J. Sam Williams
Lyndsay Hall and I met in a little room in Culver City, California. We were on campus of Antioch University of Los Angeles, attending a writer’s workshop at our MFA program. I was the first to arrive, before the professor and before the other students. She was the second. We had a good five minutes before anyone else arrived. Of course, I asked her which piece she had written—it happened to be my favorite one. I can’t recall exactly what it was about now, but I remember thoroughly loving the style of it.
Lyndsay’s writing is raw. There’s a brilliance in the narrative voice of all the fiction I’ve read from her. It holds an energy, a certain uninhibited punch to it. She’s an incredibly talented writer, and she’s humble too.
If there is one thing that comes off about Lyndsay, it is that she cares. She’s sharp, bright, and empathetic. She wants the best for those around her. You can see it in the project she’s created. The Sevilla Writers House—an LA based creative writing venture.
If you live in LA, and of the creative type (or just want to try out something new) I recommend you try out the Sevilla Writer’s House (more information in the interview below).
Check out the Sevilla Writers House website here: https://sevillawritershouse.com/
Sam: Tell me a little about yourself.
Lyndsay: (Laughs) About myself? Well, I guess I consider myself a teacher first and a writer second. I teach children and teens creative and essay writing with a national nonprofit, and I earned an MFA in Creative Writing, though I’ve been too busy to put it to use lately. Mostly, I care about education and access to education, and I care about writing and using writing to learn empathy and connect to the human condition. So I spend a lot of time trying to create ways to combine those two things.
Sam: What is Sevilla Writers House?
Lyndsay: In a nutshell, it’s my baby. Sevilla Writers House hosts writing workshops and intimate readings, as well as offering developmental editing for novels and memoirs. I wanted to imitate my experience with Julia Fierro’s Sackett Street workshops in New York: intimate, intellectual, and comfortable. A community. There’s wine and snacks and passionate, talented people. At the readings, there’s consistently been a cool balance of writers who make you laugh and writers who make you cry. More than once, a writer has accomplished both. I don’t know, the whole community just brings me a lot of joy, and I want it to have that effect on others, too, y’know?
Sam: I do. (Smiles)
Lydnsay: But what excites me more than anything, anything, anything! It is this leg of Sevilla called “The Kimberly Project,” which aims to help college students in recovery across the country through creative writing. I have this corny belief system, maybe, but I believe writing helps people discover agency and their voice. The program is named for my step-mother who passed away in January from effects of alcoholism and who helped me financially in undergraduate and graduate school. She appreciated education and supported my writing, and she was full of light and love. I pitched the idea to a friend in law school at Boston University, and long story short, we’re launching trial classes in Boston later this year.
Sam: What’s your personal story with it? What’s the history behind the name, Sevilla Writers House?
Lyndsay: So, once upon a time… No, I’m kidding. Actually, back in 2011, I broke up with a shitty dude and shortly after moved into a one-bedroom apartment on South Beach. It had a name---The Sevilla Apartments---but it wasn’t one of those buildings that necessarily needed a name. It was cute: pale pink, with these white western-looking balconies on only one side of the building. I convinced friends the mailroom was haunted. About a month into living there, I chose five or six sample paint colors and painted swatches of every color on the wall. I never wound up choosing a paint color.
Anyway, I’d quit writing while I was with Shitty Dude, and in that apartment, I started to write again. Once this writing community dream occurred to me, it felt like an obvious name.
Sam: What are Sevilla’s long-term goals?
Lyndsay: I can’t stop my imagination, so hear me out: I want to drive a van across the country, teaching creative writing and hosting readings with local authors and poets. I want to launch a literary journal featuring solicited essays and stories from people I admire. I want to print themed anthologies. I want to host workshops for adults who’ve never given writing a shot. I want The Kimberly Project to be a fixture in more than a handful of universities. This could take my whole life, who knows? More than anything, I want to maintain these same nurturing, close-knit vibes we’ve already cultivated in our workshops and readings. And I want to have fun. I want to have a lot of fun.
Lyndsay Hall earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University, and she works as a creative writing instructor with the nonprofit organization Writopia Lab. Her writing has appeared in Little Fiction | Big Truths, Lunch Ticket, b(OINK), juked, The Avalon Literary Review, xoJane, and elsewhere. She has held various editor roles: she was the executive editor of Writopia Lab’s 10 year anthology; the first reader of manuscript submissions for Union Literary, an agency in NYC; and the managing editor of the literary journal Lunch Ticket.
J. Sam Williams is the Editor in Chief of immix. He has been published both on The Sporster, The Sporting Bay, Lunch Ticket and immix. He holds his BA in Sociology from Principia College and his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University of Los Angeles. He lives with his wife and two cats in Sacramento, California