Literary Radical Vulnerability- The Author is Naked.

I’ve had a very eventful October.

Behind the scenes I’ve been doing some submitting, I got an awesome acceptance. It was a big swing for me and a fuckin home run. I’m so excited.

I’m also facilitating a horror writing thing. See details here.

Um..y’all.

Y’ALL.

I’m so excited and nervous.  I know at least four people will be there so I’m ready. My handout is about done. And I can’t wait.

One of the other things I’ve been working on is another little germ of an idea I have. I don’t want to talk about it overmuch, but I see a need and I want to figure out how to fill it in a way that is satisfying both for my soul and my bank account.

I have a tradition of reprinting my first and only zombie story I’ve ever had published. You can see it here at Medium. I was going to put it on Etsy but, yeah no.

I’m working really (really fucking hard) on letting myself have these dreams and not fall into a hole because I know my overall stats on shit I try to do. Part of that is my depression/anxiety manifesting but part of that is also the real shit of my analytics and statistics. I struggle with it.

I struggle really hard feeling like/knowing that the small ride or die support I have is rock fucking solid and then reconciling that knowing/feeling like outside support is just, steam. I get really gun shy about sharing/asking for anything because one part of me always knows it’s not gonna happen.

And please I’m not soliciting for butt pats or ego stroking.

I’m keeping it 100% with y’all.

This is the reality I live with doing what I do. It’s been the same for a long time. I spent a whole lot of time at one point studying the secrets of going viral and marketing and whatnot.

I put a lot of energy into learning those things and utilizing them.

My results weren’t great and it put me in a pretty deep depression about it to be honest. Part of me returning to submitting more in the lit world is a direct result of these experiences. I know how to navigate that rejection, I know what to expect for the most part and it doesn’t hurt.

What hurts were my attempts at drumming up clicks and likes and shares and at some point cash and failing hard enough that it cost me money and time I didn’t have. I spent a lot of time just wallowing in buyer’s remorse after paying for stuff like ecourses and informational packets and whatnot because I learned it but I’m not good at it if my results are anything to be believed.

I was really bitter about this for a lot of this year. I mean the kind of bitter that turns your stomach and makes you feel constipated. Not just bitter but also I was really disappointed in myself. I really wanted to believe that I could reclaim some bit of trailblazing AND also have it be lucrative.

In the context of say freelancing, I just couldn’t and it really fucking hurt. I really was depending on the concept and what other folks have told me that I would be able to find paid space for my voice and have a little bit of a happily ever after.

I don’t think it’s going to happen and that’s been a big dry pill to swallow. I really wanted to know that experience that so many of my friends have been having of having that success roll in and being (rightfully because I know some BOMB ass writers) in a position to pay them bills and write and everything.

Fact is, a lot of the interests I have I will not write fluffy. Beauty, fashion, style, make up blablabla. I’m getting my feet writing about that stuff and you know what? My voice is political as fuck. And that’s just me doing me.  A lot of stuff I write about, I’m just not successful in toning down my voice enough for big bucks.

I’m not famous enough for that.

*deep breath*

I’m not crying right now and that is progress.

I can accept these things as they are. I have cared myself out of the deep shame spiral about this.

All this said, I’m also experiencing some really great wins because of the reasons why I don’t make it in freelance life.

I also have something else that had I not gone through so much failure I wouldn’t have.

I have been able to ask for help, for myself and my projects.

Self Care Like A Boss lives because I told my literary partner Milcah what I need in order to work and he has worked damn hard to help me. His help has meant that I am cautiously dreaming again. I’m giving myself space to learn and work.

I mean, my other blog is where I’m figuring out my voice in fashion and beauty. Granted my voice caused me to lose a lucrative review thing but fuck it. Imma do me. Blogging is how I learned to do non fiction my way in the first place so, I’m into it.

Um, wow this went off the rails.

BUT I really was tired of trying to hold most of my feelings about what’s been happening in my career in. I don’t like that. I’m really invested in being vulnerable even when it puts me in not a great light. It’s important to me.

So that’s what it is right now.

I’ve got lots of literary pots boiling and I’m working it out.

 

 

 

On Fundraising.

I started a new fundraiser last week.

Please have a look and share from here.

For the last few months almost daily I sit down and do a lot of math. Playing with my budget, trying to squeeze out more than the small amount I put in savings each month, I make sure I get all of our bills paid between dayjob money, writing money and side hustle money by the 5th of the month. The 5th is the day my partner’s food stamps recharge and we can eat decent food.

The thing about using food stamps that sort of makes me laugh is this. One time at Safeway with a cart laden with stuff like fruit, vegetables, a little fish (there was a BOMB sale on these perfect for 2 salmon steaks), some condiments, etc you know the healthy shit people think us fat asses don’t eat, I had a fistful of coupons and I could hear a woman behind me bitching. “Must be nice that I’M paying for that. I’M stuck eating a TV DINNER. IT MUST BE NICE.”

I’ve heard it a ton.

Another time at the discount grocery store with a cart full of processed, salty, ready made foods, same type of thing. “GOD I mean LOOK at what I’m buying for THOSE people.”

I feel like a lot of what I hear and am told about crowdfunding for personal reasons is the same. Messages in my “other” inbox telling me to get a job, people who staunchly talk about how they NEVER support any fundraiser, especially those by scammers like me, etc. I feel the same way.

I was raised to believe that if you are poor or can’t afford something regardless of what it is, it is your own fault. Either you pull yourself up by your bootstraps or fuck you.

It’s taken me most of my adult life to unlearn that. It’s been simple to not apply those beliefs to other poor folks. It’s been easy to advocate for other people. I’ve held hands and helped fill out endless DSHS forms. I’ve written letters and blablabla.

For everyone else.

For me, I get upset that I’m not able to save the way I want to or that saving for one thing at a time takes me months of work. I wrestled with myself and figured out that a measly 2k would put me about six months ahead in terms of things I’ve been needing/wanting. Most of my list has been on and off my list for months. I tell myself no I don’t need the tablet I have a new phone to work on, I don’t need a different coat I can just repatch the one I have.

This is stuff I fight regularly.

That said, I finally did decide to do the fundraiser. I’m going to let it run probably through March after my birthday. I’ll link it in the sidebar and refer to it in posts on occasion. I’ll try not to be an asshole about it. However when you see it, do remember I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need help.

I’m going to work on not shaming myself or feeling shitty about doing it. I don’t like doing it but here I am.

In the meantime. On Friday the first bit of free horror flash for y’all to enjoy. I will also be talking probably at great length about a new thing I’m trying AND AND…maybe a tiny video reading?

Oh shit son.

 

Writing Goals.

ACTUALLY before I talk about that, I need to talk about something associated.

Being a writer as many have pointed out for ages is that being a writer is lonely AF. These days, at least for me part of being a writer in the modern world is just fucking astonishingly confounding.

For me, in particular, coming to terms with first learning the necessity of being able to be creator, marketer, publicist, etc for myself was really hard. None of these were things I included in my learning when I was a kidlet baby writer. The learning process for these things has been beyond hard for me.

Recently, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that the entrepenurial part of being a modern writer, and being an indie writer is not something I am capable of doing successfully. I have failed that part so hard.

I’m not looking for smoke up my butt.

These are the facts. I cannot sell my own material to save my life.

Had this been ten years ago, I’d be sobbing right now and so angry with myself I’d not be able to breath.

Enter, Milcah.

We met via the Rumpus. Awww LOOK at that baby face they have. My friend Antonia Crane was doing this series of interviews and I love her work and then there was -that- interview and thus a literary love affair was begun. Since then we have written each other long love letters, I wrote a story for their naked cam work, we made SCLAB book baby together.

The other thing is that Milcah has done something for me that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a baby potato writer- a partner who can hear me at my worst, who believes me, who when we work together fits my (omg Deadpool reference) weird curvy edges AND believes and shares part of my dreams.

Milcah has been that person.

Milcah can do so many things I just am no good at. The business parts. Our writing is different enough that when we work on things together, there’s a fluidity that runs through both of us as humans that works.

Milcah and I are a mother fucking literary power couple.

So, that said.

Because of a lot of stuff that’s happened in our long love letter exchanges and me feeling supported, seen and recognized enough to admit and not hate my failure in selling/being able to do that stuff for myself, my creative/writing bucketlist has changed and exploded.

How things are looking right now:

  1. Letting go of an attachment to baller freelancer status.
  2. Write first, sell later.
  3. Embracing my natural and established patterns of work that enable me to write the best material I can.
  4. Less stress over being the ALL the things artist.
  5. More enthusiasm to be the artist I actually am.

These have resulted so far in the following:

  • Potential to do ONE huge thing off of my personal bucket list.
  • I’ve applied for my first artist grant(I’ll talk more about that later)
  • I’ve started really working on finding my voice in talking about things like beauty, make up, fashion. Go look at my other blog. (Not toally related but earlier one of my other readers spotted a fucking pro Trump ad on my blog, if you see it PLEASE report it. I’m working on trying to be rid of it.)
  • I’ve resumed writing essays that make me bleed. Not the type where I’m struggling to balance the bleed and the sale.
  • I decided to start actively trying to get fiction published again.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

So money shit is still fucked. I’m poor AF.

But, I feel okay to move on from where I was to where I want to go.

My writing lately has been on mother fucking fire.

I FEEL like I actually can be the artist I want to be.

DO you know how good that feels? Because Milcah in particular (mainly because of our baby SCLAB) has invested time and money in me and never once held that over my head as a way to force me to change, and that we are STILL both so passionate about SCLAB and that we’re working out how we can make it happen, these other things can happen.

When I was a baby potato writer, I believed that the writing life would be like it was in my Henry Miller books. I’d write shit, travel, fuck everyone and mail stuff to some editor shaped person and boom shit would be published. And I’d probably be poor, but there would be money for when I was broke and rich people being my patrons.

The version of that dream I’m living is in the shape of my real actual life. I have the kind of support system (not financial as of yet) that I need in order to be the kind of artist I wanted to be as a kidlet.

Dear Other Writers who struggle with ALL the other writing biz shit,

There is hope. If I can find a situation that is tenable and wonderful and makes good shit for my art. You can do it. It might take a long time, but it is out there.

Right now when I look at my family, my partner Uniballer whom I live with, my Wifey Cookie whom I see when I can and Milcah-

Holy shit y’all.

Being that all my love is romantic on some level love, I feel like I am the warm weirdo center of the most loving big relationship. And it’s so wonderful.

Love doesn’t solve all the problems and don’t pay my bills, but, it does make life and creation so much better.

Publicly again forever thank you for being you, being tough, being loving, being my most beautiful femmeboifriend, being the artist you are and being my ride or die.

I love you Milcah.

And I love you too readers and other writers.

I’m full of hate and migraine pain but, I love you.

Updates and whatnots.

Hello People.

Or robots.

So I’ve been a bit AWOL. I went on vacation and while I was on vacation, I had grand plans for celebrating my partner’s birthday, a day out including dinner and movie and some writing time.

Instead, I got dog shit sick AND got a bit of shit news and paid one large bill that rendered us too broke to buy a pizza for a number of days. Thus, I got very depressed as well and anxious.

Shit was not awesome.You can read more about it here, this is my author newsletter. I call it a love letter and it is a more intimate rambly type thing with the occasional announcement. I promise no spam.

The other thing that’s going on right now is I’m trying to recalibrate myself and how I’m working. I’ve been trying the method of see a call, start a thing, pitch-wait.

That ain’t working.

I’m coaxing myself back into doing things the way they were working (if not in a profitable way, but in a less soul killing type way) write the things, peruse the calls, maybe pitch, submit.

To that end I’ve got myself a few new spreadsheets. I started a new submission tracking one for both fiction/non fiction, whatever.

A maybe I’d like to pitch these ideas/write these things doc.

This is not the most profitable. However, I have to stop punching myself in the heartballs over it. I keep trying to force some seismic change in how I work and what I do and it just never fucking works out. I always wind up feeling like shit.

Y’all, I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself.

No that’s bullshit I do. Because money and poverty brain and my small financial ambitions.

Currently the reality of trying to survive and take care of my family in a rapidly gentrifying area when my income is not going up at all is so stressful. Reality is that we could very well be priced out of our home come next March and that could mean having to move another hour away from my job.

A lot of bad things are right here in my face.

That said, I’m trying very hard to trust that I will get through and be able to keep writing the shit I want. I want to trust that the work I’ve done on myself around these issues won’t keep me from achieving what I want.

Now that my panic has passed a little bit. And I’ve allowed myself to cry and be bitter and be angry I am poor- I’m back to a bit of calm.

I’m struggling to balance my artiness with my need to, you know live and whatnots. I’m trying.

Now I’m off to work on Patreon stuff.

If y’all could be so kind, feel free to check out my Etsy because I’m gong to be taking everything down in a week or so. Also I’ve got my teespring shop up and running so check that out and get u a poetry sticker.

And again (I may say it too often) seriously if you know folks who might be into what I’m up to, please share my links. I know a lot of y’all are poor like me and getting more eyes on my stuff matters pretty heavily.

Thanks for coming along y’all.

(I’ll be x-posting this to medium.)

 

Hustle and Grind updates.

Ooohkay.

Head on over and check out my Patreon update. I’m in the process of figuring out how to make it better for patrons and for me.

I’m not entirely sure what to do. To be honest, I’ve gotten zero feedback as to what folks want to see so I’m half assuming that means nothing.

I’m not sure.

I’m working on it. I was going to say more but I don’t really want to spill my purse and insecurities today.

What else?

OH I’ve launched my merch store. Currently I’ve got tees and stickers. I have full poems on stickers and will be designing some slightly fancier ones. I’ll be doing some other stuff as well. I’ve linked it on the right down there under my etsy widget.

I’m workin.

I’m workin on stuff.

I’ve not abandoned my big dream stuff, I’m rethinking it.

I’m very committed to keeping my dream things accessible to folks who are poor like me but I also want them to contribute financially in a positive way to my life. I don’t know how to do that exactly yet.

Shit is so hard. It is very emotionally taxing and apparently a big anxiety trigger for me. I hate feeling like I’m just doing it all wrong. Not that I’ve failed because I’m good at failing, but that I’m fucking it up and have no chance not to fail.

This is the part of arting that has made it difficult for me to do it.

That said, the most interesting part of how things are turning out for me is this. As upset as I am about dayjob stuff or other poor people poverty bingo bullshit, I find I’m saying, yeah I don’t have time for that I have art to make.

AND I don’t only say it to myself, I fucking mean it.

As seriously in need of cash that I am right now, I am not panic pitching to places I hate. I am not forcing myself to smile and deal nice with editors I’ve seen show ALL their racist asses.

I still feel like this and say, fuck you pay me.

Emotionally, this is huge progress for me. I’m not sitting here with burning guts and panic shits and crying because I’m not able to turn off parts of my heart to make a buck.

I’m also super privileged in that I have some support. Folks who believe in my heart and my art. Even when I hate both.

So that’s what’s up.

More news possibly later this week.

Call me Daddy.

Okay first read this storify of some tweets from the other day.

A few weeks ago after yet another shitty interaction with some fellow “professional” writers, I was musing to my partner Uniballer that they pretend to be so clean but I see through them. I told him that it was/is easier to deal with fuckin dirty ass hood people, than it is with them.

We got to talking about how for me, dealing with pimps, dealers, gangsters and other criminals is just easier. When I deal with those people, we can establish a boundary and 90% of them I have ever dealt with have respected it.

Dealing with some of these writing world, people feels like they are trying to turn me out in the way that pimps did when I was 16. I remember one in particular who would alternately tell me how smart and beautiful I was and then would tell me how nobody else could do for me what he could do for me.

Cue emails/contact from people who offer me “opportunities” which, when we get down to brass tacks means me doing the heavy lifting and them giving me a chance to do a lot of work, get seen maybe and not get paid.

Then there are the (always men) like the one who approach me with some weird Daddy type issues. They always offer to show me the error of my ways, it has happened a million times. I know it has happened to other writers, some of us it happens in college or for me it started happening the first time i went to a writing class taught by an older dude.

There is always an air that they have the answers to make you a better writer, to help catapult you from kinda good scribbler with nice tits to their Lolita brilliant protege ingenue.

Don’t get it twisted, if you want to do that. Do you boo. For real. Do it.

However, I personally don’t. Even way back when at that first writing class in the moments after the glow of this learned fairly handsomish Daddy/Humbert type told me how much potential I had, I got it.

What makes me so angry I rant on twitter like that (or if you know me, I do it in person as well) is I don’t have time for this fucking bullshit. Like, I’m not stupid. I see you mother fucker and no. And don’t keep trying once I say no.

Inevitably, these people who want to take up my damn time, who want to use me as a resource and a way to say OMG LOOK AT DIS NEGRO WE GOT, and AND who are trying to use me as fap material or fuck me, not one of them wants to pay.

As I have been known to say many times, this ePussy ain’t free.

You want to fulfill some Daddy/Humbert fantasy shit? Pay me 25$ a page and I will write you some self insert smut that will spin your fucking head around. But, the essential bit here is:

fupayme
Image description: Bold white text on black says. Fuck You. Pay Me.

Short of that, I ain’t fuckin with you.

Not to mention the level of entitlement and privilege it takes to then be offended when I SEE what you’re doing and call you on your bullshit?

Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I used to work graveyard shift. Every morning I’d get downtown about 6:20 AM and I’d head into a restaurant and have breakfast. I got the same thing every time. Four slices of bacon, two biscuits, one fried egg. That’s all I could afford. I usually sat at the counter and read while I ate because the first back to my neighborhood didn’t come until around 8 and I usually took the 8:45 bus because it was less crowded.

I met a prostitute and we would eat together. We talked hair and nails and how tricks were. Eventually she introduced me to her Pimp and when she stopped working mostly, I had breakfast with him. At the beginning he was grooming me to turn me out. I knew it. I allowed it to reel out a little bit before I let him know in no uncertain terms that we weren’t gonna be fuckin, if I was gonna work it would be for myself and naw.

After that, for months we had a decent relationship. Every now and again he’d pitch me on being his newest in his stable, it became a joke. He taught me how to drink bourbon, he gave me a bottle for my birthday and stuff. I went to his birthday party and her birthday party. It was fine.

I knew he was shady. I knew he was up to no good, but he didn’t try to rook me into thinking otherwise.

Unlike these fucking men who bother me.

At one point in my twitter rant, I thought of something I’d seen my homie Kitty Stryker say and you can buy the shirt here.

It says, I want to fuck the privilege, right out of you.

Yes, I want to.

I mean, if dick is a cure all, I have a big dick and I will travel. Like if we presume that these dudes are right and dick is a cureall, I have experience. I will brag and say that once upon a time I very good cocksman. Like I will try to fuck the privilege RIGHT the fuck out of you.

Just saying. I know where the prostate is and I’m a fair but firm Daddy. You want to play Daddy, I know how to be your Daddy.

But as always, fuck you pay me. I am legit too fucking poor to even be thinking about all this.

Another Turn of the Wheel- Big Promo post.

Oh hi.

I’m gonna keep it 100 as usual. Recently (last night) a source of some of my extra survival income has abruptly dried up.

After some panic, I’ve got myself in check and I have a bit of a plan to bring in more monies.

Some folks have asked what I need.

Promotion.

So if you haven’t bought til now, now is a good time. Let’s start with some lit.

First up, Etsy.  For under 11$ you can get everything I have listed. That’s a whole lot of poetry and literature. You can get two slipstream stories featuring different Magical Black Girls and the as yet not notorious Motherfuckess Manifesta. Now, due to fees and whatnots, likely this will be the last month I have Etsy going so go get it now. Don’t have 10.50$ to spare? Please, PLEASE share the link to the shop. Tweeter, facebooks, whatever.

If you want to drop a tip in my tip jar and stuff, you can do that here. 

Want some bang for your tip? Head over to Medium where I have a good amount of exclusive content that was very time intensive (my series on Diversity in lit is a good example) and a lot of labor. You can also share those links and encourage folks to kick down some coin.

I will be reopening my Teespring shops with some new tees. I will make a post about that.

Now for transparency, let’s talk about my situation.

(I’ll be updating my Patreon to reflect what’s going on as well)

In the Spring there was a corporate level change at my dayjob that changed the frequency I get paid. The consequence of that has been that I have to use 95% of one paycheck to pay just my rent. And generally speaking, the last week of one moth and the first week and a half of the next are tight. We (my partner who is disabled and gets a small amount of disability) have to cover rent, food, medication for the partner, and any incidentals out of that check+his disability.

 

After that, we were able to reconfigure stuff. I’ve been using my Patreon money and a bit of other money to cover survival stuff and bills between paychecks.

Now, because I’ve had to shift pattern/side hustle money into survival money, I’ve not been able to really save up for things like a camera, start up costs for my writing lessons/classes. I’ve cut back on my for funsies stuff. Due to this situation, I’ve decided to cut back on my passion project writing (Medium mainly) so I can use what energy I have to pursue more freelance work.

For those who hate it when folks like me ask for money let me (I really don’t want to get trolled about this) explain what I’m doing to mitigate my need for extra cash/donations/sales:

Stuff I’ve cut from my budget:

  • Audible
  • Beauty Con box (quarterly expense)
  • No self-care/skincare/haircare purchase this quarter
  • Two domains left to expire (annual expense)
  • Twice a week coffee at whatever coffee place.
  • Postponed buying a new phone, extra glasses, tablet, birthday piercings for Uniballer and I etc.

I’ve also not been dividing writing/hustle money and dayjob money. It’s ALL household/survival/life money now.

I have, as I mentioned, a plan in place to get my teespring open and keep it running. I have some other plans that will take a bit more time to get in place, but will hopefully bring in that extra long term bit of coin.

I say this because I hate it when people assume that if you need help you are doing nothing.

And honestly given my stress levels right now I can’t deal with that.

So here it is. Basically, please boost my links, don’t be an asshole to me about it and if you can toss me some coin that’s cool too. Thanks.

 

 

When it Burns or rather I beez in the trap.

Lately, as I’ve been working on The Poems (current name of my untitled poetry book thing) I’ve also been working on some fairly emotionally intense non-fiction.

Today I finished an essay thing that is about how I experience anxiety. It’s not really something I necessarily want people to read, I feel a mix of shame and ridiculousness and like it is a risk I don’t know if I can afford taking. Writing it hurt. I talked a little bit about it on twitter, but the truth is I feel flayed.

I am feeling the mix of feelings where I’m very keenly aware that I have a not entirely unexpected expense (I need to buy a new phone soon) and I know I should write something more saleable and that’s what came out. That piece in particular is like a piece I have out already in that it doesn’t end on a note that really engages with bigger issues. It is intimate in that at the end, we (reader and writer) are face to face, nose to nose breathing the same tainted air that came out of me.

Neither of these pieces (and at least one other that is in progress) is what I intended to write. I wanted to write something bigger, something that engages with the big issues. That at the end comes out like a powerful telling and calling to The Issue at hand. That’s not what happened.

For years, I have avoided writing intimately this way. Mainly because, I don’t always have the wherewithal to cut that deep in that way. I can write about being harassed and being a Black person in the world and what that is really like in this age. I tell myself this is because I’m good at Big Issues. I’m good at making the connection from my lived experience to racism and sexism etc. I know how to do that.

I also lie to myself and say that I’m not good at intimate. That showing my scars this way is not in my wheelhouse. Leave it to the famous lady writers who lead workshops on writing dangerously and writing from the body. I explain it to myself in terms of profit. They are already famous enough to do this and make it. Their bills are paid, mine are mostly but not comfortably. Their risk is as risk goes, not the type of risk that takes food out of their mouths. The risk for me is food off the table.

I tell myself, this is stupid. Why are you doing this? Why can’t you write to sell? Why can’t you write on spec? Why can’t you write something about lipstick that doesn’t involve Blackness or intersectionality? Why can’t you write something that will titillate just enough, but won’t burn? Why can’t you write timely? Why? Why? Why?

Rational writer me understands that these questions are part of my anxiety brain and will pass. That I know why, it’s just not what I do and logically that’s okay. There’s room in the big bad world for all of this and what I do. I know. Sometimes, it’s okay.

And then I poke around in my drafts and I see blood. Part of me sees it wasted, not profitable because I have bills to pay. Part of me sees freedom and my naked heart on a page in a way that baby me would have cherished. That part of me knows that while I have an aversion to pain porn it is important to be a vulnerable, sad, anxious, fucked up Black person with problems. That part of me knows that vacillating between being proud of me for saying HEY I AM FUCKED UP and being ashamed is natural and saying that I do vacillate between those things, is valid and necessary.

I know that.

I feel that, fuck it, I don’t know it, I feel it. That is the level of importance that representation means to me. I know that right now my 39 year old fucked up baby self can be conflicted about this and work on it and express it because that is part of who I am.

I am conflicted and wounded.

I beez in the trap.

I don’t say all of this to engender pity. Don’t feel sorry for me. Understand that my honesty about my situation in life, whatever it is and how I talk about it, isn’t’ about your  out eyes it is about mine. I have to remember that yeah, I’m poor and I’m terrible at ambition in the proscribed ways, and I’m bad at even nodding at journalism and I’m not palatable to a lot of people and it’s fucking great.

It’s not pleasant. It’s not lucrative. It’s not even easy 99% of the time.

But really, if I’m honest-

it is satisfying.

I think baby Shannon would maybe be disappointed that things like dayjobs and bills have an impact on the work but, baby Shannon would read all of this and feel it and feel seen and validated. So right now, I’m okay.

I’m anxious and a jittery shitbucket of terrible feelings-

but I’m all right.

The work hurt but I’m okay.

 

Poverty and the Writer.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I’m working poor. I need to hash some stuff out that involves money and art and ethics and stuff so buckle in.

First thing, I sat myself down and figured out that I need a list of things in order to do a few things:

  • Writing lesson stuff.
  • More paid content for Patreon in order to possibly increase revenue from that.
  • Short poetry/experimental films

So that’s the short n tiny list. I have a list of the things I need to make these things happen and all of it costs money. I’m in a position now where I’ve pretty much adjusted to the reality of my higher cost of living.

It’s not great, but it’s not tragic still.

Currently for basic living, not counting food or things like new underwear, socks or medications I spend about 41% of my monthly income.

Add in stuff like cell phones, internet/landline, medications, food, and things go up to almost 85-90 depending on what bills are due that month.

I’ve been looking at and rearranging my budget. Last month I felt pretty confident about life and added an extra few dollars so I could have Audible again. I suspended the service for a few months. I have been toying with getting Netflix because the partner and I aren’t able to get out as much on weekends, so it’d be nice to have a wider selection of new stuff to watch.

Whew.

Currently the plan I had worked out previously to get the things to make more money things happen is pretty proper fucked because my phone is dying. It’s served well, but it is a very low end smart phone from a long while back and poor old thing is trying but just kinda not working out.

Almost all of the things I want to do that involve some new to me ways of using social media, etc. rely on either having a camera or a good phone or both.

I have neither.

I had planned on working with my phone as is until about Xmas ish. I need a new plan.

This is where stuff is going to get intersectional.

Because of the changes (out of my control) in my household (read dayjob money) finances, I’ve had to restructure how I use my Patreon and other monthly donated or writing hustle money. (Note to self update Patreon about this) That being what it is, I’ve been working on adjusting while not killing my personal quality of life.

Initially I killed it. This is something I have a lot of economic trauma about and (as many poor kids will tell you) is something I fall back on. When things first started changing I did what came naturally to me. I killed my entire entertainment/self-care budget. I took it from about 35$ a month and maybe 50$ quarterly extra, to 14.

For a while I switched out my audible for keeping myself in a pound or so of good coffee a month for work.

I also downgraded the quality of food I was taking to work.

A few months of that as it always happens took a toll. I decided to rework and got a few extra writing hustle money dollars and reinstated my audible and a few times a week getting good food.

However, because I made those choices I had to stop my saving up for X thing (camera, tablet, phone) budget because money doesn’t come out of my ass.

Fast forward to right now.

Recently I’ve been encouraged to do a lot of writing work that would be great experience, great fun, etc. but none of it has been paid gigs. I can’t afford it monetarily or in terms of the finite amount of energy I have for my art.

So that’s not a viable avenue for me right now.

Next recent development is that I am so disgusted by so much of the freelance industry, my options for work there are limited. Yes, this is by my own choice. Frankly, it just stresses me out too much to compromise my ethics for 50$ here and there.

I decided to work out what I am going to need in the coming months and currently the cost (not complete) is just over 500$.

It is the season of my partner and I needing things like new underwear and pants. We need to replace some household stuff. We both need new pillows etc.

Me personally, I’m going to need Femme stuff. Foundation, bras, hair stuff soon.

All this in mind, here’s where I am.

I don’t entirely know what to do.

In order to produce my best work I need to not be in a constant state of panic and stress. In order to be in that place I need to know that my little family has our needs met. I need to be able to work my dayjob and write through my fatigue.

In order to do those things, the number one thing I need is some financial breathing room.

I can give myself, some by cutting out my quality of life again. I don’t want to do that, I know where that leads and the end result is that I can’t write my best.

I know I have patrons and some stuff, but the way my life has changed, it’s not enough. I have nightmares.

I believe in my art and ideas right now. Not in their profitability, but in the value of them.

But belief don’t pay the bills and a bitch gotta eat.

I know I could do another Gofundme. My last one to help me get to AWP wasn’t a total success but it was very very helpful.

However, I am very nervous about trying that again because I, uh, had an inability to raise ALL the funds left me feeling really terrible about myself and I am not sure if I’m ready to put myself back into that position.

I don’t know what I am going to do.

I also want to say that my actual lived life puts more of a light on the lie that I can not go to Starbucks my way to a better financial position. There’s been some great articles disassembling that whole mindset from the perspective of folks who don’t have 5$ a day to spend or save.

So here is where I am.

I’m trying to figure it out.

Right now I’m going to work out just how much the stuff I/we need will cost. Then, once I get a goodish on the high end total I’ll figure out how to pay for it.

In the meantime, the stuff I mentioned up top is going to be delayed again. That sucks, but, what’s to be done?

 

 

Arty Dreams, Costly Dreams. And the Hustle.

I’ve been allowing myself bigger artistic dreams. I have a whole emotional uh, issue around doing art. I am very uncomfortable calling myself an artist but I’m working it out.

That said, I’m realizing very strongly just how much I’ve denied myself these dreams because of a lack of resources and access.

I sat down and made a list of the stuff I want to mix together to make a Shannon Created Art Thing.

  • Experimental film
  • Poetry
  • Self portraiture
  • Field recording
  • Spoken word
  • Make up

So those are some of the things swirling around my brain in the form of dreamy ideas about ways to present myself/my work to the world that belong only to me.

The thing that I’ve found that gets me stuck is cash. I don’t have a good camcorder, I don’t have the time to create the stuff to make the portraits. I don’t have a good digital camera.

I started doing Patreon to help myself save up for that stuff but, my Patreon cash has mostly been swallowed up by life. I’ve been trying not to kick my own ass over that. I don’t control gentrification and cost of living increases. Logically I know I’m hustling as hard as I can but fuck y’all, shit is fucking hard.

And I’m not the sort of person to just let it go and hope shit will turn out for the best. I’ve done that and honestly the stress is too much for me.I’m not a single person with no responsibilities. I can’t just up and wander off like dandelion fluff.

I’m just not about that life or that method of funding my artistic life. No shade, if you can let go and let the universe do what it do, get it booboo. Do you.

Y’all, I’m so at a strange place.

I have all this desire burning in me. I have ideas and spend hours jotting down things I want to try out. Things I want to say and do with visual/audio art. I don’t know how to carve out that cash.

So I’m doing what I know how to do. I’m saving up Amazon affiliate money, Bing search amazon gift cards for a camera. One I can use to shoot photos and videos. Nothing too complicated. Just enough. By the way, I added a ton more books to my little amazon store. Check it out if you would please.

Uniballer my partner is researching video editing software that is less complicated so I can learn it.

I’m not freelancing as much as I could be but, we know that is better for my actual heart if it hurts my wallet.

I’m letting myself learn to write about art without the weird shame/embarrassment I have surrounding it.

I’m on that grind y’all.On that hustle.

I will be/do the art I want to fucking do. I will make that shit happen. Trust.