Bucket List Progress.

Did I ever post my artist bucket list?

I think not, so here is it in part:

  • Make short poetry film
  • Submit to paying poetry market
  • Do some lit related youtubes
  • Keep Patreon going- up my content and maybe funding
  • Submit to contests
  • Arrange my own little writing retreat
  • Apply for some type of grant
  • Create/perform performance art
  • Write a short horror film
  • Build somewhat of a freelance thing
  • Create and sell writing classes
  • Break into a mainstream something

Those are just some of them.

So far this year I’ve kept my Patreon going. If you haven’t checked that out, here go look at this post. I posted my first YA-Queer romance flavored thing. A little side short story in the Daiyuverse. 

I’m trying to hype myself up to blend Patreon and the Youtubes and do some video. I’m still pretty self conscious about my webcam quality and fake teeth lisp.

I’ve started researching video editing so I can find software I can use.

What else?

I’ve made uh, inroads into trying my hand at mainstream pubs. On the advice of freelancers I trust I set myself a Contently portfolio.  Given my clips I am not sure I fit in but whatever. I figured I’d give it a shot. Why not?

What else?

Just today I made my first submission to a paid poetry thing.

Other arty farty shit.

I’ve decided not to print my own Motherfuckess Manifesta.  I’ve tried a few more times and frankly shit just makes me so anxious and upset because I can’t get it figured out. I am not a Zine Queen. That said, maybe should I save up enough dollars I can do a limited print run?

On the writing class front I have my curriculum for three classes. I want to write some more content and exercises for each and take some photos for them. I’m going to do a dry run on some folks and then release them probably by October.

What else?

I’m trying really hard to hang on to the idea that my goals and personal ethics in terms of what I will and won’t do with my work is okay. That no I don’t have to change so much I don’t like myself.

That said, I’m pretty knee deep in I don’t matter/I ain’t shit feelings and poor kid anxieties. I’m working really hard on not sinking into that, but shit is a fuckin struggle.

OH! Also, I did more work on my laptop *Gertie* and discovered that I didn’t make a bad decision. She’s a good little machine. The problem is mainly that EVEN microsoft does not recommend an OS above 7 for machines like her because they come stock with not that much memory. Not enough memory for 64 bit Win 8.1 which is what came stock on Gertie and has fucked her ALL the way up.

I dipped into my savings again so I could buy some new memory and will install that this weekend.

To help me increase my, uh, side hustling. I got back into the Amazon affiliate program and am building a little store. Basically right now it’s all beauty stuff, but I’ll be adding books, gadgets and other stuff. Consider it my ultimate dream store and if you click/buy I get some pennies. Check it out here. Hopefully with that side hustle and a few others I can buy this for myself in a few months.

So that’s it for now. I’ve got writing and submitting and research to do.

This has been an installment of Be That Shit University.

On Rejections and Thangs

Behold first a list of places I’ve been rejected from in the last few years. These culled from my Submittable (OH sidebar: if you ever need help with your Submittable account their CS is FUCKING STELLAR. Like really great.) account.

I MADE THIS.

Publisher *Interrobang Magazine*Bone Bouquet*Portland Review*Two Serious Ladies*Corium Magazine*Black Fox Literary Magazine*Menacing Hedge*kill author*Quickly*Jersey Devil Press*Looseleaf Tea*MUD LUSCIOUS PRESS*Red Bridge Press*d.ustb.in*Cease  Cows*Wyvern Lit*The James Franco Review*The Butter*Storyglossia*Necessary Fiction*Atticus Books*Knockout Literary Magazine*Girls with Insurance*Linden Avenue Literary Journal*The Molotov Cocktail*Word Riot*Camroc Press Review*SmokeLong Quarterly*Vending Machine Press*The Rusty Nail*Side B Magazine*Curbside Splendor Publishing*Used Furniture Review*fwriction : review*Word Riot*Belletrist Coterie*The Offing*Specter: A Curated Literary Website*The Offing*A-Minor*Word Riot*Bloom*The Midwest Coast Review*Leodegraunce*Eclectic Flash*fwriction : review*Stone Highway Review*Specter: A Curated Literary Website*Metazen*tNY.Press*ExFic*wtf pwm*[PANK]*fwriction : review*Camroc Press Review*Used Furniture Review*Unshod Quills*BLACKBERRY: a magazine*Gravel*Birdfeast*Necessary Fiction*Slit Your Wrists! Magazine*Wilde Magazine*10 000 Tons of Black Ink*Monkeybicycle*Counterexample Poetics*deactivated TOSKA Magazine*Little Episodes*Gertrude Press*ABJECTIVE*Battered Suitcase*The Monarch Review*Out of the Gutter Online*[PANK]*freeze frame fiction*Publishing Genius*Menacing Hedge*The Citron Review*Dark Sky Magazine*DREGINALD*Behind Closed Doors*Barn Owl Review*decomP magazinE*Necessary Fiction*Word Riot*The Rumpus

So if you get through that, you’ll see some repeats. Places that are in my mind big swing and miss type submissions.

I’ve been reflecting about the process lately since I don’t submit on such a rigorous schedule anymore.

I was reading something about rejections and I frankly refute the idea that it is always the writer.

The thing is that if you are writing from a perspective or about marginalized people in a way that is not the accepted (generally when it decenters Whiteness, heteronormativity, etc etc) there is an uphill battle, whether people who are closer to acceptable want to recognize it as part of the process or not.

After doing the submission thing and research things and reading thousands upon thousands of pages of what journals/mags publish, the struggle is real. I look over this little rejection list and this one from my race to 100, there are some I can point to as having probably been based on how I was telling stories about Black folks or Queer folks, rather than just my shitty writing.

Of course, there are times when I look back and cringe because things can always be better, tighter, more perfect, etc.

However, after going back through a lot of that work (and many of those pieces found homes eventually) and looking at the language in a lot of rejections (not just from this list but over a ten year period) I can say that I’ve seen some patterns and the patterns have fit in with my research.

Here is where I invite editors to pay some full attention, marginalized writers too:

  1. If I go through say five back issues of your thing and I see no POC, no stories about anyone other than White people in whatever form, I’m 99% sure if I submit a story about POC/other marginalized people you won’t take it. I often envision the, we love your work, but no fit yadda yada. For me, over the years, this has been a thing a lot.
  2. If you have words like diversity, inclusion or anything related and you haven’t done the work in your previous however many issues, see #1.
  3. If I’ve been reading and following your thing and you have a few POC or other marginalized folks and tend to only publish certain types of narratives, whether fictional or not, or the only POC you interview fall into a few distinct categories, see #1.

Etc.

One of the habits that has been ingrained in me since I was a wee baby writer age 19 in 1996 carefully copying addresses out of the back of Poets&Writers, I read where I want to be. At one point after I had my own computer (I think I got my first one in like 2001?) I had dozens of pages of individual notes on publications. I transcribed them from PW, from websites, from notebooks. I had a system. I spent two months writing like a motherfucker as much as humanly possible, I spent a month editing everything and then a month submitting.

This habit has remained with me, though I have learned to use trackers (GODS damn I wish someone had told me to do that back then) and figured myself out in terms of the truth of what I do, I’ve learned to read more closely and that is how I’ve figured out my system for parsing rejections and figuring out where to submit.

There have been times where I’ve spoken with editors, I can think of a few who really went to bat for me because I did not fit their standard narratives. That is gratifying.

Experience informs how I deal with my rejections.

In this phase of my writing life, I’m not as interested in trying to blaze trails.

I’ve got a big fucking mouth and I do indeed talk a lot of shit and occasionally name names. I’ve decided that rather than hold that in, I’m letting it out. I’m sure that will cause me rejections over time. It’s fine.

I realized during AWP and some subsequent interactions with lit world folks that I just don’t have the energy or mental health reserves to be one of the brick wall busting types.

I’ve hit fuck it.

I’ve figured out that I feel okay being a terrible self-published author.

I’m fine trying to hustle fiction out of my Etsy store like a literary pusherman.

I don’t hold out hope to be raised up by the loving hands of some literary agent.

I don’t really care if I get the Big Book Deal.

I’ve discovered the depths of joy I feel when small indie bootleg ass presses tell me if I do X thing, they want first look.

I’ve discovered the joy of putting something from my heart out that is flawed but touches other hearts.

It still fucks with me that people don’t buy my shit when I sell it.

It still fucks with me when I read things and I don’t see myself or other marginalized folks represented.

It still fucks with me when the literary community is largely a burning tire fire of racism and bullshit.

After all this, the real lesson is this.

This is a grind. Rejection alone won’t be the end of you. It is up to you as an artist to decide how to deal with it.

Now if y’all will excuse me, I have anxiety to deal with and shit to do.

Hustle n Grind

Posting is probably going to be a little light for a hot minute.

I’m yet again working out my hustle.

Things are shifting.

Some good news though.

After weeks of panic and anxiety shits, I think I’ve figured out how to reconfigure my budget (not my dayjob money) and how to make a little bit more. I had to let go of some financial goals that right now I just can’t be dealing with.

What else?

I’m still working on the bloody monster piece. I have an idea of what to do with it but it’ll take another 6 weeks of work at least before I can even consider it.

I’ve submitted some fiction and poetry around. Both of those things feel a little uh, time waste-y. I still feel some type of way about it and realize that it’s going to continue to be very difficult for me to get the kind of traction in fiction that I really want in traditional outlets. It just is. That said, I’m also no the fence about hustling it myself because let’s be real, I’m not famous enough for that many people to buy my fiction because they want it.

That is a hard thing for any writer to just say. But the stats I’ve been keeping over the last couple of years bear it out.

See also my failures in marketing, my SCLAB failures. My skill set and uh, being not that famous I guess have put me on the path of oh well fuck me running.

I’ve thought a lot about it and talked it over with trusted friends and I guess it just is what it is. My Etsy store relaunch was profitable for about five minutes and as of a week ago is no longer. I am not comfortable being that writer who is all BUY MY SHIT on every fucking social media platform. I try and it just feels so disgusting to me, I hate myself for doing it and that kind of stress interferes with the writing.

A lot of the methods of marketing for indie folks I’ve studied often leave me feeling more invisible, more completely out of my depth and ultimately more depressed and anxious. It leads to a type of anxiety that makes creating very difficult and puts me in a real bad place. So I’m just not going to do those things anymore.

So what’s left?

I don’t know. Maybe I will just offer up all my fiction for free. Maybe save up what I can to try and launch my writing class things I’ve been working on for like two years.

I just don’t feel like I can get the kind of traction I need to make it all contribute to the sustainability of my writing life. And being that fiction is my first real deep, true love, it just really fucking sucks.

I am feeling kind of heartbroken today about it. I think a lot of that has to do with I am deep in OH FUCK I must MUST provide more economically for myself and my partner because as it is, we’re going to be eating dollar store ramen and our health and (you see where I’m going) and unfortunately my failed fiction shops/income is just another weight added to that.

Hopefully, if some stuff goes right economically I can revisit.

I don’t know.

I wasn’t intending to go all into shit like that today. But I promised I’m keeping it 100 and this is my reality.

It ain’t the artist life I wanted, but it’s the one I have.

That’s it for now. I’m going to try to put up some scheduled posts. I’ll be updating my where to read my work page because soon because some things are out of print, some things are new.

Now I return to my fuckin hustle.

Daydreaming Writer.

Before I get dreamy I am very proud to announce my second ever essay I’ve written about my gender identities. I’m very happy that The Establishment gave me the time and space to write this piece and the time to be scared about it prior to publication. Read that here.

I will talk more about that later on.

So let’s talk about the stuff I daydream about shall we?

When I was a baby writer my daydreams looked like this.

I would travel. I would fuck everyone all the time. I would write, mail things to some patient patron who would then get the publishing together. I’d get drunk in Tunisia and pose nude in Paris, they’d send me a check.

Rinse, repeat, greatness.

I wouldn’t be rich with cash. I’d be rich in lovers, words, experiences and je ne sais quoi. Right?

As a teenager, I imagined myself as a big titty Henry Miller type writing filthy degenerate love letters and having some 30 year affair that people would write about for years to come.

Some lover or other of mine would of course be an artist and would get famous after painting me nude like a Matisse or would photograph me like Frida Kahlo and those would be part of my artistic legacy.

I also dreamed of being somewhat mysterious and reclusive. Maybe seen wading bucky naked in a river, but refusing a lot of press. I’d foment rumours and lies about myself for fun.

Y’all can tell what I was reading at that age.

Fast forward 20 years and while theoretically that dream is one I could hold on to, now my dreams are different.

My artistic daydreams involve things like, what if I could go to one of those writer colony things? What if I could actually afford that without it fucking up my life? What would I even do with 2-6 weeks of time devoted to my art. No commute, no 12 hour work days, just me and my brain and my laptop Petunia.

I’ve thought about it. Friends have sent me some I think I would qualify for. But, per usual my thoughts turn to my actual life. I couldn’t get 2 straight weeks off for AWP/recovery from AWP. Instead of a colony or residency, I wonder if I could get away to a Motel 6 within a 20$ cab ride from my house for a day and night?

I dream of figuring out how to have one day a week for my art. Not house cleaning, grocery/household shopping, working, recovering from the week (at present my health dictates that 1 of my 2 days off a week to be spent mainly in recovery mode) without leaving my partner in the lurch or cutting up our not as much as would be great quality time together?

What else?

I dream about getting an essay into some Big Fancy Ass Publications.

I dream about my work, reaching people who need to hear a voice like mine for whatever reason.

I dream of writing ALL my passion project things while listening to one of my epic playlists in a carefree manner.

I dream of sometimes talking to baby writers.

Maybe a little non academic teaching.

Workshop leading that exists within the framework of stuff I believe about art?

I dream about having the time and energy to get back into photography and taking bus accessible day trips with the Uniballer so we can do that together.

I don’t need that life of leisure and artistic fuckery that I imagined as a kid.

Sometimes I get sad about the artistic life, not lived. The missed events and workshops and colonies and things. Sometimes I get angry and sad. I’ve cried about it. That’s okay.

I let it roll through me. I can’t dwell on the life not lived for too long. I have to go to work, I have to write, I have to get shit done.

Okay I’m going to chill out at the dayjob. Work on some poetry and be that shit.

Welcome To the Pit Mother Fucker.

Someone I know asked me recently what I would say to baby me about writing and publishing as a Black woman who has a lot of loud mouth opinions and who deploys them at will.

There is a Hed(pe) song where the dude says,

“Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.”

I am pretty sure that covers it. When I was a baby writer, I did not express my actual opinions on industry business. I fully believed that if The Industry found out how I felt about a lot of publishing and writing shenanigans.

I lurked industry boards and saw the racism and sexism. I gently tried to engage with White writers and other industry folks in my gentlest, sweetest Negress way about their racism.

Y’all, I tried.

I did workshop type things and kept my opinions about Magical Negroes and other terrible things to myself. I whitewashed characters, I didn’t share stories that did not cater to Whiteness.

I remember once talking to an older White lady author who told me that I was doing the right thing. That, to keep my “radical” (YES she said that, I remember it clearly) and “militant” thoughts to myself so as not to alienate the folks in power.

I thought it would lead to more publication, more visibility. Money! Recognition! Respect!

I WOULD GET TO BE IN THE FUCKIN CLUB!

But not really.

What happened was I was not writing the shit that moves me.

I felt frustrated, trapped, invisible and the worst, the very fucking worst part was that I felt like I was contributing to my own oppression with no pay off.

I was pretty miserable.

And then at some point after someone threatened to tell my dayjob that at the time I was writing custom smut for weirdo fetishists I decided to stop giving any fucks.

All of this is on my mind because last night I was doing research and working on some of my indie writer hustles and I came to a few conclusions.

  1. I just do not have the energy to promote things as hard as I need to in order to make my indie writer hustles financially viable. Likely if I didn’t work full time with the commute and whatnots, I would but that’s not gonna be a thing.
  2. The above being what it is, I’m cutting down on side hustles. It hurts my soul to lose the potential of that side hustle cash, but my fatigue is getting worse and there’s not a lot I can do about it at this point.
  3. I’m not putting stuff out by myself anymore. It’s been a losing venture and cost more time and money than it’s been worth.

Okay, I’ll stop there because #3 is important.

I decided to pull the lid from Etsy because frankly, it takes a while per piece, to get it ready make the cover and frankly nobody buys the shit. I know it’s not the prices really, but yeah. I do feel a bit sad, but whatever fuck it. I don’t know if I’ll just post them for free or what I’m gonna do.

So if you’ve wanted a thing from the Etsy shop, now is the time. I’m pulling all the lit stuff at the end of February. Go here.  I was going to do a huge price slash per item but it made me feel shitty. SO if you add all 8 pieces, (for a grand total of 17$) then use the coupon code WORDSWORDSWORDS that’ll net you a sweet little discount and put your total at 15.75$.

I have been convinced to not close the shop all together and start putting out some of my crocheted items. Shawls and scarves. Maybe my tactile stim objects. That’ll be a while yet.

I am going to focus more of my energy on producing stuff. Writing new stuff. Maybe doing a Queen Poems chapbook this year. My grand experiment in essentially rage quitting the publishing industry and only publishing either myself, with Milcah or in super select venues hasn’t been a real win for me.

A lot of that is largely due to #1 up on that list as well as, it’s just not my skill set to do it all indie and not feel like I’m wasting precious time energy and money.

I had a come to Jesus moment with myself about what kind of support my work gets and when and whether or not it’s enough to support my indie DIY ways. Frankly, it’s not.

Last time I had this out with myself, I decided I just wasn’t good enough (this was just a couple of months ago, well a few more than that it was post SCLAB release) and I really felt like my body of work was/is something I should be ashamed of because obviously if I was better at writing, marketing, rewriting, doing things the way I am supposed to- everything would be successful.

That might be true. Some of it or all of it, I don’t know.

What I do know is that me  punishing the fuck out of myself for failing so hard, SO fucking hard did not contribute to shit.

So I’m not doing that.

Changes is coming.

Dear Shannon,

Welcome to the Pit Mother Fucker.

Love,

Shannon

 

Yeah Write #250-Name. A Name. A Shadow.

Name. A Name. A Shadow.

by

Shannon Barber

This is my last work as a Professori. I can feel my mind slipping into the eventual madness that takes us all. The nightmares have started, I hear myself dryly describing the things I record as they tear me apart or burn me alive. On waking I see the Shadows standing watching me from every dark corner. I obsessively study the diaries of the Professori who have gone before, desperate for anecdotal evidence of the inevitable decline.

*

I think I have four, maybe six months left. No one knows quite what happens to us. Our bodies are never found, we are never reported missing. If we have families they know the lore and that someday we will just be gone. When the madness begins, we say our goodbye’s and inhabit our remaining days like ghosts. I chose to have no family. I can only say goodbye to my books and my works.

I hate this.

It was my job to know. To record. To contribute to a very particular zeitgeist. I admit, I don’t want it to end in madness and mystery.

*

Write- to write so hard. Time short. Coming, it comes. No read, can’t read. Goodbye book.

I don’t know how long been. Leaves are turn, Shadow touch and whisper. I try- try remember my work. Yes, my work I did this work and record and wish to see The World I

*

Shadow come. I had a name a name a name oh please please what name? Name? Name like Sasha? Sarah? Mine? Please a name. Shadow? Shadow a name? Shadow please?

**

I hear now. They come. They come and reach from inside the shadow behind, behind the what? Name? Names is gone. Gone. Dark. Dark, world gone dark Shadow.

Home.

Name.

Shadow Shadow Shadow Shadow Shadow s-

Recovery team note in the diary of Professori Ana Pasquale.

She was right. Like the others there was no body. Only the final emptiness of a small house blazing with light and reeking with the remnants of madness. Her last writings were only a page and only The World will know. Only the Shadows and Shadows covet their secrets.

Go now Professori.

Goodnight.

###

PS

This one was not inspired by the inspiration pic, but by the header pic on the Fiction/Poetry post AND the inspo line “Seven hours left of the day and it’s only Tuesday.”

Yeah Write #248- I Dream of Doormen

I Dream of Doormen

by

Shannon Barber

Some say the Doormen are all brothers. Or clones, pieces of the same dream. In the world they all look alike. Beautiful elder Black men, long rawboned and devilishly handsome.

I saw one once. Late at night on the drunk bus. He was old enough to be my Daddy and gorgeous enough to be my Daddy. He smiled a gap toothed smile and smelled like a good time. A little musk, sandalwood and expensive liquor.

“Evenin’ miss lady.”

His voice transfixed me. The velvety promise of good head and breakfast after. It sent a delicate tingle of fear and desire from my tailbone to the base of my neck. He saw me.

“Hi. How are you?”

He hummed and my pussy tingled.

“Oh me, I’m right as rain. Sitting next to a pretty lady, being sped safely home, belly full. No, I can’t complain Madam Death. And I ain’t on the point of your sword, so me I’m good. You hunting tonight?”

He said it all so sweet and full of that pussy tingling bass it took me a minute to take it in.

“Going home. No blood for my thirsty blades tonight. You see me?”

He squinted at me and nodded. He saw, he looked into my soul and saw me.

“Oh, I see you. You burn. You shine like a beacon.”

I wanted him to put his big elegant hand on my thigh or lean over and murmur something nasty and delicious in my ear. No such luck for me.

He hummed and I vibrated from my cunt to the top of my head. He murmured some kind of dirty blues under his breath and held me with his eyes and voice.

“Well, here go my stop.”

He took my hand and kissed it with soft seeking lips. Skin to skin told me all I wanted to know. I couldn’t have him, he was not for me, but the desire would live under my skin for a long time to come.

“I’ll see you. Some night the Door you open will be mine. Goodnight Madam Death.”

My jacket smelled like him for days. Whenever I pass a Door I hope, I wish and wait. Someday The World will turn and it will be his door I crash through. For now I live with my fantasies. My bloody lips, his big hands and that voice humming to coax the secrets and magic of The World from between my thighs.

###

ps…

I changed my mind we’re gonna roll with The World for a bit longer.

2015- Girl Bye.

Ahem.

I am ending 2015 in a not great place. I’m deeply, terribly anxious. I am pretty sure this has been fueled by my insomnia and my anxiety fuels my insomnia and I get depressed and I am the Black dog chasing its own tail.

However.

Tomorrow I am going to go see a Star War and will dork out.

As my ride or die most beloved friends have pointed out and as I point out, I have a very bad habit of grinding myself down when I can’t do everything.

I am not going to end my year doing that more than I have been lately.

I won’t let my creative failures dictate how I feel about what I have accomplished because I did a lot this year.

Milcah and I- a couple of poor brown Queers who met on the internet because I had a feeling and went ahead and commented. We put out a fucking book. We have both changed and grown and been through it. We’re doing more.

I met with some of the founders from The Establishment because they wanted to talk to me and work with me. And even though I was so nervous I thought I would shit my pants on the way there, we met and had fun and shared food and ideas and then I wrote this.

Holy shit right?

I wrote a thing back in March and posted it on Medium and as of today it has been viewed 59K times and read 31K. Because I ranted about people talking shit to me about how I like to look. That experience was overwhelming and wonderful. I got messages from middle aged fat ladies who FINALLY wore the magenta tight ho dresses in their closest and glitter and some straight cisdude who wore eyeliner and skinny jeans and crop tops and for the first time in more than ten years a coworker asked me if I was the Shannon Barber who wrote this thing that someone else told them about. That experience has colored what I’m doing next with SCLAB.

I started writing poems again. Better poems. Poems that mean something to me.

That’s not everything but that’s a lot of things.

I spent some time last night during an epic work shift trying to go back and look at what I’ve done. What I accomplished. I had to remind myself that I have had an impact on people. I did readings. I met people who walked up to me and took my hand and said thank you.

I did not make a shitload of money.

My book didn’t become an indie sensation.

And for months I’ve felt like I failed everyone and everything in the world.

2015 has kicked my ass five ways to Sunday, but god damn it, I’m still doing it. I still stand by my decisions, even those that have meant I made less money. Even those that have meant that I have asked for help.

Part of me celebrating shit I’ve done this year I’m offering a free download of my Urban Fantasy novella in progress The Daiyu Saga. Get it here.

Now what am I going to do in 2016?

  • Make SCLAB bigger, better and more.
  • Write a Queen Poems Chapbook.
  • Maybe start up an idea I have.

But first I’m going to take my own goddamn advice. I’m going to deal with this anxiety. I have to say that while I’m going through it, it is really difficult for me to talk to people I don’t already know. So don’t think I don’t see your sweet messages and things. I do, I just can’t.

I’m working on it.

I’m writing.

I’m still fucking here.

So fuck you 2015. I made it.

And fuck you too 2016. Don’t start none, there won’t be none.

I love you all.

 

Thoughts at the End of the Year

2015 has been a strange, strange year for me.

Let’s talk about submissions and things.

In the past I’ve been all hustle and GET INTO ALL THE ZINES type of writer. I had an average of around 60-80 submissions per year all in (counting fiction, non-fiction, poetry) and had a 15-20% (give or take) acceptance ratio. If you’ve been around for a while you’ve seen my list of 100 Rejections gained 2012-2013.

There have been changes that mean I get published far less often and I submit less often as well. The first change is that I’ve changed how I read a lot of lit mags and do my market research. I have a running list of magazines (generally due to editor behavior on social media during whatever racist thing is going on the lit world at any moment) that I absolutely will not work with ever.

This decision has been painful for me. Being that I am not famous and don’t carry enough weight in the lit world to really be so selective, this has meant that I’ve had to give up on opportunities.

At this point in my career, I feel that it is more important to me to not be part of my own literary oppression by being published in magazines with editors/staff who clearly don’t respect POC, especially Black women than it is for me to get published/read by a wider audience.

That decision means I have to spend a lot of time vetting my submissions. Thus, you’re not gonna see my name so much.

It’s taken time, but I’ve made peace with my decision regarding submissions and publications.

Related to that, I stuck fairly well to the decision I made last year and talked about a bit here. I have not kicked my own ass about freelance work and though I didn’t make as much money this year as I did last year, I feel like I’ve had some more quality things picked up.

I haven’t stopped writing about racism for free entirely. I have decided to do it only on my own terms.

That is pretty much where I’ve come to. My own terms. For a long time I believe that I had to hit some echelon of fame before I could make that decision. I had no faith in the validity of me saying no to the uh, mainstream lit road. While it feels fairly alien on my part to be so selective about trying to get published and sometimes I feel like I have made a big fucking mistake, on the other hand it feels good.

Publishing SCLAB with Milcah has been a huge part in my shift in view. Being supported in how I work, why I write what I do by someone I respect and love has been pretty transformative.

On the writing front a lot of things have gone down.

I wrote a really personal essay that got published at The Establishment. I struggled to write more from the heart autobiographically than to write it from a this happened and here’s the lesson type deal.

I have used Medium for pieces that I did not want to put into other folks hands. I’ve presented them as they are, they aren’t perfect and that’s okay. They are honest and real and very me.

Going with the theme of keeping it real I started a Patreon account to help me worry less about finances and it’s small and has been a bit of trouble but it’s been so worth it. I would not have been able to get a new computer or pay for software I use to write with at all without it.

My AWP16 plans are still kind of wobbly. My desire to go hasn’t waned but my faith in the cost not totally fucking up my life has uh, well yeah I got none.

My partner has assured me that we can make it work. I am mainly worried about wasting my time and money. There are panels I really want to see, writers I would like to hug, maybe make a little money and read some. I don’t know.

What else is coming up?

I’ve been back into writing noir/crime fiction. I have a LOT to say about working in the genre, but I’ll save that for the new year.

Also in 2016 watch out for a total author website makeover.

I have been kicking around this idea to produce and offer for sale a series of writing lessons for folks without a lot of cash and not totally aimed at people who are already writing/publishing.

Basically, if you’ve read any of my craft notes posts, it would be like that but a complete thing. I’m thinking with prompts, story example, some tips on how to get going. I would like to also involve some Vlogging, writing related book reviews etc. I’ll come back and do a proper poll. I do need to gauge interest because I can’t spend weeks on it for it not to be profitable.

I’m tempted to offer up some of my stuff out of my Etsy shop in zine/print. I’m not sure. I feel some type of way about it honestly. A lot of folks won’t drop the dollar for the story and I get it but it does make it difficult for me to justify spending the time on the Etsy shop stuff when I could be doing something else. Fact is, I have to be careful about how much of my time and energy I put into things that are supposed to make me a little money and don’t.

I’ve been rethinking how I hustle and while I love some of my hustles, in the grand scheme of things they just cost me too much in terms of precious time and energy I could spend writing.

Lastly, I also launched my very own little author news letter. I call them love letters and they are a tad erratic but I won’t spam you or sell your emails. Come sign up here. I’ll have a new one out this week.

Tech fails and other inanities.

Over the weekend I merrily decided to work on a couple of pieces.

Disaster struck when my Word program had a total meltdown and I lost most of my revisions for both pieces.

I also lost some work on SCLB.

I then made the executive decision to sedate the hot fuck out of myself and go to bed because I couldn’t deal with it.

I did wind up online with Microsoft support and it took a while but the tech got it fixed. I was pretty upset though and instead of working I did some Black Friday shopping and am very proud to say that writing mostly paid for winter clothing.

Given my general distaste for Thanksgiving along with the tech fails while yes, I can (and am almost done) recovering one draft due like fucking tomorrow, it just sank me real hard.

So if anybody needs me I’ll be by myself weeping and writing in the fix ALL THE THINGS tent.

I wish I could be more of a paper loving luddite because times like this, technology is so against me y’all.

Feel free to respond with cute animal images or writer war stories to make me feel better.