Tag Archives: So Say We All

Introducing The Foundry: A Literary Reading Series

So Say We All is launching a literary reading series this spring. It is called The Foundry and we are so ready for this. Are you? We will host readings throughout the year with writers known and unknown, performing fiction, non-fiction, poetry, whatever.

Come join us for Number 1. Get in on the ground floor. Forge your steel with us.

featuring
Adrian Van Young
Lizz Huerta
Lauren Becker
Ryan Bradford

The Foundry, No. 1
Tuesday, April 5th at 8:00 p.m.
Soda & Swine (Liberty Station)
2750 Dewey Rd #104, San Diego, CA 92106
www.sosayweallonline.com
(all ages) (but it’s a full bar)

(invite your people: https://www.facebook.com/events/1126122200765610/)

CROP NOT FOR COVER

Incoming and VAMP Contributor Tenley Lozano in O-Dark-Thirty

We are so proud to see Incoming and VAMP contributor Tenley Lozano‘s non-fiction work featured in the women-only issue of O-Dark-Thirty, O-Dark-Thirty is a publication of the Washington, D.C.-based Veteran’s Writing Project.

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[O-Dark-Thirty cover image by Magdalena Green]

From Tenley’s story:

I am not an average-sized man, but rather a short woman. The sail is luffing at my eye line, bulging out and snapping in the wind. BM1 barks orders to his crew of willing participants. The rain falls on my hands and is so cold that it stings. The metal handrail I’m grasping tightly chills my fingers and as I reach for a handful of sail, I realize that my fingers are already stiffening up. I flex them again and again, trying to restore blood flow. I can barely reach the sail and I realize that I’ll be useless while standing on the foot line. I check the clip on my harness, yanking it against the handrail and hearing the clink of metal against metal, the clip holding.

Taking a deep breath to steady my nerves, I pull with my arms on the handrail and reach for the sail on the forward side of 43 the beam, launching my body upward to lay my midsection over the cold painted metal as my feet lift off of the line and dangle one hundred feet over the deck of the ship. Christie turns to me with a look of horror, her dark curly hair flattened against her face on one side by the wind and rain. She is much taller, her long cross-country runner’s legs placed firmly where they’re supposed to be on the black rope.

Check out the full story, and the entire issue here.  Rock on, Tenley! We love her work and we fully expect to see stories from every slice of the Pacific Crest Trail as she hikes it with her VAMP-famous pup, Elu.

Kiik AK – Poems in The Radvocate

Check out Kiik AK’s poems, “only vultures,” “pulled down the stairs, dragged through the lawn,” and “a trumpet,” from The Radvocate #13, So Say We All’s literary journal. The poems are now available to read online.

I would like for you to try and kill me
I would like for you to try and strangle me in the shower
I would like if you had no hair when you strangled me
It is not that I am upset by hair
It is that I know you are not the type to give away your DNA casually

(from “pulled down the stairs, dragged through the lawn” by Kiik AK, published in The Radvocate)

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Featured art cropped from the cover illustration by Sean Andress.

We hope you enjoy this selection from our latest issue of The Radvocate! For more, you can purchase a copy of The Radvocate #13 here.

January’s VAMP: Face The Music Storytelling Showcase

It’s almost time for our first VAMP storytelling showcase of 2016!

face the music (idiom)
1. to be confronted with the unpleasantness of one’s actions
2. to turn towards the audience

Yeah. That. Face the facts, face the truth, face that fine music. Stay tuned (ba da bam) for our January VAMP Showcase: stories of our soundtracks and our truths.

Featuring:
Anastasia Zadeik
Becca Karpinski
Chris Onderdonk
Emily Burke
Lauren Cusick
Tenley Lozano
Vanessa Wilde

Co-producers: Suzanne Hoyem and Emily Price

VAMP Showcase: “Face The Music.”
Thursday, January 28th
8:30pm – 10:00pm
Whistle Stop Bar
2236 Fern St, San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 284-6784
$5 suggested donation
http://www.sosayweallonline.com/

Event page: http://www.sosayweallonline.com/event/vamp-face-the-music/

Let your friends know you’ll be there on our Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1696253310608101/

 

The Best Things We Read in 2015

We asked some of our very special friends and worker bees what their favorite story was this year, whether it be a book, a short story, a piece of journalism, a podcast, an email from their mom, anything. 2015 was a year of big stories. Please, if you can, support us in our year-end fundraiser and let’s tell some great stories together in 2016. And as we say farewell/good riddance to 2015, take a look at what our friends and staff came up with for their picks for the year. We love them and we love what they love:


JUSTIN HUDNALL
(So Say We All’s Executive Director)
I discover and fawn over a load of artists in the course of a year. Good work seems like it’s being made from all corners of the creative spectrum on a near daily basis. Even television is good these days! But it’s the rare, notable occasion when I discover art that feels important, and when I do, it often has something to do with how it was made. That’s what it was like to be introduced to Scott Carrier this year, specifically his work in radio and podcasting. Imagine if Jack Kerouac was a Peabody-award winning journalist who railed at NPR for boiling the sound and style of their contributors into milquetoast homogeneity, and empowered normal people to talk about their lives and the issues that effect them in their own words. His newest work, ‘Home of the Brave”, can be found at homebrave.com and wherever fine podcasting is served.

–Justin Hudnall

LIZZ HUERTA
​I read a lot and listen to a ridiculous amount of audiobooks so I’m struggling trying to figure out what moved me. The most recent thing that made me bawl was the middle grade novel “The Thing About Jellyfish,” by Ali Benjamin,  about a 12 year old girl whose former bestie dies in a drowning accident [editor’s note: not much of a spoiler]. The protagonist is trying to make sense of her friend’s death, the unraveling of their once-close friendship and adolescence. What made me ugly cry was my own inner 12 year old, nodding along and getting that ice-blood feeling of alienation. I was right there with the protagonist, wondering of the cool girls were laughing at me, not knowing the socially acceptable conversations and wardrobe choices, wanting to get the fuck out. To read a story that reminds you of a part of yourself you’d forgotten is pretty damn cool.

I also received an extraordinary email from the current lover of a former lover of mine, who google stalked me, found my writing and sent me an email telling me my writing had broken something open in her. We had a brief exchange. It was weird. And actually very cool. When I was deciding whether or not to respond to the email, I had to sit and consider the two faces I was making up in my head; was she a stalker, or the woman who took a risk to send a really vulnerable email? I chose the latter. I’ve made some brave-ish, strange choices before and it makes a world of difference when someone steps into your risk with you and says yes.
–Lizz Huerta 

RYAN BRADFORD
My favorite thing I read in 2015 was The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides. I’d seen the movie, which I thought was okay, but kept hearing from friends about how extraordinary the book was. They were right. It’s a romance that doesn’t shy away from creepy obsession and the consequences of deifying the targets of our affection. The story is told from a collective narrator, which is a literary feat unto itself. I haven’t been as inspired by a piece of writing than this.
–Ryan Bradford

It’s a classic Cinderella story, but replace the girl with four overweight, awkward, blue-collar guys from Chicago and the prince’s ball with a Michelin-starred restaurant. Scraping by all year to live out their fantasy of fine dining, they arrive, homely and humble, to the snide regard of the wealthy patrons. And whose eye do they catch but the prince himself: the corpulent, unpredictable, and frankly genius chef, Charlie Trotter. Charlie remains a constant throughout their lives, giving motivation in the good times and the bad, bound together by a love of great food. It’s brilliantly written with a lot of passion, but more than that, it’s brilliant writing about food, an oft-ignored subject (besides in Lucky Peach, of course) in a lot of “literary” prose. It’s hard to imagine why – food is a universal constant for all of us, and like death and taxes, can be a thing that can bind us all together, particularly when divisiveness is so en vogue.

CLOSE SECOND – “Robert Kloss: The TNB Self-Interview” , because it gives an unsettling peek into the darkness within.

–Matt Lewis


KINSEE MORLAN
I’m going with the first thing that popped into my head: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/magazine/the-displaced-hana.html?_r=0

I’ve been thinking a lot about empathy lately. I have kids and I want to make sure I pack them full of feelings for other peoples’ feelings.
Technology connects, but also disconnects us from other humans and the world around us. My children, for example, are going to grow up in a world with virtual reality. The New York Times has already rolled out virtual reality stories that, in theory, have the possibility and promise of making readers connect and relate to content on a much deeper level.
I hope that’s the case, but this NYT story I picked about a young Syrian refugee girl reminded me that really well written and beautifully photographed “old-school” print or online stories can be incredibly powerful and moving on their own. Reading this story made the Syrian refugee crisis so real and seemingly close. It’s hard to read it without wanting to do something to help. It inspires a great deal of empathy by describing another person’s reality so carefully.
I hope stories like this don’t use virtual reality as a crutch in the future. A powerful narrative is all you need.
Oh, and this podcast about its host doing acid at work was a close second: https://gimletmedia.com/episode/44-shine-on-you-crazy-goldman/
-Kinsee Morlan

AMY WALLEN
That’s easy. I can’t tell you what my favorite novel is because I’m a juror for the LA Times book prize and that’s top secret, but I can tell you the most special book I encountered that included both art and prose.  AFFLICT THE COMFORTABLE. It’s a collaboration with “Salmagundi” the literary magazine and the Tang Art Museum. The art chosen to go with each piece of writing is meant to provoke and surprise.

–Amy Wallen

NUVIA RULAND
(Science teacher at High Tech High Chula Vista and one of the leaders of the recent storytelling and writing collaboration between HTHCV and SSWA)

I’m one of a million nerds who listens to NPR while driving to work. On 11/23/15 I turned up the volume to listen to a piece on recommended podcasts and heard writer Domingo Martinez recommend the podcast CryBabies. He was struck by comedian Guy Branum’s tear-jerk reaction to “Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a song I belted out several times as a teen with classmates on the back of the school bus and continue to join in when my students burst into song during project work time. This piece made me think of the tough relationship I had with my mom and how powerful I used to feel singing that song as a teenager.
-Nuvia Ruland


GILL SOTU
Genuine moments are hard to find on the Internet.  Or rather, there is so much dark noise, when light shines it can almost be unrecognizable.  When an African American rapper named Killer Mike steps to a podium and eloquently, passionately, and whole heartedly endorses an old white Jewish man for president, something happy tickled the inside of my chest. I wasn’t even a huge fan of either before I saw this clip. However,  anytime I see more evidence that despite physical and economical differences, a true commitment to the greater good can allow us to coexist, well then I know it was a good day.  So because of that I am thankful, very thankful for this moment.

Another one: Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King
Is it cliche to like Sir Stephen King? (In my head he is knighted). Sometimes when someone asks me who are some of my favorite authors are and Mr. King comes to mind, I can already see people rolling their eyes thinking I went for the easy answer.  But the man can write. Period. I have no problem naming him the Michael Jackson of literature, he just comes out with hit after hit.  In whatever genre you wish.  And guess what Mr. King…detective stories are my jam. Thank you sir, thank you…
–Gill Sotu


JESSICA HILT
As a writer, I often read other writers and figure out what I can steal from them to add to my own writing. Leena Krohn is a Finnish writer that mixes detail with a philosophical take on the natural world. Her writing is this grotesque and wonderful level of body horror that makes us keenly aware of human mortality but what I want to steal from her writing is that she also combines this with the environment (the bugs, the plants, the soil) that makes me realize the ecosystem of which we’re all part. http://electricliterature.com/lucilia-illustris-by-leena-krohn-recommended-by-jeff-vandermeer/

Right now you can also buy her collected fiction at Story Bundle (pay what you can).
–Jessica Hilt

Sean Bonney
“Corpus Hermeticum: On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres.”

Dressed in a porkpie hat, a shabby coat and with ACAB tattooed on his knuckles, I knew I would like Sean Bonney right away. The English poet, who now lives in Berlin, read at the Vermin on the Mount/VLAK collaboration held in the basement of Power Lunches Arts Café in Hackney. Bonney read a piece called “Corpus Hermeticum: On the Revolution of the Heavenly Spheres.” It’s an electric piece of writing that I haven’t stopped thinking about. The piece begins in language that is borderline apocalyptic—cryptic with a bit of humor—before delving into incidents of state-sponsored violence in the city of London from the building of the debtor’s prison Newgate in 1188 to Robert Peel who created and organized the modern British police.

Bonney delivery was angry and deliberate, punctuated with reminders that “This really happened.” The poem culminates in an incredible rant against police oppression that hasn’t left me since I heard it eight months ago:

don’t say “tall skinny latté” say fuck the police, for
“the earth’s gravitational pull” say fuck the police, for
“make it new” say fuck the police
                                                       don’t say “spare change”
say fuck the police, don’t say “happy new year” say fuck the police
perhaps say “rewrite the calendar” but after that, immediately
after that say fuck the police

Bonney’s poem serves as both a reminder and a wake-up call. The problems we’re having here with police aggression in the United States aren’t due to a bad cop in Cleveland or New York or a few bad cops in Ferguson or Baltimore but with our institutions that prey on society’s weakest and most vulnerable members: the poor, the uneducated, the unsheltered. And if you don’t share the same class, skin color, or belief system as the people in power, you’re fucked. This story, in all of its many shapes—class warfare, gender violence, racial injustice, religious intolerance—is the story of 2015 and one we cannot ignore in 2016 and going forward.

You can read the poem here or listen to him perform the piece (highly recommended). Bonney’s new book Letters Against the Firmament is available here.
–Jim Ruland


JULIA EVANS
(So Say We All’s Program Coordinator)
While I would like to say that my favorite book this year was Black Candies, it was published by SSWA and edited by one of my best friends which feels like total nepotism. So I’m going to cheat by mentioning it anyway before my official answer, which is: The thing that hit me below the belt the hardest this year was this piece by Elizabeth Ellen on Hobart: A REVIEW OF BY THE SEA, OR, HOW TO BE AN ARTIST AND FEMALE, I.E. HOW TO BE UNLIKABLE, OR, HOW TO (NOT) PANDER

At first you think it might be a review of By The Sea, an Angelina Jolie movie you haven’t seen, and then you think it’s a review of Angelina As A Person, but before you know it you realize the story is about you, it’s about your own writing, your own art, and your own marriage, it’s about your own experience as a woman trying to make art, your own unlikableness, and you’ve never even cared about Angelina Jolie before anyway. It’s a beautiful, fractured read, vulnerable and raw, and it comes on the heels of a year that was very difficult — and very transformative — for women in art. In particular, for women in writing. Also the title is killer.
–Julia Evans

We thank you for reading, we hope you enjoy our picks for 2015, and we’d love to hear from you in 2016. Until then, please consider donating to our year-end fundraising drive. It takes a village, and we love it when you pop in for a cup of tea. Let’s make some art together.

Behold. Our 2016 VAMP Themes.

VAMP themes are the butter to our bread, the Cher to our Sonny, the Barack to our Biden.

We toiled endlessly. We laughed, we cried. We consumed endless cans of La Croix. But we’ve done it! We have finally come up with our VAMP storytelling showcase themes for 2016. Behold:

VAMP: 2016

January 28th, 2016
“Face the Music”
Submission deadline: January 3rd

February 25th, 2016
“Dirty Talk: Seven Year Itch” (happy 7th anniversary, So Say We All!)
Submission deadline: January 31st

March 24th, 2016 ***note: this is not the last Thursday***
“Sports!”
Submission deadline: February 28th

April 28th, 2016
“Minimum Wage”
Submission deadline: April 3rd

May 26th, 2016
“In Real Life (irl)”
Submission deadline: May 1st

June 30th, 2016
“Animal Control”
Submission deadline: June 5th

July 28th, 2016
“Villains”
Submission deadline: July 3rd

August 25th, 2016
“Token”
Submission deadline: July 31st

September 29th, 2016
“When I’m 64”
Submission deadline: September 4th

October 27th, 2016
“Skeletons in the Closet”
Submission deadline: October 2nd

December 29th, 2016
“To Grandmother’s House We Go”
Submission deadline: December 4th

And, if you love VAMP, please consider donating as a part of our annual year-end fundraiser. So Say We All could not exist without your help, in both financial support and your tireless support as an audience member, a volunteer, an advocate (i.e. that person who tells her coworkers the next day about the killer storytelling thing they missed) or as a performer yourself.

We are here to help you tell your stories, and to help you tell them well. Throughout 2016, we’ll have many opportunities to help you develop your stories. The month before each theme’s submission deadline, there’ll be a Greenroom writing workshop catering to the theme, where you can start writing your story, as well as a Long Story Short with a complementary theme, where you can test the waters and try out a portion of your story.

We love you, and we can’t wait to see you at these shows and, better yet, hear your stories. Write us a little something. Tell us a story, won’t you?

High Tech High Chula Vista project: final week of shows!

Just three shows remain for “The Power Within,” our education partnership with 11th graders at High Tech High Chula Vista. Come hear some stories!

The two shows last week featured incredible writing, brave and powerful storytelling, lots of laughter, lots of tears, and lots of pride. We are so proud of the intense amount of work and courage put into these stories. Come see! Three more nights!

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“Insecurities,” by Destinie Rose Mendeola

Also featured at each show are pieces of art the students created to illustrate where their power comes from, using elements of biology. The art is incredibly powerful.

Come on down to Novo Brazil Brewery in Chula Vista, grab a beer, sit with us, and be inspired.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015 – door: 6 PM
Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 – door: 6 PM
Thursday, December 10th, 2015 – door: 6 PM

Shows start at 6:30 PM each night.

Novo Brazil Brewery
901 Lane Ave
Chula Vista, CA 91914

To support this and other education and storytelling outreach work So Say We All does, visit our winter fundraiser drive to learn more and donate.

T H E PO W E R W I T H I N - wp-new

I Fought The Law: Storytelling Pop-Up

So Say We All and San Diego’s Downtown Central Library are partnering up to present a Pop-Up Gallery storytelling showcase on the theme of “I Fought the Law.” We’re looking for a 5-10 minute true story that touches, however you choose to interpret it, on the theme (I Fought the Law), and we require you to send us an image of an artifact that relates to said story. This can, quite literally, be anything that pertains to your story: a mugshot from a high school arrest, an object that supplements or corroborates or adds to your story. That object, and the image of it, will be projected throughout your presentation, so choose wisely. Think of it as a grown-up version of show and tell. We’re looking forward to what you’ve got to bring.

Submission deadline: Sunday, October 18th, 2015 at 11:59 PM
To submit your work: http://sosayweallonline.submittable.com/submit/47925

“I Fought The Law”
Thursday, November 12th
5:00: Refreshments and pop-up browsing
6:00: Storytelling showcase

San Diego Central Library
330 Park Blvd,
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 236-5800

I Fought The Law: Storytelling and Pop-Up Museum

So Say We All and San Diego’s Downtown Central Library are partnering up to present a Pop-Up Gallery storytelling showcase on the theme of “I Fought the Law,” this Thursday, 11/12 in the library’s beautiful auditorium.

The way we interact with crime and punishment in these stories varies wildly: Getting away with it, markedly not getting away with it, being falsely accused, the decision not to press charges, the decision to turn oneself in. What forms our complicated relationships with the criminal justice system in this country? Is it a fluke? Or are other factors at play? The dichotomy of experience can be startling at best, unsettling at worst.

Featuring: Emily Price, Julia Evans, Vikki Ott, David Latham, Chris Kennison, and Paul Georgeades.

Each of our stories will have an image or an artifact that relates to the story. That object, or the image of it, forms the pop-up museum component of the event. Think of it as a grown-up version of show and tell.

Other art, provided by visual artists, will also be included in the pop-up museum. Featuring Ryan Bradford, Matthew Baldwin, Bryan Tipton, and work by New Media Rights. Come right after work: Refreshments will be served and the pop-up museum opens for browsing at 5 PM. Stories begin at 6.

“I Fought The Law”
Thursday, November 12th
5:00: Refreshments and pop-up browsing
6:00: Storytelling showcase

San Diego Central Library
330 Park Blvd,
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 236-5800