Dwelling in Darkness

Before I get to the darkness, some light. My first fiction publication of the year has gone live at the new magazine Rigorous. Read my cowboy/mermaid myth here. I’ll nerd about it later because I worked on it for months and the original inspiration might make y’all giggle.

I’ll nerd about the origin story for that piece later this week.

Per usual, when things are pretty much non-stop bullshit, I turn to the darker end of lit for comfort. Let’s talk about what I’ve been reading/listening to.

House of Horrors: The Shocking True Story of Anthony Sowell, the Cleveland Strangler. (Amazon affiliate links ahoy y’all.)This book is pretty dingdang good. I actually followed this case with a lot of interest because really we don’t get to see/read about a lot of non-white serial killers. This book was missing the racial analysis I was craving, something more in depth than poverty and shit. BUT, that said a lot of the early history and behaviors of this killer cut across racial lines to intersect with other serial killers. Pretty good read.

I also reread Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Y’all if you’ve never read this book please read it. This one is a hard one for me to read. Every time I read it, the sameness of many of the struggles I have as a Black person are devastating. On the other hand, I also am soothed by the rhythm of this book and the familiarity. Read the thing.

I have a habit of dipping back into the darkness as y’all know.

May I also suggest some of my fave noir?

I really loved this piece in Out of the Gutter, The Flash Fiction Offensive. Initiation by Brendan Bakala.

For some other noir reading, may I suggest back issues of Thuglit. Like issue #5 (I’m in this one) I also suggest reading stuff by the publisher of Thuglit Todd Robinson. He’s good people and his writing is fucking tight. Read The Hard Bounce. I really fell in love with his characters Boo and Junior. His work is vivid and has a beating heart. Get into it.

Lamentation by my homie Joe Clifford, another one that I love. Y’all, like get on that. It is a series and it’s good.

Want something lighter?

Battle Hill Bolero (Bone Street Rumba) by my dude Daniel Jose Older. If I’m not mistaken, this is the last in the Bone Street Rumba series (noooooooooooooooo) and it is so fucking good. It’s just, god damn it. I love this world so much I never want it to end for purely selfish reasons. Just…start at the beginning and read them all.

For an intense but not totally heart breaking read, start up the Broken Earth books by N.K. Jemisin. Start with The Fifth Season. If you like your fantasy with some literary bent and really detailed and showcasing some major, major researching skills, get it. These books are gorgeous.

If you need to get really sucked in deep into a whole other world, read The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. I liked this book, it wasn’t totally what I needed but it is very very good and goes deep into world building and the language is beautiful. 

Thing is, right now we all need some fucking space that isn’t littered with the actual fire that is burning up America right now and fixing to light up the rest of the world.

Don’t feel bad if you need to get away because we all need some of that lately.

What have I been doing?

Well I’ve been writing poems and SCLAB and a few stories. Trying to hang on to my sanity.

Before I go, how about a look at a bite of a hood noir story I started. Another one with a brother and sister duo, I’ve got a thing for that.

“You-‘

Tyrell heard his sister yelling from the front hall all the way into his office and cringed.

“Rusty ass. No account ass. Trifling ass. Shitty ass mother fucker.”

He heard her stomp past his door, steady talking shit.

“One more fuckin’ time I gotta do some nasty shit like that, you gonna take a dick for the team. Chicken ass, scary ass, useless looking bullshitting ass, but you’re better at this Tye Tye, lying ass-“

Her voice muted as the bathroom door slammed. Tyrell heaved a sigh and made a gesture at the other man in his office.

OH one more thing.

My birthday is in March and per request here is my wishlist.

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Midnight Taxi Tango- The Big Ole Review

Midnight-Taxi-Tango-Hi-Res-635x1024
Yes this is a big ass image. But LOOK AT THIS FUCKING COVER.

This is my review of Daniel Jose Older’s Midnight Taxi Tango. First, I recommend going back here and reading my review of the first novel in this series Half-Resurrection Blues: A Bone Street Rumba Novel

Ahem.

The short version goes like this. I devoured about half the novel when it came in the mail, threw it on the floor and just sat muttering, “this motherfucker right here…” it is an excellent follow up to Half-Resurrection Blues. If grown folks urban fantasy and magic is what you like, this shit right here is what you want.

Okay, so I’m going to put a read more cause thar b spoilers and it’s about to get nerdy as hell up in here.

No, seriously, I’m about to dork out on a whole other level and if you want to not witness my nerd meltdown.

Y’all been warned.

Continue reading “Midnight Taxi Tango- The Big Ole Review”

The Grace of Kings- Review and Musings

I just finished Ken Liu’s epic, The Grace of Kings. I have some thoughts and we’re gonna get kinda nerdy.

I will put a read more in where spoilers start.

The short version. This is a silkpunk gigantic beautiful creation. There is an excerpt here and I highly recommend checking it out.

What I enjoy about this novel is the scope. I have the deepest admiration for writers in whatever genre who can create these huge worlds and do it with a fine enough eye to not lose the reader but still maintain the beauty of a new world.

I love the prose. Love it. The ease of the language that is unfamiliar is really well done. One of the things I am a huge fan of is when an author an take language that is all their own creation and make it seamless within the narrative. This from the glossary is one of my favorite things:

-tika: suffix expressing endearment among family members.

This is not an easy book. There are a lot of things to keep track of and people who aren’t fans of lots of background and detail won’t be fans. There are histories, poems, social information. It is a lot.

Personally, I love that sort of thing so it is right up my alley.

Overall, it is an intense and a lovely read. Totally immersive, almost to the point of distraction for me, but still very enjoyable. I did take a few issues, but there are spoilers, so read further at your own peril.

Continue reading “The Grace of Kings- Review and Musings”

Promote ALL THE THINGS!

Oh y’all. Go get yourself some coffee and then come back because I have MANY things to show you. Per usual any Amazon links will be affiliate links.

Some of this stuff I bookmarked for this other stuff I asked for. All of it is awesome. Hand curated stuff to look at, read, buy and otherwise enjoy.

SO.

First up, my fave Milcah has announced they are relaunching their blog with a WHOLE NEW THING. I’m very excited about it and you can go read about it here.

Next, my friend s. j. bagley turned me onto a new project he got involved with called Thinking Horror. The blurb from Amazon:

THINKING HORROR: a Journal of Horror Philosophy is a nonfiction journal devoted to modern and contemporary horror literature consisting of essays, editorials, and in-depth interviews. The journal will be focused on the contexts and concepts of horror fiction.

I am SO FUCKING INTO IT HOLY SHIT. I just yeah. No for real go check it out at Amazon. I’ve been waiting since he announced it forever ago.

Next a new thing by someone I admire greatly. My friend Aaminah Shakur writing about art and watching you watch art. Y’all, their writing about art even when I don’t understand it just floors me. GO LOOK.

Now how about some poetry? My friend Noemi Martinez has a new piece up that I just love. Check that out here. Also check out Hermana Resist here. Fucking awesome.

My friend Lily has launched something really amazing. I can’t even…I mean. Okay, just go here to facebook (and like her page while you’re there) and look at her message pills. Buy some for someone because it’s a fantastic, loving idea. Lily is fucking magical.

This essay by Sarah Boyle at Gorgon Poetics, YASSSSSS. BURN IT DOWN! Um..that is how I express my love of this sort of thing. BURN IT BURN IT BURN IT!

How about more poetry? Hear my homie Kenzie Allen read her poetry and read the rest of this mag there is a lot of loveliness to be had. AND audio…I swooned.

A writer I adore is doing tiny letter. HOLY CRAP. GO GO GO and get letters from Mo Daviau. It will be great I promise.

WOW. Just going back and LOOKING at all these things is just making me do a little happy wriggle in my chair. I legit know the most talented amazing people in the whole world.

Ready okay let’s continue.

Next up I read this book by Ki Russell a while back and it just stayed with me. How to Become Baba Yaga by Ki Russell..it is just. It’s so beautiful and mystic. I love it so fucking much. Read it.

I came across this piece via my FB feed and it is really great. I am a black woman in the American south. And I’m not leaving by
Latria Graham. It just, yeah it gave me a lot of feels.

MORE POEMS. This time by the delectable Sonya Vatomsky. Their poetry is just…just buy the book.  Their book Salt is for Curing is just..yeah. Go. 

LOOK at how lovely Sarah Khan’s official website is.  Check the photos tab. The b/w shot of the stem and leaf is just..totally my aesthetic and I would put that on my wall.

You want to see some more stuff to check out? My homie Sara Habien does Notes from Elsewhere over at WordRiot and real talk I totally stole the format from there. Go check out more things.

Lynn B. Johnson has the Oldest Blog Alive. And I am so delighted by that. HOW can you not love that?

We have a shy poet in the house too. Bronwyn Petry  has a website and writes and edits and has one of my favorite names. I know that’s a weird thing to say but I think Bronwyn is just a really lovely name okay. Go show some love.

Let’s take a reading break and how about some art? I stumbled across Hal Rotting Graphics on Tumblr forever ago and I just..unf. I want ALL of the things and am probably going to snag a sticker pack for my laptop here soon.

Next up, nerds pay attention. Go like the page for American Witch comics. I AM SO HYPE ABOUT THIS!

Are you Canadian? In or around Toronto and into film? My homie Trista DeVries has somethin for you! Pretty cool magazine on the film scene.

Are you writing things? I have some stuff for my writing friends.

First up read and then submit to Dead Housekeeping. It’s just, heartbreaking and so good. I cherish it while I read it. AND if you’ve been here a while you’ve heard me say it time and again, COME JOIN US AT YEAH, WRITE.  No for real do it do it do it do it.

Need translation? Some bad ass poems? Non fiction? You need to meet Shabnam Nadiya. All the yes.

And we all need more amazing non binary trans-masculine types in our lives right? NO seriously, you do. Meet AJ Ripley and well, you’re welcome.

Listen to Gyda Arber talk about her new really cool project.  It is a podcast AND one you can download and listen to on the go. Fuck to the yes.

Now meet Stephanie Georgopulos. Freelance writer and she runs Human Parts. Awww, yiss.

Speaking of Human Parts, my friend Laurence Dumortier did this really great piece over there. Go read it. 

More stuff to listen to! Katie Klabusich hosts a podcast I really enjoy called The Katie Speak Show. I’m SO here for it. Bookmark, listen love.

More stuff? How about some real good nerd stuff? Via my homie  Alisha Karabinus and her academic team, ALL THE THINGS GAMING! Podcasts, videos awesomeness. If you are trying to get your nerd on in the context of amazing stuff like race and gaming, get it.

I also want you to meet Jen Selk writer and editor of awesome. Reviews, journalism, checkout her statement at the bottom of the page. TROLL BE GONE!

NOW okay this is pretty cool. Via Hanna Brooks Olson and Sarah Anne Lloyd, SEATTLISH. I didn’t realize I KNEW THEM. And that’s pretty fucking cool.

WOW this was a beast. Are you still here? Thanks for hanging out. I’ve been squirreling links away for weeks and I just get so excited about sharing my community with y’all. AND I don’t want you starved for great stuff to read and look at.

What about yours truly?

Well, actually naw. Check out the sidebar for my stuff. We’ll do me another day.

Except to say that I’ve been crocheting again after not doing it for a while and it feels great. I’m working really hard to work up the courage to sell some of my wares. Until then look at this beauty I’m working on now. I will be adding some gorgeous deep, vibrant teal and he’ll be done.

Thanks for reading and as always, if you have stuff you want to share with everybody, LEAVE THEM LINKS BOO!

shawl

Stuff I like

So hey my homies.

I’m coming down from an epic migraine and I wanna show y’all some stuff I like. Tomorrow I’ll post some craft nerd stuff about my Billy Remixes and ways to use a small prompt to explore some things.

The first thing I’m super into. The Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo. They are just..fuck they are everything I love about solidarity and some bad assness. Check out their website, follow them on tweeter and decolonize your mind.

Next up, my friend Anna March is doing some awesome mixtape things at The Rumpus. The first one “FOR WHITE FOLKS WHO THINK THEY AREN’T RACIST” is pretty damn good.

And Daniel José Older on Prose and Music at Electric Lit is well just go read it.

While we’re checking out men of color I like a lot, Mensah DeMary has this piece on Catapult and I love it. Read it.

If you can afford it and can get there, Lidia Yuknovitch is doing some workshops that I’ve heard good things about. Go check it out.

One of my favorite online used bookstores is having a great coupon. Go to Thriftbooks and enter LITFIC for This coupon is good for 15% off books in our Literature & Fiction category (except Thrift Deals.) This is an awesome deal. They have great prices AND free US shipping over 10$.

Look what I got from them just last week:

books

Wanna read some fiction? Head over here and check out Laura Lucas. No for real if you want to check out how Yeah, Write Microfiction is done, go to the blog tab and behold. Awesome.

Who else am I super into? Dark Matter Poetry. I just..y’all I can’t. I have the worst of literary crushes on them and can’t stop. Go check them out and love them like I do.

Want to see more Yeah, Write? Check out my friend Rowan. GO tell Rowan I sent you.

While I’m talking about folks I love terribly. Motherblazing has a brand spankin new and shiny website. My publisher made something really good looking, so go here and check it out. AND while you’re there sign up for our mailings lists. We won’t spam you but will send some love letters and stuff.

Next, go read this by my friend Wagatwe Wanjuki over at Upworthy. No for real real go forth and read it.

Read this article on gender. Yes, please read it.

Over at Buzzfeed a favorite artist of mine, Mykki Blanco talks about hip hop, coming out and all sorts of goodness.

This poem How To Make Love to a Trans Person  has not left my head lately. Enjoy it here.

Follow my homie Ki Russell over on the amazons. I know it seems weird, but liking author pages is totally a thing. So do it.

Wanna read some kickass writing about women in butchery? Content warning for cut up pigs. This is a great piece by my friend Sarah Grey .

Just read this poem by Dana Koster. Just..ugh yes.

More Yeah, Write homies and some generally good writing follow Seraphina Maria.

AND go follow my homie Sara Habein. Say hi Shannon sent you.

Um nerds…fantasy LOTR type nerds. Hold on to your drawers and check this cookbook out by my friend Chris-Rachael Oseland. An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. UM FUCK TO THE YES. No I’m serious holy shit that’s fucking awesome. Elvenses anyone? Second breakfast? FOOL OF A TOOK…ahem. Sorry. Nerded kinda hard.

A few more. It’s been too long since I’ve shared my reading with y’all that wasn’t books or a book review.

Read this piece on MFA’s and POC over at The Offing. It’s just it’s important. Read it.

Tomorrow starting at 7 PM MDT to celebrate the first issue of WITCH CRAFT MAG they are doing this awesome internet reading event thing. I’m stoked AND you can see my fave Milcah read too. Check it out on facebooks.

GO read and/or listen to this story on Lightspeed it’s fucking amazing. Also it is hosted this time by Mur Lafferty whom I find delightful.

Now how about a lil self promo?

Free stuff first okay?

Join my email list. It is Self Care Like A Boss related and full of love. My love for y’all.  I promise zero spams.

If you are in Seattle come see me read on Saturday. Imma be spitting some fire. Because I am pissed off and poetry is my current method of not punching people. Gallery 1412 18th Ave, Seattle, WA at 7 PM Oct 3.

AND you can head over to the side bar and buy SCLAB, or you can check out the few things I have up at Etsy right now. Or if you are a commitment type, come check me out on Patreon.

Now there is a good number of you and I invite you if you have stuff to promote, drop links in the comments. SHARE WITH THE CLASS.

Tomorrow, something new for Yeah, Write since I’m done with Billy remixes….for now.

Now go forth and read some awesome stuff.

What it is, what it is.

I think I finally slept off the last of my cold. I honestly hate the snotty type sickness so much.

BUT there are things I have to share with you.

My publisher Motherblazing now has an official website!!

Check it out here and check out the news about Milcah’s book ‘Sisterhood’ coming.

Sisterhood: Ate is a teaser of Milcah Halili Orbacedo’s work-in-progress memoir. This excerpt explores the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality in the context of their experiences with Lorelei Lee in her writing workshops and as a BDSM scene partner at Kink.com. Milcah writes with the intention of inspiring folks who feel bogged down by marginalization, to encourage them to make the changes and risks they need to make in order to embody the realest versions of themselves, and to seek a healthy and loving community to support them in this crazy mess we call life.

While you’re checking it out, join Milcah’s email list here.

AND if you’d please head to twitter and tell Milcah happy birthday. That would be awesome.

ALSO you can pick up a teaser of their book and I feel like you should read it. Go here and get it.

Here’s what Milcah says about it:

Sisterhood: Ate is a teaser of my work-in-progress memoir. This excerpt explores the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality in the context of my experiences with Lorelei Lee in her writing workshops and as a BDSM scene partner at Kink.com. Your purchase of this teaser will go towards my living expenses while I finish Sisterhood and make the transition (from performer to writer, from woman to man, from San Francisco to New York City) to a life I’ve always dreamed of. I write with the intention of inspiring folks who feel bogged down by marginalization, to encourage them to make the changes and risks they need to make in order to embody the realest versions of themselves, and to seek a healthy and loving community to support them in this crazy mess we call life.

Ate (pronounced ah-TEH) is a Tagalog word for “older sister,” an identifier I’m proud to call Lorelei Lee, a writer, porn performer, director, and teacher. Ate is a title meant to honor the sisters who came before us, those who are kin. In people of color and church communities, to be a sister is to be someone’s darling, dear to one’s heart. Being a sister can also mean being queer, being a feminist, being chosen family. In my heart, Lorelei Lee is all of these things. Lorelei paved the way for me to feel free in my gender and sexual expression and unlocked a world in literature for me so full of diversity and self-reflection. Her influence in my life helped wake me to my most authentic self. I hope you enjoy this excerpt, and that you’ll email me with feedback at milcahorbacedo@gmail.com.

And let me say, you should get in touch. Knowing Milcah has been amazing and transformative for me.

We are doing important work. So come on and help us out.

What else?

Well I’m still getting my docs and shit moved to my new computer and getting used to it. I’m going to try and get a little desk like this to use at home.  I’m going to try out making some chit chat youtube videos too.

That’s all for right now. I’ve got a new essay cooking and it needs stirring.

Like to get fucked up and do Fucked up shit.

Yes, that is a Rob Zombie movie reference.

First (watch the whole thing) listen to this moment in my favorite documentary about Hubert Selby Jr.

There will forever be a link between Selby and Stahl for me. When Permanent Midnight came out (sorry affiliate link) in 1995 originally I bought a copy and it hung out on my bookshelf for a while because I was weaning myself off of The Beats and Henry Miller, Anais Nin and had found Hubert Selby jr.

I was given a shitty battered probably missing pages copy of Last Exit to Brooklyn by a man who was a lot older than me and likely had nefarious dick related plans.

Now at the time I didn’t know there was a connection, but after reading both, I felt them.

I was 18 years old and just starting to write fiction outside of the wanna be Henry Miller porn I was writing.

I had already been steeping myself in junky heroes. Uncle Bill, Jim Carroll (who NONE of my friends were reading prior to that movie coming out, I met him at a show for his band once and he signed my poor old shitty copy of Living at the Movies and gave me a hug because I was crying) etc etc.

Beyond the drugs there was that underlying darkness that I just craved. In the next few years (late 90s) I met and loved some drug addicts, I interestingly never had that romanticized phase of thinking about drugs like a lot of people. I did a shitload of drugs back then and knew why I was doing them.

I have this theory.

When it comes to drug use I feel like you’re either a TURN UP THAT CRAZY TO 11 FUCK IT! Type or you’re an …oh shit I must get numb type. Generally speaking, of course.

I am a turn up the crazy sort.

That’s a whole other thing.

I have a point.

OH right. Someone asked me the other day why I am so drawn to shit that is dark as fuck.

These are my people. It is in these sorts of books and bios where I started to figure out the people I can go to. I understood Jerry Stahl writing Forum letters and I understood Harry from Last Exit to Brooklyn.

I understood feeling alienated and weird. I understood something about this type of work that made me feel less alone.

It made me feel less suicidal.

It made me feel like I could write some shit and maybe it would make someone else who was just like me, feel better.

That’s why I like the dark.

That’s why I like to roll around in it, I like to live there, I like to visit and I like to create it.

It’s why I want a line from Bluebird by Bukowski tattooed on my body forever. Bluebird, that fucking poem saved my life.

These are feelings that often transcend for me. There is a desire in me to have that connection with a thing, darkness for our purposes and I don’t like not having it.

For years I tried very hard to not. I thought I shouldn’t feel so close to these writers, these themes, this type of literature because I don’t know why.

I didn’t believe I could write about it.

I didn’t believe I had a place there.

But the darkness always welcomes me home.

Sometimes there’s a light in it.

Sometimes there’s not.

The darkness is there.

Brought to you by some shit I wrote earlier today while sitting in the sun and thinking about how it would feel to be a Trap Empress.

Don’t ask.

I love y’all. Go read some of this stuff that I love if you haven’t. For srs.

Also brought to you by insomnia and me wanting to curl up in the darkness and write things and give zero shits about anything but the work.