Carmen Tracey

is creating a sci-fi LGBT+ dating sim
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About Carmen Tracey


Thanks for visiting my Patreon page! I really would not have gotten even this far without the support of my loyal friends, family, and fans, so my thanks go out to each and every one of you who have offered support and encouragement along the way. For those of you who don't know me yet: hi! I'm so happy to meet you! Let me tell you a bit about myself and my work. (Links coming soon.)

Who I Am
I am an independent author, artist, college student, game designer, and freelance copy editor living in the Larchmere district on the east side of Cleveland, Ohio. I've been writing avidly since grade school, and have been the recipient of a handful of awards, including the Rosalind Franklin Creative Writing Award in 2002. I published a book of poetry, Knives in Suburbia (Lumberjack Press), at age 17, and have since been published in various 'zines, compilations, literary mags, and anthologies. Notably, I was featured on the cover of Hotel Poem: Poets of Cleveland, an anthology of local poetry with photography by Charlotte Mann, and released a spoken word CD entitled Circle of Blood through the Language Foundry. Most recently, I self-published a small untitled anti-capitalist art 'zine and a larger-format 'zine of poetry and collage entitled GNDRD, which is about my evolving relationship to gender, trauma, and identity throughout my life. I am currently working on two collaborative projects: a queer space pirate dating sim entitled TransPlanetrary, and a LGBT+ geek con right here in Cleveland. Check back soon for updates on these recent projects and links to images from my 'zines.

Why I'm Here
I joined Patreon because I'd like to focus on my art and schoolwork, but I currently don't have the mental or emotional capacity to juggle all the things. While I'll always create, regardless of how much or how little I make, I know I could be creating stronger work and more of it if I had the resources (financial, psychological, emotional, physical) to devote to taking it seriously. (For more about the financial side, you can see my Goals to the left of this page.) I'm living hand-to-mouth, and that comes with a ton of stress, which interferes with the openness and spontaneity needed for the best creative work. It's hard to compose a perfect sestina or find the exact right metaphor when all I can think about is whether I'll be able to keep the lights on, or if you're sick but can't afford to go to the doctor. I'm a genderqueer trauma survivor living with major depression and PTSD (and I just lost my insurance!), which poses another hurdle; knowing I could afford treatment and even some time off to deal with this stuff would go a long way to alleviating that burden.

Although it feels weird asking for money for my art, I'm not asking for a handout; I'm putting my work out there and asking anyone who sees merit in it to consider making a contribution, for which you will receive in exchange more and better work (and fabulous bonuses to boot). I think that's fair, and I hope you do too.

What I Write

My work treats themes of gender, power, trauma, and mental illness as seen through a warped glass of psychedelics, philosophy, paradoxes, puzzles, and physics. My poetry can best be described as avant-garde free verse, though I have done some work with poetic forms, concrete poetry, and prose poetry. I also like to play with non-traditional subjects and forms such as text messages and instant messaging, video games, chaos magic and divination, choose-your-own-adventure-style writing, and real-time collaborative exquisite corpses. Links to my work will be coming soon; I'm currently building a website!

In addition to poetry, I have published short fiction and creative non-fiction, and I write longer-form science fiction and fantasy with a feminist slant, featuring strong female and LGBT+ protagonists, though I have yet to publish the latter. I curate a few / Tumblr / blogs, and intermittently write articles for these, generally about pop culture (mostly comics and video games) and/or gender. I've done copy writing and copy editing professionally for individuals and organizations (from writing cover letters for colleagues to helping with the launch of a grassroots tech start-up to editing an essay for the owner of our local comic shop), and I love giving constructive feedback and collaborating across genres and media. My favorite place is the place where art and technology, science and the humanities intersect. I'm so excited to be the lead writer on TransPlanetary, a game I'm developing with some of my closest friends, which will represent various genders and sexualities in a way that I personally haven't seen done yet in a dating simulator.

Performance & Other Media
I have performed as a featured reader throughout the greater Cleveland and as far away as New York City, and can't wait to see where in the world art takes me next. I previously hosted the poetry open mic at the Enclave coffee shop and at Loganberry Books, where I was also in charge of local author outreach and promotion. I get so much satisfaction from reaching out to and signal-boosting the local authors and artists I believe in, especially those whose voices are otherwise marginalized. We have so much more to offer as a community than we do in isolation. Much of this work benefits organizations such as the Seeds of Literacy adult literacy program and LitCleveland, our tireless local literary organization.

 I've provided drums, vocals, and electronic instrumentation with musical acts such as Mirror Maze (Jason Rodriguez), Physics (Dylan Tracey and Eric Spinks), and Iron Dragon (Rob Rosin). Drama is another passion, albeit one I've lost touch with in recent years. I was a member of the International Thespian Society from 1999-2001, and I've had roles in The Sound of Music, Madame Butterfly, Inherit the Wind, and Faust. My biggest role was Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I have written or adapted several dramatic pieces, and during high school I wrote staged, directed, built sets, and starred as the villain in a one-act play with my co-author Carrie Fetzek. I have self-published a few 'zines, seeing them through every phase from conception through visual design and content creation to completion, and I dabble in collage and painting as well. The next skill I would like to learn is character design and illustration so I can bring to life my mostly-complete script for a SF/F graphic novel set during the Crusades.

My Values
Above all else, I value rational inquiry, empathy, interconnectedness, lifelong learning, and nuanced understanding of complex issues. I'm a skeptical humanist and an intersectional feminist, and I feel passionately about body positivity, sex positivity, reproductive healthcare, mental healthcare, environmental conservation, science education, consent education, and equal rights for women, LGBTQ+ people, ethnic minorities, PoC, displaced people, and other marginalized populations. My gender is non-binary (AFAB, I use they/them pronouns) and I desperately want better representation for trans, queer, agender, and non-binary identities in popular culture. My creative work has benefited Preterm abortion clinic, and I have done activism and fundraising for Planned Parenthood and the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. I'm a survivor of sexual violence and of suicidal ideation, and am an advocate for greater acceptance and destigmatization of these experiences in our society. I support the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Zoo (I adore animals and find a lot of inspiration in nature), and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

I'm currently in school studying biology and philosophy, among other things, and pursuing my Associate's degree (at age 33! Never too late!) at the local community college. I'd like to help women, PoC, people with disabilities, and LGBT+ people get more involved in STEM/STEAM careers; to help bridge the gap between the sciences and the humanities; and to help everyone on the planet become more scientifically literate. My dream is to travel and write about science topics (particularly animal conservation) for a living until I can support myself through creative writing alone, but regardless of how I make rent I'll never stop writing weird poetry for one-person audiences, fantasizing about queer astronauts in bio-mechanical space suits, obsessing about sloths, keeping at least 8 browser tabs open at once so I can KNOW ALL THE THINGS, or blogging about the sexual ethics of Catwoman. Most of all I'll never stop learning. I get bored easily and so learning and trying new things is my reason for living. If I had to pick one word to describe myself, it would be "hungry."

Get in Touch!
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you want to know more; I always love meeting and talking with new people, and I consider everyone a potential friend (unless you're a bigot, then you can fuck right off out of here). I'm very much an open book and candid to a fault, so you can probably get me to say some pretty incriminating stuff on the record. ;)

Thanks so much for reading this far, and thanks again for your support!
$140 of $800 per month
At this level of earning, I will officially be making as much as a writer and artist than as a retail drone. I will have the time to implement a full-time creative schedule, setting aside time each day for reading, research, writing, editing, experimenting, and improving my skills in music and visual arts. I will be able to significantly cut back or eliminate the need for a workaday job altogether, and I will go back to school where I have been studying science and philosophy, two fields that deeply inform my art. I will be able to take a vacation or even go on tour to promote my art!
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