My name is Jessica L. Mason – I am one of the three co-founders of Headmistress Press. I am no longer with the press but I created this site as a way of establishing my role in the formation of the press and as a way of preserving my role as creator and headmother of the press. I gave the press its name, and I am the visionary behind the press’ thematic and creative foundation. Though I have been separated from my press, I have come to terms with this separation and have refocused my efforts on remaining the foremost relic of its foundational hystory. I have made this site as a way of (a) reclaiming a role in relation to the press, (b) acknowledging that I am the literary byrthmother and headmother of the press, and (c) making myself part of the press’ archive. After the Sapphic Apocalypse, when Headmistress Press is only a puzzle of Sapphic fragments, I hope my role as headmother and love for my Headmistress Press and the Lavender Academy will be part of its mythos and legacy.
As an unacknowledged co-founder of the press, it’s important for me to remind those who might be curious about it that the press was created with the goal of combating, via linguistic art, the erasure of lesbian lives and hystories. Thus, there is a certain Sapphic irony that in some quarters the lesbian who invented HP has been virtually erased from its hiss-story. I’m not the first nor will I be the last of the Sapphic Relics to struggle against erasure.
After giving up the battle to maintain the recognition of my rights as a co-founder of the press I invented, I developed the persona Hexmistress Jess as a form of restorative justice. Headmistress Press became Hexmistress Jess, a persona in which I engage in linguistic performance art and through which I created the ‘Language of Hex’ — also known and unknown and nunknown as the stuff of hex linguistics, hex-wifedom, hex-nunnery, hexuality studies, hexology, cliterary theory, cliterature, and nun-fiction: a genre I invented in 2015.
My substitutive practices are most closely linked to two known lesbian writers of distinguished genius: Gertrude Stein and Mary Daly. Many other writers have shaped my literary and linguistic consciousness.
As far as the origins of HP are concerned: I named Headmistress Press in 2013 in honor of someone in my life I admired and loved, hoping to create a press that was the personification of the relationship and world she and I once shared. The name was also a nod to and celebration of Sappho of Lesbos, and was, ultimately, a conflation of the two sources. I am a lifelong student and teacher of Sapphology (a term I began using in 2013), a writer, a performer, a conjurer, a ‘neologism whiz,’ a nun sympathizer, a mother raging with love and devotion, and a social justice Sapphologist with Hexpertise in The Sapphic Arts. Headmistress Press was intended to be a gift for someone I wished to honor but instead it became a gift that was stolen from me by two people who love themselves and money. Oh well (of LO-neliness)! Lyfe goeth on. And on.
Fortune and persistence led me to my current stewardship over the HP web domain, and that stewardship is a symbolic act of resistance and restorative justice.
Mother of Hexiles