Straight from the Hip: A Call For Submissions
(Intro, Guidelines, and Link Resources below)
by Kara L.C. Jones


We came to Vashon Island because we fell in love with the island after house sitting here for a friend of mine. The water, the quiet, the community all seemed perfect given the life situation my husband (Hawk) and I have been in for the past 2, almost 3 years now. You see our son died at birth in March 1999. It's been quite a long trip from grief to healing and back to more grief work. And somewhere inbetween there, we started an expressive arts organization called KotaPress (our son's name was Dakota) which has just taken on a life of its own. Its a legacy better than I ever imagined for my son.

So we came to the island, and I wanted to let all the local organization and newspapers know we are here and that our door is open for communication, collaboration, and/or creation together. And I sent out one of those standard press release that we've become so well trained to send out over the past few years. You know, third person, having a copy writer quote me, etc. And I got a note back from Hamish here at The Ticket asking us to be straight with him and the public about who we are. Asking us to not do the "business" thing with the press release voice where you are basically quoting yourself or someone in-house is quoting in-house, etc. He pointed out that we are after all on Vashon. And I thought that was pretty cool. Straight, huh? Straight.

What followed for me was several days of thinking what exactly does "straight" mean for me. And I began to ask other people what straight meant for them. My wonderful, loving, and very gay friend Mark said, "Oh, Hon, in my community it's forward, forward, not straight!" That made me gafaw outloud, but wasn't exactly what I had meant. So I kept asking.

My mother told me that straight meant straight. It meant that if your kids were in trouble and needed you, then you helped them with no strings attached. Just straight up help. A woman from one of the list servers that I'm on said that straight was being asked, "How many children do you have?" and being able to answer, "I have five. Four living and one who died at birth." One of my best friends from back East said that "straight" meant being able to say, "That dress looks like crap on you, so don't buy it!" A wonderful mentor friend of mine who is in her 70s said that straight means being able to ask for help, straight out, no hesitation, just ask for whatever you need.

All these various and yet somehow similar definitions of "being straight up" really moved me. Something in me shifted, softened maybe. The salt water of the island was seeping into my bones maybe. I don't know but something in my awareness changed for the better.

So here we are. New residents of Vashon Island. Residents of this new world filled with crazy war and bioterror. We stand before you with our hearts open, still discovering new layers to the grief and healing process, still finding that life is fragile and to be cherished in all its forms at every turn.



And now I'm wondering who you all are? Wondering if we might find out more about Vashon and the artists who live here by publishing your works in our new monthly column called "Vashon: Straight Up"? Anyone interested? I'd like to know who you are. What does "straight" mean to you? What does Vashon mean to you, how did you end up living here, what does it mean to you to be an artist on Vashon?

  • Send your ideas, essays, articles, suggestions, poems, whatever, to us here at Kota-- please cut and paste into the body of an email-- no attachments will be opened nor acknowledged. Send works and your bio ALL IN ONE EMAIL PLEASE to with VASHON SUBMISSION in the subject line of your message.

  • It can take anywhere from one day to two months to hear back from us. But we will get word to you.

  • Please, please, please send along a 25 to 75 word bio with your submission-- we'll be using this in publication. If you don't send it with your submission, then you won't get a bio listing.

We will ask for one-time, electronic rights and also the archive rights to publish your work in the Journal. ARCHIVE RIGHTS means the right to archive works in the context of the issue in which works first appeared and to offer that archived issue for as long as our site is up online. If you accept our offer to publish your works, then you accept that we are going to offer your works in our archive indefinitely. We will not remove works from the archive!

Once the issue is up online, all rights revert back to you so that you may go on and publish this work again in the future wherever you wish. We ask that you give KotaPress credit as a previous publisher, but that is a courtesy, not a requirement.


Books By The Way (an awesome independent bookseller and affiliate to kotapress!) -

Vashoncam (your one stop, complete resource for Vashon) -

Ticket (the little newsmag with a whole lotta soul!) -

Voice of Vashon (you can hear Hawk on the live broadcast tuesday morns from 8 a.m. to noon PST) -

Vashon Digital Alliance (these digital folks meet for breakfast at the Stray Dog every Thursday for a good meal and some great discussions!) -

Island Domestic Violence Outreach Services (great support here) -

Betty MacDonald (yes, mrs. piggle-wiggle was from Vashon! :)) -

Paradox (genre publisher based on Vashon) -

Vashon Allied Arts (this blue heron is an amazing resource!) -

VashonStar (digital resource and gallery) -

If you happen to be on Vashon and wish to be listed here, drop me an email with your site address. We'll get it listed as soon as we can.