How I work

How am I getting the work done?

Someone asked me that recently and I have some updates y’all.

First thing is I FINALLY got a new fucking phone. I’ve discovered that I write the best poetry on my phone and only when I’m using the Memo app. I don’t know why.

I like this app, it’s the one that came with my phone. Here are some of the things:

screenshot_20161103-150612

I’ve been writing new poems, prose poems and little fiction ideas on this memo app.

I also use the Word app, but I don’t like it as much. I need to see most of what I’ve written so using it on the phone screen isn’t ideal.

How else?

I don’t know.

My tablet is great so far. I haven’t named it yet, but I might call it Tiny because it’s small and I find using a 10″ keyboard a bit challenging but I’m into it. I’m struggling with taking it out of the house because I’m afraid I will break my nice little thing but I’m working on it.

I’m writing more than I feel like I am. I’m not doing Nanowrimo this year, but I’m aiming to keep up my productivity. It does low key feel like I’m spinning my wheels because nothing I’m working on in a serious manner will be published soon. I closed out my last couple of outstanding pitches, crickets at one a nice but very bland rejection on the other.

I am going to allow myself a bit of self-pity and wallowing regarding the pitches. One I thought would be amazing and then I saw that they published something sorta similar but frankly not as well as I could have done it.

I was a little salty, but I see which way the wind blows about it. I understand logically that yes, a lot of what I have to say on particular subjects is just too radical and out there for a lot of publications. It’s fine, but it sucks.

What else?

Not much to be honest. I’ve got my head down and I’m grinding away.

I will be doing a good sized promo post with ALL the things.

Until then, laters taters.

Daydreams and Whatnots.

Okay hello folks. October has been…wow.

I’ll talk more about my horror thing and my performance later.

Don’t forget if you like rambly, love letters from one creative heart to another, you can get my newsletter. Check out the latest one right here.

Fall has me feeling like I want more art. I want to make stuff. I want to try new arty things. Actually, I will talk about my class thing.

After talking to other writers that way, I remembered why teaching writing in the way I have in my heart/brain is on my ultimate things list.

I love having that heart to heart connection. I love saying something and seeing a light in another person’s eyes. I love seeing that slow nod and the little smiles. I love it.

And I feel this way not just about writing, but other stuff I’ve talked to people about. In terms of writing, I just dunno. It feels like the thing that would fulfil me on a level I can hardly imagine. I’m a little afraid of it because-I don’t know.

I think part of my reluctance to pursue it more aggressively is my dread fear of coming across as a charlatan. I don’t go in for the One True Way gimme all your money or you suck type of thing and I understand that, that sells I just do not want to do it.

I dunno y’all. It calls to me. But the idea of really making moves to implement a way to do this type of teaching either on a one to one basis or in a class structure is also a lot of energy to expend for me and I don’t know if I can do it.

The other thing that bugs me is that while I have a pretty great close up support system, I don’t believe that people in a position to help me with this would and that’s just…a reality of being me. I’ll pat myself on the back a little and say I can say that with only a little bitterness. And I can say it with the knowledge that it’s not paranoia on my part but lessons learned from experience.

I dunno y’all.

I’ve learned through my lit partner in crime Milcah that I personally need to pump my breaks when my passions are lit like this. I can burn myself out and hurt myself emotionally and I am too old for that.

I’m slowing down. I’m thinking. Can I do this? What about some one on one coaching to start?

I don’t know what’s gonna happen but I’ve got the burn and the need to make something happen.

That’s it for now. You can read a couple of new things over at Medium. 

Also if you want some spoopy entertainment for your Halloween reading pleasure, head over to Etsy and pick up TWO Lovecrafty stories by me for just 2 bucks. It’s awesome. Enjoy.

I nerded hard

SO the thing happened this weekend.

I sat in a room full of writers and nerded hard on them about writing.

It was pretty great. I feel like I babbled a bit more than I planned but I was only super nervous for the first couple of minutes. I really, really enjoy talking to folks about writing. I talked a lot about just letting yourself do it.

You can find the handout with an attached story here. Feel free to download it and play with it.

And right now I can say with a lot of enthusiasm that I would like to do this more often.

I heard that folks felt inspired and ready to write and that is perfect.

So, um.

I don’t know how to make that happen but it does make me want to do some classes even more.

The reading on Monday was great though I have stuff to say about being on the UW campus that isn’t so great.

The event itself was……holy fuckballs y’all. It was fire. There will be some video, taken vertically (all apologies) but it’ll happen.

Okay I think that’s all for right now I have a cold and I’m terribly tired.

So I am Writing some High Fantasy

I finally restarted working on the high fantasy story I’ve been kicking around and wanting to drown for a while.

When I say high fantasy, I’m using the term in the context of- actually let me slow my roll. I think what I’m doing is an amalgam of swords n sorcery, high fantasy, with a taste of magic, hint of religion and myth. BUT that said, I’ll just say fantasy for now.

We don’t have to be fancy here.

I haven’t touched this story for months. I’ve not been writing a lot of fiction of late. I am very amused by how I’m writing fiction these days. Back in the day, I’d have an idea and BANG BANG BANG 4-5 K done. These days, I’m so interested in exploring particular things in my fiction it just takes me for fucking ever to write it.

I have this ever growing list of things I want to explore in different ways in my fiction. What started out as notes to help me remember (sleep disorders have properly fucked up my memory) has turned into a low key way of doing some plotting and at a glance I’ve been moving those ideas around in terms of what genres I want to play with them in.

Now on to the story at hand.

The working title is Cat Rules Queen. I had an entirely different version done that I hated so I started over. Here is what I’ve realized:

  • Writing literally anything else does not stress me out like writing fantasy does.
  • Trying not to fall down my own nerdhole about the race of beings I’m molding is fucking hard.
  • Trying to keep the language somewhat modern feeling and hearing, without it hitting a tin note is fucking hard.
  • I have a LOT invested in doing this story to my own standards and I’m kind of fucking myself up about it.

That last thing.

Y’all.

I try really hard not to do this because it is a part of the type of human I am but, sometimes I put the worst type of pressure on myself as a creator. I have this vision of what I want this story to be and I keep getting frustrated because I can’t get it quite there because I am not totally sure how to get it where I want it to go. This is sort of beyond my own need to create representation and into WHY the fuck can’t I DO THIS SHIT RIGHT territory.

The latter is really an emotional kick in the heartballs because, I can’t write when I treat myself that way. Thus the story won’t be done and will not be as good as I want it to be.

I put this pressure on myself and it ain’t workin.

So I’ve decided that I will likely publish this story for free at some point and that has relieved me of some of the pressure. Y’all know I’m not ashamed of my writing fuck ups and I feel like this one might qualify. It’s not totally what I want, but I might be headed there if I let myself do what I know how to do.

Other things.

This story has a very particular soundtrack I’ve been listening to a lot of the following while working on it:

  • Opeth
  • Lacuna Coil
  • Coil
  • NIN
  • Children of Bodom
  • Down
  • Five Finger Death Punch
  • Lamb of God
  • Amon Tobin

The music has been very dark and hard while the story isn’t. That is a running thing with me. My music for my writing almost never makes complete sense. I wrote the sweetest little romantic story for my Patreon project as a bonus thing while listening to Slayer. When I listen to the Moonlight Sonata (the whole thing) I imagine writing a super violent, very graphic silent film with that as the soundtrack. Or, I’ve written some nasty nasty hardcore violent kinky smut while listening to it.

My creative process has changed so much in the last few years. After my tries at forcing super seriousness on myself, I’m getting back into play.

I’m hoping that finishing this fantasy story will help. I’m going to put in writing right now that I’m going to let myself play.

Now how about a lil bite?

We come to see where our King Nailah meets her future Queen, the cat woman called Makatza:

The King came out of the privy still buttoning her breeches, her sword clanking on her hip. “So, I looked at him dead in his Gods Damned eye and said no but I’ll sit on her-” Her ribald story came to as abrupt a halt as she did. Standing right there, one ear turning, tail swishing, was the cat woman. She stared up at the King with her enormous pumpkin colored eyes.

“You’d sit on her what your majesty?”  Her whiskers twitched. The King stammered and dropped to one knee, unfortunately her breeches were loose and several men got a good half moon. She was too rapt to feel the breeze across her crack. “I, I oh please a thousand pardons Lady Cat. I hope I haven’t offended you. May I ask, what is your name?”

The cat woman tittered and offered her hand. “I am Makatza. I might forgive you your majesty if, you feed me. If you are really nice I might let you rub my ears.” The King rose and barely got a hold of her pants before she showed everyone whether or not she really had a tattoo in a private place. She kissed the small soft, fuzzy hand. “I shall endeavor to please you. As you allow.”

I’ll get into the feline behavior I studied and how I’m making Makatza another time.

Goodnight.

 

Literary Radical Vulnerability- The Author is Naked.

I’ve had a very eventful October.

Behind the scenes I’ve been doing some submitting, I got an awesome acceptance. It was a big swing for me and a fuckin home run. I’m so excited.

I’m also facilitating a horror writing thing. See details here.

Um..y’all.

Y’ALL.

I’m so excited and nervous.  I know at least four people will be there so I’m ready. My handout is about done. And I can’t wait.

One of the other things I’ve been working on is another little germ of an idea I have. I don’t want to talk about it overmuch, but I see a need and I want to figure out how to fill it in a way that is satisfying both for my soul and my bank account.

I have a tradition of reprinting my first and only zombie story I’ve ever had published. You can see it here at Medium. I was going to put it on Etsy but, yeah no.

I’m working really (really fucking hard) on letting myself have these dreams and not fall into a hole because I know my overall stats on shit I try to do. Part of that is my depression/anxiety manifesting but part of that is also the real shit of my analytics and statistics. I struggle with it.

I struggle really hard feeling like/knowing that the small ride or die support I have is rock fucking solid and then reconciling that knowing/feeling like outside support is just, steam. I get really gun shy about sharing/asking for anything because one part of me always knows it’s not gonna happen.

And please I’m not soliciting for butt pats or ego stroking.

I’m keeping it 100% with y’all.

This is the reality I live with doing what I do. It’s been the same for a long time. I spent a whole lot of time at one point studying the secrets of going viral and marketing and whatnot.

I put a lot of energy into learning those things and utilizing them.

My results weren’t great and it put me in a pretty deep depression about it to be honest. Part of me returning to submitting more in the lit world is a direct result of these experiences. I know how to navigate that rejection, I know what to expect for the most part and it doesn’t hurt.

What hurts were my attempts at drumming up clicks and likes and shares and at some point cash and failing hard enough that it cost me money and time I didn’t have. I spent a lot of time just wallowing in buyer’s remorse after paying for stuff like ecourses and informational packets and whatnot because I learned it but I’m not good at it if my results are anything to be believed.

I was really bitter about this for a lot of this year. I mean the kind of bitter that turns your stomach and makes you feel constipated. Not just bitter but also I was really disappointed in myself. I really wanted to believe that I could reclaim some bit of trailblazing AND also have it be lucrative.

In the context of say freelancing, I just couldn’t and it really fucking hurt. I really was depending on the concept and what other folks have told me that I would be able to find paid space for my voice and have a little bit of a happily ever after.

I don’t think it’s going to happen and that’s been a big dry pill to swallow. I really wanted to know that experience that so many of my friends have been having of having that success roll in and being (rightfully because I know some BOMB ass writers) in a position to pay them bills and write and everything.

Fact is, a lot of the interests I have I will not write fluffy. Beauty, fashion, style, make up blablabla. I’m getting my feet writing about that stuff and you know what? My voice is political as fuck. And that’s just me doing me.  A lot of stuff I write about, I’m just not successful in toning down my voice enough for big bucks.

I’m not famous enough for that.

*deep breath*

I’m not crying right now and that is progress.

I can accept these things as they are. I have cared myself out of the deep shame spiral about this.

All this said, I’m also experiencing some really great wins because of the reasons why I don’t make it in freelance life.

I also have something else that had I not gone through so much failure I wouldn’t have.

I have been able to ask for help, for myself and my projects.

Self Care Like A Boss lives because I told my literary partner Milcah what I need in order to work and he has worked damn hard to help me. His help has meant that I am cautiously dreaming again. I’m giving myself space to learn and work.

I mean, my other blog is where I’m figuring out my voice in fashion and beauty. Granted my voice caused me to lose a lucrative review thing but fuck it. Imma do me. Blogging is how I learned to do non fiction my way in the first place so, I’m into it.

Um, wow this went off the rails.

BUT I really was tired of trying to hold most of my feelings about what’s been happening in my career in. I don’t like that. I’m really invested in being vulnerable even when it puts me in not a great light. It’s important to me.

So that’s what it is right now.

I’ve got lots of literary pots boiling and I’m working it out.

 

 

 

Influences and Artistic Desires.

I’m having a hard day today so let’s talk about influences.

I have listened to Solange’s new album A Seat at the Table three times this week. Don’t tell the Beyhive but, I’m a way bigger Solange fan in general. The track that just knocks me down is the one Don’t Touch my Hair. 

What inspires me about this track in particular is that I want to make a little music video for it. Listening to the song put me in mind of strong visual like this video but maybe a bit more eh, violent maybe.

I dunno.

My interest in learning film making was rekindled a few years ago when I stumbled upon the Show Studio and fashion/art films. I HIGHLY suggest going to youtube and search for some of the work with Nick Knight and Gareth Pugh.

The thin/whiteness of it aside, conceptually I really love these type of things. I find a lot of inspiration in thinking about my writing in a very cinematic way. Very often I not only fan cast my work but I think about it in terms of movement on screen, how an actor may need to be in the scene in order for me to get deeper inside a character.

I also harbor delusions of film making myself.

Also I have a hankering for arty self portrait projects that experiment with my own concepts of ugly beauty and monstrosity and whatnot.

Eventually I’d like to be able to do 90% of the make up, styling, making of costumes and filming myself. I want to play with this as another outlet for me. I want to use those skills (that I’m working on learning) to create literature and poetry films I make myself.

I’m really attached to the idea of engaging with my own art and expression that way. For a while I was deeply shy about it. I don’t have a background in this stuff, I’ve never studied it beyond watching/consuming it in my way. I don’t really understand the academics of this kind of art/performance. And for a long time that put me off of trying it out.

And then of course, the Pretty Thin White Girl self portraits took over everything and honestly the bit of experimental self portraiture, I did years ago got such a weirdly racist/sizeist response I stopped doing it. Once upon a time, I also had some inclination to do some of it in a more erotic vein but that urge has mostly passed.

Every now and then I get the hankering to make self shot art porn but, not enough to really do it honestly.

I keep writing up ideas and plans and ditching them. I have a lot of boxed up garbage feelings about it based largely on interactions with “artists” and other weirdos back in the day. It left a bad taste in my mouth. It’s a lot like most of my other passions (horror, heavy metal, nerd shit) in that racism and other assorted bullshit really just put a stink on it that’s hard to get rid of.

I legit hate it.

I also am trying out being gentle with myself about it because honestly, I have zero built in coping mechanisms for this. Trying to heal myself of a particular kind of trauma through art is proving to be way more difficult than I anticipated.

I am starting. I have allowances in my fundraiser for some equipment. I’ve been practicing shooting myself and I have a couple of video editing software programs at home to learn.

I don’t know what I will produce, but it will be something. I might start documenting my feelings about this and vlogging it. I dunno.

More coming.

Maybe a video???

I got my new phone so some things is gonna happen.

 

On Fundraising.

I started a new fundraiser last week.

Please have a look and share from here.

For the last few months almost daily I sit down and do a lot of math. Playing with my budget, trying to squeeze out more than the small amount I put in savings each month, I make sure I get all of our bills paid between dayjob money, writing money and side hustle money by the 5th of the month. The 5th is the day my partner’s food stamps recharge and we can eat decent food.

The thing about using food stamps that sort of makes me laugh is this. One time at Safeway with a cart laden with stuff like fruit, vegetables, a little fish (there was a BOMB sale on these perfect for 2 salmon steaks), some condiments, etc you know the healthy shit people think us fat asses don’t eat, I had a fistful of coupons and I could hear a woman behind me bitching. “Must be nice that I’M paying for that. I’M stuck eating a TV DINNER. IT MUST BE NICE.”

I’ve heard it a ton.

Another time at the discount grocery store with a cart full of processed, salty, ready made foods, same type of thing. “GOD I mean LOOK at what I’m buying for THOSE people.”

I feel like a lot of what I hear and am told about crowdfunding for personal reasons is the same. Messages in my “other” inbox telling me to get a job, people who staunchly talk about how they NEVER support any fundraiser, especially those by scammers like me, etc. I feel the same way.

I was raised to believe that if you are poor or can’t afford something regardless of what it is, it is your own fault. Either you pull yourself up by your bootstraps or fuck you.

It’s taken me most of my adult life to unlearn that. It’s been simple to not apply those beliefs to other poor folks. It’s been easy to advocate for other people. I’ve held hands and helped fill out endless DSHS forms. I’ve written letters and blablabla.

For everyone else.

For me, I get upset that I’m not able to save the way I want to or that saving for one thing at a time takes me months of work. I wrestled with myself and figured out that a measly 2k would put me about six months ahead in terms of things I’ve been needing/wanting. Most of my list has been on and off my list for months. I tell myself no I don’t need the tablet I have a new phone to work on, I don’t need a different coat I can just repatch the one I have.

This is stuff I fight regularly.

That said, I finally did decide to do the fundraiser. I’m going to let it run probably through March after my birthday. I’ll link it in the sidebar and refer to it in posts on occasion. I’ll try not to be an asshole about it. However when you see it, do remember I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need help.

I’m going to work on not shaming myself or feeling shitty about doing it. I don’t like doing it but here I am.

In the meantime. On Friday the first bit of free horror flash for y’all to enjoy. I will also be talking probably at great length about a new thing I’m trying AND AND…maybe a tiny video reading?

Oh shit son.