Category Archives: go cry emo kid

The View From the Bottom. I did the math.

In an attempt to soothe away some of the anxiety I’m having right now I made a list and did the math to figure out what would keep my writing sustainable.

When I say sustainable I’m talking about things like memberships, software, and hosting. I’m not talking about making any profit at this point.

I’m not going to detail the specifics but here’s how it breaks down:

  • Yearly not counting any hardware (computers) +/- 10$ is 287.16
  • Monthly that is 23.93

That seems pretty cheap no?

What that doesn’t provide for is when my computer(s) break, no travel or time off from work for readings, no writing conferences or other educational/networking events.

This year I elected to skip more than half of the things in my budget. Mainly because we’ve had some family expenses that have eaten up a lot of our savings. There is no room in this budget to enter my work into any competitions, submission fees, books of the educational variety.

Given that in my life outside of writing shit is difficult economically speaking, trying to do these things as well has proven to be stressful and depressing.

Now we know I hustle. When I can there is XOjane but that is not all that regular. I don’t have the time for something with a heavier commitment. This is why I opened my Etsy store but frankly that is not all that successful. If I make 5$ a month with that it’s pretty cool.

That being what it is I’ve thought about maybe trying out Patreon.

I feel like if I could lift some of the financial stress I could improve my output and free up enough brain space to write more of the shit I want to write.

Enter writerly self doubt.

I am not famous. I’m not sure I even know enough people with a few dollars to spare a month to do this. Real talk I feel like a lot of folks like my work but not enough to support it in that manner.

I had another idea of doing monthly dispatches (kinda like the Rumpus letters in the mail but via email) for a flat few bucks a month type deal.

Again, I have to factor in the likelihood of enough people being interested in order to make the work involved worth it.

I hate thinking about that part, I want to be one of those I DO IT FOR THE ART types but that is not my life.

My thought process also involves things like:

  • Going to/performing at readings both locally and far away as Portland. I would need to be able to take the time off of work, have travel options. Things like if the reading is in the Capital Hill neighborhood here in Seattle, there is the cost of buses (from my home that is about a 2 hour bus journey, and if my partner is coming maybe more to cut down walk time), taxis (from my house to the middle of downtown is 35$) etc.
  • Enough spare money in the budget for books. Not pleasure reading but things more craft related.
  • Money for maybe a local small conference or workshop. I’ve never been to one I got the most out of but I’d like to try.

Also maybe enough little bit of profit to buy a pair of shoes or get my nose pierced. Enough to save up for next years AWP, enough to maybe buy a brand new totally up to date real laptop.

And most importantly I want to keep the more necessary things out of the household budget. It just stresses me out too much to be taking from that when I know my partner needs medication, to re up his bus pass, new shoes, new cane tips. We need a new shower head, our electric bill is fucking ridiculous right now etc.

I don’t need or want to be rolling in cash.

I really just want a little freedom. A little less stress. A little more space to do more with my work because I feel like my writing is going really good places. But I can’t go those places if I’m so stressed out I’m having nightmares and the fiery shits.

I’m not usually so open about this stuff. On an emotional level it just destroys me that basic sustainability is so close but not close enough. I’ve already sacrificed my entertainment and other for me for fun things, I don’t have new shoes, I don’t have clothes for Spring.

Shit just fucks me up.

So I’m going to keep considering patreon and just try to get through it without giving myself an ulcer.

That’s all for now.


Some Win and Some Angst.

Y’all.

I’m having a strange, wonderful and terrible week. I returned from vacation to a huge, costly emergency thing that has sent me into a panic spiral I’ve been trying to claw my way out of. I’ve been trying to work on stuff while stuck in a panic circle and shit is hard.

I’m getting through it and we have financial shit handled. It’s tight and stressful but we’re doing it.

AND THEN.

So this happened:

mypome

I posted that poem on Ink Node on my birthday. Read it here.

So that was pretty awesome.

Then I wrote about that Kenneth Goldsmith thing. Read it at Medium.

I imagine those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while can hear me sigh from here. I am not surprised. I am also not surprised by the dazzling lack of word from other famous White people.

But seriously, do better.

At this point, this type of blind privilege being swung like a hammer is just banal. I’m tired and I’m not even really angry I’m just tired.

Honestly when I read about this shit, a lot of what I’m thinking is how much people get paid for it. And then I think about my own finances and that of other writers who are writing really great literature that doesn’t shit on people and we don’t make dick.

I think about the fact that this bullshit will probably not cause this dude’s pockets to be any emptier.

I think about the fact that real talk, I am struggling to keep my writing sustainable. It’s just so infuriating. It’s so fucking hard.

It’s so hard to keep producing the kind of writing folks are getting to know me for when I’m juggling the 12 hour dayjob work days (I include my 4 hour round trip commute), trying to write Self Care Like A boss for release, write new fiction, write poems, work with precarious tech. Try to get published blablablablabbity blabla fuck I’m poor and so tired.

While trying to have a life with my partner and sometimes buy new shoes.

Sometimes I feel like, okay who’s gonna give me money to be a professional asshole?

I guess I’m having one of those weeks where the stress and just bullshit is getting to me. Yeah, fuck yeah I’m fucking bitter about this.

I’m exhausted.

I just want to make my fucking art and maybe make enough money to buy stuff like software and maybe a really great drink once in a while without feeling like I have to sacrifice and walk the line between okay and oh shit. I want to be free to be more excited about the good writing things going on in my life without this bullshit getting in the way.

I don’t know man.

This shit ain’t romantic.

I think that’s all for right now. This is not what I wanted to talk about today. Come back tomorrow and I’ll be talking about a new podcast I like and K Tempest Bradford’s evil anti White dude (insert eye roll here..oh internets) reading challenge. Also it’s not really anti White dude at all just to be clear.

So go read my things there. I’m actually really proud of them.


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.


Writing bucket list 2015

Some shit I want to accomplish this year.

  • Get paid more. I want to gently step up my freelancing. While making sure I don’t get down on myself because I’m not a journalist.
  • Maybe get paid for some fiction.
  • Add a bit more to my etsy store.
  • Finish Self Care Like A Boss with a big ass bang.
  • Get back into writing about bodies and get paid for said writing.
  • Just get fuckin paid.

I am working on figuring out what kind of freelancing I can handle. I’ve discovered I’m not great at newsy current events type stuff. Unless it is something that comes out in a big ole pain porn flood and I can’t emotionally deal with doing that all the time. Especially if I know I probably won’t get paid.

That being what it is, I need to further work out my pitching terror. I have very little confidence about that type of writing and I need to get to a better place with it. Which is to say, I just need to fuckin do it.

I have ideas and notes for stuff that isn’t so rip my heart out but the idea of pitching them puckers my asshole.

I really want to ease into some changes. I want to back myself while I’m doing some new kinds of writing.

SO yeah.

Shit is changing and I’m working it out.


Well 2015 has begun

So officially I’m hard at work on Self Care Like A Boss.

I forgot to pay my Duotrope dues. I low key am not pressed about it honestly. If I am to get my money’s worth I need to finish a pile of work so I am not going to pay/submit until then.

That said I already have one rejection. Nobody but me likes my tiny tiny flash stories. That one is a wee thing that has gotten itself five rejections so far? I’m not super worried about that either. At least every 8-10 months nobody publishes a word I write. Then there’s a flurry (often the same stories that I’ve been flinging into the universe) and then nothin.

So is the life of the short fiction writer type.

I have been sick as a dog and got some real bad news last week. I’ve been alternately depressed, pissed off and in general out of sorts.

And naturally writing it out.

So what else am I working on?

Lots of many fictions:

  • Tiny flash story about prostitutes.
  • More poetry about women.
  • Short story about a dry addict at an important crossroads.
  • Some horror about exorcism,
  • Some lesbian blood/knife related kinky smut.

There are other bits and bobs as well.

Right now I’m trying to not totally burrito myself in sorry and awfulness.

The only way I know to get through bad shit is write and run through it.

So what am I reading right now?

A few things.

Self-Loathing & Other Forms of Cynicism: Volume One by Laramore Black. I have read a bit of Laramore’s writing and enjoy it a lot. This collection is dark and gritty but there are little moments of real prettiness that just delight me. I’ll review when I’m done.

Also- no wait how about some pictures? Some stuff from the .50 cent book cart, gifts, and my wee haul from the Thriftbooks sale.

Books from the 50 cent cart.

Books from the 50 cent cart.

 

From the Cart.

From the Cart.

This is from myf avorite piece in Will Work For Drugs by Lydia Lunch. About Lifelong insomnia.

This is from myf avorite piece in Will Work For Drugs by Lydia Lunch. About Lifelong insomnia.

Lucky for my back they are not ALL in my bag right now. I have a terrible habit of doing that. Carrying like 3-5 paperbacks of varying sorts, notebook, pens, tea, emergency tampons and other writer survival things.

I also just read this piece over at Shotgun Honey and it is lovely. Go read it.

If you use Spotify this is my writing playlist. I love spotify so hard. It’s almost as good as having my own personal collection to hand.

I think that’s all for right now. I have a banging ass headache, my nose is running and I’m supposed to be doing dayjob shit.

I’ll be back tomorrow for Yeah Write. 

OH shit I almost forgot I also have a newish poem up at Ink Node. Another in the Queen series.

So that’s all for reals.

Later y’all.


Holy damn a new year.

I’m running on fumes right now. If you could see my gauge for things like REM sleep and whatnot it’s real low.

My insomnia not withstanding it is 20 mother fucking 15. Weird.

SO come and join Milcah and I at the Self Care Like a Boss Blog. 

Go open that in a new tab and I’ll be here.

I had to write an intro post and it was way harder to do than I had anticipated. While I have blogged for years and occasionally written the essay about myself they have all been around issues.

I tried to come at it from a memorist type perspective. Why the fuck didn’t anybody tell me how hard that is?

I had these ideas about how awesome and wonderful I’d be. I thought I knew what I wanted to say and then….yeah no shit was hard.

It wasn’t even that long and it felt gut wrenching. It was all the shit I’m scared of and feeling and I did it.

I had this moment while I was working on it (whilst in the throes of a migraine and 10/10 would not recommend that as a method of work) I had this little list in another window. Shit that I can’t write about yet because I don’t know how. Or I’m just too scared.

I knew I was poking the right stuff when I felt vomity while I was working and then wanted to crap my pants after Milcah published it.

After that I’ve decided that I will dip my toes in memoir but I’m not ready to jump all the way in.

Of course that means I’m going to try it.

I may or may not publish the memoir flavored stuff but my little roach brain who is also a sadist says do it.

I suppose that is 90% of my writing mission this year. Write that shit.

What else?

I don’t even know y’all. I would like to finish some new fiction. I have some stuff to shiny up and launch into the space.

What are you doin?

How was your new year and stuff?

Is your body ready?


An Open Letter to the Paris Review

UPDATE- Due to the amount of harassment, misuse and misrepresentation that resulted from this post I have a final essay about the issue. Please head to Literary Orphans and if you still don’t understand what is going on here, I got nothing for you. 

Dear Whitey and other assorted Whiteys,

In the wake of the continuing dehumanization of, murder of, lynching of Black children I see that you may want to find a way to use your position to make a statement.

The venerable Paris Review did this. (Also check out Donotlink if you would like to show people stuff on the internet but don’t want to contribute click money) The Ballad of Ferguson, Missouri.

Right now just about every Black person I know is in pain. We have to see on social media how many of our sometimes beloved friends are racists. We have to watch people who could be us or our children be murdered and blamed for their own deaths.

Many of us are reaching out to our elders, to other black people we admire for comfort. For something.

We want to make sense of things and one of the ways as we know to make sense of the senseless is through art.

I saw the title of the poem and I had this moment of gleaming hope that there woul be words to help. To provide a balm or something.

I wasn’t able to read it right away, but I was excited who could it be that has written a ballad about Ferguson.

Nikki Giovanni?

Some new amazing Black poet for me to love from afar?

Of ALL the amazing Black artists in the literary world, the Paris Review picked this guy:

 

The Voice of Ferguson

The Voice of Ferguson

Ahem.

Then I read it.

I read the first three lines and said to a friend on facebook “what the actual real fuck”

Fucking white people.

Listen Whitey and assorted Whitey’s involved in publishing this is why we don’t trust you.

Things like this, because let’s face it ever fucking time any publishing company has a chance to do something to combat it’s own Whiteness and prove just how not racist it is, well here we are.

Every goddamn time you fail.

You never apologize.

You are every writer’s abusive boyfriend that we can’t leave because we’re all so desperate to be loved by you.

You are why I have been carefully reconsidering the trajectory of my writing life.

So many of your trickled down lit mags I just, let’s be blunt I am not white enough.

I don’t write white enough.

I don’t want to expend 80% of my energy when I’m submitting in trying to figure out if my loud and never a secret critique of the whiteness of the literary industry is going to work for or against me. Or I think about the subtle anti blackness I see in so many “Diverse” magazines who are so not racist.

Do I really want those people to be my audience?

Also you obviously can’t police yourself and I have art to make so i don’t want to spend so much time trying to politely call out the bullshit.

God damn it.

For fuck sake.

Chicken hearted fair weather egalitarian shite.

The fact that writers I consider to be my Black Pantheon of Creativity and Beauty have told me privately at times how much I see but I know they can’t say these things publicly because they have careers and bills to pay, I just.

I want to burn this mother fucker down.

All of it.

I don’t even know what to say anymore.

God damn it White people get your shit together.

Sincerely,

An Angry Black Lady


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