Thank you.

HI folks.

Y’all.

Your support from my please help post really floored me. With your support this is what is happening right now:

  • I ordered almost 110$ (AFTER COUPONS Y’ALL) worth of groceries for the house. I got a lot of staple items, huge jars of peanut butter etc. They will arrive tonight.
  • I got a new pair of shoes that won’t hurt my feet.
  • I bought about a week and a half worth of work food which means I didn’t have to lug from home to work.
  • I was able to pay off two bills early which means that my check that pays my rent for next month won’t be quite so destroyed.

The effects:

I’ve been able to take some time to relax. I don’t have that ball of stress in my gut. I got a little bit of sleep.

I’ve also been able to have that jump start/reboot. I have a good solid doable plan that means that I can provide for my lil family, we have some breathing room and shit.

OKAY so my groceries came last night and I cried a little. I haven’t had that much food in my house at one time in a long time.

What else?

Mainly, I feel like I can breathe.

What am I actually up to artistically?

Patreon is going amazingly well.

I’m dabbling in a bit of freelance. 

I’ve got a poetry book coming out this fall.

My passion project SCLAB has been chugging along at the Self-care blog.

I started and mostly completed another poetry book.

I’m not super invested in getting published right now.

I’m getting my shit in order so I can level the fuck up as an artist. I’m stacking my bravery because I have some more bucketlist level stuff to do.

Okay now, I got work to do. Shit to make. Tea to drink.

Thank y’all again so much.

 

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The Support I need Right Now

At the suggestion of some fellow poor artists, I figured I’d update some stuff and tell everyone in the world what support I need right now.

My current situation:

  • I have a slight cost of living (not fancy living just living) increase that I can do nothing about.
  • Partner and I are both in dire need of some basic shit that we just don’t have money for right now. I’m talking underwear that fits, socks. A few pairs of jeans/pants each. Camis/tanks/tees. Basics.
  • We need to stock our pantry. Non-perishables, heavy stuff, because my partner has mobility issues and getting a good stock up has been impossible between that, my schedule and the cost.

So really what we need is help. We need a chunk of cash to explicitly use for this shit.

I also have some creative projects in the works but have decided on putting them away for now until I can get our household a little bit more stable in our current situation.

So that said.

What I need right now is signal boosts, paying work that isn’t like a job (I will talk about that in a second), and donations/tips/sales.

Here are the many things:

My Gofundme. 

Venmo. Cashme.  Paypal. Etsy.  Patreon.

If you aren’t down with cash and want to do something material. Here’s my amazon list. I have some stuff I need but most of it is for funsies stuff.

Now the job thing.

I have a full time job still. I make just barely enough to cover bills if we eat poorly etc. I was considering (again) a part time job but, just recently I’ve worked 6 of 7 days in a row a few times and I am paying for it heavily. I just physically can’t anymore and there’s that.

Also, real real talk. I really want a chance to have some stuff just taken care of so I’m not spending my little savings or just having a chance to feel secure enough in that we have a bunch of shit we need so I can continue to work as i have been.

And that’s it. That’s what I need. Like my Gofundme says, my lil family just needs a leg up.

Yeah, Write #324. Black Pharaoh in the Morning

Black Pharaoh in the Morning

The air is strange against my skin. The current carries damp salt, cold sea and warmth like the breath of a stranger sliding up the back of my skirt, uncomfortable but not entirely unwelcome. The night passed too cool and quiet, my sleep was too thin and loose. I don’t feel rested but my body feels anticipatory anxiousness.

The way the dim sun struggles to make a show of dawn feels ominous. I’m nervous.

In the street, things don’t feel much better. Construction workers and street dudes all mill around looking pensive and trying to hide it behind wilted banter.

Everything is so strange and slightly off. I can feel my baby hairs fuzzing up and the urge to free my hair and run gibbering secret words is so strong I have to stop and breathe. Remind myself why I am here. Reassign the feel of the air from tenebrous to only another lukewarm summer morning.

This is not when the stories say it will happen. In the tales, it comes in the deep of night. There is madness and incantations. The Stygian alienist should awaken the chosen with his strange words and the air should reek of the void.

The stories lie.

I was born or made with the  R’lyehian mark already in my flesh. with the sweet malodorous putrefying  blue candy smell in my mouth. I move through the world with my human face and I wait and work and hold some tiny sliver of hope that my knowledge will come to use.

I am not afraid, but I am tired. This damp that ruins my hair and makes my body ache only serves to remind me how far from Hadoth I am. I am forlorn. I am singular. I am Nephren-Ka, I am the Crawling Chaos and mine is the duty to do the will of the Outer Gods. I know this. I am also Black and woman. I am dangerous on the Earth and beyond it, mornings like this I have to remind myself that I am no victim of weather and messy edges.

“Mornin’ Cactus.”

I don’t like strange men speaking to me. I smile and I know he calls me Cactus because he thinks it is a cute way to comment on my hair.

“Fm’latgh.”

As I step away, his screaming overtakes the traffic noise and he runs into the street clawing at his clothes until he is bare chested. His skin turns red and starts to bubble, he looks like a hot dog and I smile more.

I, am he of a Thousand Forms. I am in flesh what drives White men to gibbering madness and terror that tightens their trigger fingers. I am The Nightmare.

Around me, the morning erupts in chaos. The man burning from within writhes and sings the song of the damned, people are running around the intersection like confused insects and the crash and thump of cars running into each other and the tired damp morning is rendered glorious.

I let down my hair and fluff it until it is a dark halo around my head. All is right and beautiful.

A warm current kisses the backs of my thighs under my skirt as I turn to spread my effulgent accursed joy. As he is loaded into the ambulance, the boiling man holds the EMT close and speaks between clenched teeth, his breath hot and fetid with the terror of one who has been touched by my hand.

“I failed to see Nyarlathotep has come.”

###
**

For those not familiar with Lovecraft see here for vocab help.

I Don’t Know How To Drive

idontkno
[image description: a kitten in mid leap on grass. Text reads top: I don’t know where I’m going, Bottom reads: but I’m on my way.]
Things I don’t know how to do:

  • Drive
  • Do perfect eyebrows
  • Network without feeling like I might piss myself.
  • Not be a sweaty weirdo when I meet writers I admire (HI ROXANE)
  • Not creep on writers I really like (pretty sure I creeped on both Daniel J. Older AND some other folks at AWPLA. Sorry y’all)
  • Legit submit chapbooks.

So I’m almost done with my second book of poetry. Unlike Gasoline Heart this one is not on anybody’s shopping list as of yet. It just sort of happened. I’m just about at the point where I start pulling the poems from my phone and put them into Word for formatting and then…yeah y’all I dunno.

The other thing I don’t know how to do is figure out what technology exactly I need to make the most out of my time.

My little cheap older tablet with the keyboard is kind of okay but, unfortunately is just a little too weak to deal with how I work. I’m looking at saving up for the Sentio Superbook.  I want the deluxe version. What sold me was that I can work from my phone and that is super ideal for me. Also you can work windowed which I can’t do on my other tablet and my laptop is just too much of a beast to lug around.

The Windows surface was close but I just can’t afford the one I want so ya know.

Also okay.

Real talk I’m having a situation that will fuck up my whole July.

So if you’ve got a few dollars burnin a hole in your pocket, come buy some lit. Want to get lit from me on the regular? Come get into my Patreon. Just want to help? Paypal, Venmo, Cash me.

That’s all for right now. I got hustlin to do.

Later taters.

Wherein the Poet dreams of the most lit release party.

 

There will be a lot of video links here.

I’m dreaming of my ultimate literary event. My event. So also things might get NSFW.

Picture it:

An assemblage of grown ass folks because I don’t write kids lit. First the house lights come down and there’s a stage and a pole. A THICC stripper comes out, her act starts with this song. Thicc means: A descriptor meant to designate a woman with a shapely figure and is typically somewhat chubby.  They often will have an hourglass or pear shaped body with emphasis on the shape and size of their buttocks and thighs. It’s my party, I want fat strippers.

Start with some slow grind.

Maybe if I was dressed right we could do a little duet to something like.

And I would run it more like a burlesque show. No live tipping just some rapt attention for some amazing stripping.

Then a little break and a reader. Possibly someone who writes erotica or something else super sexy. Then we’d need to bring things up a bit and I would have my own personal twerk team. I’d really need a multi gender, multi sized twerk team in all black and everybody in booty shorts. And I would need a lot of my people who love twerking as much as I do to be up front to cheer.

Post twerk team, I would need to have another break. Maybe for a little twerk contest? Poets twerk. Readers twerk. All butts all skills welcome.

We’d wind down the stripping and twerking and I’d read. I’d read some poems and maybe some porn. I’d do an ask me anything. Or maybe I’d read from the work being launched and tell a story. I tell funny stories.

Actually wait, I think after twerking there’d be an intermission. Time for folks to pee, smoke, grab a nibble or something to drink or medicate.

THEN I’d read and storytime.

After that, I’d post my chunky ass at a table and sign shit. I’d likely stay put because mingling at these events never fails to freak my whole shit out.

And I’d have the most fabulous witchy art hoe outfit. Titties out. Face beat for the Gods. Very glam, a bit creepy.

I mean………..if I’m gonna fantasize.

If the world was my oyster I’d have some live music too. I’d invite artists I love and have them have tables of stuff to buy or trade. I’d invite zinesters and sex workers. Have a big ole bazaar of awesome and sexy.

I’d ask friends with patreons and things who couldn’t be there to send me business cards to tuck into swag bags.

I wouldn’t want it to be only about me but about us.

That’s how I dream about the literary life I want.

The literary life I imagined is full of sexy beauty and me having the ability to support my community by providing events or just space to say, hey you like my shit, check out this shit here.

That’s where my brain is at right now.

When the Big Guys Fuck Up

Hello world.

I had a tiny unplanned hiatus that was mainly due to stress and then a nearly week long cluster headache attack.

SO now that I’m all back first up an announcement.

I made a little splash re-entry into freelancing. I made my debut at Wear Your Voice Magazine. My first listicle and the first time I’ve written about race in a while. Predictably, a lot of White folks are mad as fuck at me. I’ve gotten some weirdly violent dick pics, I was informed by a friend that I got put on a list of dangerous racists.

Yeah okay, y’all do you.

I’m good.

Working with WYV is pretty great. They have been on my bucketlist of pubs for a while and I’ve yet again hit literary fuck it and I wrote the listicle and sat on it for a while and then voila. Opportunity came a callin.

Now that I’m doing a wee bit of freelancing let’s talk about some shit.

First read this.  

There have been more than a few people writing about the big house publishers ghosting, ripping them off for both money and ideas etc and y’all….

Looking at (this includes private info shared with me that I have the ok to talk about but not in specifics) the dates of a lot of what’s finally being outed, during my darkest moments of feeling like the biggest asshole impostor ever, this was happening to other writers.

Me being me, I believed a lot of my failure was down to simply how much I suck. Of COURSE a publication would take my pitch and give it to someone better, of COURSE when I did land something, the editor disappeared and further emails went unanswered.

While I was busy burying myself in anxiety and depression over my failed career as a freelancer, I saw people who truly have a habit of writing and publishing trash. Not fun this is silly bus time reading but gross, racist, ableist, just ALL the terrible things trash. I watched them post those bylines proudly and then have complete meltdowns and tantrums if they got pushback.

I saw a lot of the same people pull that, then go out into the world to crow about how bullied they were for their work.

And then there was me, wanting to expand my little horizons, write some stuff.

Y’all this shit fucked me up so bad. I still am feeling some fallout and I think of how I felt then and y’all, it wasn’t JUST ME.

So if you’re in that place, it’s not just you. Yes, sometimes shit happens but the real point here is that sometimes there is bigger shit happening.

That’s all for now.

Be cool to each other and coming soon I’m gonna have a big ole nerdy post and a few more announcements.

Musings on Default Whiteness.

This post is brought to you by me having to navigate the Default and Correctness of Whiteness in my literary life this week.

A few things.

I’m very low on spoons. I will not link to any of the trash I discuss, you’ll have to google first. Also if you don’t know what I mean by default Whiteness, or Whiteness as a concept and destructive construct, do not comment and be mad. Either google or go watch this puppy video cause shit is about to get real.

brace-yourself-shit-just-got-real
[image description: photo of character Ned Stark from the TV show Game of thrones, text says Brace Yourself Shit Just Got Real]
There are a few articles going around that are anti-sensitivity reader and I’ve been involved with three very distinct (as in zero overlap) conversations about it with White people who have all made the same assertions that sensitivity editors/readers are:

  • Looking to profiteer off of censorship.
  • Will change the voice of the original author.
  • Don’t know what they are doing.
  • Are “forcing” identity politics into writing.
  • Are actively trying to as a whole rook poor White people out of money basically.

AGAIN for the cheap seats. Some things are censorship other things are not. Things that are not censorship*:

  • Being told no.
  • Being critiqued and dare say I fucking DRAGGED and publicly read for filth due to writing, editing or publishing fuckshit.
  • Being told that you’ve written, said, produced or published something actively harmful.
  • Being called an asshole (taken from a real comment to me by someone RE: the Paris Review post/s I made way back).
  • Not being given primacy in writing about a thing.

These are things that come up constantly in my lit life. Most of the time cries of censorship begin when White authors feel threatened by POC talking to them about their use of their Whiteness when it is a problem.

By that I mean things like, saying hey just because you can write about something, doesn’t automatically make yours the voice. This is what I was talking about in this entry. And in saying it, I spent months being harassed and often the first “criticism” was that I a writer am pro censorship because I said they could have used the opportunity to feature a Black Poet during such a time of historic Black action.

Here’s the thing. I am against censorship. Censorship as enacted by religious concerns and the government.

Publishing is not magic, it doesn’t happen by vote and publishing companies are not the government. Nobody is entitled to publishing. Nobody is entitled to be the primary voice on an issue just because they can talk.

I go on at length about this because over the past, let me be generous and say five years specifically, it is only White people who apparently lose all ability to think critically and if I a Black person, dare to correct or instruct them, or even just talk about Weaponized Whiteness (and by extension using Whiteness as both Correctness and the Default) suddenly, it is censorship. That is not how censorship works.

Now in the context of a sensitivity reader, the conversations I was a part as if the very idea that they, Paragons of Correct Whiteness they were, could ever fuck up writing something.

Um.

Okay look. I fully believe that you and everyone else in the world can write what the fuck they want, when the fuck they want.

I also believe that is you say, write a children’s book that portrays a slave child as a happy little worker yeah, you deserve to get dragged.

Now, what amuses and frustrates me in these things is the assurance that oozes from the assertions of how terrible “identity politics” are and how, if only those people could see, Whitey Whitepants writer didn’t mean to write a racist polemic that would give Lovecraft a boner, GOSH.

Of COURSE a White writer or a straight writer etc who is trying to create or delve into the world of marginalized peoples is going to likely not always do a bang up job. No wait let me put it into a different context.

If you are a nerd like me, you probably see stuff in TV or movies are like, WHO THE FUCK GREENLIT THIS SHIT, THAT IS NOT HOW THAT WORKS…

That’s reasonable right? It’s reasonable to expect that something presented as a professional thing, was researched beyond wiki.

So why would it be any different than writers who are writing say Black folks in their stories to check in with real live Black people to see if they are doing things wrong?

If your voice is so fragile as an author, it can’t withstand something like:

Hey Whitey Whitepants writer, here in chapter 4 you have X character seeming to have an “urban” meltdown calling the one Black character homie over and over again and doing their MTV showed me what Negroes be doin schtick and it is not great for these reasons:

  1. BLA
  2. BLA
  3. BLA.

That is how it works. This is a professional service, that is not designed to censor or ruin your precious work. It’s to help you uncenter yourself and your experience and have a moment to connect with your readership on a far deeper level.

The other problem I have is this.

Ahem.

Aside from perambulating around for about 40 years in a Black Queer body, I have been studying, writing about, talking about, dealing with racism for about that long. Depending on who I’m talking to, sometimes (as y’all know if you read me regularly) I use very academic language, sometimes I don’t. I code switch like a mother fucker.

That said, for the last two weeks or so here’s how those conversations have gone. Without rancor on my part.

Person posts link to shitty article about the terrors of Sensitivity readers/editors or posts a link to a blog post by a semi famous White lady writer: OMG They are going to censor us and ruin our work! How terrible! We can’t stand for this.

Me: That is not what sensitivity readers/editors are for. They do (insert examples of stuff they do) nobody -has to use them- dude you’re fine.

Random other White people: fall all over each other to “correct” me (not that they use or have acted as sensitivity readers), explain to me how having this option is automatically censorship, how it is an attempt to co-opt or otherwise fool innocent White writers into being SUPER PC.

Me: ………..no it is just like asking an expert in a field you’re writing in.

Them: NO IT IS NOT.

Me: *retreats*

The problem isn’t the arguments. The problem is that even in instances where I am/have shared my work/thoughts on these things, Whiteness is always given the immediate trust that they are correct. Even when they are loudly proclaiming something that is dead ass wrong.

Then, regardless of what I say or how it is said, it takes another White person to come along and occasionally repeat what I’ve said verbatim and then, OH WOW I NEVER THOUGHT OF IT THAT WAY.

I’ve spoken with MANY poc about this. 90% of the time, we are thought to be wrong. People say things like: knee jerk, bullying, mean, trying to “turn” someone PC, that we’re silencing, pro-censorship.

If the people speaking up happen to be Black women, the language is carefully not overtly racist but, the impression is always either that Black women are mean and aggressive or liars or otherwise are the perpetrators of violence even when what’s actually happened is that folks have been given some high level major education on anti-Blackness.

Intent and impact are vastly different and White folks, men especially if your first instinct is to “prove” someone wrong, maybe it’s time to examine that. More so if part of your remarks are to say that you don’t actually know about the thing and don’t use it.

Now, I could have posted this in the spaces I was talking about but it is easier for me to leave them. As I’ve said many times in the last year, y’all I have written about this shit so fucking much.  And you know what the actual worst thing is?

It’s not the Default and Correct Whiteness.

It is the fact that it doesn’t matter how I talk about these things, because I am Black and use words, I’m put into the ANGRY NEGRO corner and then White folks who don’t like what I have to say can be like, oh well you’re so angry I can’t listen to this/take it in.

Tone policed to fucking death.

And I’m not mad. It’s painful.

It hurts to be dismissed out of hand because White is Right.

It hurts because writing and literature have been my driving passions since I read a book about a pregnant dog when I was 3 years old. It is my blood and my bones. It gets me through bullshit ass days at my dayjob. It has led me to meeting some of the most important and most wonderful people I’ve ever met in my life. It has led me to my chosen family and to a place in my actual soul that feels free. It is my passion and my companion and the work of my heart and I love it so much.

And my love of literature and writing is the only reason why I keep talking about these things. I don’t try to change shit I don’t care about.

And yet, all this passion and there have been moments where I’ve literally said hey, person you are causing me harm right now or I’ve said that I’m hurt and you know what?

I’m not a White woman so White folks are relentless. Harm to me doesn’t exist because I’m always perceived as angry, aggressive and scary.

And after so many years of trying so hard to be a good literary citizen and use my knowledge about these issues to help- I’m just kinda done.

This entry wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have a migraine and need to keep my brain busy at work and I needed to get out some hurt without yelling at folks.

The take is this.

When used as the only measure of calm, competency Whiteness will fail. Not only will it fail but in the context of the literary community, will drive folks out and if that’s the point hurrah! If that’s not the intended consequence, then think about how you interact with POC before you decide they are wrong about the thing you don’t even know about.

That’s all.

woosah
[image description: Photo of Martin Lawrence from the film Bad Boys rubbing his ears, the words say “woosah…woosah” on top and WOOOSSSAAAHHH!!! on the bottom.
*There are times when these behaviors are rooted in the spirit of censorship and are actual censorship as in done by the government but we’ll talk about that later.