Meditations on Desire

I really admire Jen Pastiloff and her powerhouse of a site, The Manifest-Station, so I’m honored to have a piece up there called “Meditations on Desire.” This is the first personal essay / lyric essay / long prose poem / difficult-to-classify-by-genre piece I’ve had published, and it touches on a lot of themes I’ve been thinking about for a long time, going back to my time in Poland up to the more present moment, when I was living in the Bay.

The 18 Somethings Project is back!

It’s summer and The 18 Somethings Project is back! I’m stoked to be running the fourth edition July 1-18. It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since the amazing Janet Frishberg and I conceived of and implemented this project, in honor of our June birthdays. Since June 2013, we’ve had more than 160 unique participants in 6 countries. We’ve seen a lot of brilliance come out of this project–new friendships, collaborations, writing group formations, and people continuing to exchange 10-minute writes on their own.

In case you missed it, The 18 Somethings project is an 18-day writing adventure to activate your creativity. Participants write for 10 minutes a day on a prompt, exchange their writing with an awesome partner we assign, and share/receive only positive feedback. A few things are new this time around, including image-based prompts (in addition to words/sentences) and a fancy new website.

Sign up by 11:11pm PST on June 22. Receive your partner by June 26. Start writing July 1. Let the magic happen for the next 18+ days. For more info on the process, FAQs, and to sign up, head to 18somethingsproject.com.

The images above are from the thought-provoking week I just spent at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA. I was one of 20 folks participating in Tent: Encounters with Jewish Culture, a creative writing workshop. The week was full of workshops, seminars, conversations about Jewishness and literature, field trips to places like Big Wheel Press and the rare book room at Smith College–and I’m still digesting it all. I was inspired by the stunning scenery of the northeast, by the newness of these places, by the ridiculously smart people I encountered, and the small bits of quiet time to walk, read, and write.

Hope to be writing with you this July! Please reach out if you have any questions about The 18 Somethings Project: July Edition.

Spring Reading

what i'm readingJust a little light reading for the start of spring: a few pages away from finishing Bad Feminist / saw Claudia Rankine read at Berkeley a few weeks ago and am savoring Citizen / read Long Quiet Highway in two days while back on the East coast, because Natalie Goldberg’s books are meditations in themselves / will read I Love a Broad Margin to My Life before heading to the AROHO retreat in August because Maxine Hong Kingston will be the keynote / I’m woefully underread on Kabbalah so there’s that / and some poetry to round it all out.

 

PS: More Re[en]vision zines available!

re[en]vision zine caroline kessler Good news! I just printed another 30 (yes, thirty) zines about radically re-envisioning, re-seeing, rewriting, re-doing, re-whatevering your poetry and prose. You can still get Re[en]vision for $5 (plus 1 doll hair for shipping if you don’t live in the Bay Area). They’re exactly the same as the first print run, except they’re bound with some great navy thread I got at the amazing SCRAP in the Bayview. (You can send payment and your address to carolinehkessler [at] gmail [dot] com via PayPal or Venmo. More questions? Send ’em to that same email.)

Solo zine: Re[en]vision

My first solo zine, Re[en]vision: A Guide to Radically Re-Imagining and Re-Writing Your Prose & Poetry, is going like hotcakes, which is super-surprising to me. I recently made this zine in less than 30 days, as part of a great program facilitated by Jessica Semaan of The Passion Co and Janet Frishberg.

The zine compiles some amazing revision exercises from various classes I’ve taken (huge hat tip to the exercises from Diana Park, via Arizona’s poet laureate Alberto Rios), and I walk one of my own poems through many of the exercises. I also have a bit about your inner critic and how to deal with him/her (mine’s the skinny hipster pictured), some extra tips for prose writers, and some wise words from poet John Mortara.

New for me in this zine: hand-lettering things, using a typewriter (thanks, Loren!), drawing a few things, and doing the layout old-school (copy and paste, not on a computer). From a print run of 50, I’ve got about 10 left. Shout if you want one, or keep your eyes peeled for a second print run and/or Re[envision] #2.

The Opposite Of: Zine and Launch Party

The Opposite Of, in all its glory! With 17 contributors both by and beyond the Bay, this zine is packed with the most art we’ve ever had, plus nearly all-new contributors. Tiny Splendor did a beautiful job printing it. Big high-fives to Patrick Gage Kelley who did the cover and Sumeet Banerji who did the interior layout.

Want a copy? It’s only 5 doll hairs, and you can even send that electronically! Just email me, subject line “I want a copy of the zine.”

Thanks to everyone who made it to the party at the gorgeous space and even started a dance party at the end! It was so much FUN to celebrate with you.

FAULTS: Thank you.

A massive thank you to everyone in San Francisco who turned out (and stayed late!) for the FAULTS reading and release party last Friday night. In case you missed it, or in your drunken debauchery forgot to take a copy, we have plenty left.

$5, free delivery in SF, add $1.50 for postage if you are outside of the Bay Area. Write to me (or leave a comment) if you want to mail a check, or send via PayPal or Venmo.

Thanks again to all of our contributors, and especially Sumeet Banerji for the layout and Sirima Sataman for her letterpress.

FAULTS: a teaser.

Our fingers ache from binding 200 copies of our latest zine, FAULTS but we’re stoked to share it with you. If you can’t make the party in San Francisco tonight, drop a line to indexfist [at] gmail [dot] com and we’ll send you a copy (or local delivery by bike in SF proper!). Prose, poetry, and images from folks in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and of course, Fog City.

We’re making another zine: FAULTS.

Recently, three other San Francisco-based ladies-who-get-shit-done and I launched Habits of the Mouth, a zine of prose, poetry, and art from over 15 contributors. We’ve recovered from the debauchery and delights of our last release party and reading, named ourselves Index/Fist, and we’re now accepting submissions of more prose, poetry, and art for the next zine.

The theme? FAULTS. The release? August 2013.
We’d love for you to submit (yes, you). Submission guidelines and FAQS are below. Due to space constraints, we won’t be able to accept all of the work we receive. Feel free to pass this on to any faulty-minded friends or lovers. All contributors will receive one free copy of the zine.
 
SUBMISSION GUIDELINES 
Send a .doc or .docx version of your work and a short bio (35 words or less) to indexfist@gmail.com by July 1. Submissions should:

  • Be an inventive or classic variation on the theme “faults.” Wikipedia’s got some great ideas here.
  • Prose must be 750 words or less.
  • Poetry must be 45 lines or less.
  • Images (.jpg please) must be 300dpi. Due to difficultly reprinting, we currently do not accept photography.
  • Submissions will be read blind, so pleasedo not include your name in your attachment.
Simultaneous submissions are just fine, but please, no previously published work. We’ll let you know if we’ve accepted your work by August 1.

Questions? indexfist@gmail.com 

FAQs
Hey, what’s a zine? Zines are self-published works with a limited distribution. They can be cut & paste photocopy jobs, bound journals, or a simple computer print-out stapled together. All of our zines are hand-stitched volumes made with extreme care. They are not for profit and are distributed within San Francisco and, upon request, across the US via mail.
How is this different from a literary journal? We’re bypassing traditional publishing norms and venues by printing, binding, and distributing a small collection of gorgeous books by hand. Our zines celebrate content and presentation. We make limited print runs. Read: you cannot get this on the Internet.
What kind of work are you looking for? Concise and compelling prose, poetry, and images that bend our idea of what FAULTS means. We appreciate works of all genres with distinct points of views, as well as images that can be easily reprinted.
Can I still submit if I don’t live in San Francisco? Damn straight you can. 
Why are you calling yourselves Index/Fist? Are you some sort of S&M group? Ha! Because it’s a bangin’ typographical symbol that desperately needs to get some more play in the printed world.  ☞ ☞ ☞

I don’t want to submit but I want to get a copy of the zine and come to the release party. How can I do that? 
By emailing indexfist@gmail.com those exact words.

Habits of the Mouth: The Zine.

So you might have heard that three other friends and I made a zine called Habits of the Mouth…but in case you haven’t, here are some photos to whet your whistle! Lulu, Rebecca, Francesca, and I asked dear friends, scattered near and far, to send us their mouthiest prose, poetry, and art.

We put it all together in the little book you see here, hand-bound by the ladies-who-get-shit-done-themselves. We had a baller reading and release party last week, and are already brainstorming for the next one.

But what’s that? You want a copy? You’re in luck: we’re in the midst of our second print run, so we’ll have zines to spare. If you’d like one of these bad boys for a mere $5, drop me a line. If you’re local to San Francisco (or the surrounding Bay Area), we’ll hand-deliver it. If not, snail mail is no problem.