Tag Archives: So Say We All

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

Tickets:
$5 student
$10 general
https://commerce.cashnet.com/cashneti/selfserve/BrowseCatalog.aspx?CNAME=event+6

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.

The season of giving is here!

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

Become a supporting member today!

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

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

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

Join us here.

Skyler McCurine reads at The Foundry on 9/9

The Foundry is our literary reading and education series, bringing a host of new voices, both emerging and well acclaimed, to our fair city. Our upcoming reading, on Saturday September 9th, features Amelia Gray, Jac Jemc, Emma Smith-Stevens, Nicholas Bredie, and today’s spotlight, Skyler McCurine.

Skyler’s essay, “Black. Woman.,” which debuted on our VAMP stage in 2016, is featured in the brand new issue of The Radvocate Fifteen, our literary journal. Skyler’s writing richly touches on selflessness and the ways we struggle to understand our ourselves, our families, and the (sometimes awful) people around us.

Every time we went to the Beauty Supply store, to re-up on my natural hair care products, I whined over the Just For Me Box, a relaxer designed for young girls. I thought, “if only I too could have a side pony tail, Surely Zack Morris would fall in love with me then.” My mother fought me daily, a battle of which I am grateful for. She fought to keep me black, she made me grapple with myself until I saw my features for what they are, beautiful. I learned to not shy away from environments in which I was different and come my sophomore year of high school, she found another opportunity for me to harness my TOKEN power. She became drawn to the whitest sport in the world, threading our love of water within it: rowing.

from The Radvocate Fifteen.

Skyler is one of our hardest working and inspirational coaches and producers for VAMP and our education outreach projects. We can’t wait to feature her work on a new stage, and can’t wait for you to meet her at The Rose on Saturday the 9th! Skyler will read alongside Amelia Gray, Jac Jemc, Emma Smith-Stevens, and Nicholas Bredie. The Rose is located at 2219 30th Street in South Park. Doors: 7, Show: 7:30. 21+. 


 Skyler McCurine is redefining the look of leadership as a personal stylist, public speaker, wonder woman and founder of Le Red Balloon.  Driven by the lackluster stereotypical portrayal of women in the media, she leads workshops for teenage girls and professional women around conscious media consumption, leadership, self­ acceptance, personal branding, and of course, style. Skyler’s passion for fostering leadership, audacity, selflessness, gratitude and courage in young women led her to invitation to TEDx, SD Business Journal “Emerging Generation Award” and her recent invitation to attend the Forbes Under 30 Summit as Swiss Luxury watch brand’ Baume & Mercier’s guest of distinction.  She was a finalist for the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the social entrepreneurship category. She is a native San Diegan and received her BA in Communication Studies from Loyola Marymount University and MA in Organizational Management from Ashford University.  Her fervent belief in inclusion, red balloons, and champagne are her personal North Stars.

Skyler as Saint Sugar Hill by Alanna Airitam


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

Call for submissions: Southeast Stories

Image credit: Southeast SD Map by Isauro Amigable Inocencio Jr.

– Submit here!

So Say We All is collaborating with the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation’s Placemakers program to tell the story of Southeast San Diego through the written and spoken perspectives of the people who live and work there! Whether poetry, essays, or non-fiction prose, we want stories that take place in the neighborhood or strive to define an aspect of it, however you choose to interpret that.

Here’s a handy map detailing the neighborhoods and communities that define Southeastern SD if you’re wondering about the geographic boundaries.

Works would ideally be under 5,000 words, however we will still happily consider them if they run longer. Want to see an example of what we’re received in the past? Here’s a performed story written by Michael Billingsly that debuted at our City College Showcase a few years back! Any subject matter or approach is welcome, as long as it features the neighborhood.

All accepted writers will receive edits and one-on-one coaching from our teaching artists, have their work published through the project, and be invited to perform their piece at an upcoming performance series in the fall of 2017 in addition to receiving fellowships to attend Masterclasses by visiting writers for free.

Thank you for helping us tell the story of one of San Diego’s most significant neighborhoods, and we look forward to reading your works!

PS: Photos and artworks that interpret or document the neighborhood are welcome as well, so send us your goods!

– Submit 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

 

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/

 

SSWA Collaborates with New Village Arts: An Illiad

So Say We All is honored to have been invited to collaborate with our friends at New Village Arts on their newest offering, “An Illiad”, which spins the familiar tale of gods and goddesses, undying love and endless battles told through the eyes of a single narrator, whose enigmatic experience of the war reverberates with today’s headlines. A solo actor creates a tour de force performance of this sweeping account of humanity’s unshakeable attraction to violence, destruction and chaos.

This coming Sunday’s show features an encore performance by So Say We All’s Veteran Writer’s Program, and if you buy tickets using the promo code SSWA at checkout, a portion of your ticket cost will go towards supporting our program.

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–no religious connection required or expected, any interpretation is welcome–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 direction your inspiration takes you is welcome, personal narrative or more open 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

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

***DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 10TH***

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 – 5/10/17
  • ***EXTENDED DEADLINE: May 10th at 11:59 PM pacific time!***
  • 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.