Tag Archives: San Diego

Henry Hoke reads at The Foundry on January 14th!

The Foundry is our literary reading series! It’s this Saturday 1/14 (tomorrow!), at 8 PM at Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa.

Tomorrow’s reading features wild, weird, beautiful, funny, intense, and unexpected work from amazing authors we are truly honored to host here in San Diego: Meredith Alling, Cali Linfor, Justin Maurer, Leah Thomas, and today’s feature: Henry Hoke.

Henry Hoke is southern expat gothic. He wrote The Book of Endless Sleepovers (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016) and Genevieves (winner of the Subito Press prose contest, forthcoming 2017). Some of his stories appear in The Collagist, PANK, Winter Tangerine and Carve. He co-created and directs Enter>text, a living literary journal.

I first heard about Henry by way of seeing his book cover (revealed online by the designer, a writer/friend Ryan W. Bradley), which is an excellent “judge a book by its cover” meeting story. His debut, The Book of Endless Sleepovers (2016, Civil Coping Mechanisms) is a powerful book that slithers through boyhood, love, agony, predators, fear, family in an almost mystical way. It’s a quick and feverish read, but masterful in its completeness. And yes, it has a killer cover.

An excerpt:

Parents: if you teach your children to pray, they will only pray for endless sleepovers.

“It’s a little bit night and a little bit morning.” 4am, not dawn, but when day teases the edges of the world. If they walked outside they’d be drifting silhouettes, a terrifying time. But warm inside, Huck’s mumbled response is comforting. Tom wakes up at 4am when he sleeps over, wakes loudly or moves just enough to rouse Huck, and Tom always asks the same question: “What time is it?” And Huck always has the same answer: “it’s a little bit night and a little bit morning.” Tom wakes at this time for the rest of his life.


“We have to work out a system,” Huck says and lays out a map of tunnels and turrets on the rug. Tom stares at a spot of dried blood on Huck’s ear. It’s all Tom can see. It’s going to be the best snow fort ever.


Imagine yourself on a raft in a slow-moving river at night. Every soft animal makes sounds from the bank. You are in the center of the raft, and surrounding you are all your friends, asleep. This is heaven. He wakes you up by singing “I just stuck a top in my crotch.” You wonder if he’s sure what crotch means and if he’s hurt and if you are in love with him. The water is stupid with stars.


When the girls twist the stems of apples and the pop-tops of canned Coke they always end up on H for Huck. Never, in the history of twisting girls, have they reached the letter T.

Tom and Huck are on their backs in the grass again.
Huck says he can’t wait to have kids, so he can beat them.
Tom tries to imagine what their children would look like.

How many times can you write the word “pussy” in a book of Mad Libs? Tonight we’re going to find out. By god.

–from The Book of Endless Sleepovers by Henry Hoke

Henry’s next book, Genevieves, is forthcoming this year. We can’t wait to read it, and we can’t wait to introduce San Diego to Henry. Join him, along with Meredith Alling, Leah Thomas, Cali Linfor, and Justin Maurer, at The Foundry reading series, this Saturday, January 14th, at 8 PM at Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa.

Saturday, January 14th at 8 PM
Public Square Coffee House
8275 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa CA 91942
$5 suggested donation.

–Julia Dixon Evans

If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary arts non-profit and small press, please consider becoming a sustaining member (for as little as $5 per month). We love you and we can’t do this without you.

Justin Maurer reads at The Foundry on 1/14

The Foundry #3 is coming up on Saturday 1/14, 8 PM at Public Square Coffee in La Mesa. As we approach the show, we are introducing you to the readers! The reading features Meredith Alling, Leah Thomas, Cali Linfor, Henry Hoke, and today’s profile, Justin Maurer.

Justin Maurer‘s first language was American Sign Language as his mom is Deaf. He grew up on the west coast and as a young man traveled the world with his punk band Clorox Girls. He continues to play in bands like Maniac and Suspect Parts. Maurer was recently in a comedy bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live. He has written 3 chapbooks and has been published in The Rumpus, Vice Spain, L.A. Record, Volume One Brooklyn, Faster Times, Yay L.A. Magazine, Razorcake, and more. His day job is selling digital X-ray devices to dentists. See more of his music and writing here: www.justin-maurer.com

I recently read Justin’s chapbook of stories, Seventeen Television, published in 2013 by Vol. 1 Brooklyn. His non-fiction writing is a visceral, unflinching portrayal of punk rock, of love, of a distressed family, and of figuring out what it is we’re doing in the world. His narratives are gritty and revealing, and in many ways, weirdly endearing.

From “Mexico City,” which appeared in Seventeen Television.

In my mouth went pork, bacon, carne asada, roasted peppers, bread, avocado, and some other things. I chewed and chewed. When I couldn’t chew anymore, I just swallowed. It was the last unholy bite–I was determined.

Salut Blue Demon,” I said. I placed the last fistful of torta into my mouth and swallowed. It felt like it was going to come back up, but I held it down. I took a gulp of my chelita and said, “Gracias, señor.”

The place erupted. I was congratulated ferociously. Bottles of tequila and mescal were placed on the table and uncorked. […] Blue Demon gave us a card with his name and address inviting us for drinks. We had found the Wizard of Oz.

Much of the next day was spent on the toilet. In Mexico City, toilet paper can’t be flushed, so the bathroom wastebaskets are full of recently used toilet tissue. Along with the altitude, this makes a prodigious hangover even more monumental.

–Justin Maurer, from Seventeen Television.

Join Justin as he swings through San Diego to read to you (yes you). He’ll read alongside Meredith Alling, Leah Thomas, Cali Linfor, and Henry Hoke at the Foundry #3, Saturday January 14th at 8 PM at Public Square Coffee House.

Saturday, January 14th at 8 PM
Public Square Coffee House
8275 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa CA 91942
$5 suggested donation.

–Julia Dixon Evans

If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary arts non-profit and small press, please consider becoming a sustaining member (for as little as $5 per month). We love you and we can’t do this without you.

The Radvocate re-opens for submissions 1/15!

We will open submissions for The Radvocate on January 15th to prepare for our fifteenth issue. The submission deadline will be April 30th, 2017.

Submit here: https://sosayweallonline.submittable.com/submit/44969/the-radvocate

The Radvocate is our literary magazine, publishing a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, interviews, art, whatever. Try us!

We are also running a contest (a contest!) this year. Judged by Leesa Cross-Smith! Cash prize! Low entry fee! Give money to a worthy non-profit and maybe win some $$$ and luminous fame and glory for yourself! Details here: http://www.sosayweallonline.com/contest/

If you’d like some inspiration, you can order The Radvocate #14 here and The Radvocate #13 here.

If you like what we do at So Say We All, the literary arts non-profit that publishes the Radvocate, please consider becoming a sustaining member. As little as $5 per month helps us plan and provide the best programming we can.

Cali Linfor reads at The Foundry on 1/14

The Foundry is our literary reading series, and as we kick off its second year this Saturday, 1/14 at Public Square Coffee in La Mesa, we’d love to introduce you to the readers.

This Saturday’s reading features Meredith Alling, Leah Thomas, Henry Hoke, Justin Maurer, and Cali Linfor.

Cali Linfor teaches at SDSU, where she lectures in rhetoric, composition and writing. She served for sixteen years as poetry editor of Epicenter Literary Magazine; she has published poems, articles, and short stories in The Beloit Poetry Review, Manzanita Review, Ekphrasis, and others. Linfor was born with a genetic disability that has influenced her examinations of beauty and ugliness, and her encounters with reading and writing as a child were affected by dyslexia. Her first book, A Book of Ugly Things, appears in Lantern Tree: Four Books of Poems.

The first time I read Cali’s work was years ago, in a friend’s kitchen. We were making dinner together, and she put A Book of Ugly Things in my hands and pointed to a poem, “My Lover Runs His Fingers over Me.” I no longer have a copy of the book but I vividly remember the line: “Cut/where the scar still laps into air / and bone… Don’t be afraid. Enter me. Here.”

Cali’s poetry is unnerving, intimate, and unexpected. Sometimes horrific, always gorgeous. From her latest publication, “The Dark Question”:

When you dream
the dream of babies,
does each limb slumber
in its place? Every breath
is holy?

Five fingers and five toes. Even the dream catcher
has five strings crossing each other in the light.
The sparrow’s beak just so, the raindrop
perfect, and the open mouth of the flea.

The dark question, birth,
what right have I
to bear children
who surely could not be
in the image of God?


Read the rest of the poem here, at WordGathering.

We hope you’ll join us at The Foundry #3 to listen to Cali read some of her brand new work.

The Foundry #3 features Cali along with Meredith Alling, Leah Thomas, Henry Hoke, and Justin Maurer. Saturday, January 14th at 8 PM at Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa.

Julia Dixon Evans

If you like what we do at So Say We All, please consider becoming a supporting member for as little as $5 per month, or making a one-time contribution to our winter fundraiser here.

An interview with The Foundry’s Meredith Alling

The Foundry is our literary reading series. We hope to see you at The Foundry #3, on Saturday, January 14th at 8 PM at Public Square Coffee House in the La Mesa Village. As we approach the show, we’ll feature the readers so you can get to know them (and get super excited). Up next is Meredith Alling.

Meredith Alling lives in Los Angeles, and is author of the brand new story collection Sing The Song, from Future Tense Books. Sing The Song is beautiful work. Meredith’s stories, some heartbreakingly tiny, some sprawling and vast, are gorgeous and unsettling. She has a sharp wit with language and a gift of crafting characters and places that quickly get under your skin. And we can’t wait to share her voice with you at the Foundry.

So Say We All’s program director and Foundry host Julia Dixon Evans recently had a chance to ask Meredith a few questions about her book, her writing process, and Los Angeles.

JULIA DIXON EVANS: Do you remember when we met? I do. It was on Twitter. But then in real life?

MEREDITH ALLING: I have a really terrible memory when it comes to details, especially when it’s a question of time, but I am pretty sure we officially met on the rooftop of the Standard Hotel in LA one night during AWP 2016. And we had a good time and bonded for life.

JDE: And then the next night I heard you read “Rita.” I remember writing down a line (“nothing between me and the ground is untrue”) and feeling almost giddy when I rediscovered it in Sing The Song. But I loved your live reading. How do you prepare? How do you choose what to read

MA: I actually haven’t done that many readings. Less than ten. How I prepare is by taking half a Xanax and then having a drink. You’re not supposed to mix Xanax with alcohol, but this combination works for me, and I’m still basically blacking out with anxiety, just not to the point of paralysis. As far as choosing what to read, I try to pick stories that will be entertaining when read aloud, either because they are easy to follow or funny or some combination. I’ve been bored at a lot of readings (sorry) so I don’t want to be boring.

JDE: You’re definitely not boring. And that same month, you had just found out that Sing The Song was going to be published! What was the best part of that process, of watching your stories go from disparate little things into a book?

MA: Finding out that the book was going to happen was a big deal. I was a huge fan of Future Tense and for years I had literal daydreams about publishing something with them, so that moment of finding out was extremely special. It was also really great to work with Kevin Sampsell and Bianca Flores on edits. They were both really supportive of my style, and while they had great notes, they always left the final decision up to me. That’s something unique to working with a small press, I think. I have friends who have published with big houses, and sometimes the project can get away from them.

JDE: Let’s go back to that line, “nothing between me and the ground is untrue.” That, and so many other moments in the book (other faves – Lady Legs: the dirt was soft and stupid, Hellsure: Catherine on a wormless morning, praying to God), where every word seems to matter and seems to be incredibly unexpected and revealing, revolutionary almost, made me wonder: do you write carefully? Is it calculated? Or are you more frantic, getting a storyline out of your brain and then you go back to fine tune these gems?

MA: I write very carefully, and slowly. Most of my stories don’t have a strong narrative arc, or a narrative arc at all, so a lot of it is about the mood, and for me, I like to get into that on a sentence level. I spend a lot of time on each sentence. I like to get into the language and work on the tone and create those unexpected moments that begin as unexpected moments for me, too.

JDE: I felt, more than with most short story collections, that your book was unputdownable. Part of that is that the writing is propulsive and brilliant, of course, but also, I think there’s something intentional in the way these stories are pieced together and ordered. Can you talk about that a little?

MA: That is very generous, and I’m glad to hear that, as the process of ordering the stories was a little nerve-wrecking. There are so many, and they are all so different (I think), and so it felt tricky to figure out how to be deliberate about the order. Bianca was really helpful in working with me on that, and we ended up deciding on an order that we felt would build energy as you read.

JDE: What was it like to create new work for the book?

MA: It was fun but also stressful. I had days when I felt really good and confident, and other days when I was worried and scared. I guess that’s just writing (or any creative work), but knowing that what I was working on was possibly going to be part of this book that was already in motion added a new level of pressure. I would try to put that thought out of my head and write as I normally do, but it was hard. Ultimately I feel really happy with the new work, but there were a lot of emotions.

JDE: You have a super fascinating job. Tell everyone what you do.

MA: I work for a nonprofit called 1in6 that provides resources and support to men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences. We also support the people who care about them (family, friends, professionals, etc). I’ve been with 1in6 for almost four years now, and I manage our awareness campaigns as well as our social media and various creative projects. It’s a great organization, and I’ll call out two of our resources here: our free and confidential 24/7 online support line, where anyone can go whether they are in crisis, have questions, or are looking for local resources, and our free and confidential online peer support groups, which meet twice a week for men who have experienced any form of sexual abuse or assault.

JDE: And how do you manage or pair making art with doing difficult, heady work like that during the day?

MA: As part of my work at the nonprofit, I hear and read really unbelievable stories of survival, and that perspective helps to keep me grateful for being able to do things I enjoy and want to do. Writing is really hard work, but it’s also fun, and something I’m doing because I want to do it. I don’t make myself write on any kind of schedule or set any sort of word count goals or whatever, and part of that is because I want it to remain this thing I enjoy and that I’m grateful to have in my life. There’s so much freedom in writing. I’m getting really corny. Writing I love you.

JDE: Writing definitely loves you back. Also, you’re a big reader, which, y’know, is one of those make-or-break things for writers. What book(s) are you the most looking forward to reading this year?

MA: Oh man, a lot. Off the top of the dome: Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell, Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang, Caca Dolce by Chelsea Martin, Too Much and Not the Mood by Durga Chew-Bose, Genevieves by [fellow Foundry #3 reader] Henry Hoke, and Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

JDE: In San Diego we feel like the arts and lit communities are up against so much, and there’s kind of a grassroots, on-the-verge unity feeling about that, which is an exciting silver lining. Los Angeles seems like a different beast altogether: bustling and vibrant, but huge. What is the writing and literature/reader community like in LA for you? In what ways do you use it, and how do you serve it?

MA: The LA community is so great, and actually feels sort of small. It’s easy to connect with people and find out about events. Shortly after moving to LA in 2011, I started going to readings and meeting people, and everyone was super nice, and from where I stand, I don’t really see any “cliques.” There are also some great independent bookstores that are really supportive of small presses. I try to support those bookstores as much as possible, and also go to as many readings and events as I can and buy books at those events.

JDE: What’s next for you? I hear you have a novel idea. I hope we get to see that one day, because I will eat that up with a spoon.

MA: I’m working on… something. I can’t tell exactly what it is right now, but someone’s knee is injured.

JDE: Thank you so much for answering my questions, and thank you also for reading with us in The Foundry on 1/14. I love you and your writing, and I can’t wait to introduce you to San Diego and have them love you too.

MA: Thank you so much Julia! Love to you.

Join Meredith as she reads alongside Leah Thomas, Henry Hoke, Cali Linfor, Leah Thomas, and Justin Maurer at The Foundry #3, Saturday 1/14 at 8 PM at Public Square Coffee House.

RSVP and invite your people here.

If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary arts non-profit and small press, please consider becoming a sustaining member for as little as $5 per month, or make a one-time contribution to our winter fundraiser here.

Leah Thomas reads at The Foundry on Jan 14th!

The Foundry is our literary reading series, now in its sophomore year. With the Foundry, we aim to bring both emerging and established voices in literature to our stage, from San Diego as well as showcasing touring authors.

Our first Foundry of 2017, The Foundry No. 3, is Saturday, January 14th at 8 PM at the beautiful new Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa. Grab coffee, a little snack, maybe a glass of wine, and relax with some fiery hot stories.

To get you all excited, as we approach the show, we’ll feature each of the writers. Up first? Leah Thomas. Leah is a VAMP contributor here in San Diego, and she charmed us on the stage at The Whistle Stop with her storytelling.

Leah’s debut novel, Because You’ll Never Meet Me (Bloomsbury, 2015), unravels the story of an unlikely friendship between two whip-smart kids with isolating circumstances. It’s a young adult novel, and we’re excited because Leah will be the first YA reader in The Foundry. The novel won a series of accolades and nominations, including being a Carnegie Award Nominee and a William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist.

From Because You’ll Never Meet Me:

Dear Fellow Hermit,

My name is Oliver, but most people who meet me end up calling me Ollie. I guess you don’t really have to, though, because odds are you’ll never meet me.

I can never travel to wherever you are, because a big part of what makes me a hermit is the fact that I’m deathly allergic to electricity. This is kind of massively incapacitating, but hey–everyone has problems, right?



Firstly, my father has confirmed that your penmanship is atrocious. At least you can spell.

Secondly, you are correct. We will not be meeting. This has little to do with your deafening personality. I am electric. Exposure to me would floor you.


Ollie and Moritz’s friendship unfolds over letters exchanged, and we watch the boys also exchange hope, accusations, guilt, fear, dreams, sadness, and trust. It’s a funny, compelling read with a heart-wrenching edge to it: disability and isolation, bullying and the other, all flow steadily above the surface.

Leah’s follow-up to Because You’ll Never Meet MeNowhere Near You hits the shelves in February.

We can’t wait for you to hear Leah read at the Foundry Reading Series on Saturday, January 14th. Join us at Public Square Coffee House in the La Mesa Village at 8:00 PM. Details, RSVP, and invite your people: https://www.facebook.com/events/190542514741682/

If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary arts non-profit and small press, please consider becoming a sustaining member here, or donating to our winter fundraiser here. Thank you, so much. Let’s hear the stories we need to hear in 2017.

VAMP: To Grandmother’s House We Go is Thursday 12/29!

Our holiday show! Naughty elves! Lost traditions! Grandmas! Come say good riddance to 2016 with us, and let’s share some stories.

The holidays mean we go home, or maybe we’re the home everyone comes to. Or maybe there’s no home, nobody to come. Sometimes there’s joy. Sometimes there’s loneliness. Sometimes there’s drunk uncles. And sometimes we wonder if we were raised by wolves (dressed in grandmother clothing).

Krisa Bruemmer
Jennifer Campos
Jennifer Coburn
Jessica Friis
Hunter Gatewood
Heidi Handelsman
Justin Hudnall

Produced by Jessica Ripper and Lauren Cusitello.

VAMP: To Grandmother’s House We Go
Thursday, December 29th
8:30 PM
Whistle Stop Bar
2236 Fern St
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 284-6784
$5 suggested donation

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/become-a-member/

The Foundry #3 is January 14th

The Foundry is our newish literary reading series, where we feature touring authors, emerging writers, and all around literary citizens, and get killer stories and literature out into the world.

Our next installment, on Saturday, January 14th, will bring Meredith Alling, Leah Thomas, Justin Maurer, Cali Linfor, and Henry Hoke straight into your ripe little hearts.


MEREDITH ALLING, author of the brand new story collection Sing The Song (Future Tense Books, 2016)

LEAH THOMAS, author of the William Morris Debut Award finalist young adult novel Because You’ll Never Leave Me (Bloomsbury, 2015) and the forthcoming Nowhere Near You (Bloomsbury, Feb 2017)

JUSTIN MAURER, author of the story collection Seventeen Television (Vol 1 Brooklyn, 2013) and the collection of true stories, Don’t Take Your Life (Future Tense Books, 2006)

CALI LINFOR, editor of Epicenter Literary Magazine and author of the poetry collection The Book of Ugly Things (CityWorks Press, 2012)

HENRY HOKE, author of The Book of Endless Sleepovers (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016) and the forthcoming Genevieves (Subito Press, 2017)

Come on out to the brand new Public Square Coffee House in the lovely La Mesa Village for an evening of stories, coffee, food, and drinks. And books. Piles of books.

The Foundry #3
Saturday, January 14th, 2017
8:00 PM
Public Square Coffee House
8278 La Mesa Boulevard
La Mesa, California 91942

$5 suggested donation

If you like what So Say We All does, please consider supporting us during our winter fundraiser, or becoming a sustaining member.

Adrian Van Young on Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable

New Orleans author Adrian Van Young, author of the novel Shadows in Summerland, and the short story collection The Man Who Noticed Everything, recently read at the very first installment of our literary reading series, The Foundry, in April. We loved having him in town and showing him off for you all, and now he is busy showing us off. Check out what Adrian has to say about Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable, publishing next week, on Black Friday, November 25th.

Gross and Unlikeable is our collection of short fiction and art exclusively by women contributors. We are proud of and madly in love with this work, and hope you will be too.

“The writers in this anthology breathe life into characters and conflagrations that are frightening and fearful, cagey and forthright, familiar and unknowable, repulsive and endearing, vulnerable and indomitable, befuddling and unmistakable, gross and unlikeable, yes, i.e. human. Together, they churn up a vital miasma of horror’s sub-genres to create something heedless, fresh and lasting. Reading this book is like being drawn and quartered by a stampede of half-decayed, red-eyed horses.”

–Adrian Van Young, author of Shadows in Summerland


We have never been drawn and quartered by a stampede of any horses, much less half-decayed, red-eyed ones, but we now know what Adrian thinks it feels like. We can’t wait to show you the way our authors take horror’s sub-genres and stand them on end in this beautiful volume. PRE ORDER IT NOW!

Coming Black Friday. We hope you’ve adjusted your Christmas lists accordingly because it’s time to get some gross and unlikeable stories by women out into the world.

Mark it as “WANT TO READ” on Goodreads and impress your friends with your incredible taste.

And come to our San Diego release party: https://www.facebook.com/events/1138153422920005/

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

VAMP Showcase at Friday Night Liberty

Friday Night Liberty – November 4, 2016, 6:30 – 8:30 PM
Experience all the ARTS DISTRICT has to offer is by attending a FREE Friday Night Liberty art walk. Taking place on the first Friday of every month from 5-9 PM, Friday Night Liberty is San Diego’s biggest FREE monthly art event! Meet working artists, enjoy dance, theatre and music performances, visit museums and galleries and explore the growing District. Visitors can start their stroll at the Dick Laub NTC Command Center – 2640 Historic Decatur Road and pick up a monthly program and District map. More details here.

So Say We All, a literary and performing arts non-profit whose mission promotes education, storytelling, performance and publishing features a collection of VAMP favorites, including highly-produced multimedia readings from recent shows. Dick Laub NTC Command Center, Building 200, Room 1. From 6:30 – 8:30 PM

Featuring stories by:

Chris Onderdonk
Eber Lambert
Shauna McKenna
Paul Georgeades
Dustin Marquel
Lara McCaffrey
David Latham

Join us. All-ages, plenty of seats, and FREE!
So Say We All at Friday Night Liberty!
Dick Laub NTC Command Center, Building 200
Liberty Station
2640 Historic Decatur Rd
San Diego, CA 92106