Tag Archives: writing

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.

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 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.

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:


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


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/


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

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.

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.

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 Justin Hudnall in War, Literature and the Arts Journal

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Lindsay Hunter on Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable

We gave a copy of Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable to Lindsay Hunter, the author of the devastating novel Ugly Girls, as well as the short story collections Daddy’s and Don’t Kiss Me. Here’s what she had to say about our book:

Gross and Unlikeable made me feel the way I felt as a kid reading scary stories with a flashlight in the dark. These tales hit at something primitive and true, something beyond fear. Then and now, I felt almost giddy as I read, the way one might when the footsteps are getting closer and the only thing left to do is scream.

-Lindsay Hunter
author of Ugly Girls.


Black Candies is our annual print collection of short stories. Black Candies: Gross and Unlikeable is a special women-only issue, featuring stories and art by all-women contributors. It hits the shelves on Black Friday, 11/25/16. That’s right: this week.

Pre-order your copy here.

Mark us as “Want To Read” on Goodreads here.

Come to our San Diego Release Party and Reading on Thursday, December 8th!

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

Submissions due 10/2 for VAMP: Skeletons in the Closet!

Send us your work! We want to hear your stories, and we want to see you on our stage.

Submissions for our October VAMP are due this upcoming Sunday night, 10/2, at midnight. The showcase will be Thursday, October 27th at Whistle Stop Bar. The theme? “Skeletons in the Closet.” We hope you have fun with this one.

VAMP: Skeletons in the Closet

What do monsters and our darkest, messiest secrets have in common? They’re hiding away in the closet, tucked beneath the bed, balancing trapeze-style from the rafters and why doesn’t the protagonist ever think to look up?

VAMP: Skeletons in the Closet is a showcase of stories about the things we tuck away, the things we only think about in the thick of night, when nobody is watching, when nobody is around to help. Or maybe you actually did once find some bones hanging up behind your winter coats.

Send us your work!

For submission guidelines and a link to our submissions portal: http://www.sosayweallonline.com/submissions/

Please read our submission guidelines! But if you know the drill, to go straight to our Submittable site, click this pretty little button:
Submit button


In The Radvocate 14: Karl Sherlock

The freshly-pressed newest issue of The Radvocate is filled to the brim with really great poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, and we can’t wait for you to read it. Order your copy now!


If you’ll be in San Diego this Saturday, September 24th, come buy it directly from our Launch Party and Reading at The Glashaus, and we will also regale you with performances from the book. The reading will feature Radvocate contributors Anthony Martin, Dania Brett, Ryan Hicks, Sara Morrison, and Karl Sherlock, who we feature today.

Karl’s poem, “Pointless Drama: A Poem in Five Acts,” is strange, compelling, and sprawling. Here’s an excerpt:

Act I: Rising Action

[to be heralded in rumblings and preparatory ramblings in a deep off-stage voice–ideally Morgan Freeman or Colleen Dewhurst]

a nineteen forty-
something U.S. penny
from a skyscraper at
midnight and all at once
it’s a point in search of
conclusion, earth-bound, seventy-
some stories high becoming lower,
and the “low” of lower nearing
a point of zero acceleration, when
the gravity of the one story that remains
remains a story yet to be plumbed–
an upward zephyr in a downward yaw
over turvy then top; brake lights below
look up, threading a z-axis
on a grid of tarmac, and it’s all
a solid universe of the now
parked cars busting into stars, until
points are swallowing their outsides
in, birthing an infinite number of zeros
hobnailed on the cumbrous streets, while
windows whiplash into the doppler-
shifting slipstreams, wheat stalks
emancipated form a droplet of copper
smelted from sky, a russet exhale
that knocked its quantum of worth
right out of Abraham.

For more, come listen to Karl read his work at The Glashaus this Saturday, 9/24, at 7 PM. Or buy your copy now from Amazon!

Karl Sherlock is a Poetry Writing instructor and the Co-Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at Grossmont College, in San Diego. He holds an MFA in Writing from the University of California, Irvine, and is a Fulbright alumnus and Academy of American Poets Prize recipient. His poems have appeared in Cream City ReviewDickinson Review, South Coast Poetry Journal, Alsop Review, gay writers journals such as The James White Review and Assaracus, and others. His prose memoirs have appeared in anthologies, including So Say We All’s The Far East, and in journals like Limehawk, for which he was a finalist for Sundress Publication’s 2014 “Best of the Net.”


An ample list of goodies and treats about The Radvocate #14:


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.

In The Radvocate 14: Laura Preble

The Radvocate Fourteen will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, September 6th! The Radvocate is our literary magazine, and we can’t wait to share this with you. Order your copy now so it’ll arrive just in time.

To give you a taste of the fantastic and striking fiction, poetry, and non-fiction in the book, here’s a little snippet from Laura Preble’s short story, “Headless Angels,” which appears in this issue:

We brush by red lights and hurricane windows, we are swept into the crowd. It’s a streetful of good times, no one comes here to brood, and if they do it, they get kicked out.

It feels good to walk after the train, especially with Jim, since I haven’t seen him for months. The sweet air and the music, it would all be perfect—coffee and beignets in the morning, staying up all night talking in a little boarding house on the Rue Royale, with a real gaslight winking out on the cobblestones below, then sleeping. He’d see, finally, what we are together, we’d hear a plaintive whisper of Louis Armstrong’s phantom trumpet—

“We got married.” He’s looking at the pavement, says it as if he just told me the time.


“Karen and I. We got married.”

I look straight ahead into the backs of strangers, concentrate on the foreign perfume of people I will never see again or know at all.

Order your copy of The Radvocate Fourteen now, for more of Laura’s story, as well as many other fine pieces!

Laura Preble is the author of the popular Queen Geek Social Club YA series as well as the novel Out. She was an award-winning straff writer for the San Diego Union-Tribune and has contributed to the magazines NEA Today, California Educator, Westways, Writer’s Digest, and Hysteria. She has worked as a freelance content writer for Binary Labs (for Glencoe publishing), and has published five young adult fiction novels with Penguin publishing. She won a Kurt Vonnegut fiction prize.

radvocate 14 release

The Radvocate Fourteen features work from: Karl Sherlock, Joe Baumann, John Vanderslice, Anthony Martin, Jamie Sullivan, Meggie Royer, Caroline Taylor, Emily Green, Scott Sherman, Laura Preble, Allyson Whipple, Sara Morrison, Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Janet Joyner, Eric Raymond, Lois Harrod, Dania Brett, Harley Lethalm. // Cover Art: Matt Parchinski // Editor: Matt E. Lewis

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.

In The Radvocate 14: Anthony Martin

The Radvocate Fourteen hits the stores and your hearts this upcoming Tuesday, September 6th! The Radvocate is our literary magazine, and we can’t wait to share this with you. You can even order your copy now so it’ll arrive just in time.

To get you in the mood, and to tease you for our upcoming Launch Party & Reading at Glashaus on September 24th, here’s a little snippet from contributor Anthony Martin’s short story, “Harvey Stone,” in which the titualar Harvey toys with some poor, unsuspecting Mormon boys that come to his door:

Harvey slammed the bottle down and reached back into the seat of his wheelchair for his chrome-plated nine-millimeter Beretta. I knew it well. He pulled the sliding mechanism and chambered a round.

“Take the drink.”

The boys looked at each other. Ponytail was frightened. Black Curls braved it first, downing the whiskey in one go as if he’d done it before. He put the glass down firmly and glared at Harvey as he swallowed. He was angry now and Harvey knew it.

“That’s good,” he said and turned the Beretta toward Ponytail, who was staring at the caramel liquid in his glass. The boy took a deep breath and drank his share like a glass of water, slow and steady. His face soured at the foulness of it and he started to cough after bottoms-up. He dropped the glass to the carpet and grasped at his throat.

“Breathe,” said Harvey. “There. That’s good. It goes away, see. Burns good.” He rested the Beretta on his impotent knee, his finger still on the trigger. “Now, unless either of you wants another one for the road, get the god fearing Joseph Smith out of my living room.”

Anthony Martin’s work is published or forthcoming in The Tishman Review, Paper Darts, and Whiskey Island (among other fine places). Come hear Anthony read from “Harvey Stone,” along with Sara Morrison, Karl Sherlock, Dania Brett, and Ryan Hicks, on Saturday, September 24th at Glashaus.

radvocate 14 release

The Radvocate Fourteen features work from: Karl Sherlock, Joe Baumann, John Vanderslice, Anthony Martin, Jamie Sullivan, Meggie Royer, Caroline Taylor, Emily Green, Scott Sherman, Laura Preble, Allyson Whipple, Sara Morrison, Juleigh Howard-Hobson, Janet Joyner, Eric Raymond, Lois Harrod, Dania Brett, Harley Lethalm. // Cover Art: Matt Parchinski // Editor: Matt E. Lewis

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.