Where I come from. Influences. Nerdery Ahead.

Oh hi there.

Let’s get in our way back machine and have a look at a little flash fiction yours truly had published in 2009.

First the story and then under it, we’ll talk some deconstruction and what I was doing at the time. CW: eroticized murder.

By Her by Shannon Barber 

July 21, 2009 

 “Shall we?” 

The smoky tenor voice of the woman standing in the doorway brought him back to the reality of his situation. Suicide via sexual fantasy fulfillment, the only proper end for a man like him. Of course, all of the things people had said about him over the years are true. Pervert, dilettante, masochist of dangerous proportions, and so it has all come to this. 

“Yes of course.” 

He walks over and takes her hand, bends to kiss it. There are to be no names in this exchange, it had been meticulously arranged by a third outside party for a modest fee, a matchmaker of sorts to those with exotic and dangerous tastes. 

“It’s a pleasure and an honor madam.” 

Ever the gentleman, even in the moments before his last orgasm. The woman smiled at him clearly pleased. 

“The pleasure is mine sir.” 

Arm in arm they walked up the hall to a lavish bedroom that belonged to neither of them. This part another provision of their outside party, a place for the thing to happen, people to clean up the mess and dispose of the body. Everything to create the penultimate fantasy come true. 

It is a bonus that the woman, the avatar of his death is his kind of beauty. Fleshy, large busted, wide hips and an ample butt. He could almost picture lush big meaty thighs, he wondered absently how long her nipples might be and contented himself knowing he would find out. 

“Take your clothes off. I’ll be back in a few minutes.” 

He does as told, folding his black slacks and black shirt neatly. Stacking his boxers, shoes and jewelry atop them just so, fastidious even to the end. He lays on the bed waiting, watching his cock twitch into alertness. He hears the woman enter before he turns to look at her. She is naked and breathtaking. 

“You’re exquisite. Thank you.” 

She poses for him, framed right arm bent to hide the hand. His eyes fixate on her bent right arm, he knows what she has, the knowledge burns until he asks, his voice breaking. 

“Show me, please.” 

Slowly, terribly slowly she shows him what it is she has. A hunting knife, huge in her small hand, the blade gleaming and pristine. A frisson of fear, delight and anticipation runs down his spine to settle in his cock. 

She crosses the room, smiling at first his erect cock then his face. 

“I’m glad you like what you see. Now shut the fuck up and get ready to die.” 

Her tone changes, turns cold and his smile brightens then his eyes close. Ready to die just as he had lived. 

##

SO what exactly was I doin?

One of the things I got really interested in at the time was the idea of presenting the erotic without the explicitness literary minded folks tend to run screaming from.  I still feel some type of way about that but we’ll do that another day.

I also as ever have an interest in the idea of eroticizing violence or murder in ways that don’t depend on rape tropes. Or scorned woman or some “psycho” dickhole pretend Patrick Bateman fantasy. My interest comes from the book Lolita.

BUT Y SHANNON!

Here’s the thing. The first time I read Lolita, I think I was about 15. At that age, I was drawn to Lolita herself as some archetype of sexuality that resonated with me on a deep level. I was drawn to the desire at that age to flirt with sexuality. In presenting Lolita as this object of obsession by the terrible yet elegant Humbert appealed to me. It appealed to me in the same way *due to my genders being fluid as fuck* that reading a lot of gay fiction about hustlers and rent boys.

I wanted to both be the man and the object of lust. In my mind at that age, I had no right to or link to desirability. I was pretty well convinced that I would never be the object of that level of lust and it fascinated me.

I reread it in my 20s and I was struck less by that identification with Dolores herself but, the beauty of the language of something so terrible.

I have always been fascinated by the beautification of terror and horror. I love to play with the language of a horrible thing by making it beautiful. I like the lure of it. I like the idea that I can feel like I’m being stroked with silk and then BAM oh shit that was…terrible.

Another author who influenced me heavily in this direction is the magnificent Dennis Cooper. I’ll do a list of other of these influences below.

Thing is, one of the things what I do in my work is find those silky paths to bloodshed and mayhem. I like to explore things like predatory desire expressed by women and non cis men. I like exploring places where, being that I was raised and socialized to be a woman I was taught not to explore. Especially not to explore in a way that is pleasurable and outside of the purview of the white cis hetero dude view.

So below I’ll link/cp some of my other early work in this vein and then a list of authors and artists who have had an impact on this trajectory.

A poem reprint from June 2006. Originally in Zygote in my Coffee.

Bitches
by Shannon Barber
You stare at me as if I should know better.
You look like I should be jealous.
Jealous of your smile and wily ways.
You part my lips in the semblance of a smile.
Eyes that are not mine stare from the mirror.
Bestial beauty.
Barely constrained by civility.
I look closer.
Yes eye to eye with the enemy.
I smile – She smiles.
Obsidian eyes gleaming with cold fire.
I say I’ll eat you alive.
She says I’ll finish you for desert.
Slowly she is no longer the stranger.
This skin is my own.
The glittering eyes I begin to recognize.
And I am no ghost.
I smile and give her a wink.
She smiles and winks back.
We say – I don’t love you but I know you.
Love will come soon enough.
The woman I was-
The woman I am
Together behind black eyes and secret smiles.

~ This was 13 years ago and I believe that my use of words like bitches and my love of the Self Vs Self are rooted in this era of my work. Self Vs Self was also heavily influenced by one of my favorite artists Hazel Dooney. The evolution of that influence culminated in this piece of erotic literary flash. Self Vs Self, originally printed in Sleep. Snort. Fuck. June 23, 2010. You can also see some of my earlier mythos remixing happening here.

A recent piece where I play with these things was from Heavy Feather Review. Blood Fugue by yours truly.

OKAY actually I’m gonna do some book recs that put me on the path.

*Amazon affiliate links cause coins.

See A Grown Man Cry/Now Watch Him Die by Henry Rollins.

Wrong: Stories by Dennis Cooper.

Junky by William Burroughs. 

The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things by JT Leroy

City of Night by John Rechy. 

Suicide Blonde by Darcey Steinke 

Adulterers Anonymous by Lydia Lunch.

The Demon by Hubert Selby Jr

 

But what now?

HI Space Babes!

Things are gettin kinda cool again?

So post writer hustle life, I’m finding the joy in writing fiction and non fiction that I’m pretty sure nobody wants to publish. Waaaaaaaaat? I know right? Here’s the thing. I don’t go into the lit streets assuming that everyone wants to publish my genius words. A lot of folks don’t and that’s okay.

Once upon a time during my most prolific and successful (in the context of how much I got published) eras, I was in the headspace I’m in now.

I am writing whatever I want. Might it get read? I dunno. Will anyone but me like it? Dunno. Don’t care.

Thing is, I write a LOT of things other people don’t like or don’t like enough to expose their readership to. I always have.

Currently I feel like I can write my stories and fling them at the lit streets and see what happens. So what is happening?

GOSH y’all. I’ve been just scribbling away, stretching my fiction muscles. I’m playing and when I can play I write some cool shit.

One of the things I’ve learned through this HELLA painful trying to make money as a creative thing is that, I have a tendency to restrict myself when I really want to try and make money. I get deep in my own head about the ways in which a lot of the work I enjoy producing, doesn’t sell.

On a deeper level, I have also had to learn to navigate real trauma. As I’ve mentioned before if you’ve been here a while, I’ve been plagiarized many times. Concepts I started writing about a long time ago have been lifted sometimes verbatim. I’ve seen my pitches ignored only to read that thing in a magazine two weeks later.

This is real and having to learn that it was really happening and not just happening to me fucked me up. I have also had to learn to deal with being gaslit about this by (lezbereal White women in writing groups), other writers and whatnot.

SO.

In my retirement from that fuckery, because god damn it it IS FUCKERY, I am at play.

I am as I said previously, as free a mother fucker as I can be. And it is good. SO how about a lil bite of something I”m cooking up?

Fuck. Fuck fuckfuck fuck, fuck fuck; I didn’t realize I was muttering until my phone dinged softly in the pre-dawn darkness, “yes Melissa?” My voice assistant calls me by my real name, I was also startled when it piped up. “Shut up Binky.” I named it Binky, I liked to pretend I still had someone to bitch to about dumb things. Binky shut themselves down and I sat on the edge of my bed in the dark sweating and muttering, fuck. Fuck fuck. Fuck fuckfuck.

Soon my loves, we’re gonna have some new fun shit here. So enjoy babes.

Yeah Write #442-….safe.

….safe.

by

Shannon Barber

In the sun, in June you are safe. But, it grows. Cradled in light and heat, you are free, safe. There is no reason for the world to slip and slide on the periphery of you. No reason for the chill between your thighs.

You will not scream. The darkness will not come. And yet the cold place grows inside.

###

The End of An Experiment.

So this is gonna be the last post about this era of my writing career. If you’ve missed it check out here and here. Go ahead I’ll wait.

Now I want to warn y’all this is gonna get long as fuck and real raw about a lot of things. If you’re new here, put on your hardhat and athletic cup. If you’ve been here. Sorry boo.

OKAY.

For background, a few years ago I decided it was time to level up my career. Post a fairly brutal doxxing by other writers, I felt like I really needed to re asses, set some goals and get the fuck to work. When I found out I had a book of poetry coming out, that was my cue.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been in these lit streets since the late 90s. Like most writers, especially those of us swimming in the big ass ponds of poetry and short fiction, I’ve had ebbs and flows. I’ve rarely had a lot of success in poetry. There was a time period where I was a bit notorious amongst white poets because I’m a big ole mean ass Negro who hates free speech.

I was gonna link a bunch but nah. If you want to read my older stuff, links live in the sidebar.

I had a few minor moments, at one point my short fiction high my acceptance rate stayed up in the high 70s with about, 10-15 submissions per week so that was tits.

I got to know some poetry folks who made me feel great. I went to AWP (this is actually a hilarious story so I might try to make a video about it) I got to meet Roxane Gay at the first one and almost peed my pants. In the years between what like 2014-2016ish I was feeling myself in the, obscure but getting some great feedback area of writing.

In 2016 or so I decided that since I was armed with knowledge, a network of readers (a thing a writer I really admire complimented me on was how I engage with folks, that was just great) and I believed.

What I believed was that, in spite of my big mouth and all my shade at the lit community etc that I could carve out some kind of little financially sustainable writing life. I started with freelancing. After my first non-fiction publication I had a taste for it. I have an ability to write about things like racism, fatness etc in a way a lot of folks found good at the time. I had some experience from writing at XOJane. I’d figured out how to deal with things like:

  • Being told for years what a shitty asshole I am for writing things.
  • Being doxxed/harassed by angry racists, angry feminists and some other folks.
  • Being told explicitly (with pull quotes and footnotes) why folks were hate reading me and then why they wanted to make sure I know how much I suck.
  • Death threats.
  • Folks trying to get me fired from my dayjob.
  • Etc etc etc.

All those things continue to suck but I learned how to deal with it. My next plan for my glow up when I realized that to be a “successful” freelancer I’d have to eat a lot of shit, I decided to scale WAY back. Also real talk, dealing with white women in the sooper seekrit internet writing groups, fucked me up and in a lot of ways forced me out. That’s fine.

Some things I’ve been successful at in the last few years:

  • Figuring out I am not good on spec.
  • I am too stubborn to settle.
  • I refuse to eat shit for a byline.
  • I still write pretty ding dang good fuckin essays.

Don’t get it twisted. I am a fucking bad ass writer. I am. I cannot be fucked with and I continue to sometimes write some really bad shit. Overall. I’m a bad mother fucker.

I am Fat Laila. (MY FAVE INTERNET CHONKY KITTER DO NOT FAT SHAME HER THIS AIN’T THE PLACE BRO) Look at her. This is raw footage of my work and shit. No I just really wanted a giggle break. Stay with me.

FB_IMG_1555044673913
[image description: a fat black kitty mid run, she has airplane ears and looks like she is hissing. Text says, MOTHERFUCKERS!
So when I decided to level up, I felt intensely ready. I did some courses from places like the Void Academy.  FYI the links I share ARE good shit. They just aren’t the good shit for me in particular. When Medium launched their pay program. I put some stuff behind the paywall and pretty much failed hard. I learned SO MUCH from my beloved Milcah. I have held this advice so tight in my little hand. I very literally say it to myself a lot.

From my journal from the time, my number 1 goal was GET MY SHIT READ. Thus I embarked on the type of marketing and self-promotion folks say to do for years.

It didn’t go well.

I had a beautiful most amazing little poetry book come out. Buy her here.  Shit this part burns. But I did the thing folks say to do. I reached out to a LOT of people. I offered review copies and I think I got 2 reviews. more stuff I haven’t told anybody. I sent emails, queries etc to lit venues offering review copies, I answered a few very specific calls that put my book into their wheelhouse. Out of 60 emails of this nature sent, I got zero replies.

Zero.

Nada.

Fuckin crickets.

Privately I was fucking devastated. Part of how I experience anxiety often means I want to apologize to people for bothering them with my needs or whatever. It is just a thing. I was really tempted and so heavily triggered I almost asked my publisher to cancel the book.

I’m glad I didn’t. It is a good little book.

Now here is where I really started to see the pattern of my career at work and exposing a lot to me. Now, in terms of how people respond to my work, even here in Seattle people really love it. On a personal level, people tell me how much they like things I do. Some folks wrote me really lovely notes about how much they enjoyed the book.

After publication, I tried another round of promotion in the review angles and again, nothing happened. Nothing. The few folks who took review copies never said anything about it again. It has taken most of my self control to not email ALL of those people to ask if they just hated it. I don’t need to know.

I know enough.

Those months are what my career is at this point. I’ve realized these things:

  • The agents I’ve queried have all been either super interested and then once they saw more of my work *who I actually am* they ghost. Or their advice is to cut the social justice stuff, talk about racism less etc.
  • There is something about ANY of my work that does not keep the attention of people enough to really support it in any material way.

Again, I’m not talking about my ride or dies. I’m talking about the 5k+ folks in my social media, other people. I just ain’t it bro.

Superficially that makes my inner child wail. I want to lay face down on the floor. I want to suck out my personality and brains and everything and try to be more like the badass writers I’ve been compared to (or mistaken for in Ijeoma’s case) Roxane, Nikki.  All writers I admire deeply.

If I could in fact eat or otherwise ingest some of their successes and turn them into my own, maybe.

I am not them and that is okay. I don’t have to be.

I could honestly go on forever. I know a lot of super talented, successful amazing writers. I stan them. I get so excited when I see their names in the news and on best of lists etc.

And just this year I realize, that is probably not going to happen for me. I hate it and it breaks my heart into a million pieces but that is just what it is. Whatever it is about me, my work, etc is not gonna be the thing that gets me the big money or the big publication or probably a spot on any best of list.

I’ve accepted it and that my beloveds is why I’m closing my professional FB page. It is why I’m not doing a newsletter anymore, why I’m not going to bust my whole ass trying to get people to do the TWO things I need.

Action doesn’t happen for me when I ask. Unless I’m having a complete panic fueled meltdown and as I’ve said that is exhausting and humiliating and also doesn’t really work in terms of success I can link to it. When I do that, I might get a few bucks thrown at me on Kofi or maybe an extra 2 shares but folks ain’t reading, ain’t buying, ain’t sharing.

So that my friends is the end of this part of my writing career. When I publish on Medium I might use the paywall I might not. I’m writing a lot of fiction. I’ve got some horror coming out this year. I want to get back into noir.

My failure to not get famous, that wasn’t the point. The point was to move my life into a more sustainable model, maybe someday sell a book and keep writing and making some coin. I failed. There were a lot of reasons but I failed.

So like I been doing for 20 years, I’m gonna do what I know how to do.

Write like a mother fucker.

So that’s it y’all. A different adventure begins. Please stay tuned, next week I’m gonna talk about stuff I’ve got planned, we’re gonna nerd the fuck out about horror and weird fiction. It is gonna be lit.

 

What ten years looks like.

I was digging around in my files for something and I stumbled on a copy of my most comprehensive submission tracking. Y’alls. You want to see what almost ten years of rejection looks like?

First thing, there are a lot of them missing. Looking at a couple of other ones and looking through my email, the actual submission numbers for 9/7/2010 through 8/20/19 are closer to 1k or so. But y’all know how much of a data driven boner type person I am so here we gonna get it.

You’ll notice almost all of these are rejections. Some of these things got picked up. Some never did. Some I don’t even remember writing.

This is why I say I eat rejection. I think I have another whole ass list (different) that if I can find it I will post it.

Buckle up babes.

Title Submission Date Organization Status
Walker 9/7/2010 2:07 Necessary Fiction Declined
Waking Oshun 9/22/2010 20:48 decomP magazinE Declined
Being Human 1/21/2011 21:16 kill author Declined
Still a Strange Girl. 2/2/2011 22:46 Battered Suitcase Accepted
Selling Myself 2/28/2011 21:25 Monkeybicycle Declined
Familiar Skin 3/4/2011 2:37 Storyglossia Declined
Familiar Skin 3/7/2011 17:49 Necessary Fiction Declined
Lady Things 3/21/2011 18:17 Eclectic Flash Declined
Lady Things 3/25/2011 22:53 fwriction : review Declined
Ladies Night 3/27/2011 3:25 Leodegraunce Declined
Ingenue 3/28/2011 20:25 A-Minor Declined
Sleeping Beast 3/29/2011 2:22 ABJECTIVE Declined
She Didn’t Make It. 4/14/2011 2:15 Little Episodes Declined
Dog and Girl 6/10/2011 3:09 d.ustb.in Withdrawn
Keith  Appropriately. 6/14/2011 21:55 The Midwest Coast Review Declined
Meeting God 7/15/2011 17:53 wtf pwm Declined
Lady Things 7/21/2011 20:39 Stone Highway Review Declined
Lovers of the Ages 7/28/2011 3:22 Specter: A Curated Literary Website Declined
Baby Miracle In Love 7/29/2011 17:08 Black Fox Literary Magazine Withdrawn
Lovers of the Ages 8/15/2011 17:54 Metazen Withdrawn
Nice Ladies and Wild Women 8/19/2011 18:44 [PANK] Declined
Good Bye Fat Girl 8/24/2011 17:35 Used Furniture Review Declined
Good Bye Fat Girl 9/2/2011 17:20 fwriction : review Declined
Goodbye Music 9/9/2011 17:37 Word Riot Declined
Familiar Skin 9/10/2011 3:04 Atticus Review Declined
Goodbye Music. 9/13/2011 17:15 Belletrist Coterie Declined
In HippySunshine I Trusted 10/10/2011 17:37 Specter: A Curated Literary Website Accepted
Single Black Female 10/26/2011 17:21 Gertrude Press Declined
Calling Oshun 10/31/2011 17:52 MUD LUSCIOUS PRESS Declined
Several Poems. 11/8/2011 17:27 Counterexample Poetics Declined
Familiar Skin 11/8/2011 18:03 Left Hooks Declined
Four Poems by Shannon Barber 12/9/2011 22:02 Camroc Press Review Declined
4 Poems. 12/14/2011 18:43 Interrobang Magazine Declined
The Woman in the Niqab 12/14/2011 18:56 Dark Sky Magazine Declined
The Black Mermaid. 12/26/2011 17:09 Publishing Genius Withdrawn
For Her to Sleep. 2/21/2012 3:01 Word Riot Declined
Familiar Skin 2/23/2012 2:39 Girls with Insurance Withdrawn
Awful. Greedy. Beauty. 3/1/2012 21:00 Two Serious Ladies Declined
Awful. Greedy. Beauty. 3/7/2012 18:28 Corium Magazine Declined
Girls  Girls  Girls 4/23/2012 18:57 SmokeLong Quarterly Accepted
Flirt. 5/11/2012 3:23 The Molotov Cocktail Accepted
Familiar Skin 6/15/2012 3:47 Linden Avenue Literary Journal Accepted
Nice Ladies and Wild Women 6/15/2012 4:11 fwriction : review Declined
Te Quiero Butthead. 7/31/2012 4:23 Out of the Gutter Online Declined
Princess  The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story. 8/8/2012 4:59 Slit Your Wrists! Magazine Withdrawn
No Habla 8/8/2012 5:37 Camroc Press Review Declined
Te Quiero Butthead 8/11/2012 2:52 The Monarch Review Declined
No Habla 8/11/2012 3:08 Used Furniture Review Accepted
The Female of the Species 9/11/2012 3:25 Menacing Hedge Declined
Black Mermaid 11/26/2012 18:16 Quickly Withdrawn
Keep Her Away From Me. 11/26/2012 19:41 Word Riot Declined
Go Home. 11/30/2012 18:46 Northern Lake Publishing Declined
Keep Her Away From Me. 12/5/2012 17:31 Bloom Withdrawn
Go Home. 12/7/2012 2:53 Side B Magazine Declined
She Didn’t Make It 12/13/2012 3:55 deactivated TOSKA Magazine Accepted
Various poems. 12/26/2012 2:37 Behind Closed Doors Withdrawn
Of a Body 2/4/2013 17:51 Unshod Quills Declined
Go Home. 2/21/2013 16:54 Curbside Splendor Publishing Withdrawn
Bridget Approved. 3/21/2013 18:54 Looseleaf Tea Accepted
Princess  Daddy and the Dope Fiend 3/27/2013 19:18 Necessary Fiction Declined
Black Mermaid. 5/4/2013 3:22 Jersey Devil Press Declined
A Small selection of poems. 6/5/2013 3:32 Bone Bouquet Declined
Of a Body 6/5/2013 18:13 BLACKBERRY: a magazine Declined
Princess  The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story. 6/5/2013 20:28 Prickly Pear Printing Declined
You Are Not Us. 7/1/2013 19:03 Word Riot Declined
You Are Not Us. 7/6/2013 3:03 The Rumpus Declined
Princess  The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story. 7/15/2013 16:50 10 000 Tons of Black Ink Declined
Of a Body 7/15/2013 17:15 Gravel Accepted
A Woman Obsessed. 7/22/2013 16:46 Portland Review Withdrawn
Dream of a Not Mother 7/23/2013 21:40 Cease  Cows Declined
Poetry Submission from S. Barber 10/20/2013 17:43 Birdfeast Declined
The Quick Dozens 12/18/2013 4:10 The Citron Review Declined
Various Poems 1/9/2014 3:35 DREGINALD Declined
Tempted 1/26/2014 17:45 [PANK] Declined
Go Back. 2/6/2014 20:46 Vending Machine Press Declined
Meditations of an Aging Whore 4/18/2014 19:09 tNY.Press Declined
Cutter Love 4/22/2014 18:38 Red Bridge Press Declined
Tempted 5/11/2014 18:18 freeze frame fiction Declined
Becoming Mujer Congelada 6/6/2014 19:37 Menacing Hedge Declined
Meditations of an Aging Whore 6/6/2014 19:56 ExFic Accepted
Various Poems. 8/26/2014 3:54 Barn Owl Review Declined
Driver 8/29/2014 3:31 Wyvern Lit Declined
Driver 11/29/2014 13:53 The James Franco Review Declined
Driver 12/16/2014 22:14 Gay Magazine Declined
In Mourning of Us 9/7/2015 20:31 The Offing Declined
How I Could Just Kill a Man 3/10/2016 21:28 The Offing Declined
Poetry Suite Submission 6/24/2016 17:04 The Suburban Review Declined
Body For War 7/14/2016 21:07 Black Warrior Review Declined
Cocaine Monster 9/1/2016 23:22 Intrinsick Declined
Black and High Functioning. 10/6/2016 21:32 The Manifest-Station Accepted
The Cowboy’s Mermaid or A Story of Wet Love in the Dry World 12/22/2016 21:25 Rigorous Accepted
Quickest and Dirtiest Guide to Diversify Your Publication. 7/11/2017 16:22 Submittable Content for Creatives Declined
Various Poems. 8/2/2017 11:34 Okey-Panky Withdrawn
JT Leroy Is My Daddy 11/11/2017 14:42 Electric Literature Declined
Misc Poems 3/7/2018 13:28 POETRY Magazine Declined
Misc Poems by S. Barber. 5/10/2018 14:45 Dream Pop Press Declined
The Boy. The Black Man. 5/15/2018 16:41 The Rumpus Declined
Misc Poems 5/16/2018 10:27 The Offing Withdrawn
Misc Poems 5/30/2018 13:15 BOAAT PRESS Declined
Shannon Barber 6/8/2018 14:32 Submittable Promotion Completed
We. Them. I. Us./Black Reign. For BBQ Becky  Permit Patty and other scared White People. /Generational Blood Songs. 6/29/2018 11:24 The Sun Magazine Declined
Tongue Fuck 7/13/2018 11:42 The Molotov Cocktail Declined
Bad Bitches Suite 7/24/2018 11:06 Virginia Quarterly Review Declined
We. Them. I. Us. 8/31/2018 11:03 The Adroit Journal Declined
We. Them. I. Us. 9/12/2018 11:36 Electric Literature Declined
Blood Fugue 4/20/2019 15:30 Heavy Feather Review Accepted
I Confess. I Hurt. 5/3/2019 14:15 Gay Magazine Declined
Make me a Monster 8/20/2019 15:34 The Rumpus In-Progress

Hi you still here? BUT WAIT THERE IS MORE. I found another sheet. From 3/29/10 through 8/29/14. Buckle in babe.

Piece Market Date Sent Response
Murder Room Sex and Murder 29-Mar-10 Acceptance
Self  Vs. Self Sleep. Snort. Fuck. 21-Jun-10 Acceptance
Bloody Knuckles Molotov Cocktail, The 13-Jul-10 rejection
Bloody Knuckles Underground Voices Magazine 23-Jul-10 rejection
Black Girl is a Dreamer. amphibi.us 27-Jul-10 Acceptance
‘Parasites Who Are Lovers Brain Harvest 27-Jul-10 rejection
Bloody Knuckles Out of the Gutter 10-Aug-10 Acceptance
Want Black Words On White Paper (bwowp) 31-Aug-10 Withdrawal by author
Walker Necessary Fiction 7-Sep-10 rejection
Walker Red Fez 17-Sep-10 rejection
Street love Sleep. Snort. Fuck. 17-Sep-10 Never Responded
Waking Oshun decomP 22-Sep-10 rejection
Thank you Tony. Legendary, The 28-Sep-10 Acceptance
True Love delinquent, the 5-Oct-10 rejection
Waking Oshun Misfit Magazine 25-Oct-10 rejection
4 poems Gutter Eloquence 1-Dec-10 Acceptance
I Cannot Wait THIS Literary Magazine 1-Dec-10 Acceptance
True Love Every Night Erotica 5-Dec-10 Acceptance
A Golden Misadventure Sexology: A Literary Journal of Sex Writing 5-Dec-10 Never Responded
Still in the Streets Children, Churches and Daddies 21-Jan-11 Acceptance
Being Human kill author 21-Jan-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Every Day Fiction 31-Jan-11 rejection
Still a Strange Girl Battered Suitcase, The 2-Feb-11 Acceptance
‘Parasites Who Are Lovers Circlet Press (Website) 2-Feb-11 rejection
Being Human Night Train 28-Feb-11 rejection
Familiar skin Storyglossia 4-Mar-11 rejection
Being Human Bastards and Whores 4-Mar-11 rejection
Familiar skin Necessary Fiction 7-Mar-11 rejection
The girl I met Amaranthine Muses 24-Mar-11 Acceptance
Familiar skin Sick of ‘Em?: The Anti-Literary Journal 24-Mar-11 Never Responded
Meeting God Short, Fast, and Deadly 25-Mar-11 rejection
Ladies Night Leodegraunce 27-Mar-11 rejection
Ingenue A-Minor 28-Mar-11 rejection
Sleeping Beast ABJECTIVE 29-Mar-11 rejection
Never a wife One Forty Fiction 29-Mar-11 rejection
Ingenue Dr. Hurley’s Snake-Oil Cure 31-Mar-11 rejection
Ladies Night DOGZPLOT 4-Apr-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Strange Horizons 12-Apr-11 rejection
Ingenue Literary Burlesque, The 5-May-11 Acceptance
Ladies Night Anomaly 5-May-11 rejection
Sleeping Beast Death Head Grin 5-May-11 Acceptance
Selling Myself Busk 9-May-11 Never Responded
Dog and Girl d.ustb.in 10-Jun-11 Withdrawal by author
Single Black Female Staccato Fiction 27-Jun-11 Withdrawal by author
Meeting God wtf pwm 15-Jul-11 rejection
Lady Things Stone Highway Review 21-Jul-11 rejection
Bite Freaky Fountain Press Showcase 28-Jul-11 Acceptance
Lovers of the Ages Specter Magazine 28-Jul-11 rejection
Senryu Duet Mused: The BellaOnline Literary Review 29-Jul-11 Acceptance
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Ink Sweat & Tears 29-Jul-11 rejection
Baby miracle in love Black Fox Literary Magazine 29-Jul-11 Withdrawal by author
Lady Things Burner Magazine 29-Jul-11 Never Responded
Waking Oshun Pear Noir! 8-Aug-11 rejection
Lovers of the Ages Metazen 15-Aug-11 Withdrawal by author
Nice Ladies and Wild Women PANK Magazine 19-Aug-11 rejection
Goodbye Fatgirl Used Furniture Review 24-Aug-11 rejection
Meeting God Furious Fictions 26-Aug-11 rejection
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Clutching at Straws 31-Aug-11 rejection
Owner of Mouths Other Room, The 1-Sep-11 rejection
Goodbye Fatgirl fwriction : review 2-Sep-11 rejection
Nice Ladies and Wild Women Fix It Broken 2-Sep-11 Withdrawal by author
Goodbye Music Word Riot 9-Sep-11 rejection
3 poems Indigo Rising Magazine 9-Sep-11 rejection
3 poems Spilling Ink Review 9-Sep-11 rejection
Goodbye Music elimae 10-Sep-11 rejection
Familiar skin Atticus Review 10-Sep-11 rejection
Goodbye Music Belletrist Coterie 13-Sep-11 rejection
Selling Myself Whistling Fire, The 19-Sep-11 rejection
The Woman in the Niqab Neon 26-Sep-11 rejection
The Woman in the Niqab Eunoia Review 10-Oct-11 rejection
In Hippy Sunshine I Trusted Specter Magazine 10-Oct-11 Acceptance
Dog and Girl Cezanne’s Carrot 10-Oct-11 rejection
Single Black Female Pure Francis 24-Oct-11 rejection
Goodbye Music Scissors & Spackle 24-Oct-11 Acceptance
Baby miracle in love Bare Root Review 24-Oct-11 Never Responded
Being Human Corvus 25-Oct-11 rejection
Single Black Female Gertrude 26-Oct-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Mud Luscious Press [online quarterly] 31-Oct-11 rejection
Goodbye Fatgirl Milk Sugar: An Online Literary Journal 31-Oct-11 Acceptance
The Woman in the Niqab Read Fiction 31-Oct-11 Withdrawal by author
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Counterexample Poetics 8-Nov-11 rejection
Familiar skin Knockout 8-Nov-11 rejection
4 new/old poems Camroc Press Review 9-Dec-11 rejection
Corporate whore Left Behind: A Journal of Shock Literature 9-Dec-11 Never Responded
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Subliminal Interiors 9-Dec-11 Never Responded
Dog and Girl Foliate Oak Literary Magazine 14-Dec-11 Acceptance
4 poems Interrobang?! 14-Dec-11 rejection
The Woman in the Niqab Dark Sky Magazine 14-Dec-11 rejection
Waking Oshun Melusine 14-Dec-11 rejection
Black Mermaid Everyday Genius 26-Dec-11 Withdrawal by author
Waking Oshun Wigleaf: (very) short fiction 3-Jan-12 Withdrawal by author
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Randomly Accessed Poetics 6-Feb-12 Acceptance
No Habla Apocrypha and Abstractions 13-Feb-12 rejection
For Her to Sleep Word Riot 21-Feb-12 rejection
Being Human Dirtflask 21-Feb-12 rejection
Black Mermaid anderbo.com 22-Feb-12 rejection
Familiar skin Girls with Insurance 23-Feb-12 Withdrawal by author
Awful Greedy Beauty Absinthe Revival 28-Feb-12 rejection
Awful Greedy Beauty Corium Magazine 7-Mar-12 rejection
No Habla Ad Hominem 19-Mar-12 Lost/Returned
Girls Girls Girls. SmokeLong Quarterly 23-Apr-12 Acceptance
Flirt Molotov Cocktail, The 11-May-12 Acceptance
3 poems- murderer. 5 lies about shannon, burned an Smoking Poet, The 14-May-12 rejection
Familiar skin Linden Avenue Literary Journal 15-Jun-12 Acceptance
Nice Ladies and Wild Women fwriction : review 15-Jun-12 rejection
Single Black Female Belly Fat Magazine 15-Jun-12 Never Responded
Insomnia Shadowbox 18-Jun-12 Withdrawal by author
Te Quiero Butthead Out of the Gutter 31-Jul-12 rejection
No Habla Camroc Press Review 8-Aug-12 rejection
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story Slit Your Wrists! E-Zine 8-Aug-12 Withdrawal by author
Te Quiero Butthead Monarch Review, The 11-Aug-12 rejection
No Habla Used Furniture Review 11-Aug-12 Acceptance
Te Quiero Butthead Bone Parade 20-Aug-12 rejection
Black Dyke Dream or Prayer to Gay Oshun Broad! 7-Sep-12 rejection
Being Human Menacing Hedge 11-Sep-12 rejection
Being Human Linguistic Erosion 4-Oct-12 Acceptance
Te Quiero Butthead Yellow Mama 8-Oct-12 Acceptance
Nice Ladies and Wild Women Word Riot 26-Nov-12 rejection
Black Mermaid Quickly 26-Nov-12 Withdrawal by author
Go Home Rusty Nail, The 30-Nov-12 rejection
Digger Safety Pin Review 5-Dec-12 rejection
Coffee Blue Aberration Labyrinth 5-Dec-12 Acceptance
Day/Dreamer Aberration Labyrinth 5-Dec-12 Acceptance
Nice Ladies and Wild Women BLOOM 5-Dec-12 Withdrawal by author
Awful Greedy Beauty Thirteen Myna Birds 7-Dec-12 Withdrawal by author
Go Home Side B Magazine 7-Dec-12 rejection
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story FRiGG 12-Dec-12 rejection
Digger Misfits’ Miscellany 12-Dec-12 Never Responded
She Didn’t Make it TOSKA 13-Dec-12 Acceptance
Feminism Beat Me Red Fez 13-Dec-12 rejection
Freedom Brevity Poetry Review 26-Dec-12 rejection
Firestarters Infernal Ink Magazine: Devilishly Erotic Horror 26-Dec-12 Acceptance
Lycanthrope Behind Closed Doors 26-Dec-12 Withdrawal by author
Bridget Approved Blackness Crack the Spine 28-Dec-12 rejection
Freedom Mad Swirl 28-Dec-12 Acceptance
Awful Greedy Beauty Flash Me! The Sinthology 19-Jan-13 Acceptance
Of A Body Unshod Quills 4-Feb-13 rejection
My hood Drabblecast 11-Feb-13 rejection
Go Home Eunoia Review 20-Feb-13 rejection
Go Home Curbside Splendor E-Zine 21-Feb-13 Withdrawal by author
Insomnia damselfly press 25-Feb-13 rejection
Killer, Duck and The Boys Thuglit 9-Mar-13 Acceptance
Of A Body Momma Tried 18-Mar-13 Withdrawal by author
My hood Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine 18-Mar-13 Acceptance
Bridget Approved Blackness Looseleaf Tea 21-Mar-13 Acceptance
Waking Oshun Expanded Horizons 27-Mar-13 Acceptance
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story Necessary Fiction 27-Mar-13 rejection
I Grew Up To Be Her Coming Together: Girl on Girl 4-Apr-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Bop Dead City 3-May-13 rejection
Black Mermaid Jersey Devil Press 4-May-13 rejection
Minstrel Show Fiddleblack 4-May-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Dressing Room Poetry Journal 4-May-13 rejection
Bad Shannon(s) at the End of the World Visceral Uterus 10-May-13 rejection
Lycanthrope Rattle 15-May-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Bone Bouquet 5-Jun-13 rejection
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story Wilde Magazine 5-Jun-13 rejection
Of A Body Blackberry: a magazine 5-Jun-13 rejection
Insomnia Epiphany: An Unpretentious Publication 6-Jun-13 rejection
Bernie’s Warg Pseudopod 8-Jun-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Sugar House Review 13-Jun-13 rejection
Black Girl/ Bitch/ Dreams Pyrokinection 16-Jun-13 rejection
Black Beauty on Fire Red River Review 16-Jun-13 rejection
Street Mama Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, The 29-Jun-13 Acceptance
Go Home litbomb 29-Jun-13 Never Responded
You Are Not Us Word Riot 1-Jul-13 rejection
You Are Not Us Rumpus, The 6-Jul-13 rejection
Bernie’s Warg Strange Horizons 12-Jul-13 rejection
Of A Body Gravel: A Literary Journal 15-Jul-13 Acceptance
Princess, The Dope Fiend and Daddy: A love story 10,000 Tons of Black Ink 15-Jul-13 rejection
A Woman Obsessed Portland Review 22-Jul-13 Withdrawal by author
Dream of a Not Mother Cease, Cows 23-Jul-13 rejection
Spider Queen/Unlearned Yes, Poetry 23-Jul-13 rejection
Dream of a Not Mother Postcard Shorts 30-Jul-13 rejection
Go Home Bumf 27-Aug-13 rejection
4 new/old poems Sporklet 19-Sep-13 rejection
Organic Human Dissident Daily Science Fiction 20-Sep-13 rejection
misc new poems/feral 3:AM Magazine 5-Oct-13 rejection
Spider Queen/Unlearned Birdfeast 20-Oct-13 rejection
Destroyer I/II/Exctinction even Blood Lotus 20-Oct-13 rejection
Tempted Thursdaze Flash Fiction Series 27-Oct-13 rejection
Insomnia Blue Monday Review 15-Dec-13 rejection
The Quick Dozens Citron Review, The 18-Dec-13 rejection
Glass Girl/Woman. Alone Camel Saloon, The 9-Jan-14 Acceptance
Tempted Black Market Lit 9-Jan-14 rejection
misc new poems/feral DREGINALD 9-Jan-14 rejection
Tempted PANK Magazine 26-Jan-14 rejection
Go Home Vending Machine Press 6-Feb-14 rejection
Meditations of an Aging Whore theEEEL 18-Apr-14 rejection
Cutter Love Rivet: The Journal of Writing That Risks 22-Apr-14 rejection
Bernie’s Warg Tor.com 7-May-14 rejection
Tempted freeze frame fiction 11-May-14 rejection
Tempted StepAway Magazine 28-May-14 Never Responded
Becoming Mujer Congelada Menacing Hedge 6-Jun-14 rejection
Meditations of an Aging Whore ExFic 6-Jun-14 Acceptance
Imbas/Black Girl/Bitch Melancholy Hyperbole 12-Jun-14 rejection
misc new poems/feral Leaves of Ink 15-Jun-14 Acceptance
Becoming Mujer Congelada Rock Bottom Journal 15-Jun-14 Withdrawal by author
misc new poems/feral Rust + Moth 20-Jun-14 rejection
Cutter Love Urban Graffiti 11-Jul-14 Acceptance
Reach Back and Get It Black Mirror Magazine 11-Jul-14 Acceptance
4 new/old poems Rusty Truck, The 11-Jul-14 Withdrawal by author
We Deserve it Nailed Magazine 26-Aug-14 Acceptance
4 new/old poems Barn Owl Review 26-Aug-14 rejection
Driver Wyvern Lit 29-Aug-14 rejection

Why it Ain’t working Pt II. Feelings and shit.

OKAY so I have some further thoughts.

If you’re catching up basically, I’m fully retiring from trying to make my creative life financially sustainable and or a part of my actual income. What that means for the moment is this.

  1. I won’t be doing the most to self-promote or get folks to buy my kindle stories. I may put some more things on Kindle but I’m not going to go nuts to promote it.
  2. I am closing my writer FB page. The cost in terms of time and money I’ve paid hasn’t been worth it in terms of returns.
  3. I’m not going to keep trying to hustle this way.

The part of this that is difficult for me is that I am a hustler. I’ve never made enough income to thrive from any dayjob so, I hustle. I’ve worked PT, done survival sex work, back in the day I worked FT for a content mill churning out hundreds of words for pennies. I’ve written catalog text, porno, custom porno, I wrote custom erotica for a sex worker it was some weird Mary Sue shit she sold some customers, I sold foot photos, smoking fetish videos, I’ve done a lot.

In the last six years or so, I fully believed I could make my creative life financially sustainable. I took classes, I did a lot of research. I tried freelancing on a larger scale, I shopped around for an agent a bit, I shopped the stuff I’m writing over at Patreon, I tried offering affordable stories on etsy, I’ve tried using the pay thing on Medium, I spent $$ on advertising, etc etc etc.

Every creative hustle I’ve tried has cost me and I’ve not profited. I really worked hard at figuring out what my needs were for these endevours to work for me both financially and ethically.

  1. It was absolutely necessary for me to keep the pricing structure on my work accessible. Save for when Milcah and I released SCLAB 2.0 everything else I’ve sold has been in the 1-5$ range.
  2. I knew I wouldn’t make more than say 4$ per hour but I was very invested in hustling up enough money to equate to something.

I succeeded at #1 but, frankly that didn’t matter in the end.

I also tried very hard to offer a wide variety of content. I write a lot of things. I was very focused on offering things for the disparate parts of my readership. Social justice stuff for the folks who’ve found me through that, fiction etc etc. That also was a failed thing.

Now let’s talk about why it ain’t work.

First problem is me. Yes it is. What I do in general, ain’t it. That’s okay. It sucks but, what am I gonna do? This is not necessarily a quality problem. It is a multi-tentacled problem.

When I’ve had my shots at the lit world mainstream, they have always come with heavy prices. A publisher was interested in some self care stuff but, they wanted it without the emphasis on marginalized people. They wanted, something they could put a smiling instagram ready face on that was not what I do. They wanted shiny not challenging. I passed.

Back in the day, when I was a lil fatty blogger. One small publishing house wanted my body politics book. Except, again they wanted Smiling Gently Leading the way Negress and not the meaty bloody part of my content. I am not said negro so….no.

For the urban fantasy Daiyuverse adult novel I shopped, well yanno I had a nibble of interest from one agent who then said, there wouldn’t be a market because it was too many things. Too queer. Too Black. Not enough white people. No market. They passed. A few others did too.

In terms of my other work. A lot of people find my social justice work highly offensive. I am fully aware that I am not good for folks who are just discovering anti racism or any other social justice thing. I’m just not. That is also okay. It isn’t lucrative but it is okay.

The other part of the me problem is that I already work a full time job. Until we moved, my work days usually topped out with commuting included to about 16 hrs or so and I had to stop pretending to be abled enough to do it. I am not. I was not.

These days, my dayjob days are in fact shorter. However, the way my health works. I cannot put in full time hours on my creative life. I’d love to but I can’t.

So there is a me problem here. The life I was trying to design is not going to work out for me. And that’s okay. It hurts. It sucks. I feel very rejected but I’ll get through it.

There is also an audience problem.

My biggest fans are also poor marginalized people. I love my people. YOU YEAH U I LOVE U.

I also understand that because I haven’t/am unable to catch on with a more privileged audience in any meaningful way, ALL the above hustling ain’t for shit.

Through my failed fundraising for myself or other people, the extensive years of statistics I have on how my work performs, etc I understand that fetch ain’t gonna happen.

My hustle retirement is also me accepting that there is a crucial link and proximity to things like but not limited to:

  • whiteness
  • social capital
  • access etc

that will not happen for me.

I’ve been trying to make it happen for more than a decade and y’all, it ain’t goin to happen. I have accepted this finally in a way that feels solid. My heart is dragging. I recently laid out how my last fundraiser failed and as I keep saying it comes down to this one thing.

For whatever bunch of reasons, folks don’t fuck with me like that and I have to accept it so I can move on.

That’s it for right now.

More later.

Why It Ain’t Working. Part I.

It is me.

Hi folks.

I’ve been doing a lot of long term work on my whole indie author shits. I’ve come to some conclusions. I don’t know how many posts there will be. I am going to talk about my failed hustles. I’m gonna talk about myself, my work and what it all means.

I am not gonna name names. Or divulge ALL the details of some things because y’all don’t need to know.

Yes this is negative. It is. It is also part of me being transparent and showing (representation y’all!) failure and figuring out what to do next. Let’s get started.

First let’s talk successes.

Back in 2017, I had two of my most reshared, read, hated and loved pieces published. Well most hated since I wrote at XO Jane but whatever. I also that year wrote a poetry review that was not what the publisher asked for but I was really proud of. –

Actually you know what. I’ve been done this analysis a lot.

Here is what it comes down to.

After many years of the same patterns repeating themselves this is the conclusion I’ve come to.

There is something about me, my work or something that causes folks to think twice about coming through with help. One of the few rules of self promotion that I’ve adhered to for more than a decade at this point is the call to action. If we wanna be a little more woo about it, I ask my community (in this case my readership) for what I need.

Now. I am a very self aware creator. Having cut my teeth in the porn mines I know that not every word I write is for everyone. That is great. I have beloved ones who do not read porn ever and have not read a lot of my work. I have other friends who don’t understand poetry and don’t read my poems. That is fine.

What I have come to understand is this.

I have a little crew of hard core dedicated ride or die supporters. There are about a dozen of them, most of whom have been reading me from my fatty blogger days, from my porn writing days. I can literally name my top ten buyers who have in the last five years been ALL the same people. They are also marginalized people. They are poor. They are disabled. They are just like me.

The level of love and support from them is amazing and continues to be. I’m not talking about them.

The thing is, when I had one serious uh courtship by an agent for a big house, the thing that stuck with me that they told me is this. I can’t believe I remember this so clearly.

Shannon, you are a hard sell.

I feel like I’ve spent all these years trying to “overcome” that.

At this point I don’t have the energy and honestly I feel really terrible knowing that my support system who have the least resources do the most for me and that is devastating to me. Every time I see it I’m thankful and I’m also mad at myself because I’m the asshole I am and people who HAVE money or resources don’t fuck with me like that.

So look y’all.

I’m closing my author FB page. It takes a lot of my spoons and it has put me into the negative as far as profits from my work go. I’m probably going to make a single page store with links to my kindle shits and other formats for that work but I’m retiring from self promo mostly.

I don’t think I will ever create an image that folks with the means can publicly and materially support. That’s who I am. I am not the one and I’ve known that for a decade.

Also real talk. It hurts my heart so bad every time I do the call to action, every time I say please PLEASE and nothing happens aside from my ride or dies. It hurts. It makes me feel shitty and I hate it. And realest of real talk. The only time there is a swell or upswing of support is when I do the public poor person panic (even then meh) or when I’m metaphorically bleeding out about some racist bullshit and that is too much.

I won’t be returning to regular freelance work. Racism, plagiarism and that last major doxxing really killed that for me. I have maybe 2 editors I trust.

Please don’t take this to mean I am not writing. I am. Like a mother fucker. What am I gonna do with the shit I’m writing? I dunno. Maybe I’ll dive back into the delicious obscurity of short fiction where I was most successful but not noticeably so. Or I’ll continue being ain’t shit and flinging stuff into the world.

What I’m not going to continue doing is putting myself in the hands of a community that don’t want me. And y’all, i’m not fishing so lets be real. The community at large has spoken. I hear it. I am not gonna keep trying to make fetch happen.

So for now I will continue with Patreon because at about 220-265$ per month is is the most successful thing I’ve done. Funny thing is, the work I’m putting up at Patreon is work other agents told me was also a hard sell.

I might start putting some non fiction there too? I dunno. Last time I tried to expand patreon I lost a lot of patrons and I can’t afford that.

So yeah. Dassit y’all. It comes down to after years of being told I have ALL THIS MEGA support and not seeing any fruits of it after a decade and innumerable projects, nah.