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.

Holy wow stuff is happening.

Okay so already 2014 is turning out to be both awesome and overwhelming.

So the first thing was that Dena interviewed me for Luna Luna magazine.

Then I got a poetry acceptance at The Camel Saloon. I’ll let y’all know when it’s live. Also read that spot it’s good.

AND today I found out my essay from Literary Orphans is going into their anthology.

Holy shit.

I am to put things in internet parlance full of feelings I don’t know what to do with.

Glee. Fear. Nervousness. Expectation.

I’m having a hard time rebalancing work days with time to write. I’ve been tired. I get frustrated and ragey and full of feelings.

I am also frankly panicky.

So I’m trying to deal with myself.

AND you can buy a brand spanking new story in my Etsy.

Free Speech or ?

There are some things happening at HTMLGIANT right now but first I want you to read this as written by my friend Dena.

All back?

Now go read this at HTMLGIANT.

What interests me is in what isn’t said specifically. This started as another comment on that article but got too wordy.

If you read what Blake said from Facebook what’s most interesting to me is that the myspace gangster gun photo of the author in question is what was beyond the pale in the name of free speech.

I have so many questions.

Why is it more important to preserve the right (we’ll get to that) of some dude to frankly behave badly and rub a big fat misogynist hard on all over a publication, than it is to say okay we don’t want this here.

I respect the desire to have an open forum. But when that openness turns into open season on marginalized people it becomes just like the rest of the world and it is no longer anything special.

If you read the comments, there was some to do about the men who did speak up not getting pats on the back.

Given my long interactions with social justice things, again I just shake my head.

This is the equivalent of white feminists always centering every conversation on themselves. It is the blind spot of the privileged (or allies) to say BUT LOOK LOOK LOOK LOOK AT ME I DID SOMETHING GOOD I AM NOT ONE OF THE BAD ONES.

Why should the conversation center on the few “good” ones rather than focus on the problem and the continuing support of that problem whether it is implicit or explicit?

In my other blog often people will cherry pick something. A misspelling, a metaphor they don’t like in order to ignore the content of what I’ve said and I saw that there. If after reading an entire conversation about something and the only thing you have to talk about is that you didn’t get the credit for something you believe you should get, you didn’t get a cookie for being decent or the fact that someone wrote something using words you wouldn’t use, you are not doing it right and are part of the problem.

In my experience (for the people grumbling I’m talking more than 20 years on and off the internet) frequently just trying to get people in the privileged seat to shut the fuck up for five minutes is taxing. It is beyond taxing to get them to get past the resistance to believing they have any privilege, to get them past the point of wanting a pat on the back for not being a douchebag, to get them to just listen and start to really understand what’s happening.

Dena came out swingin.

Now here is my contribution to doing something.

If you are part of the group being put under the microscope, nobody really needs to hear about your feelings for a while. Listen to what the people who are in the marginalized chair have to say. Stop demanding your cookies and pats on the back for simply not being a douchebag in a vocal way because that is not enough. Calm down. Read. Learn. Chill out.

Back to the free speech thing.

Using free speech in this context as somebody over there said, makes me squirmy.

Being that I exist at the intersections of lots of marginalized groups here’s the thing.

Generally speaking, White people have been given the floor for the last forever.

If what you are after as a publication or space is an open forum, understand that prioritizing the voices of the privileged is going to wind up being a problem. Understand that if it is so important for “everyone” to have their say and everyone tends to be White men in this case, what are you doing?

You are supporting the status quo.

This is not rebellious, it is not freedom of speech it is just how everything is.

The government does censorship.

Individuals are entirely free to say I don’t want X in my space so I’m not publishing that or this person is not welcome to comment or I’m tired of reading this shit let’s give someone else a chance.

This is a super important thing to consider before invoking the importance of free speech in this context. In this context free speech reads as code for the regular White Dude literary universe.

If that’s what you’re doing it’s okay. I’m not mad about that but using the idea of free speech to passively defend the dominant voices in the literary world, yes even in the Alt Litish/indie lit scene, what are you really doing?

To my eyes, assigning primacy to defending the right of people to be destructive and hurtful in your space is not free speech. It’s just plain old holding up the same old structure of supremacy. And it’s worse to me that it is in the guise of giving “everybody” their moment because if you allow a space to become hostile to marginalized people, everybody shrinks to a small pool of people.

I’ll be keeping my eye on this. I’ll still read the stuff at HTMLGIANT that I like. I don’t hold a grudge but I do remember. I understand when the subtext of what is published says to me.

That’s all for right now.

 

Life Cycle Poems by Dena Rash Guzman. A juicy review.

SO

I mentioned that I have a copy of my friend Dena Rash Guzman’s book  Life Cycle Poems. 

The short review is fuck this is gorgeous.

First let’s look at the book. I really like the design.

lifecycleSo pretty right?

Now the poems.

Dena’s poetry has a pulse, it has flesh and is salty and sweaty and human.  Occasionally I read poetry that is fine and nice to read but there can be a lack of physicality to it. I like my poems fleshy and grabby handed.  I love reading poems that insist I feel things in my body.

What’s that phrase I love?

I can’t recall but Dena writes poems that even when quite brief have tactile awareness.  I love that, especially from women writers. Often women are not encouraged to write in our bodies, not about motherhood or periods or anything beyond what titillates the male gaze.  There is no consciousness of the male gaze in her work in that way and I love that.

Dena’s body is present in her work in a very beautiful way.

One of the pleasures of reading poetry for me are the moments when I have to put the book down and think about something I’ve just read. The moment in this book came for me at these two lines:

dare not to die, not today

consider the audacity

That fucking floored me. It’s very in line with how I have survived myself and life in general. It is quietly rebellious and resonated with me so much I spent a good while thinking about those two lines before I started reading again.

As is my habit with small elegant books I read it twice in a row and stopped in different places each time. That is one of the beautiful things about poetry that moves me. Each reading I have something different happen and that is a beautiful thing.

Overall I highly suggest buying your copy. To get a copy head here and get it.

This has been your review. Next week I will review Billion-Dollar Kiss: The Kiss That Saved Dawson’s Creek, and Other Adventures in TV Writing by Jeffrey Stepakoff. With my review I’ll talk about some of my suspicions about TV being confirmed and why I tend to not support TV in general.