Category Archives: things to read

Some Win and Some Angst.

Y’all.

I’m having a strange, wonderful and terrible week. I returned from vacation to a huge, costly emergency thing that has sent me into a panic spiral I’ve been trying to claw my way out of. I’ve been trying to work on stuff while stuck in a panic circle and shit is hard.

I’m getting through it and we have financial shit handled. It’s tight and stressful but we’re doing it.

AND THEN.

So this happened:

mypome

I posted that poem on Ink Node on my birthday. Read it here.

So that was pretty awesome.

Then I wrote about that Kenneth Goldsmith thing. Read it at Medium.

I imagine those of you who’ve been around these parts for a while can hear me sigh from here. I am not surprised. I am also not surprised by the dazzling lack of word from other famous White people.

But seriously, do better.

At this point, this type of blind privilege being swung like a hammer is just banal. I’m tired and I’m not even really angry I’m just tired.

Honestly when I read about this shit, a lot of what I’m thinking is how much people get paid for it. And then I think about my own finances and that of other writers who are writing really great literature that doesn’t shit on people and we don’t make dick.

I think about the fact that this bullshit will probably not cause this dude’s pockets to be any emptier.

I think about the fact that real talk, I am struggling to keep my writing sustainable. It’s just so infuriating. It’s so fucking hard.

It’s so hard to keep producing the kind of writing folks are getting to know me for when I’m juggling the 12 hour dayjob work days (I include my 4 hour round trip commute), trying to write Self Care Like A boss for release, write new fiction, write poems, work with precarious tech. Try to get published blablablablabbity blabla fuck I’m poor and so tired.

While trying to have a life with my partner and sometimes buy new shoes.

Sometimes I feel like, okay who’s gonna give me money to be a professional asshole?

I guess I’m having one of those weeks where the stress and just bullshit is getting to me. Yeah, fuck yeah I’m fucking bitter about this.

I’m exhausted.

I just want to make my fucking art and maybe make enough money to buy stuff like software and maybe a really great drink once in a while without feeling like I have to sacrifice and walk the line between okay and oh shit. I want to be free to be more excited about the good writing things going on in my life without this bullshit getting in the way.

I don’t know man.

This shit ain’t romantic.

I think that’s all for right now. This is not what I wanted to talk about today. Come back tomorrow and I’ll be talking about a new podcast I like and K Tempest Bradford’s evil anti White dude (insert eye roll here..oh internets) reading challenge. Also it’s not really anti White dude at all just to be clear.

So go read my things there. I’m actually really proud of them.


Every Day I’m Hustlin

For reference this is the song that inspired the title.

The salient bit if you don’t like hip hop is the first line of the verse:

Who the fuck you think you fuckin’ with, I’m the fuckin’ boss

I am trying to embody this. Hustlin.

So some shit has gone down y’all.

I wrote most of a rant on my phone after a woman tried to give me some bullshit fashion advice. I posted it on Medium because I say a few bad words and I wasn’t sure where to pitch it.

Check it out here.

I posted it on facebook and a few other places as is my habit, forgot about it and went on to work on some other shit.

Then THIS MOTHER FUCKING HAPPENED OVER THE WEEKEND:

In the top 20 most recommended on Medium. Holy...shit.

In the top 20 most recommended on Medium. Holy…shit.

HOLY FUCKING SHIT TOP 20. A lot of people have read it. A lot of people have expressed thanks and gratitude and appreciation and shit.

And I had a panic attack.

I should confess that on the rare occasion I write something that garners a whole lot of positive feedback from people I don’t know, I freak out. I did not have a complete meltdown. I am feeling overwhelmed and super anxious. Growing pains but I did declare to my best friend that I didn’t throw up nor did I get the shits so semi win?

I have been listening to the Feelin Myself track from the Nicki Minaj Pink Print album a lot. Gotta cheer myself on you know.

So the next thing to happen was that I pitched for the first time. Like an adult. And it got accepted. Over at Witty Bitches (a new and rad site) I wrote a piece about race and feminism. Not for free and It feels pretty damn good. Lookit here:

This is a battle cry.

For my fellow nerds, this is me calling the horde.

These people, who wouldn’t know intersectional feminism if it farted in their faces, are ruining it for all of us.

As I saw on a t-shirt, they look like just enough XP for us to level up.

Read it here. 

That piece also began on my phone as a rant started on Oscar night.

So things are going very nicely right now.

I’m also getting back into the swing of submitting fiction and navigating it without Duotrope. It is interesting. So far I have two pieces out and will probably send around a couple more.

I put up a new Queen poem at Ink Node.

I’m trying not to freak out further. Anxiety is a mother fucker. I’m not here for it frankly.

All that said I have more new stuff in my pocket.

That’s all for now. I’m going to go try and adult writer without freaking out or otherwise having a meltdown.

 

 


Musings on Flash Fiction.

First I have to confess something.

When I started participating in Yeah, Write it was mostly for my own lols. One of the methods I use to keep writing is that I pick a thing and play with it as I mentioned way back here.

Now with flash fiction I add the layer of the word count restriction. And another confession I write 90% of my flash on my phone while I wait for or am on buses.

Normally I start out with a voice or a setting. My last Yeah, Write  entry Driver was inspired by a few things. I like to have shows playing in the background at work and one day I was watching ghost hunter shoes along with having watched a terrible movie with an unhinged psychic. Something we never see are psychics in their off time.

What happens?

Who do they want to talk to?

Voila Driver was born.

I wrote that piece like a year and a half ago. I submitted it a few places. Got soundly rejected. I changed it a tiny bit, did another round of submissions and all form thanks but no thanks rejections.

Most of the pieces I’ve used for my Yeah Write entries have been often rejected that way. I have thought for the past two years that maybe the way I write them is as I was told once just wrong.

Another confession. I find the stridency of the mantra that flash must be a story-story kind of boring. I think the idea that a story is only a real story if it follows the Western plot arc is just..boring.

I like ambiguous endings. I like the conflict not being all in your face. I like not being certain while I read a story what is what.

I feel like flash is my way of learning to really make people feel something in a tight space. One of my Yeah Write pieces got the worst rejection ever of, we just didn’t feel anything (insert poor author whimpering here) and yeah. That one cut to the bone and set me back on my heels.

For quite a while I treated my flash like I treated my poetry. Just as little scribbly shits I did in order to get to more important shit. Honestly y’all I really was feeling like okay maybe I don’t know what I’m doing so I should just put these away.

And then Yeah, Write happened.

I really enjoy the diversity that can happen inside of flash fiction as a thing. I really feel like one of the purposes of literature as an art form is to expose readers to new worlds and different people. I write a lot of people, some of them are the sorts I’ve run into in my life and you might have never come across.

Then a look into a world, a room if you will that you do not belong in and that is awesome to me.

I love having the option as a reader to just have a taste of something new. I don’t always need a whole mouthful or a whole thing. Just a bite. An appetizer.

I love being left wanting more.

More story, more of a particular voice or just more of an author. I feel like flash is a super awesome way to get that.

As a writer I feel like Flash is such a rich place to play. Dip your toes in genre fiction or narrators you might not be able to tolerate for a long period of time. Work out a voice.

I am so glad someone peer pressured me into trying Yeah,Write. It has been so much fun.

Next week I might give the non fiction grid a shot. WHO KNOWS.

Now I have a hellacious head cold. My drugs are wearing off and I’m very tired. So here, check out the piece I put up at Medium about aging and fashion. LOOK I can write non fiction that isn’t rip my heart out stuff. Whoa.


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.


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