How a Cowboy is Born. New Mythos

Welcome loves!

I’m going to be doing a new thing. Over at Patreon, I’m going to be posting some craft essays with some extras. I’ll reprint the essays here without the extras. What are the extras you ask?

Might be a WIP, might be a curated playlist, might be a writing exercise. Want to get in on that? Head over to Patreon and drop a dollar a month. For real that’s all it takes and you’ll get that AND get in on that Daiyuverse action.

NOW let’s get on with the mythos. Go get a snack, I’m going in.

Welcome to Nerdtown population you and me.

You ready to get down with some deep dorking about writing and myth creation? LET US NERD!

Few things before we get going.

If you are a Patron, you’re seeing this about a week before I blog it. That is a new thing, we talked about it and here it is.

If you are reading my blog and want early access to craft shit, WIPs and stuff, join me at Patreon for as little as a DOLLAR A MONTH YO!

Ready?

First for reference material I’m going to be referring to my cowboy/mermaid myth that was in the first issue of Rigorous. Link here, feel free to follow along.

Let’s get started.

One of the things I enjoy playing with is myth creation. I’ve long been a fan of mythology from the European classics we all learned in school to myths from the African Diaspora, Afro-diasporic religions, indigenous religion and myth. I love it. For our purposes I’m considering myth to be a broad umbrella term that covers religions, mythos worlds like Lovecraft, etc. Vampires, werewolves, fairies, Gods/esses. All that stuff is mythos for us.

For me creating or remixing mythos is a combination of what if, I wish and let’s roll with it and see what happens. I am using the I wish method to create an expansion to what we can consider a Western by introducing mythic magical elements. As we see in the Cowboy and Mermaid myth, I took the idea of a long gunslinger (inspired by a re-read of the Gunslinger) and I had very specific things I wanted to do:

  • I wanted to inject Blackness into a Western.
  • I wanted to figure out, what would happen to the mermaids in a dry dessert world.
  • I wanted to give the sense that there was a mythos/reality in place in this world.
  • I wanted to tell a magical story the way I would tell a realist story.

Before getting into mythos remixing, it is highly importance to do your research. Remixing doesn’t mean you can take what is sacred and poop on it. I mean, you can but it is a dick move and nobody needs to be that person. For the new cowboy myth, I’m working with, as I was starting it I had a basic framework to deal with.

  • Another lone cowboy on foot
  • Vengeance (inspired by watching the reboot of the Magnificent 7)
  • Loas
  • A huge black horse
  • GAYS

These are, in terms of classic Western mythos, very disparate things. Westerns have Christian churches, steely eyed white dudes and gays well, we know.

How did I start?

The great thing about being a writer is that, you get to make it up as you go along. My basic is this. We have the lone, broken hearted cowboy on a mission. Why? (SPOILERS) his town was destroyed by oil/railroad barons. His family, everyone is dead. Classic right?

I decided to give our gays very prominent role. They are going to be the bridge between the classic Western, they fucked up my town now they gotta die, to the mystical. I don’t want to disrupt the Western so much as tweak it, instead of finding the sheriff, our cowboy is going to be taken to visit a Loa who, in this world has several manifestations and it is just how it is.

In creating or remixing mythos, don’t dither. This is where you as a creator need to drive it like you stole it. For mythos creation, I recommend some notes. If you get nerdy like me, sometimes a framework as opposed to a full outline is enough. You can use my bullet list method, decide on who is telling the story, what is in the world, what myths you want and go. Be bold, own it and don’t be afraid to just go for it and see what happens.

Now back to our cowboy.

In this story, I wanted to create a world where the Loas are the dominant gods. And they hang around but, I don’t want them to be presented in the horrible racist way a lot of things to do with Afro-diasporic religions. Frequently, we are presented with the scary ignorant savage trope and that is crap. So, prior to starting I did a lot of reading by people who are practitioners, I paid close attention to how they talked about the way they feel when they communicate with their Loas.

For me as a writer, part of my general mission in my creative life is staying in my lane and being as respectful as I can to the material that influences and inspires me. I feel it is my responsibility as a writer to do my research and consider carefully how to use the source material. I want to show actual love and appreciation and not the I LOVE U I DO WHAT I WANT type.

If you are a White writer, inspired by cultures outside of your own this is triply, eleventy million times more important. If you want to think of it selfishly, you don’t want to be dragged in public and to be bigger about it, you don’t want to insult and demean the people you are appreciating.

What next?

Next, we play.

Not enough talk about writing includes this and I’ve found it to be an integral part of my process. Even when I’m writing serious material, I want to play. I want to fool around in the world I’m making, play with detail and textures and speech. Writing fiction doesn’t have to be all serious business.

Now how about a lil taste of the new Cowboy myth?

“Thank you kind sir. It has been too long since my shadow was welcome across any doorstep.” Warmed and calm the man took a table and ordered himself a feast. Salty fried potatoes, meat patties, beer and a request to the piano player for something bubbly. The piano player refused his coin and sat rocking before playing an effervescent bright tune that had every toe tapping. As the sun set outside, the café began to fill with a colorful array of patrons.

No one treated him like a stranger, folks nodded, some stopped to talk to him and one tall freckled man with a ginger afro and gold hoops in his nose sat and presented the man with a little cake. “Hello and good evening sir. My name is Andreas and you are?” The stranger smiled at the cake then the man. “My name is Francis. Good evening to you, eh may I?” Andreas nodded, “please do or you’ll like hurt my husbands feelings. He makes little sweets for folks and you look like a man in need of a sweet. I recommend having it with a brandied coffee.”

Once the coffee came, Francis bit into the little cake and closed his eyes. Heady vanilla so strong it was almost musky followed by the slight tang of spices he couldn’t name made him see stars. “Your husband, has a gift sir. This is the best cake I’ve ever head, pray don’t tell my Mama Gods rest her sweet soul. What a gift, how can I repay your kindness?”

Let’s talk a little about my process and how this story is being shaped.

Okay strap in, I’m gonna show you my brain. The initial push for this story came from the cover of the Hank Williams song, I’m So Lonesome I could Cry as done by Johnny Cash and Nick Cave.

I like to sing this version to myself and as I was doing so on my way to work, I had a vision of another cowboy. Said cowboy hung around my brain not saying anything for a few weeks and then my partner and I watched the reboot of the Magnificent 7 (excellent, very enjoyable eye candy) and that first glimpse of Denzel as a cowboy, my cowboy started talking and said, “I want every one of those motherfuckers dead.”

The general arc of this story reflects my personal interest in the manifestations of the vengeance narrative that doesn’t just involve some rando angry white dude. I have a thing with that and well, I’m just gonna go with it. I’ve not really tried it out pairing it with a Western aesthetic so, I figured why not?

Throw in some Zydeco music, my person relationship with Baron Samedi and frequent conversations with my personal group of dieties and here we are. The soundtrack for Black Rider is moving from a lot of Johnny Cash, Dr. John, The Blues Brothers, Buckwheat Zydeco, and the exquisite version of Psycho by Teddy Thompson from that awful Psycho film reboot soundtrack. Film=garbage, soundtrack=100%.

I’m not totally sure how our cowboy is going to meet the Black Rider or if he will. I don’t know yet, I’m leaning towards he will because I want to try my hand at writing a big ass gun fight influenced by the Haitian Revolution and the mythos surrounding how it got started. Why? Why not!

Okay my loves there you have it. This is how the Cowboy in this myth is born.

Next time, I’ll talk some about how the voices of things manifest in my brain.

Questions? Comments? HAVE AT IT YO!!

 

 

 

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Welcome to Rejectionland.

As promised when I hit 100 rejections I’d share with y’all.

Go here and have a look. It is in alphabetical order.

So holy shit I finally made it. I had no idea it would take so damn long.

Overall I’m mostly pleased.  Some of my acceptances have been stellar. I haven’t submitted quite as much as I had planned but on the other hand I’m really into what I have been doing. I think I have found the happy medium between super productivity and keeping a bit of a submission schedule.

Also on that page you’ll see I made swings at a few magazines more than once. We can consider these my personal LET ME LOVE YOU WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME list.

There are certain magazines I love so much I just want to be in them…yeah I know that sounds creepy.

I’m pretty happy right now. I’m trying to get into a slightly different rhythm as far as writing time does.  I’m trying to figure out given my sleep difficulties, if I can try getting up earlier and going to sit at Starbucks and work for a couple of hours before work or if I want to try going to sit in a diner and work for an hour or so at night. Or I need one of those bed rest things and a lapdesk to work at home.

I’ll probably do that last thing especially with the weather getting ready to take a turn.

What else?

I’m going to be one of the featured authors in a new thing curated by Anna March over at Literary Orphans. Due out October 16th!. I am so honored and excited to be a part of this series exploring identity. That was the important thing that made me throw up.  Even if people don’t like or get my essay I know for a dead ass fact that I wrote the fuck out of that shit. That my friends is my blood and guts on the page and I am very proud of myself.

As far as writing non fiction goes I’m not super afraid to reveal just how much of an asshole I am. What I am terrified of is being naked and vulnerable. That piece is showing my tender underbelly to the entire fucking world and it makes me feel weird.

I don’t have any other news right now. I’m trying to restock my larder and working on finishing up some stuff. A few old stories pulled out of the ether, some new stories. Here’s a tidbit from one where the MC is trying to channel Lydia Lunch for reasons. Here’s said bite:

The woman in the mirror smiles at me, I smile back. I look good tonight. Lashes are right, lips deep bloody red, my new weave is a work of pink and black magic. I stand up and examine myself in one of the full length mirrors.

“God damn girl, take a week off and come back looking like that. Lemme see.”

And why yes it is about/narrated by a stripper why do you ask?

And that’s all. Later taters.

Am I allowed?

I am very very tired. So please excuse anything overly obvious I say or that I may ramble more than usual.

I have been working on this little loosely themed collection of erotic/explicit/literary stories. All flash sized, between 250-1000 words.

As I’ve been doing these I have all these um, let’s say academic flavored thoughts about the purpose of what I’m doing. About what I am playing with and exploring not because I think it’s commercially viable (as in publishable) but because I need to walk the land and see what’s going on.

I was listening to Junot Diaz speak (I KNOW I am kind of obsessed ok, listening to him talk about writing and reading is very soothing to me)  and he said something about art and play and I had a boom holy shit moment.

This little nerdy thing I am doing is art.

This is my art.

Holy. Shit.

For as much as I believe other writers make art, Remittance Girl, M. Christian, etc etc they make art.  In my head everyone but me makes art and is an artist and that in my head is this big beautiful lofty thing.

It is a penultimate thing to me. The height of what makes me happy.

I haven’t ever been comfortable allowing myself to try and inhabit that place. the idea that I could be an artist or that anything I do writing, crocheting, photography etc could be art I get very anxious.

I feel nauseated and weird and generally like I am some fake ass dilettante or similar low rent poseur.

And then if I let myself think about it more I shut it down and tell myself to shut my shit mouth and get to work. I am a worker. I put my head down and get to it. I work/commute for 12 hours of my day and I go home and I fucking work.

I work.

Someone like me (poor, worker) can’t join the ranks of artists because in my head, artists are above. I am not up there.

I know that part of this is my upbringing, part of it is the depths of admiration I have for art. How much I value and respect everything I consider art.

I tell myself I can totally write and I can create and I am a creative person. I am a writer. Sometimes I think I’m a pretty good writer.

But I couldn’t consider anything I was doing art.

I wouldn’t say it.

I have had no problem personifying myself as the Rocky archetype or the laborer.  I know that my roach brain survives  I can work through everything (see me being so exhausted right now my hands are shaking but I’m at work) , My War by Black Flag is playing in my head. I am the Mother Fucker. I am a fucking Beast. I can’t be stopped.

Rawr. Flex. Be afraid.

the moment I think this is art, this is beautiful. I have a total fucking meltdown.

Okay so about a half hour ago or so I said to my best friend that my little dark end of limerence and playing with (fuck that word that starts with a J that I learned from Remittance Girl)- anyway this little thing I am doing is art.

it is my art.

It is me exploring these things. I am doing it.

Maybe because I am so tired, I don’t have the energy to put up the labyrinth in my head to let myself step out of the role I’ve assigned myself and just do my arty shit.

For me art does things. It hurts me, it makes me happy, it arouses me (yes sexually), it terrifies me, it makes me want to crap my pants, it makes me want to cry, it makes me think about it two weeks later,  I want to talk about it and chew on it.

These stories do that for me and I want to share them. Maybe they will do it for someone else.

I am making art.

It feels so strange but I want it to be okay. I want to hold my head up point at something I’ve done and be able to proclaim my artiness. If only to myself.

This is a new adventure.

Under the fold here, have a bit of one of the new things I’m working on from the collection.

At another time I might ask some questions for all however many of you read this. But not today. today I just want to enjoy feeling arty.

Continue reading “Am I allowed?”

A Season of Firsts.

I just sent off my first submission to a spec-fic magazine.

I’ve been watching them for about three years and buying when I can. I feel quite accomplished given how shitty I feel today.

I have a tension headache that is making my skull feel like clockworks that are fighting with each other.

Fight Club in Shannon’s Skull.

The first rule of headache fight club is, see if you can make her puke or cry or shit her pants.

I am prepping another piece to go out. The unloved in print but loved (holy shit by strangers) when I read in Portland.

What else?

OH I already told Roxane (yes that Roxane) about this but I want to talk about it because I’m excited.

A few weeks ago I re-read her little book AytiOn the heels of that reading I spoke to a lady from Haiti on the bus and- wait bear with me. Sometimes my head works in weird ways.

I had asked this lady if she was from Haiti and I heard her say Ayti. It is the accent. So her voice has been knocking around my head. That led me to this video about Haitian Creole pronunciation and memories of the Haitian ladies I knew as a wee kid.

Those things were rattling around in my head, and then something happened.

If you’ve been around for a while you know I have a bit of a fetish for mixing cultural mythologies together in odd ways. One of the stories I am writing right now (as kicked off in my head by Roxane’s book) is a story about Hati the Norse Warg, a little Haitian refugee girl named Bernie and some epic misunderstanding and some horror elements.

I’m calling it the Ayti/Hati/Haiti story.

This is not really classic horror as far as those things go. For me (at least inwardly) it is more the horror of childhood and being picked on and the fantasy of having something Bigger and Badder to back you up. And not being sorry.

Looking at the few finished horror pieces I have that is a common theme for me. Not being sorry.

In a broader sense, in my erotica in my noir stories, in my regular literary fiction I play a lot with No Regrets. With being or doing fucked up things and not being sorry to be that way but sometimes being sorry that things don’t turn out.  When it comes to the people in my stories, I like them being fine with being fucked up to a degree. I am not great at your traditional redemption tales, I’m super lousy at Inspiration Porn because I just don’t like it.

I feel like that is maybe the closest I come to putting myself into things. There are a lot of things I am supposed to be sorry for to the world. For being a fat woman, for being queer, for being weird, for being Black blablabla.

I’m just not.

I’m not interested.

If I think back further to what I was writing 20 years ago, I was trying to get to the point of writing the bad girls gone good and the dopey asshole heroes who turn out to be super nice guys.

I wish I could call 16 year old me and tell her not to try that so hard. To go ahead and keep reading and loving literary assholes who were probably racists and sexists and all those things.  But then again, I’m sure that developmentally these things were important to me getting here.

I am tickled to be this age right now and still writing. Looking back at some of the things I wrote when I was a little confused baby queer, the few angst ridden love poems written to older women. Remembering reading a poem written about this older woman whom I was trying desperately to seduce and being heartbroken when not only was she 20 years older than me but had been happily involved with the same woman for about 10 years.

I remember trying to imitate Miller and Nin, Anne Rice, Alice Walker.

I tried so hard.  And now I can look back and giggle a little because come on, it was adorable.

I think that’s all for right now. I had something else in mind but I have the mother fucker of all tension headaches and it’s making me want to either rock back and forth in the corner or run face first into a car repeatedly until something happens. Oh under the fold a tidbit of the story.

Continue reading “A Season of Firsts.”

Tidbits, news and whatnot.

First a bit of business.

You can read two of my poems,  Coffee Blue and Day/Dreamer respectively on page 5 of the new issue of Aberration Labryinth.\

Two new publications, poetry no less I am no poet, make my ego throb less.

What else?

Writing adventures continue. I am still pecking away at my first swords n sorcery story. I’m finding that the less I let myself go crazy with nerdy details, the more I’m enjoying the storytelling. I like that one of my main characters is a manipulative asshole who will be loved because she is an asshole and not in spite of it.

So this is sort of turning into a queer romancey swords in sorcery story. There will be sex, there will be blood.

Someone might die.

I don’t even know yet.

This is the writer at play.

What else?

I started writing another noirflavored thing. Strippers, big tits, lesbians and drug deals gone bad. Good clean fun.

I think that’s all for today I had more to say but the new firewall at work prevents me from opening the salient links.

Suffice to say, tomorrow I will be fangirling to an excessive degree about a lady I adore.

Here’s another tidbit from teh swords n sorcery story.  No context except to say that this is our second female main character, Makatza who is a Cat Woman.

“Makatza, must you always embarrass them?”

She shrugged and laid her head against his shoulder.

“That’s what they get for being stupid. I’m starving. And I want to get out of my clothes. You did send a runner?”

The priest patted her hand and fondly ruffled one of her ears.

“Yes little cat. I am sure your brave warrior queen awaits you with cakes and fine silks. When will you accept her proposal? It’s not as if you are considering another hand. What are you waiting for?”

Makatza wriggled her whiskers and licked her lips.

“I don’t know. An insane romantic gesture would be nice. And a pet.”

They walked on in silence until a woman came out of the wizards keep, arms open. It was a healer from the Comfort House.

Some shit happened.

So earlier this week I had my first Indie Author Big Deal Oh Shit moment.

My self care guide has sold pretty well and I hadn’t checked out the numbers on it.

And then I did.

According to Smashwords they reversed the charges on numerous fraudulent purchased.

For me that was money to the tune of about 300-400$.

That was my laptop money or my Winter clothing money.

I completely freaked out. I didn’t cry because I was at work and I don’t do that but, it hurt me so badly.

I posted about it on tumblr and a bunch of new people bought the book and have said some of the sweetest nicest things ever.

I also realized I’ve gotten some really awesome reviews.

That makes me feel so good. All the people who have emailed/contacted me to say thank you and that they needed to see those words spoken to them directly has just, fuck y’all it makes me feel like I”m doing good in the Universe.

My initial response to this (and I know it wasn’t personal, people steal shit) was that I wanted to take down the book and bullshit.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot and instead of that, fuck the thieves.

I am keeping it 2$. I am leaving it available.

I am also going to try and write something bigger, better and perhaps novella length on self care as well but I’m putting that on the backburner. I might do that for nanowrimo.

So there’s that.

In other DIY indie news. I’ve decided to put together a little print based zine type thing to sell. I am doing a slightly grungy version to sell at my table at the Unchaste readers thing and I am going to try to afford making more to sell on Etsy or something.

What else?

I also wrote a special story for Unchaste readers. If I don’t submit it somewhere I will make it available to read for free.I might even try to record myself reading it so you’ll feel like you were there.

I learned about Artist Trading cards just now. I’m wondering if I can make some of those relating to self care/my little book. My brain, oh how she churns.

I’m putting that aside for the moment.

Since my last post writing related things have been such a mixed bag. Heartbroken, sad, upset, angry, elated and thankful are just some of the feelings i’m having. Add in some EPIC PMS. Seriously I haven’t had mood swinging wanting to punch/fuck/kill/eat everything type PMS in a while.

So yeah some shit has happened.

In writing work news.

I managed to squeeze out a submission, I logged a couple of new rejections. As per Duotrope my current overall acceptance rate is 22.9%* and I’m doing my level best to drive that number down.  To do that I’m hoping to be able to get out another 4 submissions this month. Getting ready for my reading (read being alternately nervous and super excited) has taken me over so I’m still not back to my usual volume of submissions and rejections.

All in (non fiction/fiction) I have 5 piece out in the wild right now and two that are about 99% ready to be released into the hands of zines.

I feel like I may need to pull one of those submissions, the zine stopped updating right after I submitted. Yes, I had a moment of writer paranoia that the editor hated what I sent so much they shut it down. I know that’s probably not true but I thought about it.

I might even submit some more poetry someplace.

Okay that’s all I have a shitload of work to do today and this is not helping.

If you’d like to buy the self care guide you can go to the link on the bottom right and buy away.

 

What the challenge brings.

The other day my darling friend Remittance Girl posted a challenge on her blog. See that here. 

There is something special about her brain because she has the ability to be galavant around in mine naked and giving me ideas without her knowing it. In a nutshell this was her challenge:

So, here’s my challenge: Have a go at writing the exact same sex act, using nothing but the tone of language and the POV of the narrator to present it as either kinky or vanilla.

At the time I was already sort of playing with this.

I’ve probably mentioned it but one of the things I am very into when I write kinky things is playing with using language , setting etc to present a definately kinky situation without using the standard kink vocabulary.

What actually happened was that as I mentioned the other day I hit the spot.

I found The. Voice. For a narrator/story I’ve been trying to write for months.

I’ve been groping and starting and failing to find Her. I have this incredibly specific story and manner of presentation. I have had this character built and ready in my head to tell a very certain erotic story but I couldn’t hear her actual voice.

RG’s post and then further conversation I had with her and there it was.

I have this habit where if I can get the voice (when I’m feeling like there is this specific thing I have to get for a story) I will write a little scene or flash piece to solidify it so I can see it. THis hasn’t worked for months and then magic.

I have very grand designs for this. I want to make this a novella and submit it to someone. I want it to be literary and hot. I want people to both get a special tingle in their pants AND love the prose.

I want it all.

I talked to Remittance Girl about it and she saw the same things I saw when I reread the thing after I wrote it delights me.

Let me express publicly again  how much I value her and love her.

I wish we lived on the same continent I would ask her to read me her stories and be her dedicated housegirl.

Seriously.

So I am not posting the whole thing but here is a bit of it.

So here is my kinky without the kink language precisely/potential novella.

~

The last time we saw each other nothing was okay.

 

This is how it always happens.

 

It starts with a phone call from one of us, this time it was me.

 

“Hey, I want to see you are you busy?”

 

He is quiet for so long I think he hung up. I bite the inside of my lip, waiting him out.

 

“Fine. I’ll be there in twenty minutes.”

 

He hangs up and I lay back, everything is going to be okay.

 

Two hours later he’s at my door, frowning down at me. The scar through his right eyebrow is bright white against his summer tan, he reaches out and puts his hand around my throat.

 

His eyes burn; lust, hate, self-loathing. We are mirrors for each other and hate each other for it. Yet here we are again.

 

His fingers tighten and he leans over so we are nose to nose, I take a chance and flick my tongue against his lips. I want to push him; I want him to hurt me just one more time.

 

For a second his eyes close then he shoves me back and walks inside, closing the door behind him.

 

“Take your fucking clothes off.”

 

I turn my back to do as he says, pants first because I know he loves my ass. I can hear him grumbling and he grabs first one buttock then the other, he squeezes and kneads them. Slaps one hard enough to make me yelp.

 

“Oh I guess you’re feeling-“

 

before I can finish he has my arm twisted behind my back and he’s whispering calmly into my ear.

 

“Shut. The. Fuck. Up. I don’t want to hear your voice right now.”

 

He holds me still while he finishes taking his pants off with his free hand, he holds my arm at an angle just on the brink of pain and my cunt throbs. I close my eyes and relax.
Daddy is home.