How a Cowboy is Born. New Mythos

Welcome loves!

I’m going to be doing a new thing. Over at Patreon, I’m going to be posting some craft essays with some extras. I’ll reprint the essays here without the extras. What are the extras you ask?

Might be a WIP, might be a curated playlist, might be a writing exercise. Want to get in on that? Head over to Patreon and drop a dollar a month. For real that’s all it takes and you’ll get that AND get in on that Daiyuverse action.

NOW let’s get on with the mythos. Go get a snack, I’m going in.

Welcome to Nerdtown population you and me.

You ready to get down with some deep dorking about writing and myth creation? LET US NERD!

Few things before we get going.

If you are a Patron, you’re seeing this about a week before I blog it. That is a new thing, we talked about it and here it is.

If you are reading my blog and want early access to craft shit, WIPs and stuff, join me at Patreon for as little as a DOLLAR A MONTH YO!

Ready?

First for reference material I’m going to be referring to my cowboy/mermaid myth that was in the first issue of Rigorous. Link here, feel free to follow along.

Let’s get started.

One of the things I enjoy playing with is myth creation. I’ve long been a fan of mythology from the European classics we all learned in school to myths from the African Diaspora, Afro-diasporic religions, indigenous religion and myth. I love it. For our purposes I’m considering myth to be a broad umbrella term that covers religions, mythos worlds like Lovecraft, etc. Vampires, werewolves, fairies, Gods/esses. All that stuff is mythos for us.

For me creating or remixing mythos is a combination of what if, I wish and let’s roll with it and see what happens. I am using the I wish method to create an expansion to what we can consider a Western by introducing mythic magical elements. As we see in the Cowboy and Mermaid myth, I took the idea of a long gunslinger (inspired by a re-read of the Gunslinger) and I had very specific things I wanted to do:

  • I wanted to inject Blackness into a Western.
  • I wanted to figure out, what would happen to the mermaids in a dry dessert world.
  • I wanted to give the sense that there was a mythos/reality in place in this world.
  • I wanted to tell a magical story the way I would tell a realist story.

Before getting into mythos remixing, it is highly importance to do your research. Remixing doesn’t mean you can take what is sacred and poop on it. I mean, you can but it is a dick move and nobody needs to be that person. For the new cowboy myth, I’m working with, as I was starting it I had a basic framework to deal with.

  • Another lone cowboy on foot
  • Vengeance (inspired by watching the reboot of the Magnificent 7)
  • Loas
  • A huge black horse
  • GAYS

These are, in terms of classic Western mythos, very disparate things. Westerns have Christian churches, steely eyed white dudes and gays well, we know.

How did I start?

The great thing about being a writer is that, you get to make it up as you go along. My basic is this. We have the lone, broken hearted cowboy on a mission. Why? (SPOILERS) his town was destroyed by oil/railroad barons. His family, everyone is dead. Classic right?

I decided to give our gays very prominent role. They are going to be the bridge between the classic Western, they fucked up my town now they gotta die, to the mystical. I don’t want to disrupt the Western so much as tweak it, instead of finding the sheriff, our cowboy is going to be taken to visit a Loa who, in this world has several manifestations and it is just how it is.

In creating or remixing mythos, don’t dither. This is where you as a creator need to drive it like you stole it. For mythos creation, I recommend some notes. If you get nerdy like me, sometimes a framework as opposed to a full outline is enough. You can use my bullet list method, decide on who is telling the story, what is in the world, what myths you want and go. Be bold, own it and don’t be afraid to just go for it and see what happens.

Now back to our cowboy.

In this story, I wanted to create a world where the Loas are the dominant gods. And they hang around but, I don’t want them to be presented in the horrible racist way a lot of things to do with Afro-diasporic religions. Frequently, we are presented with the scary ignorant savage trope and that is crap. So, prior to starting I did a lot of reading by people who are practitioners, I paid close attention to how they talked about the way they feel when they communicate with their Loas.

For me as a writer, part of my general mission in my creative life is staying in my lane and being as respectful as I can to the material that influences and inspires me. I feel it is my responsibility as a writer to do my research and consider carefully how to use the source material. I want to show actual love and appreciation and not the I LOVE U I DO WHAT I WANT type.

If you are a White writer, inspired by cultures outside of your own this is triply, eleventy million times more important. If you want to think of it selfishly, you don’t want to be dragged in public and to be bigger about it, you don’t want to insult and demean the people you are appreciating.

What next?

Next, we play.

Not enough talk about writing includes this and I’ve found it to be an integral part of my process. Even when I’m writing serious material, I want to play. I want to fool around in the world I’m making, play with detail and textures and speech. Writing fiction doesn’t have to be all serious business.

Now how about a lil taste of the new Cowboy myth?

“Thank you kind sir. It has been too long since my shadow was welcome across any doorstep.” Warmed and calm the man took a table and ordered himself a feast. Salty fried potatoes, meat patties, beer and a request to the piano player for something bubbly. The piano player refused his coin and sat rocking before playing an effervescent bright tune that had every toe tapping. As the sun set outside, the café began to fill with a colorful array of patrons.

No one treated him like a stranger, folks nodded, some stopped to talk to him and one tall freckled man with a ginger afro and gold hoops in his nose sat and presented the man with a little cake. “Hello and good evening sir. My name is Andreas and you are?” The stranger smiled at the cake then the man. “My name is Francis. Good evening to you, eh may I?” Andreas nodded, “please do or you’ll like hurt my husbands feelings. He makes little sweets for folks and you look like a man in need of a sweet. I recommend having it with a brandied coffee.”

Once the coffee came, Francis bit into the little cake and closed his eyes. Heady vanilla so strong it was almost musky followed by the slight tang of spices he couldn’t name made him see stars. “Your husband, has a gift sir. This is the best cake I’ve ever head, pray don’t tell my Mama Gods rest her sweet soul. What a gift, how can I repay your kindness?”

Let’s talk a little about my process and how this story is being shaped.

Okay strap in, I’m gonna show you my brain. The initial push for this story came from the cover of the Hank Williams song, I’m So Lonesome I could Cry as done by Johnny Cash and Nick Cave.

I like to sing this version to myself and as I was doing so on my way to work, I had a vision of another cowboy. Said cowboy hung around my brain not saying anything for a few weeks and then my partner and I watched the reboot of the Magnificent 7 (excellent, very enjoyable eye candy) and that first glimpse of Denzel as a cowboy, my cowboy started talking and said, “I want every one of those motherfuckers dead.”

The general arc of this story reflects my personal interest in the manifestations of the vengeance narrative that doesn’t just involve some rando angry white dude. I have a thing with that and well, I’m just gonna go with it. I’ve not really tried it out pairing it with a Western aesthetic so, I figured why not?

Throw in some Zydeco music, my person relationship with Baron Samedi and frequent conversations with my personal group of dieties and here we are. The soundtrack for Black Rider is moving from a lot of Johnny Cash, Dr. John, The Blues Brothers, Buckwheat Zydeco, and the exquisite version of Psycho by Teddy Thompson from that awful Psycho film reboot soundtrack. Film=garbage, soundtrack=100%.

I’m not totally sure how our cowboy is going to meet the Black Rider or if he will. I don’t know yet, I’m leaning towards he will because I want to try my hand at writing a big ass gun fight influenced by the Haitian Revolution and the mythos surrounding how it got started. Why? Why not!

Okay my loves there you have it. This is how the Cowboy in this myth is born.

Next time, I’ll talk some about how the voices of things manifest in my brain.

Questions? Comments? HAVE AT IT YO!!

 

 

 

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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.

PS,

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.

Some Erotica and a raw look at what inspires me.

If you’ve been here for a while, you know that one of my dear friends, muses and a writer I admire deeply is Remittance Girl. Her story Heat Sink is hands down my pants one of the hottest things I’ve ever read.

We know I’m not really hetero but there is something in the tone of this piece that just gets me.

That being what it is and the fact that I was feeling uninspired to finish writing something else I decided to write a piece inspired by her piece. So first go read or listen to her piece. I highly suggest listening to it because she has a fantastic reading voice and having smut, read to you is super fucking hot.

No, seriously it’s pretty short read it. Or mine won’t make sense.

Okay, here’s what her piece sparked in my brainmeat.

OH wait before I do that. This is directly from my brain and completely unedited. If you’ve been curious as to where stories start with me, this is a good example.

I might polish it up I might not.  I will come back tomorrow and talk about some erotic things that are on my mind. This is about 20 minutes of work or so after listening to the story and reading it to pick up a few key things.

Enjoy.

AND thank you my dear friend for being my muse so often. I adore you.

Untitled-raw.

My girlfriend already told me to stop staring once tonight. I can’t help it, they are so beautiful together. I know she thinks no one else knows, that at least a few of us can’t tell.

“Stop staring.”

My girlfriend’s voice is hot against my ear and I shrug her off.

“Look at them. Look at his jaw.”

A muscle jumps near his jaw, I know that calm. I wonder if his wife felt it when they first met or if she had to learn. I am pretty sure she had to learn. She has that look, the same look I know I have. It’s something in the eyes, that glitter of fear tingling in her spine while she flirts and smiles.

My girlfriend is amused, she pats my ass before leaving me to my fantasizing while I watch them. I watch her lean toward the lawyer, her cleavage jiggling, her fingers worrying a necklace.

I want to watch them.

I watch his long fingers roll the wine glass in his hand slowly, his eyes are hooded until someone else speaks to him and he smiles. He’s not pretty and I like that. I can’t stand a pretty man when I can stand men at all.

Does he spank her?

Tie her up?

I have heard his voice tight with tension. At another of these stupid adult boring parties. I watched some drunk asshole paw at his lusty friendly wife, I sidled near to listen to the susurrus of his anger, low and even. The tightness of his grip on the other man’s arm, the way his eyes went cold.

My cunt throbbed. I was certain if I tried to sit anywhere I’d leave a wet spot a mile wide.

I’m brought out of my reverie by her voice, his wife speaking low in my ear.

“Hi, he’s beautiful, isn’t he?”

Lily, yes, that’s her name it is Lily- has a voice like wine and cigarettes and sex.

I tip my head a little to look at her, the red lipstick has worn off of her lips and she is just a little drunk. I want to fuck her. I want to fuck her while he watches and judges.

I lick my lips, my girlfriend and I do not have an understanding about this sort of thing so I swallow my come on.

“You’re both gorgeous, but you know that, don’t you?”

Her chuckle is warm and redolent of wine. I look back up and her husband is watching us, that little muscle in his jaw tightening into a marble under his skin. I feel her smile, she’s showing off. Her face is next to mine and she murmurs too low for anyone else to hear.

“When we get home, he’s going to spank me and then fuck me. He likes his women whorish. He’d love you. He’d make you cry.”

My cunt feels like it is going to turn inside out.

I swallow and can’t hide the catch in my voice. I can’t hide my desire.

“Lily, you are such a cunt.”

I smile at her husband and he nods, she kisses my cheek and then she’s gone. Back to flirting with the lawyer while I stand there frozen.

My girlfriend appears at my side and puts her arm around my waist.

“Come help me with my face.”

In the bathroom. she leans me against the counter and pulls up my skirt. I am so wet she slides three fingers inside me without preamble or sweetness. Her other hand creeps around my throat and she stares at my face in the mirror.

She knows me so well, she knows my secrets and when she starts fucking me hard enough to make me squeal, she covers my mouth.

“Straight couples now? Really bitch? Really?”

Under her hands, I’m grinning and coming, my thighs give out and I lay across the cold marble counter barely able to breath.

My girlfriend pulls out before I’m done and starts to wash her hands.

“Get your shit together before you come out.”

Her clipped tone is hot around the edges with need. I sit on the toilet when she leaves, laughing and making a note on my phone to send Lily and her husband a gift basket.

###

On that Grind.

Okay.

Seriously I am on that grind this week. I’ve been writing like hell.

I’m trying really hard to figure out how to balance all the things I want to do and make a little bit of cash in the process.

Shit is fuckin hard y’all.

In other news I am plowing my way through a superb reading list. I’ll have some new reviews up soon.

Um whoa so this happened. Aside from being in excellent company it really touches me that my sort of off the cuff I want to write something today post made sense.

Over the years I’ve come from skipping meals to buy Poets & Writers or to buy “good” quality typing paper and renting time on ancient PCs at Kinko’s and shit to sometimes making a little money, learning how to unsubscribe from the fancy monied author mythos.

I have had to do a lot of stuff that has been hard. Figuring out how to balance my ethics with my need to eat. For instance when I opened my etsy store I had a rash of weird White dudes wanting 3$ Cuckold interracial porn. I’m talking dudes wanting like 10K words with these shortass turnarounds.

Once upon a time I would have done it. Enough 3 buck porns could someday buy me lunch or shoes.

I had to sit with it and do what other authors I’ve seen do. I had to set some rules and after a lot of self flagellation (How DARE YOU turn down actual income) and struggle I did this:

If you are looking for custom erotica here are the rules.

1.) My rate is firm at 25$ a page. This includes a first draft, final edit. Put together with a plain cover and available as a pdf/doc/docx file.
2.) I am not heterosexual. I will write hetero but it is not my forte.
3.) Do NOT send/offer to send me photos of your genitals I will ban you.
4.) No, I will not barter.
5.) No incest, underage, bestiality will be considered.
6.) If I am not into the idea I will not take the commission.
7.) If you want a sample of my work, buy one.

Currently I am not looking for/accepting custom work. When I am I will post a special listing.

Honestly y’all. Do you now how hard that was for me to do? To really put down in words that I will not suffer foolishness and that my porn is worth professional rates?

That started me on a path to wanting to Free myself with freelance work. I started grinding out research and things and realized that some parts of a freelance career are just not things I do well. Aside from that, I just don’t want to write for some pulications who would probably take me.

Pump the mother fuckin breaks.

I honestly had weeks of arguing with myself about it because as we know, there is a lot of pressure for especially WOC to go be in ALL the things and break through the whiteness of certain markets and everything.

I have been just, fighting with my desire to earn that money and those thoughts. The what right do have to not want those opportunities?

What kind of nerve do I have when I need money for shit like shoes and underwear, to not want to take the full leap?

WHO THE FUCK IS YOU.

And then I keep thinking about things my publisher Milcah has said to me. I keep thinking about what we’re doing with the book at Self Care Like A Boss. I think about what my best friend has been saying for almost 20 years. About when my partner is just like YES DO THAT SHIT.

I think about the authors I love the most and how many of them joke about low book sales and write shit that moves me.

I am the writer who write really fucking terrible copy for really fucking terrible heteronormative sex toy anon/affiliate websites because I wanted to save up for shoes.

I am also the writer who has turned down some amazing opportunities because they would make me feel bad in my heart.

I am book pregnant with the best book baby daddy Milcah. 

Way back when I was about 14 and dreaming about being an infamous writer, I dreamed about a life of liesure paid for by literary patrons.

I thought that was how I wanted it.

Looking back I realize that I would not be a bad ass writer right now without the struggle. If I had no struggle, if I didn’t have to write out all these fuckin feelings, if I hadn’t spent SO much time poring over literary magazines I couldn’t afford and low er high key learning how to absorb everything I need from as many sources as I can find that are free.

I would not cherish the lessons I learn from the books I buy.

If I wasn’t struggling with shit a lot, I don’t honestly think I would be so comfortable with how I am figuring out what my work is worth and who I want to work with.

One thing that goes through my bones is that easy doesn’t teach me well. It never has. If I didn’t have to work shit out I would not work it out.

I am on that grind.

I AM ON THAT MOTHER FUCKING GRIND and unlike when I was a baby writer, I value it. I love it. I am here for it.

Being ass deep in the struggle means I have found the path to my people. And I love my people. My people love me.

And that is pretty valuable.

OH okay a few more things.

I put up a story that is so close to my heart I can’t even. It is a slipstream story involving a wee Haitian girl and Hati and his brother. There is magic, the beginning of my need to explore how cultures can intersect, collide combine and exist together without throwing the brown folks under the bus. It is a bit more expensive than other stuff because of the sheer amount of work it took for me to get it done.

Here is a big ole taste:

“Mama was hurt, Papa was dead. She gave me water in a bottle and papers in my bag. Then she told me to run. She said I was too small and that they would hurt me. She said, Bernadette, you run you hide girl. Hide, hide hide.”

She trailed off, the counselor waited her out.

“I ran. Like a woof-”

The counselor arched an eyebrow.

“A woof? You mean a dog?”

Bernie glowered at her.

“No, woof, you know woof they howl like this at the moon.”

Bernie tipped her head back and let out a full throated mournful howl.

“Ah, wolf.”

“That is what I say. And then I found a place under concrete it was dry.”

[redacted, go buy for more]

“Ayti.”

It was a drawing from a Norse myth, the librarian smiled at her and nodded.

“Would you like to read about Hati?”

Bernie nodded, her eyes lit up.

In her heart, she chanted to the Universe, Ayti, Ayti Ayti. In her heart Bernie was mourning Haiti, the way her Maternal Grandmother had taught her. To think and feel the name of a thing or a person so as not to forget. She could not bring herself to sing the names of her parents, that hurt too much. But, when she spoke Ayti, Ayti, Ayti in the secret voice of her heart, it sufficed.

Next week I will get into how this story came about, that it was inspired by Roxane Gay and a woman I met on the bus.

Okay this  is way too long I need to calm all the way down and go do some editing.

Get Bernie’s Warg here. 

OH also per usual this is not kid or ya lit. This is grown folks business.

When my teachers are speaking my language.

We all know I follow pretty much everything Remittance Girl writes with a creepy determination.

Recently through her blog posts I have learned the word jouissance.

Go read some of what she has to say about it here.

We all know I like learning things about writing and how those things relate to or express things about my writing I’ve not had words for previously.

This bit from her entry speaks to me on a huge level about how I write erotica.

The sexual aspect of the word jouissance, and the one which would seem initially to be of more use to us comes from the verb form:jouir, which is the verb to ‘enjoy’ but is also used as a term for reaching orgasm.

Also this part.

Now, of course, I get to tell you that jouissance, in the sense I’m using the term, really isn’t about orgasms, but a state beyond that sense of physical relief. It’s about the climb towards and experience of all ecstatic ruptures.  They are all exhilarating, frightening, and bittersweet.

One of the themes that has been in my erotica from the beginning is the idea of the climb to use her phrase. The ways the climb happens. For me when I write erotica, outside of yes the arousal there is that climb and I like it messy.

I write these things in ways that are often difficult for others to get into.  Just recently (I’ll post it at the bottom of this entry) I’ve been digging into threat, danger, fear as part of the climb towards orgasm, release.

I read some about jouissance and via wikipedia found the link to limerence.

In my brain there were fireworks and an AHA moment.

In my mind, romance is often not hearts and flowers. It’s not necessarily about alpha male protagonists who are forceful but not scary, good looking with good jobs and nice teeth and six packs who are after heroines with long flowing blond hair, perky tits and a go get em attitude.

Here is where I find my trouble with a lot of erotica.

Those things don’t’ turn me on.

The standard very Western do they don’t they, hand wringing over things like but I want to travel and he wants a stay at home wife (yes I’m being hyperbolic) etc are not my jam.

The love in my stories is often depraved, it is criminal, sometimes it is violent. I like to walk the back alleys with it and my characters often don’t walk in the light because they don’t want to.

That turns me on.

Thus that is what I write.

I am enamored that there are words I have learned, that bring these things into a tighter focus in my head.

I feel like there are more than enough heteronormative gorgeous people who do cool things or whisper sweet nothings to each other.

Those are not my stories to tell.

In terms of eroticicism in my little universe in my brain, there are dangers. There is blood. There is fatality and cellulite, hairy assholes. Periods. Laughter. Superficial I only want to fuck you because I can type arousal.

These are the things that make me happy and turn me on.

Okay enough yammering and wriggling from me for the moment. how about some smut?

First theme music. This is the playlist I was listening to last night while I was writing. Unfortunately my raggedy old computer at home has puked her soundcard so I had to listen to it via my phone. I need my office.  Under the fold find a tiny smutty story. Unedited.  Presented to you as it came out of my head. I’m thinking as I am writing these little things, I will probably wait a few months and put them together in a little collection. Until then, enjoy.

Continue reading “When my teachers are speaking my language.”

Freshly baked smut.

Sometimes in order for me to work on other things I need to freewrite for a while to clear my head.

On occasion this results in poems, today it resulted in a little first person smut. 942 words written in about 40 minutes +/- ten minutes for a smoke break.

I will trigger warn for implied violence and a little domination.

Interestingly while I was writing it, it wasn’t really the narrator doing it for me.

Under the cut here, smut ahoy.

Continue reading “Freshly baked smut.”