Meet the Short Run vendors: Casandra Lopez of As/Us

Our October Bookstore of the Month is a special one, because it’s a bookstore that will only exist in the world for one day. The Short Run Comix & Arts Festival will take place this year on October 31st at Fisher Pavilion in the Seattle Center, and for that one day, it will be the largest bookseller of independent literature, zines, and comics in the Seattle area. Every week this month, we’ll highlight a different Short Run exhibitor, to give you a better idea of the scope and breadth of the festival.

Casandra Lopez moved to Seattle two years ago to work at North Seattle College. To hear her describe it, the literary journal she founded with friends, As/Us, practically burst into the world, from conception to submissions to reality in a matter of months. The magazine is geared toward “more lyricism in the prose” than other literary magazines, she says, and on the website, they’re running more elaborate pieces — full-color art, say, or dance interpretations of poems — that expand on the print magazine experience.

The idea of As/Us keeps getting more expansive. “Originally, we created it to publish the works of women of color,” Lopez tells me. “We still do that, but we also collaborate and highlight other underrepresented writers” like incarcerated writers, a queer issue, and an issue spotlighting native youth writers. Lopez will be selling four recent issues of As/Us at her Short Run booth, alongside her chapbook Where Bullet Breaks. (You can read the title poem from that collection at Hobart.)

Lopez was introduced to Short Run last year by local writer Elissa Washuta, who As/Us will be sharing a table with this year. Lopez admits that she didn’t know anything about Short Run before exhibiting last year, but all it took was one show to make her a believer: “I just thought that everybody there was really supportive of independent presses,” she says. They were “supportive as in purchasing copies, but also wanting to know about our magazine and what we do. It was a really positive community.”

The support Lopez received last year at Short Run was so overwhelming that she barely managed to break away from the As/Us table to walk the floor. She managed one quick spin around the exhibitor tables, buying a few zines and a print by Sarah Rosenblatt. For her, that’s the one happy problem of Short Run: there’s so much there, it’s impossible for a hardworking vendor to experience the show. This year, “I’m hoping that before it gets a little hectic I’ll have a chance to go around to look at what’s available,” she says.