Category Archives: go cry emo kid

Like to get fucked up and do Fucked up shit.

Yes, that is a Rob Zombie movie reference.

First (watch the whole thing) listen to this moment in my favorite documentary about Hubert Selby Jr.

There will forever be a link between Selby and Stahl for me. When Permanent Midnight came out (sorry affiliate link) in 1995 originally I bought a copy and it hung out on my bookshelf for a while because I was weaning myself off of The Beats and Henry Miller, Anais Nin and had found Hubert Selby jr.

I was given a shitty battered probably missing pages copy of Last Exit to Brooklyn by a man who was a lot older than me and likely had nefarious dick related plans.

Now at the time I didn’t know there was a connection, but after reading both, I felt them.

I was 18 years old and just starting to write fiction outside of the wanna be Henry Miller porn I was writing.

I had already been steeping myself in junky heroes. Uncle Bill, Jim Carroll (who NONE of my friends were reading prior to that movie coming out, I met him at a show for his band once and he signed my poor old shitty copy of Living at the Movies and gave me a hug because I was crying) etc etc.

Beyond the drugs there was that underlying darkness that I just craved. In the next few years (late 90s) I met and loved some drug addicts, I interestingly never had that romanticized phase of thinking about drugs like a lot of people. I did a shitload of drugs back then and knew why I was doing them.

I have this theory.

When it comes to drug use I feel like you’re either a TURN UP THAT CRAZY TO 11 FUCK IT! Type or you’re an …oh shit I must get numb type. Generally speaking, of course.

I am a turn up the crazy sort.

That’s a whole other thing.

I have a point.

OH right. Someone asked me the other day why I am so drawn to shit that is dark as fuck.

These are my people. It is in these sorts of books and bios where I started to figure out the people I can go to. I understood Jerry Stahl writing Forum letters and I understood Harry from Last Exit to Brooklyn.

I understood feeling alienated and weird. I understood something about this type of work that made me feel less alone.

It made me feel less suicidal.

It made me feel like I could write some shit and maybe it would make someone else who was just like me, feel better.

That’s why I like the dark.

That’s why I like to roll around in it, I like to live there, I like to visit and I like to create it.

It’s why I want a line from Bluebird by Bukowski tattooed on my body forever. Bluebird, that fucking poem saved my life.

These are feelings that often transcend for me. There is a desire in me to have that connection with a thing, darkness for our purposes and I don’t like not having it.

For years I tried very hard to not. I thought I shouldn’t feel so close to these writers, these themes, this type of literature because I don’t know why.

I didn’t believe I could write about it.

I didn’t believe I had a place there.

But the darkness always welcomes me home.

Sometimes there’s a light in it.

Sometimes there’s not.

The darkness is there.

Brought to you by some shit I wrote earlier today while sitting in the sun and thinking about how it would feel to be a Trap Empress.

Don’t ask.

I love y’all. Go read some of this stuff that I love if you haven’t. For srs.

Also brought to you by insomnia and me wanting to curl up in the darkness and write things and give zero shits about anything but the work.


Some musings on transgressions.

First thing. Here go read my latest. A tiny spec fic thing.

Now today’s entry is prompted by the fact that I have a cold. And a comment I got on the linked story.

Someone told me (yes they were White) that, my story has “too narrow” of an audience. When I asked for clarification my critic flailed about until I supplied their answer.

That story revolves around Blackness. Not Blackness as pain porn. It is not the neck rolling sassy Black lady story so many White people love to hate. It’s not Blackness through a lens of Whiteness. It is mythos created from a love of Blackness.

Now I had much the same type of critique about my story about Oshun. When I workshopped that story as it appears there, the critique was that it was too difficult to understand. It was suggested that I change the goddess to one “known”.

I’m thinking about these things in the context of my personal love of transgression in my work.

And given that a lot of the critique I get when it comes to anything I write about or related to my own or Blackness in general, there is this pushback that is indicative that I have transgressed.

Elves are White.

Fairies are White.

Mythos must be in a Roman, Greek or other White pantheon to be understood.

Mythos cannot be universal if it is not rooted there.

As I look at the bulk of my work in recent years, all I do is transgress. I trespass. I disregard conventions of genre because I feel like it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my work and what about it is important to me and this habitual transgression is important to me. As I look over some of my older stuff I’m actually pretty happy.

I take a lot of risks. I risk my own chances of publication by being outspoken about racism. I risk things like rape and death threats. Doxxing. Not getting published. Dealing with White tears and racist remarks.

These are risks I’m willing to take.

While yes I would love to be raking in the easy cash being a Nice Helpful Negress, I want to be who I am more.

This is mostly brought to you by my own thinky thoughts and my nervousness about everything ever.

Soon I have some new book reviews, an interview with an amazing poet and some other goodies.

Meanwhile, go watch this conversation with one of my favorite writers.


Building a World Next to The World

I’m having a really awful day so I’m going to talk more about this project I’m doing.

I’ve embarked on a serious effort to write this Urban Fantasy novella (?) I’ve had on my mind since 2004.

Over on Patreon as I’ve mentioned, I was giving those folks first peeks and then I will be releasing things a month behind. So in July everyone gets a crack at the part I sent out to Patrons in June.

Yesterday I put up a free post, get it here where I wrote a letter about how this started, what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. Here’s a taste:

I debated about doing this and in the end, I want to stay true to my ideals about providing some transparency in my experiences. One of the things that is important to me in my work is that I can provide some bit of lasting information that a young or otherwise hesitant or shy writer might want to see.

So many authors talk about how ashamed, they are of previous works, first novels, the mythical terrible first draft. I have never felt that way. It is deeply meaningful to me to be able to show not only my long time readers but new readers how I have progressed. I am proud of how much I’ve changed and learned. I’m proud of finding my voice and looking back at things I wrote ten or fifteen years ago and saying, look where I was.

I believe there is deep value in not standing in the tradition of the uh, solitary writer who occasionally reveals that they hand wrote a shitty draft of their novel but won’t share what it was like in the trenches.

Naturally, there is the chance someone will steal it. I am willing to risk it.

Get your paws on the whole letter here.

This is not a thing I have seen other folks do so I am winging it.

Here I want to talk about something I just realized while I was talking to my bestie.

This character and story has been brewing for a decade.

First, I want to talk about my motivations for giving people access to what is basically the roughest of drafts of this thing that might or might not become a book.

When I was a kidlet writer, one of the things I could never wrap my head around was the real talk process of writing a novel or longer work. Yeah, there is ass in chair and take notes/outlines, write it long form etc type advice, but what my brain needs a lot of the time is a visual.

I need to see the thing so I can study it.

Another aspect to this is a vulnerability. It’s a very serious feeling of being naked and showing my soft little creator heart to people. More so because this is my first try at something like this and my little baby nerd heart is so all in.

Doing things this way is showing my tender underbelly, showing you (my voyeurs if you wanna be fancy) the magic behind the stories. I want to share how I arrived at decisions, what I am not doing. I want to take folks on the ride with me because riding roller coasters alone sucks.

Writing is such a solitary thing. And at the same time it is a team effort.

By team effort I mean I ask my friends questions. Sometimes not to get an answer, but just to say it out loud and answer it myself.

The other thing that guided me to this particular place is that I am terrified of this kind of vulnerability. It is really difficult for me to be completely open when something is so incredibly important to me. This story and the creation of it is my real, actual bleeding heart and I am not hiding it under a bell jar I’m showing it to people. I’m letting folks touch it and look at it and that scares the actual fuck out of me.

Things that make me feel like this, mean I am doing the right thing for me.

If it gives me bubble guts, I’m on to something.

One of the other parts of this is that I am learning to pull my world together.

This world is part of Seattle and part of many other worlds. I’m learning that I don’t have to put in ALL the shit I love. It’s not my one shot at doing something like this.

This feeling that when I write things that are so close to my heart is is my only chance to get them out has been something I’ve dealt with for years. A lot of that is poverty related. For so many years I was so busy just trying to survive, I had no time or safety to sit and write my heart out. I wrote what I thought would get published and sometimes it did.

That was gratifying. It kept me going for a long time.

Through working with MilcahMilcah, and Motherblazing Books, I’m getting there.

Through Patreon and finding that I do actually have an audience outside of my immediate loved ones and chosen family, I’m getting there.

Through reading other authors of color I love I’m getting there.

And I want to share it.

It might be a terrible idea.

This story might turn out to be trash.

I’m good.

So here is a chunk from one of the nanowrimo things that I’m using as source material. This is a whole other story from what I’m doing now and this bit will probably not be in my Daiyu thing.

I’m also considering doing a raffle to name it.

Read more under the cut.

Thanks for coming along for the ride.

###

Continue reading


Standing in my Own Way.

I finally got some sleep and am feeling a bit saner overall.

I was thinking yesterday while I was half asleep and feeling dreamy about the many ways I stand in my own way.

What I was thinking about most of the day was (of course) trying harder to keep my writing life sustainable and I started down the anxiety making path of trying to figure out a.) what the fuck I mean by that and b.) why the fuck am I torturing myself about it like some asshole boss?

Over the past few years I’ve done a lot of things that made me feel uncomfortable and scared. I wrote for pay and learned how to deal with being hate read and generally made fun of because of various reasons. That was the first time anyone asked me to write about something I’m pretty passionate about for money. It was fucking terrifying and I did it. I even will call it an overall success because I saw people do wonderful things, help each other and generally be awesome in what could have been a cesspool.

I’ve learned (sorta) how to pitch. I pitched this piece and well it wasn’t awful. I have had a few pitches rejected and some ignored. But I sorta figured it out.

I’ve been trying (completely unsuccessfully) to break into SF/F and I’ve sort of had enough of that. I’ll talk about that more next week.

I am putting out a book on indie press. A new and improved version of my Self Care Like a Boss book.

I’ve made difficult decisions.

The most difficult has been to not do more freelance. So I started the Patreon thing.

And okay real talk.

I still feel some type of way about doing Patreon.

I had some very specific goals in mind when I started doing Patreon and more actively looking for donations. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay to ask for support and to get paid for my work even if it means it’s not stuff getting published by mainstream lit.

I’ve written things that even maybe five years ago I wouldn’t have dared to for fear that I would indeed be ruining my little bit of a career. I wrote something that reached out to people and that felt pretty good.

I’ve been working on a piece about trying to get over Poverty Brain.

And here I am stuck in that place.

Rationally I realize that counting my commute, dayjob and any writing work I do on my phone at home I’m doing 14 hour days. I am dealing with my chronic insomnia as well as I can. I’m being the breadwinner at home and sort of doing okay at it.

But, I’m running around looking for some kind of freelance thing I can do, I’m doing my get paid to click shit, pushing some referral type things because I need some things and given how rocky finances have been this year, being shit scared to take that money out of my household budget because what if shit happens?

I know that I find it difficult to write when I am in this frame of mind. I’m trying to calm my shit down but it’s hard.

I caught myself on Friday looking for a part time job. I know damn well that I can’t do that. My health wouldn’t tolerate it. And frankly unless it was pretty high paying, it wouldn’t be financially worth the extra trouble. I was able to make myself stop and think about how terrible of an idea it was.

That’s progress for me.

I’m mostly saying this for myself. I keep falling down this I’m not doing enough to support my whole patreon/things problem and I want to not.

I have shit to write.

I should get out of my own way.

Next week I’m doing another big ole nerdy book review. I’ll talk about some plans I have and stuff.

Okay that’s all back to that grind.


Rattling around.

I’m still in the throes of an insomnia cycle that has been whooping my ass but good for what two, three months now?

So, given that I seem to have expended all of my cognitive abilities and am stuggling to stay awake right now I’ll just blabber for a bit.

First thing on my mind. Yesterday, while I was struggling to stay awake at work, I made a wee zip file. Inside this zip file you’ll find a very basic submission tracking spreadsheet along with a txt doc to tell you how to use it and give you some ideas for customization. Right click and save as here.  Feel free to share that with anybody you think might need it.

That was on my mind because I’ve been doing some submitting here and there. I got a very fast rejection from Strange Horizons for a story myself and a friend thought would be great for them. I’ve submitted to them three times over the years and I think I’m putting them on my list of not again. They are just not into me.

I’m finding SF/F/H hard to break into.

Someone else looked at the aforementioned show and their, uh, feedback was just “This is too literary”. No clarification though I asked and I do recall a SF writer (cannot remember who right now) said on a podcast that sometimes people dislike their use of literary stuff in their SF/F.

But really?

I feel pretty out of place in those waters. I don’t see a lot of things written in the way I write. I do things that aren’t, uh, I dunno done there a lot. At least not that I see. I feel like some of my recent work is probably too SF/Fish for most lit mags (see also my years of writing too erotic/sexy for a lot of lit mags) but not done as Sf/F is done so not for those magazines either.

I don’t know. I have a tendency like a lot of writers to get angsty about things. More so when I feel like maybe what I’m doing with these genres is not real so I’m unwise in submitting to those markets and annoying editors. I don’t want to be that person.

That said, I am disappointed. Not because just because rejection, but more that, if SO many of the things in SF/F are so fantastical, why can’t the writing get out of the comfortable realm too?

Most of my favorite SF/F is quite literary. And I hate that I need to acknowledge that. Like why do people have the idea that if something is X genre it cannot be literary and vice versa?

I just don’t understand why that particular line has to be drawn and adhered to.

This is why I’ve put these type stories out on my own in general.

I don’t know.

I will submit to other places but fact is I write how I write.

These are things I think about. And because the submission process is what it is, I have no way to verify any of my feelings. I mean I could say that stories are just not good. But when the feedback I’ve gotten from other folks is OMG YES and the industry is Oh yeah no, it makes me feel stuff.

Especially as tired as I am. I’ll probably chew on this for a while.

What else?

OH yeah, I do keep a list of publications that are just not into me. There are a few that I’ve submitted multiple things to and while some have been like, we love you send more and others have been standard after a while I do realize no you don’t want it. I do have a process. I will go back and check rejections to see if they are form or have something else. What the rejection wiki calls a higher tier type.

There are also a few that have done things that I don’t like or do things I don’t like that I will read but not submit to.

And a note to editors, it really sucks when you heap praise and say how much you love our submissions but never publish us. Like, it makes things feel awkward and at least I feel weird.

I did get an acceptance. LOL it is for a SF experimental flash thing that had been rejected for reasons. So I sent it to a regular flash site (links on the day it goes live) and voila boom accepted after not even 24 hours.

What else?

Can I share a fear?

This is a situation that happens to me a lot.

A person reads one of my pieces at Medium or XOJane and comes to tell me they love me. That is a total win and serious yay.

But then, they find out I write random other stuff and sometimes it is not nice stuff.

I have gotten into more fucking arguments with people because they want me to only be nice Self-care Shannon or Rageful Negress Shannon and it just makes me tired. I was telling my bestie that sometimes it feels like I have to vet people I talk to about my work and that fucking sucks. I hate it.

I am not a particular kind of writer. I’m not a journalist. I just write.

I write what’s in my head and it’s pretty noisy in there.

I don’t want people to be completely unable to accept that. I feel like it loses me audience or something.

And this is on my mind because as my dear publisher reminded me recently, we’re having a book baby in a scant few months.

Like, it is a thing that is happening.

IT IS HAPPENING.

And honestly, I’m pretty fucking scared. The writing part, I got that. That I know I can do. I can fucking write.

But then I think of other stuff.

What if nobody buys it? I don’t want to have wasted my publishers time and money and effort if it’s wah wah.

What if, what if… Everybody hates me blablabla.

Also, I’m just terrified. I have feelings I’m not sure how to navigate.

So I guess I’ll just dive in.

Last thing.

At home we’re finally just about out from under the three months of gigantic bills.

To put it into perspective I spent pretty much most of my money that wasn’t my rent on just these bills. Even with our rental increase, some super expensive doc appointments for my partner Uniballer and some other bullshit we’re almost there.

I’m pretty close to being able to save more which is great.

If you want to help and you want some stuff to read now would be a great time to shop in my Etsy store. I’m not in panic mode anymore but we’re kinda scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit and I need some stuff.

What stuff? Honestly foundation and face powder and I really -really- need a new hoody to wear home at night. Next month if no further shit happens I’ll be avle to put most of my Patreon money into my Smarty Pig account for my laptop.

AND those two donors from the past few weeks, y’all don’t even know you really saved my bacon. Thank you so much.

Okay, that’s it. I’m gonna go home, have a phone date with Milcah tomorrow and hopefully sleep.

 


Updates, financial stuff and whatnot.

In the past couple of weeks the Lit world and by association a lot of people I thought were allies have been showing their ass and okay, Imma be real.

When it comes to art and lit, yes, I too like a lot of problematic things.

But right now my problem is that whether or not the art happening (no I’m not linking I can’t look at any more of that after the research I did) is that White people who are making a good chunk of cash, and who are sitting in positions of power (AWP) and who are teaching, are using what I feel is literary Blackface for shits and giggles and career advancement.

What burns my ass most about this, is not that I’m a poor struggling writer.  It burns me that (I here being used loosely/plural) can’t write my experience as a Black person in any old way and have the same doors open to me.

It burns my ass that, another White person wants to play with reclaiming “nigger” and racist imagery from America’s past without any responsibility and dead silence.

And because I refuse to remain silent about why I find this harmful and disgusting. I’m told that well they have the right, Jeeze Y SO SENSITIVE NEGRESS? I’m told that because I have a strong and loud opinion on this and these people being lauded, coddled and generally held to no accountability for their actions I am a problem.

Just this morning some woman I don’t know did “research” on me and decided nothing I have to say about it is worth anything because I am “aggressive” and “threatening”.

Layers of racism aside, in what universe does someone like me (and there are a shitload of us) have enough pull in the lit world to be threatening to the careers and wallets of these people?

So rather than doing what allies are SUPPOSED to do when POC say, hey this shit is fucking racist. Again, people who have held on to their ally badges tightly are telling me I’m the problem. Again.

To be honest. I had nightmares all week. Most of them revolved around an issue I already had combined with me running into racist, but totally not racist people in the lit world and having them ruin shit for me. That is the shit I have nightmares about because many of the people I’m annoyed with right now are people I’ve considered friends.

This is something that is causing me a level of struggle I just don’t know what to do with.

I’m just heartbroken. I keep feeling like I have all this faith in people whom I KNOW understand intersectionality and power. But, again, when it comes to POC or two Black people specifically all I hear is crickets and it hurts. The gentrification of the experiences and history of POC and specifically Black people just wrecks me.

This is not what I wanted to talk about, but out it comes. Fuck.

Shit, okay.

Now back to what I actually wanted to talk about.

In light of our rent increase and some other extra expenses I’ve redone my writing things (what I call stuff related to my writing) budget. I’ve cut out a couple of things.

I am thinking that I need to raise my Patreon monthly goal to about 125$. I’d really like to move a few of my personal household expenses to my writing related budget. Mainly small things, pens, notebooks. I’d also like to put more away for my laptop fund. Not having one I can work on at home is just painful. I also include stuff like the occasional celebratory pastry, coffee for work and big cups of ice for work as well in that budget.

Even without a fully functional tech situation, I do feel good about my output so far. The things I’m writing are what I really want to write and what feels important to me.

Longer term say between now and next March, I also have some handmade zine type things I want to create but I need to buy supplies. I want to hand make some wee stories to sell in my etsy shop. I’ve been kicking around the idea of also doing heavy card stock “art” poem cards. Hand colored (but not written because my handwriting is shit) pretty little art cards. But again, the capital thing.

I’m in a better emotional place right now than I was the other day. I’ve calmed down and I can see the way through the financial anxiety, but, I just have to wait a bit and do some balancing.

I’m also looking into doing something serialized maybe available via Amazon? I have to do some research.

What else is going on?

I’ve started what I hope to grow into a series of essays about healing myself of poverty brain and figuring out how to navigate my feelings without panic or undue stress. Shit is so hard and after talking to some friends I really believe this is an important thing for me to do. Not as something aspirational, or inspiration porn but more as an open hey, this is shit I go through and if you’re going through it too, you’re not alone.

The importance of visibility and acknowledgement has been something that a lot of my readers have talked to me about and it feels deeply fulfilling to be that for some folks.

Blablabla.

That’s going on. I have a post coming up about writing that I’ve been sitting on. A young (HI BB) writer asked me a couple of important questions and I want to give good answers. I also want to talk about navigating Double COnsciousness since a lot of non Black folks are discovering it and don’t know what to do.

So that’s all the news. I’m trying to learn a new way to hustle that won’t destroy my heart.

What are y’all up to?

Also I should do a whole hustle tag.

 

 


To Revisit the Care and Feeding of the Author.

Welcome back Caretakers,

We hope that you who have braved the care and feeding of your own personal author are feeling fine. It has come to our attention that there are still a few foibles, habits and needs that must be attended to in order to keep The Author functioning properly.

Let us begin.

  1. Please remember, do not touch The Author’s favorite pen. It probably has drool, tea or who knows what. Authors may bite or howl when their pens are touched or used without explicit permission.
  2. From this point going forward, please remember to stay out of flailing range. The Author may flail for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: being itchy, having to pee but is on a roll so The Author will not get up, The Author is reading something terrible or excellent, The Author is warm and comfortable. Do not pressure The Author, being startled could result in urine leakage either by accident or malicious urination.
  3. Caretakers should also take care when removing objects within flailing range. Should The Author flail and spill tea, coffee, bourbon or other liquids on their keyboards, notebooks etc the possibility of a disco meltdown is heightened. Ease spillable items away from the edge of desks or tables, but do not remove them without first warning The Author.
  4. For the safety of the Caretaker, all inquiries as to what The Author is actually doing right now- please submit them in writing via the mail. Email queries will be returned unread or with expletives as the response.
  5. On occasion the Caretaker may find the playing of the book, You Have to Fucking Eat may be deployed when The Author is too Hangry to eat or do anything else.
  6. See also Go The Fuck To Sleep.  If The Author will not sleep, try Morgan Freeman. Even the most cantankerous of authors will have a hard time arguing with Mr. Freeman.
  7. Should The Author be both Hangry and Sleepy, run dear Caretaker. Throw snacks and a blanket and run for your very life.
  8. Should The Author begin a low pitched revving noise followed by escalating wails- oh Dear Caretaker. This noise is Defcon Orange. Should said wailing be accompanied by flailing, throwing of the body on the floor or tears things have gone too far. For such emergencies, the Caretaker should have a variety of snacks and other offerings. Offer the sacrifices, then dart away. Offer, dart, offer, dart. The Caretaker should take every precaution against being caught by The Author who may cling like a sloth while ugly crying, or going boneless like an angry cat and sliding to the floor.

Dearest Caretakers. If things progress beyond your control a few tips on extricating yourselves from the situation until backup arrives or The Author has passed out from their fit of temper:

  • Favorite movies or audiobooks.
  • Very adorable animals.
  • Favorite blankets.

If the emergency measures listed above don’t work, we pray for you Caretakers.

God Speed and Good Luck.


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