Category Archives: go cry emo kid

What the Writer Really Dreams about.

I have been spending a lot of time studying different ways of making income and whatnot.

I’ve come to a few conclusions.

Unlike some of my favorite people I am just not, uh, gifted in the ways of entrepreneurship. Not for a total lack of trying. I personally just find a lot of the process and education and doing of it energy draining and tedious and not enjoyable.

I am not really a business person on that level and I’m finally not punishing myself for it and realizing that I’m just not one of those people.

That is liberating.

Liberating but disappointing. I’d really love to have the emotional/physical energy and thing necessary to write and do that type of hustle. I don’t.

I was talking to a friend recently about stuff like wealth and what that would look like for me.

What does the writer really dream about in terms of the big shiny writer life?

I’ve touched on it before, but my viewpoint has shifted.

I don’t actually dream of ever being like mega rich. That seems excessive to me. I don’t need it.

What do I need?

Rental increases to not spin me into a state of panic and terror. As of the end of the month I will be spending 41% of my income a month to have a place to live. I’m paying gentrification prices for a building with some shitty repainting and ugly “updates”. It is still in the hood. I have pictures, but imagine recently repainted stairwell where the painters didn’t bother to fix a hole that’s been in the wall for three years, the windows weren’t open so the whole shebang smells like smelly balls and vinegar, the outside lights aren’t on half the time. The place is dirty as fuck in common areas because I don’t know why.

I don’t even have direct bus access anymore.

This is the fucking hood. And I’m paying- well, that’s a whole other thing. But yeah, I’m not happy, but like most poor folks I can’t afford to move. I can’t afford to move closer to work because nobody would rent us at this level and we cannot live in a studio or glorified SRO. So yeah. In that dream life, I can pay my rent without that depth of terror.

What next?

I want to eat what I want when I want. We want sushi? We want my favorite chicken dish from our favorite Thai spot? Yes.

I want to go to the store before I go to work and if I want to buy a veggie party plate (my Safeway has these 5$ ones that are the mother fucking bomb) and some popcorn, I don’t want to be scared I’ve overindulged and fucked money for the rest of the month.

I would like to be able to afford a PO box so I can stop being afraid if I get sent money to my house or I buy a purse that it won’t get stolen.

I want to be able to afford to have a desk at a place like this a day or so a month.

Essentially, I want to have economic insecurity, not be such an up front thing.

I haven’t done the exact maths but it wouldn’t take all that much more money in general. That’s what tends to frustrate me so much.

Really in a perfect world, I’d be able to work a well paying day job enough to pay basic bills and make the rest writing and side hustling.

What else?

I’m doing pretty well moving my personal expenses and entertainment and self-care budgets out of the household budget. The rent increase convinced me to move over my phone bill.

So we know what I dream of. Pretty simple living above the poverty line and able to go out to a nice dinner with my partner when I want to or buy some shoes.

Given that financial circumstances have changed I’ve had to rethink some of my savings/money makings. Closing the lit section of my Etsy shop is kinda killing me in a lot of ways and has been fucking with my belief that I can sell literature of any kind. So that’s something I have to process.

This all intersects with writing because as I’ve said before poverty is not romantic. It’s hard to create your best work when you’re panicking about the rent and food and everything else. It’s debasing to try and write a beautiful, wonderful book when, you’re worried you won’t be able to keep your partner in the medication they need.

I’ve learned that even though I am light-years beyond the trauma of being afraid to buy tampons for fear the rent might bounce, that kind of economic trauma is still a profound thing in my life. And I can’t create when I’m deep in it.

I’ve also learned that as terrified as I get I can still get through and make good decisions.

I am not sure what this all means for this year. Maybe I will be able to make the thing I’ve been working on in super seekrit a real thing.

I might just figure something else out.

Who knows.

What I do know is that some of my writer dream things are in reach some aren’t and that’s okay.

So here’s to keeping myself in tech, phone service and lipsticks with writer money.

Tomorrow I’ll do a new master post on ways to help support my work.

For now I’m gonna go try to write some other stuff.


Theory Vs Reality The Artist Ruminating on Money

I’m dealing with some shit, a pile of it and it’s got me thinking.

I’ve been studying and researching for a project I’d really like to launch this year. I’ve been pricing cameras, querying some folks, doing a shitload of math.

In theory, said Super Seekrit project could be amazing.

In theory, my recent study of business and whatnot would start paying off in 3-5 months or so.

In theory my savings schemes would flower into a delicious little blossom made of cash and I would be able to pay for Super Seekrit Project materials and start it happening.

In reality.

Including freelance and book sales I made about 5K less than I did last year.

That makes me feel like the worst bread winner ever.

I am going to be spending almost half of my income to have a place to live. I’m trying to process paying nice place to live prices for where I live.

I’m thinking about my seemingly gangster at the time decision to go to AWP and feeling like it was a fuck up. I’m going still, I’ve come too far with the gifts and fundraising to not go. But I booked zero readings. And am very, uh, uncertain about being able to sell enough little zines of printed stuff that nobody wanted to buy in eformat for less money.

In theory (as in, my self image) says that I can do the 12 hour day job days (all in with my commutes), get home. Work on writing stuff until 2-4 AM. Eat, bathe, sleep by 6 up by 10 AM and be fine.

I used to be that person.

I’m not anymore. Reality says that my fatigue and other health issues both mental and physical aren’t things I can just put my head down and bull through.

Reality tells me that my Super Seekrit project could be SO fucking cool and satisfying to me on a deep level, but, but but but- given how things have shifted in my life, could I really get into it and make it great?

I don’t know.

On one hand, I can crunch the available data and make a dry decision. Fuck the Etsy shop for my writing, Super Seekrit Project on the back burner, I can redo my budget- those decisions I can make dry. No blood.

On the other hand the wet decisions aren’t so easy. Is this another year I stare longingly at poems and don’t do a real chapbook? Am I going to regress in how I deal with the emotional impact of poverty shame? How much do I push? What do I sacrifice to try and make that money?

The cognitive dissonance involved in knowing I’m doing some really great work, but that doing it is a detriment to me bringing in more monies is hard.

Knowing that continuing to write what the fuck I want is a detriment to my bank account.

Understanding myself and how I work and produce the best work I can is a detriment to my bank account.

And I don’t like that shit.

I dunno.

At the moment I’m okay. Emotionally speaking I’m a little dull because of my two months of anxiety hell. I feel the weight but I’m calmish. I know how to do this part. I know how to hustle and grind.

I suppose most of this is my need to document and disclose. Y’all this shit ain’t a room of her own.

Now a little promo.

If you want to buy some lit, go on and get it at my etsy shop. Add everything to your cart and use the coupon code WORDSWORDSWORDS to get a lil tasty discount. Keep your eye out for crocheted items, later this year some jewelry.

My AWP fundraiser is still going and has been updated with some news and what else I still need. If you are gonna be there, keep your eye out for me I will have some lil fiction zines in my purse for sale and if the stars align a card reader in case you don’t have cash.

What else?

Not much else my friends. I’m working like a motherfucker.

I’ve been hiding from most of my friends, which isn’t cool, but most of them understand the level of my anxiety and not okayness.

I am figuring it out. Modifying some of my bucketlist arty shit so I can do it and not want to die in a month because I’ve burned myself out.

Now I love you all. I hope all your arty endevours and bucketlist shit is happening.


Welcome To the Pit Mother Fucker.

Someone I know asked me recently what I would say to baby me about writing and publishing as a Black woman who has a lot of loud mouth opinions and who deploys them at will.

There is a Hed(pe) song where the dude says,

“Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.”

I am pretty sure that covers it. When I was a baby writer, I did not express my actual opinions on industry business. I fully believed that if The Industry found out how I felt about a lot of publishing and writing shenanigans.

I lurked industry boards and saw the racism and sexism. I gently tried to engage with White writers and other industry folks in my gentlest, sweetest Negress way about their racism.

Y’all, I tried.

I did workshop type things and kept my opinions about Magical Negroes and other terrible things to myself. I whitewashed characters, I didn’t share stories that did not cater to Whiteness.

I remember once talking to an older White lady author who told me that I was doing the right thing. That, to keep my “radical” (YES she said that, I remember it clearly) and “militant” thoughts to myself so as not to alienate the folks in power.

I thought it would lead to more publication, more visibility. Money! Recognition! Respect!

I WOULD GET TO BE IN THE FUCKIN CLUB!

But not really.

What happened was I was not writing the shit that moves me.

I felt frustrated, trapped, invisible and the worst, the very fucking worst part was that I felt like I was contributing to my own oppression with no pay off.

I was pretty miserable.

And then at some point after someone threatened to tell my dayjob that at the time I was writing custom smut for weirdo fetishists I decided to stop giving any fucks.

All of this is on my mind because last night I was doing research and working on some of my indie writer hustles and I came to a few conclusions.

  1. I just do not have the energy to promote things as hard as I need to in order to make my indie writer hustles financially viable. Likely if I didn’t work full time with the commute and whatnots, I would but that’s not gonna be a thing.
  2. The above being what it is, I’m cutting down on side hustles. It hurts my soul to lose the potential of that side hustle cash, but my fatigue is getting worse and there’s not a lot I can do about it at this point.
  3. I’m not putting stuff out by myself anymore. It’s been a losing venture and cost more time and money than it’s been worth.

Okay, I’ll stop there because #3 is important.

I decided to pull the lid from Etsy because frankly, it takes a while per piece, to get it ready make the cover and frankly nobody buys the shit. I know it’s not the prices really, but yeah. I do feel a bit sad, but whatever fuck it. I don’t know if I’ll just post them for free or what I’m gonna do.

So if you’ve wanted a thing from the Etsy shop, now is the time. I’m pulling all the lit stuff at the end of February. Go here.  I was going to do a huge price slash per item but it made me feel shitty. SO if you add all 8 pieces, (for a grand total of 17$) then use the coupon code WORDSWORDSWORDS that’ll net you a sweet little discount and put your total at 15.75$.

I have been convinced to not close the shop all together and start putting out some of my crocheted items. Shawls and scarves. Maybe my tactile stim objects. That’ll be a while yet.

I am going to focus more of my energy on producing stuff. Writing new stuff. Maybe doing a Queen Poems chapbook this year. My grand experiment in essentially rage quitting the publishing industry and only publishing either myself, with Milcah or in super select venues hasn’t been a real win for me.

A lot of that is largely due to #1 up on that list as well as, it’s just not my skill set to do it all indie and not feel like I’m wasting precious time energy and money.

I had a come to Jesus moment with myself about what kind of support my work gets and when and whether or not it’s enough to support my indie DIY ways. Frankly, it’s not.

Last time I had this out with myself, I decided I just wasn’t good enough (this was just a couple of months ago, well a few more than that it was post SCLAB release) and I really felt like my body of work was/is something I should be ashamed of because obviously if I was better at writing, marketing, rewriting, doing things the way I am supposed to- everything would be successful.

That might be true. Some of it or all of it, I don’t know.

What I do know is that me  punishing the fuck out of myself for failing so hard, SO fucking hard did not contribute to shit.

So I’m not doing that.

Changes is coming.

Dear Shannon,

Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.

Love,

Shannon

 


On Discomfort and Being Freaked Out.

OH Internets.

I’m still sick and at work doing some stuff and I have more confessions to make.

Craft related.

Sooo along with my general failures in accomplishing a lot of things I’ve also found myself in a very uncomfortable place with some of my work.

I’ve talked a bit about how hard it has been for me to teach myself how to write really personally. Not issue personally, not politic personal. The real naked, vulnerable Shannon personal.

I’m so uncomfortable.

Writing wise, my emotions are just right here. Bleeding all over while I sit in my chair at home or work quivering because I’m still having a deep anxiety problem and quivering because I just told y’all that.

After so many years of writing about somewhat personal shit, being fat, feminism, racism and how they’ve impacted my life but for as close to the bone as I’ve gotten with that, a lot of my new stuff is closer in ways that might be all in my head.

It’s been really fucking hard. And because I am who I am I worry a lot about things such as but not limited to:

  • If I’m not ranting or raving or pissed off does anyone give a shit?
  • Will anyone buy shit?
  • I know most trolling I can write off. But what if it’s really personal beyond OMG WE HATE THIS BLOGGER NOW SHE WRITES FOR A SITE WE HATE.
  • Who the fuck am I kidding?
  • I am not a real memorist.

Blablabla.

My general approach to fear in my work and often in my life (sometimes to my own detriment) is to put on my spiritual football helmet, put my head down and go.

However while I’m going, I’m also spending a lot of time staring at whatever I’ve just written talking to myself:

Me: The fuck did you just say?

Me: Uh, the thing I’m writing.

Me: Can you delete that please?

Me: No.

Me: DELETE ABORT ABORT ABORT ABORT

and it devolves into me sitting sweating swearing at myself.

But, I still write it.

And right now I have to go upload one of the things that has caused me bubble guts, sweating, trembling and cursing at self.

And I’m feeling echoes of this across other things.

I’m excited, but a little bit on the shit my pants in terror side of things too.

Now goodnight shiny people.

 

 


First Lessons of 2016

Oi y’all.

I’m starting out 2016 in the fuckin trenches yo.

I’m learning that writing personally, just about me as a person in any memoirish capacity is just so fucking hard. I am still not used to showing folks my tender belly and I want to scrap it and cry and hide but, that burning in my gut says I’m going the right way.

I’m also very unsure about a lot of things.

I’ve been in such a state for so long that seeing light at the end of the tunnel feels like a lie. I’m angry because I can’t produce the way I used to. I can’t get through my fatigue the way I used to. There have been a lot of nights where I lay in bed in an absolute red rage because I’m awake, but I’m so exhausted I can’t think straight let alone write.

I’m very very angry.

I’m also very ashamed.

I’m disappointed in myself.

And wading through a puddle of shit knee high and feeling like I deserve to be wading through the shit because obviously I suck at everything.

Some of this is my anxiety and insomnia talking. I know that. I recognize that flavor of my own crazy. They chase each other around, getting each other riled up until my hands are shaking and my gut is full of bile and all I want to do is throw myself in a hole and cry for two hundred years. Or die of terror.

This is not a state of being I’m used to. This is not the crazy, I’m familiar with and I feel fairly lost.

My existing crazybrain tells me I should apologize to everyone constantly. Because my exhaustion causes me some memory problems and cognition problems and my bit of dyslexia stands up and joins the party and everything -terrible- in me says, you apologize to that person. If they said something nice to me or have supported me etc.

I try not to but it comes out.

And I’m embarassed.

For the sake of my mental health and my work (note I said mental health first, it took me three tries to do that) I have to sit the fuck down and figure it out.

My approach has been head down and bull through it. Grind my teeth and crave speed because obviously that would solve all my problems right? Get back into that kind of seething constant rage. I’d still be an anxiety riddled insomniac shitbag but at least I’d get stuff done right.

Well judging by my inability to finish SCLAB rewrites, blog posts etc and my struggle doing anything else, that ain’t gonna work.

Instead I will go to the doctor. Hopefully get my hormones checked out because I’m suspicious that part of my current state of being is due to perimenopause (THE FUCKING SWEATING, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL), I have some of my hippy woowoo herbal shit on the way to help me sleep/shit and remain calm.

I suppose this is a confession.

Y’all I’m in deep shit over here.

But I’m shoveling my way out.

It hasn’t been all doom and gloom.

I had the distinct honor of working with one of my favorite authors Court Merrigan on some Country Noir for The Big Click Magazine.  So not only is Court a bad ass writer BUT he is a bad ass fuckin editor yo. That little story turned out so much better after working with him. There is something so wonderfully intimate about having someone edit your work who really gets you and trusts you. Go read it. Buy the issue. That story has lesbians, cows, meth and booty shaking.

I’m working with The Stabby again on something I’m really into and is really hard.

So in the big picture of the life of the shit bucket of nerves writer, things aren’t awful. AWP plans are coming together nicely. I have some zine supplies and one of those square things so I’ll have stuff to sell on my person at the thing. I just- yeah.

I’ve mourned my failures. I don’t know if that is a thing you’re supposed to do but I did it. I mourned the hardcore me who could stomp through this level of mental health fuckery.

Now I’m trying to figure it out.

I’m going to work on some fiction.

Take it uh, yeah I dunno.

So things around here might be weird or maudlin or whatever. I’m not sure.

All I know is that I’m listening to my loved ones and not myself this time because my brain is deadass wrong in this instance and that bitch needs to calm down.

I love you all.

That’s it for now.


2016 Imma eat you.

I had a very nice quiet new year celebration. NYE I made it through my work day and made it home before midnight. Uniballer (my partner) sedated the fuck out of me and fed me. I was so excited I was fighting my sedatives because on Friday we went to go see Star Wars.

Ahem.

No review yet because feelings but I loved it so much. I got teary when Finn came on screen, I got teary when I saw Rey kicking so much ass. I wore my low key Femme Vader Cosplay outfit that I’ve been planning for weeks.

vader

If life were totally fair, I’d probably dress somewhat like this all the time, but yanno snow I don’t drive etc.

Then we went to our favorite buffet for the New Year’s Day eats and holyfuckballs.

What else?

Well, I broke down a little and sat by myself and what’s been going on with me.

I realized that the amount of stress I’ve put on myself about SCLAB, my author newsletter, thinking about launching some other stuff has just not been okay.

I desperately want to do EVERYTHING and do it well. Desperately. To the point I am deeply unkind- no, let’s be honest. I’m fucking myself up. I know full damn well that I can’t write anything good when I can’t be decent to myself. When I add to my own anxiety and panic to the point all I can do is sit at my desk and shake.

I’m having to work really hard on not falling down a self hate filled shame hole because my anxiety has been off the fucking chain lately. I would never treat other people the way I’ve been treating myself and my work.

So I’m working on it.

To deal with some of it I’ve been paper journaling and writing some fiction. I keep having to stop and remind myself that no I am not superman able to leap vomity panic attacks in a single bound.

I don’t totally know how to deal with myself right now.

All that said, while I am trying to take care of myself while I struggle through some mental health shit, things might be weirder and slower than usual.

One thing at a time.

I’ve decided to leave my free chunk of the Daiyu Saga up for a few more days. Go find that here.

2016 I’m gonna eat you like a fucking pie.

I’m gonna be okay. Or at least I’m gonna try.

 


2015- Girl Bye.

Ahem.

I am ending 2015 in a not great place. I’m deeply, terribly anxious. I am pretty sure this has been fueled by my insomnia and my anxiety fuels my insomnia and I get depressed and I am the Black dog chasing its own tail.

However.

Tomorrow I am going to go see a Star War and will dork out.

As my ride or die most beloved friends have pointed out and as I point out, I have a very bad habit of grinding myself down when I can’t do everything.

I am not going to end my year doing that more than I have been lately.

I won’t let my creative failures dictate how I feel about what I have accomplished because I did a lot this year.

Milcah and I- a couple of poor brown Queers who met on the internet because I had a feeling and went ahead and commented. We put out a fucking book. We have both changed and grown and been through it. We’re doing more.

I met with some of the founders from The Establishment because they wanted to talk to me and work with me. And even though I was so nervous I thought I would shit my pants on the way there, we met and had fun and shared food and ideas and then I wrote this.

Holy shit right?

I wrote a thing back in March and posted it on Medium and as of today it has been viewed 59K times and read 31K. Because I ranted about people talking shit to me about how I like to look. That experience was overwhelming and wonderful. I got messages from middle aged fat ladies who FINALLY wore the magenta tight ho dresses in their closest and glitter and some straight cisdude who wore eyeliner and skinny jeans and crop tops and for the first time in more than ten years a coworker asked me if I was the Shannon Barber who wrote this thing that someone else told them about. That experience has colored what I’m doing next with SCLAB.

I started writing poems again. Better poems. Poems that mean something to me.

That’s not everything but that’s a lot of things.

I spent some time last night during an epic work shift trying to go back and look at what I’ve done. What I accomplished. I had to remind myself that I have had an impact on people. I did readings. I met people who walked up to me and took my hand and said thank you.

I did not make a shitload of money.

My book didn’t become an indie sensation.

And for months I’ve felt like I failed everyone and everything in the world.

2015 has kicked my ass five ways to Sunday, but god damn it, I’m still doing it. I still stand by my decisions, even those that have meant I made less money. Even those that have meant that I have asked for help.

Part of me celebrating shit I’ve done this year I’m offering a free download of my Urban Fantasy novella in progress The Daiyu Saga. Get it here.

Now what am I going to do in 2016?

  • Make SCLAB bigger, better and more.
  • Write a Queen Poems Chapbook.
  • Maybe start up an idea I have.

But first I’m going to take my own goddamn advice. I’m going to deal with this anxiety. I have to say that while I’m going through it, it is really difficult for me to talk to people I don’t already know. So don’t think I don’t see your sweet messages and things. I do, I just can’t.

I’m working on it.

I’m writing.

I’m still fucking here.

So fuck you 2015. I made it.

And fuck you too 2016. Don’t start none, there won’t be none.

I love you all.

 


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