Tag Archives: literature

What I’m tired of reading.

Not too long ago a friend of mine asked me what I’m tired of reading.

Given that I’ve been hacking and slashing what I read online lately it’s a fair question.

First, I’m tired of reading White feminist opinions about any woman of color. Lupita, Chimamanda Ngozi, Beyonce, Beyonce etc. I swear to fluffy bunnies if I read one more hand wringing article about whether or not Beyonce can be a feminist because she wrote songs about enjoying fucking the nasty out of her goddamn husband, I’m going to implode. Enough. Frankly, nobody needs more White opinions about women of color. Nobody. While I am glad a lot of woc are in the spotlight right now, the more White feminist shit I read about them and their work, their bodies and beauty I just want to punch someone.

I don’t want to read any more articles, essays, stories about fatness that are not written by actual fat people. That includes weight loss as redemption stories. Stop. Fuck. Just. Don’t. That includes Thin Nice White Ladies parroting shit that obviously comes from fat acceptance without them really even paying minimal respect to the work done by other people. No more.

I will not read any further words/ideas from White Dude Nerds. Wil Wheaton, John Green, Stephen Colbert and their  ilk. First of all, fuck every White dude who is so tired of bitches talking about sexism or us mean old colored people talking about racism and how racist they are.  How about shutting the entire fuck up, just because White men are no longer necessarily the be all end all authority on every fucking thing, doesn’t mean I need to see them whining about how hard it is that they are no longer the absolute top of the food chain. No. Furthermore, can we finally just give a moment of thought to the fact that saying a lot of fucked up racist shit and then saying, BUT IT’S SATIRE STUPID does not make you right or okay.

I will not read any further “satire” by people who seem to think that spewing liquid shit from betwixt their lips and calling it jokes is funny or effective.

No.

Not one more narrative where a White person or a man puts on the trappings of marginalized people so they can really understand. No. Fucking stop it. It is 20 mother fucking 14. There are so many people writing about ALL of those things, doing brownface or bad drag or fat suits is not necessary.

Things do not have to be experienced by White people in order to be real.

Stop.

No more narratives involving how hard it is to be White and pretty, how hard it is to not be a racist, etc. Nope.

So as you can see this really cuts out a lot of publications.

I frankly just don’t want to hear it anymore.

I have reached bullshit saturation for a while. So I’m sticking to some literary stuff. Reading shit on my kindle.

I feel like I get so exhausted by all of these things, I have to put an embargo on a lot of websites and content because my peace of mind is better served by not even seeing it.  So there you go.

I’m about halfway in with the self care book and chugging right along. I got through the really hard stuff with some great early feedback.

I was sick as fucking dog all last week, so I’m starving to get back on schedule for an end of the month release.

Fingers crossed.

So tell me what you’re reading around the intertubes.

 


Craft Notes: How I use Free writing.

First have a glance at this.

Now a couple of people have asked so let me give you a sort of blow by blow as to how I utilize the concept of freewrites.

First thing to know is I have a very noisy disordered brain.

One of the problems with my sleeping is in face the crazy carnival (replete with barkers, geeks, music, rides and pink elephants). My brain is a stew of LOUD NOISES.

So I do a few things to help settle myself down enough to write so the LOUD NOISES turn into stories and shit.

One of the things I do is crochet. I make shawls mostly. I keep telling myself I am going to sell them but that is a whole other thing. Crocheting puts a good amount of order in my chaosroachbrain. I do it on the bus usually while I listen to audiobooks and my thoughts turn a bit more linear like my stitches. Rows and rows of orderly thinking.

The other thing I do a lot is free write.

Here is how I do it.

Something, be it a phrase, a concept, a photo, a voice, a word, the sight of a fine fine ass in some tight pants whatever, it gets in my head.

I’m going to use one I did recently as an example.

Open this in another tab. It is the side blog where I just kind of dump words. I was inspired by Dena and Milcah (side note, GODS my friends are some fine mother fuckers, like for serious) and periods.

So there I was with the image of Joseph from Dena’s poem.

And I just started to go.

When I do this, often it is my way of exploring correlations as they happen in my brain.

In this case we have menses, a man, destruction because most tend to associate periods with flowers and the birds and bees and bullshit. It’s not that pretty. I wanted to explore that without getting to the ugly right away.

I am obsessed with sexualized predation (not as in abuser as in an apex predator) from the POV of the woman predator. The ides of conquest as it has been applied to masculine sexuality forever. The beauty in being an apex predator or at least feeling like one.

I called the image of war and battle and victory and claimed the shed blood as victory.

That is where my brain goes.

I go until I can’t anymore and then normally as you can see there, I change something. Sometimes I use this method of freewriting to explore forms, to change the angle that I approach my subject matter.  I’ve found that once I’ve exhausted one means of exploring a subject/theme when I change something (form, formatting etc) that is when my brain really gets to work. That is how I work out the voice I use in a story sometimes. Sometimes it is how I figure out the road to the next thing. Or I figure out that the idea I had won’t work.

The aim when I do this is just to write. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is just fragments. Sometimes it kickstarts a whole new thing.

90% of these freewrites I have no intention of trying to get published. That is why I made that other blog. Occasionally I have had bigger better stories from those freewrites.

This piece I had in Fuck Fiction, started out as a freewrite.  Again, I was exploring that female sexual predator. A self aware predator who cannot help herself.  This one from the Molotov Cocktail started as an experiment with second person narrative. 

One of the other functions of this method is that for me I’ve discovered where my strengths are.

I am good at present tense first person POV.

I really LOVE writing second person narrative.

One of the other things to be gained from freewriting is freeing yourself of taboos.

Essentially if you are new to say writing sex use this exercise.

If words or concepts don’t do it for you here are some other options.

Read this post by Remittance Girl and try her challenge.

Here are some prompts for practicing writing on the body. In other words practice writing the physiological.

For instance. Your narrator has just fallen down some stairs. Write them checking themselves out, are they hurt? Where are they hurt? How do they hurt? Think about bumps and bruises. Try writing the aftermath, maybe your narrator fell two days ago and their body is just starting to yell.

Write a scene of arousal. Your main character here is getting turned on. What is going on in their body? I’m not talking a monologue about the most perfect tits anyone has ever seem but this is the viewer. Are they tingling? Is their skin covered in gooseflesh?

Do you like prompts? Here are some I like.

Personally prompts about meadows and  flowers and shit don’t do it for me. My taste runs to the darker and for that I picked up Michael Arnzen’s book Instigation. The beauty of this type of books that you can write a story, a poem, a scene, a flash piece. Anything. I really seriously recommend it.

I used one of his instigations and got this story published.

Think of this type of work as stretching for your brain. This is an excellent way to step out of your comfort zone. Whether it is style, format, subject matter. You can get yourself kickstarted with some practice.

I will also say that this is how I started to really find my own voice.

So there are your craft notes of the day. If you write something and post it somewhere come back and post a link so I can check it out.


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.


I find Jerry Stahl Comforting and other shit that is wrong with me.

I mentioned before that I have been comfort reading.

For me that means I read authors who don’t dissapoint me, I read books I’ve already read. I read stuff that I’ve not read before but is delightful.

I don’t have money for all the new books I want to read right now so I got the audiobook of Happy Mutant Baby Pills by Jerry Stahl.

And god damn it a few things.

First of all having Jerry Stahl’s work read to you is explicitly more dirty than reading them in print.

Selby reference, shitty jokes and the narrator who knows how much of a douchebag he is but you kind of like him anyway, okay he got me again.

Many of the people in this book are people I have been around, people I”ve loved and it makes me feel comfortable. I like laughing at shit that people who have never been ass deep in a certain type of drug culture will probably not get.

I honestly don’t know if I want to hug him, pinch him, push him or kick him in his ass. This is a sign of true love in my life. If I call you an asshole then hug you and want to give you a piece of pie, well I love you forever.

Don’t ask I don’t know.

Back to the book. It is really not for the faint of heart. Like if you have any sort of sensitive feelings about motherhood, sex or intimacy this is probably not for you. I however have issues and I loved it. I sat on the bus crocheting and giggling.

Just wow.

What else have I done?

I’ve watched the talk between Junot Diaz and Toni Morrison for real about four times. I think Junot Diaz is also one of those people I just get. His reaction at the start of the talk is what would go through my mind. When I heard about the talk I spread the word in flaily all caps and  I had to watch it alone so I could pause it and freak out from time to time.

Honestly that shit gave me fucking life y’all I can’t even lie. I think if I ever met or saw Toni Morrison I would probably either burst into tears and run away, or stand there like a moron and burst into tears.

It has happened.

I also spent some time reading and listening, wait seriously finding people reading poems that I love on youtube is one of my joys in life, to poetry. I’ve been watching nature documentaries and DS9.

Now it is dayjob time. I’m going to put a documentary of some sort on in the background or maybe an old horror movie. Do my work and hope to get some writing done.

After giftmas I’ll finish and put up my overlong and nerdy review of Dr. Sleep. And do my annual end of year holy shit look what I did entry.


So many books so little time.

Per usual I’m reading about four books right now.

I just finished Amy Tan’s new book The Valley Of Amazement. 

It is no shock that I am a pretty huge Amy Tan fan. This book takes place in China and covers familiar Mother/Daughter relations in a new way. This is historical fiction written without the eye of the colonizer as the focus. Which is to say it’s not about White people being centered. The story is about Flower (courtesan) houses, life in China in the early 1900s.  I should confess I am a total history nerd. I love it. I can’t get enough. More so when it is the history of POC told by POC.

So this was right up my alley.

At first I wasn’t totally into it but I was completely drawn in by the careful details about Shanghai at the time. I was pleased to recognize a few Chinese words. I will say after reading some other reviews that this is maybe not a book for prissy American sensibilities. Also not for people who don’t really understand that this was not modern life and that those values are not American/Christian values and people need to deal with that

If you love fairly sweeping and very detailed stuff this one is a good one. I’ll probably reread it soon.

What else?

I’m currently reading Nothing: A Portrait of Insomnia by Blake Butler. We know I’m also an awful insomniac. I’m not super far into the book but I’m enjoying it a lot. I’m not super super familiar with his work in general, I like what I’ve read so far. I found the beginning portion really beautiful.

You can read a bit of it at TNB here.  There is a rhythm to this book as I’m reading it that feels a little somnolent but not enough to really sleep. Or maybe I’m projecting but as I read it, I can feel that pained longing for sleep one gets when the insomnia is a mother fucker. Before you get to the really crazy part.

Now I have to talk about 2666 by Roberto Bolano. I finished it a few weeks ago and holy shit. No holy shit really.

The scope of this is just amazing. It is an entire little universe that meanders from country to country and goes back and forth. I like this book for the same reason I loved 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, it is just epic and fuck I can’t.

Bolano achieved something for me that few books I read do. There were points that made me squirm and feel uncomfortable enough to need a time out from the book. Sex and murders and violence. It was all done in such a way that settled into my bones while I was reading it and I find myself thinking about it at odd moments. That is what makes a book really great to me.

I was just floored. This was actually my first Bolano bok, read on the remembered recommendation of a friend. I will probably get obsessive and want to read ALL his books.

Now on to the intertubes shall we?

Okay my homie J. Bradley has this piece Thread Counting at matchbook and dudes, that first line killed me. It is really great you should go read it right now.

Via HTMLGIANT I watched this video by Steve Roggenbuck made my day when I watched it. It reminded me of some pleasant memories and I enjoyed it. Check it out.

At Metazen I just read this piece by Kelsy Ipsen and it is really lovely.

An author I admire from afar Lavie Tidhar, has this story that was on PodCastle quite a while back. Buried Eyes. This story comes from the world of Gorel and the Pot Bellied God which is FANTASTIC guns n sorcery. Buried Eyes however is honestly one of my favorite things in the entire world. I’ve listened to the story I don’t know how many times and Lavie’s work is one of the reasons I started listening to Podcastle in the first place and continue to do so.

The narrator for that piece Graeme Dunlop is also a favorite of mine.

Over at Shotgun Honey I really loved this piece last month by Paul Heatley. That is a pretty cool magazine and you should read it on the regular.

In other news you can still head over to etsy and for a dollar or two grab a story by me to read. I’ve been sick and busy so I haven’t uploaded anything new yet but I have a couple of reprints waiting in the wings.

I also discovered a stash of almost finished work I thought was lost when my desktop PC died. I was so excited I stayed up far too late last night getting some of that organized and ready for a edit.

Now let us hope I can get over this head cold/ear (I have ear problems) fuckery so I am not so fucking extra exhausted and upset.

That’s all for now.


Oh so hey.

Oh hi there.

Some stuff is happening.

I’m putting the final touches on an important thing and doing the rewrites/editing is making me want to crap my pants so I guess I’m on the right track.

I’m so close to having my teeth situation dealt with. It feels like it is out of reach but I’m working on it and it’s happening but still. It’s fucking hard and it has made trying to write anything decent really fucking difficult.

Again let me remind the universe, poverty isn’t fucking romantic. Being poor makes everything else really fucking hard.

What else am I thinking about?

I decided to read the last book in the A Song of Ice and Fire saga. And the short review is fuck George RR Martin and his shitfuck universe. The long version will happen later on.

On the other end of the reading experience I’ll also be reviewing Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey. Short version is I really love this book. A lot.

What else?

We know I have the worst crush on Antonia Crane and this entry of hers is lovely. Go read it.

Damn damn damn I had some more links but I seem to have lost them. Awesome.

So some other stuff.

At the Rumpus they are launching their new weekly app thing and they are accepting fiction.  I don’t’ have an iphone so I can’t get it but if any of you do let me know how you like it.  Also at the Rumpus go read today’s Nick Cave Monday.

Via buzzfeed essays that are supposed to change your life. Some of them are really great. Insert the obligatory question about why no modern authors of color. Meh. I can’t do that today.

Over at Litreactor there is this 10 Essential Elmore Leonard post thing and I really like it. I love his work so much, I remember reading several of his books when I was about 15 or so and being so into them.

Via my darling forever Muse Remittance Girl I just read this article about Erotica, Romance or Transgressive material okay just go read it.  Often when trying to discussion eroticism, transgression and erotic romance etc too many of the conversations devolve into authors trying their best to defend what they do without any of the subtlety or even willingness to talk about these things as their own individual things, without the BUT I WRITE GOOD STORIES flavor to the discussion. So go read it.

Speaking of women who make me weak in the knees if you write erotica go read this post by Remittance Girl about head hopping. No just do it.

And to wrap up, look at this deluxe edition of This is How you Lose Her.  Fucking Junot Diaz. Looking at that gives me the worst book nerd boner. I’ve been really good about not buying special editions because we don’t have enough display space right now but god damn it. I want it.

Okay that’s all. I am tired. I need more coffee and to edit like a mother fucker.

So hey y’all, got anything new or interesting links? Feel free to leave them in comments.


Because good things are sometimes overwhelming.

So holy shit you guys.

Sometimes one aspect of who I actually am makes it so that good things happening is really overwhelming to me and I kind of freak out.

Among the good things are being invited (for the first time) by an editor to contribute to a specially curated project. That freaked my shit right out.

Like.

Whoa.

My fundraising/hustling for money to fix my teeth is going way better than I could have dreamed. I’m almost halfway there and I am pretty sure I can cover the rest on my own if  my side hustles fail or I get no more donations.

I’m working on some new stuff. Both fiction and non fiction and the non fiction is frankly like shoving a pine cone unlubed up my ass sideways.

I’ve also been thinking about the good content I write for my other blog and how so many readers have suggested I try to get paid for making it. I’m still unsure about that in general. Something about it is scary to me and I have yet to really break through that particular barrier.

What else?

I’m reading Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey. Holy fuck what a great book. I mean if you like noir, magic and guns read that shit.

I’m also finishing book four from the A Song of Ice and Fire saga and um, well that review is gonna be a doozy.  I fucking hate this book and I’m staring to really hate Martin as well.

I think that’s all right now.

Time to write like a motherfucker.

Also this little meme thing helps.

skelly


It’s not for me.

In an effort to widen my lit related reading I follow a lot of links posted on facebook etc.

Lately there have been a lot of links to essays all about the whole follow your bliss thing.

Ahem.

One of the problems I have always had with this sort of thing especially when people urge me to quit my telcom job and flap my wings etc etc is that, my universe doesn’t function like that.

If I don’t make every cent of my paycheck nobody is there to pay my rent.

How could I write the next American Novel nobody will have heard of if I’m homeless?

How would I keep my disabled partner in meds and socks?

Where in this current culture of fluffy happy follow your rainbowness do people who don’t have savings from 6 figure jobs, are already somewhat famous in lit circles etc fit in?

Are we not as real of writers because we hang on to our shitty jobs?

There’s another layer to my annoyance.

If  it’s great to publish essays that are full of YOU CAN DO IT, THE UNIVERSE PROVIDES where are the essays for folks like me?

Where is the diversity of voices so many lit zines loudly proclaim they have?

I’m not saying everything has to be raw and bloody but, some raw and bloody is okay.

I’m not angry really, I’m more somewhat amused. I’m noticing that the lit zines I used to love to read I don’t so much anymore because I can’t entirely ignore the Whiteness, The Sameness and the lack of work that is for me as a reader. After that feeling I am realizing that those are not places for my own work and I’ve done a little sad author angsting to myself about that.

It’s okay though.

My solution is to keep writing about Blackness the way I do. Keep writing about fatness while being an actually fat person. I’ll keep my searching going. I’ll scour the internet outside of Duotrope for magazines that are specifically welcoming of people of color and us Queers.

What do I do?

Write like a mother fucker.

Remind myself that I am not the writer for everybody and that’s okay.

Do a fuckload of research.

Submit.

Get rejected a lot.

Sometimes get published.

Enjoy myself as I can.

Don’t fight myself.

Write the stories only I can.

In other news, I have officially raised/saved almost a quarter of the money to deal with my teeth and I’m super excited. I am grinding away because I have some opportunities to meet new people (HI Rauan) and read at AWP/go to AWP and I have got to get this dealt with before any of that can happen. I’m kind of lispy because of it, a little swollen at times and a lot self conscious about smiling at people.

That’s all for right now. I have a fuckton of work to do tonight editing and writing and watnot.

 


Well then.

I’m having more feelings about representation in fiction, how to explain it to people who don’t give a shit about sad Black girls and trying to navigate my own misshapen personhood.

I think that writing this essay uncorked something in my brain.  I’ve been writing non fiction that stings as I write it. I’m overwhelmed by my own feelings and rage.

I’m overwhelmed and it’s good in that I’m not stressing more about my stupid teeth. I will deal with them as I can.

Exciting things? Here are some. I got invited to do a thing with Anna March and I am so fucking excited.  I’m also nervous. The thing I’m working on is raw and bleeding.

I’m reading some really good stuff too. I’ll talk about that later this week when I’ve finished one more book.

What else?

I don’t know. I’m out of newer material to submit save for one fantasy (ugh another thing I need to process about but not today) story that I love but I think is maybe not fantasy enough or..something I dunno. It needs more work I think.

So this week I will write like a mother fucker. I might break that 100 rejection mark soon. I’m so close. So so close.

I think that’s all. I also finally updated my website here and have a tip jar/free stuff by me to download and read page here.


Hey guess what?

I have new stuff out.

Holy shit right?

Things are moving along nicely this year. I feel like with the sublime addition of my little gifted computer that could (her name is Bloop) I have settled into a really nice rhythm of working.

So new stuff?

Let’s go.

In print (and ebook etc) you can read some pants melting shockingly hetero smut by me, pick up the July issue of Infernal Ink.  Here’s a bite of my story Firestarters.

The fire quiets itself for a moment before it roars. I feel the waft of hot air against my face and
my knees almost buckle. We can hear things inside the building starting to crack and fall. Something crashes and one wall wavers, as it starts to slowly
crumble into the gaping orange maw of the fire I feel his fingers on my clit.

He holds me around the waist with one arm and I grind against his fingers.
“You are a special kind of nasty aren’t you? What part gets you hot? The heat? The flame? The
destruction? Being bad?”
This is a story all about arson, new beginnings and some hot nasty nasty dirty sex.
Next up a mood switch. I’m super proud to be in the new issue of Looseleaf Tea. Find my story Bridget Approved Blackness. This story is about being Black and surviving a mentally ill parent. With a few brushes regarding respectability politics, hair and getting through. Here’s a taste:
That is my whole life.
My Mother held the reins on my Blackness as if there was an off switch. Get out of that sun before you’re too dark; let me perm your hair you look like a wild bush woman.
Don’t wear those disgusting earrings, why are you dancing like that.
Never ending.
Read the zine here at issuu.
I’m super proud of that story for a lot of reasons. One of the things I love about it is that I played with the tenses in what I hope is a fairly subtle way. I wanted to give it the immediacy of first person present tense but, with a bit of distance on it. I want it to read the way memories play in your head.
Um other news.
I wrote a little sci fi-ish thing and it just isn’t working for me. A couple of younger/just starting out writers I know asked me if I’d like to talk about how it isn’t working for me/what I’m doing with it and I will probably do that sometime next week.
What else?
OH HOLY shit check this out:
OVERALL FICTION POETRY NON-FIC
Pending Submissions: 5 2 1 2
Sent Past 12 Months: 58 35 14 9
Sent This Month: 1 0 0 1
Acceptance Ratio: 30.2%* 33.3%* 27.3%* 20%*

My freaking acceptance rate is over 30% right now. Holy shit.

In my race to 100 rejections, I logged #88 the other day. I’m still hoping to hit 100 by fall. I’ll post the whole list here when I get there.

It is about the time of year where I make some Big Swing submissions to my most favorite magazines. The ones I read while rocking back and forth in my chair mumbling, let me love you WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME…a la Annie Wilkes. But I promise I won’t keep any of you captive or cut off your foot. I’m not quite that nuts.

Tomorrow I’m going to be reviewing my friend Dena Rash Guzman’s fine book of poetry Life Cycle.  All I will say right now is go buy it. Right now.

Okay that’s all for now. I only slept about two hours last night and I feel not okay.

 


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