Tag Archives: writing

Yeah Write # 197 entry- Bottom Bitch

 

Bottom Bitch

By Shannon
Barber

Someplace in the dark that girl is crying. I understand, of course. The dark is thick, hot and holds evil in it.

“Please don’t cry.”

My voice is softer than it usually is. In the dark I can be gentle and sweet.

“I’m sorry Mama. I’m sorry.”

In the day I might snap and make her cry harder. In the dark I can reach across the space between us and pull her close. Her skin smells like the kind of terror only a junkie going cold turkey knows. She curls into me, her soft body quivering from down deep, close to the bone.

“It hurts Mama. It hurts so bad.”

While I rock her, her sobs slow down. I know she’s past the shitting and puking. The pain in her guts and joints burns low, her tears are mostly insensate need. She sleeps with her sweating face between my breasts.

When Daddy brought her in she was a mess. Lips peeling, wall eyed and reeking to high heaven. I got her in the tub and listened to her wail and squeal like a wet cat. Junkies and water- man I’d rather wrestle a gator.

All cleaned up, she’s pretty if too skinny. Few months off of the junk and those pretty little tits will fill and stand right back up, get her hair fixed up and a good manicure and I know she’ll work out just fine. Daddy always said I’ve got an eye.

I know that when the dawn comes creeping her shaking hand will slip between my thighs. Her need will eventually take whatever it can find. When she bathes her face in my come for a few hours she’ll know a little peace.

In a few days Daddy will come home with new shoes and clothes. He’ll take us out for dinner, show her how proud he is that she kicked like a big girl. We’ll go home and he’ll test her out before he puts her to work.

Her first thousand dollar night Daddy will come in and kiss me sweetly.

“You did good baby. You did good.”

##

 Yeah.

Write.


Thoughts on Transgressive writing.

I’m reading the (affiliate link ahead) Burnt Tongues. This is the love child from Chuckpalahniuk.net.

The anthology is okay. Even if I didn’t know it was Palahniuk related I’d know inside two stories. If you are a fan of that style you’ll like it.

I don’t really feel too strongly about the actual work in the anthology. Most of the stories so far rely fairly heavily on the gross out mode of transgression, I’m halfway in and so far vomit, obsession, some kind of mental deficiency. The sort of things that are SHOCKING OMG GROSS OH NO.

Overall none of the stories are particularly memorable for me. The gross factor is a bit tired to me.

Which brings me to my thoughts on transgression.

If you’ve read me for a minute you know I am very into transgression and exploring that in my work. I think my issue with the stories in the anthology aren’t really the stories, they are very obviously workshopped in that fan base really hard. Some of them have some nice moments. But the transgression as rooted in the gross factor doesn’t really do it for me.

I do enjoy that CP (Chuck P) style of that tight first person, present tense.

But as I read more of his work and that anthology I find it lacking in a certain kind of depth.

Or not depth, maybe a certain adventurousness.

I don’t really feel a sense of danger in the gross out mode of transgression or the something fucked up happened but everyone is pretty, or scars etc.  It feels safe. It feels both as a reader and writer that the only real risk involved is in maybe turning someone off or making them feel a bit icky in the guts.

That doesn’t turn my crank generally speaking.

I really want transgression that takes nose dives into dangerous territory.

But what’s dangerous?

The most powerful transgressive writing to my taste comes from a place of otherness or if not otherness than a place that is not comfortable for normative cultural tropes. The challenge in my eyes is the most powerful when it makes the world being written, not a comfortable place.

One of my favorite modes of exploring transgression is female desire and sexuality.

Not just on terms of erotica but consider female desire in terms of how it is generally written about in literature. Safe is demure, occasionally “bold” (as in making the first move), numerous romantic tropes, but there is so much more.

When women are written as not adhering to cultural expectations of how they experience desire or lust or have sex, there is space to explore transgression. For instance, writing female desire that is outside of and ignores heterosexual cis white dudes. Lesbians or Queer women written by and for their like.

It’s not transgressive to write those women because they are queer but because they exist and live outside of the norm which in the case of literature is White Cis Men.

Essentially I want my transgression to work harder. Go deeper.

Part of this is that gross outs just really don’t move me at all. I have worked with/been around babies and animals so there’s not enough poop or vomit in the world lovingly described chunk by chunk that will make me remember a thing or a story in particular.

I have the same problem with some of the contemporary horror I’ve read.

From the writing end, this is one of the things that moves my work regardless of what I’m writing. It is in the back of my mind. I work to hold onto the thread of what I desire out of transgressive writing and make it.

Okay yeah that.

Now that I’ve got my brain functioning, (I have had a hellacious cold) I’m going to go write some things.

So there.


On Being hate read, processing and engagement.

So y’all know I’ve been doing a series of self care articles over at XOjane. You can read the most recent one here.

One of the things that has surprised me is how much pushback there’s been. Among the reasons:

  • My tips about make up don’t count as self care for anybody ever.
  • My budget / strategic spending tips are telling everyone to blow their rent money.
  • My mention of smart budget friendly shopping is consumerist.
  • I “stole” the idea from DBT (to tell y’all the truth I didn’t even know what that was until yesterday) therapy.
  • I’ve been told that my responses to criticism (we’ll get to that) is passive aggressive.
  • I should grow a thicker skin.
  • ALL my articles are just not full of ALL the information and therefor anything I have to say is invalid.

Etc.

Something I’m having a hard time with is the idea that because I’m not writing the articles in the broadest manner possible nor am I tackling ALL the issues about poorness and self care, that I’m doing it wrong, I find that tack to be exhausting.

I wonder how or if those people do that in other spheres of life? Do they comment on advice columns that don’t cover every scenerio?

Admittedly given that the same things get said on every article so far it gave me pause.

I was thinking maybe I shouldn’t talk about my poor skills, or that I should make every article involve the nitty gritty of being poor and doing self care.

Two things were pointed out to me by a friend.

First that some of these things are because people are hate reading me. They hate my writing, they hate the subject matter because I’m writing what I know/like in this case. I think when people go to hyperbole (literally saying that I’m encouraging people to buy everything and skipping the parts where I mention that these things are suggestions/stragegy) I don’t really need to listen.

Second thing is, who cares? Because really, I don’t know these people nor do they have any ream impact on me/my life.

As a writer and as I am doing this series I have made the effort to look at responses and what people ask about (unoriginal according to one commenter) and I did need to take these criticisms and think about them.

I’ve come to the conclusion that some of these folks are hate reading. I tried to engage but I realize that there’s no point because I just don’t understand that behavior. I don’t understand why if some advice isn’t for you, you’d go out of your way to be sure EVERYONE knows how much you disapprove?

As a reader I don’t get that at all.

Sure there are a lot of writers I don’t like out there. I think where I’ve had trouble is the idea of it being criticism or critique to just follow someone’s work to tell them how much you don’t like it.

It is just beyond me why that’s fun.

Anyone?

It’s one thing to me to say, so so’s writing is a problem for x reasons. I’m not reading it anymore.

Maybe I’m off about this.

I did feel the need to think about it though. Being that XoJane is my first regular column and the subject matter is near and dear to my heart, and shit I actually know about I took some time to really think about what I might be doing wrong.

The format has been I have a subject related to self care for poor folks and write about it.

I feel like that leaves a lot of room for everything from budgeting to buy a thing, to thinking about finding resources for things or as I’ve got coming up feeling like you deserve the thing regardless of how people treat you.

We all know I’m a thinky process queen and I realized earlier today that, well I don’t -have- to deal with that type of criticism if I don’t see the value in it. I think part of the process of writing a regular thing has been figuring out managing the line between what people ask me for and what I wanna do.

Whoa right?

I mean after 20 years and publishing things that have garnered me death threats, rape threats, cavalcades of die nigger messages being hate read is not all that bad.

I’ve come to the conclusion that for my purposes there, I can stick to my ethos that if you don’t want/need/like it, it’s just not for you and be okay.

I also think part of my worries about how much some folks hate the series and my work in general was due in large part to my ideas about harm. I have very strong feelings about being mindful if I am doing things that are harmful in certain ways and a lot of the negative commentary has pinged that button. It’s probably not on purpose but, it has been difficult to work through so I can write.

I like to hope it’s not personal even though it really feels like it.

The series will continue until either Xojane gets tired of me or I can’t write it anymore.

In other news I’ve joined the poets at Ink Node and put my first poem up today. Find that here. I have some feelings about it but I’ll save that for another time.

Okay later this week I’m doing a big ole link round up of stuff y’all should see and I’ll have a review of the book I’m reading about Aileen Wuornos as well.

Later taters.

PS I have some new non fiction coming out soon and it is a doozy.


Y’all are not ready.

I have been sitting on a major secret.

I am super proud to announce that Milcah Orbacedo is opening a brand new press called MotherBlazing Books and I am her first author.

We are going to do SO MUCH together.

There will be special edition print books, ebooks, a brand new website AND TEE SHIRTS.

I am so so happy to be doing it this way. Coming up I’m also going to talk about how meaningful it is to me to be bringing my first not published by me print book into the world with someone who really sees who I am and values me for who I am and who I trust and love.

This is the publishing I want.

Now I am super exhausted and I have been bursting to tell everyone.

To keep up on what’s going on and to see when the new website drops like the bass you can come like my author page on faceook.

I hope you all come along for the ride because it’s going to be fucking great.

 


So many things.

So hey.

Outside of everything in merica being real fucking terrible right now some good stuff is going on in my writing life.

Ready?

So firstly new publication news.

I have flash fiction in Ex Fic. A tiny story about a prostitute that does not invoke Pretty Woman nor is it anti sex worker nonsense. Go forth and enjoy it here.

AND I have tiny prose poetry in Urban Graffiti (I think I told y’all?) my type of romance between cutters. Enjoy. Also the art the editor chose is really beautiful. Kinda NSFW.

AND one more little flash piece in Black Mirror Magazine. Get it here.

All of these acceptances came in a little succession and as I was organizing my rejection list/submission list I realized that traditionally for at least the last five years, June-about now is ALWAYS a dry season for me and I don’t know why.

The next new thing is in anticipation of a super special thing happening, I now have an author page on the facebooks for writing related stuff. If you have one too, drop me a link and I can like it. Here you will find mine, it’s kind of naked right now but that will be changing soon.

What else?

OH I got a new to me laptop. It is a little (not so little) used Dell and I make a little nest in my bed, with my bulldog puppy lapdesk and go. It feels pretty good to have my technology handled.

I have been writing like a mother fucker and nestling in this feeling of having a very special community of other women writers I’ve found who are ready to yell and talk about pooping and make up and thing.

And to still have the support of women I love and admire. To have them tell me yes. Having them tell me when I have ideas WRITE THAT SHIT.

Writing life feels right.

I could be getting published more. I could be submitting more. My output could be bigger but things feel nice and right right now.

Now I should probably eat some food because I am exhausted and in need of something

That something is going to be rewatching Carnivale (someone remind me to go blog about the one Cooch dancer in my other blog alter) and I will get through the remainder of my shift at my dayjob without falling or goig to sleep.


On freelancing research and whatnot.

Okay first thing.

To the person coming in to tell me to “stop whining” about white people, fuck off.

You come in trying to cheerfully do something, anonymously grow a spine or stay the fuck out.

Okay now new business.

I have been doing a lot of research on getting myself more freelance paid work.

Given the subject matter I like writing about generally speaking mingled with uh, the dearth of writers of color at a lot of the venues I have been introduced to I’m feeling a little uh, unsettled.

I’m not awesome at writing on spec all the time and that is a skill I am working on.

And I’m not great at pitching but I am working on that as well.

I feel like until I get my tech situation worked out, I should just write some shit and keep on keeping on.

This stuff is daunting but I am ready I think.

What else am I working on?

I am working on lightening up in my non fiction. I don’t know what it is precisely but writing the shit that just guts me comes too naturally and I dont’ know how to deal with the emotional depletion and often following racialized bullshit. Recovering takes a lot out of me and I’m still trying to figure out what to do with all that beyond shut down.

Since I got a new phone I have been writing tiny flash fiction things on it while I wait for the bus.

One of these recently got published, see it here in Black Mirror Magazine. The most amusing thing about that is mainly that I wrote it standing at a bus stop, while a homeless woman was calling me satan. I see her every now and then, I gave her a cigarette once because she was staring at me while I was smoking but now she calls me satan every time I see her.

I’ve written about four other tiny flash pieces. I’m calling them experimental horror flavored retellings. Brief. Non specific. Experiments.

I am getting back into the swing of submitting fiction.

After my initial freak out about things happening for me that I hadn’t foreseen I am ready. Well maybe not ready but I am at least working it out.

That is all the news. I have work to do.

 


On Ambition and publication news

First the publication news.

I wrote a poem about/inspired by my dear friend Haddayr and it got picked up at Leaves of Ink. I’ve known Haddayr around the intertubes for years now and there is something about her that just touches me in my soul area and I love her so much I want to hug her until she farts and then we can laugh and yell and probably fall down. This poem was inspired by something she said and I am so so honored it got published. ALSO she is a kick ass fucking writer. Seriously. Essays, fiction. Read her.

Next I had an essay edited and published by Antonia Mother fucking Crane. I admit I freaked out a bit when she asked me for a thing about kink and the first thing that came to mind was the topic of my failure to fulfill the pisser portion of being a piss queen. Read it here at The Weeklings. There are few things I love more than having a good editor and Antonia is a fine editor. She coaxed better timing out of me, writing in a world that is very stuck on quick fast and in a hurry she encouraged me to get back to a slow burn.  It was also my first serious try at being on purpose funny. I am a funny person, but never when I am trying to be funny.

I am also cruising along at Xojane with my self care series. Some folks hate it and hate me and that is kind of great. So many other people have left comments there and elsewhere telling me that they need to hear this stuff.  This is my first thing I’ve been paid for on the regular and had it be such a serious affirmation of things that make me feel like a better human. I have a lot of feelings about it.

I am still working really hard on figuring out how to balance writing freelance things, submitting things, writing fiction and working my day job and managing my fucking feelings and holy shit it is all so much.

OH I also relaunched my personal blog. You can see my new spot here.

Watch me segue really smoothly here.

As I am doing these things and gaining exposure to new audiences and doing so while feeling like an actual part of a writing community that accepts and loves me for who I actually am and what I actually write and not my potential to be the next Alice Walker, I am realizing that my ambitions are changing in ways I did not anticipate.

At one time, maybe six years ago I would have said that my ambition was to write novels, get them published with some critical acclaim and to ease off the teat of the dayjob.

Right now honestly all I want is that spreading readership, my writer homies backing me and maybe enough spare money made to get some tattoos, replace my electronics and whatnot.

Some fun money and an awesome readership is what it boils down to.

I am still only semi invested in mainstream publishing and that finally feels okay to me. The more I learn about big deal “serious” publishing the less I see a place there for myself.

I feel like I am learning to put less pressure on myself to be the Big Bad Black Trailblazing Negress. I do it when I feel like it. When I can but I’m not going to eat myself up trying.

I think that’s all for right now. I should update my website but I don’t feel like it. Instead I’m going to eat something tasty and do some work on something close to my little heart.

Later taters.


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