My Body is Ready

Let’s talk about what happens when my ass is in the chair and I’m getting ready to put in work.

I thought I had no ritual but, apparently I do.

I get my beverage. Usually fresh coffee or tea. I have my smokes nearby if I’m at home. I need noise so if I’m at work and music ain’t cutting it, I’m a sucker for the trashiest of trash tv. Reality TV where people are hollering and fighting usually is the thing.

I get office open and go.

If shit is really good, I am rocking and/or somehow wriggling in my chair between sitting up stiff and weird, my feet kick, my tongue pokes out, I pull other weird faces. If I’m really cooking, I mumble, sometimes I read a bit out loud, yell FUCK or NO NO NO NO NO.

authoratwork
[image description: Black femme person wearing a lavender bob style wig, black framed glasses, the tip of their tongue is sticking out]
If I’m being honest, things get weird. Like it’s that scene from that movie Swordfish where NERD!WOLVERINE is at his fancy mega computer, mumbling, dancing around, spinning in his chair. If I’m alone enough, shit gets that real.

I mean, y’all see. Granted I’m looking a lot more put together in this photo than I am at home when I work. But yeah, this is the start of me evolving into your fave indie weirdo writer in composition mode.

Something I find really funny is that the older I get the more I feel writing in my body. Back in the day, while I wrote I fancied myself to be very uh, pretty in doing it. Like I imagined romantic poets to be. All loungy sex and artistic glow.

Y’all nah. When I’m really deep in it, I’m sweating and stinking and grumbling. The other night while I was working on PoetryBookBaby#1, I bit the inside of my fucking cheek so hard it bled and then I was like HOW ABOUT NO FUCK U POMES! Out loud.

It just makes me giggle because the actuality of being a working writer is so not what I thought it was going to be. I thought things would be like, okay BOOM I’M PUBLISHED AND PUBLISHED AGAIN BANG ZIP BOOM MONEY YEAH FUCK YEAH!! PARTIES!! BOOTY!! FAME!!

I’m giggling while I write this, but it is what I thought would happen.

I didn’t think I’d be sitting and swearing at a computer screen at a job that mostly pays my bills, and hoping the phone doesn’t ring and fuck up my flow.

That said, it is not bad.

It’s not always greatness and cash, but you know.

I’m working through some shit and writing and writing and WRITING AND WRITING AND FUCK…I’m feeling kinda prolific but at the same time like there’s not enough energy and time in the day.

I think I’ll feel like I’m not getting the output I want forever. I’m not a machine but I want to be a word machine.

Now that’s this. I have LOTS of stuff to do.

So go read/subscribe to my newsletter. There is a fart joke AND I talk about Impostor Syndrome. come back next week and I’ll talk some more (GEEK SHIT YO) about some recurring themes in my work and how I deal with them in various genres.

 

 

Craft Notes- Deconstructing Desiderium*

Okay.

Buckle up.

It is fixing to get super nerdy today.

First, open this entry from the other day so you can see what I’m talking about.

I did one last Yeah, Write for the year. I posted a little erotic flash story I wrote on my phone titled Desiderium.

I’m going to take it apart and show y’all what I was doing and why I made the choices I made with it.

First the title.

Desiderium is in the group of Latin words relating to desire.  I am a major nerd about things like where words come from and while I was perusing wiktionary for inspiration, I found this:

Etymology[edit]

From dēsīderō(want, desire, wish for; miss, lack, need).

I had bookmarked the entry for desiderium, I have had the word, knocking around my brain for a little while. The other thing that is always rumbling in my brain is the concept of limerence as it was introduced to me by Remittance Girl a few years ago. I can’t remember the context of how it happened, but I do recall that conceptually limerence interests me as a thing to explore.

What the fuck is limerence?

For simplicity, let’s work from this definition from wiki:

Limerence (also infatuated love) is a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person and typically includes obsessive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship with the object of love and have one’s feelings reciprocated. PsychologistDorothy Tennov coined the term “limerence” for her 1979 book, Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love, to describe a concept that had grown out of her work in the mid-1960s, when she interviewed over 500 people on the topic of love.[1]

In the context of themes I want to play with, I wanted to explore what I call Dark Limerence.

The place where things get weird and bloody. That said, I didn’t want to explore it from a kind of typical Dude sees girl, dude stalks girl..y’all know.

I like to explore lust and limerence through the lens of a female perspective that lives firmly in the taboo. Violent sex, aggression, predation. The very typically “masculine” methods of seduction as presented to us as romance or erotic.

While I’m playing with these themes, I also want to avoid the rape fantasy. Not because I dislike or disapprove. I have zero opinions on whether or not women can have them.

I want to avoid it because often, women are presented only with rape fantasies as a means of exploring eroticized violence and I don’t like that. I think it’s limiting and silly.

I also like to play with the erotic being presented in such a way that maybe it’s erotic but it’s not really explicit but it is absolutely grown folks business.

This narrator, she is in the throes of the kind of memory that makes you wriggle around in your chair because your crotch is tingling. In writing it I wrote it to appear like this:

I want.

I need.

Black wings, a flutter against my skull. I see you and can’t stop the thoughts. Is this mania? When I see the skin beneath your ear, all I can think about is how soft it is, how vulnerable. Teeth or blade? Kiss or bite? Predation. Lust.

I use the two short phrases: I want. I need. To give the reader a moment to start to understand what is happening, the narrator is telling us that she needs. I used the right justification in order to give a visual to almost hearing this in dual voice. The Id “Id rattling the bars. I am a shell.” is almost fighting with itself. We have the simple but powerful phrases: I want. I need. And then we have the poetry of black wings and these questions.

This voice is a secret voice. It is the sort of voice we tend not to see women have in literature erotic or not. This isn’t performative sluthood, this is desire-need- with a big bold face.

I use italics in a few places more for visual aesthetic reasons than any other.

At the end, I bring it to where you the reader know what she’s thinking of. Rough sex. But, I don’t give you enough to figure out the context. Is it make up sex? Hate fuck?

Later, when we are spent, bruised and battered we will weep.

Drop salt tears on my breast, your cock hard again in my hand.

This isn’t a desire we often get to see from women. We see her move from talking to herself, to talking to her lover. She’s talking to both of us and at the end again, tells us exactly what she wants and who she is.

I am want.

I am need.

*I am longing for what is lost. 

A few things about the end here.

I very purposefully used a vague sense of time in this piece. We don’t know when any of this happened, if it happened, if it is fantasy or what? This could be playing out in her head on the subway, in traffic. She might be washing dishes and having this fantasy/memory.

I did that on purpose. I had a more concrete ending to the original version of this piece. The original ending was that she got home and beat up/fucked her partner.

I scrapped it because in terms of when I wrote prose poems/flash fiction, I love leaving it wide open. I know a lot of readers hate it, I hate it sometimes, but when it works, it leaves things that crawl under your skin and I like that.

The last line with the asterisk is also an easter egg if you’re a nerd. You’ll notice that the title is asterisked

Desiderium*

And the last line *I am longing for what is lost.  

The last line gives the meaning to the title if you hadn’t already figured it out.

So there you go.

If you would like a writing lesson for the day here it is.

Tuck away things you learn from other writers. There are times when while other artists talk about their work, what things mean to them it might help you identify something you like to play with.

And play.

Play with themes, play with what words make happen in your head. Play with tropes and commonly held ideas about how people are supposed to be.

Have some fuckin fun y’all.

But okay so like..I have questions.

I just read yet another super Anti-Black piece of trash in a “well regarded” supposedly venerable publication.

Okay I have fucking questions.

So, in the past few years I’ve not been trying to get as involved with lit world fuckery. That said, I see it. I watch publications publish and pay for boldly Anti Black, racist, transphobic shit and y’all just…

I have mother fucking questions.

Nobody can ever tell me why these are the voices folks choose to put forward. Or why aside from mealy mouthed declarations of freedom of speech, that those things need space.

And then so many of those pubs turn around and brag about their commitment to diversity.

Y’all.

Can I be honest?

Shit like this, is what propels me out of the lit world.

In 2016 I made less than 30 submissions. And most of them were rejected.Most of hte stuff I’ve gotten published that I haven’t done myself has been solicited.

It’s not for lack of done work. It’s because I don’t want to have to wade through the ugly shit to see if I even should submit. I don’t want my name associated with venerable well paying publications that like to post racist or whatever shitty shit without comment except, oooh freedom of speech.

Man.

I have to deal with that.

I have to deal with sooper seekrit lady writer groups where I’ve opened my big ass mouth about injsutices, and said no to whiteness and worry about being told that editors will tell other editors that I might be a problem or hard to work with. I have to deal with the very real thing (that has happened but not lately) of having my ideas stolen and fucked up because I asked my “peers” for advice.

And I have to be able to actually write the shit and not have it come out only FUCK FUCK FUCK MOTHER OF FUCK.

Maybe it is getting older or maybe it is the fact that this election has pretty much destroyed any chill I had left but I just don’t want to do it.

I have SCLAB to do and that is my heart. And I can’t do that if my heart is torn to shreds because the lit world is a burning garbage fire on the regular.

I am so frustrated.

I am angry.

I am so tired.

I feel like my opportunities in the lit world are shrinking.

I have a submission almost ready because someone told me I should submit to their thing. I have a few more like that.

What I don’t have is the strength or girded loins to do deep market research anymore because I keep running into this bullshit.

I dunno y’all.

2017 might be the year I go full indie because I just can’t deal with this AND do my art.

I just don’t know.

Daydreams and Whatnots.

Okay hello folks. October has been…wow.

I’ll talk more about my horror thing and my performance later.

Don’t forget if you like rambly, love letters from one creative heart to another, you can get my newsletter. Check out the latest one right here.

Fall has me feeling like I want more art. I want to make stuff. I want to try new arty things. Actually, I will talk about my class thing.

After talking to other writers that way, I remembered why teaching writing in the way I have in my heart/brain is on my ultimate things list.

I love having that heart to heart connection. I love saying something and seeing a light in another person’s eyes. I love seeing that slow nod and the little smiles. I love it.

And I feel this way not just about writing, but other stuff I’ve talked to people about. In terms of writing, I just dunno. It feels like the thing that would fulfil me on a level I can hardly imagine. I’m a little afraid of it because-I don’t know.

I think part of my reluctance to pursue it more aggressively is my dread fear of coming across as a charlatan. I don’t go in for the One True Way gimme all your money or you suck type of thing and I understand that, that sells I just do not want to do it.

I dunno y’all. It calls to me. But the idea of really making moves to implement a way to do this type of teaching either on a one to one basis or in a class structure is also a lot of energy to expend for me and I don’t know if I can do it.

The other thing that bugs me is that while I have a pretty great close up support system, I don’t believe that people in a position to help me with this would and that’s just…a reality of being me. I’ll pat myself on the back a little and say I can say that with only a little bitterness. And I can say it with the knowledge that it’s not paranoia on my part but lessons learned from experience.

I dunno y’all.

I’ve learned through my lit partner in crime Milcah that I personally need to pump my breaks when my passions are lit like this. I can burn myself out and hurt myself emotionally and I am too old for that.

I’m slowing down. I’m thinking. Can I do this? What about some one on one coaching to start?

I don’t know what’s gonna happen but I’ve got the burn and the need to make something happen.

That’s it for now. You can read a couple of new things over at Medium. 

Also if you want some spoopy entertainment for your Halloween reading pleasure, head over to Etsy and pick up TWO Lovecrafty stories by me for just 2 bucks. It’s awesome. Enjoy.

Good News Everyone!

Oh hey you.

Been starved for some good news from your fave Indie writer?

FIRST up!

Check out that beauty! I have a new essay in Issue 3 of Witch Craft magazine. This one is a departure for me, it is about Blackness and witchery and a rejection of White washed witchery. Go check it out here and buy the issue!

Are you in Seattle?

Do you want to see me?

You have two chances in October. First, I’ll be facilitating a little workshop thing through Minor Arcana Press. I get to host a talk and writing session on..>DUNDUNDUN HORROR MOFOS!! Even if you don’t write horror come and check it out. We’ll have a little talk, a little write, some talk and stuff. Y’all know teaching writing is on my bucketlist and this is maybe a preview as to how I want to offer classes. Come on DOWN Y’all. RSVP on facebooks.

Can’t make it to that? Stay tuned because I will be reading the next day with some amazing QTPOC. So keep your eyes peeled.

In celebration of me getting to talk/teach about horror writing, I will post a few free flash/prompt type things so y’all can get your creepy on.

I will also for Spooktober, maybe keep the etsy store open and put together something special.

Hopefully if things continue going in a nice way, there will be some new and extra surprises towards the end of the month.

Come back tomorrow for talk about the Daiyuverse and stuff.

 

Writing Goals.

ACTUALLY before I talk about that, I need to talk about something associated.

Being a writer as many have pointed out for ages is that being a writer is lonely AF. These days, at least for me part of being a writer in the modern world is just fucking astonishingly confounding.

For me, in particular, coming to terms with first learning the necessity of being able to be creator, marketer, publicist, etc for myself was really hard. None of these were things I included in my learning when I was a kidlet baby writer. The learning process for these things has been beyond hard for me.

Recently, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that the entrepenurial part of being a modern writer, and being an indie writer is not something I am capable of doing successfully. I have failed that part so hard.

I’m not looking for smoke up my butt.

These are the facts. I cannot sell my own material to save my life.

Had this been ten years ago, I’d be sobbing right now and so angry with myself I’d not be able to breath.

Enter, Milcah.

We met via the Rumpus. Awww LOOK at that baby face they have. My friend Antonia Crane was doing this series of interviews and I love her work and then there was -that- interview and thus a literary love affair was begun. Since then we have written each other long love letters, I wrote a story for their naked cam work, we made SCLAB book baby together.

The other thing is that Milcah has done something for me that I’ve been dreaming about since I was a baby potato writer- a partner who can hear me at my worst, who believes me, who when we work together fits my (omg Deadpool reference) weird curvy edges AND believes and shares part of my dreams.

Milcah has been that person.

Milcah can do so many things I just am no good at. The business parts. Our writing is different enough that when we work on things together, there’s a fluidity that runs through both of us as humans that works.

Milcah and I are a mother fucking literary power couple.

So, that said.

Because of a lot of stuff that’s happened in our long love letter exchanges and me feeling supported, seen and recognized enough to admit and not hate my failure in selling/being able to do that stuff for myself, my creative/writing bucketlist has changed and exploded.

How things are looking right now:

  1. Letting go of an attachment to baller freelancer status.
  2. Write first, sell later.
  3. Embracing my natural and established patterns of work that enable me to write the best material I can.
  4. Less stress over being the ALL the things artist.
  5. More enthusiasm to be the artist I actually am.

These have resulted so far in the following:

  • Potential to do ONE huge thing off of my personal bucket list.
  • I’ve applied for my first artist grant(I’ll talk more about that later)
  • I’ve started really working on finding my voice in talking about things like beauty, make up, fashion. Go look at my other blog. (Not toally related but earlier one of my other readers spotted a fucking pro Trump ad on my blog, if you see it PLEASE report it. I’m working on trying to be rid of it.)
  • I’ve resumed writing essays that make me bleed. Not the type where I’m struggling to balance the bleed and the sale.
  • I decided to start actively trying to get fiction published again.

Y’all.

Y’ALL.

So money shit is still fucked. I’m poor AF.

But, I feel okay to move on from where I was to where I want to go.

My writing lately has been on mother fucking fire.

I FEEL like I actually can be the artist I want to be.

DO you know how good that feels? Because Milcah in particular (mainly because of our baby SCLAB) has invested time and money in me and never once held that over my head as a way to force me to change, and that we are STILL both so passionate about SCLAB and that we’re working out how we can make it happen, these other things can happen.

When I was a baby potato writer, I believed that the writing life would be like it was in my Henry Miller books. I’d write shit, travel, fuck everyone and mail stuff to some editor shaped person and boom shit would be published. And I’d probably be poor, but there would be money for when I was broke and rich people being my patrons.

The version of that dream I’m living is in the shape of my real actual life. I have the kind of support system (not financial as of yet) that I need in order to be the kind of artist I wanted to be as a kidlet.

Dear Other Writers who struggle with ALL the other writing biz shit,

There is hope. If I can find a situation that is tenable and wonderful and makes good shit for my art. You can do it. It might take a long time, but it is out there.

Right now when I look at my family, my partner Uniballer whom I live with, my Wifey Cookie whom I see when I can and Milcah-

Holy shit y’all.

Being that all my love is romantic on some level love, I feel like I am the warm weirdo center of the most loving big relationship. And it’s so wonderful.

Love doesn’t solve all the problems and don’t pay my bills, but, it does make life and creation so much better.

Publicly again forever thank you for being you, being tough, being loving, being my most beautiful femmeboifriend, being the artist you are and being my ride or die.

I love you Milcah.

And I love you too readers and other writers.

I’m full of hate and migraine pain but, I love you.

On My Mind

Before I get into what’s on my mind right now I have to tell y’all the most exciting thing.

My passion, my real hearts work is making a come back. Milcah and I are re-embarking on the best thing I do.

Self Care Like A Boss is coming back. We’re relaunching. We’re doing it together in a whole new way and I’m terrified and excited because this is really, REALLY important to me and what I want my life’s work to involve.

So y’all, please head on over here to check out our poll on our new merch and if you’ve got a mind to, sign up for our email newsletter. More news is coming soon, this is step 1.

Next.

I’ve got other stuff on my mind.

I started what could become a small series of essays about living in the mouth of the beast that is gentrification and my terror at being swallowed up by it. This is a subject that is constantly on my mind because I’m living it. I’m a little hesitant to write about it deeply for a few reasons:

  • Obviously given my body of work I know -how- to write personally. I’m a bit reticent about writing about this in particular. Mainly because if I do, I’ll need to do it for The Stabby maybe where I don’t have to deal with comments.
  • Emotionally it will be a lot of labor.

Okay on point 2. Here is sort of where freelancing and I disagree. I like to write first then pitch. It takes way more time and is generally a larger financial risk for me because do I spend the hours on the thing and hope I can get paid or do I try harder to pitch then write?

I find both incredibly stressful.

That stress has made me want to turn back towards the lit world. I feel more comfortable in a large way there. I know how it works. I can work the way that means I’ve got a self satisfying output, and when I’m really on that shit a fairly good acceptance/publication ratio.

That said, that also leaves me as poor if not more poor than I already am if we factor in the whole time is money thing.

That said, a lot of my non-fiction work lately has been weird and likely unpublishable anyway, so I’m mostly worried about future work or stuff I have going all ready.

This is an area of the intersection of art and commerce that I do not negotiate very well. What I want isn’t always the best for my bank accounts nor my art. Being in a position where I’m both really too poor to be doing anything for free and not wanting to have to only write saleable material is a hell of a thing.

The other thing on my mind is how difficult it has been for me to just be glad to be read. On one hand it has always been such a deep and wonderful thing for me to know that I have an audience. From the early days of having a tiny 10 person devoted readership of a long dead online journal to here, it is a miracle and wonderful to me to be read ever.

Inside that thankfulness and joy, there is also the struggle of knowing that most of the time mine is not a paying audience. Poverty strikes again. And the minute I have those feelings, I also feel terrible for feeling upset. I don’t want to feel bitter or jealous or whatever.

At the same time, I still need a new pair of pants and have bills to pay.

It’s hard to write from that place of conflict and fear and just general shitty feelings.

Real talk, the most fucked up thing about this is that having this problem/these feelings is somewhat of a personal artistic milestone. The fact that I have the belief in my work to say I should be paid and paid well for this is pretty huge. Ten years ago, I would have the smallest inkling of these feelings. They were nebulous and unformed.

Back then, I didn’t believe my work had real value other than maybe some entertainment. Not even when I had some writing jobs. Not even when on occasion lit mags gave me money.

Back then I didn’t really know how to write non-fiction of any flavor. I didn’t know that one didn’t have to be a journalist necessarily to publish non-fiction. I thought that the arty essays were strictly for “real” writers who were absolutely not me.

I felt bad about not making money writing, but didn’t feel like I deserved it.

Funny ain’t it? I mean now I know that my work has worth, but getting that proves to be fucking really hard for me.

Like, I FINALLy allow myself to view myself as an artist and legit creator.

I allow myself to understand that my work has worth.

And suck at making it work.

I am only laughing because otherwise I’ll cry.

Okay, that’s it for now. I have stuff to do and write.