First of all, pardon my little hiatus. I had a family emergency, my partner got very ill. Two ER visits, he’s been incapacitated, I got sick. Then I got really fucking sick as in, face down ass up missed a fuckton of dayjob hours type sick.
Basically so far Sept has me like:
Due to the illness in the household, we had to spend pretty much every dime we had saved for transportation, medications for both of us, pricier food than we usually get because I had to shop by myself. That laid us out financially and it’s going to be at least a month before we recover.
Unfortunately, I panicked and cut my entertainment budget out entirely (a whopping 15$) and put off reserving the laptop/tablet thing I want. I also sold an essay so it was kind of good and bad?
Can I be real with y’all?
As rough as things have been in the last few years, these last few weeks have wrecked me. Life for real pushed EVERY one of my fucking trauma buttons.
I’m working out some things.
My priorities right now are:
Keeping self and partner fed and with proper medications.
Saving a fuckton of money to move.
That is all my life is right now.
I’m thinking of going ahead and opening up for some sensitivity reading. Nothing long. Articles, essays. Come back to get full info next week.
I’m grinding at that freelance shit. Y’all. Let me tell you a quick story.
After a shitty day, I had a long FB chain where my witchy friends and I laid some curses like hell and it was so satisfying I wrote an essay that day and sold it to a new to me venue the day after. Y’all. Sometimes, just fling your stuff out into the universe. I’ll be talking more about that in my Loveletter later today.
I mention the grind because my fundraiser continues to go badly and it is demoralizing. Not only is it failing but, every time I post it places people get on their Y DON’T U WORK HARDER LAZY POOR ASSHOLE.
Rationally, I know that it is bullshit that I feel like I have to justify asking for help but I can’t really deal with trying to answer that shit individually so, here we are.
At this point y’all, it is so imperative that we be able to move I can only focus on that. If we don’t move, our health, mental and physical is going to deteriorate further and we cannot do that.
So I’m on the grind.
I currently have more pitches/subs out than I have in a couple of years. I’m pretty excited about it. I have done some big swing submissions and I ain’t stopping.
If you wanna help this post is still super accurate and as always, when I put out my rates for sensitivity readings etc share em. Know somebody with cash and a burning need to do something tangible? Help a living artist live. Except for Etsy the shop is closed.
I’m in a weird mood, feeling very confessional and like I need to just blab shit until my head clears.
So…here we go.
Confession #1) One of the main reasons I returned to some freelance, real talk is to fund my want to do my wardrobe over. I have very particular tastes, the size of my ass is currently stable so I want to dress how I want to dress. Right now, a portion of all my freelance income (not much) is going into a savings fund for these boots.
#2) I should probably not be telling folks this but, I very literally have a list of publications/editors/writers I will not be associated with. My writing shitlist is made up of folks acting shitty in public, editors who are on some bullshit, writers I can’t stand. I check it when I’m researching submissions because I am shit with names.
#3) I have basically given up the idea that any large big house publisher or other non indie presses will ever fuck with me. I say this because (have I talked about this?) back in the day when blogger book deals were just the hottest shit, I was approached a good number of times. This also goes for agents etc, every interaction started with how much admiration and love the people had for me, how much they valued my voice and then progressed to the talk. The Talk was always gentle and sorta kind, and every time the punchline was, we think you are magnificent buuuuuuut please calm down about X thing. One person told me that if it wasn’t for my “militant” anti racism (and y’all, like it wasn’t even like that back in the day, I WAS being gentle) they’d be able to make me a best seller. I am not fucking Charlie Brown and fuck your football. Frankly, I just can’t allow the desire to really gain traction in my heart because I’ve been disappointed every goddamn time.
#4) I am just fine being a writer. I write things. Sometimes I get paid for those things, sometimes people don’t want to publish them and I do it myself…this is fine. I’m happy with this.
#5) 90% of the time, I write like what I am writing will never been seen by anyone ever. That is how I keep my work authentic.
#6) I am still working on making some writing classes that are low cost, available for download and accessible to folks.
#7) Genre still doesn’t really mean shit to me.
#8) Sometimes I wish I had stayed in my horror and smut lanes and sort of faded into obscurity. I had to deal with so much less bullshit on a personal level related to my writing back then.
#9) Writing openly and personally and doing essay work etc is really fucking amazing and even with the bullshit, writing about race etc is fantastic.
#10) Being a writer in general is terrible. Being a writer is wonderful. Being a writer is fuckin weird.
Thing is, this whole thing is infuriating and wonderful and fucking hard. I don’t know who I would be without it.
I really love audiobooks and stories. I have some faves y’all should know about.
First one right now I’m listening to one of my favorite voice talents read a story I have been into since it came out. Buried Eyes by Lavie Tidhar. That swords n sorcery n guns n shit stuff is pretty awesome. You should buy all of Lavie Tidhar’s work cause it is really friggin good. The reader is Graeme Dunlop who has a lovely voice and is very emotive and really good.
Actually just dive in at the linked podcast site and find stuff.
Another fave is this story called Gig Marksfrom Pseudopod. Y’all it is so damn good I think of it all the time. I love a great ghost story and it is perfect.
What am I writing? I started a weird bird person story here’s a bite:
Mr. Peach White likes to walk with his wing just around my shoulders. He forgets how short my legs are compared to his and I must always adopt a rolling bird waddle to keep up with him. He speaks a mile a minute, informing me about the children, trouble in the local rookery, the gossip from the cranes who fly the river and return with mail and messages. He snorts and shakes his crest when we pass a seabird colony full of the howling of the gulls and cormorants.
“So you see, Mary of Brown skin, it must be quite impossible to make peace with these strange creatures. These odd drab birds that fly with misery from the north. What need of them, have we? Our city is a place of-” He stops talking, distracted by something or other and I catch my breath a bit. I would never deliberately slow him down, he is one of my regular customers, but I do appreciate it when something catches his eye. “Mary, Miss Mary of Brown Skin, look there.”
He points one white wing and I have to stand on tiptoe to follow the direction of his pointing. “Um, can you lower your wing a little bit please?” I sound like a mouse but, Mr. Peach White burbles an apology and lowers his wing so I can see over it. Across the river there was a dust cloud full of ruckus of some sort. Squawking, rough shouts from working laboror human humans. Mr. Peach White is notoriously and insatiably nosy, he gathers me under one wing and hustles me to the nearest weaverbird.
What the fuck is this? I don’t even know. Except that the end is gonna be kinda gory but romantic? I like the idea but why bird people? I find the idea so terrifying I can’t stand myself.
I’m working on this literary, memoir related, observational thing and I CANNOT for the life of me figure out how I want to write it and I’m getting on my own nerves. My first attempt started out way too academic, the second was closer ish but not there yet. My head is SO FUCKING FULL and I just….
I mean what if I could just reach in, give the ole brain sponge a squeezy squeeze and Voila essay falls out of my nose. Shit, at this point I’d take it if it dribbled out of my butt.
At least I feel like I’d be deeper into this fucking thing than I am. Can y’all tell I’ve about run out of patience?
I’ve mentioned my impatient studiousness but for fuck sake I JUST WANT TO WRITE THE SHIT ALREADY.
But I also kinda don’t because I’m not ready.
OH let us talk of shit I’ve kicked off my Fuckit List.
I wrote this review for ROAR. I feel very good about it. Read it.
I also sent a few like major swing for the fences pitches last week. Baby needs shoes and bylines.
I’m having one of those weeks when part of my fuckit list involves a big ass project that just seems like too much. I’d need:
Start up funding (I could likely contribute a bit but I’d need to crowdfund the rest and well…that doesn’t work for me)
To stop writing other projects/things for at least 3-4 months.
Help with reach from folks who haven’t shown up for me in the past.
Opportunity to work on this thing without worrying about how much it is costing me.
Today, I feel like these seemingly few things are never going to all align. I’m frustrated. I don’t -want- to have to make a whole business. I don’t want to work that as an extra full time job because, I’m not in a position to just leap and assume everything will be fine. I’m responsible for another human being staying clothed, housed and fed.
Also honestly, as I’m researching I’m just- I don’t want to. I don’t. I just want to make enough money in life to maybe not be triggered to fuck on payday, or be able to buy vegetables whenever I want some and maybe, MAYBE buy some fucking underwear without feeling guilty or otherwise fucking up my budget.
And no it isn’t that I don’t work. I work hard at maintaining the quality of life I have.
The super extra frustrating thing is I already fucking know that the path above, isn’t the one I goddamn want. I don’t want to try and run a business and write and live. I’m super extra tired of wanting to or needing to feel like I HAVE to try doing this in order to live and maybe come up a tiny bit.
I am not looking for some rags to riches come up thing.
I just want a bit less stress and maybe a nice place to live.
And maybe do some good and make a little coin.
This post also brought to you by someone who thought it was helpful to tell me how much I don’t believe in myself or want a better life because I won’t not work my regular job for 6 months to MAYBE find a better position…like.
What the fuck good would coding or other certs do me if I lost my place to live or am unable to provide for my family?
When I asked if she’d like to pay my expenses she got angry and just kept giving me that be your own boss schtick like it is gospel and it pissed me off.
Okay I’m frustrated and upset and I’m gonna not do that for a while.
One of the things I am discovering I’m terrible at is being my own student.
Over the years I’ve developed a particular style of learning in order to teach myself how to write about things I want to write about. For years, I blogged about a lot of personal shit and then I figured out how I like to write a personal essay.
I will read the fuck out of a type of thing, write hot garbage about the thing, rewrite, read more rinse repeat until I feel like I’ve learned about it enough to confidently write the thing the way I want to write it.
This has mostly worked out very well.
However, I am an impatient ass asshole. I have been taking notes. I have pages in my Pash Planner dedicated to my bucketlist of writing related shit. Most of my bucketlist writing shits are things I’m heavily interested in and also heavily invested in writing about them my way. I want to find ways to use my lil voice to talk about subjects/things I traditionally might think are over my head.
I am really excited but, I want to be done with the learning. I want to stop writing hot shit about these things and get to the good stuff.
It is very frustrating to me.
And I have to laugh a little, when I was a baby potato trying to learn stuff I was the same way. I’d have baby potato rage because okay good example.
When I was in the fifth grade, I tried to read Romeo and Juliet. I couldn’t and it made me so angry I studied Willy Shakes for a FULL year teaching myself the syntax, the vocabulary etc. I did it out of spite and then out of love.
I’m at the point where at least one of the bucketlist things has been tentatively begun. A memoir flavored story about how JT Leroy and that whole thing fucked me up, a bit of a reader memoir, a bit of me questioning why it is that POC especially Black folks are never allowed a certain flavor of confessional work without being expected to finish it out with a connection to the world/issue and some teaching.
I’ve started it five fucking times and I think this last start was probably the best one. I have to sit back and laugh a little. I always ask, WHY AM I LIKE THIS….
This is how ambition functions in me and how my human competition streak goes. I’m not fighting y’all. I’m not trying to outrun y’all. I want to satisfy myself. And I am the hardest person to deal with.
That said, I am enjoying how it’s going.
I think that’s all I have energy for right now. I’m fighting some intense nausea and just not barfing is pretty much taking all my energy.
I’m dreaming of my ultimate literary event. My event. So also things might get NSFW.
An assemblage of grown ass folks because I don’t write kids lit. First the house lights come down and there’s a stage and a pole. A THICC stripper comes out, her act starts with this song. Thicc means: A descriptor meant to designate a woman with a shapely figure and is typically somewhat chubby. They often will have an hourglass or pear shaped body with emphasis on the shape and size of their buttocks and thighs. It’s my party, I want fat strippers.
Start with some slow grind.
Maybe if I was dressed right we could do a little duet to something like.
And I would run it more like a burlesque show. No live tipping just some rapt attention for some amazing stripping.
Then a little break and a reader. Possibly someone who writes erotica or something else super sexy. Then we’d need to bring things up a bit and I would have my own personal twerk team. I’d really need a multi gender, multi sized twerk team in all black and everybody in booty shorts. And I would need a lot of my people who love twerking as much as I do to be up front to cheer.
Post twerk team, I would need to have another break. Maybe for a little twerk contest? Poets twerk. Readers twerk. All butts all skills welcome.
We’d wind down the stripping and twerking and I’d read. I’d read some poems and maybe some porn. I’d do an ask me anything. Or maybe I’d read from the work being launched and tell a story. I tell funny stories.
Actually wait, I think after twerking there’d be an intermission. Time for folks to pee, smoke, grab a nibble or something to drink or medicate.
THEN I’d read and storytime.
After that, I’d post my chunky ass at a table and sign shit. I’d likely stay put because mingling at these events never fails to freak my whole shit out.
And I’d have the most fabulous witchy art hoe outfit. Titties out. Face beat for the Gods. Very glam, a bit creepy.
I mean………..if I’m gonna fantasize.
If the world was my oyster I’d have some live music too. I’d invite artists I love and have them have tables of stuff to buy or trade. I’d invite zinesters and sex workers. Have a big ole bazaar of awesome and sexy.
I’d ask friends with patreons and things who couldn’t be there to send me business cards to tuck into swag bags.
I wouldn’t want it to be only about me but about us.
That’s how I dream about the literary life I want.
The literary life I imagined is full of sexy beauty and me having the ability to support my community by providing events or just space to say, hey you like my shit, check out this shit here.
To answer an age old question, often I get my ideas from tidbits of things.
I tend to refer to it in my head as my fly on the wall inspo.
I get a lot of inspiration from tiny pieces of things, day to day happenings on facebook friends statuses, tidbits of conversations I overhear when I am commuting, the sound of an accent on a particular word or a voice. I notice and remember the hitch in how someone walks.
I tend to get specific inspiration from particular voices, I hear them as the narrators/characters as I write them. It’s almost like I have an audiobook while I’m writing the thing. The voice often just starts yammering and I need to write to keep up.
The other thing that happens is a full story just craps itself in my brain. It is like, what if this, this and this and then this, GO GO GO GO GO GOGO.
When I was a young potato writer, a lot of the time I thought that was the end of the game. Voice(s) poop out the story, I catch as much as I can of it on paper and then it is done. Now, I realize that often the initial poo is just the framework. It is the uh, well, we know I’ll murder a metaphor so let’s go with continuing the poo theme.
The first rush of getting the story down is like having gas. First is the bubble guts and then, PFFFFFFFFFFT.
So initially it is super exciting and feels amazing. I mean, is there anything more satisfying in life than having your belly blowing up or having bubble guts and FINALLY, whoosh. You fart. You feel your belly deflate. Maybe it makes a hilarious noise, maybe it is just such a relief you want to lay down. That is how that first expression of the big idea.
Okay, I’ll stop with the poop.
There is a physical component to this particular type of inspiration for me. I feel pressure in my body to get it out (like a fart), then the relief of getting that part done and then often I feel like I HAVE to get to the tinkering, the rewrites and the remolding of the story until it is what it wants to be.
I feel the pressure in my belly (like right now I’m constipated as hell) and while I work on these stories, I squirm around, trying to get into that magical comfortable place where I can find relief. The act of writing becomes a mix of the intellectual and the physical. I ride the space between bodily doings and brain doings.
It isn’t really a dignified state. I feel very animal and out of control in this state. Whatever alien voice or thing that the story needs to be, takes me over and I obsess about it until it is what it tells me it wants to be.
This is sort of how I used to imagine it felt to be taken by the muse. In all the flowery, purple prose I read as a kidlet, this is what I thought it meant. Except not as gassy or poopy, I thought it would be more sexy.
It’s not sexy.
It is pleasurable in the very base sense of the filthy body and the noisy brain doing something together for once. Co operating rather than my brain playing forty seven radio stations while my feet go numb because I ignore that I have a body.
I store so much in my body, when the moment happens that I can move some of that onto the page, I feel like I’ve done something right.
On my mind. Right now, y’all should check out this hashtag on tweeter. And related read this. See also this.
Please note: I only use the word woman/women very loosely and to include Genderqueer/Femme presenting living folks.
How are these things related? Here’s what I’m thinking.
On the hashtag you’ll see it relates to Ebony which is a traditional Black publication. A lot of Black women write/have written for it. If you look at some of the responses they fall in line with the other link.
Everybody loves to ask or demand Black women do work. Whether it is the exhortation to get ourselves out there and hustle. HUSTLE and get those bylines to show the WHOLE goddamn world what we can do.
I’m here for it.
There is a trap in it. When the places that are supposed to be here for Black people, women in this case fucking fail. This is exploitation and as a larger issue, I see this constantly with freelancing. This is another reason why I hate it so much.
For me personally, living with my particular set of marginalizations I cannot fuck around with people who don’t pay what is agreed upon.
While there is an absolute cachet to scoring those home run bylines, there is peril. As with any industry, when you’re loud about how those in power fuck up, shit gets real. I’ve watched it play out time and time again from writing groups to twitter etc.
We say, hey fuck you pay me. Or say, this editor at X magazine will not respond to my need to be paid. And things can get so bad. Part of the reason for this is that nobody trusts or believes women, especially Black women.
If we say, I’ve been mistreated-BOOM suddenly we’re just being big ole meany face bully gossips. Echoes of rape culture and sexism and Misogynoir.
Now, the person who started the dialogue about Ebony, has been subject to shitty ass trolling especially from other Black folks and from supposed professionals within Ebony. Ebony is not some little three person zine struggling for postage money. This is huge money, this is old money and like so many other things will celebrate Black women out of one side of their mouths and steal food off their table and talk shit about us from the other side.
This is from the big leagues. This is supposed to be the right way to be a writer or to be an activist. These are the people who’s nod we’re supposed to earn.
And they treat us like this.
So, some people like me decide, you know what?
Fuck your legitimate money.
Not that I won’t occasionally get me some but overall, nah.
For a variety of reasons.
So, as y’all know if you read me regularly, I have my donation area and my tipjar and my venmo. It is how a lot of people I know who put in a hell of a lot of work help ourselves survive.
For the type of work I do, for the type of activism I prefer and how I am able to create the shit I’m good at, patronage (YUP we’re going there again) is an ideal model. I have my dayjob and that mostly pays my rent and I have my art. When the mundane parts of my life are paid for, I’m a motherfucking artist juggernaut.
And a lot of the time, my tipjars and whatnot make up for the intense emotional labor I am prone to do in spaces where, a lot of folks don’t appreciate shit.
So then along comes this person who abused their platform to really shit on those of us who aren’t operating within spitting distance of legit money acceptability.
I’ll quote from the post I linked to above:
They discourage Black activists and organizers from Liberation, and inspire them to chase individual fame and fortune from white power. They reinforce respectability and funnel shared resources into their own crusty Black hands. They use us when needed, but abandon us when necessary.
This is why I will not and cannot fuck with people like this. And the person who started the bullshit about what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of the hustle and doing the work is the type person who helped drive me away from freelancing.
This culture of deciding that you ONLY count if you are acceptable. If you don’t tell, if you are a Good Negro, if you get by in an acceptable way is pure fucking garbage. There is nothing revolutionary or cute about replicating the macro world problems in a microcosm.
That said, there is money in aligning yourself with the “right” way.
I mean, that blogger is making some coin right?
Ebony is still making them coins.
I respect the hustle. Y’all know the old saying, don’t hate the player, hate the game. I hate the game.
Fuck that game.
That game and trying to play it really almost killed any desire I had to ever write another essay. These behaviors hurt me in what at times feels like an irrevocable way.
On the other hand, it does fire me up. Knowing that I am doing exactly what I need to do in order to be the best creator I can be is amazing.
Yes, these things are still exhausting and painful. It hurts me as a Black Femme/mostly womanish type person to see Black women shit on each other to get ahead.
It hurts my actual soul. It hurts my heart because these are the tools of White Supremacy and if we can’t stop using them against each other what chance do we have of expecting White people to not use them against us?
Now here’s the thing.
I have zero expectation of agreeing with or kumbayahing our way out of it.
What I hope is that at the very least we stop shitting on each other for cash.
I know, we ALL need to make money. Y’all know I am about that hustle and grind life. But not at the exposure of people who are also marginalized.