The Operating System

Testimonials

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“In a world of disrupt and competition and polar dichotomies, The Operating System crucially widens space for what is possible. Lynne and her team take a rare approach of  working closely with writers and artists to push their projects into more innovative territory (my book would never have been interdisciplinary without Lynne’s nudge, just one example). This practice underscores a gorgeous intentionality to cultivate new/under heard voices, radically cross discipline lines, commit to authentic diversity — and to instigate critical dialogue through these practices. Founded on collaborative and open source philosophies, I’m perhaps even more excited for what is to come: curriculum, how-to blueprints, transparent buisness and creative practices, shared resource models and, cross your fingers, even a physical community space!

More than any other business/project I’ve witnessed, The OS’ work is deeply aligned, actually on the ground and not just in theory, with values I see as profoundly necessary to changing our world. When I talk about the artist as visionary, able to see beyond our current broken state and into a just future for all, this is exactly what I mean. Considering the model of open source encourages “competitors” to also succeed and thrive, to support The OS is to support many beyond The OS. It is to support a more awake, alive and vibrant community for us all.”

CAITS MEISSNER, poet / artist / activist / educator, author of Let it Die Hungry (2016) 

“I couldn’t imagine a home for One More Revolution, my book project, before I encountered The Operating System. The work is a dissertation but it’s also a memoir, it’s an academic argument but it’s also a story, and on and on until I’ve talked myself out of doing anything with it but backing it up on an external hard drive and occasionally visiting the PDF on ProQuest. Then I heard about this press that “is a question, not an answer,” and asked my own question, in ragged, “this will never work” form. And then something happened that never happens: I got a response. A generous response, detailed, honest, engaging and engaged. And it boiled down to YES.

I think we are so used to hearing different forms of NO that when we hear YES it initially feels both intoxicating and suspicious; we almost can’t hear it. And then, slow and guarded, we allow other responses to filter in. Gratitude. Excitement. And a profound, moving sense of community beginning to form. I develop the book, I ask a sheepish question, the answer is YES. Can we make it look like a 7” record? YES. Can I look at revision more as transformation? YES. I am starting to get used to it, starting to shed the expectation that all of the doors are locked. This press, this question­not­and­answer, unlocks them. Or rather, shows us there were never any doors to begin with, and for that I cannot that The Operating System enough.”

ANDREA MAZZARIELLO, composer / performer / writer / educator, author of One More Revolution (2017)

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“Working with Lynne on producing these books has been a revelation. As someone with more than 100 published books—my own, translations, anthologies—and who has worked with many presses, it quickly became apparent to me that working with The Operating System would be different, better . . . I might venture to say what publishing should be but rarely is. Lynne’s editorial and design talent, along with her professionalism, shapes a new vision of producing books for community, and creating community through books: a rare combination in a world that seems ever more rooted in competition and commercialism.”

MARGARET RANDALL, poet / artist / activist / educator, translator of To Have Been There Then (Gregory Randall, 2016), What the Werewolf Told Them (Chely Lima, 2017), and Return Trip (Israel Dominguez, 2017).

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“In unexpected ways, working with OS on the creation of the book/score for There Might Be Others proved useful and stimulating for the actual creation of the piece itself. Lynne’s thoughtful and provocative questions came at a time of intense rehearsal and development of the piece and got me to step outside of the process and look at it from new perspectives. Also, seeing the ideas and images take the shape of a beautiful book gave focus and energy to our ideas and work; it really was an inspiring factor that came during the homestretch of the piece’s development!

And now, after the fact, and as we look forward to future revisions and performances of There Might Be Others, I’ve taken to returning to the book for further inspiration and reflection. Honestly, I don’t know of any other publisher working this way, and it is SO important and valuable, nurturing a part of the creative ecosystem that is so often ignored, but also difficult to support through traditional means. I hope OS is able to continue to push forward in all sorts of wonderful ways!”

DAN TRUEMANcomposer / performer / educator, co-author of There Might Be Others (2016) with choreographer Rebecca Lazier

“The Operating System has been an unconditional totem in my literary manifestations. During the making of the chapbook “Any Seam or Needlework,” my time collaborating with the editors and artists can be described with two words; love and dedication. Throughout my time working with the editor Lynne DeSilva Johnson, I always felt so fascinated seeing my book come alive all from scratch and how my work is suddenly transformed in the creative void! With all the great myriad of tinkering I could do with the spirit of my book from working out a book cover with quilt artist Daphne Taylor to doing interviews to further my own understanding of my book, the whole package was a never to forget experience.

I love how such virtues held by the press has allowed my artistic freedom to be expressed in a way that the act of making a book itself is not only about playing with the possibilities of a literary form but also, as a canvas that intuitively risks and informs the ongoing changes of the project’s life. Must I say that our press is not just any ordinary brewer in your basement, it is a collective of like- minded individuals that want change in their lives. As part of the OF SOUND MIND 2016 Series, the project aided in drawing faithful nodes to the nebulous dichotomies between music/poetry thus, transforming such boundaries into an integral whole. The best part really was in the end where I did my final stretch of the race coming all the way from Toronto and to New York to launch my chapbook and meeting all the other poets in our roster (and having a full crowd for the afternoon)! It felt almost too good to be true. ”

STANFORD CHEUNG, poet / concert pianist, author of any seam or needlework (2016)

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“Lynne is a tireless advocate for the people and ideas she believes in. She also has access to some sort of weird, inexhaustible well of energy. With The OS, you know there’s care and passion, but there’s also pragmatism about the basic needs of a small press: take care of your writers, work with them to make the best book you didn’t know you could make, get word out into the world about these beautiful book objects into which someone drained their whole self. It’s also cool, and very humbling, to be a part of a community of writers that includes the likes of Peter Milne Greiner, JP Howard, Amanda Ngoho Reavey, and my Of Sound Mind peers.

The OS has a lot planned going forward and it’s important that as a collective it has the resources to put out the work that it does. Many of the current writers and forthcoming writers are writing into history the whos and whats and hows that have been marginalized or forgotten or ignored. We need it for ourselves and for each other.”

ALEX CROWLEY, poet / musician / series curator, author of Improper Maps (2016)

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“Working with the OS was amazing! The process of creating my debut book, Marilyn, was collaborative and full of heart. Lynne is a visionary. She is also honest, patient and fully involved in the process.  As release day approached, I began to get very anxious. Intuitively, she knew and helped me calm my fears. I’m so glad my first experience in having a book published was with her. She truly cares for each and every project and person she works with.”

AMANDA NGOHO REAVEY, poet / energy healer / educator, author of Marilyn (2015)

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“Never an entity to subscribe to a specific style or scene, The Operating System has been an especially supportive platform for emerging writers and artists. Like many of its authors, I published my first chapbook with The OS with much encouragement (in fact, a big push!) from founding editor Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, and have found a surprisingly supportive audience for my work since! While the press wing is rapidly growing––I still feel very much a part of a network of people that it has brought together. It has been thrilling to see so much vital work spill forth and make such important impact––all in spite of its extremely limited financial and human resources!! I can’t help but think of how much more The OS could do with [more] support.”

MARYAM PARHIZKAR, poet / musician / scholar / educator, author of pull (2014)

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“Long before I was lucky enough to publish my first book with the Operating System, I was drawn to the way this press focused on creating a space for under-represented voices and took a non-standard approach into carving it out. Hands down, these books and documents are gorgeous; they are unique, perplexing, challenging and truly satisfying on both intellectual and tactile levels. It is clear that care is taken with each and every publication, something which is especially important in an era of digital and online writing and when so much text seems ephemeral or even disposable. In the end, these are not just books, but documents and art pieces–something added to a necessary archive–that also attempt to challenge the form of publishing and writing as it exists today. When it came time to turn my manuscript into a book, it was amazing and illuminating to work with Lynne DeSilva-Johnson and be included in decisions surrounding the aesthetic presentation of the finished product; I feel I was given enough rope to influence lay-out, while also being forced–through dialogue and through collaboration–to really consider every choice. I feel lucky, too, that the press is a non-profit; it is liberating to be, at least partially, free of the market, when so much artwork is commodified and when so many are concerned with their own careers. I owe so, so much to the Operating System–this is a press that took a chance on me–and am proud to be a part of its community. There is really nothing like it out there, which is why it’s so vital.”

MARK GURARIE, poet / musician / educator, author of Everybody’s Automat (2016)