Things. Failure. Brokeness.

Let’s talk lit world stuff I’m into right now.

The first thing is that Yeah Write is doing something great. The Super Challenge:

The yeah write super challenge is a prompted challenge, where writers compete to complete the best work of short creative nonfiction in a single weekend. Prompts are released on Friday, and the completed work must be turned in by Sunday night.

The competition is run in three rounds. Half the writers will move to the second round of competition, and approximately ten writers will advance to the final round of competition. All competing writers will receive feedback on their work at the end of each round from the judges. The final ten writers will compete for cash prizes for first, second and third place.

Go check it out here. I think if you want to learn about flash essays, this is a great way to do it. No, they didn’t pay me. I just really like them.

What else?

So I’ll be unpublishing my chapbook The Motherfuckess Manifesta here soon. If you’d like a copy head here. It is 3.50 and all proceeds go towards keeping yours truly housed and fed.

Also one other thing before I get hella emo. Over at Patreon I posted a free Daiyuverse story you can get here. It is my first try at a romantic YA flavored thing.

Okay, I’m gonna put in a read more because I’m having feelings about being a failure. Being poor and unable to do all the things necessary to make my art/writing life more sustainable.

Continue reading “Things. Failure. Brokeness.”

Be That Shit University In Session

Okay, so I was thinking last night about my whole data situation and how this happens at least every two years or so.

This whole problem could be avoided if I lowered my output. If I stuck to my hour-two hours at night after the day job and catch as catch can on weekends, this wouldn’t happen. All my stuff would be safely sitting on my laptop Gertie.

I did try that.

Unfortunately, I do my best work when I have multiple streams of creation. My moods are shifty and my brain power tends to wax and wane. I think a lot of that is a result of my formative baby writer years were all about me churning out EVERYTHING because I was still working so hard on figuring out what I really wanted to write.

So while I know how to make this not a thing I’d have to deal with outside of hardware failure, I don’t think I’d be doing my best work if I limit how much I write.

So I take the chance.

In other news.

While I am recovering I’ve hit a couple of personal writerly milestones recently.

I’ve had some donated/sold work about body politics sent off into academia. In a you are my expert, let me give you money kind of way. That is pretty great.

I have two pitches out to big swing magazines.

I have tentatively worked out how to get out my first writing lesson/class.

The main hold up with the writing instruction is that most of the sites people use to sell their classes I just don’t have the start up money. I don’t have a good camera for video. I just don’t have the resources to do things in the way my research has found that it is done.

I thought I had a shot at teaching through another site, but I think because of my day job schedule and inability to do phone meetings that went off.

I am working on it. I think I have it figured out.

Setback or no, I am on that mother fucking grind.

This is Be That Shit University.

This is Write that Shit.

This is how I survive.

Now my current plan is to get my pitches together to send to the big swing things. Write like a motherfucker.

Work on writing classes.

Perhaps, submit some fucking poetry.

Be That Shit University is now in session.

Catastrophe

Posting is going to maybe stop entirely for a hot minute.

I’ve had a catastrophic data loss. While I was doing backups everything got corrupted and is pretty unusable.

I have a few things tucked in odd places, but I probably lost 3.5 months of work.

All of my pitches in progress, my Patreon project, uh yeah.

I’ve kind of passed, tears.

I’m kind of at numb and upset and working through how to get back to where I was.

I have so much to try and do. I have pitches I need to rescind because the pieces are gone.

I need to figure out what to do about Patreon for the next two months. I’m feeling like I deserve to have patrons bounce even though it would be financially devastating.

I have ONE thing I thought someone had already gotten but hasn’t. I still have it.

So FML.

After rent and bills, hopefully mid June I can get a new drive and this bracelet USB drive I’ve got my eye on. I had just gotten a lot of done/old stuff moved to backups. Something like 22-30gb.

I still just want to sit down and cry.

That doesn’t even take into account a fuckload of racist fuckery.

That said I posted a new thing at Medium last week. Go look.

What I’ve been Doing.

What have I been doing?

I’ve written some new poetry that you can find here and here.

I’ve got a few new things over here at Medium as well.

I’ve been working on essays and while I was looking at some calls for submissions etc and I keep running into a few issues.

When editors post their calls and have conversations about it in the comments I wonder if they go back and read them? I saw one call where a person asked about “non-standard” English and there was some banter and an ultimate answer of probably it wouldn’t get published.

What does that mean?

No AAVE?

No Spanish?

No mixture of Engish and other languages?

As I am delving deeper into the places where my voice goes and how I use language, I see these things and realize that where I want to go does not intersect well with getting paid or landing the big bylines.

I keep promising myself that I will figure out how to write less uh, something. Be more, uh, general or something. So I try that and find that I have nothing to say. Obviously, because I am just not that writer for good or ill.

It is a strange state of affairs.

While I’m writing things I have doubts as to how publishable they are in terms of commercial sales, I’m still pretty happy and writing what the fuck I want to write.

While I’m researching where to try to place that stuff, I feel not as happy and hear the call of my sad little bank account.

Sometimes I am very sure that my ideas are just not palatable to 90% of people and sometimes that gives me pause.

Other times I hunker down and just tell myself- WRITE THAT SHIT.

Today I’m telling myself to write that shit.

Be about that shit.

Do that shit.

All by myself if I have to.

That’s all for today. Tomorrow we’re back in The World and later this week I may or may not geek real hard about some stuff I’ve read recently.

Showing up Bloody.

Recently, I’ve been trying to deal with some trauma that I thought I had pretty much handled. Poverty trauma that reaches deeper than I realized it did.

I found myself having a really terrible day, flashbacks, really awful feelings, repressed panic attacks, bad enough to give me the shits for three days.

So I did what I always think is the thing to do and started writing. I started an essay (maybe my first long form) that is a testament to a lifetime of mental illness and how it has manifested and how the idea of the Strong Black Woman almost killed me.

The thing I’m most surprised about is that given my memory issues (related to my sleep disorders mainly) is the clarity of certain memories. Smells, how my skin felt, I close my eyes and see it. This is beyond confessional writing, I’ve done a ton of that over the last 20 years. This is exposure.

This piece is not the sort of confessional, I can smirk about and shrug because Shannon is gonna Shannon and not be embarrassed. This is stuff that makes me cringe. I want to say I’m sorry if I ask anyone to read it because it burns me. I know it will hurt the people who love me to know that has been my life and in some ways still is.

I’m fucking terrified.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I find being a memorist of any seriousness fucking scary. I know that in the scheme of Black writers and Black people and Black women, especially, what I’m working on could be one of those important little pockets of solidarity. I’m considering pitching it when it is closer to being done.

As I’m thinking about/researching that, of course I stop to wonder outside of a handful of pubs I already know, who would give space and cash to this story?

I know it is still very hard for the world (Lemonade or no Lemonade) to see that Black people have feelings, that we are human beyond the photos of our bleeding, broken bodies or scoring points or generally being acceptable but not quite human enough to see into. I know that when some people look at me, they want the Sassy Shannon Don’t Take No Shit and Don’t Need Nobody type. I know.

What I don’t know is where do I go to be a different facet of the purple lipstick wearing loudmouth? Where do I go not to rail about racism or other fuckery, but to show the world my emotionally bloody self?

I don’t know.

Or maybe I will self pub it as a mini memoir.

Who knows.

What’s important for me right now is to get it written. To confess. To strip off the last vestiges of the stone faced person I thought I wanted to be and show up naked and terrified but fucking there.

I’m there and right now that’s what matters.

Plans Of The Writer

For those who aren’t supporting me on Patreon, I’ve announced over there that I’ve started rewrites on my urban fantasy novelette in progress working titled The Daiyu Saga and those chapters will be the new Patron only stuff.

That done, I will likely list a bunch of my source material on Etsy along with some other stuff.

I’ve also been thinking about what to do with The World  (go back to last Sept to read them all) I still have a deep interest in putting them together in a collection of linked stories. I’m thinking I could do that as a kindle book, try it for KDP select and that way a LOT of folks could read them for free/I wouldn’t need to manage the way I do my Etsy stuff.

I’m also working on SCLAB stuff and essays.

My output right now is pretty consistent and I’m pleased with it. I put a new piece up at Medium about marginalized writers and risk.

While I’m very happy with what I’ve been writing lately, what I’m not as happy with is that I’m again finding myself in a pressurized position because economically, not one of these things is really viable for me in a way that helps me life my actual non writing life.

Intellectually I know that even as things are, my partner and I still have our little apartment. He’s got the medication he needs. We have food.

Emotionally speaking, if my non writing life is the toy I am these birds. Inside my brain there are cats, hamsters, puppies a carnival wheel and a class full of first graders hopped up on Mt. Dew all losing their collective shit at top volume pretty much all the time.

My Poverty Brain has kicked in full speed with anxiety kicker.

I will say that unlike previous years, the shit fuckery in my head isn’t causing me to be unable to write so there’s that.

That said, I’m stuck at that point of making some of this shit profitable while battling a whole host of other feelings. Those are feelings I will likely keep to myself and a few friends because reasons.

So that’s what’s going on.

I might schedule up some posts here because I have ANOTHER thing. In a few short days, I’ll make my triumphant return to personal blogging.

Come and check it out, subscribe and hold on to your butt.

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Aww YISS!!

Now I’m going to dayjob and work on shit.

Grind grind grind grind.

Try to make them extra coins.

And stay calm.

Back on That grind- Back from lala land.

I’m all back from AWP and you can read part one of my series about it here at medium AND over there see video of my full reading from Unchaste.

I’m back at work and back at figuring out what’s next for my writing.

The first thing I got done when I got back was my budget.

Things I absolutely must budget to get done/get:

  • Payback a few lingering AWP expenses
  • A new chair to work in at home. The one I have I can only use it for about 15 minutes at a time before I have back spasms or it comes apart.
  • Fully restock household health stuff.

What else needs to happen?

  • Talk to a dear friend so I can unfuck my chapbook design/layout and get it printed up and signed and in my etsy store.
  • I need to clean up some good vintage Doc martens and other goth shits that don’t fit me anymore to sell.
  • Get together some new stuff to shop around for freelancing.
  • Buckle down on SCLAB stuff.
  • Buckle down on other new sooper seekrit project.

So y’all see that for the next couple of months I really need to up that side hustle cash so I can produce more other stuff. My love stuff.

Now that I’m pretty much used to being back on Mon-Fri at the day job I think I might shoot for one day a week, maybe a Saturday (if I can) to work out of the house. That might take a while because I’m trying to keep some big anxiety down to a dull roar.

Also, my financial situation has taken another downturn. Unfortunately how often I get paid from my dayjob has changed and that working with my rent increase has been really hard. Like super fucking stressful and trying to deal with it has been a challenge.

Sometimes when you’re poor it feels like once you get into the groove of some things, shit just gets yanked out from under you. I’ve felt a deep discomfort my whole life in terms of economic security and now that I’m trying to throw a fucking art in the mix, shit is just hard.

I have to fight myself to not fall into a shame hole that most of my writing doesn’t contribute financially. Or that my crocheting hobby and subsequent yarn stash doesn’t yield extra cash.

I’ve been battling those particular demons really hard. I find myself questioning whether or not I really should have my little coffee ritual at my dayjob.

Whether or not I really needed to buy that beautiful grey paper to print my zines on.

Should I try pitching places I don’t feel good about because they pay?

The shit I’ve done before and KNOW goddamn well isn’t good for me, but I am back in economic trauma feelings and while I’m not drowning, I’m not doing too well. I know that trying to take on something that is equivalent to a part time job as in a freelancing gig will not go well for me so I’m trying not to do that. So yeah. Some shit is going on.

I wasn’t going to mention all that, but I was serious about keeping it 100.

Sooooooooooooooooooo…long story long- I’m changing my grind and trying to up my hustle while being kind of healthy, letting myself sleep and maybe write shit that just brings me joy.

And goddamn it is hard y’all. It’s really fucking hard. This is the artist life and it kind of isn’t awesome.