At Old Iron Press, we’re in production with Playing Authors and deep into reading submissions.
We hosted our first in-person celebration, met members of the OIP community at a local Gathering, and have plans for a grand Gutenborg summer road trip to meet OIP contributors near and far.
And, to top it all off, this month we have an interview with Jane Henegar, the executive director of the ACLU in Indiana.
Welcome to May, Friends.
I don’t know about you, but Chaucer’s “faire, fresshe” month feels experimental. A time of renewal, or perhaps a time to engage differently. It’s an excellent time to shake things up.
Starting next week, Gutenborg, our intrepid wonderer, will be taking over this space for the summer to help us meet Old Iron Press authors. More on that below, but first, a little celebratory rest and play.
Gutenborg’s self-healing, energy-generating wheel is an integral part of OIP, and we believe in taking breaks and “making messes.” I’ve been taking some self-healing this month hiking in search of Spring ephemerals, brewing sun tea, and returning to the essays of Jeannette Winterson. Winterston writes in Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery:
“To trust is to submit to the experiment, to stay the course, to sit up late and wait. Mistakes will be made. No writer is free from failure and we cannot judge a writer’s work until the whole body of it has appeared, and perhaps we have to wait longer still. Our own age is very quick to judge and even to prejudge, perhaps as a determined effort to make sure that art never opens its own mouth. It has teeth, art, and a way of cutting through the soft parts untried.”
I especially love how this Winterson quote speaks to the process of experimentation. It offers insight into the opportunity we have to support one another as creators in this goal, allowing each other the chance to experiment more.
Old Iron Press is a project obsessed with process and experimentation. To attempt something collaboratively as a means to create, celebrate, and explore, we launched OIP with the desire, above all else, to learn together and play.
In the past few weeks, OIP got our feet wet hosting! We hosted our first ever contributor meet-up, and it was so much fun I forgot to take pictures.
We dearly missed those contributors unable to be with us due to location/circumstance, and we’re looking forward to hosting the OIP community this fall as we launch our inaugural project, Playing Authors. Until then, we’re excited to celebrate our OIP authors in this space throughout the summer.
The week before the OIP meetup, I had the opportunity to witness a masterclass in hosting while attending the Indiana Writers Center Gathering held in the beautiful Indiana State Library. It was a day organized graciously, and full of opportunities for thoughtful conversation. It was wonderful to meet several of the OIP community in-person there as well! Thank you to the IWC for this event and the opportunity to learn.
In other news:
Alex and I are currently reading general submissions. We know first hand the myriad emotions that come with submitting work. We appreciate your patience. If you haven’t heard from us, don’t fret. We are deep in the process and we’re grateful for the opportunity to read your work. Keeping that Winterson phrase close–art has teeth. It is brave. As fellow writers and artists, we thank you, always, for sharing that process alongside us.
This month, we are honored to have an interview with Jane Henegar, the executive director of the ACLU in Indiana.
Jane Henegar has served as the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana since 2012. In this role, Jane leads the state ACLU affiliate in its work to defend individual rights and enhance and preserve liberties that are guaranteed by the U.S. and Indiana Constitutions and civil rights laws. During her tenure, the ACLU of Indiana has doubled its staff and more than doubled the number of members and supporters.
Prior to her service at the ACLU of Indiana, Jane served as a deputy mayor of Indianapolis under Mayor Bart Peterson, from 2000 to 2006. Henegar has held various positions in government, including state director in the office of Senator Evan Bayh, deputy commissioner and general counsel in the Indiana Department of Administration, executive posts at the Family and Social Services Administration and judicial law clerk for the Honorable Thomas Reavley, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
A born and raised Hoosier, Henegar grew up on a farm in southern Monroe County. She is a graduate of Bryn Mawr College and Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington.
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?
The Phantom Tollbooth (I spent months scouring the grounds of my elementary school for a portal to another dimension; I’m still looking, actually) and Charlotte’s Web (pigs are my spirit animal and I still endeavor never to underestimate anyone’s intelligence, especially if their eyes and legs outnumber mine).
Where would your adventure be set: underwater or in space?
So, my recurrent nightmares involve drowning and, although highly unlikely to happen, I have a fear of being cut adrift during a spacewalk…But, I love to travel and there is nothing better than a good hike.
Patriotism, Honesty, and Compassion. While the mashup exists, in limited supply, we need more. When we approach our American ideals with both open eyes and open hearts, we can make an America in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect.
Any recommendations for the OIP community? What have you been enjoying lately?
I am currently reading a copy of Inciting Joy, by Ross Gay that a friend gave to me. I took a while to open it up and I regret the delay. Gay urges us to turn away from cynicism toward hope, “…attending to what we hate in common is all the rage (and it happens also to be very big business), noticing what we love in common, and studying that, might help us survive.”
The work of the ACLU encompasses everything from freedom of expression to due process, and equality. What role does the ACLU play nationally, as well as in the state of Indiana?
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has played a vital role in preserving the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country. With more than 4 million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization with a 50-state network of staffed affiliate offices that work tirelessly in the courts, legislatures, and communities.
Here in Indiana, we get up every day to fight government abuse and to defend individual freedoms, across the state. We spend a significant amount of time engaging in the legislative process, monitoring key civil liberties issues and advocating for Hoosiers’ rights. We also file lawsuits when governmental entities – including towns, schools, police officers, and the State of Indiana – violate constitutional rights guaranteed to each and every one of us. Much of that work focuses on equality for people who have traditionally been denied their rights such as Black and Brown Hoosiers, women, LGBTQ people, incarcerated individuals, immigrants, and people with disabilities.
At OIP, we are dedicated to the project of “ongoingness.” How can individuals/businesses find out more about the on-going work of the ACLU?
Our website, is the best way to find out more about the on-going work of the ACLU of Indiana. You can find information on our website regarding our litigation, legislation, and advocacy efforts. On our website you can also sign up for action alerts: emails informing you of current issues and campaigns, upcoming events, and how to get more involved. Our social media channels are also a great place to find urgent updates, calls to action, and other need-to-knows.
If interested, what are some ways individuals and businesses can support the work you do?
Every voice needs to be heard. So, speak up and share your support for individual rights with your family, your friends, your neighbors, and your elected officials. No individual right or freedom should be deemed impolite or divisive. If our legislators can pass a law about it, we can talk about it. For instance, you can learn more about how to discuss reproductive rights at www.letstalkabortionindiana.org.
Also, voices from the business community are incredibly powerful. That is why after the Dobbs decision came down during the summer of 2022, we launched the “Don’t Ban Equality” business letter so that businesses could show their support for reproductive freedom. To date, we have built a network of over 800 businesses across 90 cities and towns. We are still recruiting businesses and our numbers are growing every day. You can learn more and sign up here: Don’t Ban Equality Business Letter.
Thank you so much, Jane!
OIP is proud to support the work of the ACLU. A portion of all our merch sales during the month of June will be donated to the ACLU of Indiana Foundation.
Trivia Tuesday will be back in the fall! Our monthly Instagram gameshow, Trivia Tuesday, hosted by Alyssa Preston, will be on summer hiatus until October 3. Look for Trivia Tuesday’s return this autumn with some curiously curated Playing Authors prizes!
This summer, Gutenborg hits the road to meet OIP Playing Authors contributors. Follow along with our favorite one-wheel wonderer all summer as we meet Old Iron Press authors.
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. Recently, we posted about Douglas Coupland’s Microserfs on Instagram and added Louise DeSalvo’s The Art of Slow Writing: Reflections on Time, Craft, and Creativity, amongst others, to our Bookshop.org site.
Welcome to OIP Merch. Have you seen our QWERTY cap? 19th century Kenosha, Wisconsin, we salute you. Every purchase supports our press and the writers/artists/makers we publish.
Continue to follow along on the road to publishing our first project, an anthology, Playing Authors, coming out fall 2023. Next month, Gutenborg will be bringing you the first installment in our Q&A series with Playing Authors contributors. First up, Frances Cannon!
At OIP, we are dedicated to publishing the small, strange, and uncategorizable. And, having fun doing it.