C E Hoffman

May I Live On In Love and Literature

Category: Quotes

BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT! (Losers and Freaks)

“Lida Rose, I’m home again, Rose

without a sweetheart to my name…”

-from Lida Rose from the Music Man (my favourite musical ❤️)

It’s been a rough three months. 

Hell, it’s been a rough thirty years!

I have loved, laughed, tried to die, survived bullying/an eating disorder, abused myself/cannabis, given up a child, been rejected, published, and rejected some more.

I’ve been publicly humiliated, broken hearts, and had my heart broken.

I’ve struggled with finances, housing, jobs, mental health, love, family, friendships.

You know what? 

It’s all been worth it. 

I’ve seen sunsets! Sunrises! I’ve danced in the rain! Moshed at concerts! Marched at protests! Balanced my chakras! Healed my traumas! Hugged trees! Given lap dances!

I’ve been to Europe! I made a short film, published a book (+ three chapbooks), and have run an online magazine mostly single-handed for over a decade. I’ve been in three different bands, lived in three different provinces and five different cities (six, if you count my weird blip in Windsor.) Enjoyed the company of two sweet dogs and one perfect senior cat. Made INCREDIBLE friends, and even kept a few! 

I’ve begun to accept my sexuality, gender identity, and mental “illness.” I’m learning to stand up for myself like I stand up for others. I’m trying to accept my flaws, set boundaries, and make my own decisions. 

These past three months have been a rude awakening in more ways than one. I made the wrong decision for the wrong reason, ended up in a city way out of my price range with zero local supports, and the relationship I moved for dissolved, leaving myself and my partner heartbroken, and me stranded financially as well as emotionally. 

No matter how hard I tried to make it work, that apartment, even that city, didn’t feel right. My mental health was shot, and so were my finances. If I stayed, I probably wouldn’t have completed my degree, which is my main goal at this time. 

I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and returned to my hometown- even though I swore I’d never go back!

I plan to transfer schools so I can live with my folks again while I chase that elusive diploma. 

Sometimes we need to be strong enough to ask for help. 

Life can be tough, internally or externally. That’s why it’s so important to focus on the good. 

Exhibit A: New ink! 

Pretty, yes? 😍

I got this tattoo to remind me that you can always go back again, beauty can bloom from our worst moments, to always believe in love, and home isn’t where the heart is, but where GOD is, which is to say, everywhere. 

Exhibit B:

I am pleased to announce that my second short story collection, LOSERS AND FREAKS, was picked up by Querencia Press in Chicago!!!!

Funny story:

I had given up on this collection. My top two choices for publishers fell through, and after a flurry of rejections + one acceptance that didn’t feel quite right, I shelved this project to pitch more chapbooks before querying my novels (one in particular.)

Then, when I stumbled home (sober) from my first and probably last night on the town in Guelph, ON, I found the strangest thing in my email inbox: an acceptance letter. 

NEVER GIVE UP! 

As long as you believe in your dreams, they’ll believe in you. 

I am so excited to work with Emily Perkovich and the rest of the team at Querencia Press to make this release the best yet. 

What can you expect from this publication? The same as you’ll find in all my published works: quirky observations, naked sincerity, darkness and silliness and prettiness and punk monk magic!  

Here’s the book jacket: 

A pixie and werewolf plan to thwart a prophecy; a medical mannequin attempts to foil a viral attack.

A girl befriends a spider; a janitor stalks a ghost; and Cupid makes a deadly mistake. 

LOSERS AND FREAKS is a 55K Speculative short story collection. 

Exploring the psychology -and humanity- of outcasts, C’s second full-length release is worthy to its predecessor, SLUTS AND WHORES, which helped earn the author a grant from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. 

Welcome back to the Big City, where you find magic -and friends- in the strangest places.

Excited? I know I am!!!

As a suicide survivor living with mental illness, I consider this to be my most topical work yet. Especially after COVID, so many of us are feeling isolated, lonely, and adrift. The stigma regarding mental health is finally decreasing. We are talking about what we feel, and, most importantly, being accountable for our own well-being. 

I hope this book will be a voice for those who struggle but cannot speak up for themselves, and will reach anyone who has ever felt like they don’t belong. 

This one’s for the weirdos! 

Keep an eye out for LOSERS AND FREAKS!

All good things, 

C.E. Hoffman 

cehoffman.net

PS I’ve had quite a few publications I haven’t mentioned on this blog. For updates, check out cehoffman.net/publications, and follow me on Twitter

PPS My amazing ink is credited to Carl of Steel n Ink in Guelph, ON, Canada. If you’re ever in the area, hit him up!!! 

Publication: Archer’s Paradox

It’s been a good month for pubs!

You can find my weird short story Archer’s Paradox in Viridian Door’s first ever issue.

“Cupid’s arrows oft fly amiss.”

Read the PDF here.

Stay updated on all my publications on my website here.

Stay Creative!

C

Publication: Get Away From That Car

Big thanks to LE Francis of Sage Cigarettes Magazine for publishing my flash fiction Get Away From That Car!

“I looked so scary it was sexy.”

This piece took a while to find a home, despite it being one of my favourites.

Never give up on what matters to you.

Read the story here!

Stay Creative!

C

My Brain in 30 Secs {Stuff About Mood Swings}

Happy happy sunstroke 

high on sunlight brain explodes 

Happy happy drunk poet 

I’ll be famous when you’re all dead!!!!!!

(flashes, 

my sweet head.) 

-Liquid Moments Pt. 1 from Blood, Booze and Other Things in Nature (Buy it now!)

So, I have mood swings. 

Mood cycles, more accurately, which I experience as altered states. There are extreme highs and bitter lows, changes in energy level, cognitive function, lucidity and irritability, which, though often helpful to my creativity, are also detrimental to my enjoyment of and participation with life.

I crave consistency. Steady income, permanent address, a relationship I know will last. Perhaps I strive for such an even keel because I lack one internally. I am learning to ride my waves, but that doesn’t make them less exhausting. 

I’ve had mental health struggles for most of my life. As early as six I was plagued with extreme anxiety and bouts of insomnia. At thirteen I was compulsively self-harming, struggling with an eating disorder, and tried to end my life, resulting in psychiatric hospitalization.

Currently, the closest I have to a diagnosis is an assessment of probable Bipolar-2 with C-PTSD and BPD tendencies. (Quite a mouthful of alphabet soup.) It would take years working with a psychiatrist to be properly diagnosed. For now, I have to cope. 

Art is my antidote.

Jonathan Larson once said something like, 

“It’s not that I don’t share my emotions. I just tell them through songs.” 

My internal world often feels too intense to share with a family member, partner, or friend one-on-one.

Within Art, I feel safe to be myself.

Everywhere else, I turn my volume low.

Nobody wants a roller coaster in their living room. 

I did my best to compress my moods in a 30-second reel. You could almost call it a book trailer for Blood, Booze, and Other Things in Nature, which explores highs, lows, sexual misadventures, drunken escapades, and above all, my determination to act better than what I feel.

Doctors used to tell me, “Make it to twenty-one, and you’ll be okay.” 

I’m almost thirty.

It hasn’t gone away. 

And I’m done hoping that it will.

I will not let it stop me from doing all I’m meant to do. I truly believe our curses can become superpowers, and if you’re struggling too, please know that I believe in you.

There’s a reason we’re still here. 

Maybe I can’t get off this roller coaster. Maybe the peaks and valleys will never level out. Whether they do or not, I am already coping so much better than I ever thought I could. And, if you think about it, I bet you are too. 

Stay Creative. 

It’ll safe your life. 

C

PS Buy Blood, Booze, and Other Things in Nature here.

Dear Danuta Gleed {Stuff About Success}

We get obsessed with struggle- especially artists. Struggle feels like part of our identity. We struggle to create- our art, and a living. 

When did we equate struggle with effort? 

There’s an effort that is joyful, exuberant, easy. Like darling Lesley says in Ted Lasso, 

“When you’re with the right person, even the hard times are easy.” 

For me, that “person” is my purpose, my passion, my vision for my life, my art, and my world. 

I believe I am worthy of a life beyond struggle. But that doesn’t mean all the struggle will disappear.

We get obsessed with success- especially on social media. Success is a peak, but according to algorithms, it’s the only thing worth writing about. 

When did we lose reverence for the valleys? 

The Danuta Gleed Literary Award exists thanks to a generous donation from the late Danuta’s husband. It was one of the few awards Sluts and Whores was eligible for, and the only one whose deadline I didn’t miss. 

An award like this can launch a career. 

I didn’t even make the shortlist. 

What do we do when our dreams fail us? Or when we feel rejected by a world we so long to be a part of? 

We have two choices: give up, or keep going. 

Not too long ago, I fell in love with a man, and he helped me fall in love with country music. 

This doesn’t embarrass me. (For an explanation, see my other music loves, including but not limited to emo and musicals. My Spotify is a cringe fest!)

I love country because it has a song for every moment: the goods, the bads, the highs, the lows, the maybes, the nos. 

The country song for this moment: Doin’ This by Luke Combs

For those who refuse to click the link (fair enough), I’ll elaborate: 

In the song, an interviewer asks the singer, 

“What would you be doing if you weren’t doing this?” 

His response: 

“I’d still be doing this.”- with or without success.

He goes on to describe a life “feeling on fire on a stage”, no matter its size. 

“It ain’t about the fame.
It ain’t about the fortune.”

It’s about following the call of your soul. 

Full disclosure: I wrote most of this post well before knowing the results for the Danuta Gleed shortlist. Up til this morning, I was still hoping for that glorious email that said, “Yes.”

As much as this hurts, it doesn’t make a difference. It doesn’t change what I’m here to do. 

I’m doing what I love. 

That’s the only worthwhile reason to do anything. 

If you lead with love, you’ll make mistakes, but do no wrong. You’ll fail, but you’ll thrive. Material success will be revealed for what it is: a bonus. 

I do not mean to diminish the financial struggle artists face. I have explored and sometimes suffered some of the “lowest” jobs you could think of. I have literally shovelled shit. I have disinfected menus and toilets. I’ve broken down from a glance at my bank account, panicked at credit card statements, and, as it seems, will continue to do so. 

My closest experience to financial stability was via sex work, which both increased and crushed my confidence. Why was that service my sole financial validation? Why didn’t my art hold the same value? 

Capitalism is far from a meritocracy. There are too many struggling who supply indescribable value to world- whether through their art, or their presence as human beings. People have to ride the luck of the market to subsist. Artists shouldn’t rely on grants and awards, as grateful as I am for their existence. 

Art is not a product. People are not brands. Life cannot be reduced to Likes and trends. 

I am proud supporter of UBI, and hope to see it arrive as soon as possible. I’d love to receive universal basic income now, but would be just as happy to see UBI enacted after I’ve achieved financial independence. 

For some, $10 000 is a boost; for others, a shopping spree. 

For me (and most artists), it would be life-changing. 

True happiness is having the power to love life no matter what happens. 

To give, no matter what you have. 

I promise I will keep giving, because it is all I can do. The world gives us so much: inspiration, beauty, struggle, surrender. 

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. For all I have, all I receive, and all I can give. 

I only want to receive so that I can live well, and give more.

Keep an eye out for exciting changes soon. 

Stay Creative! 

PS Right now, 25% of Sluts and Whores ebook and paperback sales will go to Doctors Without Borders to provide humanitarian aid to the Ukraine. Buy it now

Podcast: The Writing Sparrow

Had a lovely time with the amazing Sarina Langer on her delightful podcast The Writing Sparrow.

We discuss #OwnVoices, Jungian theory, and enough abstractions to make my heart sing!

Listen below, on Spotify, or anywhere else you get your podcast fix!

How to Write a Great Reader Magnet with Savanah James The Writing Sparrow

This is it, folks! The final episode of Season 2! To wrap up, Savanah James is here to talk about reader magnets and how to write the perfect one for your mailing list subscribers.To find out more about Savanah, visit her website or her Facebook page.The Writing Sparrow will return for Season 3. Date TBC. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss out when we're back!Support the show________________________________________________________________________________Come join The Writing Sparrow in its very own Facebook group! To find out more about Sarina and her books, visit her website, find her on Twitter and on Facebook, or connect with her (and the podcast!) on Discord.
  1. How to Write a Great Reader Magnet with Savanah James
  2. Newsletter 101 with Tammi Labrecque
  3. How to Create and Publish a Graphic Novel with Imelda Wei Ding Lo / FortunusGames
  4. A Rant About Editing with Kirsten McNeill
  5. Writing Routines: Astrid VJ

Stay Creative!

C💕

Interview: To Tony Productions

Thank you to Daniel Hess for this great interview in his Better Know An Author Series!

“Writing is as natural a reflex as breathing- and equally enjoyable.”

Read the full interview here, and follow Daniel on Twitter!


Stay Creative!


C💕

Publication: Moonburn in Filth Magazine

Delighted to have my latest work published in Filth Magazine!

“I lick galaxies off my lips.”

Read Moonburn now!

Stay Creative!

C 💕

Review: Alana M Kelley @Maudlin House Magazine

Thanks so much to Alana M Kelley at Maudlin House Magazine for an exceptional review!

“Sex and the City meets an episode of Black Mirror.”

“Hoffman… leaves us with pockets of hope.”

“Hoffman presents their audience with a refreshing compilation of self-doubt, resiliency, and growth.”

Read the full review here.

Remember to follow Maudlin House and their editor Mallory Smart on Twitter!

Stay Creative!

C💕

Kickstarter Update: Day 11

“When do I become who I am?”

Simple Creatures

All my life, I wanted to skip to the finish line.

That magical age where I “made it”, and thus, things made sense.

The finish line is an illusion.

Life is all journey, no destination.

There’s no pinnacle or project that will solve everything.

But every project is worth something.

This short film probably won’t change the world. But it could change a person, or at least their day, for the better.

That’s why we create.

That’s what makes the journey worth it.

We’ve reached our fundraising goal!

Any extra (apart from a $200 emergency fund) will be donated to sex worker organizations.

Donate here.