Hilarity Ensued.

Okay if you read my last post, you know that I’m rearranging my hustle so I can work. TL:DR version is I’m very tired of providing a whole lot of free content and getting little material support regardless of what I ask for.

Ahem.

So first thing was a lot of sympathy. Messages, notes etc all expressing utmost sadness. I do appreciate it. The writing life is a hard fuckin hustle. Especially for someone like me for LOTS of intersecting simple and complex reasons.

Cool.

What did not happen?

Engagement with material I’ve offered for free and for paid medium users. Nothin. Nada. Fuck all. My current super check from Medium is a whopping zero cents. Between this here lil doohicky, followers at Medium, tweeter etc there are a good few thousand of y’all so honestly sometimes seeing all those juicy zeroes is just…..disheartening.

That said, I do find it dryly (bitterly) entertaining that instead of the free to do shares of shit I get a lot of advice.

Some of it is really bad.

First one, someone I’ve known for literal years suggested I take an internship that is for newbies who need to learn how to get published.

Bro.

BRUH.

HONEY BRUH.

I say this with love. PLS DO NOT GODDAMN DO THIS. Ahem….

I am in fact a professional. I know I am not slinging big dollar bylines but, I do my thing. I’ve been doing it since the late 1990s. I AM AN OLD. I SUBMITTED SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPED WITH TYPED ON A FUCKIN NON HIPSTER TYPEWRITER. I skipped eating to buy stamps and paper. I know how to do publishing.

Yes, wanting to share an opportunity with me is great. However if it comes and it is very clearly not for me, yeah Imma feel some type of way. If it involves moving to NYC on a stipend, NAH I have a tiny family to care for and have a job, if it involves travel I can’t afford it.

Y’alls. I am very very open about my life. I work full time. Yes some stuff has changed since we moved.

Previously, my work days were basically up at 4:45 AM, out the door at six PM,  in the door between 5:30-6PM. Food and bathing and household shit until about 8 or so then attempts at sleep. On a good day I had maybe 2 hours of writing at home before I got too tired.

Currently, I have more time so I’m writing more stuff.

BUT I am still poor. I still have a full time job and a disabled partner to care for. This precludes me doing a lot of things because they cost money, don’t pay and cost time.

I don’t like capitalism but like everybody else I gotta play so I don’t starve to death and die.

Next thing. Do NOT approach me like we’re friends and try to sell me your super best seller marketing secrets. Do. Not. Do.

Look I’m not gunning for sympathy when I talk about these things. I’m open about them because it is a part of the writing life that is hard and just like every other broke fucker with a pen, I’m doing the best I can.

I face obstacles that I want to be open about. Some of them are of my own making. I say that because I have a big goddamn mouth and I acknowledge that my habit of talking about uncomfortable things especially in the context of the lit biz, turns some folks off. That’s fine. I’m not a universally loved flavor of human. Some of the obstacles are because I move around in the body I’m in, with the skin I’m in and that’s just how shit works.

I’m too old to believe that if I just find the magic formula, ALL THE CASH SHALL FOLLOW. I also don’t really want that.

Here’s what I want.

  • Write what the fuck I want.
  • Freelance a little bit with people I trust with my work.
  • Sometimes buy new underpants.
  • Read books.
  • Drink hot beverages.
  • Live.

Thing is, what’s important beyond just wanting to help is taking the extra second to think before you give someone something gross. Don’t insult folks who are in the shit, and know some shit. And yes, you might not mean it but sometimes offering up things that are not possible for people sucks.

Small lit life updates-

  1. Ten subs/pitches out.
  2. Two non response, one form rejection, one warm rejection.
  3. One solicited essay assignment turned in.
  4. MAKE THAT ELEVEN out, I just sent another poetry submission.

I have to go back in time so I can find some stuff to talk to editors I like about. This is the life, I ain’t mad.

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But Can I be Honest? Or Can a Bitch live?

Okay, so, in this post election Trumpfuckian* nightmare, being that I am a creator of things, I have been creating things.

I already published one essay about my real feelings post election. Find it here at Medium. I put a general content warning on it for everything. If you’re feeling fragile do not read.

Ahem.

If you’ve been here for more than five minutes you could fairly say, I have a salty tongue. I’m a foul mouthed heathen. I use the Seven Dirty Words quite liberally in my work.

I have long understood that because I stand by my bad words as being necessary, that precludes me being published a lot of places. I get it. I know.

I know I am a difficult sell even when I’m not saying mother fucker every few words and it’s okay. I made peace with that.

I. know.

Now, before I was totally done with the essay, I had a nibble of interest that quickly turned into a, well if you (insert edits that would strip it of it’s power and turn it into Nice Black Lady Pap+end with hope I don’t feel) and I am not with that.

Now, since I published it myself, the reception has been pretty great. Way less pushback than I expected, some folks saw fit to use my tip jar and send some donations which is incredible. I’m about that life.

That said, I find it interesting that when I’m completely naked honest, I’m talking ass out bucky ass nekkid- I self publish and things tend to go well.

I take that same energy and what I think is an integral part of my voice to the markets and I fail. Miserably.

My literary partner in let us call it impending Unfuckwithableness Milcah has pointed out to me, I’ve succeeded when I’m just 100% about who I am and not trying to pretend.

It’s true.

And we come back around to me being me and my, uh, not quite fitting a lot of the narrative places have of what they want to say.

For instance, some okay, no let me be real about it all of my poetry lately has been bloody, bleak, and not uplifting. Basically how I’m feeling. I clocked some very swift rejections for a piece I’ll put at Ink node later on. Keep your eye out here.

Being rejected doesn’t but me by itself. What bothers me are the notes that came with the rejections about how these pubs are going for Hope and Unity and Feelgoodness (my word) right now.

But why isn’t there room for me too?

I really hate the idea that we as creators must immediately go to the hope and not document our grief and rage. My grief, my rage isn’t going to end with all of us holding hands and singing Old Negro Spirituals.

It’s going to end in blood because that’s how I feel.

There’s room for more than happy uplift.

There is space for those who are despairing and only know to make art or otherwise create to help get through it.

I’ve talked to some friends and a lot of us are in this same boat. We need to scream and make bloody rage filled art and we’d like for it to be valued as much as the uplift and shiny hope.

So yanno, if you have space, consider making space for us less shiny  minded folks.

Fuck my Whole Life

I’ve been immersed in writing and editing a very important piece.

I’ve been working on this fucking shit for three weeks. It’s not what I wanted to write and my other attempts to write something else for this special thing have been shit.

Like dog shit.

So while I’ve been working last week I really fucked it up and had to revert to the original and start over. Have I mentioned lately that when I get nervous I tend to be a slash and burn/salt the earth level editor?

Fuck my life.

Fuck.

FUCK.

PANIC.

PANIC.

SEND HELP.

So now is this what it’s like to have people ask you to write things? It’s really fucking hard and I am kind of losing my shit. I am at the point of wanting to just run around yelling suck my dick, which won’t help but might make me feel better.

The panic will pass. I’ll get my shit together, drink some coffee, take my lil computer bloop someplace and sit my ass down until I get my shit worked out.

So in the meantime how about some stuff I think y’all might want to read?

Let’s start with what I’m reading right now.

I’m reading Tell my Horse HA my version is out of print but you can get other covers. It’s really great. There are a few language of the times things that bother me a little but really it’s such a beautiful thing to read history this way as written by a person of color. It’s really beautiful.

It is ridiculous how good that book is.

I’m also reading The Marbled Swarm by Dennis Cooper. Fuck I fucking love Dennis Cooper. He’s a really nice person (note to self return to his blog and say hi/love) AND his work has been a major influence on me since I first started reading it. This book is almost florid in comparison with his other work and I really love it. It’s not a long book but it’s dense and delicious like chocolate mousse.

Now what I’m reading next.

Next up I’m SO excited to finally get to read Bad Sex on Speed by Jerry Stahl. We know I love JerryStahl in a creepy I’d probably stare at him from across an aisle on the bus in a really creepy way kind of love. I haven’t been able to afford to get this but I have a tiny bit of mad money so I’m buying it. I’m into it.

Then I’m going to read Mona Lisa Overdrive by William Gibson. I found I have a copy and realized I hadn’t read it.

OH ALSO shit guys I almost forgot.

Quite a while back I entered a tiny piece of erotic experimental flash fiction and won a spot in Solarcide’s Sinthology.  You can buy it there or through Amazon here soon. I am so excited about that story. It’s tiny but it’s a mix of two tinier flash pieces, and two poems. I reformatted and actually used special formatting and am really excited it was successful. So go get some.

Now for some other stuff I’m into right now.

First up from Linden Avenue via their tumblr. They are looking for a social media person who can get a small stipend and guest editors. Get the lowdown here.

Also a dear friend of mine is doing an indie zine and if you have a chronic illness or know writers/artists who do SEND THEM HERE.

Um so yeah.

I think that’s all for right now I’m exhausted.

 

 

Drudgery of Writers work.

I am in the middle of the drudgery of writing.

Cleaning up my rejection pile/excel sheet.

Checking how long whatever pieces have been out.

Sent two queries and one  withdrawal.

Checking some zines for updates.

Pining for an answer, even a fuck off stop talking to us type answer.

I seem to have a penchant for submitting to zines when they mysteriously stop updating their online presences.

I’m following tumblrs, liking facebook pages. Checking out some recommended stuff.

I’ve done some necessary research.

Written a short poet statement. I may actually put that here if I get rejected from there. It’s true enough.

What I’m not doing right now is writing.

I’m too keyed up from a bullshit 2 hour commute. Cat calls, creepy old men thinking I’m a hooker. Police activity in my neighborhood.

But this is part of doing it.

This is grinding. This is the shit I don’t always enjoy. But it’s necessary.

I’ve been considering pitching my first thing and I’m honestly in fucking knots about it. I’m not sure if I want to write the things and stuff first. I think that might make me feel better.

How about some stats?

According to Duotrope:

OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 9 4 3 2
Sent Past 12 Months: 51 34 10 7
Sent This Month: 6 2 3 1
Acceptance Ratio: 37.5%* 35.7%* 50%* 25%*

I’m fairly pleased with how things are going. I need to get some stuff finished and get it out into the wild.

Gotta drive down that acceptance ratio one rejection at a time.

According to my spreadsheet with this last withdrawal I’m at #76. Race you to 100, When I get there I’ll post the whole list.

Now if y’all will excuse me I feel gross and stinky. I’m going to bathe and read.

Later this week I have some ruminations about editing, writing and modern expectations of the super educated mystery author and how that is not really my jam.

Also I’m probably going to kvell all over you about something really cool that someone I admire said to me.

That’s all. Goodnight folks.

More thoughts and Duotrope frustrations.

I’m as usual doing some submitting this week and the story I’m working with right now is very firmly a lesbian story.

That being said, it is a longer piece for me and as I’m using Duotrope to look at magazines I’m running into the same issues I had earlier.

If I switch between general subject matter and GLBTQ subject matter in the search form I go from 1235 to 70.

I know that out of the 1165 magazines that don’t specify whether they take queer stories or not, there is probably one that would love this story. However, as I am looking through magazines and the stories are all White and hetero, I’m not going to submit.

Again, I call into question editors.

I’m honestly just so frustrated.

I’m exhausted.

I don’t want to be an editor, I don’t want to run a literary magazine. I just have no desire to do it so the do it yourself model just doesn’t work for me here.

Yes I know I can just send the fucking story and see what happens and that is normally what I do.

However, it is nice to see a welcome sign sometimes.

I don’t know if it is because I’m not feeling well in general and am thus more sensitive than usual but right now, as I’m trying to get my work done I just feel sad and not welcome.

Yes, guidelines can say that they welcome all sorts of things. Yes in the interview if there is one on Duotrope you can drop Toni Morrison or Junot Diaz’s names. But when I go back four or five issues and there’s nothing to indicate that an editor(s) have ever even seen a non white person, I don’t feel like any talk about the diverse stories a press or zine likes is actually true.

This is one aspect of using Duotrope that as I write more stories that are not taking place in the White Dude’s Literary Canon universe that just gets harder to deal with. I honestly don’t know how to parse how I feel.

I’m at a point where I don’t know what to do with the things that bother me so much.

I don’t know where to turn.

I’m tired and I want to cry.

Sometimes as I’ve said before I don’t want to be trail blazing.

I just want to have some folks read my stories and sometimes like them or want to talk about them.

I’m very frustrated and upset.

I wish I knew how to handle these feelings because I just don’t. I’m choking on them and that’s making the parts of writing that I cherish suck.

I just don’t know.

News in my wee world.

As I’ve been grinding away I have some news.

I have SIX rejections already for this year. I’m feeling like that is pretty good. I’m on a bit of a tear and at rejection #66 of the 100 rejections I’m going for.

I have four pieces scheduled for publication this year thus far.

Most of my rejections have been fairly good ones. A couple of editors have said really nice things about my work.

The bad part is that I feel like my aim is off again.

This happens to me now and then. My instinct for where my work would work out is off. I don’t know why or how but that’s where I’m at right now.

What is funny about the situation is that, even last year I’d stop submitting entirely for a couple of months to work it out. Right now I don’t want to do that at all.  I am putting my head down and doing what I do and making myself get shit done. I’m scared, I’m paranoid. I have moments where as I am submitting, I freeze up and imagine that the editor is going to see my name and groan.

I imagine that in some Sooper Sekrit Editors Room somewhere, editors are shaking their beardy (everyone has beards in my imagination) heads and saying very solemnly, “do not want”.

I let all those thoughts roll right on through my head.

This is one of those things about my personality I tried really hard to change for a long time. I am prone to believing that anyone who knows my name probably hates me, hates my shoes, hates my writing and thinks I’m a dumb asshole.

Over the years, my poor best friend has had to talk me down off of that crazy ledge more than once. Then I would feel so terrible for thinking so little of people I really like.

At this point, I’ve learned that it’s kind of better to just let it happen for a little while, then keep it moving.

I have shit to do, I have no time for my own bullshit.

So, right now I am prepping two more non fiction pieces to be flung out at the world.

There is this other thing I feel like I need to figure out.

I don’t want to talk about it right now. I’m kind of embarrassed about it so I need some time. I know, it’s shocking that I’m not letting all of my ass hang out on the internet.

Other news?

I found the Chromebook I want and will be buying that instead of a 36th birthday tattoo. Unfortunately my PC at home has become too unstable for me to work on and I honestly can’t handle handle losing more of my work. Not the ideal way to spend birthday money but, I have to work.

How about some links?

If you haven’t been published in Smokelong and you write flash fiction, go enter this right now. A no entry fee fellowship thing that pays. I think that is really amazing and beautiful.

Go read How a Wound Heals by Roxane Gay at the Rumpus. Fuck I love her.

While you’re there Jerry Stahl has some events upcoming so see that here. Read more of his OG Dad Column.  Another person I say loudly FUCK I love him.

Now, if you were never a little Black Girl I need you to go read this. Also if you were ever a little Black girl. Just, just read it.

Last for right now, go read this. I saw this just now via my friend Haddayr and damn it. Gorgeousness.

I have work to do.

Things I’m thinking about.

Go forth and read some stuff. Feel free to come back and leave links for stuff for me to read if you think I’d be into it.

 

 

Confessions of a petulant submitter.

I have some confessions to make.

Sometimes, I am a snotty ass unfamous has no right to be such a snob submitter.

For instance.

I have a thing about ugly websites. I have read some fantastic lit mags on the internet that have atrocious eye searing websites. Sometimes I have Angelfire flashbacks. Sparkly text, super bright, multi sized fonts. I won’t submit.

It’s not nice of me since I am neither paying for their sites or being the admin for them.

I just, hate it and can’t stand to see my words all uglyfied.

Yes I make up words.

I’m also finding as I’m doing some more genre specific work, the formatting. Gods, the formatting.

I have to confess. I never use indentation in my work unless it’s for effect.

I don’t mind it in books and whatnot but I don’t use it. I hate the idea of either doing it to get published or yanno not getting published.

I realize this is stupid.

I know, it is not my place to be so snotty about these things. I can’t totally help myself.

I need to do something about that. Remind myself I have no control over these things and I need to bring it down a notch.

I’ll get over it or learn to subdue my snotty tendencies.

I won’t say this is all bad. I did withdraw an erotic story once because the art that was supposed to go with it was of a thin white lady and the story had no thin white lady. I was offended.

There have been other I won’t say racist but let’s say deeply racially insensitive moments like that where my Spidey sense about editorial choices has proven correct.

Therein is another issue.

One of my problems in the erotica markets is the sea of skinny white ladies with their buff white dudes. This is why I tend not to participate in writing challenges in groups because 99% of the time I’m given the mainstream easy perfect porno lady pictures and I just can’t. I’m  not inspired by them.

I don’t want to have stories that are explicitly not the Thin White Lady ideal or thin body centric thing, lost in a sea of tiny assed women in weird positions.

See also why, I’m still kind of not comfortable shopping a book of erotica.

I know that if you put the torso or back view of a skinny white lady on the cover of a book it will sell. I know that. More often than not I see covers that interest me about as much as the idea of douching with Pine Sol and yes I might like or love the author but, I don’t want that to be what goes on with my work.

We see why I will probably never be famous.

I am interested in more self publishing. My ideas about cover images do present a problem. I am not a photographer and don’t really want my picture on every book with a Black person in it. Nor do I want arty air brushed six pack abs on a cover either.

I am thinking of coming up with a cart system for my website that won’t require me to manually send download links to customers. I dunno. I’m kind of frustrated. Not really by low sales but because I can’t come up with a more viable solution.

Or I should just swallow my distaste for the going manner of cover and just get together my erotic chapbook and shop it.

Fuck I don’t know.

I drive myself crazy. This is an aspect of my personality that I have yet to learn to effectively deal with. So I blog.

That’s all. I’m working on my first sci fi flavored thing. I will probably make it a free download at some point.