The Origins of Headmistress Press

Included below is a recorded history of the origins of Headmistress Press, conveyed in an archive of electronic letters (aka emails) between Mary Meriam, Risa Denenberg, and myself (Jessica Lowell Mason – then, Jessica Mason McFadden) between December 2012 and August 2013. I am including screen shots of the emails that I managed to save on my Gmail account.

It all started when I, a twenty-seven-year-old grad student and mother of two, was contacted by Mary Meriam, older lesbian writer, who proposed that I start a press with her.

Text in the original email:

On Dec 22, 2012, at 4:14 PM, Lavender Review wrote:

Jess, would you be interested in being the publisher of chapbooks of lesbian poetry?

Mary Meriam, Editor

Lavender Review

Screenshot of the original email thread:

The following is a screenshot email archive that tells the story of how Headmistress Press came to be — and that shows that I was a co-founder of the press who was ousted by two shady lesbian ladies. I am publishing these emails for one reason: I care about the truth. There is no tact without truth, and the truth matters.


On Dec 22, 2012, at 4:28 PM, Lavender Review wrote:

I have a chapbook ms. that we can start with, if you want to. Here’s how it worked with Seven Kitchens Press: They published a limited edition, 49 copies of my chapbook, The Poet’s Zodiac, and gave me 25 copies to sell. They kept 24 copies. After I sold my copies, I sold their copies, for them, so they got the $. It seems like an ideal set-up. I was so inspired from selling all my copies, that I wanted to sell their copies. See what I’m saying? So if you want to start with my ms., we can split the profits like that. It’s a nice way to make a few bucks. 

What needs to be done first: Think of a name for the (your, I think) publishing company. (I can be like an advisor?) Then research how to produce hard copies of chapbooks in your area. I’m hoping there are places like that around you? How much do they cost to produce? I’m not in the mood right now for e-books, but maybe later. 

On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 4:45 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

Thank you for explaining this, offering me this opportunity, and being willing to serve as an advisor. The profits element does not matter to me as much as the experience.

I have just been through publishing a book, for the first time, with Kathleen Bryce Niles and her Saltfire Press. She published the book for me rather cheaply as an act of charity, to help me get started because she believes I have the potential to be a poet of note. I will pick up my first book this week, on Monday or Wednesday. I am very excited. How did you sell the copies for Seven Kitchens Press – using a particular website?

I am with you, as far as starting with hardcopy books. 

Over the next week or so, I will be in Buffalo, but I will come up with a name and begin the research on producing hardcopies in my area. Macomb doesn’t have much to offer, but a couple of cities outside of Macomb (an hour and a half away, in Springfield and in Galseburg) will have some good options. I will do a bit of research, gather the costs and make some connections. I think I should make some in-person visits to a bunch of places to see some samples. The printing company that is working for/with Kathleen/Saltfire Press (near Buffalo, NY) is GREAT. I should talk to Kathleen, too.
So would it be that -I- am the press or that you and I are the press? Would it be better for the press to consist of a collective or just one to two people?



On Dec 22, 2012, at 5:37 PM, Lavender Review wrote:

Just had another thought: you of course have to like the poems you publish. Do you want to see my ms.? I can send a PDF. I wonder if we would like the same poems/poets? 

On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 5:11 PM, Lavender Review <> wrote:

Jess, that is so exciting about your book!!! Saltfire is a good name. Send me a copy if you can, and I’ll post a little review on the Lavender blog!! Really looking forward to reading it. 
I’ve found things go more smoothly with just one or two people on a project like this. Kathleen sounds like an excellent resource. 

Yes, a website is needed. It could just be a free blogspot. And for payment, PayPal works great. The simpler, the better. I can advise about all that.  I’m not sure yet how much to be connected to the company – but I certainly want to be a hundred percent connected to all the work involved. I think you’ll have to look in to selling things – like state sales tax? I think the company should be in your name, in your state.

I’d like to be involved on the editorial side, like when it’s time to decide what to publish, because I know I’m good at picking good poetry. Also, I have a large network, and that’s how I was able to sell 50 copies of my chapbook. I think if we started with a chapbook by me, it would help spread the word about your company. 

So do you have any names in mind????!!!! Very exciting!!!!

Lavender Review <> AttachmentsDec 22, 2012, 6:00 PM

Ok, my ms. is attached. 

Maybe I could have the title Advisory Editor. I think I shouldn’t hide that this would be partly self-publishing. 

I’m in the middle of dinner – will read your other emails asap.

On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 5:40 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

I suspect that I will like whatever you like. I’m rather inclusive, when it comes to fine lesbian poetry.
And, yes, please send along your ms. Will delight in it as I prepare to leave early in the a.m. 🙂

On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 8:28 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

> HeadmistressPress
> Infrared Press
> Bottom-drawer Books
> Incandescence Press
> Denizen Press
> Attic Dweller Press
> Night-vision Books
> Binocular Books
> Pantheon Dome Press
> Oculus Books
> Purple Fountain Press
> Lunar Fountain Press
> Pyrometer Press
> Lunar Spoon Books
> Mooncrest Press
> Dark Moon Press
> Second Moon Press
> Kithara Books
> Lilith Books
> Central Fire Press
> Hyperspectral Press
> Soft Border Books
> Jess Press
> Attic Salt Books
> Counter-Earth Books
> Double Star Press
> Crone Candle Press
> Hag Lantern Books
> Dusk Moon Books
> Violet Reef Press
> Incendiary Press
> Hag Harbor Books
> Solar Nebula Press
> Copper Comet Press
> Outer Planet Press / Outer Planet Books
> Slow Tilt Books
> Low Boil Books
> Haglight Press
> Moon-ring Books
> Tidal Moon Books
> Open Envelope Press
> Outer Envelope Books
> Ironstone Press / Ironstone Books
> Iron Mountain Books
> Frost Line Press
> Snow Line Books
> Madchen Press
> Third Finger Press
> Hagmaiden Press
> Hagfairy Books
> Sister Flare Press
> Purple Pioneer Books
> Mood Indigo Books
> Eleventh Finger Press
> Fogsong Press
> Gray Room Books
> Solar Echo Press
> Radical Reef Books
> Fresnel Muse Press
> Siren Signal Press
> Moonlantern Press
> Painted Post Press
> Sage Fates Press
> Walpurgis Press
> Mountain Spectre Books
> Magic Circle Press
> Eve Elixir Books
> Cross Incantation Press
> Underside Press
> Under Mattress Press
> Crone Scryer Books
> Runestones Press
> Animagi Press
> Peachfairy Press
> Cantare Press
> Dark Charms Press
> East Pierce Press (that’s the street I live in, ha, ha)
> Conspire Books
> Back Porch Pioneer Press
> Front Rider Press
> Dark Drape Books
> Passerby Press
> Lunar Passage Press
> Port Indigo Press

Lavender Review <> Dec 22, 2012, 8:30 PM

hahahahahaa!! You are so terrific. It will be hard to choose – just glancing they all look great!!! 
Headmistress Press makes me howl!!!!!! I’ll study all of them and talk later. Have a good trip. This is exciting, to start this project!!! 

On Sat, Dec 22, 2012 at 8:34 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

It was fun. I could spend my life coming up with names for things, and probably be very content.
I now must perform pre-travel grooming rituals.

Yes, it’s exciting and fun! Projects, projects…


I like Headmistress Press, if I do say so myself (I howl at her many prospects, too!).

Talk soon,


Re: Titles…any combination…this is probably all I can do for tonight! 🙂

Jess, I’m asking a few people what they think of the name Headmistress Press – so far only heard from one – she likes it. I really like it too. 

One thing I should tell you right away. I have not one slim nickel to put into this company. So the start-up costs will have to come from somewhere else. That would be, I guess, the cost of printing the first chapbook. Maybe there are grants in your state – you’re in Indiana, right? Probably not too many grants for lesbian publishers, I would think. OR I could sell the books before the printing – pre-order – yeah, that could work. We’ll have to figure out how much to charge for the books so it isn’t a total loss. I’m trying to raise a little $ here – unfortunately, that’s part of the reason I want to do this. 
Do you think you’ll be into what they call fulfillment? That’s keeping track of the books, shipping them to customers, customer relations, etc. If not, I suppose the printer could ship them to me, and I could do that. 

What parts of this do you see yourself handling, after it gets started up? I think you’d be good at getting the website set up – then we can work on it together. But no black background please – hard for me to read text on black backgrounds. Also need to set up a gmail account. 

Ok, nuff said for now. Talk later. 

Headmistress Press <>

Dec 23, 2012, 3:21 PM

I set up a blog and added you as author – can you see Headmistress on the dashboard????

Should I have done it through instead of ???

I tried to delete it and do it that way, but it said the name was taken. Yes, it was taken by mary.meriam, who had deleted it, but blogger didn’t recognize that. Maybe it will recognize it later, if you’d rather have the blog through

Headmistress Press <> Sun, Dec 23, 2012, 4:30 PM

PS: ok, I made an admin. I kept mary.meriam as an admin too, and you could make your gmail an admin too if you want to. 

On Sun, Dec 23, 2012 at 3:21 PM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

I set up a blog and added you as author – can you see Headmistress on the dashboard????
Should I have done it through instead of ???
I tried to delete it and do it that way, but it said the name was taken. Yes, it was taken by mary.meriam, who had deleted it, but blogger didn’t recognize that. Maybe it will recognize it later, if you’d rather have the blog through

Headmistress Press <> Dec 23, 2012, 8:46 PM

Just a little sketch of possible website material – see attached. 
Question for Buffalo printer: How much for a chapbook print run of 50 copies, 100 copies. 
Actually, the shipping cost of 50 to 100 chapbooks isn’t going to add up to much. 

Jess, this isn’t published online, but I made you a “reader” so you can see it –

All the links work, but only About has text so far. Click on About and scroll down. 
How do you like it?

Jess! Check out the new website!!! I’m sending this from new gmail!!!
My address is:
Mary MeriamPO Box 275Eagle Rock, MO 65641

On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 9:11 AM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
I am going to try to catch up on some email over the course of the morning/day. I would love to send you a copy of my chapbook; would you mind giving me your home address?

Oh drats! That account is supposed to be forwarded to my main account. Ok, glad I asked. Not mad at all!! 

On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 10:08 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

I have been responding to you – to the HeadmistressPress gmail account. I don’t know, maybe you haven’t checked that in a bit.

I hope you aren’t mad.

On Dec 26, 2012, at 9:41 PM, Lavender Review wrote:

> Hi Jess, I feel like maybe you’ve lost interest in this project? If so, it’s ok! I have other ideas, and no hard feelings. I have time right now to keep working on it, and won’t have much time later in January. Let me know what’s happening. Thanks, Mary

I’m just seeing your emails to Headmistress right now. Try going there again. As long as you’re logged into Gmail, you should be able to see it. Make sure you check the About page –

On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 9:50 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
I was not able to check out the new website because it says I need to have permission. I think I said this earlier today, but I am not sure it went through.
I want to see it, and I’m excited.

On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 11:11 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Looks very nice. Really great. THANK YOU!!

Suggestions for the About section:
Expand Mission statement. 
If the Inspiration section will have only one quote, I recommend having the quote appear on the top of the page, without a label or on the home page without any identifiers OR at the top of the extended Mission statement. 
Let’s make up an entertaining fake name for the Postmistress for now. My friend, if she will help, will want a fake name. And if my parents take charge of shipping them out (which they very well might!) then we can give them a fake persona, too. They live on Chasewood Lane and I call my friend Quilty sometimes.
Love the photos you chose, by the way!

Here are some notes I’ve been making the past few days. The About page is really just a sketch – more work still to do – you have good ideas! 

I’ve been thinking it would be much better to have a printer in your area, if that’s at all possible, so you can keep on top of it, make sure it’s being done right. 

Here’s a list of printers in Macomb area:

Here’s a list of book publishers in Macomb area:

First find out if they print chapbooks. Then try to find a gay man to work with, someone with a queer eye, a perfectionist, and a caring and responsible person, all rolled into one. (I know this is dreaming.) Then compare quality and prices. Don’t make any decisions on the spot. Just say you need time to think it over. Meanwhile, I know a couple of book publishers, and I’m getting advice from them. If there really doesn’t seem to be any good printer in your area, I’ve got publishing contacts in major cities, and maybe we can work with the printer from a distance. 

There is $ to be had out there, for instance grants:

Research arts grants in Illinois. Here’s a place to start:

Research small business advisors – your university probably has arts/business advisors.

To raise $, we could have a contest for a poetry chapbook by a lesbian poet. This is something I could work on:

Judge possibilities – Rita Mae Reese, Colleen McKee, Eleanor Lerman

I’m also thinking of asking if these people would like to sit on an Advisory Board:

Lillian Faderman

Michele Kort

Eloise Klein Healy

I’ve already invited a publishing friend from Boston to sit on the board, but he’s a guy, so I want lesbians on there. I’m not sure what they would do, except add star quality.

I’m thinking that the website/blog can be added to with stories about lesbian poets, their awards, books, etc. Or reviews of their books. It would be great if you would like to write blog posts of about 500 words, and post them whenever you have a chance. But the first blog post needs to be an intro to Headmistress. I started the About page; the other pages need to be written. The company needs a mailing address, for instance. Is your friend interested in being the Postmistress?

On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 11:19 PM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

I started this with a new subject, so hopefully it will forward to my main account. 
You said:I can come up with a blurb for Submissions (maybe we should each do it separately and then combine ours???) and something for Mission (we can do the combo thing, too, unless you think the Mission statement should be short and sweet), if you’d like. Let me know. 

Yeah! I was hoping you could do some writing for the website.

Ok, did you get the long page of notes I sent?

On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 11:22 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
I will do it and enjoy it!
I will be leaving the computer in a couple of minutes, so don’t be alarmed if I go silent.

I’ve been writing those notes over the past few days 🙂
Anyhow, we’re back on track with the Headmistress. I’m really glad you like the image and layout – I love how that horse and the title just clicked into place. And those cute little tabs for links. 
Don’t worry about answering everything immediately. It was a problem with too many gmail accounts, and it wasn’t forwarding, that’s all. We got that worked out. See you later.

On Wed, Dec 26, 2012 at 11:24 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Wow, yes, I just got it. You work quickly. I will read it now.

On Dec 26, 2012, at 11:23 PM, Headmistress Press wrote:
Ok, did you get the long page of notes I sent?

PS: There are Posts (on the Home page) and there are Pages (which are connected by tabs-links at the top) on the blog-site. If as an Author, you can’t edit the Pages, I’ll change you to an Admin. 

On Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 10:18 AM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

Jess, I sent you another invite – hopefully this will work so you don’t have to log in to Headmistress gmail each time. Since I did the site and have the HTML coded in my brain, so to speak, I’ll be the Webmistress. Meanwhile, you are an authorized Author there, so type in anything you want and publish it. It will still be private until we decide to make it public. I think the logo thing at the top and the tabs have to stay as they are, with no additional text added. 
In other thoughts: maybe the alcoholic prof. isn’t a great plan? Do you know any lesbians there who might enjoy being part of Headmistress as a Postmistress, and wouldn’t mind having their name on the site? 
Maybe it will work out just fine with the Buffalo printer. Will you have time to visit their shop and talk prices and stuff? Are you satisfied with the work they did on your book? I’m really looking forward to seeing your book! Again, there’s no great rush, so better to wait on making any definite plans with the Buffalo printer. Do they have a website? You can tell a lot about a company by their website. 
If we charge $10/copy, and sell 50 copies, that’s $500, right? If the printer charges $500 for 50 copies, we’re sunk. Even with charging $1.50 for postage, there are still envelopes to buy, and who knows what else. Wait, you got 100 copies for $500, so would 50 copies be $250? If so, that would give us enough $, selling the books for $10, to make this all work. 
I’m cc-ing this to Headmistress only to test the forward thing, which you can set up for yourself there too if you want to. 
Pease don’t feel pressured to do everything at once, and please do spend time with your family!!!

Jess, I did a little editing on About:
I thought Postmistress is actually a perfect title for you, since you’ll be posting on the blog, and posting the books.
Webmistress is perfect for me, because I’m doing the website, and I have the network. 
And for the advisory board – Professors!!! 🙂
Also made the inspiration quote more specific about where it came from. Definitely add in whatever you want to write, and we’ll work on it.  …

Jess, Headmistress Press has a new “mistress” – lives near a printer that sounds perfect, so don’t worry about trying to find a printer. I think we have our whole crew now. Looking forward to reading whatever you might like to write for the website, whenever you get a chance. 

On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 8:48 PM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

Have a safe trip, Jess!!!

On Fri, Dec 28, 2012 at 4:27 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Just want to let you know that I will be back in Macomb on Monday – tomorrow is my last day with my family and then travel time.
Talk to you soon. 
Be well,Jess

On Dec 27, 2012, at 1:48 PM, Headmistress Press wrote:

forwarding this in case you didn’t see it(I’m definitely having emailing issues)

How about Coolmistress? or something like that. I’m seeing you doing blog postings, like brilliant poetic, creative, entertaining things about Headmistress Press, lesbian poets – not just essay type things, but even diary type things, even artwork you might do. I’m seeing part of your role as something to do with drawing attention to the Press through your writing. I’m certainly not into blog posting, and I think Risa is more into the production side – and she’s good at bookkeeping – yay! 

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 10:33 AM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
Wonderful! I wonder if you should re-name me and make her Postmistress.  I am trying to think of clever mistress names… Priormistress (as in prioress) came to mind, though not sure about the way it might relate to my contributions. Talk soon.


On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 12:49 PM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

How about Coolmistress? or something like that. I’m seeing you doing blog postings, like brilliant poetic, creative, entertaining things about HeadmistressPress, lesbian poets – not just essay type things, but even diary type things, even artwork you might do. I’m seeing part of your role as something to do with drawing attention to the Press through your writing. I’m certainly not into blog posting, and I think Risa is more into the production side – and she’s good at bookkeeping – yay! 

On Sat, Dec 29, 2012 at 10:33 AM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
Wonderful! I wonder if you should re-name me and make her Postmistress.  I am trying to think of clever mistress names… Priormistress (as in prioress) came to mind, though not sure about the way it might relate to my contributions. Talk soon.

Dear Risa and Jess,
Coincidentally, both of you are doing some major travelling today. This leaves me to mind the shop and make trouble. I published the blog – made it public – with just a short first post. Exciting!! Now waiting for search engines to find it, before posting announcement on Facebook. I’ll also make a fan page on FB. Now you should be able to get here without being logged in to Gmail. 

My chappie ms. needs an overhaul, so I’ll be working on that. I started wondering today if we should publish a famous lesbian poet’s chappie first. Any ideas who? Marilyn Hacker popped into my mind first. Of course, they might be at all interested in having a Headmistress chappie, and that’s fine too. Speaking of famous lesbians, I decided to removed the “Advisory Headmistresses” part on the About page. I’m not sure what purpose it serves. I’m looking forward to publishing chappies by Risa and Jess, both of whom have brand new books in hand. Ok, maybe it’s my turn.  

In terms of production, Risa is interested in possibly handcrafting the books, which sounds great to me. In the interest of exploring options, I’m thinking of emailing the printer in Port Townsend, Washington that’s near Risa, and asking a few questions. I found them online – they look interesting to me, because they were the first “green” printer in the area. I get an artsy feeling from them. 

All three of us are Author-ized to post blog posts on the blog. I’m not much of a casual blogger, but I’m imagining Jess turning the blog into something special – sort of a public relations thing – just to keep people aware of the press. Maybe Jess can post stuff on the FB page too when that gets set up. Maybe the blog posts can be sort of a networking thing – like posting announcements about new poetry books by lesbians – hey, starting with the two of you!!! Once I have your books in hand, I might write little reviews of them for the Headmistress blog, and/or post one of your poems, with your permission. 

That’s all I can think of for now. Safe travels to you both!! xoM

PS: Apparently I’m juggling too many balls in my brain. I meant to say “they might NOT be at all interested in having a Headmistress chappie” in second paragraph below. And maybe it’s more important to publish poets who really need a book. So far, a great response on FB. It looks like search engines haven’t found the blog yet, but now FB has a way to drop a photo directly into a post, so I did that. I have to drag myself away from the screen and apply my brain to ms., but if either one of you are moved to look at the ms. PDF I sent you, and help me think of a better title, feel free. I usually use a phrase from a poem in the ms. for the title. The title I’m using now is the basic theme, I think. Maybe I have to think of it, but Jess I already know is good at naming things, like Headmistress Press 🙂

Jess and Risa, today I have a sizzling new chapbook ms. called WORD HOT, so forget about the old one. 
I’m thinking there should be a Fan page on FB for Headmistress. If one of you would like to do it, please let me know. Otherwise, the Webmistress will gladly get to it asap. 
Anyone have further thoughts about what else to do next? It occurred to me that we have to think about fonts, design, paper, along with the cover. In some ways, I don’t know where to turn next, there are so many things to do!!! But anyhow…..

Fantastic!!! I gather this means you would like to do the FB “Like” page (not a group, I think, but where you just like the page). I’m attaching the jpegs I’ve used thus far, in case you want to use them. Keep us posted!!!!

On Mon, Dec 31, 2012 at 4:23 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
I will get to work soon.
I am with my kids but will have some time later tonight.
Happy New Year to you!!!

Yes, we should have a page for people to like, so we can see how much interest we are getting. It would be great, Jess, if you would set it up.  

Wishing you both a safe and happy new year.  

All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.― Julian of Norwich  

I know, I want more and more Likes!!! There are already a lot of likes on the announcement I posted on FB (you should like that, Jess, or say something on it, and/or share it on your page). As soon as there’s a separate Like page, I’ll post a link to it on that post. Maybe I’ll post something at the Sphere too, should I, Risa? But be my guest, if you’d like to.

Mary, the Sphere is your sphere, so please do. I would post something on the GAZ, but frankly it’s dying of thirst and no one posting there these days would give a shit. I did put it up on Google+, but I don’t have much traffic there. I shared it on my page, and didn’t get too much either. You’re the lesbian with the following, so cash in on it!   r

OK, I’ll do the Sphere. (Jess, Eratosphere and Gaz are online poetry workshops.) I’m working on my ms. which I hope y’all will read/edit/crit when I’m done, in terms of selection and order. I’m also thinking when the FB Like page is done, someone (Jess?) should put a post about it on the HP blog.
I went through this whole thing with someone about how to follow the blog – ended up giving her these instructions, which I don’t know would it be uncool to post this somewhere? 
1. Click here 2. Look for red SUBSCRIBE button on left side of the page and click. A box will open. 3. Paste this address in the box:  4. Then click ADD. 

Hi Jess, I’m not sure what it will be. Put your address for now?

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
I am trying to get a Facebook page up – I need more contact information to put up – I have the email address, but we might also want to have a public snail mail address to put up (looks more professional).

On Dec 31, 2012, at 6:55 PM, Headmistress Press wrote:

omg, that’s another thing. I’ll make sure to keep a list of ALL the names, gay too. Which reminds me – here’s the gmail account I started with the password. “We” – meaning maybe you, Risa? – need to start a Contacts list there. I think it would be best done there, in that account, so we all three have access to it. I set it up to forward to my account at – and you both can add your addys to get mail forwarded too. When I have a chance, I have a Lavender contacts list I can add to the HP list. Here’s the info – 
Headmistress password: Ax893koK102244ysuiio=

better say for-profit

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 11:03 AM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

Is HP a non-profit or for-profit, Mary?

It sounds great. Go ahead and do it – then we can all look at it and think about it. 

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 11:36 AM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Mary and Risa,
I think we should have a section on the blogger page about becoming donors/ making donations.
Donors are mistresses of Headmistress:
So there can be several types of mistresses, depending on the type of donation.
But we want to make it clear that ALL those who buy the books and support Headmistress are mistresses.
Do you want me to do this, or???

It’s like there are so many things to think about, I don’t know where to start. Everything needs to be thought about. How about if you make a list of all your ideas – like a numbered list? Then cc it to everyone and we can work on it from there? 

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 11:45 AM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

Should we think about contests or awards yet, or is it way too early?

I like the blurby thing. Can we have more images???

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 12:25 PM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

Jess, there’s a flag instead of a photo – better fix it!! Also, can you send us the password and whatever other info to get into this page? I’m cc-ing this to Risa.

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 12:13 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Look at this, let me know what you want me to change or add, and then I will share it!

On Jan 1, 2013, at 11:49 AM, Headmistress Press wrote:

How’s it going with the FB page?

I don’t know!! But I do know how much you like posting photos on FB, so look for some lesbian poet photos and post away!!! Maybe for now, just use the Headmistress Press painting for the big image thingy there?

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 12:30 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Yes, I can upload an album!
What, besides our three photos, do you want uploaded?
You should be able to do whatever you want once you are an admin.

Jess, I read the whole About section on the FB page – TERRIFIC!!!!

I’m attaching my ms. – please let me know what you think, etc.
Maybe post that FB About section on the blog too? 
When you look for images, make sure there’s no copyright issues.
Do a google image search – “”   – there are lots of images on Lavender Review. You can see there whether the image is in the public domain or not. If there’s a copyright line or symbol, then don’t reproduce it.
HOWEVER, I have permission to reproduce this image anytime anywhere, if you want to:
Maybe this link will work for google image search:…219.5597.0.5889.…0.0…1ac.1.4VaErx2Paec

Jess, I’m not sure. I like the About page on the blog the way it is – simple and clear – the minimalist approach. I really like what you’re doing on FB – maybe that’s more where the action is anyway. More marketing on FB, more like a business card on the blog? I adjusted the cover photo on FB – so I think the page looks perfect now. In a way, I feel like taking off the post part on the blog page – and just posting a link to the FB page there – and let do your thing on FB. What do you think?
On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 1:27 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:


Okay, here’s the deal:

I have the password, but it is under your account, as Mary Meriam, and so I can only write blog posts – I don’t think I have permission or the ability to change the website or the about section, etc. I think you have to share your Mary Meriam account info. for me to be able to do that. I’ll keep trying though.



Jess, I’m cc-ing this to Risa, to keep her in the loop. Yeah, I think so. What do you think, Risa? Delete the blog posting thing on the blog, and just post stuff on FB? (see emails below) The Blog seems so cumbersome compared to FB. But I do like have the website effect there, with just the pages giving info. There should be a prominent link to FB page. But then if someone isn’t on FB, how do they hear news? argh…
Ok, next – make a list of your thoughts and ideas and what needs to be done? Like one thing is to think about a “house” style – a certain font, paper, design – do we want that? How do we get that? That question is on my mind at the moment, because I was just working on my ms. I’m thinking about what to put on the cover too. 

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 2:08 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Sure, however you want to do it. Sounds good. 
So no blogs, just postings on Facebook?
That’s managable. It is manageable, either way.
What do you want me to do next? I have a bit more time today to work on this stuff, and then I need to shift gears for a bit on some academic work.
This is fun, though, of course!
I will look at the ms tonight…looking forward to it.

Hi, so I just invited my friends to like our page, and I’ve seen several already. I think keeping the buzz at FB for now is a good idea, we don’t want to ask too much of folks before we have too much to offer. I’d like us to post blogs on the site, but maybe slow down for a minute and let the FB site get going. Then we can use the FB base to make announcements when we have things to announce. I think anyone who “likes” us at this point, will follow us as we move along. 
I will also try to write a list of what/when to do things. I also think we need the “big” list, and then to make a timeline with the items on it, so we have a snapshot of where we are. Jess- I had suggested to Mary that we have an “open reading period” say during April, instead of a contest, since we don’t really expect to be able to offer a prize. On the other hand, we can charge a reading fee for an open reading period, in order to generate some money for our project. I also thought we could try to publish Mary’s book, maybe by June and  one from the open reading period by the end of the year. That may be too ambitious, but it will help us to set up our goals/ideas along some sort of timeline. 
I don’t think we’ll lose the momentum if we don’t rush to fill up the web site before we have a firmer plan in mind for the project. Anyway, my thoughts. 
best for Headmistress in 2013.  r

This all sounds great, Risa. Let’s be Listmistresses for now. Last time I looked there were already 43 likes. I feel like we need a solid ms. to work with, to get this going, so I hope the one I – uh – submitted – will fit the bill. I feel solid about the title, pretty sure about the selection, still questioning the order. 
I’ve been studying the chapbooks I have, and I must say the Seven Kitchens hand-crafted ones by Ron Mohring – especially a prize-winner one by Christine Hutchins – are exceptionally beautiful. Risa has seen them, but if you’d like to see one, Jess, send me your snail address and I’ll send you one – I have two copies of the Hutchins. 

I love Mistress of the Temple and Schoolmistress, but not so wild about Webmistress. Is that the best name for me? 

Jess – click REPLY ALL!!! Good thoughts – nothing’s grabbing me yet. Yeah, I think Headmistress is the company name, so can’t be mine. Meant to add before that $ can be raised through pre-order sales too.

On Tue, Jan 1, 2013 at 3:26 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Should you be Headmistress or should she be a mystery?
I don’t think we can name anyone Bedmistress, but I did just have that thought.

And the world’s expert on Romaine Brooks, Cassandra Langer, just approved the art choice!! 

And three nice comments at the Sphere!!! (link below)
I made you both Admin at the blog. 
I think Webmistress is ok name for me. 
Really love the About blurb you wrote for FB, Jess. So poetic! What can’t three poets do together!!!???!!! 

Up to 106, yay!!!!! I can’t help thinking ca-ching, ca-ching. This gives us a sense of how many copies to produce. Maybe it should be 100, not 50. 

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 11:20 AM, Risa Denenberg <> wrote:
surpassed 100 likes today! good for us!

Hi Risa and Jess, here’s what I think. 
Risa loves my ms. and thinks it’s ready to publish. Jess, if you hate this ms., I have ten million other poems, so I could try something else. Hopefully, I might have something you’d like at least a little!!! 
I like Risa’s idea of announcements on Valentine’s Day, and the announcements sound good too. In the meantime, we can try to get the production side figured out, like who will produce the books, the cost, what form do they need the pages in, and the cover, font, design. 
I’m really thrilled about the FB page – looks great, sounds great – and all the Likes – yay! There have been a few more comments at the Sphere page. This is all very encouraging. The way I’m used to working is not to make lists, but to just wait to see what my intuition tells me to do next, within the framework of whatever project’s deadlines or whatever. But right now I feel a little overwhelmed with all the details of this project. So I really appreciate numbered lists – and I’m gonna make one soon, I hope, or like a calendar, starting with Risa’s two things.

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 1:22 PM, Risa Denenberg <> wrote:
I think we should think in terms of a date to make the announcement of our first two major events:   1) publication of Mary’s book. At that time we can ask for pre-orders at a “mistress price”. This will help us raise some money and also help to predict how many copies our first run should be.   2) Announcement of an open reading month with guidelines “to follow”. I think this will help our followers identify that we are serious about publishing and will keep them tuned to our channel.   I’m proposing Valentine’s day to make the announcements.   whaddyathink? r

I just read this: “Social networking allow you to start any business you want, at a reasonable cost.” 
And I agree too that working in a group is a whole different thing. I feel like we’re getting to know each other – none of us know each other very well – I only know both of you through your poems – and slowly it will become clear who does what best. I picked the two of you out of my entire Webmistress web because I sensed two good hearts. I see now from your emails and writing that you both use the word “love” and that makes me feel like my intuition was right on 🙂

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 4:39 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Love this message. Group work certainly has its challenges. I agree that we need all of the things you listed, Risa! Be in touch soon. Jess

On Jan 2, 2013, at 4:38 PM, Risa Denenberg wrote:
I have an intuitive side too, but when it comes to getting things done, we need a process, a timeline, and lists with names attached to tasks. At least that’s my take on it. It’s both a blessing and a curse to work as a group, particularly for introverts. r

Now I’m thinking that it would be really great, Risa, if you wanted to do the timeline sketch, with deadlines and such, and assigning things to each of us. I’m feeling more like a worker than a leader right now, but if y’all want me to make the calendar sketch, I’ll try. 

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 6:27 PM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

Also, besides all three of being poets and lesbians, we’re all from the East Coast. Jess is from Buffalo, NY; and Risa and I both went to Columbia University. Plus, I spent a lot of time in NY, though I’m from New Jersey. 

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 5:49 PM, Headmistress Press <> wrote:

Jess, which book do you want me to send you? The Christina Hutchins handmade chapbook from Seven Kitchens? 
Also, my ms. on the table now is WORD HOT. 
Here’s my address:
Mary Meriam PO Box 275Eagle Rock, MO 65641
I totally agree with you that good things come from following intuition – it’s the story of my life! Can’t wait to read your book!!!! 

Mary, you certainly shouldn’t have to feel like you have to do everything. I’d  be happy to make a “strategic plan” as they like to call it. Give me a day or two and I’ll send it to you both. But first we have to agree on a process for making decisions. I prefer consensus, but we could also go with majority, in this case 2 of 3.  So I draft a plan then we have some process for discussion, and then we accept the plan, revise it, start over, etc.  Having a 3-way conversation may require using a form of chat, maybe. I think you can do that on google. Maybe there is another way. 

We will also need a process for making editorial decisions. r
I am somewhat of a process freak.

You’re young, but you’re just as brilliant as Risa and me 🙂 
Consensus sounds good to me too. Can we try the chat thing? Who will set it up? Jess, you want to find the google chat thing and set us up there? I hope we won’t feel uncomfortable there, now that we’ve started to get comfortable here on this email thread. 
Here’s to Risa’s strategic plan!!! 

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 7:39 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Consensus sounds good. There are usually almost always options and alternatives for making things work for all involved. Or maybe that’s idealist crap.
I have a lot of opinions, but I am young and I feel like I should defer to both of you!

PS: I’m looking forward to hearing all your opinions too, Jess!!

Ok, yeah, I think we each have our strengths and experience. I feel solid about being able to edit. Also, that chat thing, is that like a forum like the Sphere only private? Because if you meant google “sign into chat” on the left side of the screen, I’m not sure that would be as good. I think it might be helpful to have a forum, to keep all the discussions and notes in one place. 

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 7:58 PM, Risa Denenberg <> wrote:
…  and actually, Mary, I’m fine with using a consensus process in general, but also leaving final editorial say in your hands. 

WOW, I LOVE THIS!!! What a relief. No wonder my head was spinning – it needed a plan. Thanks, Risa xox
Some initial thoughts:
1. I’d rather have a forum type thing online, rather than chat. Sometimes it takes me a while to think something through, and it’s good to have all the thoughts written in one place. I’ll look into a free forum tonight or tomorrow. I’ll try to find a nice comfortable “office space.” OK? Then we could paste this in there and make suggestions in different colors. Actually, Google Docs might be a possibility.
2. In terms of a best-of, it had occurred to me that we have access to the editor of Lavender, with so many great lesbian poems to choose from. In addition to everything else. 
3. I’m hoping Risa will want to publish her chapbook with Headmistress, as well as Jess. 
4. I’ve been thinking about the logo in the back of my mind, wondering what it could be.
5. I see Jess as a public relations kind of excitement generator – do you see yourself like that, Jess? And also, yes, as a kind of maistrowebster. 

On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 10:05 PM, Risa Denenberg <> wrote:
Ok, as promised. Sooner than promised. Please review and comment. I’m sure there are plenty of missing details that we need to add.   r

Shall we move our discussions to the Headmistress google group I started?


On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 11:59 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:

Yep. I’ll send my messages tonight to the group! 🙂

On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 1:47 PM, Mary <> wrote:

Risa and Jess, I think we are in a brainstorming mode right now. I think it would be most helpful to have four separate folders or threads, so we can discuss each subject in a different thread. But first, I need to discuss the financial picture. 
Kickstarter is the fastest, best way to raise funds. Last year, I single-handedly conducted this Kickstarter campaign and raised over $2,000 in 30 days:

The TOP SECRET (do not breathe a word of this to anyone because this is against Kickstarter rules!!!) reason I did this is because I owe three years of back taxes on my house, and if I hadn’t raised the $ for one year of real estate taxes, I would have been homeless. The same thing is going to happen this year. I have till July to raise $2,000. 
Now before you panic, please remember that I can make the Kickstarter thing work. Also, Ms. Magazine has tens of thousands of readers, and I can interview both of you about Headmistress there, once the Kickstarter campaign is launched:

I know already the various steps involved in doing Kickstarter, and it isn’t that hard. I can do most of the work. It cost me $15 to buy iMovie – that was my total cost for this campaign. Jess, would you like to make a Headmistress video? I thought so. Of course, the chapbook can be one of the rewards. I can also write poems for rewards – they were very popular last year. 
My other thought is to sell my chapbook pre-order, to raise money for the printer and any other costs. I don’t think there’s any need to go “corporate” in terms of having a company. I think the chapbook can be produced very modestly. In fact, I received a homemade chapbook from Ali Liebegott today: four yellow pieces of paper with drawings and text on them, stapled together. It’s charming and wonderful! I’m going to ask Seven Kitchens (Ron) and Exot Books (Nemo) and another publisher in Boston (Zachary) if they have registered their chapbook publishing companies, and other questions. 

I would have brought this up sooner about Kickstarter, but my brother in NYC is a real estate agent doing (or trying to do) these huge multi-million-dollar deals, and he had a huge deal about to happen that seems to be falling apart now. So this is my pressure and schedule, and the worry about it has been weighing heavily on me. I can’t raise enough $ to pay the taxes just by selling chapbooks, though I guess I was sort of hoping that might happen. Ain’t gonna happen. Now that we are “planted” on the internet with the FB page and website, I can start planning the Kickstarter campaign. The movie should be only 4 minutes TOPS, Jess, and they recommend that you basically just talk. I know you’re good at that 🙂 I’ll start a separate discussion thread for Kickstarter. 

Mary, this is concerning to me. I’d really rather keep the money separate. I’d actually rather give you $2000 than do it this way. By way of an explanation, I did the books for a feminst group for many years and was involved with a woman during those years who pretty much coerced me into siphoning money from the business to help her support her family. A worthy cause, she brought her mom and neice to live with us to get them out of an abusive household. But it terrified me. I’ve been through an IRS audit. I could have gone to jail. I know this press is small stuff in comparison (that was a women’s clinic, so we were highly scrutinized) but I can’t think about it casually in terms of legal and financial responsibility. I call myself an aging hippie, but the truth is, I like to stick to the rules these days.     It’s different than you doing this by yourself. I contributed to Lavender Press and I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have cared then and don’t care now that you used the money to keep your home. Lavender Press depended on you having sustenance for its existence. This just doesn’t feel the same to me, and now that we are a group, I don’t see how you can do the Kickstarter thing independently.   r

On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 4:11 PM, Jessica McFadden <> wrote:
Hi Mary and Risa,

Oh dear. I don’t know. I think we should have sorted through all of this before going public with the Facebook page. I feel nervous now.

As you know, I have no money to contribute to this – my wife and I just divorced (we were together for almost ten years) and I have only ten thousand dollars (that she paid me as the dissolving of our financial life together – I was living a privileged life and was entirely financially dependent on her from the time I met her at eighteen years old) to my name. My kids live with her because she can financially support them. I am a full-time graduate student and that is my first priority because it is my future – I have my tuition covered and I earn about 8,000 a year for the assistantship. I have, under the advisement of a friend, invested the 10,000 – hoping to grow it over the next twenty or so years. My plan is to take out student loans in order to survive (just to cover the very basics) until I have finished my PhD (I am just now in an MA program) and have a job at a college somewhere. 
I don’t know enough about how everything works to even say anything about the Kickstarter thing. I can only say that I’d rather do things on the up-and-up, where we can all feel good and secure about it. Usually when you start a company or begin a venture of any sort, you have to have money to invest in it (or someone willing to invest in it). Non-profit organizations find donors or apply for grants to do this.

One option, even though it’s not ideal, is to do the books entirely on line. E-books. It would be disappointing, yes, but more do-able.

We have already announced ourselves on FB/to the world, and have begun to make a presence. I want Headmistress to be a community supported and community supporting press. I want us to give back more than we get. I do know that you, Mary, need to survive (as we all do). So we need to plan ahead, realistically, so that we can give to Headmistress but not so much that we cannot afford to live. We all need to be devoted to other jobs and projects (ones that will bring us financial security either now or in the future).

I don’t know what we should do or how we should get started. I always did want to do something like this, but I wanted to wait until I was a professor or making money some other way so that I could do the initial investing into the venture – really as a service and a work of love more than anything. I don’t know any rich lesbian poets who would like to support our small press, but maybe you do.

I don’t want to do anything that could potentially get us into trouble, humiliate us or hurt our supporters who place their faith and trust in us. I want to feel entirely good and at ease about what we are doing. Mary, I am not judging you at all and I agree with Risa that you are Lavender and with no you there is no Lavender. Still, with this, let’s start it out right. If we can’t, then we should wait.

That’s just my two cents. I will wait to hear from  you both.


Jess and Risa, first I want to say that doing the Kickstarter campaign for Lavender was motivated by the tax bill, but I did follow all the rules in terms of using the funds to pay for Lavender expenses. I’m totally with you in following all the rules. I probably shouldn’t have blabbed about my $-problem – I guess the pressure just got to me. Anyhow, forget about Kickstarter – it’s probably better not to do it two years in a row. I decided against e-books, though I know I could have done that by myself, and decided to take a chance on print and a group project. Splash. 


Archival Note from Jess: At this point, we moved all of our Headmistress Press communications, from between January 3, 2012 and when I was locked out of the Google account, in early September of 2013. Because they locked me out of the account before I knew I was being kicked out of the press, I could not go in and save all of our email exchanges during the seven months that I worked, day and night, for the press and served as one of its co-founders. Below are a few fragments and, subsequently, the final email messages I received, when I was “asked” to “resign” from the press.

Ok, I changed your link and made a couple more edits:

MARY: What came over me? I’m not sure, but suddenly I wanted a press, and I wanted it now. So last December, I asked Jessica Mason McFadden if she wanted to start a press with me, and if she could think of a name. Then what happened, Jess?

JESS: When Mary proposed (the press idea) to me, my first thought was what it was some kind of prank—or that, perhaps, Mary had lost her mind. I asked myself, out loud, “Is she serious?” I was stumped. In fact, I had asked Mary to witness a few of my first attempts at sonnet-writing a few months earlier. The great thing about Mary is that she could tell me the sonnet I has just poured my little schoolmistress soul into was “trite” in such a way that somehow I felt, well, pleased. And that is an odd way to feel when someone criticizes your work. So, yeah, Schoolmistress Trite had not a clue when she heard from Mistress Mary. I ruled out pity, and I knew Mary couldn’t possibly want me in for the financial gains, the big name, or the sonnets. I figured it must have been my charmingly obsessive nature and alluring Facebook posts about “Lolita.” I’m a prolific person, deeply romantic and imaginatively adventurous; she surely made the right choice. And, to answer Mary’s question, I said yes. What happened next was that I went to town, making a list of every name that I was led to by Wikipedia and by my own imaginative desire. I sent Mary a couple of ideas and she wasn’t thrilled (but she was loving!). She teased me with the idea of calling it Jess Press, while I put together a longer list of crone, moon, goddess, and musical-themed names. Headmistress Press was at the top of the list and it was the first one I thought of on my own, without “Wikinspiration.” Mary took one look at the list and wrote to let me know she was delighted, even tickled and laughing her now-mistress rump off at Headmistress Press. I have been writing about, thinking about, and dancing to the tune of headmistresses since I was four-years-old, so I was already tickled before I came up with it. I was just surprised that someone else, wonderful Mary, shared my appreciation of the artful headmistress. When she liked it, I started to do a dance in my chair. It was then that I felt that I did have something to bring to Mary’s project, and that I knew that this was an adventure for me. The name alone says it all. It lays everything out, a horizon of language and love.

MARY: I live deep in the country, a wilderness really, so getting books printed would be a problem. Jess lives in a small town—no book printer there either. We were two now, we had a name, but it looked like this press was going nowhere. Then I decided we needed another lesbian poet to come on board, and I thought of Risa Denenberg. Her town had a printer, but then it dawned on me that we could use CreateSpace, a print-on-demand publisher and subsidiary of Amazon. What were you thinking at this point, Risa?

RISA: I never wanted to be an editor or run a press. But I totally wanted Mary to run a press. She is a fabulous poet, and I love her e-zine, Lavender Review! But she simply does not have good business sense. She kind of needed me. So here I am.

MARY: And what a relief it is to have Risa and Jess on board. Risa provides business stability, Jess provides marketing pizzazz, and I got busy learning how to design and produce books on CreateSpace. We decided to begin by publishing chapbooks of lesbian poetry, and picked Word Hot as our first book. Six weeks later, our first book was born. So Jess and Risa, how do you feel about Headmistress Press four months in?

RISA:  The manuscripts are tumbling in! It’s a real pleasure to be part of a press that embraces the work of lesbian poets. The project itself is really only possible because of publishing-on-demand and social networking technology. We didn’t have to raise funds or beg for grants in order to set up the business. With Mary’s software savvy we have already published a gorgeous perfect-bound volume of love poems. Of course, we’ll always operate on shoelace, but I think we can actually send some Sapphic poems out into the world. Maybe even change the world a tiny bit. So much fabulous writing dies with the writer, or only gets published postmortem, it makes me cry. I’ve heard complaints that there is too much poetry being published online now, too many small presses, even that these publishing opportunities water down the talent field. That’s competitive (and might I say, male) hogwash. I read poetry constantly, and I only regret that I can’t read it all. 

JESS: I’m just as excited as I was four months ago! Actually, I realize now more than ever that there is a real need for a press that focuses in an inclusive spirit exclusively on the disregarded and dismissed population of lesbian-identified poets. It’s hard to be a poet who writes honestly about her lesbian experience; often the work doesn’t fall neatly into any category: it’s too much of this or not enough of that. I love the idea of creating a space where too-much-of-this and not-enough-of-that fit in and shine. Just a couple more things about the past four months. The entire course has been a learning process, which is what (I believe) Headmistress is all about: shared learning through linguistic love. We’re all very busy mistresses. I am a full-time graduate student and Risa and Mary work (a lot). Given this, we have done a lot in a short time. It’s a labor of love. Stress the labor part. It’s hard to not have the gratification and relief of immediate results, but the fact that we’re doing this together and not giving up our entire lives to do it makes it possible to travel through this new territory of the unknown. That’s what’s especially exciting about Headmistress: she represents creative possibility for lesbians.

RISA: We’ve met only in cyberspace. Is that amazing or what? I met Mary in an online poetry workshop, where she championed (and then published) a poem of mine that everyone else seemed to hate. So I felt immediately known. Working with her as the editor of Lavender Review was a delightful experience. Our group seems to work perhaps because we are such different women and bring our different skills and talents to the Press. I see Mary as our shy but ever-persistent troubadour of love; Jesse is a young-lesbian drama queen with enormous style, and I’m an aging hippie poet-nurse. Love of poetry is the glue that has brought us together. And it seems to be working! —
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On Sun, Apr 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM, Mary Meriam <> wrote:

Hi Jess, I read your weepy post last night. I’ve seen some of your videos. I’ve read your poems. I’ve been thinking about it all. Why not be a performance poet? There’s no doubt you have a way with words, and that you love to perform. Why not put it together? I’d be interested to see a video of you performing one of your poems or prose pieces. There’s so much good writing in your book description for WH and Headmistress posts and the Ms. post – I’d like to see if you could perform something like that. You don’t have to try to be “poetic” – your prose IS poetic. I suggest writing something about something specific, then performing it on video. I feel this could be your greatest artistic strength. Google Marty McConnell – she’s a lesbian performance poet in Chicago – she’ll be in the next issue of Lavender, and she’s a Lammy finalist this year. I bet you could knock her socks off with your performance. 

Mary, thank you so much. I have no idea how it will all play out. I have (perhaps too) many interests and passions. I hate to have to choose one over another. I do love your idea. I wish I had taken a play-writing class when I was at Hampshire or Niagara. I would like to write scripts and perform those. Maybe that’s an idea. I also like the idea of performance poetry. I really don’t know what they would look like or if I could get a following doing that. I like the idea of bringing the two together. That could be powerful. I will search for Marty M.

And thank you, about the socks-knocking.

Jess, my first thought actually was stand-up comic. You – no scripts, by yourself, your own words. I hope you’ll video yourself performing one of your own pieces – I think your prose would work better, at least at first. Just be yourself. I’m thinking of the first answer you wrote to my question for Ms. – with all the a-hums and digressions. Telling a story, how you felt, what happened. Make a video of that – before I edited it – give it a try!!!! Honestly, I don’t think you need more schoolin’ – study some videos of performace poets, experiment – find something that you really love to do. Check out Ingrid’s weird videos – not that you should be a filmmaker, but she’s definitely got some verbal genius going on.

Oh, I could never write in your pizzazz style – it’s unique to you – it’s just wonderful. I think your new post is wonderful. I also thought everything you wrote for Ms. was wonderful and I was sorry to see it go, but I also understand the need for snappiness at Ms. It takes so damn long to figure out how to write, for who, for what, for when, for how. Especially, as you suggest, if you’re a lesbian. It’s no joke. But you’ll be blossoming, Jess, whether sooner or later, I have no doubt. Just hang in there. xoxo

I’ll take your kind of “nuts” any day, Jess. You sound fully alive and full of feeling. I love your mother’s maiden name!! 

On Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:46 PM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
Mary, Your use of pizzazz to describe my writing makes me smile and chuckle. My mother’s maiden name is Pazzaglia and it makes me laugh because as the story goes “the Pazzaglia women are unrivaled and to be reckoned with”…etc. (In other words: intense, in charge and sometimes crazy.)

Oh, I just had to stop typing because my foot fell asleep and I lost feeling in it. There —- I just tried to lift it. My daily exercise is climbing the three flights of stairs to my office.

That pizzazz style is kind of the same style of my teaching and of my stage acting. 🙂

I talk with my hands and am loud and excitable. I also get weepy inside on a regular basis. I sound nuts.

I’ll take one for the team (ha, ha – a drama queen statement) and try to learn from it.

Yes, that all will take a while. Bring versatile is a good quality, though, so I should start practicing a bit more.

Your comment is very nice and makes me feel better about being “chopped.” Ha.


You’re right. I know you care – a lot. You’re not an “employee” though – you’re one of the three mistresses. I’m so glad you are who you are, and write the way you do. I was just reading your post again – it’s just marvelous. I noticed the Senior Editor at Ms. (also my editor there, also a lesbian), Michele Kort, was the first one to like it. Maybe it has to do with something I know I feel – this happens to me every time I write a poem – I need to share it with somebody, or the workshop, or the world, immediately. I can’t wait for nothing. It’s like a desperate craving. In most cases, the poem needs revising, editing, etc, but I find it so hard to wait. I’m learning only recently how to really study it alone first, before sending it out. It’s a great feeling, to have the poem all to myself, knowing I can take as long as I want to polish it. Not that I can wait too long – I still have to show it after about 24 hours or usually less. It’s a whole different thing with prose, with me. I can work on that for a long time without sharing it. But poems? Forget it. 
As far as I can tell, your final post has no typos. So you do know how to do it. There’s some other thing involved, and I’m sorry to keep nudging you about it. I really do want to help you with your writing, and maybe I thought I could be helpful. Duh. Sorry.  —

WOW AND WHOO-HOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This made me weepy!!!!!!!!! 
The only thing I can see it might need is paragraph breaks. 
I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What I wrote about Conjuring My Leafy Muse:

Mary Meriam has lavenderized the literary landscape and established herself as an enduring American poet-pioneer. Her remarkable poems and projects celebrate and redefine intersectionality as an art of intimacy, blending the borders between classical form and contemporary Sapphic content as well as the genres of the scholarly and the personal. The Lavender Poet takes things into her own hands, and her intrepid spirit is evident in each project she undertakes. In 2010, Meriam took her pastel pen to the web and created the highly esteemed international bi-annual e-zine of fine lesbian poetry, Lavender Review. Three years later, Meriam’s lively commitment to the Sapphic cause has reached a new high with the debut of Headmistress Press. The press is a community project run by three poets who share the same devotion to the promotion and publication of fine poetry by lesbians. In her latest mistresspiece and first full-length book, Conjuring My Leafy Muse, Meriam offers readers of every origin and fancy a narrative bouquet of belonging. This lyrical collection is both a narrative of place and an ecofeminist memoir that delves far beneath the surface into the roots from which belonging grows and disperses. Meriam addresses the notion of forgetting and the self-censorship of painful histories, bringing to the surface the turmoil and turning points of identity. The Jewish identity and mother-daughter relationship are fatedly intertwined by urgent elements kept in the dark. But Meriam, in contrast, holds nothing back from her reader. Instead, she conjures a poetic “mother-daughter dream” filled with psychological walls, hauntings, denials of identity, and transmutable natural phenomena. Enter Conjuring and enter the wooded, isolated world of witches, evil spells, glass-happy princes, and “the stone insanity.” Meriam takes readers tenderly, through the woods and fields of her past, into the soft and permeable flower field of her heart. Identity is the root ball of the tree of human belonging in Meriam’s work, but abandonment is the dense foliage among the sparse and gentle flowers. Relationships serve as a form of history, defining identity: identity, in Conjuring, is more about intimate connection than affiliation. Conjuring is dense but without chaos— each poem embodies a pervasive yearning for belonging that connects and coheres an emotional history from all of the moments and periods in the collection. One of the many beautiful facets in Meriam’s work is her ability create love from abandonment— to create a narrative of belonging from a painful experience of irreconcilable disconnection. She transcends narrative isolation; it is the lyric that connects her to the spirit of motherly nature, a history accessible only through openness and generosity. This collection is for anyone familiar with the psychosocial states of exile, separation, or otherness; for those who long for connection; and for anyone who appreciates a profound and ineluctable lyric. Meriam reframes history in terms of layers — of moods, language, and events – in a set of stream of consciousness poems that are psychoanalytically and textually rich. Deeply personal and charmingly playful, Conjuring My Leafy Muse is a collection in need of unpacking that will grip the reader, sway her into sorrow like the weeping willow, and soothingly hold her up to the refracting surface of interpretation. This book is a much-awaited tribute to Meriam’s significant contribution to the literary community, one that shows her acute stylistic versatility, constant practice of her craft, unparalleled command of her raw talent, and ability to conjure the spirit of wild intimacy in the face of a history of stony dislocation.

hmmm…….thinking……..advice, advice…..
I thought you were eager to be published. Back in the old days, when I was in my twenties, it wasn’t so easy to submit. No internet, and I was really clueless about where to submit, so I never did. However, I certainly didn’t have 600+ pages of poems. That’s huge. I suppose also I wasn’t in the mood to learn about where to get published. Ages ago, in college, I remember one editor accepted a poem, then when the journal was published, my poem wasn’t in it. He told me then (to my face) that he’d changed his mind. It was such a blow (one among so many blows) that I must have shied away from the whole scene.
When I got interested again in publishing, around 1999, there was still no internet (at least for me), so I learned the long, hard, slow way with Poet’s Market. Submitting went hand in hand with learning how to write poems. I took note of what was rejected, and tried to improve the poem. Every once in a while, an editor threw me a bone, an encouraging word, which I held onto like a life-raft. Then in 2005, I joined Eratosphere (online formalist poetry workshop), and really got down to work. Everything took off from there – networking, editing, submitting, publishing – I learned a huge amount from all these experienced, well-published, and some even famous poets. My confidence was destroyed and built back up again, sometimes on the same day. I just kept at it and never gave up, even though I was the only lesbian in the workshop. 

But your situation is different. If you really want to be published, you’ll work to make it happen. It takes a lot of work, both mental and emotional. On the other hand, if you befriend a famous poet, he or she can get you published in the top places immediately. That hasn’t happened for me, though I’ve seen it happen right in front of my eyes. You can either work to get your poems published in a lot of podunk journals, or you can work to get them published in a handful of top journals. The former is the faster route, the latter is the longer route and may turn out to be impossible. It’s a crap shoot. You’ll never know unless you aim high and try. You could always send some poems to a poet you really like and ask if she’d read and respond to them. 
I think around 2006, I emailed Lillian and asked if she could help me find a chapbook publisher. I was so clueless. She very kindly offered to write an afterword if I found a publisher. Well, damn, I had to find a publisher fast! Then a guy from the workshop offered to publish The Countess of Flatbroke. After that was published, Lillian kindly kept reading my poems – it was such an incredibly wonderful thing to have such a reader as her – and now we’re friends.  
The poem you wrote the other day is probably the best of yours I’ve read. Btw, NEVER throw out your poems – save them all carefully. If you keep working at it, you’ll learn more and more about revising as time passes, and what you thought was junk could turn out to be gold after some revision – or sometimes no revision. It takes a long time to learn how to discern what’s good and what isn’t – not just with your own poems, but everyone else’s. This is where the workshop is invaluable. There are millions of elements to poetry, and the workshop lays them bare on a daily basis. It’s intensive training. I’m really grateful for it. I think I workshopped for around seven years. Of course, don’t forget that I’m not a graduate student and mother of two young girls, and I’m isolated in the boondocks here, so I have some time. Not endless time, but at least enough time. I haven’t written any poems in 2013, but if I did, I might want to go back to the workshop – not sure. My mind feels absorbed with publishing. I’m not even submitting like I used to – only publishing when an editor asks for a poem (that’s a sweet thing that seems to happen more and more). 
Hope some of this is helpful, Mistress Jess. Your last poem and this new book description show me that you are indeed a very poetical person! xoM

On Thu, May 23, 2013 at 9:45 AM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
I have no idea. I haven’t submitted anything to anywhere in months. I hardly submit my poems (to anywhere) because I feel like they won’t have a chance. I just write and write and keep writing. I don’t worry so much about submitting; I just write. I think to myself, “I can submit later.” I don’t know. Advise me! I might have six hundred pages of poetry/poems…not sure what to do with them or where to find the time. I feel like my poems just don’t have a place anywhere. 🙂

On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM, Mary Meriam <> wrote:
PS: where are you submitting that one you wrote the other night? On Wed, May 22, 2013 at 7:02 PM, Mary Meriam <> wrote:
I showed my friend Cally your book description, and she wrote:
Bless Jess for writing so lucidly and insightfully about your unique blend of weird, woe and wonder!

Thanks, Jess. I really love the part of the sentence in bold, especially “spirit of wild intimacy in the face of a history of stony dislocation” – WOWZY!!!!!
This book is a much-awaited tribute to Meriam’s significant contribution to the literary community, one that shows her acute stylistic versatility, constant practice of her craft, unparalleled command of her raw talent, and ability to conjure the spirit of wild intimacy in the face of a history of stony dislocation.
hmm, I sort of see what you’re saying – maybe it needs a more metaphoric word? starburst or something? 
a much-awaited [starburst of, gathering together of, revelation of…] Meriam’s significant contribution…

I spoke too soon about the font, so now I’m trying Goudy Bookletter 1911. Had to re-do everything, except the cover. But it worked out for the better, because I made a few more adjustments to the text layout. The EBGaramond seems a little too light, though it is very perfectly and sharply printed. I’m hoping the Goudy will be a little darker. And of course equally perfect and sharply printed. Now waiting for CS review, then I order another hardcopy proof. 
Have read your book description about 50 times already – it’s poetry. It’ll take me years, probably, to fully grasp all you’ve said. It’s an amazing thing to have been so deep into the CONJURING poems that they’re totally ingrained on my brain, then to see that someone can hold the whole collection in her hands and say, oooo! Look at this! Look at that! Not just individual poems, but the whole thing. I really felt that I made the collection cohere, and couldn’t be more thrilled that you said so!!!!! Thanks again, Jesstress!!!!!!!

Wow, Jess, blow me away why dontcha! For you to feel that way tells me that I did what I thought I did with this collection – it coheres into one book-length poem. Candy doesn’t appeal to me – good thinking and insight and appreciation and love for poetry does. I am so honored by your intro!!!

You are so awesome, Jess. I should have known you wouldn’t do anything without heaps of ❤ ❤ <3. 
You are also awesome because I agree with you right down the line. 
You are in addition awesome just because you are Jess. 

Jess, what you have done is nothing short of a tender ministration. Like parenting, you have found joy and good in your charges. You recognize and want each manuscript to grow up and become an adult in the poetry world, ready to function independently. You are a good parent. A very good teacher. A loving mistress. 
My thoughts are meant as appreciation. 

Providing manuscript support is a very important collaboration and many poets can make huge leaps with a close read and feedback. I’ve certainly grown immensely with this sort of help from other poets. I’m not opposed to HP doing this at some point, if we wish. If the poet wants the relationship. But I would insist that we should charge for the service. It is work. I would love to think that you, Jess, who have time for a career ahead of you, would do everything possible to earn a living from this endeavor. Yes, not many do, but the ones that do do not do so by their book sales. They have learned to charge for their ministrations. 
More when we hear from the head of the mistresses about her choice. But I can’t help agreeing, there is only one manuscript here that I am enthusiastic about publishing, C. Kisses. 

yeah!! And I hope you both have been enjoying it all as much as I have!!!!!! True, it’s a tremendous uphill learning curve, and many frustrations of all sorts, but look at the flowers growing out of the dirt!!!!! We can all only do so much, and when we have ideas to do things, we’ll do them. The poets we publish will also have ideas, networks, etc. I have total faith in both of you because of your true ❤ ❤ ❤

Jess, I love the whole world of Headmistress and Lavender School you’ve created. So light and floral and lovely! I found another artwork called “In the Middle of Summer” by Tamara de Lempicka. 
Risa, it’s already posted on FB and blog with a headline that introduces it well, I think. I’m discovering that Jess’s writing holds its own, just the way it’s written, so I don’t want to move things around.
Meanwhile, GL is writing more about her writing life on the post she posted on FB. Interesting! 
❤ ❤ ❤ !!!

whoo-hooo!!! What a trip if she uses WH in her class!!!!!!!!!
Thanks for your GREAT FEEDBACK, Jess. OMG I’m so happy about us mistresses three!!!!

Thanks for all your thoughts, Jessssstresssss. Here are my thoughts:
1. Each mistress takes care of herself (eat well, get a good night’s sleep).
2. Each mistress concentrates primarily on her own poetry, books of poems, and promotion thereof. This can only help HP. On your bios, include that you’re a “mistress of Headmistress Press.” 
3. Mistress M is eager to co-edit/design Headmistress books (chapbooks? full-length?) for Mistress J and Mistress R. I’m working on creating books pretty much all the time now. There’s no rush to do more, and I think J and R will know when they’re ready to publish their own next book. Just send it to me. 
4. Advance Review Copies must be sent out at least four months before the publication date. A Publisher’s Slip, cover letter, author bio, blurbs, and book description are part of the package. It’s a major project geared for full-length books. 
5. Chapbooks are much less intensely marketed, as far as I can see. They’re more like gifts and introductions to the poet. 
6. I see Jess writing a dynamite book description – that’s a great marketing thing right there.
7. I don’t want to overwhelm FB with posts all the time – they start to get tiresome. Jess is already doing a great job writing announcements, and I can always find more art. 
8. But I do think we could post a poem or something every other week on the blog – I guess. Not sure who’s reading it or how much marketing good it would do. 
9. G.L, and the other authors, will surely have marketing ideas, along with networks. We need to receive GL’s bio and other details, so we can help her get out the word. Postcards would be good for that, along with mass email. 
10. How about if one of us (all of us?) interviews GL for Ms Blog? Is that conflict of interest? I think anything goes with interviews – it’s not like a review – and I can introduce it somehow so it looks right. It would be cool to have her cover at Ms., and she’s a good conversationalist (in writing). But first I think we need to get her book out there, so this is down the road. 
❤ ❤ ❤ —

This is pretty damn good, Jess. You’re in the metrical swing of it. The first four lines are a little rocky rhyme-wise (should be abab). See if you can polish up the whole thing. Make sure you really believe in every word, that none of the words are metrical “filler.” Listen closely to any voice in your head that says: wait a second, maybe this could be better. You might want to bear down on one metaphor, instead of piling them on. Like line 13 seems a long way from the first line. How did you get there? Your mind is so fast-paced that it’s hard to follow. Slow it down a little? At the same time you’re writing, think of how your readers are receiving it. There’s a lot of snap, crackle, and pop in your language!! Try not to settle for the first rhyme you think of – take the time to let the right rhyme bubble up in your mind, even if you have to sit there blankly for a while. I do like some of your slant rhymes – doll/hall – thoughts/knots. I put my two fave lines in red. Let me see any revisions!!! Thanks for sending this!!!

On Thu, Jul 25, 2013 at 5:21 PM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
Thanks, Mary! I just received my copy today, as well – two, in fact, because of the subscription and the free one I received for being published in it. I’m pretty good at reviewing things; that’s one thing I have found this year. I like seeing my poems more, but this is a good way to do work.

I decided to try another sonnet. I really tried not to be trite. Go ahead and hack at it, but in your kind and gentle way.

Julia, Riled.

So it’s like Julia Child talking to herself? I didn’t get that, but it’s very funny from that perspective! It’s like the subtext of her TV chatter? It’s funny you should be writing about her, because I was in her house in Bucks County once and swam naked in her pool at midnight. I was there with a married man I was having an affair with, who was watching over her house, like house-sitting I guess. Oh, and he was like 30 years older than me. lol. 

On Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 9:58 AM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
Awesome, awesome . I really don’t want to get rid of deckside with a crook. It was really the foundation of the poem. I’ll see what I can do with focus and try to play up the bitter fairy tale part. The theme of Julia, Riled is duplicity. She, the witch in the distorted mirror of the kitchen, is not herself. She is both herself and someone else. The girl locked in her metaphorical, psych. kitchen is also her – the Julia Riled (a copy of/on Julia Child). Julia Child has been stolen and is grilling deck-side with a crook. I’ll see how to make it more evident. But there are two in the poem, and I want that to be clear. Thank you, Mary!

On Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 9:21 AM, Mary Meriam <> wrote:
PS: I meant to say also that these lines remind me of Sylvia Plath. 

On Sat, Jul 27, 2013 at 8:32 AM, Mary Meriam <> wrote:
These are my favorite lines:

Old-bat, witch-hat, my recipes were yours;
so tart, the stews you fed your hungry doll.
They entered in to zip and zap my pores:
my moonlit hearth, my open-sun mess hall.

Mary Meriam <> Sun, Aug 18, 2013, 12:07 PM:
Wow, this place looks GREAT!
The print job they did on Ali’s anthology is exquisite. I’ll ask them about our postcard. 

So Beanie, what instead of Sapphology? I love the phrase too!!! You are a neologism whizz. 

Mary Meriam <> Tue, Aug 20, 2013, 6:57 PM:

I like your revisions for the back and will go with them – thanks!!!

Headmistress is Jess’s mythical creation, the three of us and beyond…..

Jesse- first read through. Here are very prelim thoughts. 

There is a lot of fun and whimsy here, but there is more too. The whimsy tends to cover over some serious exploration of role, identity, partnership, sexuality. So in a way, I feel you are hiding the “goodies”. Maybe you are fearful of being too exposed? Maybe it’s just that I prefer the more vulnerable ones. The best poems make me feel that you get to the heart of something breathtaking. Some of these poems make me feel like you are avoiding the heart of something. 
My general nits are: You have a tendency to overuse repetition, not surefooted about it. There is some clever and interesting rhyme, but some forced end-rhymes. Some of the wordplay feels overdone. I think the mss needs general editing for line breaks, use of punctuation, etc. You may want another set of eyes for that. 

Poems that interest me the most: (these are the poems that have the most interesting language and craft)

A Fallen Woman

Faux pas

Pin-up Stone

The Strumpets below (not sure about the spacing)

Hagony (might leave out S4)

Nightcap Malone

Handkerchief Moon (why the switch to italics?)

Same Hex Stares for Life

Travertine Maindenhead

Highway Walker

Shadow Motion Addition

Satin Sappho

Hope some of these thoughts are useful to you, 


Jesse,  it is with deep sadness that I am asking you to resign from mistress-ship for the good of the press.  Mary and I feel that we have reached a juncture where working with you is not  growth producing for HP.  This will allow you to pursue your own interest as a friend of the press, while letting go of responsibility for its success for the long haul.

Right now, the press needs an editor that has skill and experience with editing poetry, which we feel is not your strength.  We need a publicist who can independently open doors for us and bring in sales and forge our reputation in the tiny world of lesbian poetry. Distractions from this mindset inevitably become an obstacle to our success.

We have no desire to make this difficult for you or for us. We know you want only the best for HP. We will always cherish your contributions in getting us off the ground and on to the page.

Please feel free to remain in contact with me through my personal email.

Wishing you only the best,  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Risa Denenberg       

On Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 11:10 AM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
Dear Risa and Mary,

I am formulating my response, but would like to let you know that I do not wish nor plan to resign from Headmistress Press. I believe that my assets and contributions to the press outweigh the weakness you have mention. I am willing to take the schoolmistress role far more seriously, to think of myself in an interning position rather than as an equal, and I feel that my resignation from the press will negatively affect it. Because I care deeply about Headmistress Press, have been an integral and active part of its formation, and am one of its co-operators, I do not wish to resign. As long as there is a Headmistress Press, I hope that I will be not only a supporter of it but a viable part of it. I am also, I should mention, willing to never submit my work to HP again.

I hope I will have a chance to speak with both of you more about this, directly.

All Best,

Jess, I decided to give you the option of resigning. I’ve been given this option once or twice, rather than being fired, and it stings, but it is better for everyone if it is couched in these terms. If you do not choose to resign, we will send you a notice of termination. This is not a process I have undertaken without great thought. It is for the best. 
risa  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
Risa Denenberg       

On Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 11:18 AM, Mason McFadden <> wrote:
If a business is started by three people, how can one fire another? Is there one official “owner”? I did not know this; I thought we were co-operators.

Can you imagine how baffling and hurtful this might be for me? And the fact that you, not Mary, are writing. It seems very underhanded. I am just crying and trying to understand and figure out what to do.

Jess, I can totally appreciate how baffling and hurtful this might be for you. But I can assure you that it is for the best and will work out fine for you in the long-term.  
Our incorporation papers list me as the manager and the three of us as members. The bylaws state: 
Management of the Company is vested in the following manager (the “Fiscal Manager”) until suchtime as this Manager withdraws from the position: Risa Denenberg
Any member has the right to voluntarily withdraw from the Company at any time with writtennotice to the members.40. The manager may dissociate any member from the Company at any time with written notice to the members.41. The Company will retain exclusive rights to use of the trade name and firm name and all relatedbrand and model names of the Company.
I set up the company so that I could make tough decisions that I have seen difficult for others find make. I did it this way because I know myself to be fair and principled in all matters. I can assure you that what I am doing is within our bylaws and that I am empowered to take full responsibility for this difficult, though necessary, decision. 
Take care, risa

We crossed messages. You certainly will always be given appropriate credit for you contributions to HP. l,r

Risa and Mary,

As per your recommendation and request, I resign from my position as co-operator and schoolmistress of Headmistress Press.

Best Wishes,
Jessica Mason McFadden

Thank you Jess.
Best in all your endeavors, Risa

Final note from Jess: The messages exchanged between Mary and me in the days prior to my removal from the press were in the Google Group out of which I was locked, but a few highlights, from my memory, include: Mary sending me a message to tell me that she wants me to inherit whatever fortune Headmistress Press forms — for me to be the inheritor of the press; Mary encouraging me to submit an MS to publish with HP; my submission of my MS; Mary’s silence upon my submission and Risa’s critical comments; my emails asking why Mary was being silent suddenly; a very short email from Mary saying that my MS wasn’t publishable and saying little else; a long email from me to Mary expressing that I was shocked and hurt by how little she said about it — I said that I understood that it may not be publishable but that her silence seemed odd and was hurtful. More silence followed, and then Risa sent me the forced resignation letter. I also want to note that I lost the emails in which Mary, at first – before Risa was brought into the fold, suggested that the press be MY press and that it be named Jess Press. I did not like that name for a press for obvious reasons but I did include it on the list of names I sent her because she suggested it, in earnest. Another set of pertinent emails that I cannot locate involved Risa sending us the business plan — I didn’t really read the official documents because I just trusted the two of them, but obviously, I should have read them and anticipated that they were leaving me out and including themselves in the documents that made HP a business (their business, not mine, unbeknownst to me).

I was never paid anything for any of the work I did in creating and co-operating Headmistress Press in its first year, and I would never have asked or expected to be paid. Everything I did, I did out of love for Headmistress Press, the press I created in honor of the headmistress of my heart.

This Particular Sapphic Archive est Finis