Category Archives: Blog

The blog for all things So Say We All.

Facing Violence on the Page: A So Say We All Master Class with Brooke King

Announcing a new Foundry reading series Master Class! On February 24th, Brooke King will teach “Facing Violence on the Page” a three hour workshop and master class. Register now here: https://squareup.com/store/so-say-we-all/item/m-master-class-with-brooke-king

FACING VIOLENCE ON THE PAGE
A So Say We All Master Class with Brooke King

Writing about violence doesn’t have to be complicated, it doesn’t have to be one-sided, and you certainly don’t need to be a victim of violence in order to write about it or what it does to the human condition.

This class will look at writing about violence (and sometimes not in the traditional sense of the word), explore the world of writing through guided exercises, and learn how to get past the imaginary blockade that we’ve placed in our minds about violence. It’s time to lean in to the page in front of you, instead of leaning away.

Saturday, February 24th
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Mission Hills United Methodist Church
4044 Lark St, San Diego, CA 92103

REGISTER NOW
$35 members
$40 general

scholarships available, application deadline 2/15:
General scholarship application
The Gary Armstrong Memorial Veteran Writers Scholarship application

Brooke King is a writer and veteran based in Tampa, Florida, and author of the forthcoming memoir Full Battle Rattle. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Prairie Schooner and War, Literature, and the Arts. Her piece, “Redeployment Packing Checklist” was featured on our PBS program “Incoming.” You can listen here.

Brooke will also read at The Foundry Reading Series, that evening, Saturday 2/24  at 7:00 PM at The Rose Wine Bar in South Park, alongside Lily Hoang, Amy Wallen, Michael Konik, and more to be announced. Stay tuned for details!


Please consider becoming a sustaining member of So Say We All to support our programming. You’ll receive special discounts on classes, and more! Go to www.sosayweallonline.com/membership for more details.

Introducing THE WHOLE ALPHABET, a new LGBTQ+ collaboration

To kick off our new LGBTQ+ collaborative project, “The Whole Alphabet,” a partnership with Mission Hills UMC, we are celebrating, connecting, and creating together with a brand new Salon and Writing Workshop.

THE WHOLE ALPHABET
Salon and Writing Workshop
Saturday, January 20th
3-5 PM
Babycakes Hillcrest
3766 Fifth Ave

RSVP required (simple google form)

Our performers will present a few stories to entertain you and inspire you, and then facilitate a group discussion, some craft instruction, and some generative free writing time to prepare your own submission for an upcoming LGBTQ+ showcase. And of course, there’ll be cake.

About The Whole Alphabet
The Whole Alphabet is a queer writing and storytelling network, developed in partnership with Mission Hills United Methodist Church and So Say We All. We develop and share personal stories to connect with, inspire, entertain, and mobilize our San Diego neighbors. We believe everyone has a story worth hearing. Our values and interests include the queer experience, faith and spirituality (or lack thereof), innovation, leadership, and social justice. Our writers and storytellers determine how we do what we do. The Whole Alphabet is a countervailing force against the toxic and tired political polarization in our country.

Stay tuned for more.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary nonprofit, please consider becoming a sustaining member for as little as $5 per month. Details here.

The best stories we consumed in 2017

Each year, we ask a few of our friends, collaborators, and staff: what was the best story you read/heard/consumed in the year? We did this last year, and the year before. This year has been both troublesome for art (how can we focus on anything vaguely entertaining when the world is falling apart?) and absolutely in need of art, and absolutely in need of sharing our stories together. Story is essential in forming connections, fostering understanding, and planting empathy.

Please, if you can, support us in our winter membership drive and let’s make sure that those stories that need to be heard are told by the people who need to tell them, in 2018 and beyond. And as we slam the door on 2017, just like we slammed the door on 2016 thinking it was the worst it was gonna get, take a look at what our friends and staff came up with for things they loved: books, audiobooks, essays, articles, podcasts. We love them and we love what they love:


LEESA CROSS-SMITH

Leesa Cross-Smith is the author of Every Kiss A War and Whiskey & Ribbons and the founder/editor of WhiskeyPaperLeesa served as judge for our first annual SSWA Literary Prize in Fiction this year.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

Why: Because of lines like “She felt like every winter would kill her, and when she reached the skyless Februarys and bleak Marches, she promised herself she would book the soonest flight back to California” because same. And because it’s such a beautiful, feels-real story and bc it’s written by a black woman and has black characters but it’s not focused on race. Because it’s a story about love and regret and mistakes and forgiveness and family, etc. Because it’s funny and sweet and sad and because I carried it around with me for days and finished reading it sitting in carpool in the rain. Because it lives up to the hype and so few things do. Because it was the first book I read in 2017 and it set the tone for an excellent reading year. Because it was good luck for me because the week after I finished it, I sold my novel. Because the cover is so gorgeous. Because it shines bright like a diamond. –Leesa Cross-Smith


MARCO CERDA

Marco Cerda is a senior at High Tech High Chula Vista and served as So Say We All’s student intern this spring. 

Akira

A few months back, I went with several others to a friend’s house to watch a movie called “Fist of The North Star.” Mid-way through the movie, my friend’s dad recommended that we watch a movie called “Akira” after we were done with our current film. We took his advice, and were soon thrown into the dystopian world of Neo Tokyo, 2019. This movie stayed in my mind until recently when I picked up the original comic book. Everything from the art to the story is a masterpiece, and it does a good job at progression while keeping the atmosphere intact. —Marco Cerda


HUNTER GATEWOOD

Hunter Gatewood writes fiction both short and long, and does storytelling, coaching and show producing for So Say We All.

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

2017. Gimme shelter. What a scary and exhausting year. I’m surprised that my favorite 2017 story was not happy escapist floof. It was Gabriel Tallent’s demanding debut novel My Absolute Darling. This is a brutal bildungsroman, like its sister Bastard Out of Carolina but sped up, stripped down, and dropped in the lush and wacky wilds of Mendocino County. The coming-of-ager is Turtle, a proud and strong 14-year-old social outcast, whose sexual maturity drives her uniquely damaged and disintegrating father in directions you can imagine, and in other directions you could never. I tore through it, all the while wondering if it was bad for me to be reading this. On one of these feverish days of reading, I was in the close confines of an airplane. I was reading what turned out to be the most disturbing scene in the whole thing. I felt that childish form of social paranoia: Everyone around me sees inside my head. They know what I am reading. They are repulsed. I wanted to lash out at this imagined judgment, lunatic-style like Turtle’s dad. I wanted to say, hey, this horrible psycho moment I’m reading right now is a crucial piece of the whole story. Every torment in this book reveals a specific type of strength, a specific flavor of stamina and survival. The whole story is gorgeous and meticulously crafted and takes you somewhere important. You’ve been warned. You will love it. —Hunter Gatewood


JAC JEMC

Jac Jemc is the author of The Grip of It (FSG Originals), My Only Wife (Dzanc Books), and A Different Bed Every Time (Dzanc Books). She edits nonfiction for Hobart teaches creative writing in Chicago. Jac taught a SSWA Master Class this fall, and read at The Foundry, our literary reading series.

Amelia Gray, “The Hostage.”

My favorite story of the year was Amelia Gray’s “Hostage” in The New Yorker. I want more work like this from the magazine: smart, unexpected, an impressive amount of action and character for a piece so brief. So painfully awkward and hilarious. When the teller makes suggestions of what the bank robber might write in his letter I guffawed. I guffawed! —Jac Jemc


DAVE HOUSLEY

Dave Housley’s fourth collection of short fiction, Massive Cleansing Fire, was published in 2017 by Outpost 19. His first novel, This Darkness Got to Give, is coming out in 2018 from Pandamoon Publishing. His work has appeared in Booth, Hobart, McSweeneys, Wigleaf, and some other places. He’s one of the founding editors and all-around do-stuff people at Barrelhouse. Sometimes he drinks boxed wine and tweets about the things on his television at @housleydave. (Barrelhouse is a nonprofit literary organization on the east coast, and a friend and inspiration of many of us at So Say We All).

They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraquib

This was a hard year for reading and writing, and I wound up sinking into a lot of comfort reading that didn’t really engage with what was happening in the world around us. But when I think about the best thing I read this year it’s something that spoke very directly to the real world, as well as the world of pop music, and that’s the essay collection They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, by Hanif Abdurraquib (from Two Dollar Radio). These essays do what I think the best nonfiction does, and that’s start with the specific and then work into the personal before expanding out yet again toward other larger issues, including what fellow music writer Jessica Hopper eloquently describes on the back cover as “the true nature of life and death in America, in this moment.” I love many things about these essays – Hanif’s wise and funny and self-deprecating voice, the range of his musical interest (he covers Marvin Gaye, Carly Rae Jepsen, Springsteeen, Chance the Rapper, Notorious BIG, Fallout Boy, the Wonder Years, it goes on and on and his next topic is never predictable), the way these essays range into Actual Important Issues without feeling strained. He can start at a Springsteen show and wind up at a meditation on race and opportunity and Michael Brown (the title comes from a banner hanging over a Brown memorial) and it all seems so effortless and right. It’s the thing the best music writing does and this book is a timely reminder about how lucky we are that, right now, Hanif Abdurraqib is the best music writer we’ve got. —Dave Housley


INDIRA HOOD-ESPARZA

Indira Hood-Esparza is an 11th grade humanities teacher at High Tech High Chula Vista and worked with SSWA on our semester-long collaboration, “The Power Within.”

“What is Normal?” by Thalia X. Peralta,11th grader at High Tech High Chula Vista (google doc shared with permission).

I picked this piece because right now more than ever we need to remember to have compassion and empathy for one another. I loved that Thalia was so honest about her brother and how others perceive him. It’s beautifully written with amazing usage of imagery. I hope others read it and feel the amount of empathy and love that Thalia has for her brother. —Indira Hood-Esparza


MATT YOUNG

Matt Young is a writer, teacher, and veteran. He holds an MA from Miami University and is the recipient of fellowships with Words After War and the Carey Institute for Global Good. He lives in Olympia, Washington where he teaches writing at Centralia College and is the author of Eat the Apple out February 27 th 2018 from Bloomsbury. Matt taught a SSWA Master Class this year, and read at The Foundry, our literary reading series.

The National, Sleep Well Beast

My dudes. This year has been difficult to say the least—tough conversations with family and friends, constant vigilance of and calls to representatives, becoming parts of new discourse communities. All the while doing our jobs and caring for families and trying to create. Shit cray. One thing that got me through 2017 was The National’s Sleep Well Beast. I usually reserve The National and their Midwest ennui for moments of nostalgia pining after the barren cornfields and quiet snow of the fly-over state winters of my youth, but Sleep Well Beast is different than past albums. The sadness is less plotted, more manic—more raw. It’s less my home region’s musical voice and more a jumping needle of this past year’s emotional Richter Scale. The album helped get me beyond a block and got me writing again when it dropped in September, and for that I’m grateful. —Matt Young


SETH COMBS

Seth Combs is a VAMP contributor, and editor of San Diego CityBeat. He has covered the San Diego arts and music scene for over a decade. He’s also written for Spin, Zagat, and The Hollywood Reporter. He likes dogs and comic books, but is pretty iffy on your band. 

What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

It had been a while since I had read a short story collection, but after hearing LeVar Burton read Lesley Nneka Arimah’s “What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky,” I knew I had to read the rest of her stories. Her debut collection has been marketed toward fans of speculative and dystopian fiction and that’s fine. Fans of those genres will find plenty to like within the loosely connected stories, most of which take place in Nigeria and the U.S. in the not-so-distant future. However, Arimah’s writing is strong enough to where it isn’t difficult to suspend disbelief. These aren’t stories about fantastical events, but rather, scenarios that could be playing out right now and told from the perspective of those most affected. The worlds of What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky aren’t otherworldly. They’re our world reflected back to us as a warning. —Seth Combs


JUSTIN HUDNALL

Justin Hudnall serves as the founder and Executive Director of So Say We All, a San Diego-based literary arts and education non-profit organization. He produces and hosts the public radio series Incoming on KPBS / PRX featuring the true stories of America’s veterans, and edits the anthology series of the same name. He is excited to debut two new radio series he’ll be producing for SSWA in 2018.

Best podcast: The Polybius Conspiracy

For anyone who 1) took the “I Want to Believe” sentiment popularized by The X-Files to heart, and 2) who also loved Serial and S-Town and (the 1st season of) Stranger Things, and 3) who feels that our current times have shattered the framework of normalcy rendering all things possible and the paranoid rational, then this series is for you. Just be sure to listen to the whole series through before you Google anything about it, give yourself the gift of letting it sit with you without external comment. It’s an exciting new twist on the medium that I hope sparks new innovation. —Justin Hudnall


JULIA DIXON EVANS

Julia Dixon Evans is author of the forthcoming novel How To Set Yourself On Fire (Dzanc Books, May 2018). Her work can be found in Pithead Chapel, Paper Darts, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. She is program director for So Say We All.

Not to be a total tease, since it’s not going to be available until February, but the best thing I read this year was Black Candies: The Eighties, which I am co-editing with SSWA’s Ryan Bradford, founding editor of the series. The book, scheduled for publication by SSWA Press in February 2018, is a collection of literary horror and dark fiction, and is gorgeous, unsettling, and nostalgic as hell. The stories, we noticed, as we pored over submissions and dug in during the editorial process, often seemed to center around a glitch. In the 80s days of analog-yore these glitches weren’t terrifying in the same ways as, say, modern hacker/twitter bot/self-driving car glitches, but my god these writers (including Meghan Phillips, Henry Hoke, Aaron Burch, Lindsay Hunter, Tiffany Scandal, and many, many more amazing voices, both established and brand new) wrote such pure, vivid terror in these malfunctions, the way things fall apart, and the way machines can haunt and be haunted. Featuring 23 stories (including an essay!) plus artwork. Buckle up. —Julia Dixon Evans


Thanks for reading our lists of favorites, and we hope we’ve given you some things for your “to do” lists. And we hope you’ll share yours with us too.

We can’t wait for the stories that 2018 will bring.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, please consider becoming a sustaining member for as little as $5 per month. Details: www.sosayweallonline.com/membership

Our 2018 Long Story Short themes!

Long Story Short offers a populist platform for anyone, and we mean anyone, to join us and tell a story, without notes, for five minutes or less on a different theme every month. No RSVP necessary, just check the schedule for the next event and show up ready to sign-up and share! It’s a great place to come and meet people, with an extraordinarily welcoming environment and supportive people genuinely curious to hear true stories from strangers in their community, whether funny, painful, practiced or off the cuff.

Long Story Short is the third Saturday night of every month, held at The Ink Spot at San Diego Writers, Ink, located in Liberty Station.

Doors: 7:00 P.M.
Show: 7:30 P.M.

The Ink Spot
San Diego Writers, Ink
2730 Historic Decatur Rd #202
(NTC at Liberty Station, Barracks 16, upstairs)
San Diego, CA 92106
$5 suggested donation

Check out our themes for 2018! Each theme is designed to complement the following month’s VAMP theme – just in time to submit a story to VAMP if you were inspired by Long Story Short.

Long Story Short 2018

January 20th
Just Lust

February 17th
Pills

March 17th
Beast Mode

April 21st
Working Stiffs

May 19th
Them’s Fightin’ Words

June 16th
Scorned, Scorched, and Scarred

August 18th
Grounded

September 15th
Spooked

October 20th
Misfits

November 17th
Cold Turkey vol. 4

December 15th
Holidays, Schmolidays

Our 2018 VAMP Showcase Themes!

We are delighted to announce our fresh, screaming bundle of joy: THE 2018 VAMP SHOWCASE THEMES.

We have had a fantastic year with you all. We wallowed in the awful news cycle, but we found not just solace but challenge and understanding in the stories shared on our stage. And we want to do more of it next year. 2017 happened because of the vital support of our members and donors, so please help us ensure that all of these stories can be heard in 2018. Learn more here: www.sosayweallonline.com/membership.

And don’t miss our final show of 2017: VAMP: Roots on December 28th at Whistle Stop Bar. Because after that, we kick off 2018:

JANUARY – Party Foul
show date: January 25th, 2018
(submission deadline: December 31st, 2017)

FEBRUARY – Dirty Talk: The Fetish Show
show date: February 22nd
(submission deadline: January 29th)

MARCH – Rx
show date: March 29th
(submission deadline: March 4th)

APRIL – Off Leash
show date: April 26th
(submission deadline: April 1st)

MAY – Inside Jobs
show date: May 31st
(submission deadline: May 6th)

JUNE – Let’s Dance
show date: June 28th
(submission deadline: June 3rd)

JULY – Weird Science
show date: July 26th
(submission deadline: July 1st)

AUGUST – Burned
show date: August 30th
(submission deadline: August 5th)

SEPTEMBER – Curfew
show date: September 27th
(submission deadline: September 2nd)

OCTOBER – Creep
show date: October 25th
(submission deadline: October 7th)

NOVEMBER – Will It Fit?
show date: November 29th
(submission deadline: November 4th)

DECEMBER – Home For The Holidays
show date: December 27th
(submission deadline: December 2nd)

Thanks again for such a great year. Thank you for telling your stories, for sharing in stories as a listener, and for being part of this community. Thank you for your support as friends and members. This year, and as we look ahead to 2018. Let’s do this.


To support the work of So Say We All throughout the year, please consider becoming a sustaining member for as little as $5 per month. For details, visit www.sosayweallonline.com/membership.

The season of giving is here!

SSWA’s year-end membership drive is upon us!

Become a supporting member today!

People just like you have supported us year-round, making us who we are since we built our first community stage in 2009. Now it’s the season of giving, and we have a wish only you can fulfill: we need our artists, audience, and friends to join our community of members. For as little as $5, you can help So Say We All serve even more people, voices we might not otherwise find or our audience hear without your help. Memberships help us better plan our mission, and receive special invitations to parties, receive discounts on masterclasses, and one day we might even have tote bags. But the gift you’d be giving to us and our storytellers can’t compare, and that’s why we’re asking.

If you’re in San Diego this coming Thursday: become a member now, then come to our next VAMP storytelling showcase. Walk up to our Executive Director Justin Hudnall, Production Coordinator Julia Evans, or any of our wonderful Board Members, and introduce yourself as our newest member for your first reward: our deepest in-person thanks, and a chance to see everyone in the room your gift has helped bring together.

Thank you as always, forever, for helping us become what we are and what we can be, for making our city one we want to keep living in and bettering for all its inhabitants, and for taking action where so many just talk.

Join us here.

Attention Educators and students! Upcoming student storytelling showcases!

Are you currently teaching storytelling, personal narrative, or first person non-fiction to your students? Or are you interested in developing a writing and storytelling unit? Do you have a project that might benefit from a storytelling element? Here are a few upcoming opportunities from our current education projects to see some excellent model texts and performances in action. Bring your students, or your colleagues! These shows are all ages, FREE, and open to all. (Special note: as these are high school and college students, there may be adult language and potentially triggering situations)

In chronological order!

Southwestern College VAMP: Are You Gonna Eat That

Thursday, November 16th at 7 PM
Field House Auditorium at Southwestern College
900 Otay Lakes Rd, Chula Vista, CA 91910
(part in Lot J student spaces)

Southwestern students drafted narratives on the theme of “Are You Gonna Eat That?” and just seven were selected to undergo an intensive editorial, critique, and coaching process. Food is an incredible storytelling prompt, and we love the many directions these students took the theme. Come hear their incredible stories!

More details


City College VAMP: Holler if Ya Hear Me

Wednesday, November 29 at 7 PM
Saville Theatre at City College
14th St & C St., San Diego, CA 92101

Do you understand the words coming out of my mouth? Have you ever struggled to be understood? We all want to be heard. But to be really understood–to have someone feel where you’re coming from–is powerful. Come hear our latest showcase of powerful student stories from City College!

More details.


HIGH TECH HIGH CHULA VISTA
The Power Within Storytelling Project

Nov-Dec, Project Reo Collective
2335 Reo Dr No. 6, San Diego, CA 92139

Thursday Nov. 30
Friday Dec. 1
Tuesday Dec. 5
Wednesday Dec. 6
Thursday Dec. 7

Five nights of fantastic storytelling from two classes of brilliant and inspiring high school juniors. These classes have incorporated biology into their examination of their own narratives, working hard all semester with our teaching artists, model texts from previous students, and with their peers. Join us for our third year working on this project with High Tech High Chula Vista.

More details TBD.


If you’d like to talk to us about opportunities with So Say We All teaching artists in your schools or institutions, please contact us.


To help So Say We All develop and sustain future education projects and more, please consider becoming a supporting member for as little as $5 per month.

VAMP: Teeth is this Thursday night!

Our October VAMP showcase is this Thursday night! The theme is TEETH.

(Teeth?!)

We eat with them, which is a good thing, so doesn’t that mean teeth should be good things? But when our bones are on the outside of our bodies, they can be the stuff of nightmares. Biting, fangs, dentists, drills, pliers, root canals, fetishes, supernumeraries… it’s all real life body horror. And we’re not the only creatures who have teeth.

We’ll spare you all the bite/chew on/grind/digest/brush up on puns. J/K. Take a sharp and minty bite out of this toothsome line-up!

Featuring:
Elaine Gingery
Ellen Wright
Julia Dixon Evans
Kevin Manly
Louise Julig
Milo Schapiro
Ryan Hicks

Produced by Jen Stiff and Ryan Bradford


VAMP: Teeth!
Thursday, October 26th
8:30 PM
Whistle Stop Bar
2236 Fern St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 284-6784
$5 suggested donation
www.sosayweallonline.com


If you like what we do at So Say We All, please consider supporting us and becoming a member. Details on our membership page here: http://www.sosayweallonline.com/membership/

We want your VAMP theme suggestions!

Do you find yourself dreaming up VAMP show themes when you’re in the shower? Driving to work? Maybe on the toilet? All of that is fine and totally natural and we understand

But lucky you and lucky us! Now is the time to share those theme suggestions with us for 2018! Please fill out the following form by WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 15th. We’ll announce our 2018 themes in the first week of December.

2017 has been a wild year, but we’ve shared so many stories on our stage and met so many of you this year. Let’s tell even more stories together in 2018.

xoxo,
So Say We All

Incoming at the Without Walls Festival

Friday, October 20 at 7 PM
Saturday, October 21th at 7 PM
Sunday, October 22nd at 7 PM

Border X Brewing
2181 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113

$10  ||   LEARN MORE  ||  BUY TICKETS

La Jolla Playhouse’s Without Walls (WOW) is four days of immersive and eclectic theatre for adventurous art lovers, thrill seekers and families. Now in its third outing, the festival lands in downtown San Diego this October!

Join So Say We All and the WOW Fest as we feature performers from Incoming: Sex, Drugs, and Copenhagen, our forthcoming collection of veteran nonfiction writing. Our veteran storytellers take the stage at Border X Brewing in Barrio Logan, October 20, 21, and 22.

True uncensored stories from the lives of America’s military, told in their own words, about the private and sometimes illicit escapes sought out by service members during their service and the time that follows as they readjust to the civilian world. Hilarious, surprising and honest to the core, and featuring a different cast every night, this newest offering by So Say We All will defy any notions you have about our service members.

THREE performances:

Friday, October 20 at 7 PM
featuring: Adam Stone, Allison Gill, Francisco Martinezcuello, Jim Ruland, Kurt Kalbfleisch, Michelle Kerouac, and Tenley Lozano

Saturday, October 21th at 7 PM
featuring: Adam Stone, Derrick Woodford, Francisco Martinezcuello, James Seddon, Kurt Kalbfleisch, Michelle Kerouac, and Tenley Lozano

Sunday, October 22nd at 7 PM
featuring: Adam Stone, Allison Gill, Derrick Woodford, Francisco Martinezcuello, Jim Ruland, Michelle Kerouac, and Tenley Lozano

Border X Brewing
2181 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA 92113

$10  ||   LEARN MORE  ||  BUY TICKETS

All group sales can be booked by phone or by email at groupsales@ljp.org — 10% OFF, $3 per order fee

Strong language, adult content. General admission. Limited seating; first come, first served. Standing may be required. Wheelchair accessible. Recommended for ages 18+. Cash is not accepted for ticket payment onsite.

Please contact LJPH Patron Services if you require any special assistance.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, please consider becoming a sustaining member for as little as $5 per month.