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.

auntieheader
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.

 

Daydreaming Writer.

Before I get dreamy I am very proud to announce my second ever essay I’ve written about my gender identities. I’m very happy that The Establishment gave me the time and space to write this piece and the time to be scared about it prior to publication. Read that here.

I will talk more about that later on.

So let’s talk about the stuff I daydream about shall we?

When I was a baby writer my daydreams looked like this.

I would travel. I would fuck everyone all the time. I would write, mail things to some patient patron who would then get the publishing together. I’d get drunk in Tunisia and pose nude in Paris, they’d send me a check.

Rinse, repeat, greatness.

I wouldn’t be rich with cash. I’d be rich in lovers, words, experiences and je ne sais quoi. Right?

As a teenager, I imagined myself as a big titty Henry Miller type writing filthy degenerate love letters and having some 30 year affair that people would write about for years to come.

Some lover or other of mine would of course be an artist and would get famous after painting me nude like a Matisse or would photograph me like Frida Kahlo and those would be part of my artistic legacy.

I also dreamed of being somewhat mysterious and reclusive. Maybe seen wading bucky naked in a river, but refusing a lot of press. I’d foment rumours and lies about myself for fun.

Y’all can tell what I was reading at that age.

Fast forward 20 years and while theoretically that dream is one I could hold on to, now my dreams are different.

My artistic daydreams involve things like, what if I could go to one of those writer colony things? What if I could actually afford that without it fucking up my life? What would I even do with 2-6 weeks of time devoted to my art. No commute, no 12 hour work days, just me and my brain and my laptop Petunia.

I’ve thought about it. Friends have sent me some I think I would qualify for. But, per usual my thoughts turn to my actual life. I couldn’t get 2 straight weeks off for AWP/recovery from AWP. Instead of a colony or residency, I wonder if I could get away to a Motel 6 within a 20$ cab ride from my house for a day and night?

I dream of figuring out how to have one day a week for my art. Not house cleaning, grocery/household shopping, working, recovering from the week (at present my health dictates that 1 of my 2 days off a week to be spent mainly in recovery mode) without leaving my partner in the lurch or cutting up our not as much as would be great quality time together?

What else?

I dream about getting an essay into some Big Fancy Ass Publications.

I dream about my work, reaching people who need to hear a voice like mine for whatever reason.

I dream of writing ALL my passion project things while listening to one of my epic playlists in a carefree manner.

I dream of sometimes talking to baby writers.

Maybe a little non academic teaching.

Workshop leading that exists within the framework of stuff I believe about art?

I dream about having the time and energy to get back into photography and taking bus accessible day trips with the Uniballer so we can do that together.

I don’t need that life of leisure and artistic fuckery that I imagined as a kid.

Sometimes I get sad about the artistic life, not lived. The missed events and workshops and colonies and things. Sometimes I get angry and sad. I’ve cried about it. That’s okay.

I let it roll through me. I can’t dwell on the life not lived for too long. I have to go to work, I have to write, I have to get shit done.

Okay I’m going to chill out at the dayjob. Work on some poetry and be that shit.

How it’s going down at AWP

SO okay AWP is next week and here is how it’s going down.

I’m not sure what I’m doing with my hair, I might flat iron it this weekend or just blow dry it and give some fluffy realness.

I will be riding with my REAL FAMILY. If you find me you’ll probably get to meet my Uniballer (my partner), my Wifey (my bestie) and her Husbear.

I’m still slightly undecided about what panels I’m going to but I’ll figure it out.

Now if any of y’all are going and you spot me please feel free to come say hi. I’m fairly sweaty and weird in person and might stare at you bug eyed for a minute but I’ll be fine. Also if you wanna selfie, we shall selfie.

If you want to find me, I’ll be tweeting usually with the hashtag AWP16 or AWP2016.

I’ll be hustling this beauty out of my purse. If you buy one I might even read you something out of it, right out where ever we’re at.

mfesta
The title page of my chapbook/zine titled: The Motherfuckess Manifesta and Other Poems. They are 5$. Hand signed and numbered.

If you’re in or around LA and not coming to AWP, come party and hear me read with some of the most bad ass women writers. Check out the event here.

Let me take a moment to express my love for the Unchaste reading series. Jenny the creator is one of my ride or die type people. If you are in or around Portland, OR, please I encourage you to check out the Unchaste events. Search FB, get on that. Unchaste readings are always amazing and Jenny goes out of her way to curate an actually inclusive line up of readers. So for real, go do the thing.

What else?

I don’t think we’ll have time to do a whole lot of outside AWP things. Due to some vacation time off stuff it is pretty much a hit it and quit it type thing.

Hopefully there will be some video snippets,some action shots. Selfies with other writers. I’m going to try really hard this time not to freak the whole fuck out. I’m ready. I have stuff to sell and know that I belong there as much as any other writer.

I’ll probably schedule some posts and then when I get back I’ll do a big wrap up.

That’s it for today babies.

 

Bad Advice for Writers and Artists.

I wrote over on Medium about the eh, non edible nature of the promise of exposure as payment for work. See that here.

Over the years I have been given a metric ton of awful advice. Some of it has come from a really kind, loving place, people who want me to live the artist’s life.  Some of that advice as loving as it has been to put it kindly tone deaf and as if people don’t know me at all. Or it has come from a loving place full of shiny privileges.

If you’ve been here for a minute you know I’m not the one for that.

So let’s talk about bad advice.

Actually first I want to show you a couple of things. This article about how some very popular positive thinking adages can turn into gaslighting. Read it.

Next I want you to read this by one of my favorite writers Daniel José Older. This is my favorite part:

Beginning with forgiveness revolutionizes the writing process, returns it being to a journey of creativity rather than an exercise in self-flagellation.  I forgive myself for not sitting down to write sooner, for taking yesterday off, for living my life. That shame? I release it. My body unclenches; a new lightness takes over once that burden has floated off. There is room, now, for story, idea, life.

My dearest homies. I used to be one of those self-flagellation writers. I really believed that my perceived failures were because I had “excuses” about not writing. Never mind being half homeless, hungry and desperate. Never mind my jobs and hustling. Never mind all of it. The Pantheon of The Most Successful of Us say you write every day. No matter what, otherwise, it’s your own fault if you’re not having the success they have.

I’ve said it before and will always say it. Suffering or hunger or poverty or stress etc don’t always make for the best work.

So no you don’t have to write every day on a work schedule. This is the type of advice that while well meaning ignores things that matter to a lot of us. Jobs we work 12 hours a day, kids we need to care for, school etc. Thing is, these are not “excuses” in that shame inducing sense that you are not trying hard enough or are just being lazy.

So yes, I consider the whole worship of daily writing as being the One Twoo Way to be bullshit.

And frankly if you are gaslighting the fuck out of yourself how can you produce your best most wonderful work?

That said, write as much as you can.

We here at Be That Shit University believe that it counts.

Did you do work on your novel?

Fuck yeah.

Did you write a shittastic poem?

Fuck YEAH.

Did you write a blog post?

FUCK TO THE YEAH!

I am not a believer in fetishizing the process. Finding the perfect chair and the perfect 2 hours of silence or music.

It is a huge privilege to be able to have your ritual and have it be the all of your process.

A lot of us just do not have the time for that.

We don’t have the energy.

We have bills to pay and children to raise and spouses to love and selves to care for.

How about some good advice?

  • Don’t ever stop learning about your craft. Comedy, writing, editing, painting whatever it is. The beautiful thing is that if you can read this, you can googlefy some shit and learn something new any damn time you want to. The gatekeepers of knowledge about your art are not as strong as they used to be.
  • Read promiscuously. Let everything you read leave a mark. If you are a writer especially, you must be a reader. Read outside of your own experience. Read POC, read Queer folks, read YA, just read. If you don’t have time or energy for full books, read blogs.
  • Write that shit. If you have to write on a notepad doc on your phone (AHEM ME), if you need to write with pen and paper, if you need to write a listicle about why Shannon gives such fucked up advice, get it.

The thing is, the proverbial Artist’s life is not for all of us. It would be awesome it it was. It is a life I think I’d like to lead if it were possible without being homeless and starving because neither of those things is fun to me.

Also if you are an advice giver, understand where you’re flinging your advice.

Don’t tell a poor author (like me, this is what spurred this entry) that if I’d just go to more events (that cost me money and don’t pay), took the exposure (that also doesn’t pay or feed me), take more classes from other writers (that costs me money) etc and then be surprised when we don’t react well.

At this point my reaction is always, how much are you paying me, are you paying the equivalent to my wages from my dayjob if I have to try to leave early, are you going to also help me take time off to recover? Paying for transportation? Kicking in so I am able to eat lunch all week?

This is also brought to you by the fact that I would like to create some downloadable writing courses that are inexepensive, accessible to folks, and not just for writers trying to get published. Something low cost enough to be open to most people.

So yeah.

That is the sorta content I’m working on figuring out HOW to make that shit happen.

Now my darling loverfaces.

My official AWP author appearances thing will be going up tomorrow. And I’ll make sure if you’re gonna be around you know how to find me so we can selfie and I can maybe be your literary pusherman.

 

Horror, The World and Other Nerdery.

Okay, first y’all need to go check out Scott Nicolay’s podcast. It is fucking amazing. While you’re listening to that, go read this story by Kristi Demeester. I just started reading that magazine on the pro tip from a friend and I really enjoy it.

Now I feel the need to nerd.

I’m going to talk some more about what I’ve been doing with my The World and some other stuff.

Now I took this photo in the stairwell of my apartment building (I took them originally to talk about poverty but that’s too depressing) here is the first one:

visualrep1

A view of how The World and the world fit together.

This is very close visually to what I want to create texturally. The light of the world we all live in and walk around in, the darkness where The World is and where some of us live and walk around in and then those areas where, the two mix together and make the thin places I’ve referenced in a couple of stories.

I look at this view every night when I get home and the feeling I get as I move through a bright, nice light that welcomes me home, up towards semi darkness, then into pitch blackness with some respite from the streetlight on clear nights, that is what I want to put in those stories.

What is on my  mind right now is where I want to take these stories. Originally I wanted them to be kind of traditionally linked stories I could put together in some form to end with some good old school hypertext big story type deal. I am undecided about what I am going to do with them as of yet.

The other thing on my mind is where do they fit in terms of genre?

We know I kind of hate that, but I’m thinking about it anyway.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know that often my writing surfs genre in ways that make my work not always the sort of thing that fits easily or smoothly within the constraints of whatever general genre I’m working in.

After listening to the aforementioned podcast and doing some reading I’ve settled on these works being Weird Fiction. Why? Because I fucking said so essentially.

I feel like I’m working in a tradition that has space for my slipstream, real/unreal stories. I like that idea. It feels comfortable. It feels like I could expand The World into neo-noir places, some fantasy type things etc, without feeling that underlying pressure to do Horror.

I think a lot of that internal pressure is coming from the knowledge of how far away, I backed from genre fiction for so long. I still have the lingering hesitancy to engage with the community because I’ve been burned.

There is so much racist and other fuckery in my literary life, I still have that desire for horror et al to be my safe place. That is where I want to play and not be writing about racism in music scenes I like (uh, yeah, I went low key viral, see it on huffpo I don’t want to talk about it right now) or having to deal with yet more White men/other men who take time out of their days to follow me around and tell me how much I suck. I need respite from all that shit so bad I don’t want to engage with another sector of the lit community that might become unsafe.

So here I am yammering about it in my blog.

Back to The World.

This is the other photo I took, consider it the view from inside The World peeping out.

visualrep2

This view is how I feel it is to peer out of The World. 

I have been note taking and there are more places I want to explore and inhabit in The World. I want to explore injecting POC culture into it, find some beauty, some sex, I want to explore more ways to involve childhood and development as a natural part of both worlds that make both worlds fucked up.

Is this still weird fiction?

I feel like yes it is.

Is it horror?

Eh, yeah, I think so.

I think my ultimate goal with these stories is to explore more of this method of unsettling. More of the subtle shifts in tense, gender pronouns and even POV to make the reader uncomfortable without trying to do HORROR BOO! I want to be intimate with you reader, skin to skin until you want to crawl out of yours. I want to have more people tell me, fuck I thought of this thing you said in this story like three days later and it was creepy as shit.

That is where I feel like my horror writing is going to blossom. It’s where I want to play. Rather than epic I want intimate. I want in your car and in your bed and in your shadow.

So yeah.

That’s what’s on my mind right now. It’s what I’m doing to self soothe after too much bullshit. I’ll talk about the bullshit soon. I can’t right now.

Hopefully at some point I will collect and maybe do more with The World. Or maybe I will use what I’ve learned about my process to write something else creepy.

So there it is.

Next week I’m going to review Ken Liu’s book Grace of KingsAnd a couple of other books. It will get nerdy, so hold your butts.

Lastly, before I run away to do stuff, come check out my latest teespring campaign.

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.