Tag Archives: Incoming

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

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

$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.

Writers Workshop – Conflicted: Telling the Stories of Conflicts

We are so excited to be presenting four national powerhouses in literature, radio, and journalism all on one stage this February to discuss the process and lessons learned from writing about conflict in its many iterations. Please don’t miss out on this very special opportunity we’ve setup for you to meet some of the most important voices in the business!

Writer’s Symposium by the Sea: WRITING WORKSHOP
Conflicted: Telling the Stories of Conflicts at Home, Abroad, and In the Heart

What does it take to tell the stories of war, life inside an occupied territory, or political, cultural, and racial upheaval within our own borders? We’ve assembled a panel of writers who have gone to the heart of these conflicts in order to tell us what we need to hear and have paid a price for doing it.

We’ll be in conversation with four writers who have witnessed or lived through war or racial and cultural upheaval within our own borders and have brought their stories to the page, screen, radio, and the stage. We’ll hear excerpts of their work, ask them what it takes to do it, and how it changes them.

We’ll hear about the same war from the point of view of a civilian journalist Kelly McEvers, now co-host of NPR’s All Things Considered, and veteran and author of the forthcoming memoir Full Battle Rattle, Brooke King. We’ll hear from poet, playwright and Reveal cohost Al Letson about his journey into an often-divided America and how this led once to tossing aside journalistic distance to shield a white nationalist protestor at Berkley. Jeanne Guerrero, investigative reporter for KPBS’ Fronteras and author of the forthcoming Crux: A Cross-Border Memoir, will share what it is like to cover the humans who live on both sides of the border as they try to build lives in a constantly shifting world.

Why does someone choose to write the most difficult stories? What about the inner conflicts these story-tellers confront and how do these shape the stories they tell us? These are just some of the questions we will explore with our panel members who have experienced and written about some of our world’s most challenging conflicts for the page, theater, film, or broadcast – sometimes more than one of these.

Full details for the program can be found here: https://www.pointloma.edu/events/writers-symposium-sea

$5 student
$10 general

So Say We All is a literary and performing arts non-profit organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals to tell their stories, and the force behind Incoming, a series dedicated to sharing stories written by our veterans, told in their own words. The Writers Symposium by the Sea is an annual event which for over 20 years has brought interviews with innovative creators, life stories, examples of great writing, and evocative conversation that inspire readers and writers alike.

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


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


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.

The SSWA Gary Armstrong Memorial Veteran Writers Scholarship

Announcing the So Say We All Gary Armstrong Memorial Veteran Writers Scholarship, which will be offered to a veteran for each of our master classes, including this weekend’s “Fooling Ourselves (Into Writing)” with Jac Jemc. Apply now: the extended deadline is Thursday 9/7 at noon. (The application is a simple Google Doc).

This scholarship was made possible by the thoughtful generosity of Gary’s friends and loved ones, and by the legacy Gary left with those who knew him: to write, to share, and to look out for one another. Here is a note from Gary’s niece:

My uncle, Gary Armstrong, would have been so very pleased to know that this gift will give other veterans an opportunity to speak their truth.  His involvement in a writing group was a godsend.  His writing gave him a vehicle to express joy, to honor the loves of his life, (especially my aunt, Anita and their cat/son Freedom), to show fondness, appreciation and gratitude to his friends, and to share things that made him laugh or made him curious.  It also provided him a place to air frustrations, vent righteous anger and work through difficulties.  He called himself ‘The Bard of the Bus Stop’, because you could find him living, learning and experiencing much that he wrote of from that very vantage point.  His writing is unconventional, like the man himself.

In his lifetime, he never had much money and he suffered many losses.  An over-fondness for alcohol limited his options and landed him on the street more than once and for long stretches at a time.  Through it all, he retained a deep humanity, a sense of fairness, of hope, and a love of life.  He knew he was a man blessed. No matter his circumstances he could always find a synchronicity to prove it to you, he could always work the experiences of his life into rhyme, or near rhyme and that sense of wonder was never far from his consciousness.

Though he did not write these words, he spoke them often and lived by them, I think he’d approve of me sharing.
“Love life, be gentle and take care of one another.” ~ (unknown)
and always remember to, “Keep the faith, baby!” ~ (Adam Powell)

Kelly Patterson, August ’17

Gary Armstrong

Spread the word about this Thursday’s scholarship deadline for this Saturday’s class, but also keep an eye out for future scholarship offerings.

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

Fractured Flashes: Matt Young teaches a master class with SSWA!

The Foundry #5 is coming up on June 10th, and with it, Incoming  contributor Matt Young is coming to town to teach a special master class with So Say We All that same day.

Fractured Flashes: Writing the Very Short Narrative Essay
A So Say We All Master Class with Matt Young


An in-depth look at the fractured parts that make us, and how to mine those moments of our lives in order to craft effective and engaging narrative flash creative nonfiction with the intent to publish. Students will read and discuss professional essays, explore memory recovery, discover ways to integrate research and personal experience, begin crafting a narrative, learn to give and receive effective feedback, leave with a draft-in-progress, and create a community of peer writers.

About your instructor:

Matt Young is a Marine Corps infantry veteran, teacher, editor, and writer. His work can be found in Incoming: Veteran Writers On Coming Home, CONSEQUENCE magazine, Split Lip, Word Riot, Tin House, River Teeth, and many others. He teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at Centralia College in Washington State. He is the author of Eat the Apple (Bloomsbury 2018), a multi-genre flash nonfiction war memoir about his three combat deployments to Iraq between 2005 and 2009. Find out more at www.mattyoungauthor.com or follow him on Twitter @young_em_see

Fractured Flashes: Writing The Very Short Narrative Essay
A So Say We All Master Class with Matt Young
Saturday, June 10th
10-2 pm

5111 Santa Fe St., Ste 219 (UPSTAIRS)
San Diego, CA 92109

$45 public
$35 member
Full Veteran Writers Division Scholarships available!

REGISTER NOWhttps://squareup.com/market/so-say-we-all/item/master-class-with-matt-young

Members: Enter code MCMEMBER 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 Veteran Writers Division Scholarships for this fantastic class, fill out this application. The scholarship deadline is May 20th, and we will notify you by May 25th.

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


Call for submissions: Incoming, “Sex Drugs and Copenhagen.”

So Say We All’s Veteran Writers Division is accepting submissions for its next Incoming anthology, tentatively titled: “Sex, Drugs, and Copenhagen.” We were originally going to call it “Sex Drugs, and Coping Mechanisms” but couldn’t help paying homage to the great and horrible chaw that has kept so many service members awake on watch through the night.

We’re looking for non-fiction stories related to coping mechanisms, affairs, violating protocol in the name of escapism, mental health vacations, shore leave / R&R adventures, emergency sex, adopting a base cat, or other extreme actions taken to alleviate boredom and preserve sanity during one’s service or the period that followed during reintegration to the civilian world. We’re interested in any interpretation you might take on the theme, so feel free to surprise us.

We hope in choosing this topic that we’re able to offer veteran writers a chance to consider their service through humor, absurdism, and surrealism if they find it appropriate (though all takes on the theme are welcome), and provide our readers insights into the lesser-talked about  inglorious aspects of service: the tricks and tales of what people have to do to endure boredom, loneliness, heartbreak, trauma, and other human traits that undermine the all-consuming need to remain “effective”. Active duty writers concerned about negatively affecting their careers are welcome to submit under a pen name. We get it.

Veterans of all branches and generations, active duty service members, military family members, and interpreters are welcome to submit non-fiction works up to 7,000 words in length or less. Previously published work is welcome as long as you indicate in your cover letter where the work received its first publication. Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. Contributors will receive a contributor copy by mail.

You can learn more about our previous volume, Returning Home, read reviews, and hear stories from previous contributors at www.incomingradio.org“.

We look forward to reading your work!

– So Say We All


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

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/

Please consider supporting So Say We All by becoming a sustaining member here.

An interview with Justin Hudnall in War, Literature and the Arts Journal

Read Megan Kahn’s interview with Justin Hudnall in the current issue of War, Literature & the Arts.

Justin and Megan’s interview addresses the need for veteran literature and literary outreach in general, and, in insightful and revealing detail, they break down the process of creating and editing Incoming, both the book and the episodes of the radio show.

[W]e’d like to see the literary industry become much more populist in general, willing to invest more in developing voices and mentoring them rather than just waiting for finished novels and memoirs to show up at their door, because the majority of those come from people of privilege and education, which results in a monotone body of works available. If people aren’t reading enough, I believe it’s because they’re not seeing their lives reflected in the stories being shoved at them.


I believe the Incoming project—as much media as funding allows us to generate through it—is good for our democracy, to “bridge the gap” as the oft-used phrase goes, between the small minority that carries the burden for their entire country’s foreign policy, and the rest in order for them to understand the world they’re living in.

Read the rest here: http://wlajournal.com/wlaarchive/28/kahn.pdf

Thank you Megan and all at WLA. The issue of WLA Journal also features poetry, fiction, memoir, art, other interviews, critical essays, lectures, reviews, and more. And for you veteran writers out there, they accept submissions year round, so send them your work!

To support Incoming and the work So Say We All does in education, publishing, and performance outreach, please consider donating to our winter fundraiser or becoming a sustaining member. We need your help!

Our 2016 Publications for your Cyber Monday Pleasure

While 2016 seems to have taken a collective dump on civilization, we are proud of the books we released this year and the incredible and under-heard voices we published. Though 2016 is almost over, we will not go quietly. Read our books. Hear these voices. And on this Cyber of all Mondays, we invite you to support a non-profit while stuffing some fine literature into the stockings of your loved ones (and yourself).


Please also consider supporting So Say We All during our winter fundraising campaign, or including a donation as a gift to a friend or family member: https://fundrazr.com/b1BZO3?ref=ab_e2F0Fe

Veteran’s Day story: “The Mountain” by Andrew Szala

15045778_10210223317995021_1552594302_nIn honor of Veteran’s Day, So Say We All would like to present you with a story we had the privledge of publishing in Incoming: Veteran Writers on Returning Home, “The Mountain,” by Andrew Szala.

Andrew Szala witnessed the horrors of the war in Afghanistan while serving as a U.S. Army Combat Medic, upon returning home, he witnessed its lasting effects. Currently, he lives with his wife, son and bulldog outside Providence, R.I. where he is working on his latest stage play, The Pressure Cooker.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we did, that you take some time during the holiday to reflect on those few who have served for us all, and if you’d like to read more, pickup a copy of Incoming to read all the veteran voices we’ve had the privilege of publishing.

THE MOUNTAIN – by Andrew Szala

The mountain is tall. Late summer leaves. Initially, he pulls his car up. He does not notice anyone at the trailhead. He ventures deeper. He encounters cars, one, two at most. He’s unfazed and knows what he is doing. No moment of hesitation, no last glance at his car, the door closes and there is only forward now. He’s used to this. The mountain hides the exertion required to proceed.

On his exit from active duty there had been parties. Friends came out of the woodwork at his homecoming, patting him on the back and telling him how they would have joined also but… there was always a but, and a reason why they couldn’t put their lives on hold.

As the days passed and turned to weeks the friends came by less. While he’d been away they’d gotten on with their lives, and in his mind he had become like a scar, present but not thought of until looked directly at. He and his wife began to fight more. His temper would rage and quickly reach a crescendo before falling abruptly off with his exhaustion. Always exhaustion. Sleep came in sprints and his mind took him back to the desert while he dreamed.

The mountain at its base is wide and the path hot. The trees hold the mountain’s breath beneath their leaves. As he passes the descending hikers, only a quick nod is exchanged. His presence barely registered. How different they seem. His climb is not for sport, nor fitness. He drinks no water.

He’d felt trapped in his body. Isolated in his mind. His new sobriety added to his seclusion as he watched those around him in merriment while he sipped diet coke. Confirming what he already knew; he was different. It was not his presence, but lack thereof which burned her the most. He was a zombie.

“What’s wrong?’ became a daily question which he yearned to answer.

The last hikers pass on the way down. He’s alone. The mountain is indifferent. Each step draws him to the peak. He hears no birds or song.

The necessity of the military, in some capacity, was not up for debate. He knew this, and while we had made great strides towards peace, our kind will never exist without the presence of evil draped in the robes of good. He struggled for a long time. Unable to place into words why it was ok to do the things he had. What took him the longest to overcome was the fact there was evil on both sides of any war and like all things, the sum lived in the grey. His actions held him in high esteem among his peers, but knowledge muddied this fact.

He would try. He would resolve to be better, to immerse himself in the world and live. But, to fall. He would see around him the emptiness of a world without the hierarchy of the military. The outside world had no form and rules were seen as disposable. It made no sense; who won and lost. He began to build resentment to his own helplessness. He struggled to maintain the bearing the military had built into him. His footholds disappeared.

He entered college in an attempt to better this. He joined the military for the same reason. Here, he saw it: a tattered yellow ribbon informing all how much the troops would be supported. After a while all those ribbons began to feel like a lie, a placebo, made to make their owners feel better about their own helplessness in a burning world. In the end, no one had to actually support the troops as long as they said they did. Finding employment reinforced this conclusion. A veteran preference, as a concept, was not readily applied during the hiring process; his skills did not translate.

His time was passing. Sitting in the VA. No one from his war, his guilt at feeling this mattered somehow. Each one seemed somehow different and the same. Was he one of these? So many broken. He was like a child in a physician’s office waiting for his grandmother. Some tried, most did not. Their battle was apathy.

When she left he couldn’t blame her. When she took his children, what could he say? His mind was absent, his body a shade. He sat, sometimes for days in his world, scrolling through social media, angered by the nature of others’ daily problems. They would never know real stress; they would never know real.

When he saw pictures of his wife and her new…that…holding his child it confirmed what he already knew: he did not exist. He had been erased and his story retold without him. Their happiness was a new pain.

He is in the violet world: making his way through the trees, as the path grows hard to see and the journey more beat. His mouth dry, clothes drowned. It was here he saw it, his way out, a small break ahead to take in open air. The mountain’s last light.

He felt the forgotten. Used and tossed aside. Disposable for a purpose, a bargaining chip, an advertisement, a discount at a diner where no one wants to eat. One day a year for him and weekend in the spring for his friends past. His anger and guilt at these thoughts came in equal spades. His mind often turned to his brothers who’d passed. He thought of each individual soldier and how they lived. They were not sports stars. They were not beautiful creatures. They were men and women, their blood red. He remembered Abdul, “Aziz,” his interpreter, medevac’d after walking over an old mine. He never knew if he survived. Often with combat no closure could be found.

He emerges from the tree line into the sun. Up here he can see the basket of the earth in the valley below. He can see it is larger than him and knows it will exist without him. There before him is a warm expanse of grass and dirt, the soldiers’ throne. It only takes a finger.