Hey Fan of Butchtastic, Want to be a Patron?

Not too long ago, I launched my Patreon page.  Patreon is a platform for artists looking for supportive patrons.  The idea is that supporters pledge a monthly amount or by post and the artist does cool things for them in return, along with pursuing their art.

I got the idea from Sinclair Sexsmith at Sugarbutch Chronicles.  My friend Micah at NeutroisNonsense also has a Patreon account, as does trans actor and educator, Scott Turner Shofield.  And so on with many other artists, performers and writers.

I’m on Patreon to find ongoing funding to keep my work available and to havd additional resources for making it more accessible in different forms. For example, audio readings of my work and an e-book anthology and maybe some fun videos.  My baseline is to have enough funds to keep the blog hosted.  Beyond that, I’d like to revamp it, modernize it and re-catalog my stories so they’re easier to find.  And read.  And reread.

People who subscribe through Patreon get cool additional stuff other people don’t get.  Have a favorite story on Butchtastic?  Want a recording of me reading it?  Subscribe and make that suggestion.  Have other ideas for stories?  Patrons have greater access and more input.

My Patreon cherry has already been popped at the $5/month level, but other cherries remain. Want to be my first $50/month patron?  In addition to the posted rewards for that level, I’ll give you something extra.  Have a favorite story on Butchtastic?  Want me to read it to read it to you in a Skype call?  Make that pledge and let’s make it happen.

Want to be the one to pop my $100/month cherry?  You get a Skype chat each quarter.  I could read stories to you, or we could talk about the stories behind the stories.  If you live close enough, maybe we could plan an in person visit to celebrate your cherry-poppin’ visit.

You can also make a one time contribution via PayPal and I’ll reward you as well… especially if you give me some ideas about what you’d like.

Most of all, I want your input.  If making monetary contributions doesn’t work for whatever reason, please consider sending me feedback, ideas for stories or other content, or whatever comes to mind.  Creating can be a very lonely activity and I find myself craving community. You could be a part of that.  I hope you will.

 

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Steamy Shower Pic

I don’t know when I’ll be able to get top surgery, but transition has given me a lot that I am able to enjoy every day, like body hair.  I had no idea I’d love being furry the way I do…

IMG_4507

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Wringing Out the Sponge

I told Red I felt like a sponge that has absorbed too much and can’t hold anything more.  I used this analogy to describe my feeling of being incapable of taking on anything more.

feeling generally raw
 some days I feel like a sponge
 like all of the hard stuff is just soaking in
the way men treat women
the way white people treat people of color
the way it’s all stacked against change
the othering, the shaming, the disregard

 

I know that this sponge-like way I am is part of who I am as a writer so I can’t wish it away, but sometimes it feels like I can’t hold it all.

Do you have days when you want to renounce your species?  When it feels like no matter what we do, we can’t turn the ship enough to avoid dashing it on the iceberg we can see but so many others cannot?

I have this feeling in my center, above my gut and below my chest, it’s a tightness, like something waiting to burst. Like the way it feels when the tears won’t come.  I don’t know why it’s so bad today.  Probably related to my general stress load and this anxiety about change, but also lack of change.  I know there are changes coming that are for the best, in terms of meeting some of my goals.  I also know that change means some amount of internal chaos.  I’m a person who feels better when I have routines.  I’m good at them and they comfort me.  My routines are my security blanket.  Losing my job pulled my daily routine out from under me. I floundered for a bit before I created a new set of routines, which I have enjoyed very much (shout out to Red for offering up a space for my new routine).  It looks like I’ll have a job situation starting tomorrow and going into next year.  This is good, no doubt about it.  Having a job will relieve a big load of anxiety.  It’s also another change and means my newly created and cherished routine of spending my mornings at Red’s place with George the Mayhem Kitty will have to be dropped.  Mixed feelings for sure.

Autumn is coming.  I know many of you don’t want to let go of summer yet.  I like fall, actually, and also it is a time of changing routines.  My kids go back to school.  There are soccer practices to get the little one to and games on Saturdays.  We’ll all begin to come back in from the outdoors.  None of these things are bad in and of themselves.  I’m just too full to deal with so much change.

Too full.  Over capacity.  Overwhelmed. Needing to be wrung out.

There’s a football player who won’t stand for the national anthem because the flag stands for a country ruled by racism. A country where men who look like  him are killed by law enforcement officers even when they don’t break the law.  And he’s right and yet some people are falling over themselves to burn his jersey and belittle his moral stand.  In the same week we hear that a rapist who received a laughable 6 month term will be released after only 3 months.  Where are the people burning his likeness?  In the course of driving today, I went past a woman of color taking a walk.  My thoughts turned to wondering if she was a mother and if she was, if she had any sons.  It was not the first time I pondered the pain of knowing that your precious child would grow up to be the country’s number one target for hate and fear and murderous ignorance.  When my children were born, I held them and looked at them with absolute love and wonder.  These precious little lives that we help bring into the world, they look to us to teach them so much.  And much of what we teach is truly awful.  They learn to fear people different from themselves; girls learn to fear boys and men while boys and men learn to fear any shred of vulnerability in themselves. Our children learn all of our biases and fears and assumptions.  They learn that boys will be boys and get away with everything, including murder, sometimes, depending on their skin color.  Our girls grow up in a world where they are still treated as if they are the property of men.  We live in a society that still judges people by their skin color, by their lineage, by their gender and sexuality, by their capabilities.  What if we only judged people on their capacity to love?

I can see the problems but I can’t figure out how to fix them.  I don’t know which wires to cut, which code to patch, which wrench to throw into which machine.

Every day there is another atrocity displayed in full color on my computer screen. Another source of grief, another catastrophe caused by some mother’s child.  When we look at them in our arms, freshly minted and without hate, they are so full of love and life and the simple emotions of being alive. And from then on, this world begins to do its work, its vile insidious work.  Turning our sweet fresh humans into … OK, it’s not all bad, right?  Some of those fresh humans turn out to be pretty awesome children, kids, teens and adults.  That’s true.  I guess I’m just thinking about the ones who are weaned on hate and bias and raised to take that bigotry out into the world like spores. Spores that begin the cycle anew.

Interrupting that cycle is a huge job and though there are magnificent warriors of love and truth fighting against it every day, it doesn’t feel like enough.  All over the world, children are dying because the men in charge believe in solving problems through war.  Everyday we take more fatal blows.  Corporations are citizens and don’t give a fuck about us.  Capitalism doesn’t care if we don’t have water to drink, it just cares about its pipelines or corporate water rights.  We aren’t individuals, we’re just statistics that can be arranged in such a way that we don’t matter.

It was Red’s idea to word-vomit here as a part of my wringing-out process. A good idea, thank you. Getting my chaotic-brain voices into words does help. I’m still over-capacity. Being open-hearted and taking everything in does fuel my art, and it also causes my heart to ache. I don’t know any cure but to just keep going.

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…

 

 

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What are You Unpacking Today?

I initiated a conversation elsewhere on privilege with the prompt “What privilege are you unpacking today?” … One person responded, perhaps out of discomfort or lack of understanding – “Love wins. That is all” To which I responded, “Love needs help.”

So what are you unpacking today? And how far will you go to help love win?

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Fucking Anxiety

I’m a tense ball of unexpected over-reactions.  Triggered by innocuous statements and requests, my body goes from normal to super-heated and covered in sweat. I don’t smell right when that happens.  I don’t feel right.

I’m tired of the fight-or-flight cycle that never seems to let up for very long.  When I wake up, there are usually a few moments of peaceful calm before the worry-storm overtakes me again.  Am I doing enough?  Will it be over soon?  Will it work this time? Can I hold steady? Why is it so hard to breathe?

Every day is a fucking roller-coaster.  Good news … even somewhat positive news, sends me up.  Woooh!  I’m on top again!  And it doesn’t even take bad news to bring me rushing down. Lack of information will do it.  When will I hear?  Requests for my time, attention and commitment can send me into a tail-spin of doubt and anxiety. Just writing that out caused me to go into a full-body sweat again.  This is more exposure than I’ve ever given my anxieties and that is making me more anxious and yet… and yet, hiding this hasn’t made it go away.  I’m willing to try something new.

Even with that resolve in place, the internal fight rages on.

I don’t want to be like this!  This is not me! This is not the me I want to be! This is not how I want people to see me!

And yet, here I am.

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Live on Patreon Now

I am live on Patreon now as  OlyFictionWriter, on Patreon.  My current subscription levels are $5, $50, $100 per month.  All subscribers will gain access to patron-only videos and other special content.

I have some simple rewards in place for each level of subscriber.  I’m open to feedback and additional ideas.  Please go check out the page and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

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Getting Patreon Up and Running

I am almost ready to unveil my Patreon account – a cool way for artists and creators to get financial support for their work through subscriptions.  To begin with, I’ll have 3 monthly subscription levels and a simple list of rewards.

For those who can’t do a monthly subscription or want to contribute in some other way, I’ve got a PayPal account and you are welcome to contribute at whatever level and any time that you desire – and you will be eligible for contributor rewards.  As you are making that contribution, please note that you are contributing under the ‘friends and family’ account type and to include this in the note field “Contribution to the OlyFictionWriter” and include your name if you like.  I will respond to you through the email address connected to your PayPal account to give you access to contributor rewards.

 

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Nobody’s Perfect

There are no perfect heroes and no perfect villains.  Not really.  That’s where the interesting meat of story writing is.  It’s in discovering the dark secret shame of the hero and the villain’s soft spot.  It’s in the recognition that everyone is the hero of their own story, so what happens when two narratives collide?  It’s not always easy to determine who is the hero and who is the villain.

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Rising Waters

When I experience anxiety attacks, it feels like claustrophobia. My breathing becomes rapid and shallow and I feel like the walls are closing in.  The other analogy is that the water is rising and I’m struggling to keep my head above the water.  I don’t experience panic and anxiety like this as a general part of my life, unlike others.  I do experience it a lot when I’m stressed and overwhelmed.  Which is why these attacks have become a nearly daily experience in the recent weeks.  I’m unemployed.  I have three other people dependent on my ability to earn.  I worry about health insurance and the mortgage and feel bad that we weren’t able to get the eldest a cheap car to drive to college classes that will start soon. Though this load is not mine alone to carry – I have a partner – I have been the sole earner for over 8 years now.  My partner is anxious about getting a job after so long away from the workforce.  We are both watching spending like hawks.

Among other things racing through my head in moments of panic are thoughts about my value as a partner and parent when I can’t do the one thing I’ve taken responsibility for all these years.  I worry about something big happening, something expensive.  I worry about a lot of things and I know my wife worries and I know we aren’t expressing all of the worry we have to each other.

Someone said, “Hey, since you have time, you can do a lot of writing!”  It was meant to be helpful and hopeful, an optimistic take on my current situation.  And of course, I would love to take advantage of the hours I have now that I will surely be wishing for once I get back to the daily work grind.  The problem is, it’s not that easy.  I have plenty of projects to work on and plenty of incentive to do the work.  I have great ideas and great characters.  I also have stress and anxiety dogging my every step.  It’s hard to focus on creative projects when a growing chorus of voices in my head are nagging me about the job search. I want to escape into my writing and creating but those nagging voices follow me like a mother nagging the kids about their homework.

Yesterday, after yet another anxiety attack, I decided that having plans and tangible goals would be a good thing and help combat the sense of flailing and drifting I’ve had lately.  Today, I’m going to record my Patreon video and a reading of the story ‘Firm’ which will get me to the point where I can launch my Patreon page. I’m hoping that by giving myself assignments that are attainable, it will help me combat the feeling of helplessness I have with regard to all the unknowns and lack of power I have over my employment situation.

Back to anxiety attacks for the moment.  This is what I am doing to help get through them and come out the other side:

Belly breathing – taking deep slow breaths that inflate my belly; inhaling through my nose and exhaling through my mouth.  This helps ground me in my body and interrupts the panic response of shallow breathing which can in turn lead to more panic.

Taking walks – even if it’s just out to my yard, getting up and moving helps to interrupt the negative talk and gives me the opportunity to introduce positive thoughts and images.  Standing up and stretching are also helpful.

Drinking water/combating dehydration – though I haven’t cut back on my caffeine intake via coffee, I’ve upped my water intake and dropped my alcohol intake.

What do you do to combat or get through anxiety and panic attacks?  Do you mind sharing?

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Fucking Awesome

You know who’s fucking awesome?  Red is.

Red is a muse extraordinaire.

Red is sexy as fuck.

Red is solid and strong and Rawwrrrr!

Red is a wicked sadist with a dollar store bag of nasty tricks.

Red is a multitude of sexy, taboo, amazing characters rolled into one gorgeous body.

Red offers the masochism I need and encourages my sadism to grow and deepen.

Red knows me very well.

Red makes me feel safe when the world is spinning.

Red encourages me to write and knows I will do amazing things as a writer.

Red is my best friend.

Red loves me like no other.

Red is sweet when I need them to be.

Red is very patient when I have to stumble along and discover things at my own pace.

Red is very inspiring. Sometimes I am damp all day because of that inspiration.

Red calls me on my shit and trusts that I will get it together.

Red is an amazing cuddler.

Red has a beautiful big body covered with sweet soft skin that feels so good against mine.

Red is handsome and beautiful.

Red is extremely fuckable.

Red hits hard.

Red can knock the wind out of me one minute and caress me like a butterfly wing the next.

Red can also take the hits.

Red is very tasty.

Red is one of my very favorite humans history of ever.

Red is a necessary ingredient in my life.

Red is a pleasure I can’t live without.

.

Red, I love you.

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