Re-capping The Hazel Reading Series as a Newly Initiated Hazeler

yours truly reading a short story forthcoming in print
yours truly reading a short story hopefully forthcoming this year in print

2014 has already begun with some sweet honors. The second weekend of January not only included a visit from my cousin Evan Napala of the DC-based band Cigarette, who’s music you should give a listen to here. That Saturday, yours truly gave a quick and dirty Composition presentation at a faculty development workshop for Saint Mary’s College, and the weekend was wrapped up with a reading on Market Street in San Francisco at the Hazel Reading Series.

Set in a gallery where artists paint, run a printing press, and fashion clothes, a uniquely SF space that invites the city to joins in full force, The Hazel readers included the below, each invited by last reading’s previous writers, also listed.

Rashaan Alexis Meneses invited by Allison Landa
Sarah Frisch invited by Miriam Bird Greenberg
Mei Li Ooi
Carolyn Cooke invited by Ahmunet Jessica Jordan
Monique Wentzel invited by Lydia Fitzpatrick David

Hazelers are asked to introduce themselves and talk a bit about the piece they’ve chosen to read, which may be something they consider experimental.

Sarah Frisch
Sarah Frisch, fiction

Fiction writer and former Stegner fellow, Sarah Frisch posed a speculative piece also about giving birth but played with the idea that men do the deed while their women partners can only stand by and watch.

Mei Li Ooi
Mei Li Ooi, fiction

Mei Li Ooi was most inspiring with a performative piece utilizing the whole space at the front, assuming the role of each of her characters to capture both the audience by emphasizing tone, mood, and the urgency of her story.

Carolyn Cooke
Carolyn Cooke, fiction

Professor and Department Chair of Writing, Consciousness and Creative Inquiry in the MFA Programs at California Institute of Integral Studies, Carolyn Cooke grabbed our attention immediately with a story about San Franciscan insomniacs.

Monique Wentzel
Monique Wentzel, fiction

And last but certainly not least, current Stegner Fellow Monique Wentzel read a most intriguing short story about a hole that opened up in the south of U.S. endangering a whole town and all the living.

Each of the writers were phenomenal, and as the organizers had introduced at the beginning, organic themes and threads surfaced with each work. The audience was treated to surprising commonalities such as male protagonists and the theme of birth. The next Hazel Reading Series is 5-7pm, Sunday, February 9, 1154 Market. Its a true literary gem in the Bay Area. Many thanks to Erica Eller, Sara Marinelli, Shruti Swamy, and Mei Le Ooi.

The organizers of Hazel Reading Series
The organizers of Hazel Reading Series
letter printing and fashion making at the reading space
letter printing and fashion making at the reading space
the hosting gallery space
the hosting gallery space

All photos courtesy of PJS.

Some (not all) of January’s Reading List

This winter’s schedule might not include teaching classes but that doesn’t mean there’s plenty of homework and reading to do. At the start of 2014, along with the ongoing and maybe some new creative writing projects, the research question rattling this mind is can post-colonial discourse(s) inspire, challenge, and inform the craft of fiction writing? Pictured below are just some of the authors who may or may not light the path with a little Djuna Barnes thrown in for fun.

Previous readings for those interested included John Tomlinson’s Cultural Imperialism (Continuum, 2001), Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin‘s The Empire Writes Back (Routledge, 2002) and Graeme Harper’s Creative Writing Studies: Practice, Research and Pedagogy (New Writing Viewpoints, 2007). Not pictured but also to be tackled will be Gish Jen’s Tiger Writing: Art, Culture, and the Independent Self (Harvard University Press, 2013).

Maybe more to come on this burning question…

First Reading of 2014 @ Hazel Reading Series: 12 January, 5-7pm in San Francisco

Many thanks to writer and friend Allison Landa for passing on my name to the Hazel Reading Series where I’ve been invited to read this coming Sunday 12 January, 5-7pm, 1564 Market Street, San Francisco. Hope you and yours will be able to join us.

Born two years ago in the living room of founder and graphic designer Erica Eller The Hazel Reading Series as described on their website:

Hazel is a Bay Area reading series in which all of the readers are women writers. Every reader invites another writer whose work they admire to read in the following series. We find that this pattern of organization creates a sense of lineage and a diverse and unpredictable group of readers for each program. In addition to the lineages formed by Hazel invitees, we also invite one notable guest writer to read at each event.

We keep the readings interesting by asking each of the writers to choose to read work in any genre that represents an experimental aspect of their writing. We hope that the writers who take part in Hazel enter into a forum where they feel comfortable taking risks.

Our goal with Hazel is to foster community, support diversity, aid experimentation, and provide an opportunity for women and women-identified writers of the San Francisco Bay Area to network.  We hope to cultivate a space for inclusion and to recognize that women’s voices come in a myriad of forms. Women’s self-representation is a central theme of the series.

Please share widely and consider coming out for some stellar writing!

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