Jack Grapes Method Writing Program in SF
January 2015 Newsletter
Creative Transformations
Story of my life. How about yours?
Bear in Shamanic Transformation. De Young Museum

Creative transformations are something that all artists are familiar with. Sometimes they are painful. Other times, a welcome alternative to stagnation, but always inevitable, the only constant is change.  As writers, artists, and makers, we must learn how to roll with the punches. But, boy, is it hard sometimes. Other times when the timing is right, things snap into place and opportunities seem to fall into your lap.


I have been ruminating a lot on this topic lately, especially over the New Year.


Looking back at all the creative transformations I have made in my life. 

First of all, I went pro at the beginning of this year.


I left my teaching position at Academy of Art University in order to finish my long awaited novel, Persephone Stolen and send it out into the world and also finish up a poetry collection that has been materializing in my computer in fits starts over the past several years.


Making this transformation, I felt like I was leaping into the abyss. It was a strange feeling-both palatable and invisible. I had been wanting to do this forever, but never found the right time and suddenly, the moment was upon me and I didn't know what to do.  I was a bird in a gilded cage with the door flung open, peering out sheepishly at the world. Would I step out toe-by-toe or would I emerge in full armor like Athena, ready for battle?


I'm talking about my own experience here because I feel it relates to the general artistic struggle. Sometimes teachers act so omnipotent. It's hard to see that we, too,  were once beginners, or that we make changes just like our students do.  But for me, using writing to turn my transitions into transformations has been key to my survival as an artist over the years.  Making our transitions into transformations is what it's all about.


To that end, I have put up a shingle of "editor" and I am now working with private clients on writing projects, continuing to teach the Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING Program and expanding into new creative enterprises and collaborations which I will be announcing later in this newsletter and in the coming months.


Here I am, transformed: A writer who teaches and edits made from the fibers of a teacher who writes. 


It only took me years of blood, sweat and tears to figure it out. These transformations affect all of us and the energy around them can fuel our creative work or paralyze us with fear of the next step.  


We can reframe our transitions into transformations. Writing is all about spinning flax into gold; it's about the creative alchemy of staring at the blank page and then at the point when a new story, poem or scene materializes, being able to seize it and stick with it.


No matter where you are in your artistic or writing life, may 2015 bring you abundance, dear writers. If you are looking for a safe and supportive environment that challenges you artistically to produce your very best work, we're right here.

� Alexandra Kostoulas
Method Writing SF
Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING Program 













Jack Grapes' METHOD WRITING Program in San Francisco

Winter 2015 Classes Start January 28th, February 5th and run for 8 consecutive weeks.  
Cost is still $395.  

Click on your preferred day to sign up.


Location: 25 Taylor Street at the Wework building
Above the Golden Gate Theatre
In the up and coming Mid-Market area
January 28-March 18, 2015 6:30-9:30 pm

Location: 25 Taylor Street at the Wework building
Above the Golden Gate Theatre
In the up and coming Mid-Market area
February 5-April 2, 2015* 6:30-9:30 pm
*skipping the week of Feb 19 
Wework Building 25 Taylor Street 7th floor 

Come to Our Reading This Friday:
Write From the Gut! Reading Series #7:
Method Writing All Stars

Friday, January 30, 2015.


Wework Building

25 Taylor Street

San Francisco, CA 94102


Featuring some hot up and coming writers to come out the Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING Program, along with an open mic night afterward. Come and join us for a night of good storytelling, snacks and a keg of beer. Free.


Featured readers: 


Liz Melchor + Flavia Stefani Resende + Yvonne Campbell 
+ you, maybe?



with special guest,  Maw Shein Win Maw Shein Win

Maw Shein Win's poetry and prose has appeared in many journals, and she has work forthcoming in the anthology Cross-Strokes (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions). She is currently a poetry editor for Rivet and was an Artist In Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Her most recent poetry chapbook is Ruins of a glittering palace (SPA/Commonwealth Projects), and she is a member of the Portuguese Artist Colony. Maw has taught college-level writing for many years and is a recipient of the Arkadii Dragomoshchenko Prize for Innovative Poetry. She was also a student of Jack Grapes' Method Writing Program when she lived in Los Angeles.  


This Month's Featured Writer:
Lisa Carlsson

(She came out to take the class all the way from Sweden! We will miss her this winter as she returns home, but hope to see her again soon.)

The Operation

The nurse dried the mascara that had run down my cheecks. I could feel my face blushing and I looked down on my flower printed dress. Pink and purple and dark green, like a forest. It was just me and her in the room now. Everyone else had left. There had been so many of them in there. I'd learned by now that every time a nurse or a doctor said, "Hold on a minute, I'll have to get my colleague," nothing good is going to happen. I'd been going to the doctor's office every day for over a month to get the wound on my leg cleaned. It was a freak accident. Not something good girls do. Drinking too much tequila and falling asleep with the computer chord next to me in bed. The burn refused to heal, it was like me--ugly and smelly. Something you wouldn't want to touch. Still, men kept touching me and I let them. Sometimes skin is the only way to stop the sadness. I'd been working twenty days straight when it happened. Sometimes fourteen hours, or sixteen. I'd been ignoring the fact that I didn't have a home and sometimes vomited from anxiety. I was longing desperately for a place far away. It didn't really matter where, just somewhere silent. Somewhere where I could rest, close to water or fall asleep in the shade next to the jasmine bushes just like when I was a child. But I was stuck in Stockholm. It was August; the nights were getting darker and the wound turned black. A charcoal surface covered my leg. It was necrosis. A part of my flesh had died. A part of me.


When I came into the emergency room that day the first doctor had to go get another one who had to get a third one. They lay me down on on the operating table. The room was just white robes and flourescent light. The smell of clean instruments and rubber gloves. The nerve endings in your leg are dead they said and they didn't sedate me. But still I could feel the scissors cutting through my skin. Someone held my shoulders, pressed me down. The only one of them that I would remember was her. This nurse. She looked like someone's mother. Her face was soft and open. She placed the palm of her hand on my forehead and began consoling me by telling me that I was such a good girl. I could feel the sweat breaking my chest. I felt tears coming out of nowhere and my teeth pressed together hard. There was no one else there to love me but she saw me. She saw that I was tired from the pain. Tired from walking around bleeding, oozing, sometimes crying. I was tired of getting drunk and having sex with people I detested just because they begged or told me I was beautiful. She could see that I was sick of being alone. She could feel the sadness that my mother gave to me when her body built me and she could see that is a part of me. Like my jawline or the curve of my upper lip. She saw that the leaves were changing outside and I was falling. And now she was gently drying tears and eyeliner of my face. "Thank you for being so nice to me," I said, feeling with my fingertips the thick white bandages under my thin black pantyhose. My leg looked fat.  "That's what I'm here for," she said. "Now you go home and rest." 

Notable Arts Events, Collaborations, Announcements 
Here I am on the left with one of my literary heroes, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner of City Lights Bookstore and original publisher of many of the most iconic poets in San Francisco's beat generation and beyond. Della Heywood, co-owner of the Emerald Tablet Gallery in North Beach is on the left. Photo was taken on Jan 1st 2015 at Emerald Tablet's annual North Beach poets' banquet.


I've joined the Board of Directors of this emerging organization. Very excited!
SAFEhouse for the Performing Arts (Saving Art From Extinction) announces the opening of SAFEhouseARTS, a new 49-seat performance space in Central Market. After several years of contributing cultural programming to San Francisco's Central Market neighborhood (24 Days of Central Market Arts and the monthly Central Market NOW), SAFEhouse is excited to have a new home in the heart of the city. SAFEhouse's move to Central Market was supported by a grant from the Mayor's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, the SF Arts Commission and SF Grants for the Arts.


SAFEhouse is a non-profit arts presenting organization that supports residencies, workshops and performances for Bay Area performing artists and was founded in 2004. SAFEhouse operated The Garage Theater in SOMA from 2007-2014 and also produces SPF (summer performance festival) and the West Wave Dance Festival. SAFEhouse's new space at 1 Grove (formerly KUNST-STOFF arts) is 4,000 square feet and will present 200 performances a year and will host over 50 artists-in-residence annually. Check out our website:

A Feminist Writing Space is having a Pre-Opening Fundraiser and Showcase on Sunday February 15th! Liminal is located in the Laurel District of Oakland  and will be will be a very affordable membership-based home to writing workshops, events, co-working and the building of a like-minded community. Liminal aims to build a model of intersectionality and inclusiveness that creates dialogue rather than prescriptive definitions of Feminism.  PLUS, They've got a sweet loft space, there will be food and drink vendors and a killer line-up of readers and performers. Believe in FEMINISM, the LIMINAL space & HOUSE PARTIES! Check out the line-up and get tickets here.

Poet in New York-Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, New York, New York 10012
 Monday, February 23 9pm-11pm EST
Alexandra Kostoulas to be the featured reader at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC!  Bowery's Premier Poetry Night, with the best OPEN MIC, Featured Poets, and Music in NYC. Vote for your favorite poem to be published online at $10 admission at the door. Come at 8:30 to sign up for the OPEN MIC - 10 slots, first come, first served. The Poet in New York is generously supported by the National Endowment of the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. Thanks to Liz Peters, Program director at The Bowery Poetry Club, and former student of the Jack Grapes METHOD WRITING Program in San Francisco. RSVP here.

Alexandra Kostoulas & Evan Karp Collaborate 
for Quiet Lightning at Wework Golden Gate on March 2.

I'm curating a show along with Evan Karp at Wework--the space where we host our Method classes and some of our Write from the Gut! readings on March 2.  If you'd like to submit work for consideration in our show, the deadline is Feb 11.  Please visit for more info and to submit to our show.


A local website that features readings and literary culture around the Bay Area. 
They have 3 or 4 Bay Area literary arts events per day. Visit for more info.