Archive for kristi coulter

“Writer navigates tech’s male culture in Seattle with acerbic wit”

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My friend and Ellavon alum Kristi Coulter made the cover of today’s Seattle Times. I can’t remember ever feeling so great witnessing a friend’s growing fame and success.

I have spent the entirety of my adulthood as a professional editor, and can’t even count how many published writers I have worked with. It’s got to be at least a thousand. Kristi is probably the best pure writer of them all. (Maybe tied with Robin Plan, a very different writer!)

(Her FB page is a total gas.)

Kristi Coulter holidays

From “Dear Santa” –

I would like an advent calendar of lipsticks, a telegraph machine and respondent, moon boots made with fair-trade moon. I would like one hour to speak privately with the muppet Grover about some things that have been troubling me. I would like an add-a-bead necklace where the beads are Get Out of Jail Free cards. The cards are sold separately and I would like a starter set of five. Two starter sets of five. I would like a weathervane in my heart that I can make visible to others on a need-to-know basis.

Kristi was an original contributor to Ellavon: An Ezine of Basic Culture. I have edited possibly a thousand writers in my professional career. Kristi is the only author to whom I never could suggest a change, no better words, no commas, no nothing.

My only request: “Do please submit a new, next piece.” And therefore I was a genius editor.

Her first book comes out early next year.

Yoga behind bars

A wonderful initiative.

From an interview with Kristi Coulter on Caroline Leavitt’s blog:

Yoga Behind Bars is a nonprofit here in Seattle that offers free yoga and meditation classes to incarcerated people throughout the Washington state prison system; I’m on the board of directors. Prison is an insanely stressful, dehumanizing environment–we try to counter that impact by giving prisoners tools for dealing with stress and anxiety both while they’re incarcerated and afterward, when they are back in their communities. Our students tell us they feel calmer, healthier, and happier from practicing yoga, and that leads to great downstream effects like more thoughtful conflict resolution and decision making. …

What does our program do for women? Well, on a purely physical level it helps them (and men) feel better. Many of our students have chronic aches and pains or other physical issues that yoga helps to relieve. It also helps them to find some quiet. New teachers are often shocked by how LOUD prisons are. For a couple of hours a week our students can be in a quiet room where they work on cultivating internal calm and peace. And most importantly, it builds their self-esteem, which is a major issue for many incarcerated women. We’re currently raising money to hold a 100-hour teacher training for women prisoners. Funds permitting, that should happen in the fall.

What doesn’t our program do for women? One thing is that it doesn’t help them sustain a yoga practice or yoga community post-release. Yoga classes are expensive, not to mention very white. Many of our students are of color, and when they look inside a commercial yoga studio they don’t see anyone who looks like them and are dissuaded. (Just like I’m too shy to go to one of those black churches with the big gospel choir even though it would be supremely awesome.) And even if that weren’t a barrier, affordability often is. We constantly kick around ideas–could we offer scholarships? could we at least give a free mat to every paroled student for home practice? There’s much to be done by the broader yoga community to make it more accessible to people who aren’t your standard head-standing middle-class white lady (like yours truly). One local studio launched a monthly class geared specifically toward people of color, and received such an onslaught of harassment, including death threats, that not only was the class cancelled, but the entire studio closed out of safety fears. Death threats! Over yoga! In one of the most liberal cities in America! I mean, sweet fancy Moses. So yeah, there is work to be done.

The entire interview is a treat, and also documents Coulter’s voyages through writing and not writing very much, and through drinking and not drinking at all.

You can visit Kristi Coulter’s blog here.

Kristi Coulter

KC

Back in 1997 I founded Ellavon: An Ezine of Basic Culture in large measure so that I could work with artists and writers I admired. I got to know Kristi Coulter by reading and responding to her posts on the old Usenet newsgroups, in particular alt.music.alternative and alt.music.alternative.female. Her prose was surpassingly graceful and witty. Indeed, Kristi was and remains one of the best pure writers I have ever read. I was thrilled when she agreed to write for Ellavon.

While I can say that I published her, I cannot say that I edited her; I never found a word – honestly, not a single one – I would change. (Such an experience is as unnerving as it is happy for an editor. It has happened to me only one other time, with Paul Edwards, editor of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy and author of the magisterial refutation of reincarnation that you can find in Not Necessarily the New Age.)

Kristi has finally launched her own website, KristiCoulter.com, which has links to her Ellavon work and to more recent writing, including her blog, “Off-Dry: Sober Girl, Loopy World,” her two recent “Open Letters to People I Have Strong Feelings About” (“Dear Santa” is pure and poignant genius), and to her various “Enthusiasms.”