Been a while, but… updates!

I attended CanCon! (www.can-con.org)
Public report incoming; I talk about the most important thing that I did/happened to me at CanCon in my Patreon update…(link below)

My poem, “Strange Ink”,  appears in Polar Borealis Magazine,’s July/August 2017 issue!

Alligators In The Sewers, an Unnerving Magazine chapbook, contains my poem, “Let Me In”!

Skiffy and Fanty Podcast interview me in their Signal Boost feature

I was part of Cat Rambo’s roundtable discussion on the #BlackSpecFic reports and what do no next for SFWA

New update in my Patreon!

I have a Patreon now!

I need to eat.
I need to create.
I need to network to access resources to improve my writing. I need to not have to choose between eating and transportation.
I need to sell the anthologies I am in to make money at conventions.
All this and more is why I have turned to Patreon, where I have unique content, and I plan on going deeper into the trials, the tribulations, the struggle, the drive, to not just survive with a major mental illness, but to live, thrive.
It’s not a smooth journey.
Interested? Become a patron.

Help me live.

My Piece, “The Sweater”, is going to be published in The Malahat Review!

My piece “The Sweater” will be in The Malahat Review’s theme issue “Elusive Boundaries: Mapping Creative Nonfiction in Canada.”

I owe this to Nalo Hopkinson, who helped me take this to the next level. But I especially owe this to Nisi Shawl, without whom this would just be a 250-word piece in my diary…

I think the best way to talk about this is to relate what happened earlier this morning and yesterday.

So as I was passing the office of my building’s superintendent yesterday (after screaming and bouncing and muppetflailing etc. all over my apartment), I told him the good news.

This morning, as I was coming back from putting out the garbage, he was about to go through a door on the first floor. He stayed there, watching me, smiling.

“What ya smilin’ ’bout…?” I asked as I approached, smiling myself.

“Good for you. Progress, progress.”

This guy’s seen me at my worst; and in a way, I chronicled this in “The Sweater”. As I told him, waiting for the elevator, and he nodded, knowingly, me ticking topics off: it’s about not having money, sacrificing what you have just to get something nice; going to the food bank; being mentally ill; worrying if a guy’ll ever accept you; not having enough or the best supports; being alone; wondering where the light in the tunnel will go as you enter old age.

All in 1,400 words.

It’s like, the shortest thing I’ve ever written. My genre shit tends to be LONG.

As I told him, walking into the elevator, “At least I can write… at least I can write…”

[EDIT: Wendy Delmater was in integral part of the process, too. She’s mentoring me in all aspects of my writing, and so assumed to be a given my myself (NOT PRESUMED/TAKEN FOR GRANTED!) I don’t even think…. She saw it at its inception, through its many iterations, helped with the painstaking integration of lyrics, then their extrusion (Oh, GOD!) to find something Public Domain…

On the words “crazy” and “mad” and their use

Was going over some back issues of Abyss & Apex Magazine, looking for certain types of stories we’d published.

And I saw something and… I felt obliged to say something about it.

In regards to persons who don’t, in my opinion, bother to educate themselves before they start reacting, and reveal their lack of knowledge .

Re: Use of the word “Crazy” (in this particular case, as a short story title).

Without revealing personal information, I’ll use another example that I can, being a black person:- the N word. I don’t agree to its use, but others have quite articulate reasons for their using it, and others just simply use it because that’s their environment and don’t have any articulated explanation for it at all.

Same goes for – again, without revealing personal information – the word “crazy”.

To wit, here’s Donna Kakonge (https://twitter.com/kakonged). Her book title? “How To Talk To Crazy People.” She recounts personal experiences. She goes to Mad Pride; I’ve met her there, and originally when she was doing an author signing at Chapters Indigo in the Manulife Centre; she knows me.

The same goes for the word “mad”; in fact there is a concept of “Mad Pride”, and I can point you to where that exists:- http://madpride2015.blogspot.ca/

Which implies I go to Mad Pride, too… doesn’t it?

Anyway. I think I’ve made my point.

Father’s Day for the rest of us

Via Charles Coleman Finlay:-

Some of you have or had wonderful relationships with your fathers and they shaped your lives in incredible ways. More of you have or had mixed relationships, good and bad, but you still have good memories that grow more important over time, especially as you recognize the positive influences (or the same imperfections) in your own lives.

This post is not for you. It’s not a comment on your experience. It’s not an invitation to comment.

Move along.

This is my annual message for everyone else. This is for all of us who had a different experience with fathers.

This is for everyone who survived verbal abuse, physical abuse, or worse from their fathers. Because your fathers did things so terrible it outweighs anything else they ever did.

This message is for everyone who was neglected by their fathers, who was never even the third, fourth, or fifth most important thing in their fathers’ lives. For everyone who was abandoned by their fathers and grew up a stranger to them.

This message is for people who only had stepduds in their lives, the guys who wanted your mom but had no interest in her kids and did the minimum or less as a parent.

This is for the people who never had any adult man in their lives step up and act like a role model.

There’s nothing magic about fathers.

Father’ Day is not a universal holiday. When it’s your birthday, it’s not everyone else’s birthday. When it’s Christmas or Easter, you know that some of your other friends observe Hannukah or Passover instead. If you’re American, you understand that your friends in Canada don’t have the day off on Fourth of July.

Father’s Day doesn’t apply to all fathers.

You don’t have to pretend to care about it just because some dude contributed part of his DNA. And you don’t have to feel like you’re the only one who feels that way.

So this is for everyone who doesn’t celebrate Father’s Day, for everyone who avoids it because it brings up too many painful memories, for anyone who only had the experience of a truly shitty father. For anyone who was forced, as a kid, to experience the petty injustice of signing a card for or wishing “Happy Father’s Day” to someone underserving of it. It’s a bullshit holiday and there are no messages here “to all fathers everywhere” because you and I both know that’s a completely meaningless phrase. Your feelings — your anger, your sadness, your laughter at the absurdity of it, your desire to do better, or to never have kids, or whatever your feelings may be — are legit.

Posting this here, as a reminder to me…

Posting this here. The writing friend’s anonymous.

Me:- Every so often I get this feeling, like, “Why are you doing this (writing thing)?” I feel like a fool!
Writing Friend:- Yeah, that means you’re doing it right.
Writing Friend:- everybody feels that
Writing Friend:- if you didn’t feel like that you’d think you were fantastic at writing and that would not be good for anybody.
Me:- Pleas remind me of this!
Writing Friend:- only if you promise to remind me.

Matt Moore’s thoughts on Robin William’s death

Quoth he:-

I can’t help but wonder if we are promoting a terrible side-effect: the idea among those in the grips of depression’s falsehoods and deceit that the world will celebrate you in death more than they appreciated you in life. That is, people will only love you after you are gone.

THIS IS BULLSHIT.

Read more.

And here’s Cracked.com’s thoughts on what I tend to say myself:- “Those who laugh the loudest, cry the hardest.”

Robin Williams’ death stumped me, writing-wise, for the day. I watched the 11 o’ clock news report and almost teared up.

That’s when I realised it had affected me more than I thought.

And it’s because of what Matt Moore says.

On Fangs for the Fantasy’s post:- “Mental Illness and the Non-Neuro-Typical in Urban Fantasy”

Fangs for the Fantasy has a post over at their blog titled “Mental Illness and the Non-Neuro-Typical in Urban Fantasy“. I highly recommend it.
This applies to my short story The Ace of knives that I just sold, where I feature mental illness in a dark fantasy context. I have a novel I need to finish where the mental illness is in a fantasy context; but here are the quotes that came at me from the computer screen.
The mentally ill are often freakish horrors that add to the protagonist’s misery and torment until they can escape the unjust abuse. And that “unjust” abuse is important – because we’re expected to care much less about the torment of the mentally ill inmates; the “justly” abused.
Yes. THIS.
The cryptic information resource is one way the non-neurotypical are used to stretch out the plot, another is the random, unpredictable or even whimsical mentally ill person. They can be relied upon to stretch the plot in any direction because they do not make sense. The idea is that a mentally ill person will do ANYTHING and doesn’t need a motive (or a coherent one) because MENTAL ILLESS.

This not only advances the trope of mentally ill people being completely random but also adds to the very common and highly damaging trope that mentally ill people are dangerous.

And this is serious. Mentally ill are still being unnecessarily hurt and killed in encounters with law enforcement.

And this bit on lazy writing:-

The use of mental illness in this way is obviously dehumanising. The mentally ill person isn’t there to be a character – they’re a roadblock. Their mental illness isn’t a developed part of their character, it’s a convenient tool with which to extend the plot line for another week or so. They could be replaced by a faulty search engine or random severe weather or some other random, impersonal event. The use of mental illness in these plot lines is laziness – “mental illness” becomes an answer to any questions, a way to stretch the plot when there isn’t enough storyline, a way to add random events when they can’t be logically incorporated and a quick dash of motive for a bad guy who the writers can’t be bothered to characterise.

More on lazy writing:-

These are not characters, they’re roughly used tools, narrative tricks and lazy writing – and the result continues to perpetuate toxic tropes that continue to stain how we treat the mentally ill in society

Down in the comments, @fionnabhair says something which I agree with:- “It’s not so much relief at not being “crazy”- though with the stigma surrounding mental illness, that might still be a factor- but relief at knowing one’s senses can be trusted.”

You can follow Fangs For the Fantasy on Twitter at  @Fangs4Fantasy.