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Episode 02-16: Jimi Says

This week Jhen talks to JIMI GAILLARD-JEFFERSON about her non-monogamous romance novels as well as a bit about her non-monogamous life.

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Check out Jimi on her website, Twitter, Instagram

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Episode 02-16 Transcript

Jhen:  Sham Deezy. I don’t know what that is, but we’re just going to go with it. 

Sham: I was going to say, are you talking to me? 

Jhen: Yes, yes, yes. For today, you’re Sham Deezy. I just feel hip hoppy. Does that make sense?  

Sham: Is that my hip hop name should have been? Is that how hip hop names work? 

Jhen:Yep. Now it does. Now you are Sham Deezy. What’s my hip hop name? Tell me. 

Sham: Lil’ Jhen? I went for the easiest one. 

Jhen: I know I’m short, Okay? You don’t need to tell everybody.

Sham: You’re not that short, just you know… 

Jhen: I’m just tall for my height.

Sham: Oh, that’s perfect. I’m going to tell all my short friends that. Oh hey, Jehn have you heard this? Oh wait, nevermind. You already know it. 

Jhen: Thanks. Thanks. Screw you too. Thanks thanks. But welcome to another week of bookvember. That’s what I’m calling it. When I make Sham talk to people about things that I want them to talk about, or I just talk to them on my own and then make him put them in the episodes. So this is one of those “I did it on my own and he has to shove it in there.” Uh, well, that’s what she said. 

Sham: I was going to say that once again, it got very sexual very quick, but I’m not against it. I’m just saying. 

Jhen:We’re all on board with that. This week I had an interview with an author, Jimmy Galliard-Jefferson. I hope I’m saying her name correctly because there are a lot of names. And so  Jimi the artist. I know Jimi through my Black romance book club and Jimi is a writer and also a non-monogamous person who writes about non-monogamous things. So figured it would be good to have her on the show. I know other romance authors guys, it’s not just Katrina. I know other people too. That’s pretty much what it was. It’s proving a point to myself. And guess what? She’s in the same writing group as Katrina. It’s all in the family, it’s all about  non-monogamy. And part of the reason we do the show is to highlight these different experiences and stories and how it is being portrayed out there in the world, especially with Black people. Because we’ve been told for so long, this is some white people shit. So here we are here, everyone is seeing that it is not just for them. It is also for us and maybe even more for us than for them. So that’s a whole separate rabbit hole. I’m going to jump down there. So Sham, how was your week? How did your week go so far? 

Sham: My week, it’s been brilliant, pretty chill, nothing big happening down here.

I know things are a little bit spicier up there, but nothing much to report. Just another week in lockdown. Well, not locked down. I lock myself down. 

Jhen:  Yes. You’re like Koffee, like Koffee puts the girl on lockdown. You’re just putting yourself on lockdown? 

Sham: There’s nowhere for me to go. There’s nowhere to go. I’m going nowhere. 

Jhen: Yeah, no, I feel that. I go to work in the office and that’s a thing. I work for very long hours. I’ve said it on the twitter and the Instagram. Just for our followers there that listen, I work 12+ hours a day sometimes. And I work six days a week just as a, by the by, so show notes right now, If I don’t get to do them on a certain day, they just happen when they happen. And I feel horrible about it, cause I’m usually so on top of it. I’m committed. I’m like ready and I just… I… yeah.

Sham: Yeah. It’s one of those things, sometimes life happens. 

Jhen: Life is happening right now.I will still be trying to get on top of it, so we will see how I’m able to do that. But outside of that, I hope you guys are all wearing your masks and sanitizing your hands and, staying the fuck at home. If you can. That would be great. And that doesn’t mean inviting people over to your house to be without masks, that just means you stay with your unit at your house. Because it is November 2020 cases are rising exponentially.

Sham: Like literally every day, there’s a new record broken in America and how is it getting worse?

Jhen: And especially because it’s winter, it’s only going to get even more. Because there’s no outside seating, there’s no outdoor options, especially for a lot of people, it’s going to be colder and we’re all trapped inside and just giving each other COVID like blow jobs. Except blowjobs are fun and COVID is not. Not at all. And I really just want this to be over. I feel like we’ve been in a pandemic for too long, but I know it doesn’t work that way. 

Sham: Sadly, no. As much as people want it to work that way, because some people want it to be over and pretending that it’s not, but it’s not. Please, please. Just, just bear with us.

Jhen: Yes, please guys. Just protect yourself. Protect your families, protect everyone around you. Like I think most people that I know have lost someone  due to COVID. Or had a family member in a really bad, bad shape because of COVID.  So let’s just let’s stay inside. Let’s do things we’re supposed to be doing right now. Let’s not be going to parties with 200+ people and not wearing masks and have it be indoors. And I could go on, this is a very specific reference to something that I discovered in the news, I think in Missouri. Parents hosted like a homecoming party for like over 200 kids and parents attended. Of course COVID was given away like party favors. They’re lying to the contact tracers and all this stuff that goes into it. Like y’all, it’s just so irresponsible. It’s a big old shit show. And I know that especially for our community, the non-monogamous community, if there was a massive breakout because of like some kind of sex party or non-monogamous gathering, you would never fucking hear the end of it. We would all be branded as horrible people. So I’m branding those parents and those children as horrible people and shaming them. Shame! There’s a bell, we’re rigging it. Shame! Shame! Shame!

If you do feel safe enough to engage with other people, I hope that you were engaging with people that have the same practices as you for COVID-19 precautions. Sexy times and otherwise, and that y’all are keeping that shit to yourselves. Don’t be trying to share the COVID with everyone else. If you guys have COVID together, just keep it together. Just for the two or three of you. 

Sham: It’s not the time to be sharing anything. Keep it to yourselves. 

Jhen: Just keep it in your polycule. Just keep it there. So that’s my politicky rant of the night, I guess. Don’t get the deadly virus and don’t expose anyone else to it. Like, sorry, that’s it. 

Sham: Your views are so radical Jhen!

Jhen: What can I say? I’m one of those liberally people. That’s me. 

Sham: “The views that are expressed by Jhen….”, they definitely are in keeping with Monogamish. 

Jhen: So now that I’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s talk about safe ways that you can communicate with other people. Do you know how to do that? You can use Altplayground.net. But today I want to talk to you guys about the new arrivals module on Altplayground and it is awesome. Because we’ve merged with so many sites recently, including Love Voodoo, shout out to all the Love Voodoo people who came over to Altplayground, how y’all doing? You have members joining from all across the country and there’s so many new connections that can be made between lifestylers. And you can check out all the amazing growth, the new opportunities for sex positive fun on Altplayground.net. Especially considering we have the video corner thing.They have video chatting. We have our communities, we have so many amazing ways to connect with people long distance without having to go out and get COVID or share the COVID. It’s the best time to connect, to do it online. And you get to see all these new people. You get to expose yourself and have them expose themselves to you. We can’t wait to see all the other new people who are joining. We hope that you guys listening to this have already signed up. And if you have signed up, we hope you told your friends and their friends, and we just want to keep the ball rolling. We just want to make this the biggest lifestyle website.

Sham: This one you’re allowed to spread. Spread this one all over.

Jhen: Yes. Spread the gospel of Altplayground.net. Check us out there. We’ll be keeping an eye out for you in new arrivals. See what I did there. Brought it back together. 

Sham: Good job. Good job. You did it 

Jhen: High fives to me. There we go. That was great. But now that I’ve done my awkward, try to be cool thing, I’m Jhen. 

Sham: I’m Sham, and we’re Monogamish. 

Jhen: Okay guys, back again.  I did an interview with Jimi Gaillard-Jefferson, AKA, Jimi the artists. We’re gonna play that for you right now. Jimi and I talk about their journey on non-monogamy and about non-monogamy in their books. We also touch a little bit on the fact that there’s a sincere lack of non-monogamous representation of black romance and why we think that is. So now’s the time for you guys to listen to that in this spot… right… here. 

Jhen: Today, I have a member of the black romance book club here with me, to talk about non-monogamy and you’re probably thinking,” Say what now?” Yeah. Yeah. Black romance novels have non-monogamy too. What are you talking about? Damn y’all. I have Jimi here with me today. This is where I put in the noise effects. There’s applause. There’s cheering. There’s a confetti cannon going on, there’s all sorts of stuff happening now. Jimi is here. It’s a stadium.  We Will Rock You or whatever the new hip sports song is playing. That’s playing right now. 

Jimi: I am Jimi Gaillard-Jefferson. I write black romance novels. There is inter-racial in there as well, but I focus on black women finding love that uplifts and respects them as people. That doesn’t necessarily have to fit in any kind of box. 

Jhen: That is the most important thing. I had listened to an episode of Shelf Love earlier, where they were talking about capitalism and consumerism, and you’re probably thinking, “What does it have to do with what we’re talking about?” But how the mega corporations were buying up all sorts of small companies, et cetera, in the eighties and nineties. They found his huge surgence CEO romances. Because the way women were able to escape from being crushed under the capitalist boot was to marry the CEO of a multimillion dollar company. So yes, we can find love there too, and also anywhere we want. See? Full circle, kinda connected back. So tell me what made you want to write non-monogamous romance novels? And I know it’s not exclusively what you write, but I know people tend to have a lot of feelings about non-monogamy and romance novels. It’s very much  “Well, if she’s dating more than one person, she has to break up with one of them, before the end, to get with someone else.” What made you want to really explore that part of it?

Jimi: So I think it is an honest part of what love is. Also my books are kind of loosely based on the personalities of my friends. Like very loosely. And one of my friends was in a non-monogamous relationship. She had said to me, “honestly, my ideal relationship is me finding an established couple and just being a part of that.” And I was like, Oh, that’s interesting. I haven’t read a book or five, or seven about that. I’m going to write the book, I’m going to write it. And I write my books first to entertain me. So I wrote what I most wanted to read. And I guess other people should have it too. And see if I can pay some bills with this. But it’s interesting. Anytime I get a chance to explore humans that are brave enough to live outside of what society expects of them, I jump on it. 

Jhen: Yeah. And it’s an honest depiction of what real life is like. Like you said, it’s loosely based on a friend who said this is what I want, and you said that I’m going to make that happen for a character. Maybe not for you, but for someone else.

Jimi: I cannot  sit at my laptop and make it happen for you. But I can make it happen for this imaginary person. 

Jhen: Well, did they end up getting what I want? That’s the real question. Has she found the couple that she wants to be with yet?

Jimi: See, it’s a hard thing to do. There are a lot of people that are saying that they want non-monogamy to please their partner. Then when it happens in real life, there’s drama. So she’s being honest about what she wants. For instance, if he’s been honest about what he wants and you’re saying what he wants to hear, because you think that’s what you have to do to keep him. And it’s like, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. And that’s okay. I think for a lot of people non-monogamy is  the hot, new thing. They’re trying to be cool and hop on that bandwagon when you don’t need to do that. Don’t do that. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being monogamous. It’s fine. You’re not behind. It’s okay. 

Jhen: Yeah, there is an idea, and it’s very much like a Pokemon, gotta catch them all sort of mentality. It’s like, “Hey, I have to have everyone.” As opposed to, “I generally want to build a connection with this person.” This person who you have something real going on. I think it’s the same thing with unicorn hunting. So your friend probably came across a couple of those unicorn hunters who were like, “We just want you to fit into this tiny unicorn box that we’ve made. We don’t really care about you as a person. You’re just going to be in the unicorn box. This is where you go.”

Jimi: I’ve had that experience actually. I was dating somebody that was in a relationship and it was kind of  a, “Let’s see if we can merge this thing?” And it was like, “Okay. Oh, I am actually just an accessory for your adult time and that’s not enjoyable. I’m going to go.” 

Jhen: Yeah, that’s never really the fun part, unless we all agreed to that at first. If we all agreed, I’m just here for play, then let’s all just be here for play. If my feelings change, and I get to tell you that my feelings have changed and I don’t want to play anymore, but don’t draw me in with romance, then just give me dick. I don’t want that.

Jimi: Right. Exactly.  And so it was, “Well, this sucks because I’m also going to lose a friend behind all of this too. I wish you would have told me upfront, this is what I was walking into.”

Jhen: That’s disappointing. I am sad for you because I’ve been there. Obviously I think any of us who are queer women have been there in that whole thing. Where there is either a friend who thinks that you’re just down for whatever, or there is some weird couple on social media.

Jimi: Going “Hey! This is what we’ve been looking for. This is what we stay up late at night and whisper to each other about. Join!” And no, no, no. Gimme a person. You know what I mean? Lets start there.

Jhen: I don’t know about people. People don’t exist. Don’t know what you’re talking about. Can’t relate. I can’t relate to you as a person. Unacceptable. This is not what we wanted.

Jimi:  Right. So, yeah. So it’s been a whole thing. But in a book people life, my character meets a married couple and she joins the relationship. I kind of had it follow what my friend went through. The wife kind of self-sabotaged it. Because it was a little, too good to be true moments, for boundaries don’t really need to exist. And so she’s kind of navigating that. And she starts in a place where a very religious woman raised her and she kind of has to get through the psychology of, “Is it okay to want what I want? Okay. Now that I’ve admitted, I want it, is it okay to go get it?” 

Jhen: That’s definitely some Black people shit, for sure.  

Jimi:  Right? So now that I’ve dealt with Jesus, can I go? So I think everybody goes through that moment, when you realize that you actually don’t need to be in a relationship with just one person, or at least I did. I had a moment where I said “I’m okay. That’s okay. I don’t smell the fires of hell. Okay. It’s fine. It’s fine. It’s fine. Let’s go. It’s fine.” 

Jhen: I mean, I think we’re a little bit of ways from hell, but I’m pretty sure my room down there is nice and cozy.

Jimi: Listen, it’s gotta be fully decorated by now.

Jhen: The things that we do. I can tell you that I was very young when I wanted a husband and a wife. That was ideal. So I wanted my own wife and my own husband. They didn’t need to be together. This is what I wanted. So child me, once I realized that I liked girls and boys wanted V. Of course not knowing what a V was. This is what I wanted. And as you get older, you kind of have to navigate the “No one’s really got wives out here. And wives are not really a thing, child you. You need to focus on getting the husband part, maybe later on you can convince him that you need a wife. So I did monogamy on and off for periods of time, I also did throuples, not necessarily a triad, but throuple situations. Which I find is a fun casual sort of word for stuff like that. And then I had a long term male partner and I was so unhappy at a certain point. And he was like, “You’re picking fights. You’re doing stupid shit. What the fuck’s going on?” I’m like, I miss vagina!”  and he was like, “Why don’t you just tell me? I knew you were bisexual from when we started dating. You  could have just had a conversation. You could have had sex with all the pussy you wanted.” I was like, “Really?!” Like a little kid that gets super excited. Was having a tantrum, but then you say “You want the ice cream?” and “Really?!? That’s for me?” he was like, “Yeah, that’s for you. We can make this work.” It didn’t work out long term, just because of all the rules and stuff that he made me  jump through, to make men comfortable with things like this. But I was happy to have the conversation kind of be accepted. And so after that, I was like “Fucking why be monogamous ever again? So this person I broke up in 2014, we were doing that thing from about like 2013, well,  2012 and 2013 ish.  Whatever, time math is not my strong suit right now. Just so you know, it is  too early for that. From that point in time, it’s on all my dating apps. It’s  I am non-monogamous. I am polyamorous. This is what I want.

 And then of course you get the creepy, “Oh yes. So you know, me and my wife are looking for…”No.

Jimi: Right. It’s been interesting for me trying to navigate it on like dating apps, because which of you are polyamorous? And which of you just want permission to cheat in peace? 

Jhen: That part. 

Jimi: Right? And yeah, you’re not actually about this life. You just want to go out and do things. That’s all, that’s all. You just want my permission to go out and do things. 

Jhen:  And polyamory is such a catchall word for people now. There’s non-monogamy, right? And then polyamory is just a subset of non-monogamy and I feel like people are just forgetting that there’s a whole bunch of other terms you can choose from to describe yourself. Poly just sounds fun, but it means actual emotional work with multiple people and with yourself. Do you know how hard it is to love yourself? 

Jimi:  Right. And like you said before about people that need a whole lot of rules, I’m just always like, “All right. Well then let’s just not do this.” You know what I mean? If you’ve got to restrict it and it can only look like this, and they can only be with this kind of person and you can only talk to them then, you can only see them this often. It’s going to be, “Well, then let’s just not do this. Because you’re not secure in this. Let’s talk about the real issues.”

Jhen:  I’ve explained that “I feel secure in my romantic relationships, but my friends don’t get it. Don’t try to be friends with nobody else when we’re friends. I don’t understand why you need other people. Don’t get it. You’re being unreasonable. Why do you want to hang out with someone who’s not me?”  But in my romantic relationship, “I’m like, please, go off. Go, fuck someone else. Go, go date. You know what? I don’t need you at home right now. Can you just go away for the weekend? Did you have someone who wants you for the weekend? Go there right here. Please not be here right now.” 

Jimi: “Could you not be here right now?” So I had to explain that to someone once, they were asking what is non-monogamy for you? And I just think you should be allowed to recognize that a person is interesting. Or a person is beautiful. Or a person is interesting and beautiful, and it’s okay. 

Jhen: Looking is cheating. I don’t know who taught the whole, “It’s okay to find people attractive”, but looking is cheating.

Jimi: “I don’t understand why you have to look at other people, I’m right here.”  Well, yes, but you’re the only person that looks like you, everybody else looks like something different. And that’s so interesting.

Jhen: Looking is cheating. Don’t even think about breathing in someone else’s directions. Now we’re getting into fighting territory. Ah, heteronormativity.

Jimi: So it was really interesting to get in a romance novel, because it is so heteronormative. Where boy meets girl, boy and girl are interested in each other, a boy and girl go through a thing. It breaks them, but then they fix it and they get back together. Right? That’s the formula for romance novels. Girl meets the boy, then meets another boy, and then the boy meets the girl and they’re all a thing. And it freaks people out and I don’t get why. 

Jhen: I mean, it sounds corny, but love is love. It shouldn’t really matter where you find it. Especially in a romance novel context. I’ve seen reviews of books that are like, “Oh, they didn’t tell me there was a threesome scene in this book. Two stars, I hated it.” Really? You love this book so much that you had to write a note about being mad that you did that. I put out a call on Twitter for Black non-monogamous romance novels. And I specified Black, which people seem to forget that Black means that all the people involved in the romance are Black people, right? It’s not interracial. It’s not any kind of weird shit. It’s all Black people and the pickings are slim out there in the real world. I found one, the author herself tagged me in her tweet and she was like, this one’s non-monogamous. So I looked at the very first review, one star. The review read “I loved every other book in this series. However, this one had three, so, and it was unnecessary. And I didn’t know, this book was going to be like this, one star.”

Jimi: Okay. I mean, I have a bunch of those for this series. “I didn’t want this and the character, it doesn’t work out for her and the non-monogamous relationship”, but she ends up with a bisexual man as a bisexual woman. 

Jhen: Nope, you’re doing too much now. You had a bisexual men on the page and that made the people mad. 

Jimi: So there’s a threesome where it’s the two of them and a guy there are. Sorry, there are a couple of them throughout the series. At one point she watches him sleep with his ex boyfriend to prove that, “Hey, you actually, aren’t interested in your ex boyfriend anymore. You just want him, cause you think you can’t have them. But here, here he is, go ahead have him. There you go. Me with a glass of wine watching you guys have sex. Are you having fun? You’re not having fun. You’re not, you’re not, that’s crazy. You’re not having fun, but you wanted him so bad. He’s right there. Oh, you want me? That’s weird. Cause you said you wanted them so bad.”

For that series people would email me tell me that really weirded them out that he was bisexual, that they didn’t like that part. They feel like we could have done without that. Uh, Nope. And as a bisexual person, I was like, “Yes, I could do without that part of me too.” Life would be potentially easier if I could do without that part of me too. But this happens to people. And why is it that it’s absolutely okay, for me as a woman to say that I’m bisexual. Well, it’s not okay. I’m sorry. I’m a greedy monster that can’t choose. Okay.

Jhen: Oh Yeah, that’s it! We’re just greedy monsters who can’t choose. And bisexual men are really just gay and pretending. 

Jimi: We just gay and pretending.  

Jhen:  Sorry, I didn’t realize that I figured that out much later in life. So as a greedy person, as a pansexual person, I’m like extra greedy now. I like everything.

Jimi: Oh my God, what are you doing?

Jhen: I like pots. I like pans. I like trees. I like grass. I like people. Oh, I’m just all over it. 

Jimi:  Honestly, figure it out. Pick a lane.

Jhen:  Uh, well, sadly my lane involves. The future that I have planned with a husband and a wife and probably a trans non-binary partner as well, just thrown in there, but we’re all going to have separate bedrooms. Because I don’t want to share a bedroom.

Jimi:  In the evening. 

Jhen: Yeah, and I also don’t want to share a bathroom either. 

Jimi: Honestly, that is probably my favorite part about meeting non-monogamous people is like seeing how their relationships work. And I’m the most introverted introvert that you’ve ever met in your life, or it’s also I’m a hyper germaphobe and just the idea of somebody else’s germs co-existing with my germs makes me nauseous. 

Jhen: Wait, you’re non-monogamous and you hate germs?

Jimi: And I was like, that’s fucking awesome! Wait, wait. That’s amazing. Wait, talk to me more. Like when Trevor Noah was saying I want to get married, but only if we can have separate houses. 

Jhen: That is  the dream. That is the dream. We get a huge plot of land and then just have separate houses on it.

Jimi:  So I was on Twitter and this woman says “I’m actually non-monogamous, but I don’t want to be in a full term relationship. I don’t want to attach myself to a person, romantically.” But she and her friends bought land together and they each have a house for tax purposes. They combined their money. They’re making investments together. So they’re doing everything that married couples do, but as friends. They even travel together. You know what I mean? They do communal grocery shopping, they grow produce on their land. Is this it? Is this heaven? 

Jhen: It is heaven. It is. I’ve seen it. I’ve talked about this with polyamorous Black girl,  our dreams to have  a great community. Well,  she wants a farm. But listen, I don’t need a farm. Not going to be doing no damn farm girl. You’re going to be on your own with that shit. But if I could have my best friend and I, who have been best friends for too many years to count at this  point we met when we were like 10. So yeah, that was it. We’re together. We’re together forever. There is no going back. There’s no take backs, we’re just it.

She has a partner, and I am more solo poly right now, so I don’t really want to live with anyone at this point in time. But of course, designations change. We grow and we change with whatever relationship happens. But our plan is to live together. Like have a duplex or something and we’re together. Well, there is the question of where’s her man going to live? She’s like, “Oh, I guess he got to figure that out. That sounds like something he needs to fix.” 

Jimi: That’s a him problem… Me and my best friend have actually talked about that. Moving into something and like getting a duplex together. Wouldn’t that be great? And I can knock on your door and we can have breakfast every day, or not. It’s built in, we’re right there. You don’t need another person. You have me. 

Jhen: See that’s that lack of compersion with friendships you were talking about, that’s it right there.

Jimi: Monogamous friendships. It’s so interesting to see how people choose to make their relationships work. The most fascinating part for me,  about deciding to tell people that I was non-monogamous, was how many married couples have very quietly “Oh, there’s a word for it now? That’s dope. That’s great. Cool.” Like I said before, watching how many people actually are using it as an excuse to cheat in peace. And then how many people say that they want that as a thing, and then I have to live with the reality of the situation and find that, oh, this is work. And I was trying to explain to someone once, technically for me at least, monogamy is easier. The level of work involved that you have to do with yourself, with other people, the inappropriate questions you have to field from strangers. Monogamy is easy, 

Jhen: It is way easier. And I say this with love, it’s like sexuality. No one chooses to be not straight. Trust me. If I had a choice I would have divested from men completely. There would be no men in my life, because no one would choose men if they could. So let’s just put that out there. But it’s the same thing with how you operate your relationships because at the end of the day, shit always bleeds through. Whatever you are meant to do or whatever you are meant to have it will always come out. So people who have been straight for a million years and then later on they became like, “Listen, Fuck it. I’ve been lesbian my whole life. I did this whole thing cause y’all told me to and I don’t want to do that no more.” It’s the same thing with non-monogamous people. For non-monogamous people, when you try to force yourself into monogamy, the truth always comes out. This is not how you feel. You don’t need to be doing that. 

Jimi: Right. Like it’s okay to just tell the truth about yourself. It’s 2020, the world has ended actually. We’re living in the matrix now, it’s fine. Tell the truth about yourself. Tell the truth, shame the devil. Be real.

Jhen: Right! That’s what they said. Tell the truth and shame the devil. I haven’t heard that in so long. 

Jimi:  I am full of absolutely ridiculous back pocket, corner dusty, southern sayings. I just like to whip out, like “Here it is!” It’s my thing. 

Jhen: Well, thank you for sharing that with me. So have you told your family? Have any of  your family members read your books? 

Jimi: No. I gave my father express orders to never read anything I write. My mother has chosen not to. She’s kind of just like, “I support you 1000%. But you’ve always been a wild girl. So I’m going to support you from over here. And let your books be your books.” Right?

So my laptop broke down and I told my mother, freaking out, cause you call your mom when you’re freaking out. You don’t need her to do anything, it’s just, she’s your mom. She should deal with your freak out. Right? 

Jhen: Absolutely.

Jimi: I said “I’m going to figure this out!” and she’s just like, “I’m going to give you my credit card information, buy a laptop. This is your living. This is your calling.”  She’s never read one of my books but she was like, “Writing is your calling. Let’s get you a new laptop.” And I was “Aww mummy, thanks mummy. Okay…” I gave her back the money like a week later. Thank you for doing that, but don’t do that again, that was weird. I’m also the wild card in the family. When I said that I was writing books, they thought, “Oh, I bet it’s crazy shit in that thing.” 

Jhen:So they knew right off the bat.

Jimi: What are you putting in your books? It’s a romance novel. And they were like, “Oh, it’s sex. Oh, it’s a lot of sex. Isn’t it? Sounds like it, yeah. Okay. We’re not gonna read this. I can’t be at a cookout, eating ribs across from you, knowing that you put in that kind of shit. I changed your diapers. I can’t, No, we’re not doing that. I bought a copy, to support you.” Or like my cousins will, if I say I released a book, they will all send me the equivalent of whatever the cost of the book is. They will send that to me and be “I’m not buying the book, but I’m buying the book. Here, have some money. Congrats. That’s amazing that you released a book, but it’s weird.”

Jhen: That works though. 

Jimi: But yeah, my family is very conservative, very christian. The whole non-monogamy thing, is just that they’re over here, my life is over there and that’s fine. We love each other that way.

Jhen: But what’s going to happen in the future, if you have this great big non-monogamous commune with all your partners. What are they going to think is happening?

Jimi: Exactly. What’s happening? And it will be happening over there. My family will know things about me. Like when I was in a same-sex relationship, we were at family functions together and I wasn’t pretending that we weren’t in a relationship, the way I was with boyfriends, I was with them. So my family was just kind of like, “Well, that’s her. And she’s always been that girl. Not shocked. Okay. This is what you’re doing. Explain it to me like I’m three. Explain it to me like I’m stupid. Why are you doing this?” And I’m like, “Because I like them.” They’re like, “Okay, well I did say explain it like I’m three. Okay. You like them. You know, y’all got the same stuff down there?” And I was like, “Yes, actually. I am very aware of what’s down there. Thank you. Would you like to…?” My family’s like, “No, no, no. Have you tried the potato salad? It’s amazing.”

My family is okay with their values being their values, and my values being my values, and them not having to agree, but also not having to talk to me about it. They’re what you think. I actually don’t need to hear what you think,

Jhen: That boundary is important. Because I think a lot of people are missing that boundary between this is not your lifestyle, you don’t have to approve, but you have to respect me and you have to respect who I am. 

Jimi: Exactly. And sometimes respect is just shutting the fuck up. Sometimes respect is actually saying, nobody asked what I felt, and that’s okay. That’s fine. Okay. Nobody asks what? Nobody cares what I think. Okay. Okay. But I do want a martini, right? Like it’s okay.  

Jhen: I wish people were more on that train and social media, especially because I never actually asked what you thought. So all those hot take think pieces, that people come up with about non-monogamy and polyamory and what it really means and cheating and all of that. No one actually asked you sweet thing! No one mentioned this. No one said, “You know what? I really want to know what Joe634XXXY.” No one said that. I don’t know who told you that, but no one actually asked for this.

Jimi: Like who? Okay. Thank you person that’s only been in monogamous relationships for their entire life and has absolutely no idea what’s happening over here. Who has never spoken to or met a non-monogamous person and has formed an entire dissertation based on just how they feel, and their insecurities. Thank you for giving all the tweets about this.

Jhen: Yes. Thank you person for sharing your opinion, like an asshole, everyone has one. 

Jimi: Everyone. And this is not how any of this works for them and that’s fine.

Jhen: Have you read other non-monogamous romance novels? I noticed that there are not that many of them. Well, there are some, but they’re mostly white, but tell me the ones that you’ve read  that you really enjoyed, if you have any that you enjoyed. 

Jimi: The way that I’ve found it best written, has always been in erotica. That’s how I got into non-monogamy in a literary sense. But Katrina Jackson does it so well. There are a couple authors where you read their work and you’re like, “Damn, I wish I wrote that. if you would have given me  15 minutes, I could have done that. I’d written that. But you ain’t got no patience. That’s what’s wrong.” 

So Katrina Jackson, she released last year the book Neighborly. And I swear to God, I read it 17 times. Kindle is sick of me. It’s always right there. And they’re just like, “Hey! You want to read something else?” And I’m like, “No, Neighborly is fine. No, I’ll do it again. No, it’s fine.” It was just really, you know, I can’t. I have podcasts of me just talking about how well she handled these people becoming a thing and how they made that work. Right. It’s Katrina Jackson for me. Beyond that there’s nothing that stands out. I want to say Tasha Harrison did one, but I don’t know if I’m telling the truth. 

Jhen: Yes and no. That was the series with the white dude, the Jamaican dude and the reporter chick wherever she was.  So technically, yes, they were non-monogamous-ishy because she was dating both of them. But then there was a period of time where she was exclusive with the white one. Then she was exclusive with the Jamaican dude. Then she was, it was a whole… That girl is a whole ass mess. That’s really what the problem was. But yes, technically she did write that non-monogamous story series, because I think it was more than one book in that if I’m remembering correctly. It was finished in one part and then the second book picked up in another part, if my memory serves. It’s a part of an overall series in that particular neighborhood. So I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a Katrina Jackson stan. I’ve even had her on the podcast before.

Jimi: So I feel safe. I am in a safe space. 

Jhen: I am in her DMS constantly. 

Jimi: That’s good. I am in a writing group with Tasha, who was a genius for putting this thing together. Katrina is in there from time to time. And every time I’m like, “Yo, be cool, be cool. You’re just writing at the same time as Katrina Jackson. And she’s right there on your zoom screen, but be cool. Be cool, bro. Be cool. Be cool. Breathe, breathe, breathe. Turn off the camera. Okay. Go freak out. Don’t freak out the bathroom. It’s fine. Just go freak out.” There’s something very special when you find that in black romance, you know what I mean?  So this is a little controversial. 

Jhen: Say it.

Jimi:If Republicans weren’t racist, most black people would be Republicans. 

Jhen: Facts! That’s hard facts. 

Jimi: As a culture, we are just that conservative. Most of what the Republican party stands for, we secretly agree with, it’s just Republicans are racist. We can’t vote against our own self-interest. Does, does that make sense?

Jhen: Yeah, it absolutely makes sense. I’ve had this competition with people before, so yes, you are correct. Just like how a lot of these immigrants from Latinx countries tend to vote Republican as well because of proximity to whiteness, but I digress. 

Jimi: I feel like that’s part of why we don’t see it more in black romance, because we are low-key, high-key very conservative culture, right? Like it’s not a thing. So again, I wrote what I wanted to read. I couldn’t find it in the way that I wanted it. And I could not expect Katrina Jackson or Tasha Harrison to like write the book for me and release it next week, because I need something to read on Saturday. So I wrote it for myself and then I went out. And like you said earlier, slim pickings. I went out and  was trying to find more. Because I don’t want to just tell people about my books. I want to be like, “Okay, when you’re finished reading my books, here’s the person you can go read while you wait for me to release another book. Get out of my emails. Stop asking. Here, go occupy your time. Go away.” But it’s really hard. Or you read it and you go, that wasn’t non-monogamy. You are just two very emotionally stunted people and I am dissatisfied. 

Jhen: Yes. Oh my God. Yes. That is a very, very, very common trope. Also, can we talk about the obvious thing where it is a non-monogamous romance or mostly, but it has to be a triad? Why? But it’s also one of the reasons I love Neighborly so much. Because it was not a triad. It was very much like a Z formation. He is with her, she’s with her and she’s with him. There’s no connection, aside from that Z. I really, really appreciated that. 

Jimi:  When I was plotting out my story, I was trying to figure that out. And what I really wanted was for my character to be with this married couple, and have a kind of BDSM element as well. The married couple owns a sex club and she takes a class at the sex club. That’s how she meets the man she ends up marrying. He sits next to her, and the couple is teaching the class and they see him sit next to her and there’s kind of this moment that happens, where they’re like, “Well, shit. We know what this is about to be. Dammit. All right. All right.” So she’s with the married couple and then she’s with him and they find a way to make that work. But then I started writing it and I was like, “No. You can’t do it. And I can’t make her do it. And that’s weird.” Authors will be like, “I couldn’t make my character do the thing!” And I was like, “That’s bullshit. It’s words on a paper. You wrote them. Backspace… write something else.” And then I started doing it and I was like, “Oh wait, no, that’s real. I can’t actually make her, I can’t make her do this. She is living in my head and I can’t make… okay. Okay. All right. All right. It’s fine.” 

Jhen: Of course it’s not disappointing, but damn, you really wanted to make that happen, but you just couldn’t. The characters want what they want. You can’t force them to do things they don’t want to do.

Jimi: There it is. As I’m writing one book I’m usually thinking five books out. What is this going to look like? And so people don’t understand how I connected it. And I was like, “Well, when I wrote book one, I already knew book six.” Set yourself up for success. So I’m already thinking I’ve got a character that’s been living in the back of my head, and he’s been talking to me for a while. And I’m pretty sure he’s going to meet a woman that’s a little older than him, that has a regular cutty buddy for lack of a better word.

And they get together and he’s like, “You know, you can keep them, Cool. I ain’t going to be here every night. I got to travel and shit.”

Jhen: That’s important. 

Jimi: “Keep them, if you need them. Shit, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” I’m really excited to do that. And see her not having an anxiety attack about, “Well, what if you decide to do that? Or you have a girl in a different city? Or in the same city?” I’m very excited to watch her be “Okay.” And if you need one, because God knows there’s going to be at least two weeks a month where I just don’t even want you to breathe on me.

Jhen: Sometimes I’m going to be busy.

Jimi: “We can talk on the phone today. You can go home and call me when you get there. Let’s FaceTime. Just call me. I’m going to be asleep in 20 minutes, but call me.” I think that’s another thing that I want to see happen more in black romance. People not having anxiety attacks about non-monogamy. 

Jhen: Oh yes. I’m excited for that.  So is that what you’re writing now in the writing group? You can tell me. I won’t tell nobody, just our podcast listeners.  

Jimi: It is not what I am writing right now, but it’s definitely going to be what I do next. It’s just we’re going to have anxiety about who we are as people entering into a relationship, because that’s just a people thing, right? You always have that moment where you ask what the fuck am I doing? That’s down the pipeline for me. Definitely. I just want to normalize black love, whatever that black love is. 

Jhen: And that’s what we need. That’s really, really what we need. I’m trying to think of if there is anything else I want to ask. Actually I wanted to talk to you about a white romance non-monogamous relationship that I have read. I want your opinion on it. So it is definitely the sex planet series, it’s not called the sex planet series, but it’s the sex planet series. It’s written by a white author and obviously they’re aliens because of course, that’s what we do. The heroine of this particular book is blue. She’s the sex goddess, she’s the native people of this planet, where the atmosphere makes you horny, and if you don’t cum you’re going to die. That’s very important to the whole entire series that the planet is filled with sex. And if you don’t have sex, you’re going to die. And then all the people on this planet are non-monogamous, voyeurs, and exhibitionists, just all sorts of that. All the aliens are into it. They’re down for it. 

So this is a book that’s really irritated me. I’ve talked about it like 30,000 million times with many, many people about how upset  I was. But I wanted your take on it because maybe I’m looking at this just from a reader non-monogamous perspective and not from a writing standpoint. So she is a sex goddess, he is a genetically experimented on man, whatever. So she uses her powers of sex to have sex with people, to heal them from their traumas and whatever it is that she does. She’s just her, her pussy just makes people feel better. 

Jimi: Okay. 

Jhen: So he has these rules. It’s fucked up, but he’s in love with her and has been watching her from a distance. She’s like, “Well, I can help you fix your problems.” So they run off together, even though she’s not supposed to be around humans for a whole separate reason, to her special retreat house. And she tries to fuck him better. And through fucking him better, her powers sort of evolve to a point where she no longer needs to have sex with people to make them feel better. She can just transmit, you know what I mean? Like she, she just wills you to feel better and the power just goes into you. At the end of the book, he’s very much into her. He doesn’t want anyone else. Her job of course requires her to fuck a bunch of other people. And so he is grudgingly okay with this. He’s like, “Oh, I don’t really like to share, but this is your job. I’ve never going to make you stop doing your job.” And then she tells all of her alien people, “Well, since my powers have evolved. I want to be monogamous with this dude. This is who I want to be with.” And they’re like, “Monogamy? How dare you? What is wrong with you?” But we have to accept it because she’s a sex goddess. So he doesn’t understand alien language and she tells him later, “Yeah, you know, I really want to be monogamous with you.” He was like, “Well, but what about, what about your job? What about all this stuff?” And she’s like, “Do you want me to fuck other people?” He’s like, “No, of course not.” She’s like, “Well, then I don’t want to fuck other people either.” And that’s how the book ends.  

Jimi: I think just from how you described it, I haven’t read it. First of all, congratulations to this writer for having the dedication to write and release a book that is that fringe… right? Because it’s terrifying to do. You know people are going to have feelings. And you wrote it and you released it anyway. So kudos to you for having the balls to do that. But I think there’s this really fine line that you have to walk as a writer, beyond just how you put words on the page. Words mean things. And what do your words mean? I think that there is this trend and even I’ve fallen into it. In hindsight, I can look back and say that holding up monogamy as the golden prize or as the salvation moment. You’ve evolved as a person when you don’t need to sleep with all these people. And so it gets very quietly slut-shamey. Again, this is something that in hindsight, I can like recognize that I might be guilty of as a writer. As a big girl writer I’ve I can now say, “Okay, we’re not doing that. Non-monogamy is not something that you need to be healed from. It is not something that you kind of have to mature out of.” You’re not immature for being non-monogamous. Then once you become a fully actualized adult, you’ll want to be in a monogamous relationship. And that’s how you’re doing life.  And I think as writers, we have to be careful how we frame it, because again, words mean things and the influence that stories have on people. It’s huge. There are books that change people’s lives and your book is going to change someone’s life. If you do it right, your book is going to change at least one person’s life. Besides yours, it’s obviously going to change your life, but it’s going to change someone else’s life. How do you want to change it?

Jhen:  See that was my thing. Because there’s a part in the book, in the very beginning where she’s like, “I could never be monogamous. I love my polyamorous lifestyle.” And then at the end for her to do this switch for me, I was like, “What?!?” After all that bragging at the beginning of the book like, “No! I’ll never be monogamous. It doesn’t matter who I love or what I do. I will always want to be this person.” And yeah, there is a line. That’s why I said for me, it just edged over the line of it into a savior thing. And it’s like a series, right? So in the first book, it is people not native to the planet. So they’re just fucking because, whatever when they  fall in love and they do their thing. In the second book, it is the guy who was a sex God before, who has never really been satisfied with his position, and falls in love with a human woman and runs away from the planet and from his duties. That’s why in the third book, this girl is now the sex goddess. So she’s taken over the mantle from her cousin. So just, this is this trend of love, only being valid in a version of monogamy is what I’ve  been seeing, especially from book two and three. So that’s why I was kind of like, “Oh wait, what? Why? But she was happy. She was happy and he was okay. Why did her powers have to be love? Why can’t you just fuck other people? Because she needed to for work? Why do we have to change it so that her powers have evolved to this amazing point so she doesn’t need to do that anymore. And she can just focus all of her pussy powers on him.

Jimi: Well the answer to that is money. But we’re not supposed to say that it’s writers. The art is supposed to be the art, but you gotta sell it to somebody and monogamy sells better. 

Jhen: Disappointing, but true. 

Jimi: At some point you look at your book and you go, but is this commercial? Should I just leave this in my drawer? Or get a copy published for me and read it when I’m bored? What should I do with this? And you don’t want to, but you read it back and you go, how is this going to be received by my audience? All right, let me change some things.

The world we live in. And it’s not fair and it’s not cute and it’s not attractive. To be honest, I look at my writing career and I go, “I could be a much bigger deal than I was if I chose not to do these things.” 

Jhen:  So I get that. I understand that is a thing that we have to contend with also. I don’t officially have any more questions for you, but you tell people where to find you.

Jimi:  I am Jimitheartist everywhere. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook. I am the most interesting on Instagram.  jimitheartists.com. The series that I’ve been talking about this entire time is the New Money Girls Series. You can find this on Amazon exclusively. It is a part of Kindle unlimited. So that can be a part of your monthly reading. And I am @jimitheartist.com and in the Black Romance Book Club, just chatting it up with y’all. 

Jhen: Thank you so much for being here. Of course, we’ll put all the links to Jimi’s stuff in the show notes. So you guys don’t have to worry about any of that and where to find it being like, “Wait, what?” Don’t worry. I got you. I got you. Thanks again so much for being here, Jimi and I will probably talk to you soon. Of course I’ll pass on the pleasant, etc things to Katrina.

Sham: Hey guys, it’s me. Sorry. It really has been a while since you’ve heard my voice so I had to jump in with that. We once again would like to thank our lovely guest, Jimi the artist for a wonderful chat with Jhen. I’m sure Jhen enjoyed it. I’m sure she missed me, but you know, she had a wonderful chat about what she loves, books and writing and so on.So as usual you can find us on Twitter @monogamishpod, Instagram @monogamishpod, patreon.com/monogamishpod, because you can’t search us because we’re naughty. We are on Altplayground of course, and facebook.com, search monogamish pod. I think that’s it. Monogamishpod.com of course, that’s where everything is. That’s where you can find detailed show notes. Most times you can find all of the episodes. You can find links to our merch shop, which is at Threadless, but the short way let’s go through the website and you’ll find it. And I think that’s about it.  

Jhen: Well you know what else? Yeah. So you guys can also find us on SoundCloud. We post our three most recent episodes there. So @monogamishpod, you can search for that.

Sham: Or wherever you listen to podcasts, Apple, Google pod, Podbay, whatever pod catcher you’ve got for us. Podbean. Yeah, that’s another one. You can pick the podbean with us, huh? Huh? 

Jhen: You like that one? I don’t know. You can flick your bean while listening to the pod. See that’s how you do it. And you put them both together like that. Also please rate us and write us a nice review on Apple podcasts. We appreciate it. 

Sham:  It really helps. You don’t have to give us five stars, but we really like five stars.

Jhen: We like five stars. I like to be an overachiever. So I like the highest grade possible. If you guys can do that for me, that would be great. And if you don’t like the show,you can probably just tell us, you can just DM us and tell us what you don’t like about it. I don’t want everyone else to see that. I get embarrassed so easily. 

Sham:  Yeah. Tell us secretly and maybe we will try to change it if it’s something  we can help. 

Jhen: If it’s something we can fix, absolutely we’ll change it. If it works for us.

Sham: If they’re like, “Oh, there’s too much Sham.: We’ll take it into consideration. You say, “Oh, there’s too much Jhen.” We will be like, “No! There is a perfect amount of Jhen.” 

Jhen: There’s always a perfect amount of Jhen. Right now here. Here in real life. Recording remotely is great and all, but it’s also so annoying at the same time. You know what I mean?  

Sham: It’s just not the same.

Jhen: It’s not the same, but you know what? One day we’ll be together again, Sham. We will be together again. But right now all we have is this podcast and Altplayground.net. That’s all we got.

Sham: That’s all we got. Thanks again to them. 

Jhen: Shout out to them. Thank you guys so much for listening. And so to wrap it up for tonight, but, I’m Jhen, no, I’m lil’ Jhen. There we go. 

Sham: I’m Sham Deezy, and we’re Monogamish.