Category Archives: indie adventures

Some more how I work questions answered.

More questions. The same person asking and they really want to stay anonymous so I might get a bit vague.

One of the things this person and I have talked about is my less than stellar experience with writing groups and other writer spaces, both in meat space and on the internets.

Frankly, my experiences with writer spaces haven’t been great, honestly. My first experiences were so overwhelmingly White and cis male I did not feel comfortable sharing any of my work for the most part. And for a few years had an issue with men “finding out” that I wrote erotica and harassing me.

Later on, as I started to think more about my own identity as a human, and what I was writing and how, as I got to read more critically in terms of sexuality and the political I found a lot of writer spaces were just not for me.

I remember pointing out the inherent sexism in a story I read on a writer’s list, it was honestly coming from a deeply misogynistic place and I will say that I was fairly gentleish about it and after that, the man who wrote it was fairly short/had an attitude with me.

In meat space things haven’t been a whole lot better.

I was invited once to a meat space writing group for ladies. I went and immediately things were just not awesome for me. Things were okay for about ten minutes until I read my piece and it was kinda crickets and a lot of uncomfortable shifting. If I remember right, it was some of my first tries at crime fiction and it was just a terrible fit.

Then in modern times I was a member of that big infamous container full of women.

It was fucking awful.

My experiences there and the things said to me were the epitome of #solidarityisforwhitewomen. It was so incredibly awful that I rage quit and then cried about it because it could have been a great source of solidarity and resources and whatnot, but the racism from the color blind, to the level of swinging privilege like a bat and having women playing pinata with every WOC there was just too much. I felt so deeply disrespected by those women, I couldn’t hack it.

So honestly, I think I’ve just been burned too many times.

I think that my exposure ruined me for a lot of that experience. So I learned to write without it.

That said, from what I hear the right workshop can do wonders for folks.

For me I’ve really changed how I work in general and most of the time it doesn’t mesh well with a formalized workshop/writing group generally speaking.

That said, I study writing.

I read a lot of great books. I follow authors I’m really into on social media. I work on it. I play with it. I use things like prompts, and interview questions etc as ways to try new things and stretch my voice.

It’s why I love doing Yeah, Write so much.

So to answer the other question this person asked, no you don’t have to do shit.

The only thing you have to do as an artist is figure out what works for you.

Also in terms of access, those of us who are poor and working and have families blablabla, like we can’t always spend 485$ to learn how to submit or learn how to write a story or whatever. For folks who can, don’t stop get it get it.

A lot of us can’t and that information is out there.

What’s most important to my own growth as an author is that I learn how to express what I mean to express however I can. Be it poems, non fiction, whatever. For me that is super gratifying and having an audience is like having the tastiest most awesome you wouldn’t scrape it off frosting.

Work that shit out and write like a mother fucker.

I mean I’ve not done the conventional thing. And I’m very happy with where I’m at right now.

I mean look I have a book coming out from a brand new indie publisher who is my fucking dream.

OH shit that reminds me.

This is our shirts for SCLAB. We’re doing ONE more week of these then different stuff later.

But here’s the thing. No I’m not as famous as Roxane or a bunch of other WOC writers I admire.

But I’m doing this shit the way I need and want to and that is amazing.

So my friend, write like a mother fucker.

Work out what works.

Do the damn thing.

Tomorrow another Billy remix for yeah write.

YAY!


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.

 


Why I am Still Going to AWP Next Year.

First, I encourage y’all to do some googling because I cannot rehash a lot of stuff, but I’ll give you one link to get started. Start here and I warn you there is a lot of ugly art involved.

While I was waiting for AWP to make the linked decision I started thinking very hard about boycotting along with a lot of other folks.

I calculated how expensive it will be, travel, hotel, books etc. And it is a lot of money. I will probably spend almost a month of my dayjob pay.

That money could do a lot of things.  New tech for my partner and I, it could go into a moving fund, it could do a lot of things.

I was very close to not going. Very, very close.

And then I saw this:

AWP must protect the efficacy of the conference subcommittee’s work. The group’s work must focus on the adjudication of the 1,800 submitted proposals, not upon the management of a controversy that has stirred strong objections and much ill-will toward AWP and the subcommittee. Perpetuating the controversy would not be fair to the many writers who have submitted the proposals.

These disrespectful mother fuckers.

As if those of us who weren’t acting out of “ill-will” but justifiable concern that someone who engages in and profits from playing with racism and using literary Blackface would be in that kind of position of power.  I will not pay to have anything to do with that person.

I got angrier.

I’m going.

I am going because I want the people in charge to see that in spite of their anti-Blackness I am still there. I will have things to sell. I will meet other authors.

I will read as much as I can.

In spite of how nervous the crowds and everything make me I will be known. I will be seen. I will not be shuttled into the shadows because AWP values freedom of speech, but not protecting their POC members who also pay to be members from racists.

I also have an idea that I might want to do some guerilla reading. I will tweet my wee heart out. I will make as much of my presence known as I can because I want them, and the writer in question to know that their actions have not scared me away.

I want to make people I KNOW have not supported or even shown a little bit of willingness to do the work of anti-racism that their lack of action hasn’t made me docile.

As I said to MCAG on twitter last week, I’ve got a heart full of gasoline and a book of matches. My boots are on this ground.

Not just because of Vanessa Place. Fuck, Vanessa Place and her ilk.

Because this is my life.

This- literature and writing means more to me than everything.

I am not a concept.

I refuse to hand over my life, my history, my pain to Whiteness, so that it can be regurgitated and fed back to Whiteness.

If I have to go to mother fucking AWP and stand in the middle of the book fair sobbing because of all this it will happen.

If I have to read EVERY single poem I’ve written about how this shit make me feel I will.

I will be seen.

I will be heard.

So fair warning.

AWP I am coming.

I will not be cowed.

I will not be silenced.

I will also probably do some dedicated fundraising to help with costs. In the meantime scroll down to your right for my new masterpost on supporting my work.

 


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.

 

 


New work by me and some other stuff.

Okay how about some new stuff?

I made my debut over at Shotgun Honey. This one was a big swing submission. I’ve been reading over there for years and had that little story tucked away and I sent it off on a whim. Then VOILA there it is.

Next I posted something new over at Ink Node. That new poem was inspired by first finding out I’d been blocked on twitter by some white dude poet I’ve never heard of. Then reading some other ConPo things and frankly, most of the name people in that movement behave in the most appalling ways because they are concepts and I think it’s fucking gross. You can also read about what I have to say about one of the dudes as well.

Also over at Medium I posted a piece on my experiences being policed while being Black in Seattle.

On Being Policed While Black

What else is happening?

I gotta keep it real. While Patreon and my donors have made a huge difference some more things have happened and again, I’m feeling like I need to be grinding and hustling up more cash.

Our rent went up. It’s not insurmountable, but it is enough that the things I’ve already planned for have to be changed and I’m struggling not to panic entirely.

I already did writing related spending with writing related money and unfortunately, we need that money.

This is where my poverty brain is just going buck wild. I’m struggling not to bury myself in shame because I spent some money on underwear and leggings a while back, I bought hair dye that didn’t take so I wasted 18$. I bought two pairs of shoes for spring and summer to replace the ones that hurt my feet. I have that Smarty pig account. Oh, if you want to check out Smarty Pig click here, if you want to use it, please let me know so I can give you a referral link.

The things I’m struggling right now are deeply intersected and deeply rooted. Some of them:

  • Knowing how my financial situation needs to be in order for me to produce my best content.
  • Being SO SO SO close to that situation only to have shit happen.
  • Being SO SO SO close but still so fucking far away. Literally right now an extra 75$ would clear writing things through my first month of rental increase and the other monthly payable things I budgeted out. And leave me enough for like a 25$ emergency.
  • I have been working so hard on the emotional/psychological part of this. I have a lot of economic trauma and I’ve been doing SO well working this out and starting to write about it in a deep way.

So that’s where I’m at.

I am going to try and do some more Patreon promo and Etsy promo. I know how to hustle that is not the issue. I can grind until I have that money, but I won’t be writing anything good. And at this point in my career it is of absolute importance for me to be writing things that are good.

By good I mean the shit I do well and that means something to me.

The drive to grind and hustle in the more soul crushing creativity destroying way is in me. It burns and it is frequently my first instinct of what to do when shit seems even faintly dire.

I know how to what’s that stupid phrase, tighten my belt. I know austerity. I know how to budget my work lunches so I spend less than 4$ a week eating.

I know how to do grind and hustle and get shit done.

I am trying not to do that.

I’m trying to support myself emotionally and creatively so I can be the best little obscure writer I can be.

Shit is hard yo.

Shit is really fucking hard.


Shit I Worry about.

While I am getting back to the rhythm of writing whatever I want to and not worrying so much about making money with it, I have unearthed some new writer uh.. let’s be cool and call them neurosis that I seem to still possess.

  1. Sometimes I fully believe that after having so much nonfiction published nobody will ever want my fiction again. This is bullshit because I just got a fiction acceptance a couple of weeks ago after not submitting any for months.
  2. I will/have forgotten how to write fiction. That is just dumb.
  3. But what if I want to write more nonfiction? What if I forget how to do that too?
  4. Am I too lispy to do a reading ever again? What if nobody asks me to read again?
  5. What if when I tell other authors that I am their fangirl I am just being annoying?
  6. WHAT IF I CAN’T?

Rinse, repeat.

This is related to something I read that Warren Ellis said. I saw this on his blog and it had the ring of truthy truthiness.

I’m re-reading Samuel Beckett plays because there is no sun and no spring and permanent winter is permanent. And also I have to re-read Beckett every few years to remind myself that I am a talentless worm humping across a barren landscape and leaving nothing but a thin stream of yellow faeces on the dirt behind me while people on the other side of the horizon are building palaces. I mean, it’s like reading Cormac McCarthy’s prose, or WG Sebald. You just want to eat every painkiller in the house and wash it down with toilet cleaner.

I’ve been doing some poking my toes in SF/F/H and I’m feeling like the aforementioned yellow poop. I’m having the feelings that I should leave the genre stuff because I’m not supposed to write whatever I want. I’m supposed to pick a thing and do the thing.

Now I know rationally that is fucking bullshit and I can and should write as promiscuously as I read. I have never ascribed to the idea that once you write X things that is the only thing you can do well or should do.

Emotionally letting myself just do the shit I know how to do is proving a little difficult. It’s not insurmountable and I have been writing like the proverbial motherfucker for weeks now. My output is not only back to a volume I’m comfortable with but not so much of it is outright trash.

I am also having some trouble not pressuring myself about freelancing and money. Patreon is going wonderfully. Truly. See here (also I’m doing patron/donor exclusive content now you) and it’s all good, but I still have 300$ of a huge bill to pay off and I find myself just not quite desperate but feeling the echo of the pressure to grind it out and make that money.

Fuck my ethics and artistic desires. Make that fuckin money.

If I’m going to keep it 100, I feel like I did my last month stripping in Seattle. Like, fuck everything else I feel like I need to grabby hands all the money in case I never make money again.

This is poverty brain as it interacts with my artistic wants.

I’m writing about that, you’ll see it soonish.

The thing I’m banging my head against is that morally on a personal level, it is more important to me to get into creating the representation I want to see. As that great writing advice I saw somewhere went, write the stories only you know how. That is something I carry with me every time I write something. It is what I use for fuel. Nobody can write the exact thing I am writing.

The problem is that my Asshole Poverty Brain is like, bitch please no. You write whatever pap someone will shove money at you for and be grateful. You don’t deserve to be arty.

I’m working through it, but y’all some days it is so damn hard.

Talking about it and writing about it helps.

Also I feel like it’s important to me to be open about it because this is what I wanted to know when I was a kidlet writer. This is real shit y’all.

Next week I’m going to add a new page for my writing bucket list. I’ll get to talking about Jerry Stahl, more nerdery about myth and retelling myths through various lenses, erotica and some other stuff.

Speaking of erotica you can get yourself some brand spankin (pun intended) erotica over in my shop. Get some hot lesbian lovin’ here is a tidbit:

She took a breath and erupted into noisy joyful sobs. Amidst her tears she was laughing. Bellowing gut wrenching laughter, her eyes screwed shut, her hair a bird’s nest, her face glowing with sweat and satisfaction.

I laughed with her. Her tears did something to me whether they were tears of fear or tears of joy. Seeing this beautiful, calm, prim woman unhinged with her own orgasmic power undid me.


To answer a few random questions.

This isn’t an FAQ. I have a stash of random questions folks have asked me now and then and I have enough to answer.

Okay, let’s do the thing. Also, these are not verbatim because I’m a lazy fucker.

  1. Someone asked what my first publication was. It was 1994 and a poem. I lied about my age, I was 17 and told no one. It was an angsty love poem about an older woman with auburn colored armpit hair and how she shot me down when I asked her on a date.
  2. What am I looking forward to reading? Old Guy Dad: Weird Shit Happens When You Don’t Die Young by Jerry Stahl, both of Roxane Gay’s books, I JUST this instant found out Joe Clifford (who wrote Junkie Love) has a new book coming out called Lamentation. I’m ready for that. I really loved Junkie Love. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine uh and a whole bunch of other stuff.
  3. HOW TO GET PUBLISHED. This is the secret. Write that shit. Rewrite that shit. Edit that shit. Edit that shit again. Submit that shit. Get that shit rejected a lot. Sometimes that shit gets accepted. Rinse, repeat forever. That is really just all.
  4. HOW DO YOU WRITE. Ass in chair, standing at the bus stop, at work, on paper, via computer. I write as much as I can as often as I can. Just write. Write anything, just writes. The muse can go get fucked. Just write. Write a recipe, write a blog post, write a poem about how much you suck, just write. If you don’t write nothing happens. Write. Sometimes writing is really fucking hard and terrible, but I do it because I have to.
  5. Do I have a degree? Nope. I barely graduated high school and have no interest in going to college.
  6. What is my opinion about MFA’s/the arguments about them. I honestly don’t give a hot fuck. I just don’t.
  7. What is my favorite horror novel? The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.
  8. How is Patreon going? Really well. Better than I anticipated. I will write more about it later.
  9. Am I writing a novel? Uh…yes and no. I’m not at actual novel writing stage right now but it is on my mind.
  10. What am I working on? Self Care Like a Boss, a sooper seekrit for now project and more essays about my butt, fiction, and everything.
  11. What am I afraid of? Birds. Clowns (not as bad as I used to be). Mediocrity in my own eyes. Being murdered by police. Large crowds of White ppl.

Uh I think that’s all of them for right now.

Okay I’m still trying to recover from this ass destroying cold. I have SO much to write about here. Soon I’ll do my next installment of People/Things I like. They aren’t really reviews just me talking about stuff and people I like that I want you to know about.  I have to talk about my writing goals for the rest of the year and some other stuff I’ve decided I want to do with my creative life.

Next week there’ll be some new stuff and announcements.

ALSO super exciting I have saved up 10% of my laptop fund already. Check it out on Smartypig. ALSO I’m going to write about Smartypig being a big part of me breaking up with poverty brain. And do me a favor, if you want to use Smartypig for savings too let me know so I can send you an invite.

Okay later y’all.  I got work to do.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,495 other followers

%d bloggers like this: