Watch me read and some other stuff.

So hey that is the fantastic Anna March introducing me at HEAT.

This part of AWP I was actually way better with. I want to get more practice reading and it was a good time.

I read one unpublished from a long suffering chapbook labor of love project. The second piece is the one from Solarcide’s Sinthology.

I think I might try to add some more video readings to my little youtube channel. The webcam on my chromebook is actually not bad.

I also want to do more in person readings. Folks have told me I am good at them.

I have a slight bit of a cold but I’m over my AWP mega freak out.

After talking to a few people I decided I am going to try again but I’m going to not try to be miss solo adventurer. I got some protips including getting myself into a group of people and volunteering.

So maybe next year?

Also I am going to figure out how to do more in person readings and shit.

Now that I’m done with AWP stuff time to get back on the grind. Work on my novella, do some other shit. Gotta get those rejections coming back in.

Okay that’s all for right now dayjob beckons.


AWP it happened.

So AWP holy fucking shit.

Let me say first of all that even though I missed out on a lot what I did do was great.

Also let me say I may never go again.

I completely underestimated the depths of my anxiety. I was nervous but determined. First day of panels I got there a bit late and was in a jam packed panel.

I’m not really clausterphobic but I did start to panic a little. I went in the hall to listen and sat down to catch my breath.

After I stood in line with some other folks to say hello to Roxane Gay. Holy shit. I managed not to just start yelling HI I LOVE YOU SO MUCH and she was very nice to me and then I had to run off.

Headed for my second panel and got lost. I had that sudden new kid at school oh shit I’m late and everyone is gonna hate me.

So I ducked into a panel with CLMP, tin House and some other folks. That was cool I learned some stuff.

Now, I should confess here that when I panic I am very good at hiding it. I hate crying so it all goes inside (which is bad of course) and I was bottling a bit and freaked out.

Wandered into the book fair which was a mistake. It was so huge and a few people recognized me by name and said nice things about my work at which point I started freaking out more. By then I was sweating anxiety panic sweat and my bowels were rumbling ominously.

I saw Roxane again and fondled Pank Merchandise. I stood next to Kyle Minor for a minute at the Pank booth but was too shy to say hello.

I met some folks who have published me, some really nice presses and did some fun things including writing a postcard for another author.

And then I tried to go to another panel and got lost again and BOOM panic attack. Mine have the feature where I get glassy eyed and feel like I am going to shit my pants and I had to go home.

I went for a long walk, trying to walk off my belly cramps so I could go to the Yes, yes reading/party.

No go I went home and pretty much went right to bed.

Friday was my reading with HEAT. The morning started off with more anxiety shits, late getting out the door. We made it and I finally got to meet Anna March and I got to hug my friends Dena and Milcah. I think I spotted Antonia Crane and some other amazing folks.

We couldn’t stay because the chairs were giving us both major back spasms.

The reading part was the easiest. I was nervous and felt a bit out of place with all these other authors with books out and important things. I did get a nice compliment outside.

I had to miss another reading/party because I was supposed to be interviewed for a column writer position at an as yet unlaunched site but she left town so I dunno.

Overall I was just really not ready.

If I go again I will be properly medicated or go with someone I know who can lead me around when I freak out. My guts still hurt but I guess I sort of succeeded. I hope I didn’t look as insane as I felt. In didn’t say anything embarrassing in front of people I admire. AND I got hugged by a very adorable South East Asian writer because YAY POC.

I may or may not do it again. I’d like to give it another shot and really experience more of it. I’m on the fence.

So there you have it. Shannon went, freaked, pooped and read.


AWP bound.

So I paid and can I tell you how salty I am about paying so much money to go to this thing?

Granted I am super stoked about the book fair but yeah. For the price of admission I could have gotten new Doc Martens, most of a new spring/summer wardrobe, bills etc.

I have some panels I want to go to. I have a reading I’m doing and some other stuff. I got invited to some parties and I am kind of an anxious wreck.

I really need a tote bag with a zipper because it is rainy here in Seattle and I will be commuting home by bus daily. I have a tight budget so I’ll be very careful about my book, swag and zine buying. I also still have busted teeth so I’m not excited about that in particular.

That said here’s something else exciting. That post I made about reading and writing while Black got picked up by Media Diversified and you can find it here. I’m pretty excited about that. It was awesome.

I think that’s about it for the moment y’all.

If any of you are gonna be at AWP drop me a note here so if we see each other we can either stare at each other awkwardly or we can say hello. Or if you have any protips on panels I have to see or anything say so.

Also I will probably do a bit of live blogging type stuff from AWP if my poor old phone can handle it so be ready for pictures and rando squeeing.


Writing and Reading While Black. Lessons learned.

I spotted this article on tumblr a week or so ago and have been ruminating about it. No seriously go read it.

I also highly recommend watching the attached video but you can do that when you’re done here.

Now let me tell you a story about being an early and immediately voracious reader.

As a very young kid I went from reading Dick and Jane to reading novels. Almost as soon as I grasped the how of reading I was off to the races. The first novel I read was Charlotte’s Web. I read it first at home in the summer before Kindergarten and then once the school found out I could really read I spent my lunches that year reading the book out loud to my principal. Who as I remember was the first Black woman I ever saw in what I thought was a big deal position but that’s another story.

That book started something that nagged at me for years. Every book I read until I was about 9 years old was all White people or occasionally there were stereotypical Black cooning characters.

People think children are color blind. The correct notion is that often White children are colorblind because they see and have their reflections asserted in positive ways everywhere. They are the norm and I as a Black child was the aberration.

Understand that as young as 6 years old I may not have had the language but I knew that I as a little Black child had no business in books, in fantasy, in movies, in cartoons etc. I was just like one of these children in the doll test. I strongly suggest anyone who even thinks that color blindedness is good or that children don’t see color, also parents especially white parents watch this in full. Don’t flinch it will hurt.

I wrote my first story when I was 7. I remember it because it was Spring and I was sick from school. I laid in bed with a crayon and my giant penmanship tablet and wrote a story about a Mouse who was in love with a goose.

One of the features of writing for me up until I was about 20 was that I told no one. Because so much of the literature that meant something to me was exclusionary of people of color and some of those authors I knew were racist, I felt that I should not be writing. Being that I was not Maya Angelou or one of her peers or foremothers writing and the literary world was not for me.

I didn’t write stories about Black people. I knew that if I ever wanted to be the best selling lady version of Stephen King (my ambition at the time was to become an absolute horror goddess) I could not include a vision of myself, my family or anyone not the Average American, read as White people.

I was always very careful that I did not use any type of AAVE, I did not reference Black culture save in a very oblique manner through trying to emulate The Beats. When I wrote my first erotic stories at 17 years old, everyone in them was White and thin and beautiful. They went to nice schools, they were not like me except they were queer and kinky but even that I tried very hard to make heterosexual male friendly.

It is taking me forever to write this because thinking of it is painful. Remembering the deep desire to create art that reflected my world and the world as I might like to see it but having the clear understanding from years of being a reader that, in the literary world there was no place for me.

The thing I loved and wanted most in the world did not want me as I was. I spent a lot of time writing and as much time destroying what I wrote not because I hated it but because I did not believe that there was any room for my expression.

That was the reality of my situation and frankly it drove me to some really destructive thought patterns and a belief somewhere inside that I was just inferior because of my Blackness and my want to explore and talk about Blackness.

I bought into White supremacy because there was no one to tell me differently. In the world I grew up in there were no real reason to believe otherwise. It extended from inside out. I hate my skin (see here and here where I talk about bleaching my skin as a kid), I hated myself. I was ashamed because I did not want to believe in the White supremecist position and yet every time I spoke up or tried to shed that, whiteness smacked me down.

Now let’s fast forward to the last five years or so.

After having lost writing jobs because I had the audacity to outside of Whiteness and refse to have it put into some Box o Blackness, because I have objected to changing a Goddess to one White people would know. because I have objected to using artwork depicting white people when the story was not about white people I feel like I am coming full circle.

That isn’t to say that sometimes I write things that I honestly think White editors do not understad. One rejection I got last year “gently” suggested I remove the AAVE so “people” (White) would understand it put things back into sharp and painful focus for me.

The Literary World at large still doesn’t want me.

Unlike weeping traumatized me at 6, 16 and 26 I am defiant at 37.

I realized that I don’t care.

I don’t care about traditional big box publishing. I don’t care that most likely I will never be an internet darling author because I am not a nice white lady and that’s fine with me.

I won’t say it still doesn’t hurt sometimes. It does.

Sometimes as I am writing something I know that 90% of publishers won’t take it.

And that hurts.

It’s not okay but I gotta do what I gotta do.

So let me end with this.

  • I don’t always trust White publishers.
  • I try to get published anyway.
  • I try not to let the bullshit hurt too bad.
  • I write the stories I write because only I can tell them and they are the stories I want to read.

And a special message to my fellow marginalized authors.

Don’t run away from your roots. You don’t have to write to please Whiteness. Write to please yourself.


Refuse, Resist. And shit.

The first half of the title is in reference to a Sepultura song. If metal freaks you out don’t listen to that.

I have been busy. Working, writing shit.

I got one of my top ten rejections of all time and I squealed about it to my best friend for about a half hour. Honestly a great rejection like that can be a huge deal to me. In fact my second (I think) ever piece of published non fiction was about a rejection I got from Tony DuShane a long time ago and how it kept me writing and learning to be serious.

I have started what I think might be my first serious novella. I want to weave in certain things, make it a very distinct narrative. I don’t know. Mainly it is about hustling, taking care of your chosen family, sex work, drugs and survival.

Writing a serious business novella makes me very nervous so I’ve been yelling at myself in my head. My inner drill sergeant screaming every time I open my word processing goes as follows:

DS: GO GO GO GO STOP THAT BITCH ASSNESS AND WRITE THAT SHIT YOU MAJESTIC PIECE OF SHIT!

Ahem.

We can assume I’m kind of an odd person, this is comforting.

So I get my playlist going and write.

I’ll probably share said playlist with y’all when it is big enough.

Now how about some stuff to read?

Via my darling Dena, go read her most recent Monomania post with Intisar Abioto and her project photographing Black People in Portland. Also doesn’t she have the most lovely name?

At ADP you can not only buy Kat Dixon’s coming book (I REALLY fucking want it) but you can check out some of their free PDFS. I am very into those. As of today I have all of the.

Over at The Rumpus Jerry Stahl has a new OG Dad up. These are pretty great. He’s great, I love him in a creepy way, y’all know.

If you’ve ever been curious about people of color in Medieval times, you need to check out this website. Learn some shit. Also there have been Black and Brown people everywhere forever.

In case you didn’t see Fuck Fiction is back with some good shit.

Go read this column in LitReactor. I’ll talk about it later but it did give me some ideas.

I think that’s all for right now.

OH wait no.

So I put a new story in my Etsy shop.  A little tale of sex work, lesbian love and sometimes what it’s like to love an addict. And a bonus little bit of feederism. Click here to check it out. Per usual even if you can’t buy, please feel free to share it on your social media and stuff. I really appreciate it.

Later taters. Time to work.


Shit is gettin nerdy.

I’ve had a very strange week.

I don’t feel well so let’s get nerdy about books shall we?

To start with I’m just about done re reading The Bourne Identity: Jason Bourne Book #1 I wanted to read it again because it’s been something like 25 years since I last read it, I love spies and I wanted to see how it held up both against memory and against the film. (Sorry in advance I’m using amazon affiliate links, baby needs shoes).

So okay short version is this book is pretty great. There is a real emotional depth to our main character the amnesiac Jason Bourne that you don’t get in the movie. There is enough real deep pain there to make him seem at least to my eyes, more believable. Also the other main character Marie was awful in the movie. Manic pixie hippy dream girl and I didn’t like her. In the books she is formidable. She is brilliant. In the books at times she is Bourne’s only anchor to the present and she’s a rock but not so hard she doesn’t cry. So really the book did not dissappoint. I still love it as much as I did when I was 12-13 and read it.

Now we have to talk books that are coming out because I have a problem.

I want so many.

First okay if you’ve been around for a hot minute you know I love me some Antonia Crane, I was so excited when I heard that her memoir Spent got picked up AND now I found out it is coming out from one of my favorite publishers. I really love her work and I am so looking forward to reading it.

Also I don’t mean to brag or nothing but we’re reading at the same event at AWP. So I’m by association kind of a big deal.

Next Roxane Gay..omg. So this is undignified but I legitimately squealed when I saw this. I mean there was some nerding because I also really fucking love her. An Untamed State Just look at it. I want it right now.

So then I saw that Richard Thomas had this article out at buzzfeed and bam, there are Antonia and Roxane as they should be. But then I was scrolling and holy shit.

Craig Davidson has a new book coming out. Years ago someone gave me a copy of his book Rust and Bone: Stories. That book knocked me out. For real.

I went on to read his other books and as happens to me more often than I like to say, I forgot his goddamn name and did not have any of his books around my house. I kept thinking about Rust and Bone but could not for the life of me suss out who wrote it. Then boom, right there on buzzfeed it clicked and he has a new book coming out? Fuck to the yes.

This year in books looks fucking awesome.

My only real problem is budgeting in a sensible fashion.

I have been known to spend bus fare and lunch money on books.

I got a kindle for Christmas and am still getting the hang of the whole ereader thing. I have been hoarding free ebooks, mostly random genre stuff and cookbooks.

I bought a few as well. Last night between games of pinball (I find playing pinball on the kindle terribly relaxing) I finally got a copy of Bad Sex on Speed by Jerry Stahl. And we know I love him too so I’ll probably grab a hardcopy as well.

Okay that’s enough for now. I am going to continue to prepare myself for AWP. And really settle into this whole write a fucking novella thing.

Who knows maybe this time next year I’ll be one of those books coming out.

OH before I forget do any of you use a cloud/internets word type program/app that is better than google docs. I’ve been having nothing but problems and I still just have my lil chromebook and I do not want to be emailing myself giant copies of my novella in progress. Any suggestions would be mighty helpful.


Wow I wind myself up like the Windup Bird.

While I have been plugging away in fits and starts at some unfinished work I keep thinking I need to do a thing this year.

What thing?

I am thinking I would like to write a novella. I’ve had an idea/some characters knocking around in my head and I want to get it down on paper.

The part I get stuck on is what do I do with it once it is done?

Here is where I let out some of my neurosis.

I am afraid of a few things.

If I focus on said novella, which will naturally make my time devoted to short stories and non fiction lessen, will the little (to me huge but whatever) success I’ve had in the past couple of years go away?

If nobody cares/knows who the fuck I am what do I do with this novella?

I am not a big deal in any sense of the word. I’ve been published a bit, not hugely. I’m trying to be a bit practical but my gut says fuck being read and write the shit.

So I guess I will try to produce some small works, make sure I put my Duotrope subscription to good use (that is a whole other thing) and write the shit.

I think I am going to try and schedule novella time and other shit time.

I think most of my hand wringing about this is misdirected anxiety.

I have made some changes in my financial/everything else life that are good but nerve wracking.

I’ve wound myself up.

I do in fact know what to do. I need to calm down and do what I do.

Write that shit.

Rewrite that shit.

Write like a mother fucker.

If you’ve read me for a minute you know I’m a really nervous person by nature and tend to wind myself up sometimes. I’m trying to yanno not do that and failing a bit.

Time to rally.

Also if you’re coming to AWP and wanna see me read/talk to me/possibly have my aggressive berserker hug attack unleashed on you drop me a note. I will also be posting information about my reading soon and hopefully if things work out there could be video of me reading.

Okay so that’s all for right now. I think I just had to get that out and now I can go do what I need to do.

Later this week I’m going to do a big ole geeky review of a book I really love and then I will probably make another nerdy fangirl I want to read these books post.

AH shit before I forget you can read one mroe new poem by me over at The Camel Salooon.


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