Category Archives: things to read

Yeah Write #202 Entry- Junky

 

Junky

by

Shannon Barber

How can I remember his snake’s name and not his?

His snake was named Percival the Pirate.

I remember his pale skin and terrible dye jobs. His long fingers and scratchy junkie voice.

I loved him the way you love the dog that shits on your floor then cuddles you when you cry.

When he was blue, I pounded on him and slapped his face screaming promises of retribution and butt sex until I hit his heart hard enough to get him going again.

I remember his terror, his voice broken like a child whispering into their mother’s ear at midnight, ragged words for nightmares too real to stay secret.

“Nobody is holding. Nobody.”

His voice in the phone echoed the reality of childhood nightmares.

He loved me. As much as he knew how to love anything. He loved me enough to never touch me. I would lay naked as he devoured me with greedy eyes. I showed him everything from the hot secret of my wide open cunt to my shy asshole.

He loved me in hot greedy looks and embraces so tight we couldn’t breathe.

The last time, I pounded his chest and screamed in his face. I screamed at the paramedics. I learned to hate him when I stood almost alone by his coffin.

I swear that mother fucker was smiling.

I hate him still.

I will love him forever.

###

ps…

Loosely based on someone I knew.RIP you fuck.


A New thing and some other things.

First thing my last  comment on my now infamous Paris Review Post is up as the featured essay in Literary Orphans.

The title is a nod to 2pac. This song in case you don’t know it.

What else?

I’m working on some new non fiction. An attempt at humor about sex work. My failed career as a foot fetish ho. Also in the pipeline some queer flash fiction, some more non fiction this time about my relationship with Western Beauty Ideals and how I came to reject them outright.

Shit even some poetry.

Speaking of poetry I have a new one up at Ink Node. 

I’m still working on my freelance shit. Y’all.

I find the whole process so intimidating. I have a collection of resources and some basic how to shit and I know I just have to fucking write the shit.

OH I will have some book reviews coming up as well. I’ve read some good stuff and I will probably dedicate an entry to the Sherman Alexie book I’m reading because several of my favorite of his short works are in it. It is just so damn good.

How about some more stuff to read?

Check out this interview at The Rumpus with poet Danez Smith.  Ugh yes. Fuck yes. Yes.

My Muse and beloved dear friend writer Remittance Girl posted this the other day about Bad Men.

This bit:

Do you ever get the sneaking suspicion life would be a lot easier if we shut up about our erotic fantasies? I do.

Just read it.

I am going to talk about this at greater length later but a lot of my work is rife with various evils. Some of them erotic, some not. It is what moves me and I want to go in about it because I find it really important to talk about. For now go read that.

OH y’all. So I am obsessed with podcasts and I gotta shoutout Mick Betancourt. A.) He’s a funny mother fucker. B.) he’s posted some tidbits of his memoir in progress. Just go look. Listen.

Also this is an old episode but another of my favorite authors Craig Davidson was on the LA Review of Books. Check it out. 

Tood Robinson from Thuglit posted a cool little Q&A type video on facebook. If you like your lit dark and grimy you for real need to read Thuglit. I’m serious and I’m not just saying that because I was in it once. Just do it.

Now a bit of self promotion.

As ever (I am getting better about keeping it updated) you can come like my official author page on Facebook here.

You can follow me on twitter @weebeasty but I warn you I ain’t shit. I livetweet things like my period and when I get street harassed. So yeah. That.

Read ALL the XOjane Self care articles here.

Milcah and I are working like hell on Self Care Like a Boss ahead of us birthing the book. Follow along here.

Keep your eye on the etsy shop. I have some new smut to add soon. I’m talking gender bending, Daddy/Girl/, Literary fetish deep dicking type shit. Until then a current favorite from readers is Bite An Erotic Tale. Remember this is grown folks lit.

Here is a taste:

He starts to speak and I lay my hand over his mouth and shake my head.

“Oh no. Not tonight. Shhh.”

I tilt my head forward and use my other hand to yank the collar of his shirt down to expose a patch of his fuzzy skin. I have to stand on tiptoe and use the hand on his mouth for leverage to get myself to the right height and angle, when I’m satisfied I lean in and bite.

OKAY enough. I have work to do.

What are y’all up to?


Yeah Write #200 entry- A New Girl for Nyarlathotep

A New Girl for Nyarlathotep

by Shannon Barber

“I want to be the vehicle of your annihilation.”

Her voice is smooth and she speaks slowly and carefully. I want to look away but can’t. Her big black eyes have me. I try to speak and fail, fidget with my drink.

“I don’t offer empty handed.”

Something about her manner incites a kind of gibbering desire deep inside me. It bubbles and burns like a madness that starts between my legs and spreads through me until I’m helpless and craving a darkness beyond midnight.

Her smile is wide and white, her teeth gleam against her dark lips. She leans forward and strokes my cheek with soft long fingers.

“I know the darkness you seek. The blackness you try to create in your body. I know that in your dreams you hear them, you know the dreams of the Old Gods.”

Her voice grinds to a gravid whisper, it pulls me in and holds me tight. Her words are a hand around my throat and one locked around my soul. I haven’t spoken in hours and when I do, I don’t recognize the cracked oozing thing that has become my voice.

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” 

Her head tips back and she laughs, the noise is grating and enormous. Everything around us drops away to nothing, now that the darkness is revealed to me, the darkness I know I was born from. Nothing else can matter in the grip of the Old Gods.

I rock back and forth, my drinks and drugs and cigarettes forgotten. The Eldritch madness is coming, it is pouring into me like foul black water and I open my mouth wide to take it.

She leaves me there, screaming.

“Dead and dreaming dead and dreaming dead and dreaming dead and dreaming…”

I am hers, I know her name she is called Nyarlathotep. She is the daughter of Azathoth, she is the obscene desire in me and the horror I have been craving my whole life.

I am not her first. I will not be her last.

I will be hers, I will follow her into the darkness. I will ride her thousand forms and live in her crawling chaos.

Dead and dreaming, dead and dreaming…

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn. Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.

###

p.s

I will be back tomorrow talking about why this little thing is special to me and my relationship with Lovecraft.


Suttree by Cormac McCarthy A review.

 

A new favorite book.

A new favorite book.

I just finished this book and wow.

Okay first thing is I’m already pretty into McCarthy’s work. Blood Meridian is one of my favorite book. We know I like it dark and grim and  he does it.

I think Suttree might now be my favorite McCarthy book. Read the synopsis here. 

The thing about this book that I love is how well McCarthy captures the casual racism of 1950’s Knoxville and also captures that singular usage of racial slurs that are not backed by implicit hate. They are there, a lot but not overdone and not as some authors make the mistake of doing always used in a very hateful context.

The Black folks in this book behaved appropriately. In their own neighborhood and establishments while they were a bit deferential, they weren’t shuck and jive negroes that populate other books.

There is something very specific about that time period and how Black and white people who are within the same socioeconomic (or close) class interact that was captured so well. It wasn’t the bucolic oh look they could ALL get along, but it wasn’t abject fear and horror.

I LOVE the language and usage in this book. McCarthy is a master with language and this book is no exception. The finesse of using the vernacular of the time, of the Black folks of the time, of the poor uneducated southerners and then every now and then slipping in this beautifully used 7$ vocabulary gave me chills. I am an absolute fool for the ability to manipulate language that way and this book, god damn it.

Even the language around how Suttree interacts with a black queer man up through the end of the book is palpably both loving and a little grossed out.

The whole book has that magic in it, the rhythm of the plot is meandering and at moments turns very sharp but never in a way that takes the reader out of the story. Shit happens and like most of McCarthy’s work there is a lot of darkness in this book and the darkness makes the beautiful moments glitter.

Often when I read books during this time period a few things happen. Often they are all White utopia’s where your average White dude spent a lot of time not saying nigger or worrying about race relations, the conflicts of the time are ignored, or it is Black folks pain porn in one form or another. Or it is LOOK THEY WERE FRIENDS AND LIVED PEACEFULLY TOGETHER IN THE SUPER DEEP SOUTH AND POWER POLITICS DIDN’T PLAY INTO IT AT ALL…*ahem the help*.

I am not old enough to have lived at the time but, I was very blessed to have had access to Black people who did. Some I was related to some not.

There is a lot of nuance in race relations during that time especially in the deep South. Beyond that there are shades of racism and realities that to write that time period successfully while including interaction between White and Black people, it’s just difficult.

This book will be difficult reading for some. The racism, the poverty, the grim winter and general darkness. For those who aren’t deterred, if you’re going to read McCarthy read this one.

It meanders beautifully. Some have said it is overlong but I don’t agree. The language is so beautifully done, it could have gone on more and I would have been happy. The POV shifts are done masterfully and smoothly.

This book reminds me of the blues, roots, bluegrass etc music I like. Some of it is so damn sad and terrible you want to lay down and cry. But it’s done so beautifully you want the pain.

So to wrap up.

Read this fuckin book.

That’s all.

I’ll be back with some craft notes maybe tomorrow and next week I’ll be back in Yeah Write with more flash.

I also want to mention that my dear friend Dena Rash Guzman talked about some recent lit world nonsense and said some nice stuff about my work. Get it at Luna Luna.

I feel like I might talk about subversion again. And the general lack of it in the lit world right now. I also probably want to talk about my poetry. I have some feels and whatnot.

AND (shit I have a lot to do, I’ve been sick for weeks and am way off my game) I really want to discuss some important feeling decisions I’ve made of late in regard to my writing.

So yeah LOTS to talk about.

Right now I’m gonna go try to write my first op-ed type thing and chug some mighty fine ass coffee.


Well 2015 has begun

So officially I’m hard at work on Self Care Like A Boss.

I forgot to pay my Duotrope dues. I low key am not pressed about it honestly. If I am to get my money’s worth I need to finish a pile of work so I am not going to pay/submit until then.

That said I already have one rejection. Nobody but me likes my tiny tiny flash stories. That one is a wee thing that has gotten itself five rejections so far? I’m not super worried about that either. At least every 8-10 months nobody publishes a word I write. Then there’s a flurry (often the same stories that I’ve been flinging into the universe) and then nothin.

So is the life of the short fiction writer type.

I have been sick as a dog and got some real bad news last week. I’ve been alternately depressed, pissed off and in general out of sorts.

And naturally writing it out.

So what else am I working on?

Lots of many fictions:

  • Tiny flash story about prostitutes.
  • More poetry about women.
  • Short story about a dry addict at an important crossroads.
  • Some horror about exorcism,
  • Some lesbian blood/knife related kinky smut.

There are other bits and bobs as well.

Right now I’m trying to not totally burrito myself in sorry and awfulness.

The only way I know to get through bad shit is write and run through it.

So what am I reading right now?

A few things.

Self-Loathing & Other Forms of Cynicism: Volume One by Laramore Black. I have read a bit of Laramore’s writing and enjoy it a lot. This collection is dark and gritty but there are little moments of real prettiness that just delight me. I’ll review when I’m done.

Also- no wait how about some pictures? Some stuff from the .50 cent book cart, gifts, and my wee haul from the Thriftbooks sale.

Books from the 50 cent cart.

Books from the 50 cent cart.

 

From the Cart.

From the Cart.

This is from myf avorite piece in Will Work For Drugs by Lydia Lunch. About Lifelong insomnia.

This is from myf avorite piece in Will Work For Drugs by Lydia Lunch. About Lifelong insomnia.

Lucky for my back they are not ALL in my bag right now. I have a terrible habit of doing that. Carrying like 3-5 paperbacks of varying sorts, notebook, pens, tea, emergency tampons and other writer survival things.

I also just read this piece over at Shotgun Honey and it is lovely. Go read it.

If you use Spotify this is my writing playlist. I love spotify so hard. It’s almost as good as having my own personal collection to hand.

I think that’s all for right now. I have a banging ass headache, my nose is running and I’m supposed to be doing dayjob shit.

I’ll be back tomorrow for Yeah Write. 

OH shit I almost forgot I also have a newish poem up at Ink Node. Another in the Queen series.

So that’s all for reals.

Later y’all.


Holy damn a new year.

I’m running on fumes right now. If you could see my gauge for things like REM sleep and whatnot it’s real low.

My insomnia not withstanding it is 20 mother fucking 15. Weird.

SO come and join Milcah and I at the Self Care Like a Boss Blog. 

Go open that in a new tab and I’ll be here.

I had to write an intro post and it was way harder to do than I had anticipated. While I have blogged for years and occasionally written the essay about myself they have all been around issues.

I tried to come at it from a memorist type perspective. Why the fuck didn’t anybody tell me how hard that is?

I had these ideas about how awesome and wonderful I’d be. I thought I knew what I wanted to say and then….yeah no shit was hard.

It wasn’t even that long and it felt gut wrenching. It was all the shit I’m scared of and feeling and I did it.

I had this moment while I was working on it (whilst in the throes of a migraine and 10/10 would not recommend that as a method of work) I had this little list in another window. Shit that I can’t write about yet because I don’t know how. Or I’m just too scared.

I knew I was poking the right stuff when I felt vomity while I was working and then wanted to crap my pants after Milcah published it.

After that I’ve decided that I will dip my toes in memoir but I’m not ready to jump all the way in.

Of course that means I’m going to try it.

I may or may not publish the memoir flavored stuff but my little roach brain who is also a sadist says do it.

I suppose that is 90% of my writing mission this year. Write that shit.

What else?

I don’t even know y’all. I would like to finish some new fiction. I have some stuff to shiny up and launch into the space.

What are you doin?

How was your new year and stuff?

Is your body ready?


End of the Year Things.

I’m closing out the year on an insomniac uh, I hate to say downward spiral but my brain is not doing the thing and I have not been rebooted so yeah.

So instead of my general end of year navel gazing I’m gonna talk decisions.

Hard ones.

  1. I’m not going to go hard for freelance work. That’s been a killer for me. I want to do it, I have that urge to be a go getting type writer spreading my words across ALL the platforms but that’s just not how I work. I want to trust my own process, remember I’m not a journalist nor do I aspire to be one and be okay.
  2. I also have decided to stop writing about racism for free. Remember the Paris Review shitshow? All those views, nice comments with a side of a few super amatuer trolls. My pain and spleen. And again, I feel like I got little in return. Now I did gain some new readers (HEY y’all) and some new folks have been exposed to my work. I also know for a FACT that several other writers (no I’m not naming nor linking for reasons) made money off the back of what I wrote. They GOT PAID because I wrote about my fucking pain and let down. That’s fucked up. No kickback, no thank you, at least three people didn’t even bother to name me fully, drop a link to my blog here or my website (all of which are easy to find) or anything. So after that happening when I was fat blogging and several times blogging here I’m just…yeah. Fuck you pay me. I’m not going to bleed all over here only to see that some nice White folks regurgitate my words and say I’m inspiration so they can get paid and I get shit.
  3. That said, I don’t know -where- to write about racism in the way I do because see #1. I dunno. I have some ideas I’m thinking about but given how things have gone I don’t see them happening.

Quite frankly I have honestly had enough of being undervalued and having my work taken willy nilly.

I’m pretty done with being told I’m “inspirational” but when it comes time to share around the rewards of work put in, crickets.

Here’s the thing. When I write this stuff, I deal with the trolls and being called names and the threats etc by myself. I have to keep commenting on lockdown, even though it interferes with things like Yeah Write because I give enough of a shit not to expose the world to every asshole who wants to come call me a racist cunt or tell me I deserve to lose my job and die.

Other decisions.

I don’t really want more regular positions anywhere. My current 12 hour work days (including my commute), the general state of my health, my precarious tech at home, etc. all mean my writing time is finite and precious. So I’ll stick with XoJane and maybe if something else catches my eye I might submit nonfiction type shit other places but yeah. I’m tired.

You know I’m not a big fan of being in the position of needing to change how I work so I don’t feel like I’m being stolen from.

I really don’t.

I was going to quickly close down this spot, but I’m not doing that again.

I’m struggling, but I believe that if my work is good enough to use for source material, for it to be straight up jacked it is good enough to be paid for.

Now for some decisions that are more fun.

  • More craft stuff. I have really enjoyed being of help to other writers and I still love talking out my process even as it changes or evolves.
  • More book reviews. I constantly forget to update goodreads and forget to in depth review stuff I love but there will be more of that.

Now another important thing.

Over at Self Care Like a Boss come get to know me a little bit. Feel free to follow us on tumblr and share what you find over there far and wide.

I think that’s all. I have a lot of writing to do and I’m terribly tired.

I hope 2015 brings all of you all the success and love and everything you need.

To us all I say-

Don’t Stop. Get it. Get it.


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