Some Business and Updates

Let’s consider this one of my writer financials updates.

Buckle up.

First a rule. None of what I say today is me digging for compliments or pity. I’m not just working off of feelings there is a LOT of data I’ve been studying.

I.

My Etsy shop is now closed. In 2017 it has cost me some money and I’ve not sold anything.

II.

I’m most likely not going to be offering indie stuff for sale for a while.

Stuff that is upcoming:

I’m going to be redsigning my professional author site and http://www.shannon-writes.net and my other domain (still under construction) will be pointed there.

I am deciding whether or not to offer limited sensitivity readings.

What else?

I currently have an unexpected 100$ bill to pay. Not having my little shops is both reassuring (no fees for Etsy, no stats worries about Teespring) and infuriating at the same time.

Sometime in the future I am considering offering other writing professional services that aren’t line editing. Being that my dayjob doesn’t look like I’m gonna get a cost of living increase anytime soon, I gotta rethink my hustles.

I am also still really into the idea of accessible (as in non jargony/non expensive) downloadable writing classes.

I don’t know.

I feel like *and my ride or die folks pls don’t take offense here* I need to find the mythical larger audience/folks who have money and would like to spend some.

Officially okay look y’all.

When I talk about my financials like this, it is not an invitation to send me lengthy messages across various platforms about how, if only I’d kept my shit open another week or so you’d do whatever.

Really, just don’t blow smoke up my ass about it. I’m not completely mad about the lack of material support cause, I know how the world works especially for Black Femmes like myself. We tend to have a harder time with funding and that’s to be expected. What makes me rage out, is the words of support or when I ask for help promise it and when I actually need it, crickets.

Please just don’t. For me it’s worse than not being able to fund my fundraisers etc.

I feel like I HAVE to say this all the time but, it takes two seconds to share a link somewhere. Where? Doesn’t matter. Don’t tell me you’re about it and then wah wah, you’re not.

Don’t piss on my feet and tell me it’s raining,

So that’s the status of things. I’m already working on my new site and she pretty as fuck. I’m in the process of deciding if I want to do the services thing or speaking or whatever.

This brought to you by the rant below I had last week just before my lil vacation. Stay tuned for more news homies.

 

Puppies, Hugos and Good Lordt.

If you’re not familiar with what I’m referencing here have a look.

Looking at a lot of conversations in blogs etc about this whole shitshow y’all, if I’m going to be honest, it really makes me even more hesitant to enter the arena.

A lot of what I’ve seen said by whatever flavor of puppies is automatically booting work that I do out of hand because “message’ which I generally read to mean about anything but White straight men.

For me a lot of my fiction is escape. My non-fiction tends to draw the uh, day to day version of pupppies of one sort or another. The White men who email me to tell me how “loud” and “terrible SJW” I am because I write about my life and that often includes my Blackness. The same type who, when I was just a little online journal writing type, would first ask to see my tits or to meet up and when I said no would call me a nigger bitch.

These are the same type of dudes who will correct me about any number of dumb things usually ending with, well YOU’RE THE RACIST.

And I’ve been following this since it started.

Thing is, the fact that this is still a fucking problem that I watch a lot of authors I respect both personally and professionally either be very stressed out about this or show their racist ass.

I watch and read all the commentary and links. I read a lot of the books in question.

At this point, all this whole situation does is show me more reasons I don’t even want to fuck with the industry.

It’s not that I wouldn’t love getting paid for my genre work, reaching a wider audience and all that shit. I just don’t want it ruined. I don’t want yet another part of my literary life to be speckled with this flavor of bullshit.

Not too long ago I had a pretty good sized list of mags and whatnot that would help me in getting SFWA membership. I had stories ready to shiny up and fling out into the nerdverse. Now, nah.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve got the same amount of side eye for the horror areas as well. Especially given some professional organization fuckery that occurred right after getting a pretty warm sell on joining up and getting back into the horror genre in a larger fashion.

I keep telling myself things like the following:

Posi Brain: No, it’ll totally be fine. You’re being paranoid not everything is awful.

Non Posi Brain: Bitch whet? You saw that last note, we got right? You’re being a dipshit. Nothing is fine. Everything is awful.

Remix- repeat.

All this said, I don’t think I’m gonna be fuckin with it. I am stressed out enough. I hear enough about ALL the reasons why anything I say ever whether fictional or not are, somehow the end of White men everywhere.

My audience isn’t huge nor are they throwing big dollars but, I feel like we get each other and that feels good.

That’s how I feel about it for the couple of people who’ve asked me. Basically, I see it and I don’t like it so I ain’t fuckin with it.

Now, speaking to my audience, oh hey you.

Rewrites on The Daiyu Saga have begun and if you want to see the second draft of my first urban fantasy novel as it goes along, all it takes is like 2$ a month and BOOM access to every chapter and love letter that goes along with it. Head over here to check it out.

In other news, I will have some new lit in the etsy shop soon and you can still get this bad bitch right here, for a few dollars. Come get all your life.

 

mfcover

Plans Of The Writer

For those who aren’t supporting me on Patreon, I’ve announced over there that I’ve started rewrites on my urban fantasy novelette in progress working titled The Daiyu Saga and those chapters will be the new Patron only stuff.

That done, I will likely list a bunch of my source material on Etsy along with some other stuff.

I’ve also been thinking about what to do with The World  (go back to last Sept to read them all) I still have a deep interest in putting them together in a collection of linked stories. I’m thinking I could do that as a kindle book, try it for KDP select and that way a LOT of folks could read them for free/I wouldn’t need to manage the way I do my Etsy stuff.

I’m also working on SCLAB stuff and essays.

My output right now is pretty consistent and I’m pleased with it. I put a new piece up at Medium about marginalized writers and risk.

While I’m very happy with what I’ve been writing lately, what I’m not as happy with is that I’m again finding myself in a pressurized position because economically, not one of these things is really viable for me in a way that helps me life my actual non writing life.

Intellectually I know that even as things are, my partner and I still have our little apartment. He’s got the medication he needs. We have food.

Emotionally speaking, if my non writing life is the toy I am these birds. Inside my brain there are cats, hamsters, puppies a carnival wheel and a class full of first graders hopped up on Mt. Dew all losing their collective shit at top volume pretty much all the time.

My Poverty Brain has kicked in full speed with anxiety kicker.

I will say that unlike previous years, the shit fuckery in my head isn’t causing me to be unable to write so there’s that.

That said, I’m stuck at that point of making some of this shit profitable while battling a whole host of other feelings. Those are feelings I will likely keep to myself and a few friends because reasons.

So that’s what’s going on.

I might schedule up some posts here because I have ANOTHER thing. In a few short days, I’ll make my triumphant return to personal blogging.

Come and check it out, subscribe and hold on to your butt.

auntieheader
Aww YISS!!

Now I’m going to dayjob and work on shit.

Grind grind grind grind.

Try to make them extra coins.

And stay calm.

Welcome To the Pit Mother Fucker.

Someone I know asked me recently what I would say to baby me about writing and publishing as a Black woman who has a lot of loud mouth opinions and who deploys them at will.

There is a Hed(pe) song where the dude says,

“Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.”

I am pretty sure that covers it. When I was a baby writer, I did not express my actual opinions on industry business. I fully believed that if The Industry found out how I felt about a lot of publishing and writing shenanigans.

I lurked industry boards and saw the racism and sexism. I gently tried to engage with White writers and other industry folks in my gentlest, sweetest Negress way about their racism.

Y’all, I tried.

I did workshop type things and kept my opinions about Magical Negroes and other terrible things to myself. I whitewashed characters, I didn’t share stories that did not cater to Whiteness.

I remember once talking to an older White lady author who told me that I was doing the right thing. That, to keep my “radical” (YES she said that, I remember it clearly) and “militant” thoughts to myself so as not to alienate the folks in power.

I thought it would lead to more publication, more visibility. Money! Recognition! Respect!

I WOULD GET TO BE IN THE FUCKIN CLUB!

But not really.

What happened was I was not writing the shit that moves me.

I felt frustrated, trapped, invisible and the worst, the very fucking worst part was that I felt like I was contributing to my own oppression with no pay off.

I was pretty miserable.

And then at some point after someone threatened to tell my dayjob that at the time I was writing custom smut for weirdo fetishists I decided to stop giving any fucks.

All of this is on my mind because last night I was doing research and working on some of my indie writer hustles and I came to a few conclusions.

  1. I just do not have the energy to promote things as hard as I need to in order to make my indie writer hustles financially viable. Likely if I didn’t work full time with the commute and whatnots, I would but that’s not gonna be a thing.
  2. The above being what it is, I’m cutting down on side hustles. It hurts my soul to lose the potential of that side hustle cash, but my fatigue is getting worse and there’s not a lot I can do about it at this point.
  3. I’m not putting stuff out by myself anymore. It’s been a losing venture and cost more time and money than it’s been worth.

Okay, I’ll stop there because #3 is important.

I decided to pull the lid from Etsy because frankly, it takes a while per piece, to get it ready make the cover and frankly nobody buys the shit. I know it’s not the prices really, but yeah. I do feel a bit sad, but whatever fuck it. I don’t know if I’ll just post them for free or what I’m gonna do.

So if you’ve wanted a thing from the Etsy shop, now is the time. I’m pulling all the lit stuff at the end of February. Go here.  I was going to do a huge price slash per item but it made me feel shitty. SO if you add all 8 pieces, (for a grand total of 17$) then use the coupon code WORDSWORDSWORDS that’ll net you a sweet little discount and put your total at 15.75$.

I have been convinced to not close the shop all together and start putting out some of my crocheted items. Shawls and scarves. Maybe my tactile stim objects. That’ll be a while yet.

I am going to focus more of my energy on producing stuff. Writing new stuff. Maybe doing a Queen Poems chapbook this year. My grand experiment in essentially rage quitting the publishing industry and only publishing either myself, with Milcah or in super select venues hasn’t been a real win for me.

A lot of that is largely due to #1 up on that list as well as, it’s just not my skill set to do it all indie and not feel like I’m wasting precious time energy and money.

I had a come to Jesus moment with myself about what kind of support my work gets and when and whether or not it’s enough to support my indie DIY ways. Frankly, it’s not.

Last time I had this out with myself, I decided I just wasn’t good enough (this was just a couple of months ago, well a few more than that it was post SCLAB release) and I really felt like my body of work was/is something I should be ashamed of because obviously if I was better at writing, marketing, rewriting, doing things the way I am supposed to- everything would be successful.

That might be true. Some of it or all of it, I don’t know.

What I do know is that me  punishing the fuck out of myself for failing so hard, SO fucking hard did not contribute to shit.

So I’m not doing that.

Changes is coming.

Dear Shannon,

Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.

Love,

Shannon

 

A Few Words on my Finances posts and whatnot.

I got a lengthy note from someone who “was a fan” and “was rooting” for me who has flounced from reading this Lil blog, and anything else I might write because they are uncomfortable with how I talk about some of the less shiny aspects of my writing and creative life.

Namely, my last finances post as well as my ongoing fundraiser to get to AWP16 drove them away. From what this reader said essentially the way I talk about the financial and other difficult things that impact my creative life made them feel guilty and bad.

So here’s the thing folks.

First thing is I am done putting up a front. On so many levels in my life. I spent a lot of years feeling shame for being human. There are a lot of things behind that, but the fact is, I just do not want to do that anymore. I’m too good at compartmentalizing things. I can smile and look pretty while I feel like I want to die, I am good at that. I am good at appearing to be A Strong Black Woman that don’t need nobody.

Fact is I’m not.

Because I have started to really invest in my own humanity through my work, how I live etc part of that is not gonna be pretty.

And I will not hide it or not write about it because it makes some folks uncomfortable.

That brings me to the second thing. When you know, either personally or as a voyeur watching things happen in blogland here, someone like me who leads a not shiny perfect life, you’re gonna be uncomfortable. There are lots of reasons why this can be, these are intersectional type things.

The third thing is that I am not opening up about these things to elicit sympathy or squeeze money out of folks. Yes, I am fundraising because I do need the help to attend something I feel is important to me. Yes, I take donations.  Yes, I do have conflicting feelings about these things because, like a lot of poor folks I have had trouble shedding the idea that I just don’t work hard enough to deserve stuff.

Part of how I work through this stuff is by being open about it and finding out that I’m not alone. Solidarity is like that. It is also pretty important to me that I can maybe impact someone who needs that solidarity.

Here’s the thing.

Knowing or watching a life that isn’t yours and that is wildly different from yours is valuable. For folks who are like me, me talking about this stuff is valuable.

It’s okay to be uncomfortable.

It’s fine if you don’t have/can’t/don’t want to give me money.

What’s not okay is trying to shame me because you are uncomfortable.

By the way person who sent the message I do see that you’re still subscribed. Pro tip: don’t send people passive aggressive notes threatening to unfollow and just GTFO.

Other thing before I go.

I am fully aware that my work and who I am as a person is not for everybody. I know. It’s fine. A lot of folks hate every word that comes out of my mouth and there is nothing I can really do about that beyond not speaking or writing or changing who I am and that ain’t happening.

It is fine not to dig me.

Not fine to bother me about it.

You, do you Booboo, Imma do me and everything is gonna be okay.

Now this week on Weds. I’m posting a new promo post so if you have things to promote, no matter what it is leave a link in the comments and you’re in. Boom. Have a friend with a thing? Show me the thing. Proud of a picture you took? Show me the thing.

SHOW ME THE THINGS.

 

Another day, more racism.

Earlier this morning I read yet another spectacularly racist piece of literature. Published by a magazine I’ve read on occasion. I have read how the editors responded and frankly, maybe I’m just too jaded, but I have so many questions.

The editors have said on tweeter that they had no intention of causing harm.

However.

I have questions.

At some point, there was editorial discretion. There was intent. This is not magical. I want to know what part of the editorial process made it so that this could happen yet again?

Why is it gringpo constantly thinks that the White voice is always the right voice? Want to show the horrors of racism or extremism? Ask White people.

If the intent is to in this instance put a spotlight on the horrors of ISIS, why use what boils down to an Islamaphobic rant? Why not ask you know an actual Muslim person?

Don’t answer, I know why.

The White Voice is the Right Voice.

Is this magic? Where does editorial discretion come in? At what point can some editor, any editor rather than apologize and state their intent, say, well I read this line and thought hot damn this is exactly what we want to say. And take responsibility beyond trying to mop up afterward?

I ask these questions knowing the answers already.

Whiteness is always given the benefit of the doubt.

We meant no harm…

We’re trying…

I’m not racist…

Always.

Regardless of how deep the fuck up or offense, those of us outside of Whiteness who are harmed by it at most and at the least benefit from it, we know.

I know.

And y’all, right now I’m just so tired. I’m tired of feeling the need to investigate beyond aesthetics anywhere I submit. I’m tired of watching editors say really racist shit under their own names then “openly” call for minority submissions.

I’m tired of saying, not yelling or begging, of just saying, hey, this is pretty fucked up and watching people just like me get called names and attacked on the basis of our bodies, of work (well you’re not getting published because maybe you aren’t good enough) to how we choose to speak (maybe if you were nice about it..) and then FINALLY someone White says, hey them mean ass Brown folks really mean “can you pretty please listen to use Mista, we just wants a chance to shine” and suddenly, everything makes sense.

I’m tired.

I’m tired of professional organizations showing their Anti Blackness.

I’m tired of literary magazines that are full of The Right Voice.

Gringpo, I’m tired of you.

I don’t even literally talk to these publications or these editors. I’m too tired. I’m exhausted.

I just want…shit I don’t even know at this point.

The only thing I can say for sure is I don’t want to keep up my guard against this sort of thing. I don’t want to keep adding publications to my do not submit list because I don’t want to deal with their anti Blackness, their Whiteness etc.

I don’t want to see more writers I’ve liked and supported suddenly lose respect because POC spoke up.

This is not the literary world, I want to live in.

But it is the one I live in and I have to deal with that.

So I’ll be tired. I’ll write more. I’ll watch. I’ll add to my verboten list.

And I guess that’s really all I can do.

 

 

On #giveyourmoneytowomen and hypocrisy.

I’m not using names because I don’t roll that way, but here’s what spurred this post.

Last week I had several White women decide that I owed it to them to provide a 101 anti racism education. Specifically, here are some of the things they did not understand:

  • The acronyms WOC and POC
  • No
  • Google this phrase “what does WOC mean”
  • No
  • Please stop talking to me.
  • I don’t want to deal with you right now.

Rather than posting their questions in the discussion out in the open, they took it to pm’s on facebook and spent a good hour trying to make me “teach” them.

Now I have done a bit of snooping and both of these women were all over the hashtag #giveyourmoneytowomen. Essentially, this hashtag was about women getting paid for their labor, including their emotional labor etc. Great thing. It’s important.

Now my experience with these two demanding ladies, TDL for the rest of this entry is something that happens 99% of the time when I engage with White women and race comes up.

Like most of these conversations, my “using esoteric terms” (anything in quotes is direct from what was said to me) was considered to be “aggressive, condescending and exclusionary”.

First things first.

If you are American and claim any level of social justice cred and you don’t know what WOC or POC means, you are not doing your job. If you claim anti-racism, but doesn’t know that WOC and POC are actual things, you’re a liar.

Second thing.

The real problem is not the proclamations of innocent ignorance and inability to look up an acronym on google. Those are just symptoms of a larger issue I have in mainly feminist type spaces.

The presumption that the White woman’s proclaimed innocent ignorance is pitted against the Angry Black Woman’s (me) refusal to teach and do the emotional heavy lifting for White women because presumably the White woman is too fragile, too busy fighting the patriarchy to either learn for herself because it’s just too hard to do, or to actually listen to the Angry Black Woman when she’s speaking. The presumption is that the White woman is too important to do the work by herself.

In any other instance, if I told any feminist that she’s too delicate, too ignorant to learn something for herself things would go real bad real quick. The very notion that any woman is incapable of learning or doing for herself is poisonous to feminist leanings.

Unless of course it means doing the real hard work not to be racist.

These women are the latest in a decades long list of White women who decide that their time and energy are too precious to do even the basics to learn about how to not be a racist.

Now when I say no I don’t have time to do this the respectful thing to do would be to say, hey, if you get time can you shoot me some links please? Or, okay do you have time to suggest some stuff? Or just shut the fuck up and leave me alone and go use the internet to learn a thing.

It is the epitome of disrespect and anti-intersectional feminism to me that this keeps happening.

What I’ve learned is that regardless of why (I’m exhausted, I’m busy at work, I have writing to do or I just don’t feel like it) if I the Angry Black Woman (make no mistake, it doesn’t matter what I say or how I say it, I am the Angry Scary Black Lady) say no in any form, it’s a problem

In the context of White women who are so into the idea of women getting paid for their work, unless it is a Black woman who has the nerve to speak in/on a public thing, it’s a problem.

The attitudes that ALL women of color must make time and space to gently lead White women by the hand into the promised land of not being racists anymore, is antithetical to #giveyourmoneytowomen.

It is typical of this sort of movement to on the front end have women raising their fists and getting excited. Until it means that they have to make room for WOC or 1 on 1 decide that no, it’s unreasonable for the Angry Black Woman to give a rate for private instruction.

The private instruction thing is my canned response to demands that do the work of pulling resources, putting together readings lists and talking White women through their knee jerk I’M NOT A RACIST YOU’RE A RACIST to OMG I HAVE PRIVILEGE BUT I CAN’T HAVE PRIVILEGE OMG NO YOU’RE A RACIST WHY ARE YOU SO SCARY BLACK LADY HOW DARE YOU TELL ME NO-type meltdowns.

WELL I GUESS I’LL READ WHAT YOU WROTE BUT I’M GOING TO ARGUE WITH YOU BECAUSE I DON’T LIKE HOW YOU PHRASED A TEN WORD SENTANCE OUT OF 1500 WORS.

YOU ARE SO ANGRY AND AGGRESSIVE I CAN’T DEAL WITH YOU BECAUSE YOU TRIGGER ME SO YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID.

All based on shit actually said to me when I’ve tried to do the 101 education for free.

For years I gritted my teeth and waded in. I fully believed that if I just withstood the initial bullshit, I could in fact lead White women to the promised land where we’d hold hands and sing Old Negro Spirituals together and then BOOM we’d have solidarity etc.

Many experiences, especially in groups where I have been one of few WOC speaking have taught me differently.

I have learned to value my own time and my own sanity and peace of mind. I have learned that my voice has value.

Do y’all have any idea how hard of a thing that was to realize?

So now, I have my own shit to do.

I have a book coming out at the end of the month.

I have readings to get ready for.

I have food to eat.

What I don’t have are the spoons to be anybody’s gentle Mammy on demand.

To that end, here is what I quote.

25$ will net you links to my own work about racism, some commentary and some basic definitions. No conversation.

50$ You get the above, plus five minutes of conversation on the internet.

80$ You get the above and can ask me ten questions.

That’s it.

Now, shockingly, once I’ve quoted my prices I get told things like:

  • You’re anti woman.
  • You’re anti white.
  • You’re the problem.
  • You’re selfish.
  • You’re why racism still exists.
  • You’re a racist.

Blablabla add in some random ad hominem attacks, some being shaded in comments on other things and there you have the magical reasons why I will not engage whenever White women demand it.

Years of trying to do everything to help women like this got me headaches and zero thanks. It got my work stolen from. It has meant I watch the women who demand my time, emotional and literary labor for free, put quotes like that one about be nice because you don’t know what type of day someone is having, they quote Audre Lorde, bell hooks and Angela Davis but this is how they treat me.

So here’s the thing.

Officially if you do this, I see you. I understand what you’re doing and why and I know that your feminism and your #giveyourmoneytowomen is fucking bullshit.

The only thing I have left to say is this.

Check yourself and your fucking attitude before you come for me.

Now in related news.

My book is coming and we’re working hard on some promotion. You have TEN DAYS to get your awesome paws on one of our Self Care Like A Boss shirts. Check em out here!

Next thing HEY Portland lovers. Check this out. I’m reading with a SUPER BAD ASS group of women for Unchaste. No seriously look!

august 2015

Click the photo to look at the facebooks page.

Now I’m off to go write stuff.

Tomorrow, I’m gonna talk more about the new book and do some more promoting.

 

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.

 

 

After the Ballad.

So the rage fueled thing I wrote about the Paris Review the other day has grown some wings. Mentioned in a Huffpo article by Annie Finch.

I am a tad overwhelmed. I’m very tired of clearing messages (fifteen er twenty today) telling me how racist I am and what a shitty poet etc etc. The best though was the accusation that I am bullying the Paris Review.

Because obviously a relatively unknown Black writer from Seattle has the power to bully the Paris Review.

Okay so here’s the thing and I want this to be absolutely clear because I think some folks have got it twisted.

I don’t actually give a hot shit about Seidel’s work. After I read the piece on PR I read some of his other work and frankly it is just not my jam. I don’t give a shit.

The thing I care about is the usual response to Black people’s pain. White people running us over to make their own pain the focal point. I care about a publication I have read for most of my life when I have been able to, doing the same shit again.

My hope that a highly visible publication would take the opportunity to say to everyone these are the voices we need right now has just been dashed. No fuck that. My hopes that the mainstream literary community would step up in a time of such great need has been shit on, set on fire and tossed.

This was a chance for an organization to say loudly and without qualification, Black Voices Matter right now and we are here for it.

Now is the moment.

Now is not the time to make White voices the voices. That is how everything is all the time. Literature is now and has been the outlet for every White opinion ever about everything.

And yet, people keep telling me that those are the voices to be given primacy right now.

Because that’s how it always is.

I’m tired. I’m tired of hearing that if we damn loud ass Negroes want to be heard to do it ourselves. And when we do that, White people run in to make sure they get their piece. Or when we have the audacity to hint that maybe we know a little something something about an issue, we’re “reverse racists” and oppressing the White Voice.

This is me and I am fucking exhausted.

 

Portrait of the author right now.
Portrait of the author right now. 

Why at this point in time, in 2014 when so many White people want to claim to be anti-racist is it so goddamn hard to admit that sometimes, their voices are not the ones that need to be heard?

That maybe Black Lives Matter is a.) something being said, because clearly culturally America doesn’t believe it and b.) such a controversial thought, that Black people specifically matter.

And before anyone busts in here with that “all people” bullshit let me shut it down.

If you would not walk into a Breast cancer awareness event saying, ALL CANCERS. If you would not walk into a stranger’s funeral and say, BUT I KNOW DEAD PEOPLE TOO, shut the fuck up and work it the fuck out. If you cannot abide the idea that Black people need and want to make it clear that we matter, you have some racist shit to deal with and I am not here for that.

Moving on.

We live in the fucking future. It is 2014. Even a publication as old as the Paris Review knows this. They have a social media person I’ve followed them (I have unfollowed).

It took me approximately two minutes on google to find over a thousand amazing poems written by Black people young and old, known and unknown. THOUSANDS.

And they chose Seidel.

I took to facebook and searched the hashtag #BlackPoetsSpeakOut.

THOUSANDS OF POEMS.

How is it that while working my dayjob, writing a fiction piece and eating I could find current amazing poetry by Black people that could fill forty five Paris Reviews and they picked an old White Man.

That is what this is about.

It’s not about the quality of the poem. He can write whatever he wants to.

It is about the gatekeepers of the literary canon in this case the Paris Review isn’t coming through.

It is about how disgusting it is to me that organizations that wield power in the lit world in a real big way, didn’t do shit.

This happens over and over again.

Don’t get it twisted.

I don’t care about how that crusty ass old man writes his poems or what he writes about.

I don’t care if EVERYONE writes about Ferguson.

I care about representation and the missed opportunity to show that that Black lives and Black voices matter.

Understand that White folks you can write a million poems about Ferguson, Eric Garner, lynching, racism whatever. Just remember that when you prioritize your own voices over the voices of those of us living this shit, you are upholding White Supremacy and taking the easy way out of owning your own racism.

And we see you.

We. See. You.

For those of you who want to see what Black poets are saying I’ll make it easy for you. Check out this tumblr project and listen to every single poem.