Tag Archives: literature

Be That Shit.

First behold my fave meme.


First panel says: Follow your mothafuckin’ dream.

Second panel says: I don’t give a damn if you wanna be a professional Ninja Turtle.

Last panel says: Be That Shit.

I am all about that Be That Shit Life.

So here’s what’s going on in my pursuit of the above.

First thing, I did a great interview for Litcrawl Seattle. Get it here at Tumblr and please feel free to pass it along. My event is this one:

VIDA Presents: Women of Color Prose Reading
Fred Wildlife Refuge, 128 Belmont Ave. E.
With Shannon Barber (Self Care Like a Boss), Jennine Capo Crucet (Make Your Home Among Strangers, How to Leave Hialeah), and Wendy C. Ortiz (Excavation: A Memoir, Hollywood Notebook).

Um holy shit right? HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.

I am terribly nervous but I got my outfit sorted and what I’m reading and will just…do that shit. If you are there please know I will probably want to hug you but I will be really sweaty.

Next thing, I am launching my own TinyLetter newsletter. Find that here. Look forward to general writing life stuff, appearances, announcements, maybe the odd wee essay. It’s free and I won’t spam you at all. I am very nervous about doing this and it took a lot of me goading myself into it.

It looks like we have a very few 50% off copies of Self Care Like A Boss. Last I heard there were only six left. So if you want it now, grab it. Look out for the next iteration around New Years.

What else is happening?

I am relearning to make zines and will have some to sell over in my etsy shop by Christmas.

Also to celebrate October I’m gettin Spoopy over there and am re-releasing some spooky fiction and for Halloween (also my anniversary with my partner, Old Goths are Old) some brand new Lovecrafty type stuff. Check out what’s available here.

I almost forgot.

I had a reading a couple of weeks ago and I put up one of the pieces I read on Ink Node. I also have a tiny lil video of me reading from Self Care Like a Boss. After I get some sound tests done, I will be posting more videos of me reading and blogging about stuff. It’s gonna be a thing.

What else?

AH yes in the more angsty region of the Be That Shit Life, I decided I’m going to go ahead and try doing a fundraiser to help get me to AWP. I made a huge long list of pros and cons, discussed it with my partner and yeah, it is important to me to go. I’ll do a whole big post about it later after I get things set up.

Later this week more in my Yeah, Write grand experiment. Should I explain about that some this week?

I dunno.

So yeah, go read the things! Check out the Etsy and you my friend, Be That Shit. Whatever you wanna be.



Stuff I like

So hey my homies.

I’m coming down from an epic migraine and I wanna show y’all some stuff I like. Tomorrow I’ll post some craft nerd stuff about my Billy Remixes and ways to use a small prompt to explore some things.

The first thing I’m super into. The Mongrel Coalition Against Gringpo. They are just..fuck they are everything I love about solidarity and some bad assness. Check out their website, follow them on tweeter and decolonize your mind.

Next up, my friend Anna March is doing some awesome mixtape things at The Rumpus. The first one “FOR WHITE FOLKS WHO THINK THEY AREN’T RACIST” is pretty damn good.

And Daniel José Older on Prose and Music at Electric Lit is well just go read it.

While we’re checking out men of color I like a lot, Mensah DeMary has this piece on Catapult and I love it. Read it.

If you can afford it and can get there, Lidia Yuknovitch is doing some workshops that I’ve heard good things about. Go check it out.

One of my favorite online used bookstores is having a great coupon. Go to Thriftbooks and enter LITFIC for This coupon is good for 15% off books in our Literature & Fiction category (except Thrift Deals.) This is an awesome deal. They have great prices AND free US shipping over 10$.

Look what I got from them just last week:


Wanna read some fiction? Head over here and check out Laura Lucas. No for real if you want to check out how Yeah, Write Microfiction is done, go to the blog tab and behold. Awesome.

Who else am I super into? Dark Matter Poetry. I just..y’all I can’t. I have the worst of literary crushes on them and can’t stop. Go check them out and love them like I do.

Want to see more Yeah, Write? Check out my friend Rowan. GO tell Rowan I sent you.

While I’m talking about folks I love terribly. Motherblazing has a brand spankin new and shiny website. My publisher made something really good looking, so go here and check it out. AND while you’re there sign up for our mailings lists. We won’t spam you but will send some love letters and stuff.

Next, go read this by my friend Wagatwe Wanjuki over at Upworthy. No for real real go forth and read it.

Read this article on gender. Yes, please read it.

Over at Buzzfeed a favorite artist of mine, Mykki Blanco talks about hip hop, coming out and all sorts of goodness.

This poem How To Make Love to a Trans Person  has not left my head lately. Enjoy it here.

Follow my homie Ki Russell over on the amazons. I know it seems weird, but liking author pages is totally a thing. So do it.

Wanna read some kickass writing about women in butchery? Content warning for cut up pigs. This is a great piece by my friend Sarah Grey .

Just read this poem by Dana Koster. Just..ugh yes.

More Yeah, Write homies and some generally good writing follow Seraphina Maria.

AND go follow my homie Sara Habein. Say hi Shannon sent you.

Um nerds…fantasy LOTR type nerds. Hold on to your drawers and check this cookbook out by my friend Chris-Rachael Oseland. An Unexpected Cookbook: The Unofficial Book of Hobbit Cookery. UM FUCK TO THE YES. No I’m serious holy shit that’s fucking awesome. Elvenses anyone? Second breakfast? FOOL OF A TOOK…ahem. Sorry. Nerded kinda hard.

A few more. It’s been too long since I’ve shared my reading with y’all that wasn’t books or a book review.

Read this piece on MFA’s and POC over at The Offing. It’s just it’s important. Read it.

Tomorrow starting at 7 PM MDT to celebrate the first issue of WITCH CRAFT MAG they are doing this awesome internet reading event thing. I’m stoked AND you can see my fave Milcah read too. Check it out on facebooks.

GO read and/or listen to this story on Lightspeed it’s fucking amazing. Also it is hosted this time by Mur Lafferty whom I find delightful.

Now how about a lil self promo?

Free stuff first okay?

Join my email list. It is Self Care Like A Boss related and full of love. My love for y’all.  I promise zero spams.

If you are in Seattle come see me read on Saturday. Imma be spitting some fire. Because I am pissed off and poetry is my current method of not punching people. Gallery 1412 18th Ave, Seattle, WA at 7 PM Oct 3.

AND you can head over to the side bar and buy SCLAB, or you can check out the few things I have up at Etsy right now. Or if you are a commitment type, come check me out on Patreon.

Now there is a good number of you and I invite you if you have stuff to promote, drop links in the comments. SHARE WITH THE CLASS.

Tomorrow, something new for Yeah, Write since I’m done with Billy remixes….for now.

Now go forth and read some awesome stuff.

Against Diversity.

Given the further ramping up of racism in the lit world, I have to confess something.

In recent weeks I’ve watched digital yellowface, more White lady authors defending each other from us savage Brown, Black, Queer, Disabled and countless others, I have seen White people do intellectual 10.0 tumbling routines in order to make sure everyone knows that it’s never their fault, they aren’t racists, they are just trying to get what we others have.

I have witnessed male poets sexually harass, objectify and gaslight women.

I haven’t commented on every single thing because I was busy putting out a book.

Here is something I’ve come to understand.

When they say they aren’t against, diversity they just are against censorship and racial nepotism they want us others around but quiet.

Yes, it’s reassuring to know that we Wise Old Negresses exists, but naturally only a precious few of us should be visible or audible at any one time.

If more than one of us speaks at one time, it’s just PCness taking over and tantamount to murderous terrorism and censorship on the level of book burnings and religious extremism.


I see exactly what’s happening.

Solidarity amongst us others is threatening to Whiteness because we have our own voices, and will not only have our own spaces but will be heard in those spaces as well.

I see the patterns in this behavior.

The fear based posturing. The apparently righteous cause of freedom of speech. The White Flight. The victim pose, oh poor picked on White people being held accountable for their words and actions. All of it.

And it is exhausting.

I endure the micro aggressions. I quietly unfollow, unfriend, put literary magazines on my verboten list. I note who I will and won’t EVER work with at my own peril.

And yet, YET I am still right here.

I wrote an amazing book that is vital and important and yes, it is fucking expensive. 

I’ve stood up for my work because god damn it, this is years of my life, deep life changing work for both my publisher and I. And yes, it is that valuable.

I do this work in the face of the wall of White tears, White outrage, Silencing, Othering, and cowpie dodging that is the publishing industry.

I do this work because it is what I am meant to do.

I don’t do it in order to lead White folks and publishers by the hand into the land of milk, honey & diversity.

I do it because I have things to say. Because my voice, the voice that I have struggled to find and learn how to wield like a machete and like a lover’s hand is important.

So yes, YES, by all means keep tumbling and cartwheeling to justify why I should remain silent.

I will not name you all.

But I see you.

I see you.



Things I Dug Out of My Own Saltmine

I have been busy migrating documents from cloud storages, a little folder at work, emails etc. I could not sleep to save my life so I read some of what I’ve been writing in the past year or so.

Before I get to the meaty part, I want to say that it’s long been deeply important to me to know myself and my heart. Whether or not I share that with anyone is a whole other beast. I lived with so much shame, the type of shame that seems to come from your DNA I’ve made it part of my business as a human being to see myself for what and who I am regardless and deal with it good or bad.

One thing I keep seeing is that there are some things that I have come to (laughingly mind you) accept about myself as a creator and artist.

I try really fucking hard to be lighthearted sometimes. Lighthearted does not come naturally to me at all. I’m a goofy but very serious person. It is super difficult for me to do light. It is also super hard for me to be funny on purpose.

It’s not hard in the way that say, writing about racism in lit is hard for me. It is a whole other level of difficulty.

Part of it is that every piece I write whether it comes through or not, is about survival for me. It is how I live through ALL of the other bullshit and at this age, I have an agenda and I want to get that shit done. My writing time is precious and finite and I have shit to say.

There is that layer.

Then there’s the layer of well, okay. To put it in a different context. I do not have good hand eye coordination. My vision is very poor, like I’m pretty helpless without correction and can do nothing but lay around making sloth noises. In spite of that, I LOVE playing video games. I like violent, bloody, scary video games. I’m awful at them. Like, I bought Lord of the Rings Return of the King at Game Stop the night it came out (which I NEVER DO, baby do not pay retail) and took it home and real talk it took me four months to get to 15 minutes of saved game time.

I rage quit that bitch so hard I not only uninstalled it while cursing and naked, I made Uniballer my partner legit get rid of the whole shebang.

Now doing lighthearted work is not that kind of difficult for me. It’s more like it taking me four tries and copious notes to finish Silent Hill 1. I love it, I try really hard I’m just not good at it.

I felt some angst about that for a bit. I mean, everyone loves people who are delightful and funny. Sometimes I am delightful and funny (I AM DELIGHTFUL -imagine me bug eyed and screaming at the void-) however, it’s not really my jamz. I have come to the realization that it’s okay. While I do have the ambition of being a can do everything type writer, I’m just not.

And that’s okay.

It’s not just okay, it’s pretty fucking fantastic.

It is fantastic because that is one less layer of stress and pressure for me to put myself under. I have just freed myself of this weird uh, choke hold. Sometimes I strangle myself with these out of control beliefs that if I think I can do something I should be able to regardless. I did the same thing with art. I love art. I grew up mesmerized and comforted by Bob Ross. That said, I cannot draw. I failed one of those everyone can learn to draw a pony classes and the instuctor felt so guilty because I was so sad he gave me my money back out of pocket. I got very disciplined and made myself practice a skill that only served to stress me out and give me another reason to be shitty to myself.

Now rather than writing stuff that I have worked to death and lost all love or hope for I’m not going to force it.

I ain’t wid it.

What I am for, is honing my voice and what’s important to me to write about. I’m about embracing the serious little fucker I am, and running with it into the wild.

I am a savage.

I will continue to go for the throat.

I won’t make myself feel bad for not being more entertaining.

That’s all for now friends.


PLS come sign up for my self-care newsletter. I am SO excited about doing it because I like writing love letters to folks and these are loveletters. For srs. Come on. It’s free bruh.

Trouble Mind, Aching heart.

Amid the excitement of me getting a new computer, (I DID IT. I almost cried because I was afraid some financial catastrophe would happen, but I did it), releasing Self Care Like a Boss with Milcah, doing two amazing readings with other QTPOC (Queer Trans People of Color), getting PAID for one reading. Meeting and connecting with some WOC locally, having people walk up to me after my reading to tell me thank you for doing what I do and using my big fat mouth, life has been pretty overwhelming and beautiful.

I’ve been sharing inspiration and solidarity with other writers. Tears and angst and nerves.

It has been everything and draining and dreamy.

The dark side of this rainbow is having to come back to the reality of the literary world I live in.

An organization I pay money to belong to continually show it’s ass. From relegating the very real concerns of people of color to “controversy” and rather than engaging us nasty ole brown folks who pay to be a member of that community, we were brushed aside and at least I personally was called a bully, a racist, among other things. That led me to write this piece at Medium about the new coded language of racism in the lit world. That was in May. Just recently a woman decided to satirize the idea of someone in a position of power hunting indigenous people (because genocide IS SO FUCKING FUNNY) in order to “stand up” for AWP against all us bullies. This was in response to calls for AWP to be more transparent and have better disability/access policies.

Because obviously, if people who aren’t White Cis Able bodied people with money, they are just pushing around a huge organization that they pay to be members of.

Asking for transparency and to be listened to and treated like human beings is bullying now.

I come back from the daylight into the darkness of well intentioned White magazine editors publishing blatantly joyously Islamaphobic rants disguised as poetry, and their response is we didn’t mean it that way.

I come back to said same poet, traumatizing a friend with his hateful poetry. White men coming out of the woodwork to cry about censorship and how mean and evil every woman or other person is for objecting to their shitty pants art.

I come back to having to add yet more publishers and magazines to my growing list of places I will never submit to because when they fuck up, the answer is always I didn’t mean it that way, I am committed to diversity, our intentions were good.

I come back to online literary communities where, you can be that guy who is colorblind and it’s fine.

I have so many questions that I know will go unanswered.

I come back to the certain knowledge that the honest, I really need to know the questions I have, don’t get answered because I have the audacity to ask them and thus I become the aggressive enemy and the artists, editors and organizations must be shielded from my prying eyes.

It doesn’t matter how I ask. If I say please, if I say fuck you. They never take full honest responsibility.

Here are some of my questions.

Why exactly is it satirical to imagine someone in a position of power hunting human beings?

What exactly was the line that said, hey, this poem is going to be our statement on ISIS?

At what point, if any, does someone- fuck ANYONE an editor someone say, hey, maybe this subject doesn’t need another White man to be the face and voice of it?

Why don’t people of color submit to us?

I sit with these questions constantly. Sometimes I ask them of the appropriate people and have yet to get an honest thoughtful reply.

The thing I’ve said over and over again is this. You have to be honest. You have to sit in your discomfort and understand that you can shout out of one side of your mouth about how much you love diversity and representation and how welcome all of us others are welcome at your magazine or press, but understand that when the people in positions of power demonstrate both by word and deed how few fucks they give about all us others, we see it.

If you want to be an ally, you can’t just say oops, my bad a la Clueless and think it’s all okay. You have to be uncomfortable and be honest and be responsible for what you’ve done or said.

Contrary to the cries of shitmouth artists everywhere, when we say this is a racist thing that you printed, wrote or otherwise supported it is not the knee jerk reactions of silly brown people who can’t think critically. It is not the cry of unpublishable others, it is not a cry for censorship.

It is a demand for accountability.

It is not that it’s popular for POC or the countless others to stick our necks out and risk our careers just to “accuse” someone of bias or racism.

The situation is that many of us are tired of this shit.

We are tired of being colonized.

We are tired of our stories, our lives, our histories and current struggles being relegated to “controversy”.

We are tired of being silenced unless we are nice.

We are tired of this shit.

I am tired of this shit.

I don’t want to vet my submissions because I don’t want to be associated with publishers or magazines that are actively participating in my oppression.

I don’t want to come down from my literary dream dates and land face first in racism and shit fuckery.

There’s an extra layer to this involving publishing my book, but we’ll get to that another day.

That’s all for right now I have art to make.

Yeah Write Entry #209- Book Slut


Book Slut: An Ode to Challenged Books


Shannon Barber

One of my fondest memories as a reader is the year when I was a tween I decided to read every book on the 100 most challenged book list as published by the King County Library System. One by one I devoured every one and thought about what made them so terrible in the eyes of a few people.

I cried. I got angry. I was sad. I read things I didn’t entirely understand and would return to years later. I read books I had no interest in and couldn’t connect to.

Given the frothy mouthed things I’d read about book censorship debates, I fully expected to be twisted by my adventure. I expected that I’d be struggling with being a drug addled, teenaged prostitute who was pregnant and running away and of spectacularly loose morals. I was under the impression that reading these books, that letting their wicked ideas into my head would change me.

I was down for it and I waited for some shift in my brain to happen. I waited for the inevitable rejection of my budding personal system of morality and ethics to dissolve under the weight of books like Private Parts by Howard Stern or The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison to just happen.

I waited.

I read more books.

I started reading really dirty books by Henry Miller, Anne Rice and other perverse people. I daydreamed about being a beautiful gay boy and having Kerouac or Burroughs or Corso as my lovers. I thought about running away to befriend Alice Walker and sit at her feet to learn to be a writer.

I thought about my Queerness and how to deal with it.

I turned 16 and started trying to plan a life as a writer.

I wanted a girlfriend.

I still hadn’t been ruined by my promiscuous reading.

I exposed myself to violent texts, queer sex, drug use, prostitution, smoking, bullying, offensive language, adult situations, weird or extreme political viewpoints- I didn’t only expose myself to these things I craved them. I gorged on them.

Inside those inappropriate pages I found visions of myself. I discovered worlds I might not have been able to reach out and touch, but that made sense to me and thus helped the outside world to make sense to me.

I was still a child.

When I had problems and questions I didn’t have the voice to ask, they were inside books. When I wanted to be deliciously terrified, books were there. When the whole world seemed too big and terrifying, I had books.

For every person who says that children or teenagers shouldn’t read this or that, I say calm down maybe you shouldn’t read it.

I joyfully encourage the kids and the teens and everyone to read promiscuously. Read things that churn your stomach. Read things that terrify you. Read about people you hate. Read.

The world is waiting for you and if you are a tween like I was, it just might save you.


PS for some more info on banned or challenged books, read here.

What I’m reading and some thoughts.

I have been thirsty for other worlds lately and trying desperately to not hate some genre fiction.

First I want to talk about the Sandman Slim Series by Richard Kadrey.  So outside of the fact that I just love the character Sandman Slim and these books are populated with low lifes, drunks and assholes as opposed to pure sweet magical folk is great.

BUT after reading (I’m up to the fourth book I think?) the last one I read I have some things I have got to say.

Now during the first book when he introduced a woman of color as a speaking/thinking character I was, let’s say skeptical. Frankly I figured this character would be dead/maimed/used as a prop and that I’d just have to deal with it.

So okay.

I got to the second book, there she was.

She is written like a real whole human being with thoughts and feelings that don’t revolve around some derivative Mammy or Jezebel stereotype. Her beauty is mentioned. Her heart is mentioned. She is important to the fucking story.

Coming on the heels of trying to read ASOIAF and raging out for five books straight. And then another fantasy series where anything within shouting distance of black was just pure evil.

The erasure of the POC on a couple of shows I had wanted to watch, the Whiteness of horror and everything else I have been desperate. Y’all I just want my goddamn escapism maybe with a smidge less Whiteness.

And then Mr Kadrey.

Is it the most? Naw. Still a lot of white people but the difference between this and say that magical negro nonsense both King and Straub do, this is a whole character. Whole. Not a caricature of mashed up tropes, an entire being.

I want more because he does it well. We know I’m a greedy reader.

This series is fulfilling an important role in my reading menu. Sometimes, as conscious as I am of everything in the fucking world that sucks. I just want to read something that makes me happy.

Mr. Kadrey’s work makes me happy.

Now I would advise those who can’t seem to figure out how to make a Non white person be a real person in their work check it out.

There is also that gritty, grimy quality to this series that really satisfies a particular need I have.

Now recently I on a whim got a copy of Jhereg by Steven Brust which is the first of a series.

Someone who knows my taste for crime and noir and suspense and shit recommended the series to me. I am just about done with the first book and it has yet to just scream WHITENESS WHITENESS WHITENESS WHITENESS at me in the language or mythology so far.

I will remain skeptical for another book or so but for now something I am very into is that I don’t have to really reach to picture some of these characters as non white people.  There is actually room in the prose for me to see myself in that world and that’s great because I love the world so far.

Intrigue, murder, spying and shit.

While the world is just terrifying to me right now on a level I can barely put into words, having some bit of escapism that doesn’t cause me pain or bug me to the point I can’t stand it is really valuable.

I can’t tell y’all how nice it was a few weeks ago to be finishing the second in the Sandman Slim series on a day where four of my social media inboxes were full of racialized hate and threats of one sort or another. And I spent the day watching people shit on my work because they don’t like me personally. It was rough. I felt pretty terrible and then I had a world I could go to and escape for the hour and a half it took me to get home.

That is why I’m such a lover of books and why I find it so hard to deal with the Whiteness of everything sometimes.

I feel like the couple of hours a day I can escape while things are changing and happening for me is so important and finding stuff that doesn’t boot me out of that has become vital.

So hats off sirs.

Well played.


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