Tag Archives: San Diego

Open call for submissions: Collaboration with the Hausmann Quartet

So Say We All is honored to be collaborating with The Hausmann Quartet to produce a showcase of original stories and classical music at the The White Chapel at Liberty Station on Sunday, March 26th in the early afternoon. The Hausmann Quartet runs a concert series (Haydn Voyages) in which they explore all of the string quartets of Joseph Haydn, presented alongside works of many of his contemporaries, early influences, musical ancestors, as well as some of the most exciting composers writing today.

Haydn wrote an epic work for string quartet for a Good Friday/Easter commission, “The 7 Last Words of Christ”, made up of seven movements, one for each of the last words, and ends with a musical depiction of the earthquake as its finale. It is a beautiful work that is often performed with narration.

Towards that end, So Say We All is accepting submissions of original prose and poetry that respond, interpret, evoke, or otherwise touch on one or more of the 7 passages, to be performed as an introduction to each section of music. Each submission should be 500 words in-length or less. Multiple submissions are welcome, but please submit each separately. Deadline for submission is Midnight, Friday March 3rd. Please indicate in your submission bio which passage you are responding to.

Any interpretation or direction your inspiration takes you is welcome, secular or otherwise, personal narrative or reflection on the times we live in; surprise us and sparkle.

The 7 Last Words that Haydn composed to are:

  • 1.1 1. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
  • 1.2 2. Today you will be with me in paradise.
  • 1.3 3. Behold your son: behold your mother.
  • 1.4 4. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  • 1.5 5. I thirst.
  • 1.6 6. It is finished.
  • 1.7 7. Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.

We look forward to reading your works!

– So Say We All

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/


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

Share stories, find community this week and beyond

In this bleak weather and/or bleak world, it’s a good time to find community and create art. Here are some ways to come together (or… squirrel yourself away alone with your creative despair) to create and share stories and art this week:

As Community:

LONG STORY SHORT: Just Lust

Long Story Short is our improv, open-mic style storytelling show. Got a story? Come tell it. No notes, 5 minutes, anyone can sign up. The best approach is to think about how you’d tell your friends the story. And suddenly, a room full of strangers become your friends and hear your secrets.

Saturday, January 21st, 7 PM
San Diego Writers, Ink
Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/603679303160081/

VAMP: Law and Disorder

It’s our first VAMP of 2017 and what better way to say goodbye to 2016 and ring in a new era with stories of obedience and disobedience, law and lawlessness, and everything in between? And what happens when the good guys snap and the bad guys save the day? Sometimes law and order save us and sometimes they ruin lives, and sometimes it’s all just terribly embarrassing.

Featuring:
Ari Honarvar, Chris Onderdonk, Ed Farragut, Krisa Bruemmer, Lauren Cusitello, Liam James, and Ryan Hicks

VAMP: Law and Disorder
Thursday, January 26th, 8:30 PM
Whistle Stop Bar
Details: https://www.facebook.com/events/1044032809057280/

As Writers and Artists:

SUBMIT FICTION TO OUR CONTEST

The first ever So Say We All Literary Prize in Fiction: send us your work! The winner will have their story illustrated and published online and in The Radvocate Fifteen. And also get $250. The deadline is 4/30, the entry fee is $10, and the contest judge is Leesa Cross-Smith. Details here: www.sosayweallonline.com/contest

SUBMIT FICTION, NON-FIC, POETRY, ART, WHATEVER TO THE RADVOCATE

The Radvocate, our literary journal, which is a beautiful little book showcasing poetry, fiction, non-fiction, interview, and art from a variety of emerging and established creators. Like you? Send us something. We are currently reading submissions and we want to be devastated by yours. Deadline is 4/30 and Radvocate submissions are always free. Details here: http://www.sosayweallonline.com/the-radvocate-re-opens-for-submissions-115/

WRITE WITH US

We offer two free Greenroom Writing Workshops each month, one in San Diego (the first Monday at 7 PM at Words Alive) and one in Chula Vista (the second Tuesday at 7 PM at The Industry). These are FREE, generative workshops, all levels, and totally drop-in. We’d love to see you there.

San Diego, Feb 6th: https://www.facebook.com/events/1795431407383358/

South Bay, Feb 13th: https://www.facebook.com/events/375813066114208/

Become a Member

http://www.sosayweallonline.com/membership/
The arts needs supporters and friends now more than ever. With federal funding on the chopping block, the future is frightening for creativity and public art. Join us as a sustaining member so that we can continue to do our outreach work, finding and sharing stories from and by people not being heard from. Join us as we create and celebrate the arts and literature. We are so much better with your help, and we need you more than ever. Details: http://www.sosayweallonline.com/membership/

Thank you, and we hope you’ll share stories with us soon.

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.

THE FOUNDRY #3
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.

THE FOUNDRY #3
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.