Tag Archives: writing

An Interview with the Foundry’s Matt Young

The Foundry is our literary reading series, and the next show is Saturday, June 10th at 7 PM at Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa, featuring readings from Steph Cha, Hari Alluri, Elizabeth Marro, Kali Wallace, and today’s interviewee, Matt Young.

Matt Young, who we first got to know when we published his story in Incoming: Veteran Writers on Returning Home last year, and is the author of the forthcoming memoir Eat The Apple“Fractured Flashes: Writing The Very Short Narrative Essay.” (Enroll now!) (Bloomsbury, 2018). He’s a college writing instructor in Washington State and will join us to read on June 10th, as well as teach a master class on flash narrative non-fiction writing.

So Say We All’s production director and Foundry host Julia Dixon Evans recently had a chance to ask Matt a few questions.

JULIA DIXON EVANS: Hi Matt! Thanks for agreeing to speak with me. And thanks for agreeing to come out to San Diego to read and teach.

MATT YOUNG: Hey Julia, of course. I’m a bit nervous coming back to Southern California. It’s a bit like returning to the scene of a crime.

JDE: So when’s the last time you’ve been here? The subtext there is WHAT DID YOU DO?

MY: I think the last time I was there was 2011 to visit my old battalion after they got back from Afghanistan? It’s hard to remember if that tells you anything. I do remember getting sunburned so badly that one of my friends had to give me prescription painkillers.

JDE: You have recently put out some fantastic short narrative nonfiction, but you also have a book-length memoir on the way (Eat The Apple, Bloomsbury, 2018). What is gained in going short when writing narrative nonfiction? What is lost?

MY: I found flash because I was trying to figure out a way to tell a huge story with a lot of different narrative threads. Flash gave me a way to explore those threads without worrying too much about narrative continuity. The whole thing is held together thematically and chronologically with some recurring characters sprinkled throughout, but ultimately the stories are fairly disconnected and most of them can stand alone. They each pack an emotional little jab to the solar plexus in some way, which I think is common to the flash genre. You often give up context for lyricism in flash, but that’s the kind of writing I love, so I guess I don’t see it as giving up much. Brian Oliu has said, “I write to devastate.” I love that. I think that’s what you gain from the flash form, a tiny drop of devastation.

JDE: One of my favorite pieces of your recent work is “Fata Morgana,” which is a stunning, unexpected look at death, family, nostalgia, and creepy medical stuff. I love the way this is fragmented into headed sections, but has an incredibly strong narrative. I equally love and am baffled by the section headings. Tell us about those? 

MY: Thank you, that’s really kind. I don’t know what I can say about those. I guess when I started the piece it was called “Ichthyology” (which later became a section title) and it wasn’t a modular story at all. I started writing it right after my wife and I returned home from the memorial and I was still feeling really raw, and I remember having a thought while I was trying to work and instead of pulling out a notebook or opening a new document I just wrote that thought directly in the document where I was working on “Ichthyology” and it ended up becoming the “Oversight” section. The form just kind of chose itself.

Oversight
A placard on the interpretive center wall reads, Beware! Deserts might look empty, but they’re full of things that kill! More placards on the wall below show gila monsters and mountain lions and coyotes—which can kill in packs when they’re desperate. In the foreground of the placards is a poster board covered in pictures of my grandfather. Next to the poster board is a computer monitor playing a slideshow of photographs of him and our family on a loop. There is no placard on the wall of the interpretive center showing the pancreatic cancer that killed him—though neither is there a placard of a rattlesnake.

(excerpted from Matt Young’s “Fata Morgana, appearing in Split Lip Magazine, 2017)

JDE: “Fata Morgana” is a relatively short piece — 1700 words (I counted) — but this is your thing, the very short essay, often referred to as flash nonfiction. I know I have a default, a word count that I always seem to end up near, and I assume most other writers are the same. But I also have a dream word count, an aim. I’m wondering if pieces like “Fata Morgana” and your other short works fall into either of those categories: short because you seem to have no choice, the length chooses you, or short because you work at it and try to get a story to be particularly short? 

MY: Yeah, like I mentioned “Fata Morgana” started out as something totally different. It was going to be longer. It was going to be more about my grandfather, his life, fly fishing, our relationship, grief. And then I think my grief got in the way of that and I let it. Sometimes though I do try to work into flash, I think it’s a good way to sharpen your prose.

Ichthyology

At the memorial service, held in a regional park interpretive center, I read a placard that informs me the Sonoran Desert is the most biodiverse desert in the world. I think about how the night before, my family gathered in the middle of that desert at a sushi restaurant in a strip mall. Another placard tells me there are thirty species of fish endemic to the Sonoran—suckers, shiners, pupfish, chub, trout, catfish, more. I wonder if my grandfather ever caught any of those native fish with the fly gear he gave me two years ago. I wonder if he tied any of the flies himself. Then I wonder if I’ve already lost some to poorly tied knots or overhead foliage. I think of a large trout that broke my line a month back swimming somewhere in tributary river in Eastern Washington with a piece of my grandfather stuck in its jaw. I tell myself that’s where he’d rather be anyway. Don’t handle them too much, Grandson, catch and release, he wrote in a note that came with the gear. In his younger years he would’ve built a throne from their skeletons and not thought twice. He wrote, I haven’t trusted my legs against the river for a long time. None of the fish we ate at the restaurant were native—they were all caught, bashed over the head with a club, gutted, filleted, and shipped to what used to be a primordial ocean to be unceremoniously masticated in a mix of saliva and cheap beer.

(excerpted from Matt Young’s “Fata Morgana, appearing in Split Lip Magazine, 2017)

JDE: Your upcoming class with us on June 10th, “Fractured Flashes: Writing The Very Short Narrative Essay,” seems to focus on the idea of fracture. Structure, content. What draws you to this concept? What sort of things does fractured writing challenge? Or what kind of things do writers or readers alike need to be untaught to swallow something fragmented?

MY: I write a lot about memory and I also blur the line significantly between fiction and nonfiction in my writing, which I think—or at least hope—gets the reader to consider the subjective nature of memory and truth. I was really nervous when I started writing about my experience. I thought, What will the guys I served with think? Do they remember this the same way? Will they call me a liar if they don’t? I even started questioning my own recollections. Fractured narratives tend to have this effect—they obfuscate and gray the black and white, they make us question everything. That tends to upset what we’ve been taught about truth. But I think it’s important to remember that truth and fact are very different. Truth is subjective. I think that’s something we’re all getting a pretty rough lesson in right about now.

JDE: You’re a veteran, and an active contributor to the newest bloom of veteran literature finally making its way into the hands of readers. Though “Fata Morgana” makes no mention of it. Do you feel a responsibility to have your work periodically check back in, and re-establish your place as a veteran writer?

MY: No, I don’t. I don’t know that I want to be defined in that way. Is that pretentious? Should I just give in to that designation? Anyway, I read very little veteran or war writing while writing the book. Dispatches by Michael Herr, In Pharaoh’s Army by Tobias Wolff, and Jarhead by Anthony Swofford—nothing from the Forever Wars. I do think war has leached into our cultural groundwater, but I think to continually look inward at that thing you lose what’s going on in the periphery, forget that life is happening outside of those other places. It makes us look into a mirror instead of out a window. Measuring ourselves against already published narratives can be really damaging, can make us feel like our experiences aren’t worth writing about because we see them as different or less than those that have been published. They of course can be useful in some ways, but I say look outward as much as you can. Expand horizons. Go read speculative fiction or poetry. Maybe it will help you create something different, you know?

JDE: What does it mean to you to be a veteran writer not explicitly writing about the things the civilian world accepts in a piece of veteran writing?

MY: I guess it means I’m just another writer, but I’m okay with that.

JDE: The writing you do that is explicitly ensconced in being a veteran is also somewhat irreverent, though I know that word is thrown around a lot. More simply put, you tend to zoom in on one element, one scorn, one moment, one thing to cope with. What drives this sort of writing?

MY: Self-loathing? Haha. I feel like the thing I zoom in on a lot of the time are my own shortcomings. Most of the things I write that have to do with my service use the war or the Marines as forward narrative momentum—background. Otherwise I’m usually poking fun at myself or trying to figure out why I acted the way I did, which maybe might help someone else.

JDE: Your book, Eat The Apple, is forthcoming next year. First of all, tell me about that title. 

MY: It’s a Marine Corps saying: Eat the apple. Fuck the Corps. It’s not exactly a term of endearment. It’s a nod to the impermanence of an enlistment.

JDE: Did you set out to write a book-length work? Or did you start writing with the intention of it being a shorter piece, and then just couldn’t stop? Or something else?

MY: I started out not wanting to write it at all. I’d tried writing fiction and nonfiction about my experience and it just wasn’t good—it felt indulgent and overly dramatic, and also like I was trying to tout this experience I thought of at the time as unique. Something that gave me specialized knowledge that elevated me above people who hadn’t served in some way. It felt wrong. So I went to my grad program selling my faculty on writing weird speculative stories set in the Midwest. I wasn’t super proud of the work I was doing, but it wasn’t that bad. Then for a graduate student reading I wanted to try something new so I sat down and popped out four really short vignettes about being in the Marines. They all had different voices, were written in different perspectives, they were funny and tragic and they got a good reception. I tried to call it a fluke for a couple months, but I kept going back to them, and then that summer they all just kind of poured out of me. I probably wrote two hundred pages and ended up with over a hundred usable pages and then kept developing those and creating new stories over the next year. I ended up with a thesis length manuscript, graduated, and then spent the next year finishing the book.

JDE: Do you draw inspiration from different sources for different end products? Who are some of your big go-to writers?

MY: I watch a lot of movies and television. I read a lot of speculative fiction and poetry. I borrowed forms from medical evaluations and diagrams, multiple choice tests, military publications. Some writers I’m really into right now are Claire Vaye Watkins, Brian Oliu, Elena Passarello, Chris McCormick, Brit Bennett, Chris Bachelder, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Ben Loory, lots of others. The thing that probably inspired the book the most was Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, which I’d read during undergrad, but came back to and keep coming back to.

JDE: As you wrote your memoir, what other things were you doing? Not just what books you were reading, but big things like where were you in life? And also small things like if you remember a movie or an album or a friendship from that time.

MY: A lot. When I started, it was 2013 and I had just moved to Ohio from Oregon. We were listening to a lot of Wilco during the cross-country drive. My wife and I had gotten married in June of 2013 and then we moved in early August. I was working towards my MA. My wife was getting her second Master’s degree. It was my first year teaching—building syllabi, instructing, assessing. I saw Twelve Years A Slave in a snowstorm in some town in Ohio. There were eight people in the theater, one guy walked out during the scene when Patsey gets whipped. I used to meet a buddy of mine who was in the composition and rhetoric program every week to have breakfast and watch the newest episode from the first season of True Detective.

JDE: I could get behind that for breakfast. 

MY: In the middle of my first year of grad school I found my biological family. Then I contacted them about a week before my wife and I went to Thailand for our delayed honeymoon. Then we drove out to Massachusetts to meet them when we got back—they had gotten back together some time after putting me up for adoption and nine years later had another kid, and another, and another. So I got to meet my biological mom, dad, two brothers, and sister. It was wild. I think those emotions made it into the book. We’re close now—me and the bio family—we stay in touch, I visit whenever I can. We’re going out there in July actually. My brother just graduated college and my sister just graduated high school. My middle brother is thinking about joining the Marines. That was one hell of a digression. Sorry—it’s hard to bring that up and not go into some kind of detail.

JDE: No, I think this is exactly what I meant, how could you even separate the writing process from what you were going through at that time? The big, emotionally draining stuff, but also yeah, True Detective for breakfast.

MY: Oh! I spent most of that summer and fall writing to Slothrust’s album Of Course You Do—great lyrics, vocals, and guitar. The week before my thesis defense I ran my first marathon in Cincinnati—the training for the marathon really helped me tap into some weird places and also helped with memory recovery. When I graduated from my Master’s program in 2015 my wife got a job in Washington State, so we moved again. I was accepted to a couple writer’s residencies with Words After War and Carey Institute’s Logan Nonfiction Program. I worked third shift at UPS when I returned from those through the winter then started adjuncting at a couple community colleges. The writing of the book was really like a three-year process. I’m still running through final edits right now. So I guess it’s verging onto four years.

JDE: Have you always been a writer? Or is this something that you discovered after you served in the military?

MY: Like capital W Writer? I wrote a bit in high school for our literary magazine. I was a burnout and a wannabe punk and I wrote shitty articles about why pot should be legal. I didn’t really start writing with the intent to publish until after the Marines in college. Though I did write a really shitty novella during my third deployment to Iraq. I wrote it as a serial to the woman who’s now my wife to try and impress her—I can’t explain my thought process at all in that regard. But we’re married now. So I guess I did something right?

JDE: Does it even matter when people find writing? Or is it something that you notice in other writing?

MY: No. I think people come to writing at different times. I do think some people are naturally predisposed to writing (just like some people are predisposed to addiction or athleticism), but I also think it can be learned and cultivated and lost.

JDE: I like that. Where do you fall with writing?

MY: I’ve always loved to read, which piqued my interest in writing when I was young, but I don’t know if I have natural writing talent. I’ve always been happy making stuff up or imagining things, scenarios, people.  I think what I have is a natural enthusiasm for writing, and a desire to get good at it — I like making people feel things. I’ve been privileged enough to work with some great teachers and mentors in the past eight years who’ve fostered that enthusiasm and desire and have helped me make that brain-to-page connection. I feel really lucky thinking about that.

JDE: What are you working on now?

MY: I just got done building some raised garden beds. I just finished a draft of an essay about John Carpenter’s The Thing. I’m going through the first pass of the memoir. I’m teaching. I just ran a half marathon, and I’m training for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I’m hoping to do some fly fishing and work on my roll cast at some point this summer.

JDE: I had to google roll cast which I’m not afraid to admit. Thank you so much, and we can’t wait to have you read to us at The Foundry

MY: Thank you, and me too! I’m looking forward to meeting you all in person.

For some more of Matt’s writing, check out “A New Species of Yucca,” at Tin House.

So when we find the leg, we think we might be delusional from any number of things. But the leg is there and we think we can hear one another’s thoughts about the leg: Where’d this fucking leg come from? Why’s it in the middle of the desert? Whose leg is it? It’s not mine. Is it mine? I bet whoever’s it is probably misses it. Is it wearing pants? Think there are cigarettes in the pocket? It is wearing pants. Linen, maybe silk—this could be a rich leg.

(from “A New Species of Yucca” by Matt Young. Read more at Tin House.)

Catch Matt Young, along with Hari Alluri, Kali Wallace, Elizabeth Marro, and Steph Cha, Saturday, June 10th at 7 PM at Public Square Coffee in La Mesa. And don’t forget to enroll in Matt’s class that morning!


Matt Young is a Marine Corps infantry veteran, teacher, editor, and writer. His work can be found in Incoming: Veteran Writers On Coming Home, CONSEQUENCE magazine, Split Lip, Word Riot, Tin House, River Teeth, and many others. He teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at Centralia College in Washington State. He is the author of Eat the Apple (Bloomsbury 2018), a multi-genre flash nonfiction war memoir about his three combat deployments to Iraq between 2005 and 2009. Find out more at www.mattyoungauthor.com or follow him on Twitter @young_em_see.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, an education, performance, and publishing nonprofit based in San Diego, please consider becoming a sustaining member here.

Fractured Flashes: Matt Young teaches a master class with SSWA!

The Foundry #5 is coming up on June 10th, and with it, Incoming  contributor Matt Young is coming to town to teach a special master class with So Say We All that same day.

Fractured Flashes: Writing the Very Short Narrative Essay
A So Say We All Master Class with Matt Young

 

An in-depth look at the fractured parts that make us, and how to mine those moments of our lives in order to craft effective and engaging narrative flash creative nonfiction with the intent to publish. Students will read and discuss professional essays, explore memory recovery, discover ways to integrate research and personal experience, begin crafting a narrative, learn to give and receive effective feedback, leave with a draft-in-progress, and create a community of peer writers.

About your instructor:

Matt Young is a Marine Corps infantry veteran, teacher, editor, and writer. His work can be found in Incoming: Veteran Writers On Coming Home, CONSEQUENCE magazine, Split Lip, Word Riot, Tin House, River Teeth, and many others. He teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at Centralia College in Washington State. He is the author of Eat the Apple (Bloomsbury 2018), a multi-genre flash nonfiction war memoir about his three combat deployments to Iraq between 2005 and 2009. Find out more at www.mattyoungauthor.com or follow him on Twitter @young_em_see

Fractured Flashes: Writing The Very Short Narrative Essay
A So Say We All Master Class with Matt Young
Saturday, June 10th
10-2 pm

$45 public
$35 member
Full Veteran Writers Division Scholarships available!

REGISTER NOWhttps://squareup.com/market/so-say-we-all/item/master-class-with-matt-young

Members: Enter code MCMEMBER 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 Veteran Writers Division Scholarships for this fantastic class, fill out this application. The scholarship deadline is May 20th, and we will notify you by May 25th.


If you like what we do at So Say We All, a literary non-profit, please consider becoming a supporting member here.

 

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: 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.

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.

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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!

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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]

Drop
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.”

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

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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.