrified that (not logical but….) immediately the money I’ve been working so hard to save would be gone, that someone would fuck up my credit I’ve worked so hard on, everything.”
I wrote about a real bad day. I wrote from my aching heart about a really bullshit ass experience of my Blackness. it hurt. It hurt to read.
On average when I bleed out on the page this way, using Medium I might make 5$. When I’m exhausted angry and hurt, sometimes I make a little cash. For instance, this article I made about 13$. A record high. This piece was ghosted by four editors at ladymags who’d asked for this sort of thing. Two rejections because it is strident. So I took to Medium.

I will go out on a limb and speak for a lot of us othered folks. We cannot and do not want to continue giving free, amazing scholarly lessons on basic don’t be a racist. It is damn near 2018 and our fucking world is burning. Want to be the best gosh darned intersectional (also please interrogate your use of that word and if you don’t already know, find out about where it comes from) feminist ever?

Do the work.

Some stats for that piece:

Published 

VIEWS BY TRAFFIC SOURCE
353.

So frankly, y’alls. This is a large part of why I am in the process of redoing how I work. Honestly, letting it ALL out like that might be cathartic sometimes but it also is so much labor. And aside from maybe one magazine I can think of, even when that sort of work is asked for I’m not the one getting those bylines so no $$.

In other hustle news. My Etsy store will be closing on 2-15. I kept loose track and worked well over 75 hours on etsy stuff in the last quarter of 2018 and that made my hourly rate less than a dollar so. Nope.

What I am doing is making room for a big, shoot the moon, HOLY SHIT I AM DOING THIS SHIT type thing. I’m not ready to share ALL the details but, I’m taking a big fucking risk and I am so excited about it.

What else is happening?

I’m reading a few really good books right now. I’m getting ready to roll out some new shits. Since The Evil Empire   I mean Amazon changed their affiliate program I’m working on a WHOLE ass page of hand picked books and links.

I’ve also got a directory of Black Patreon creators going and I’ll be going live with it soonish.

I’ve got a real hankering to provide some more resources up in this bitch so keep an eye out for that.

I’ll be back probably next week where I’m going to need to talk some shit about people who try to sell best seller secrets willy nilly.

OH and if you are or know Black creators on Patreon drop them links for me please!

 

Can’t Have Analysis without Anal.

HI BABES!

Welcome to 20 goddamn 19. I typed 20 goddamn 49 at first and almost left it, so, yanno.

So what’s good 2019?

So far, I’ve been doing a lot of heavy emotional lifting for myself and my work. I made some decisions. I’ve been writing like a mother fucker.

I’ve decided to embark on a really difficult and scary thing that I’m not ready to formally announce. It has to do with a lot of the statistical data and whatnot I’ve been talking about for the last few months. If you subscribe to my loveletter you’ll see this bit later but this is really important:

Medium- I made $45.56 for the year of 2018. I generally had/have 10-15 pieces available. My least popular piece there was this one (free read link, clap if you want) The How to Learn to Write Non fiction piece.

TOTAL VIEWS
37
READ RATIO

32%
LIFETIME EARNINGS

$0

My most profitable pieces with an average of about 300 or so claps were the ones where I bled on the page about racism. I don’t really know what to say about that. It isn’t new but it is, disheartening if I’m going to be real with y’all.

The last piece where I bled on the page was this one, here is a bit of it.

Last night, I was reminded again of the ways in which I am not allowed to be human. The things I risk when I have the audacity to not be silent and invisible. I know what could have happened.

I’ve looked at long term stats on my work in various venues. OVer the last let’s say about 5 years or so, the more something hurts me to write, the more exposure it gets. For a long time I thought this would lead to the big $$ but, it doesn’t. Not for me. What I’ve experienced is often privately, editors and other folks with the keys to the cash, love me. They tell me how much they’ve learned from my work, they tell me how strong and powerful I am.

The people I know (mostly white let’s be real) with the connections and power to open those doors for me, don’t. There are always reasons. An editor not long ago asked me privately to pitch her something timely in response to the Magahat Babyracist Jr debacle. I worked up a short thing, real fast. And it was another instance of yes that but not like that.

I’m tired of that y’alls.

This is why freelancing burnt me so badly. I get it. I do. Most of these folks readership are not ready for this particular negro. Understanding it makes it no less exhausting.

I have also learned through these years of anal…err analysis that my audience, my ride or die folks *insert fourth wall break within a fourth wall break here* want what I got.

I’m working on it. I’m adjusting my focus so I can empower myself to write what the fuck i want to write, and dispense it how I wanna.

One of the things I’ve learned from my beloved Milcah is that my audience, y’all don’t like my work because I give it 40% you know? The people who are into it, are into it because I am who I am. I forget that a lot.

Those months of ghosted pitches and weird rejections really got in my head. It called up years of shitty criticisms and bullshit.

I’m better.

SO what am I doing that I can tell y’all about?

Right now, I am working on my biggest and most enjoyable sensitivity read job to date. I am loving the job so much and it is legit. And huge. And fuck y’all I feel DEEPLY honored to be trusted with this work. That said, I won’t be accepting another one until at least April.

Patreon is humming along. We’re getting really close to closing out Cycle 2 and debuting cycle 3. Here is a taste of Cycle 2:

Nanita came back and sat down, wiggling in her chair and doing a little dance. He chuckled, she’d done that since she was a fat baby wiggling in her high chair and crooning to her mashed potatoes.

“Oh, I was thinking about eating this. I’m so glad you’re home. Do you want to go to the swamp with me tomorrow night?”

“Sure. What are we gonna do?”

She sprinkled hot sauce in her rice and thought about it while she stirred.

“Um, I don’t really know yet. I just got a feeling to go. I dunno, it’s like I can hear it. I asked Mama about it but she didn’t really know what I was talking about. Well, she kinda did but you know the swamp makes her nervous. She acts like it doesn’t but if it’s nighttime, she kind of hates it.”

He nodded.

“I know. I’ll be home a while. We got things to do.”

“What kinda things Daddy?”

He dropped his voice to a raspy bass.

“Man things.”

She giggled and tried to copy him.

“Man things, fo sho.”

They ate and giggled together. The moon rose outside and they both looked up through the window at it. Their eyes glazed, the moon tickled their blood and spoke to their bones. Through Tinny’s blood there was a link to moon magic. Not the usual menstrual, fertility magic that runs through many bloodlines. This tie was a line to something other, the magic was almost like something alien.

Both of them sat, stupefied with their fingers and toes tingling. Their eyes fixed and in the light turning a burnished silver. Anyone watching would have seen the light flash between them, a circuit completed. Nanita would not remember. As with so many of her gifts, as she came of age many were asserting themselves in her but, her body and brain were not ready to fully see them. Tinny would remember. It had only happened one time before with his beloved Maman Aprille.

I’ve been writing some other fiction. Not much because it is hard to do with no computer

On the computer front, I’ve got a Dell 5000 series picked out and a corporate discount ready to use. I’m super close to being able to pay for it so I should be up and running by February.

Given that my personal life has been a shit sandwhich of late, I’m getting my shit together piece by piece.

AND to end, a new/old poem. I performed this at Margin Shift’s litcrawl event last October. Enjoy.