Faces of SAL: Cali Kopczick
December 18, 2019
Cali Kopczick does it all: from house management to box office sales, you can spot her working at most of our events this season, so it’s high time we introduced her to you!
As you’ll learn, Cali trains her cat, keeps all genres on rotation—see her picks for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction below—and one of her party tricks involves impersonating “a timid party host from New Zealand,” so we think there’s nothing she can’t do. Here is her “Faces of SAL” interview . . .
Why did you decide to be involved with SAL?
I was excited to have a way to build into the literary community in Seattle. I had a lot more ways of doing that when I was in college and immediately after, and it can be hard to find that community and that structure as a young adult not working directly in the literary world.
SAL events especially have both a grandeur to them—because the venues are so big and beautiful—and a humility to them, because these big established writers are reading alongside youth and answering audience questions about their writing process. It’s incredible to watch these big audiences of people who may only make it out to a couple readings a year go absolutely gaga over writers. I’ve had those moments, and I’m so glad I get to help other people have them!
What are you reading right now?
Right now I’m finishing up 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. It’s been a real journey. I’d never ready any Murakami before, and I love a lot about this—the slow convergence of parallel storylines, the touches of otherworldliness, the noir tropes—but a lot of the writing about women and/or sex feels uncomfortable, and unintentionally comedic. I’m looking forward to reading Junk by Tommy Pico (I’ve read all the rest of the Teebs cycle), and What Sweetness from Salt by my friend Francine Conley, and scoping out my next nonfiction pick—likely The Crying Book by Heather Christle.
What has inspired you lately?
Lately I’ve been circling around a lot of mysteries and capers, including “The Fix” by Elbow. I think it’s really interesting to watch structure and planning act as such central points of excitement in those genres.
What do you like to do outside of work and volunteering?
I like to go for long runs, especially when I can put on some music or a podcast and not answer to anyone for an hour or so. I also like to play with my cat Sofi. I’m working on a long con to get her to tolerate having her fur brushed. Right now, I have worked up to a point where I can put the brush on the floor next to her while giving her treats and she will not run away.
What upcoming SAL event are you most looking forward to?
Carmen Maria Machado (she’s a master of genre and I can’t wait to see how she twists memoir), Paisley Rekdal (love her poetry, love the ways she pulls from and repurposes myth), and Carol Anderson (voter suppression is such a huge structural issue, and I’m so grateful to Anderson for her political, historical, and cultural insights).
What is your hidden talent?
Funny voices! I can do a couple passable regional accents—midwestern mom, timid party host from New Zealand, to name a couple—and recently on a trip to Portland I invented a bridge troll with a kind of creaky, crone-like trill.
Thank you, Cali!