We are currently in the process of finalizing our list of incredible contributors for our inaugural project, Playing Authors. It has been such an honor and pleasure to read all of the submissions. We received over eighty in total, and that, in itself, is such a gift. Thank you to everyone who submitted their work, who took the time and effort to reach out, and for all who shared more about your ongoing projects.
Part of OIP’s mission is to recognize the bravery and perseverance in making and submitting work. Since we launched last May, random submitters have received gifts in the mail, and we are developing other avenues of community-building with those who submit work. We can’t publish everything sent our way, but rather than an acceptance/rejection dichotomy, we want to find additional ways to build the OIP community.
One of these is our upcoming newsletter, THE GUTENBORG PROJECT. We’ve been developing it slowly and are excited to share it with you. We want to create more spaces for your work and hope to grow THE GUTENBORG PROJECT with you. If you haven’t already, sign up today to be put on the list. All are welcome.
We are excited to read your work and make a space for it to exist in this world. At Old Iron Press, we look forward to collaborating with you–people making, reading, exploring, and persisting. We’re in this together. And we’re so grateful for that.
This month we have a special Q&A with singer/songwriter/author/artist, Amy Lashley.
Amy has released three solo albums and published a children’s book, in which she illustrated her song, “Bedtime At Mackensie’s Farm.” She is currently focused on mixed media-painting–often small scale, light-hearted celebrations of working folks, farms, and their animals.
A self-described homebody, Amy has never been in love with performing, though she occasionally makes some exceptions, most recently at Indianapolis’s historic Melody Inn.
Amy grew up in Russellville, Indiana, a farming community with a population of 376, and has lived in Ohio, Vermont, spent a couple lost months in Seattle, WA, and twelve years in Nashville, TN. In 2019, she and her long time partner, Otis Gibbs, decided to return home to central Indiana to “close friends, family, and four distinct seasons.”
I’m lucky enough to be one of those friends and today, in the spirit of celebrating late January, homebodies, doodling, collaboration, underdogs, and joy in making, here’s the incredible Amy Lashley!
At OIP, we love the fact that everyone has their own set of "classics" (i.e., books, songs, recipes, comics, food, objects, movies, shows, etc. that shaped you). What were some of your favorite childhood "classics"?
My faithful friend, the car radio, the escapades of Ramona Quimby, the Muppet Show, roller skating, basketball, Disney's (I was little, dang it) Jungle Book, tiny Coca Cola bottles at Muggie's (Grandma Dorothy).
Where would your adventure be set: underwater or in space?
Under the sea, please. In a vessel with loads of windows to witness all the creatures going about their business. No sea monsters, or aliens though, thank you.
Favorite word / font / letter?
Favorite letter is O, for obvious reasons your readers will soon learn.
What are some things you enjoy doing off-screen? (*your very own digital disruption):
Reading, hiking with the dog, late evening walks, messing around with art supplies, gardening.
Snacks while you work–yes/no? If yes, what’s your go-to?
I don't typically start working on anything creative until after I've finished chores, errands and Wendell, my dog, has gotten some exercise. I like to sit down with my second cup of tea and begin. If it's later in the day, I might have chocolate covered almonds--my latest addiction.
What are some of your favorite tools-of-the-trade?
They are a little messy, but I love Pilot G210 pens, chubby Ticonderoga kindergarten pencils, composition books, odd sized notebooks and sketchbooks.
You are hosting a party. Who’s coming? Where and when? What’s being served?(Fictional characters and locales are welcome.)
Harvest Moon Party
Bourbon, wine, apple cider
The snack table is loaded with food allergy friendly treats that I didn't prepare.
Chickens, goats, and various critters are mingling with the guests.
John Prine and Patsy Cline are singing an impromptu duet of "It Ain't Me, Babe."
Everyone rowdily joins in for the last chorus.
"NO, NO, NO, it ain't me, Babe. It ain't me you're looking for."
What mashups do you wish existed?
I'll have to get back to you on that mash up.
Any recommendations for the OIP community? What have you been enjoying lately? (Or, something you are working on that you would like to share?)
I'm not sure when this peculiar obsession with doodling oddly shaped little rabbits started, but I can't seem to stop. If anyone could offer advice, or a possible cure, I would surely welcome it. Here are some of the most recent doodles:
Describe your favorite music venue or tell us about some of the places where you've played. Any stories you'd like to share?
My favorite onstage moment was when my partner and singer/songwriter, Otis Gibbs, invited me up on stage at this wonderful venue called Sage Gateshead in England. He had the crowd sing "Happy Birthday" to me and we sang a duet together. We think we did a Townes Van Zandt cover, though neither of us is certain.
You've written so beautifully about daredevils, strugglers, daydreamers, and homebodies. What songs or albums would you share with anyone who feels like one (or, all!) of the above?
I just recently played a short set at the Melody Inn, a historic Indianapolis dive bar. This time I left the guitar at home and had pals on electric guitar and drums to accompany me. It was so freeing to just sing. My stage fright was drastically improved and I think I even had some fun up there. The set list was a little different, with the addition of some songs I can't do justice to on guitar and a fun short story I narrated. I tend to write in a lot of different styles, so I typically just try not to give the audience whiplash.
How do you go about building a set list?
I'd be lying if I said I loved anyone's songs on the subject more than my fella, Otis Gibbs. We both love shining a light on the underdog. Here are just a few of my favorites: "Don't Worry, Kid," "Ain't Nothing Special," "To Anyone" and "Back In My Day Blues."
Check out our Instagram for Trivia Tuesday, our monthly gameshow, hosted by Alyssa Preston. On the first Tuesday of every month, we host a series of questions in our IG Stories. The first person to answer the most questions correctly has the chance to win a variety of curiously curated collectibles.
We post regularly about books we love on our Instagram and have a bookshop.org site where you can discover even more. We champion retooled classics, underdogs, and disobedient forms.
Look forward to the opening of our Merch page! We’re incredibly excited to share these items with you. Every purchase supports our press and the writers/artists/makers we publish.
And continue to follow along on the road to publishing our first project, an anthology, Playing Authors, coming out later this year.
Thank you again to all who submitted their work. Please keep us in mind in the future, and know that we’re cheering for you.
At OIP, we are dedicated to publishing the small, strange, and uncategorizable. And, having fun doing it.