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Alex Zaragoza reads at The Foundry this Saturday!

The Foundry is our literary reading series, and we celebrate our 4th event this Saturday night, March 18th, at 7 PM, at Tiger Eye Hair in Golden Hill. We feature both emerging and established writers, novelists, short story writers, poets, memoirists, and journalists, like today’s feature, Alex Zaragoza.

Alex Zaragoza is a freelance writer covering arts, culture, food, the border, feminism and music in San Diego and Tijuana. She is a columnist at San Diego CityBeat, and Host+Writer/Producer of music/pop culture show ‘Unherd.’ She was raised on both sides of the border and works to share stories from the other side of the fence. 

As a columnist, journalist, and television host, we love Alex’s writing about feminism, race, the border, art and music, and relationships. She writes with a delicious mix of wisdom and irreverence, and can slip between in-depth, impressive journalistic coverage and hangover barf jokes from one piece to the next.

In a column for San Diego CityBeat, Alex examines her adolescent views of immigration, refuge, and humanity.

Fear of death has always been a major driver in my life. It’s like in one of my all-time favorite movies, Moonstruck, starring Cher and Nicolas Cage. Olympia Dukakis, who plays Cher’s mom in the movie and is a goddamn queen, asks, “Why do men chase women?” and when met with some bullshit answer from an older, skirt-chasing professor (played by John Mahoney, the dad from Frasier ), she answers, “I think it’s because they fear death.”

Death, as the movie explains, is the reason people (the movie pinpoints men, but I think this goes for all people regardless of gender) relentlessly pursue love and sex. But really, doesn’t that reasoning apply to anything? Why jump out of a plane? Why eat this whole pizza? Why go on a years-long cross-country trip? Why slip your number to that cutie at the grocery store? Why quit your corporate job to follow your dream of being a performance artist that smears shit on your face? Because I’m going to die someday so I must push myself to the limits of extreme experience so I don’t feel like I missed out on anything when the bell tolls for me.

Alex’s coverage of the US-Mexico border has also been featured by NPR, including this piece on food merchants at the border crossing:

Just about any time of day, there’s no going hungry in the border line. In the morning, warm burritos and tortas beckon. Afternoons bring street foods like bacon-wrapped hot dogs and tacos, tostilocos (Tostitos Salsa Verde corn chips covered with toppings including lime juice, hot sauce, Japanese peanuts and pickled pork rinds), and fruit salads smothered in lime, the Mexican spice mix Tajin, and a savory, fruit-based chamoy sauce. For the sweet tooth, there are desserts like the handmade, sorbet-like nieve de garrafa.

Feeding people is a deeply ingrained part of Mexican culture, and many of these vendors will tell stories of how they learned to cook (usually at home with their mother) and why they love making food (because food is love).

Her writing is evocative, enriching, and notably not here to make you comfortable. At The Foundry, Alex will read a little bit from some non-fiction that will be featured in O Magazine. (OMG OPRAH). Don’t miss it! Saturday, March 18th, at 7 PM at Tiger Eye Hair. She’ll read alongside Jami Attenberg, Kiik A.K., Wendy C. Ortiz, and Karolina Waclawiak.

The Foundry #4
Saturday, March 18th, 7 PM
Tiger Eye Hair
811 25th St, San Diego, CA 92102
all ages // $5 suggested donation

Here’s Drake enjoying Alex’s company


If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary non-profit, please consider becoming a sustaining member.

An Interview with The Foundry’s Kiik A.K.

The Foundry is our literary reading series, now in its second year. We love this opportunity to bring both new and established writers into your lives. Our next reading is this Saturday, March 18th, at 7 PM at Tiger Eye Hair in Golden Hill, with readings from Jami Attenberg, Karolina Waclawiak, Wendy C. Ortiz, Alex Zaragoza, and today’s feature, Kiik A.K, a San Diego poet.

We love Kiik A.K.’s invigorating approach to poetry and art. So Say We All’s program director and Foundry host Julia Dixon Evans had a chance to ask Kiik a few questions about his work and his writing life.

JULIA DIXON EVANS: Matt Lewis (So Say We All’s Radvocate editor) described your manuscript as “a beautiful magical realism story about the Japanese internment camps.” Can you tell me a little bit about it

KIIK A.K: Almost every piece of fiction I’ve written in the last five years is somehow connected to my grandparents. I’m working on a manuscript called THE BOOK OF KANE AND MARGARET, and all its stories take place between the years of 1942-1945 in a Japanese internment camp in Gila River, Arizona. This was where my grandparents fell in love, married and had the first of their three daughters.

I’m not a historian or a scholar or a very good researcher. So I actually thought it would be an uphill battle and a disservice to my grandparents if I tried to write their stories as nonfiction or historical fiction. That is why a lot of my stories are about things like supernatural cicadas, people who sprout wings, aircraft carried by desert birds, girls who can trade human teeth for divine wishes. But there is usually some kernel of my grandparents stories embedded in that magic.

JULIA: Your poetry, to me, either feels incredibly narrative or incredibly unusual. It all seems very boundary-smashing to this here non-poet. What drives this? 

KIIK: I think it’s really an inability to write poetry. I want to think of myself as a poet. But for the amount of training I’ve had, I’m probably the most incapable poet I know. I sit down and I say, “This is going to be a sonnet.” And then some weird free-verse thing about dying naked in the woods emerges. I sit down and say, “This is going to be a love poem.” And then a thing about grandmas who rescue babies from car accidents emerges.

So now what I call poetry is this journey of trying to write a poem, failing, and then being critical about the failure. I think maybe that is where the narrative and strangeness comes from. A lot of my poems also contain apologies. A moment when I say, “Sorry for what you just read, I’ll do better next time.”

JULIA: And do you approach a piece with structure in mind first, or with narrative? Or a word or a line? 

KIIK: Almost always a scrap of language that has just been repeating in my head. Do you know the song “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj? I had this line stuck in my head for like a week, “He toss my salad like his name Romaine . . . ”

I went back and forth trying to unpack the meaning of the line. Romaine lettuce is in salad. So does the salad toss itself? But the speaker’s salad is being tossed. So is the speaker watching Romaine toss his own salad? It seems like her salad is the one being tossed though.

And then I think to myself – why is this the line I’ve chosen to think about for two weeks now? Why am I mining this particular salad in Nicki Minaj’s work?

JULIA: I anxiously await this salad poem. 

In your work, most notably in “A Pupa Wraps Its Mitten Of Fur Around The World,” published by Electric Literature, the reader is taken on something of a journey of revelation and understanding about the form, and that revelation exists separate from, or at least prior to, any revelations about this character. It reminded me of those moments when you realize the extra is the primary. I’m thinking of a commercial in the middle of SNL that’s actually a skit. Or “Too Many Cooks.” The prologue to Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Where do you see the intersection of audience awareness to form and the breaking of this literary 4th wall vs. what an individual work means? Do those things sort of work together? I’d love to hear about your process and thoughts with this.

KIIK: That question is more beautiful than my work! And I think gets at something deeper than those “about the author” pieces.

I think as an audience member I’m attracted to those moments where the speaker says, “I get that our relationship is an agreement to put you under the spell of this aesthetic form. But maybe another agreement is to break the form and work through its peculiarities together. And then we have this entirely new relationship.”

I think I like those moments because it makes me feel like an insider. I can be under a spell and floating above the spell – watching myself be under the spell simultaneously. I am both patient under the anesthesia and doctor looking at the unconscious patient. I am Snow White passed out on the ground, the Queen and the Witch.

I got a little lost. Did I even answer this question?!!

JULIA: Yes. That was so perfect. And I’m curious to know if you originally wrote those pieces when tasked with writing your actual “about the author” bio. Because I think anyone who has had to write any sort of profile can understand the need to screw with the system a little.

KIIK: I can’t remember exactly – but I think for me the pieces come out of an anxiety of failure, amateur-ness. Maybe also a lack of professionalism. I like reading writers’ “about the author” sections. It’s one of the first things I read when I buy a new book. I always think, “They sound so accomplished! So confident!” They’re also often written in the third-person, which is part of the spell of the form. “The writer was so important they didn’t even have time to write their own bio! Some servant did it for them!”

When I sit down to work on a bio, something inappropriate to the form always emerges. Alright, I know I should talk about how many books I’ve published and how many awards I’ve won. Okay I haven’t published any books. Can I talk about how many books I fantasize about publishing? Hmm, that seems wrong. Can I lie and say I’ve published books in another country that doesn’t exist? Hmm, seems unethical. What if I say I’ve published several Yelp posts rating the local cookie establishments? Well that third option sounds slightly better than the first two . . .

JULIA: So Say We All was lucky to publish some of your work in The Radvocate, and I consider those pieces the funniest poetry I’ve ever read [http://www.sosayweallonline.com/kiik-ak-poems-in-the-radvocate/]. There’s humor in your work, but also elements of insecurity and sadness. Do you tend to balance out those things on purpose? Or is it more inherent/unavoidable?

KIIK: Gosh, thank you! If the work makes you laugh a little, then it’s doing its job. I want to say the humor is part of that apology thing I mentioned earlier. A lot of my poems apologize for not getting the form right. Or for not doing poetry in a decent way. Or for having an amoral speaker. Not that there is a right or decent way to poetry or that people should look for it. I guess I just mean I feel guilty sometimes when I look at the work and I think, “Wow, you don’t look right. Poems are not supposed to have so many cannibals in them! Poems should not have a person wearing a stinging jellyfish for a hat! Jeez, I blew it.” So then I start to think – but can this failure be entertaining? How exaggerated or strange does this failure have to look to make someone laugh?

The insecurity and sadness question is another really good one. I want to say part of that must be because my writing practice is such a lonely endeavor. I think it was Toni Cade Bambara who said something like, “It is a dismally lonely business, writing.” I’m not sure if that’s how it feels to most other writers. But when I’m sitting by myself, looking at this strange poem in front of me, all the insecurities do seem to come out . . .

JULIA: What are you working on at the moment?

KIIK: I wanted to write a few pieces specifically for The Foundry event. The readers at the So Say We All shows are so fucking good – it’s a little out of my league. So I want to write a couple of new things that will just be offerings to that show.

I’m working on something about Burger King and something about The Smurfs – we’ll see if I finish in time . . .

JULIA: What is the most recent book you’ve read?

KIIK: Right now I’m reading A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. It’s so good! For poetry I’m reading salt. by nayyirah waheed. She’s a genius!

JULIA: Thank you so much for answering my questions and we are so excited to hear you read at The Foundry on Saturday! Thanks!

KIIK: Thank you Julia!

Kiik A.K. earned a MA from UC Davis where his poetics thesis was titled THE JOY OF HUMAN SACRIFICE and a MFA from UC San Diego where his collection of counter-internment narratives was titled EVERYDAY COLONIALISM. He is currently at work on a collection of poems titled HOGG BOOK. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Okey-Panky, iO, Washington Square, Action Yes and Alice Blue Review.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary non-profit, please consider becoming a sustaining member.

Jami Attenberg reads at The Foundry on March 18th!

The Foundry is So Say We All’s literary reading series, bringing you both established and emerging authors from all over and from right in our backyard. Come find your new favorite writer with us. Our next reading is Saturday, March 18th at 7 PM at Tiger Eye Hair!

Today we feature novelist Jami Attenberg, who will read to you from her 6th book, All Grown Up, brand new, published this week (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). It’s an enchanting and entertaining read, often quite sad despite its humor, and challenges us to root for and fall in love with a character who doesn’t always make the best decisions. Unlikeability can be risky business, and Attenberg pulls it off. Her main character, Andrea, carries us through her transition to 40, her relationship with her mother and brother, many (many) men and women, and maybe most triumphantly, her comprehension of herself.

Here’s an excerpt from All Grown Up on Lenny, “Charlotte.”

I call my brother. “Mom gave me the chair Dad died in,” I tell him. “And you took it? She tried to give it to me, too,” he says. “Well, I didn’t know what it was,” I say. “I guess I blocked it out.” That is a thing I’ve been known to do, and my brother doesn’t argue the point. “I’ve had nightmares about it,” he says. “Just toss it.” “Like in the garbage?” I say. “Andrea, just throw it away,” he says.

But I understood why my mother held on to for it so long, and also why she felt like she had to hand it off to someone instead of putting it in the garbage. It was Dad’s chair. So I decide to sell it on Craigslist, that way I know where it’s going. I look up the value of the two pieces online. The set is worth about a thousand dollars. On a Saturday morning, I list it for two-fifty. Priced to move. Looking for a good home. P.S., my father died in it.

[Read the full excerpt here: http://www.lennyletter.com/culture/a662/charlotte/]

You can also listen to NPR’s Weekend Edition interview with Jami from this Sunday here: http://www.npr.org/2017/03/05/518364707/a-middle-aged-coming-of-age-in-all-grown-up

ATTENBERG: I mean, I don’t know who made these rules, who made this list of milestones, but somebody did it. And you know, it looks something like being married or partnered up, having a kid, owning a home, knowing what your career is and what direction you want to be going in your life, kind of really wanting to know what’s next, which is something that she says a couple of times in the book. And sometimes, those milestones aren’t of interest to people or available to people. And how do you figure out what it means to be an adult if you haven’t achieved those traditional milestones?

And here’s a longer, in-depth interview with Jami at Lit Hub: http://lithub.com/jami-attenberg-on-literary-break-ups-credit-card-debt-and-epic-book-tours/

We’re looking forward to having Jami Attenberg read at The Foundry, alongside Wendy C. Ortiz, Karolina Waclawiak, Alex Zaragoza, and Kiik A.K., on Saturday March 18th at 7 PM.

We will have books for sale, drinks for donations, and some very good stories read just for you. Tiger Eye Hair is a hair salon in a scooped-out historic Texaco station in San Diego’s beautiful Golden Hill neighborhood. $5 suggested donation at the door.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary non-profit, please consider becoming a sustaining member. Details here: www.sosayweallonline.com/membership

Karolina Waclawiak reads at The Foundry on March 18th!

The Foundry is our literary reading series, bringing you the finest, the weirdest, and the best writers from across the country and across the street. The next event is Saturday, March 18th at 7 PM at Tiger Eye Hair, and features readings by Jami Attenberg, Alex Zaragoza, Kiik A.K., Wendy C. Ortiz, and today’s feature, Karolina Waclawiak.

Karolina Waclawiak’s critically acclaimed first novel, How To Get Into The Twin Palms, was published by Two Dollar Radio in 2012. Her second novel, THE INVADERS, which was published in July 2015, was recently optioned by ABC Television. AWOL, a feature she co-wrote with Deb Shoval, will premiere at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. Formerly an editor at the Believer, she is now the Deputy Culture Editor at BuzzFeed. Waclawiak received her BFA in Screenwriting from USC School of Cinematic Arts and her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. Her last name is pronounced Vahts-Slav-iak.

Karolina’s latest novel, The Invaders, is a dark look at suburban elitism. From a review in The Guardian:

David Lynch’s cinema of suburban horror would pair well with Waclawiak’s work both [in The Invaders] and in her first, LA-based novel, How to Get Into the Twin Palms. Both writer and film-maker blend traditional social criticism and with a sort of rhapsodising of the quotidian and grotesque within suburbia. Along with DJ Waldie, Bret Easton Ellis, Jeffrey Eugenides and AM Homes, Waclawiak’s The Invaders belongs to this expanding genre of “new suburban” literature.

[…]

Despite its patent cynicism, The Invaders contains hints of the same fantastical realism found in Ellis’s Lunar Park or Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides. All these books romanticise the lonely topographies, both emotional and natural, that its characters inhabit. Waclawiak’s unadorned prose puts in stark relief dark houses, vacant gardens, even the ominous churning of the sea without resorting to belaboured Freudian cant.

Here’s a brief excerpt from The Invaders, up at Lit Hub.

When our father left, our old rotary phone would ring and my sisters and I would fight like rabid dogs over who would answer it, hoping it was him, but it never was. My sisters spent less and less time at home, wanting to be away from all the sadness, the outline of missing people too grim. Boys would take them away, my mother would yell, warning them they’d end up like her, alone with a brood of ungrateful girls of their own, but they didn’t listen. Neither did I.

[read the full excerpt here]

Waclawiak’s first book, How To Get Into The Twin Palms, published by our friends at Two Dollar Radio, is a dreary, fiery (literal fire) portrayal of outsiderness and otherness in Los Angeles, devastatingly crafted. Her writing is rich, sometimes dismal, and unsettling.

And Waclawiak was announced yesterday as a National Book Awards fiction judge, alongside Dave Eggers and Alexander Chee, among others.

We are looking forward to bringing Karolina to town to read to you. Join us at The Foundry #4 on March 18th at Tiger Eye Hair in Golden Hill! Karolina Waclawiak reads with Jami Attenberg, Kiik A.K., Alex Zaragoza, and Wendy C. Ortiz. Stay tuned as we introduce you to all of the readers!

RSVP and invite your friends: https://www.facebook.com/events/274611539626150/


If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary non-profit, please consider becoming a sustaining member. Details here.

Wendy C. Ortiz reads at The Foundry on March 18th!

The Foundry is our literary reading series! We want to introduce you to your next favorite writer. Each reading features established authors and emerging writers, both from San Diego and across the country. We’re going to do a little web series so you can get to know each of the readers for The Foundry #4, coming up on Saturday, March 18th at 7 PM  at Tiger Eye Hair in Golden Hill.

The Foundry #4 will feature readings from Jami Attenberg, Karolina Waclawiak, Kiik A.K., Alex Zaragoza, and today’s feature: Wendy C. Ortiz.

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir, Hollywood Notebook, and the dreamoir Bruja. Her work has been profiled or featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the National Book Critics Circle Small Press Spotlight blog. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Hazlitt, The Lifted Brow, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, StoryQuarterly, and a year-long series appeared at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Wendy lives in Los Angeles. Visit her public notebook: wendycortiz.tumblr.com.

Wendy’s writing is powerful, thick with imagery, and beautifully sparse. The things left out from her work carry nearly as much weight as the words included. From a recent interview at The Rumpus, here’s Wendy on how perfecting the art of omission works with her self-coined genre “dreamoir” used in her new book, Bruja, published in 2016 by Civil Coping Mechanisms.

Rumpus: You’ve said in the past about your writing, “What can I omit to make it a sharper piece?”

I’m fascinated by the way Bruja forces the reader to piece together the story through symbols and narrative threads as opposed to a linear story arc. As a reader the dream format compelled me to think more deeply about the journey of the narrator—to engage in the process of discovery in a much more visceral way than I might with a traditional memoir. In a way, the omission, made the narrative more engaging. Was this something you had to think through?

Ortiz: In the original writing of it online, I never thought this through—the website was a receptacle for dreams. In editing it, I had to think through which dreams had the most to “tell,” which forced me into omitting dreams that didn’t have much of a thread (or threads that might be too obscure to follow). I also omitted dreams that felt like they told too much. It felt like a very careful removal of organs from a body, to see if the body might still function without one dream thread or another.

And her work, both in Bruja and in her earlier memoir texts, Hollywood Notebook and Excavation, is intensely personal, revelatory, and groundbreaking. She plays with genre in the same way that she plays with language and structure, pushing the boundaries of what is non-fiction, what is memoir, what is truth, and the boundaries of what a page or a story might look like: prose, poetry, truth, dream, magic.

Here’s Wendy on magical realism and magic in writing:

Rumpus: […]I felt keenly that Bruja, had an intentional spell-like—almost a magical realism—quality. Certainly, the gorgeous cover art by the artist Wendy Ortiz, and the title itself is evocative of a female archetype—a woman with magical powers. Were you thinking about this when you composed Bruja?

Ortiz: I was thinking of it the same way I think of brujería everyday without calling it that, necessarily. To me, magic is everywhere. Synchronicities fall under the “magic” heading to me. I pay attention as much as I can. I try to surround myself with other women with magical powers and a lot falls under the heading “magical powers.” To me, a bruja is able to live on and in different planes at different times and sometimes simultaneously—this is what I thought of most as I edited the text of the book—that this was my life on another plane while living on the one most people call “reality.”

Read the rest of the interview here.

I love this stunning, boundary-squashing and structure-squashing piece of her writing you can read online at the literary magazine Poor Claudia, “Celestial Body Language.” Here’s a brief clip:

Pluto Conjunct Midheaven

“personal power is mobilized”

Pluto at the top of the chart, Mars at the bottom.
“You’re here to destroy,” she said.
I stepped out of the salon clutching the cassette tape. In the attic I reset its spools.
She gave no definition for “destroy.”
Months wandered by like clouds. I counted. After five had passed I forgot I was counting.
The sixth cloud hung heavy.
Midway I sprung out of the cloud, soaking wet, then engorged with flames. Destroying came naturally, as it turned out.
I hit the ground. When the ground opened, kept running.

We are honored to have Wendy come read to you at the Foundry, and teach her (SOLD OUT!) masterclass, “Public Notebook to Book,” earlier that afternoon. Come join Wendy, Jami Attenberg, Karolina Waclawiak, Kiik A.K., and Alex Zaragoza on Saturday, March 18th at Tiger Eye Hair!


If you appreciate what we do at So Say We All, please consider becoming a sustaining member. Details here: http://www.sosayweallonline.com/membership/

 

Black Candies: The Eighties

Announcing our next Black Candies theme! The Eighties.

blackcandies80s

Black Candies is a journal of literary horror and darkness. In these dark corners, we have infinite room to grow, and to innovate. We’re allowed to push boundaries and set precedents. We revel in the daring. We aim to scare. Scary can be good. Scary can cause change.

This year, our theme is The Eighties. Whether you lived through it, or fetishize it, there’s no denying its continued effect.

Horror and the ‘80s go hand in hand. Movie fans can point to it as the decade where franchises like Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Hellraiser and Friday the 13th turned monsters into celebrities. It’s a decade that gave birth to the VHS, which allowed us to mainline horror right into our living rooms. The format also enabled a generation of crude, disgusting, and often brilliant filmmakers whose access to the expansive market gave them free reign to coat their screens with blood.

But art wasn’t the only thing that became horrific. Both consumerism and nationalism surged. Hate and bigotry blinded us to an epidemic that ravaged the country, while those in power laughed about it. We were ruled by an idiot entertainer. Any of this sound familiar?

What we’re looking for: We’re looking for stories that are set in, pay homage to, or reference the ‘80s in a major way. No smartphones, no Internet. Analog technology. Drugs. Yuppies. Wealth. Social commentary. It’s pretty open to interpretation, really. Think Stranger Things. Think nostalgia. Think Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

What we’re not looking for: Even though splatter films ruled the era, that’s not what we want. Black Candies attempts to publish the best in literary horror. We want to be scared, shaken and disturbed by your story, but at the same time, we want to fall in love with your prose. We want it to be smart. Gore and blood is fine as long as your story doesn’t obsess over it.

No word limit, but 2,000-6,000 is ideal.

As always, Black Candies makes a concerted effort to make horror less of a white dudes club. We would love to read more submissions from women, POC, LGBTQ, and diverse voices.

[You can buy some of our prior issues on Amazon: Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable and Black Candies: Surveillance.]

Submission deadline: August 31st, 2017

READY? Go to our submissions portal here.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, the literary non-profit and small press that brings you books like Black Candies, please consider becoming a sustaining member for as little as $5 per month.

Wendy C. Ortiz teaches a master class with So Say We All

The Foundry #4 is coming up on March 18th, and with it, Wendy C. Ortiz will be joining us to read. She will also teach a very special master class with us that day.

Master class: Public Notebook to Book
Wendy C. Ortiz
Saturday March 18th 1-4 pm
Words Alive
5111 Santa Fe St # 219 (upstairs),
San Diego, CA 92109

There are infinite ways and means of writing a book, and social media platforms such as tumblr, Twitter, and Snapchat offer some particular and innovative ways of moving from the “public notebook” to book. Hollywood Notebook, a prose poem-ish memoir, and Bruja, a dreamoir, both began as public notebooks and eventually found their way to becoming print books. We will discuss different social media platforms and how using them in specific ways can contribute to multiple narrative threads we might use in the creation of a book. Discussion topics will include journaling, persona, audience, and the art of omission. By workshop end, participants will have experimented with creating a “public notebook.”

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir, Hollywood Notebook, and the dreamoir Bruja. Her work has been profiled or featured in the Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and the National Book Critics Circle Small Press Spotlight blog. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Hazlitt, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, StoryQuarterly, and a year-long series appeared at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Wendy lives in Los Angeles.


Limited to 7 workshop participants. Scholarships available.

$55 non-members
$45 sustaining members

REGISTER NOWhttps://squareup.com/market/so-say-we-all/item/m-master-class-with-wendy-ortiz

Members: Enter code WENDYMEMBER at checkout to get your discount (and be honest like your mama taught you). To become a member for as little as $5 per month, visit www.sosayweallonline.com/membership

To apply for a scholarship for this fantastic class, fill out this application. The scholarship deadline is February 25th, and we will notify you by March 1st.


Stay tuned for more details about The Foundry #4 at 7 PM on March 18th, the night of the workshop, featuring readings by Wendy, Jami Attenberg, Karolina Waclawiak, and more.

 

Video: Ari Honarvar’s “When The New Normal Becomes The Law”

At VAMP: Law and Disorder last Thursday night, January 26th, 2017, San Diego writer Ari Honarvar read her piece, “When The New Normal Becomes The Law.”

It started with a murmur of worry, a tiny fracture in our boundless optimism. Whispers surfaced that opposing views wouldn’t be tolerated by our new government. Surely that was paranoid nonsense, we thought, but before we could remember former civil rights, newspapers were shut down and people of a certain religion were targeted. Women’s rights were cut in half and just like that half the population became second class citizens.

We’ve put the video online for you:

Even though I had forgotten what freedom felt like, I often revisited the fantasy that maybe nature would take care of a bad situation. Last night, my cat disposed of a deformed kitten in the litter by eating it, so maybe an invisible mother cat would eat this erratic deformed monster of a government.

Ari Honarvar was born into a family of poets and poetry lovers and raised in Shiraz, the Persian city of gardens, love and wine. She is a translator, performer and an artist who blends Persian calligraphy and painting. Her work has been featured on Huffington Post, Elephant Journal and NPR. Her Oracle Card Set and book, Rumi’s Gift is forthcoming in 2017. www.rumiwithaview.com

A version of this story was published on Elephant Journal this month.

Still photograph by Matt Baldwin
Videography and editing by David Jay and Greg Tuttle


We are committed to sharing stories, and the experiences, fears, triumphs, joys, heartbreaks inside of those stories. Sometimes the stories that are the hardest to hear or the hardest to find, are the ones that resonate with us the most. If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary non-profit, please consider becoming a supporting member for as little as $5 per month.

Crossing the Military-Civilian Divide: Stories and Conversation

San Diego Public Library and So Say We All bring military and civilian writers together to start conversation “across the divide.”

SAN DIEGO: The San Diego Public Library, in collaboration with local nonprofit arts organization, So Say We All, will host an evening of readings and discussion aimed at helping to bridge the cultural gap that too often separates the military and civilian communities.

The event, “Crossing the Military-Civilian Divide: Stories and Conversation,” will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m on Wednesday, February 15 at the Point Loma Hervey Branch of the San Diego Public Library. The branch houses one of two veterans resource centers in the city library system.

“Our work brings us into contact daily with our veteran as well as our civilian communities,” says Christine Gonzalez, director of the Point Loma Hervey Library. “This program is an exciting way to serve them both. We understand how stories, both fiction and nonfiction, can let us all feel what it is like to be someone else for a little while. They can open the door to conversations we want to have but sometimes might find difficult.”

Dean Nelson, head of Point Loma University’s journalism program, will moderate a panel of five authors who have published work exploring war and returning home from deployment. Three veterans, Michelle Kerouac, Derrick Woodford, and Adam Stone, will read from their contributions to So Say We All’s “Incoming” series and anthology. They will be joined by two civilians, memoirist and frequent NPR contributor Sue Diaz of Encinitas (“Minefields of the Heart”/Potomac) and novelist Elizabeth Marro of San Diego (“Casualties”/Berkley Books).

“What’s exciting about this panel is that it will blend so many perspectives – a military wife, a career Marine trying to reenter civilian life after his last combat mission, a son who joins the Army after coming out to his mother, and two civilian mothers – one whose son served two tours of duty in Iraq’s “Triangle of Death,” and one whose novel centers on a fictional mother and son,” says Justin Hudnall, Executive Director of So Say We All, the publisher of Incoming and the force behind the popular KPBS series of the same name. “And we hope to hear whatever our audience wants to share – their perspectives, their questions, and their own stories.”

The program will open with a segment from “Permission To Speak Freely,” the video series coproduced by So Say We All and KPBS. Admission is free and refreshments will be served.

Crossing the Military-Civilian Divide: Stories and Conversation
Wednesday, February 15th
6:30-8:30 PM
SDPL Pt. Loma/Hervey Branch
FREE

For more information about the event contact Elizabeth Marro, (619) 751-8496 or betsymarro@gmail.com. For more information about San Diego Public Library, and its veterans resource centers, contact Christine Gonzalez at 619-531-1539 or CGonzalez@sandiego.gov

Visit the Facebook event and invite people you know: https://www.facebook.com/events/207968319671925/


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The SSWA Literary Prize in Fiction judged by Leesa Cross-Smith

Announcing the brand new, first ever So Say We All Literary Prize in Fiction! One first place winner will receive a $250 prize and publication online and in print. We are excited to explore this realm. And! We are extra excited (and feeling a bit fannish) because our inaugural contest will be judged by the amazing Leesa Cross-Smith.

Leesa Cross-Smith is the author of Every Kiss a War and the editor of WhiskeyPaper. Her work has appeared in Best Small Fictions. She loves baseball and musicals. Find more @ LeesaCrossSmith.com and WhiskeyPaper.com.

Contest Guidelines:

  • We are looking for fiction short stories
  • Surprise us. We want your beautiful, your weird, your uncouth, your unexpected, your experiments, your sadness, your joy, your fear. Story is our currency here: give us characters we can’t forget doing things we can’t forget.
  • Length: under 3,000 words please.
  • Please make sure your submission does not have your name or any identifying information in the attachment
  • One story per $10 entry fee. Multiple submissions are fine, as long as each is its own entry with its own $10 entry fee.
  • Simultaneous submissions are also just fine. However, if your work gets picked up elsewhere, please withdraw immediately. Entry fees are, regretfully, not refundable.

Contest Details:

  • Submission window: 1/15/17 – 4/30/17
  • Deadline: April 30th, 2017 at 11:59 PM pacific time
  • $10 entry fee
  • $250 prize for one first place winner
  • Blind submission process! No names in your files!
  • The winner’s story will be illustrated, published in The Radvocate Issue Fifteen, and published online on our website.
  • The top five finalists will also be published in The Radvocate Issue Fifteen.
  • All contest entries will be considered for publication in The Radvocate Issue Fifteen.
  • We love you and cannot wait to read your work and share it with Leesa.

Ready? SUBMIT HERE.

Here’s a little bit more about our judge:

Leesa Cross-Smith is a homemaker and writer from Kentucky. She is the author of Every Kiss a War (Mojave River Press, 2014). Every Kiss a War was a finalist for both the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction (2012) and the Iowa Short Fiction Award (2012). Her short story “Whiskey & Ribbons” won Editor’s Choice in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest (2011) and was listed as a notable story for storySouth‘s Million Writers Award. She is a consulting editor for Best Small Fictions 2017. Her work has appeared in Best Small Fictions 2015, SmokeLong QuarterlyLittle FictionWigleaf Top 50Longform FictionCarve Magazine, Hobart, NANO FictionMonkeybicyclePithead ChapelGigantic SequinsFolioAmerican Short Fiction (online)Midwestern GothicJukedWord Riot, Sundog LitThe Rumpus, and many others. She and her husband Loran run a literary magazine called WhiskeyPaper.

Send Leesa your brightest stars. You got this.


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