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Yeah Write entry #212-Siren by Night

 

Siren by Night

by

Shannon Barber

Inside the warm night she moves as though swimming. Hands in her pockets, headphones on, dark eyes on the moving shadows and what she knows lives there. She eases through scattered groups of night people virtually unseen.

Drawn towards the water and into the deeper part of the night she pauses to listen. In these times the night lives with sirens and the squawking of angry junkies.

She wants to stop and weep as her sisters weep.

She cannot.

She is part of this orange light washed strange world. Part of the dirty street and urban lost.

Her steps relentlessly eat the blocks until the water is only yards away. The susurrus of waves breaking against the rocky strip of “beach” calls her home.

In the dark, she sheds her clothes and boots before walking headlong into freezing water to sing illusions into the hearts of men who pass.

In the deep, she will feast.

She will feast and see her sisters for a blessed night.

And then she will return to her shadows and streets and urban land life.


On changes and the finances.

Okay so since I’ve decided to alter how I finance this shit show of a thing I want to talk about how it is going.

I’ve given up trying to freelance regularly. I will still occasionally when I am able to write for XoJane or other spots but, the constant hustle of trying to do it weekly was not working for me at all.

Now as far as what I’m paying for month to month it’s pretty simple. My cell phone, my renter’s insurance. Hopefully if things go well premium Spotify.

Currently I’m in the black and my cell phone and insurance are both covered for this month and next. I’ve also been able to set aside 10$ in my little savings account to go into my new laptop fund.

If Patreon keeps going well I will be able to reup my Duotrope subscription at the end of next month. And in July rejoin AWP.

So far none of my new methods are profitable. I’m not super worried about that just yet.

So what else am I doing?

I am writing things like my old school blog posts for my Patrons and Paypal donors. After a few weeks I will likely make these as quick n easy downloads in my etsy shop as well.

With help from Milcah I’m using Smartypig to help me save for my laptop. One of the things I love about this is that when I panic or have poverty brain meltdown I can’t touch this money. Many of my wise friends have suggested something like this and I’m into it.

http://www.smartypig.com/widget/SmartyPigWidgetMultiGoal.swf?ServiceUri=http%3a%2f%2fwww.smartypig.com%2fWidget.asmx%2fGetWidgetInfo%3fwidgetId%3d&WidgetId=d4683a07-ae3d-4262-9daa-8dd8b9e8defd UH so wordpress won’t let me use the widget but if you click this long ass link you can see how I’m doing, you can join up and use it for your own goals or if you want throw some pennies in the piggy bank.

So far I feel okay and like things are going to where I need them to be in order to produce my best work.

This is already paying off in that I was able to settle down, finish up some fiction, submit some and get one acceptance.

Overall, while this is nerve wracking for me and I really don’t like that I can’t operate in a more profitable way and still write great things, this is slowly working out.

I’m still trying to settle in to a new methodology with my writing. I have some further plans that require the lighter travel worthy laptop and some sleep.

Now I gotta get some work done.

Next week I’m going to talk about Lovecraft some more because I’m almost done rereading the Necronomicon, I have a bit to say about the Hugo situation and Sad Puppies. I might even get excited and talk about fandom stuff and how way back when I was pretty much turned off to it forever.

Also listen to this Rihanna song, it is kinda my theme music for the week.


The Stuff I like: Mick Betancourt

Welcome to the first of a new thing where I share about stuff/people/things I like.

Up first I want to introduce y’all to Mick Betancourt and his Podcast.

I first came upon Mick Betancourt on a podcast with Jerry Stahl and Laura House hosting the David Feldman show.

Sooooo uh, first of all, he is really fucking funny. Now I haven’t talked about comedy a lot, but I’m pretty not into a lot of comics for various reasons, so hearing one I thought was funny was pretty great.

So that was my first exposure which of course led me to his podcast and holy shitballs.

This is my people. I love his podcast because even when it is a first conversation there is something about the way he talks to people that cuts through a lot of interviewy bullshit.

A thing I really enjoy is when I find people who know the struggle. I’m sure some of you have figured this out. It doesn’t matter what the struggle is, in particular, what’s important to me is how people talk about it. How people talk about their fucked up lives and backgrounds. How people talk about their triumphs and fails.

I like how Mick B. Talks about his life. I find it really intellectually and emotionally attractive when people can laugh about those deeply fucked up moments in life and laugh more when things are fucked up but great.

Now the podcast.

One of the things I love about the podcast is that he’s not afraid to share some love about stuff/things/whatever he likes. I dig that. From the big upping local businesses to the projects and things guests are doing. I appreciate that.

My favorite episodes are most of them. Some of the people I wasn’t familiar with before and finding them this way feels pretty fancy.

I also love how he talks about The Hustle. The Hustle is whatever you’re doing, y’all know that I talk about my own Hustles a lot here and it just delights me to see how other people talk about theirs.

I quite honestly just find his show delightful whether it is so funny, I’m cackling on the bus like a loon or when it is serious.

Check out the show on facebookshere.

Go listen to some episodes. I can suggest the Joey Diaz episodes (they are really fucking great, listening to those two talk was like having lunch with your bad ass uncles), The Anonymous Smuggler episode from last year was fantastic. Super funny, especially if you know any of the history of the time. And the most recent three episodes.

Go.

I just realized I should have added links to the above paragraph but I’m still operating on way too little sleep and my fuckin’ brain is just no.

Next week, another try at historical flash fiction from me. I answer some questions I got from another writer about the whole Patreon thing.

AND I will probably talk some about the Lovecraft inspired fiction I’ve been writing and revisiting his work and how it is making me feel.

Short answer is conflicted as fuck.


Yeah, Write #208 entry- Bumble Bee Goddamn Arizona

 

Bumble Bee, Goddamn Arizona

by

Shannon Barber

“Bumble Bee goddamn Arizona. Bumble. Bee. God. Damn. Arizona.”

M stood in the dingy little room, yanking the laces of her corset, her movements so violent her curls bounced as vigorously as the tops of her pale brown breasts.

Her companion, her faux husband cowered in the corner out of reach. He knew better than to intrude on one of her frequent tirades. From Missouri to their current predicament he had enough bumps on the head from thrown lamps and bottles to know when not to speak.

“Bumble Bee- come on we’ll make money. There’s gold. Eric, there is no fucking gold here. There is no fucking brothel here. There is not even a goddamn bar here.  There is a post office and this room.  Help me why are you just standing there?”

Eric smiled behind her back and gently untangled her laces. He knew once she was unrigged and lounging in bed with something to drink.

“I know. If that sin buster son of a bitch had kept his cock holster shut we would be fine. But you know how they are. Now, I saw that Miss Nancy in the post office eyeing me. I promise I will get us taken care of and out of Bumble Bee Goddamn Arizona.”

When she was free of her corset and other underpinnings he let her hair down and dug his hands into her thick black hair. She let her head loll and the brimstone was out of her tone.

“Why, my dear Eric, are you not really my husband?”

He smiled and kissed her long neck. He patted her bottom and turned her toward the rickety bed in the corner. Eric tucked her in and kissed her cheeks.

“Because darling, if I weren’t a homosexual I would just be a Sunday Man and that would be boring. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a randy Miss Nancy to seduce. Go to sleep. If you’re good girl I’ll bring you back something to eat.”

M smiled and subsided. She was tired and as he preened and fussed with his hair, her eyelids fluttered down. Before he stepped out she opened her eyes and smiled dreamily at him.

“Someday we’ll have our own place. Our own.”

Eric kissed her forehead and headed out to meet the man who would finance this next leg of their trip. It felt good to give her a break for a few nights.

“I know love. It’ll be ace high and all our own.”

 ###

PS-

For info on my slang check out this Western Slang dictionary I found.


Patreon and this is serious business.

Okay, so as y’all know I’ve been talking more openly about the financial aspects of my writing.

See posts here and here.

After a lot of thought and hand wringing, some tears and shame spirals I’ve decided to ask for help.

See my new Patreon page here.

Here’s the real poop.

I can’t produce the kind of writing that moves me when I am too stressed out. The things I’ve been trying to do to make my writing sustainable in terms of it not coming out of my limited household budget haven’t been good for me.

I can admit that writing current events in terms of news stories and whatnot is not how I operate. I’ve been trying really hard and it stresses me out so bad I get upset and fall into a terrible shame spiral and feeling like a faker.

I am not a journalist. I don’t really want to be. Reportage is not in my wheelhouse. Writing that way is just not for me. And that being what it is, my ability to make more money freelancing is a bit limited.

Further, honestly a lot of the places I could potentially write for and be paid I plain don’t like. I’ve had to sit with this for about two years and the fact is, I don’t like being the only author of color on a website. Or when it is websites that don’t talk about the things I am passionate about writing about, it is just so stressful and sometimes so disappointing to be the One Big Brave Negro.

The next thing is this.

I know what I want to do. I know what I want to put into the world and a lot of it is just not going to get me paid. While philosophically I can deal, financially I just can’t. I have cut out so much of my budget, I have skipped stuff and gone without. I want to do more and I just need help.

Basically, if you click over what I’m asking for is help covering the basic stuff. Professional memberships, software upgrades, eventually hardware upgrades. Travel to AWP next year and maybe a reading or two until then.

With some support via patreon and the few freelance things I can make it.

Okay if you have questions please let me know.

As with all the things if you can’t help with dollars, signal boosts are deeply appreciated. Tell a friend, shit tell five friends if you want to.

Thanks for reading.


Yeah Write #204 entry- The Death of A Poet At the End of the World

 

The Death of A Poet At The End of The World

by

Shannon Barber

The girl is pretty. Her brown face is round with sun flower aspirations. If you imagine her smile, it feels like summer sun and feral joyful gardens.

But she is not smiling. Her face is cold, a steel sculpture of a sunflower.

“Put it down and walk away.”

Her voice should be sweetness but it is sharp and hard as a knife to your throat. You do as you are told.

“What are you doing here?”

Here is a cubby inside of one of the reclaimed buildings. It is an ash filled shitbox of a place. Here is the first line of defense against the remains of Them.

Your hands describe sleep in the air. Slowly, so she knows you are no threat. When you try to speak your voice is toxic sludge in the air and she nods.

“They took your tongue poet?”

She knows, of course she knows, your eyes fill with hot tears. Her surety wrings water from your desiccated body. When They came for you, your voice was heat and poison to Their ears. Your reason was a weapon. Your pen and tablet prohibited weaponry, your words an affliction to be cured with pain and madness.

You remember- They took your weapons and left you to die.

The pretty flower faced girl knows it all. She lowers the gun and her voice is warm as August air.

“Come with me”

She leads you through a warren of tight tunnels; her hand finds yours when there is no light. When you stumble she lifts you in strong, soft arms.  Hers is the first flesh, you’ve touched since They came for you. Your need to survive barely surpasses your need to be touched. You can wait.

The way is long and you nearly give up when the light begins to brighten. These are the survivors you prayed to your dead god for, the ones you cursed in your dreams.

Everything happens too fast. Sad eyed men tend your battered body, wash you and dress you in clean clothes. You are deposited in a bed with the sunflower faced girl. She holds you tight, whispering fragments of poems and songs.

You cry on her breast.

The sobs wallop your entire body; these are not the tears of panic and fear you’ve been crying for months. These are tears of relief, of joy. The pretty girl holds you gently and lets you cry.

These are the tears you wrote poems about- tears of cleansing fire and emotional fecundity- tears that shout down the deadness.

There with your hot cheek against the breast of a girl with a face like a sunflower you remember the truth of your body and soul.

For the first time since They took your weapons, you are full of hope. The words caroming around in your head are bright, they are like her smile and everything is full of dark hopeful beauty.

While you are dreaming, you can distantly hear the sunflower girl conferring with the men who cleaned you up. You already know. You are dying. You have been dying for weeks now and perhaps hung on for this moment.

You knew when you stumbled into the shitbox cubby.

Sweet tongue less poet you know.

The flower faced girl holds you and they stop speaking when they see your content smile. You use what is left of your voice,

“s’okay. Uoves.”

The flower faced girl translates with tears on her cheeks.

You said, it is okay loves- those will not be your last words, but they are the ones the flower faced girl will remember.

Your death is quiet and soft, the final thing you hear is the voice of the flower faced girl.

“Goodnight Poet. Goodnight.”

###

PS

I will nerd later this week about my second person experiment and an idea of the apocalypse.

 


Yeah Write 203 Entry- Driver

Driver

By

Shannon Barber

 “I’m tired of dragging your ghost.”

I’m talking to nothing, holding on to the steering wheel for dear life. I know you’re there. I can feel your cool gaze like a hot hand between my legs.

There is no answer- you never answer. You only follow me on highways, through empty houses and into nights so long I could be convinced they are eternal.

I am one of those people who wander into brightly lit convenience stores at four in the morning looking for stale coffee and absolution.

Where other spirits run and crowd to speak through my mouth and touch the living with my fingers, you remain silent.

“Please?”

I speak to you in the day, when the other ghosts are quiet and watchful. My pleading cries hang along with the dust motes in the sun and still you will not speak.

You defy my heavenly gift.  Destroy my connection with all our honored dead-I would give it all away for one more word.

I have the answers to what belongs to the after and yet all I can do is yearn for a single whisper, a small yes, call my name in the dark basement of an abandoned house.

I will go to my grave gladly to find your touch and your voice.

I won’t, I will drive. Holding the steering wheel with panic fueled strength and ashy knuckles.

But I won’t cry, I won’t cry. I won’t cry.

Some dawn it will all be too much. While the voices of the others, the eager ones fade in the background following the night your silence will drive me into oblivion.

Maybe pills, maybe the blade or perhaps the car, my hands frozen at the wheel and my eyes wide open at the on rushing wall.

I will talk to nothing and drag your ghost until I can join you and hear you whisper my name one last time.

###


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