Things. Failure. Brokeness.

Let’s talk lit world stuff I’m into right now.

The first thing is that Yeah Write is doing something great. The Super Challenge:

The yeah write super challenge is a prompted challenge, where writers compete to complete the best work of short creative nonfiction in a single weekend. Prompts are released on Friday, and the completed work must be turned in by Sunday night.

The competition is run in three rounds. Half the writers will move to the second round of competition, and approximately ten writers will advance to the final round of competition. All competing writers will receive feedback on their work at the end of each round from the judges. The final ten writers will compete for cash prizes for first, second and third place.

Go check it out here. I think if you want to learn about flash essays, this is a great way to do it. No, they didn’t pay me. I just really like them.

What else?

So I’ll be unpublishing my chapbook The Motherfuckess Manifesta here soon. If you’d like a copy head here. It is 3.50 and all proceeds go towards keeping yours truly housed and fed.

Also one other thing before I get hella emo. Over at Patreon I posted a free Daiyuverse story you can get here. It is my first try at a romantic YA flavored thing.

Okay, I’m gonna put in a read more because I’m having feelings about being a failure. Being poor and unable to do all the things necessary to make my art/writing life more sustainable.

Continue reading “Things. Failure. Brokeness.”

Yeah Write# 272 entry- The Goddess Cycle #1

The Goddess Cycle #1

Innana

by

Shannon Barber

When the sweet brown girls call, she comes. She weaves herself from their dreams and candles and incense smoke. The sweet brown girls know her when she moves into their circle. They call her Mother and Lover and General.

Her body made them feel good. Her pot belly and jiggling thighs and sagging breasts takes their breath and fear.

“H-hello sweet children.”

Their tongue feels strange on her lips, but she can manage a greeting. She understands their words, their language comes to her in song and prayers.

She dances with them, all naked and in love and free as wild weeds.

The girls know her names and respect the old dead tongue she knows intimately. She stops their dancing and settles each one to hear her prayers.

The first is lovely and shy, her cock lays half hard on her thigh and she lowers her eyes.

“What is your prayer?”

The girl murmurs,

“I want to be a Mother.”

She is blessed with the cupped palm of the Mother against her groin.

“Get your wife with child.”

The rest of the girl children ask for similar things. One wants to change her body to be fertile, another wants to grow her garden, another to be a nurse. Each gets her blessing until she gets to the last.

The last child does not sing nor does she grin. She stares at her Mother, her Lover and General, calls her with the scent of blood and need.

“Yes, Child?”

The girl has her fists clenched into tight little chubby brown balls and her body vibrates with rage.

“Mother, my Lover, my General. I want to fight. I want to go to war.”

“If you want to go to war child, can you name me?”

They stand up together and the child puts her fists on her wide hips.

“You are the Queen of Heaven.”

The Goddess nods.

“Louder.”

“You are the Daughter of  Sin and Ningal.”

“More.”

The girl’s heart thumps and she pounds her chest with one fist.

“You are she who descended into the underworld and returned. You are my Mother. You are my Lover. You are my General and we want blood.”

The Goddess howled and the divine light of war blazed from her eyes.

“My sweet child. Come, I will teach you the ways of war and the sacrifice of your enemies shall be my glory. Eli baltuti Ima’ ‘idu mituti.”

The naked girl  repeats the ancient words with pride.

” The Dead Will Be More Numerous Than The Living.”

The others cheer and rise, dancing again. Their ululations and sweat and love will carry their goddess and their sister into battle.

The other Gods look and see and smile.

Even old Delight of Frigg smiles at this new crop of prayers and songs.

“God Speed dear Innana. Goddess speed.”

###

Bucket List Progress.

Did I ever post my artist bucket list?

I think not, so here is it in part:

  • Make short poetry film
  • Submit to paying poetry market
  • Do some lit related youtubes
  • Keep Patreon going- up my content and maybe funding
  • Submit to contests
  • Arrange my own little writing retreat
  • Apply for some type of grant
  • Create/perform performance art
  • Write a short horror film
  • Build somewhat of a freelance thing
  • Create and sell writing classes
  • Break into a mainstream something

Those are just some of them.

So far this year I’ve kept my Patreon going. If you haven’t checked that out, here go look at this post. I posted my first YA-Queer romance flavored thing. A little side short story in the Daiyuverse. 

I’m trying to hype myself up to blend Patreon and the Youtubes and do some video. I’m still pretty self conscious about my webcam quality and fake teeth lisp.

I’ve started researching video editing so I can find software I can use.

What else?

I’ve made uh, inroads into trying my hand at mainstream pubs. On the advice of freelancers I trust I set myself a Contently portfolio.  Given my clips I am not sure I fit in but whatever. I figured I’d give it a shot. Why not?

What else?

Just today I made my first submission to a paid poetry thing.

Other arty farty shit.

I’ve decided not to print my own Motherfuckess Manifesta.  I’ve tried a few more times and frankly shit just makes me so anxious and upset because I can’t get it figured out. I am not a Zine Queen. That said, maybe should I save up enough dollars I can do a limited print run?

On the writing class front I have my curriculum for three classes. I want to write some more content and exercises for each and take some photos for them. I’m going to do a dry run on some folks and then release them probably by October.

What else?

I’m trying really hard to hang on to the idea that my goals and personal ethics in terms of what I will and won’t do with my work is okay. That no I don’t have to change so much I don’t like myself.

That said, I’m pretty knee deep in I don’t matter/I ain’t shit feelings and poor kid anxieties. I’m working really hard on not sinking into that, but shit is a fuckin struggle.

OH! Also, I did more work on my laptop *Gertie* and discovered that I didn’t make a bad decision. She’s a good little machine. The problem is mainly that EVEN microsoft does not recommend an OS above 7 for machines like her because they come stock with not that much memory. Not enough memory for 64 bit Win 8.1 which is what came stock on Gertie and has fucked her ALL the way up.

I dipped into my savings again so I could buy some new memory and will install that this weekend.

To help me increase my, uh, side hustling. I got back into the Amazon affiliate program and am building a little store. Basically right now it’s all beauty stuff, but I’ll be adding books, gadgets and other stuff. Consider it my ultimate dream store and if you click/buy I get some pennies. Check it out here. Hopefully with that side hustle and a few others I can buy this for myself in a few months.

So that’s it for now. I’ve got writing and submitting and research to do.

This has been an installment of Be That Shit University.

Where the Artist Dreams Themselves into Reality

I’ve been kind of keeping to myself a bit. As they say I’m in the fuckin weeds again.

The last few weeks (again, a-fucking-gain) have been really emotionally traumatic for me. I was able to make sure a friend was not at Pulse that night, though, the odds that she was were really high.

Other shit has happened.

My heart is aching.

I’ve been squatting in the intersections where I live and work and everything and have had a few Oh. Shit. Come To Jesus conversations with myself.

While I’ve been (still) trying to do some more freelancing, I’ve come to realize more than ever that because I’m who I am, a lot of those opportunities are not for me.

I have been feeling this kind of deep burning guilt. The kind that kills my ability to write the good shit. A bunch of little things piled up to become a big lava rock in my gut.

The thing with freelancing is that I just don’t like how a lot of publications do things. I understand that nobody gives a shit because that’s how they make money, but, I just can’t.

I don’t really want to write bullshit for pennies.

And I’m not good at fast turnaround bullshit.

I feel like I already spend a lot of time not doing the arty shit that moves me. And though I’m full of passions I’m still timid because money is a real fucking thing.

I know if I could churn out more freelancey content and get paid a lot of things would be easier financially but emotionally that makes me feel numb.

The other problem is frankly, I have zero fucking chill. I know I’ve probably  hurt the feefees of some editors because I have a big fucking mouth and I’m not with a lot of bullshit. On one hand, I’m sure that at least one of the White writers who told me that my big mouth and not putting up with racist shit attitude would be to my own detriment were entirely right.

On the flipside, maybe my loud mouth might get through to a person or two someday.

I guess it’ll be okay. I’m still struggling not to feel like I’m doing everything in some bullshit manner because I don’t want to further compromise my heart.

I’ll stay plugging away at Patreon. I’ll have my etsy shop. Sometimes writing will pay for a bill or two and I think that’s gonna be okay for me.

What else is happening?

I’m about to (after I install new memory in my laptop) start learning video editing and maybe I will in fact produce a tiny poetry film this year.

I’ve been working on essays. Narrative essays and some kind of poem like essays about shit I want to talk about.

And some other stuff.

I’m still pretty awash in poor kid guilt but god damn it, I get to make art too. You know?

 

Storytime.

The weather in Seattle is warm and windy today.

So I want to share about me being a baby writer.

Before I had my own computer I worshipped pen and notebook. I have always loved fancy little journals, but always wind up buying steno pads. When I was about 21 and had a day off from my phone sex company office job, I’d take about 5-8$ and head up to the Capital Hill Neighborhood in Seattle.

Remember, I am an Old so back then Cap Hill was full of street kids, Queers, poor folks, etc. It was way less prone to dudebro shitbag behavior and the violence that brings.

I’d take my little money and buy the biggest coffee, I could afford and head into the park. I would lay in the grass in the sun with my coffee and watch gutter punks lay about, guys cruise each other, sometimes the gutter punks I hung around would come over and I’d read them my poems or help them patch their clothes and we’d talk about writing being magic.

That was magic.

I kind of miss writing that way, even though I was so self conscious about it and put an entirely different kind of pressure on myself then than I do now.

Back then, my goal was to magic up myself a full, complete book of writings. Then I would find myself some very wealthy benefactor who would parcel out my pieces to publishers while I gallivanted.. uh no let me be real fucked my way around the world.

I look back at baby me and just kind of chuckle.

You had a GREAT idea kid.

Even though writing was a thing I did in secret, as in I didn’t tell my friends or family but shared it with strange street kids and it was really difficult and traumatic, it was okay.

I learned how to write with absolute abandon. At that time I often burned my journals when I was done with them so I wrote like my words wouldn’t exist and that taught me a lot.

Okay, I’m an OLD and I am yammering.

So here have some news. I have some new stuff at Medium so go have a looksy.

Things will lighten up around here soon. I’ve got many irons in the fire and a fire in my belly.

I’ll be all right y’all.

 

 

 

Hustle n Grind

Posting is probably going to be a little light for a hot minute.

I’m yet again working out my hustle.

Things are shifting.

Some good news though.

After weeks of panic and anxiety shits, I think I’ve figured out how to reconfigure my budget (not my dayjob money) and how to make a little bit more. I had to let go of some financial goals that right now I just can’t be dealing with.

What else?

I’m still working on the bloody monster piece. I have an idea of what to do with it but it’ll take another 6 weeks of work at least before I can even consider it.

I’ve submitted some fiction and poetry around. Both of those things feel a little uh, time waste-y. I still feel some type of way about it and realize that it’s going to continue to be very difficult for me to get the kind of traction in fiction that I really want in traditional outlets. It just is. That said, I’m also no the fence about hustling it myself because let’s be real, I’m not famous enough for that many people to buy my fiction because they want it.

That is a hard thing for any writer to just say. But the stats I’ve been keeping over the last couple of years bear it out.

See also my failures in marketing, my SCLAB failures. My skill set and uh, being not that famous I guess have put me on the path of oh well fuck me running.

I’ve thought a lot about it and talked it over with trusted friends and I guess it just is what it is. My Etsy store relaunch was profitable for about five minutes and as of a week ago is no longer. I am not comfortable being that writer who is all BUY MY SHIT on every fucking social media platform. I try and it just feels so disgusting to me, I hate myself for doing it and that kind of stress interferes with the writing.

A lot of the methods of marketing for indie folks I’ve studied often leave me feeling more invisible, more completely out of my depth and ultimately more depressed and anxious. It leads to a type of anxiety that makes creating very difficult and puts me in a real bad place. So I’m just not going to do those things anymore.

So what’s left?

I don’t know. Maybe I will just offer up all my fiction for free. Maybe save up what I can to try and launch my writing class things I’ve been working on for like two years.

I just don’t feel like I can get the kind of traction I need to make it all contribute to the sustainability of my writing life. And being that fiction is my first real deep, true love, it just really fucking sucks.

I am feeling kind of heartbroken today about it. I think a lot of that has to do with I am deep in OH FUCK I must MUST provide more economically for myself and my partner because as it is, we’re going to be eating dollar store ramen and our health and (you see where I’m going) and unfortunately my failed fiction shops/income is just another weight added to that.

Hopefully, if some stuff goes right economically I can revisit.

I don’t know.

I wasn’t intending to go all into shit like that today. But I promised I’m keeping it 100 and this is my reality.

It ain’t the artist life I wanted, but it’s the one I have.

That’s it for now. I’m going to try to put up some scheduled posts. I’ll be updating my where to read my work page because soon because some things are out of print, some things are new.

Now I return to my fuckin hustle.

Showing up Bloody.

Recently, I’ve been trying to deal with some trauma that I thought I had pretty much handled. Poverty trauma that reaches deeper than I realized it did.

I found myself having a really terrible day, flashbacks, really awful feelings, repressed panic attacks, bad enough to give me the shits for three days.

So I did what I always think is the thing to do and started writing. I started an essay (maybe my first long form) that is a testament to a lifetime of mental illness and how it has manifested and how the idea of the Strong Black Woman almost killed me.

The thing I’m most surprised about is that given my memory issues (related to my sleep disorders mainly) is the clarity of certain memories. Smells, how my skin felt, I close my eyes and see it. This is beyond confessional writing, I’ve done a ton of that over the last 20 years. This is exposure.

This piece is not the sort of confessional, I can smirk about and shrug because Shannon is gonna Shannon and not be embarrassed. This is stuff that makes me cringe. I want to say I’m sorry if I ask anyone to read it because it burns me. I know it will hurt the people who love me to know that has been my life and in some ways still is.

I’m fucking terrified.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I find being a memorist of any seriousness fucking scary. I know that in the scheme of Black writers and Black people and Black women, especially, what I’m working on could be one of those important little pockets of solidarity. I’m considering pitching it when it is closer to being done.

As I’m thinking about/researching that, of course I stop to wonder outside of a handful of pubs I already know, who would give space and cash to this story?

I know it is still very hard for the world (Lemonade or no Lemonade) to see that Black people have feelings, that we are human beyond the photos of our bleeding, broken bodies or scoring points or generally being acceptable but not quite human enough to see into. I know that when some people look at me, they want the Sassy Shannon Don’t Take No Shit and Don’t Need Nobody type. I know.

What I don’t know is where do I go to be a different facet of the purple lipstick wearing loudmouth? Where do I go not to rail about racism or other fuckery, but to show the world my emotionally bloody self?

I don’t know.

Or maybe I will self pub it as a mini memoir.

Who knows.

What’s important for me right now is to get it written. To confess. To strip off the last vestiges of the stone faced person I thought I wanted to be and show up naked and terrified but fucking there.

I’m there and right now that’s what matters.