Category Archives: indie adventures

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.


On changes and the finances.

Okay so since I’ve decided to alter how I finance this shit show of a thing I want to talk about how it is going.

I’ve given up trying to freelance regularly. I will still occasionally when I am able to write for XoJane or other spots but, the constant hustle of trying to do it weekly was not working for me at all.

Now as far as what I’m paying for month to month it’s pretty simple. My cell phone, my renter’s insurance. Hopefully if things go well premium Spotify.

Currently I’m in the black and my cell phone and insurance are both covered for this month and next. I’ve also been able to set aside 10$ in my little savings account to go into my new laptop fund.

If Patreon keeps going well I will be able to reup my Duotrope subscription at the end of next month. And in July rejoin AWP.

So far none of my new methods are profitable. I’m not super worried about that just yet.

So what else am I doing?

I am writing things like my old school blog posts for my Patrons and Paypal donors. After a few weeks I will likely make these as quick n easy downloads in my etsy shop as well.

With help from Milcah I’m using Smartypig to help me save for my laptop. One of the things I love about this is that when I panic or have poverty brain meltdown I can’t touch this money. Many of my wise friends have suggested something like this and I’m into it.

http://www.smartypig.com/widget/SmartyPigWidgetMultiGoal.swf?ServiceUri=http%3a%2f%2fwww.smartypig.com%2fWidget.asmx%2fGetWidgetInfo%3fwidgetId%3d&WidgetId=d4683a07-ae3d-4262-9daa-8dd8b9e8defd UH so wordpress won’t let me use the widget but if you click this long ass link you can see how I’m doing, you can join up and use it for your own goals or if you want throw some pennies in the piggy bank.

So far I feel okay and like things are going to where I need them to be in order to produce my best work.

This is already paying off in that I was able to settle down, finish up some fiction, submit some and get one acceptance.

Overall, while this is nerve wracking for me and I really don’t like that I can’t operate in a more profitable way and still write great things, this is slowly working out.

I’m still trying to settle in to a new methodology with my writing. I have some further plans that require the lighter travel worthy laptop and some sleep.

Now I gotta get some work done.

Next week I’m going to talk about Lovecraft some more because I’m almost done rereading the Necronomicon, I have a bit to say about the Hugo situation and Sad Puppies. I might even get excited and talk about fandom stuff and how way back when I was pretty much turned off to it forever.

Also listen to this Rihanna song, it is kinda my theme music for the week.


Other Ways to Support my Work

Since launching my Patreon campaign (which is doing really well THANK YOU) I’ve had a number of folks who aren’t into the monthly thing ask what else they can do.

Financial stuff-

Buy some fiction or non fiction over in my Etsy shop. I’ve got some horror, some erotica, experimental SF. The most expensive thing is five bucks. I know you can get whole novels on amazon for a dollar but, that story is pretty special to me and I worked on it for about 8 months. There are other things from 1$ on up. I even have a coupon available til the end of the month, enter WARG95 at checkout for 25% off a two dollar purchase.

Click on over here and check out my links on the right. You can buy stuff I’ve hand picked in my Amazon A store. I’ll be adding more stuff, books, mainly later.

You can try out Audible for a month and get yourself a free audiobook and me a lil pocket change.

At the suggestion of a friend I’m also adding an Amazon wishlist of stuff I would like that is writing related. Books, notebooks, my favorite pens and whatnot.

For transparency Amazon is my slowest and least lucrative thing. Frankly, I use it to shore up my orders when I buy self care supplies and whatnot.

The other always open option is a tip in my paypal tipjar. You can navigate over there to the right and hit the button. Anything is always appreciated.

Here’s what my financial stuff is going towards currently:

  • I need a very lightweight non netbook laptop so I can use my time better and get some writing done that is not dependant on an internet connection and not using my chunky butt old dell.
  • A few under 100$ software upgrades to make my life easier.
  • Saving up for AWP16. I am going and I want to make sure I can afford it. Everything that is non essential is going into my Get Me to AWP fund.

The most important thing this is getting me is some breathing room. So when I try hard to do the freelance it just destroys me. I am not good at it and it stresses me out to the point where I have a lot of trouble just writing because I want the freelance thing to go well so badly.

It is a terrible cycle that impedes my ability to just write the shit I want to write.

I just can’t operate in a great way when I’m under so much pressure.

Now non monetary things you can do to support my work.

A lot of us are broke right now and that’s totally okay. You are always free to share links to my blog here, my work, my everything.

Come like my Facebook writer page and share it with your people.

So that’s all.

Right now I’m working on some stuff I’m super excited about INCLUDING some sf, an essay about butt selfies and my ass and some other things.

Thanks for rolling through.

 


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