I Don’t Know How To Drive

idontkno
[image description: a kitten in mid leap on grass. Text reads top: I don’t know where I’m going, Bottom reads: but I’m on my way.]
Things I don’t know how to do:

  • Drive
  • Do perfect eyebrows
  • Network without feeling like I might piss myself.
  • Not be a sweaty weirdo when I meet writers I admire (HI ROXANE)
  • Not creep on writers I really like (pretty sure I creeped on both Daniel J. Older AND some other folks at AWPLA. Sorry y’all)
  • Legit submit chapbooks.

So I’m almost done with my second book of poetry. Unlike Gasoline Heart this one is not on anybody’s shopping list as of yet. It just sort of happened. I’m just about at the point where I start pulling the poems from my phone and put them into Word for formatting and then…yeah y’all I dunno.

The other thing I don’t know how to do is figure out what technology exactly I need to make the most out of my time.

My little cheap older tablet with the keyboard is kind of okay but, unfortunately is just a little too weak to deal with how I work. I’m looking at saving up for the Sentio Superbook.  I want the deluxe version. What sold me was that I can work from my phone and that is super ideal for me. Also you can work windowed which I can’t do on my other tablet and my laptop is just too much of a beast to lug around.

The Windows surface was close but I just can’t afford the one I want so ya know.

Also okay.

Real talk I’m having a situation that will fuck up my whole July.

So if you’ve got a few dollars burnin a hole in your pocket, come buy some lit. Want to get lit from me on the regular? Come get into my Patreon. Just want to help? Paypal, Venmo, Cash me.

That’s all for right now. I got hustlin to do.

Later taters.

Advertisements

News!!

I’ve been sitting on some news for a while now and I am so excited to announce that my first poetry book has been born and will be available for purchase at the solstice.

I’m so pleased to be published by Lark Books. Come see the page here, 

poetry
[image description: black text on a white background: Sometimes I wonder if my genders are calluses against the rub of excellence expected from me every goddamn day]
Y’all.

I don’t know what kind of fairy poet magic I expected but writing this book was so hard.

Also these poems are different from the work I’ve been producing for the last couple of years. They are actually intensely personal and not the purposefully intimate seeming but about other Femmes and women work I’ve been doing. I’m going to be writing about the work and the process a bit.

I talk about gender, love, my body, my fears. Everything.

There are so many things I don’t know how to do surrounding books I’m probably going to whine a lot.

I’m scared shitless but yanno…imma roll with it.

What else?

OH I have officially relaunched my Self Care Like a Boss Blog. You can read here on wordpress or at tumblr.

I’m teaching myself how to write about literature. I’ve got that Jt Leroy related thing going and I’ve got a response piece going about something I saw on Lithub.

I’m not publishing a whole lot but I am working on creating some shit that I’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Brand new stuff is up at Patreon and I’ll have a post about what is going to happen in the Daiyuverse.

So that’s what’s up.

More soon.

What had happened was…

Currently I’m in an obsessive work mode.

I’m working on:

  • Finishing two poetry chapbooks.
  • SCLAB materials.
  • Protest fictions.
  • Daiyuverse. 

That’s pretty much all I can focus on. I am not a huge fan of the holidays so keeping them off my mind with work helps. This year has been particularly difficult, regular mundane life stuff has been intense.

As per usual for me, this time of year also brings me way down into a deep navel gazey type space. I’m looking at a lot of my endeavors, looking at what has been good, what has failed.

Some things that have happened this year more than other years:

  1. Me having to explain repeatedly when being criticized for not being journalistic in my work that I am not a journalist. Never have claimed to be. Not one time.
  2. Related, dealing with critique that my work is too personal or too emotional when I’m writing about my own lived life. Not theory- my actual history.
  3. Noticing that as I’ve expanded my audience somewhat, a lot of that audience *mainly white folks* seem to only read my work when I’m hurt or angry.
  4. Realizing that as hungry for my pain as those readers are, they are loathe to pay for my pain.
  5. When I’ve pointed this out to a couple of people who have wanted to give me exposure, crickets.
  6. I applied for four artist/writer grants. Got none.
  7. I still don’t really understand residencies you pay for. like, what about the rest of us?
  8. I’ve had to figure out when I will and won’t write about politics because I find it too emotionally draining to do for free.
  9. I’ve made way less money writing than I did in 2015. By a lot.

#9 has been the hardest. I spent a lot of time at points this year pitching, not hearing anything back, stressing. I also had the biggest dip in self confidence as far as the monetary worth of my work as a writer.

Y’all if I’m gonna keep it 100, that shit was the hardest thing. The disparity between what people I respect have said to me about work I’ve done and ideas I’ve had and the essential non response in the industry or offers of “exposure” etc fucked me all the way up. It got to the point of me really questioning whether or not I should start SCLAB again with Milcah, it had me freaking out that people don’t buy the work in my Etsy store even at rock bottom prices.

I was prepared to shut down all my writing related hustles because the failure of them really got to me. I really couldn’t get over the level of nobody gives three bucks worth of a fuck. A lot of my struggle was also due to finances being so much tighter this year. That living expenses, increase I had in early 2016 fucked everything up.

Add that with my failure to be a successful freelancer and y’all, shit has been a struggle.

My friend Ayla wrote this piece I’m Too Busy Being Poor To Be Creative. It is an old piece but super true.

My biggest challenge as a writer has been to find that place where I can do my best work and survive and it ain’t been easy. Shit is hard as fuck.

That said, how about some highlights from 2016?

There’s other stuff that happened.

So things were not all bad. it has been a huge struggle and a lot of things have flopped. I’ve had some really wonderful success as well.

As the year draws to a close, I’m mostly having to struggle with myself. I don’t want to succomb to bitterness and the salty anger I feel when I see shit get published and paid for. Yeah, it hurts a lot, but I can’t fix it.

Okay that’s it for right now. I will likely queue up some posts for a while so I can get down with my work.

If I don’t see y’all before hand, have a safe and happy new year.

 

Giving what I have right now.

I can’t be in so much pain and anger today.

That said, I’d like to share some beauty.

First up, please enjoy a little video of me reading my story The Beloved of Colel Cab you may need to crank the volume, my new phone isn’t the greatest for video but here you go. Feel free to share it, like it, subscribe to my youtube channel. I will have more lit vids coming.

If you’d like a copy to read or read along (I am working on a good transcript) click here it is available as a free post at my Patreon. 

I have some new self-care stuff coming. Emergency stuff.

I have a new piece of work a prose-poem thing on Ink Node.

I am very well and truly out of spoons and this is what I know how to do. This is what I can give to my community. Some things from my heart that might be a bit of a respite.

I also offer up the pieces on self-care I wrote a while back and put on Medium. Take them and share them if you know folks who need them. Here and Here.

Check this slipstream flash story. It’s a happy little thing.

And one more, a favorite story of mine. A little Queer Flash fiction love letter to my fellow Brown Femmes. Check the link for the story and an interview.

This is all I have right now. I’m so not okay I have nothin else.

When I have something, it’s yours.

Until then, take care of yourselves and each other and I love y’all.

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.

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.

 

 

How it’s going down at AWP

SO okay AWP is next week and here is how it’s going down.

I’m not sure what I’m doing with my hair, I might flat iron it this weekend or just blow dry it and give some fluffy realness.

I will be riding with my REAL FAMILY. If you find me you’ll probably get to meet my Uniballer (my partner), my Wifey (my bestie) and her Husbear.

I’m still slightly undecided about what panels I’m going to but I’ll figure it out.

Now if any of y’all are going and you spot me please feel free to come say hi. I’m fairly sweaty and weird in person and might stare at you bug eyed for a minute but I’ll be fine. Also if you wanna selfie, we shall selfie.

If you want to find me, I’ll be tweeting usually with the hashtag AWP16 or AWP2016.

I’ll be hustling this beauty out of my purse. If you buy one I might even read you something out of it, right out where ever we’re at.

mfesta
The title page of my chapbook/zine titled: The Motherfuckess Manifesta and Other Poems. They are 5$. Hand signed and numbered.

If you’re in or around LA and not coming to AWP, come party and hear me read with some of the most bad ass women writers. Check out the event here.

Let me take a moment to express my love for the Unchaste reading series. Jenny the creator is one of my ride or die type people. If you are in or around Portland, OR, please I encourage you to check out the Unchaste events. Search FB, get on that. Unchaste readings are always amazing and Jenny goes out of her way to curate an actually inclusive line up of readers. So for real, go do the thing.

What else?

I don’t think we’ll have time to do a whole lot of outside AWP things. Due to some vacation time off stuff it is pretty much a hit it and quit it type thing.

Hopefully there will be some video snippets,some action shots. Selfies with other writers. I’m going to try really hard this time not to freak the whole fuck out. I’m ready. I have stuff to sell and know that I belong there as much as any other writer.

I’ll probably schedule some posts and then when I get back I’ll do a big wrap up.

That’s it for today babies.