Literary Pixie started as the personal blog of Sammy Ginsberg in 2012. It has grown up with her. Sammy will share the story of her decision to nurture Literary Pixie from blog/ Instagram handle into a press.
I had just survived my second teenage depression, and was waiting to go off to study English in Scotland and begin my new life when I met a bunch of cool, older, weird people at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. Despite being very young, they treated me as an equal. This group of people celebrated uniqueness, actively encouraged each other’s personal expression, and genuinely cared about each other.
I loved every single person I met. I had never had such interesting conversations, never met such creative, passionate, and optimistic people. Again, I had grown up in Calabasas in a bubble of the creative elite and their lawyers, accountants, and doctors, and then attended high school in Moorpark in a bubble of lower middle class suburbia. Somehow these different socio-economic groups created the same type of learning culture for me – toxic. Competitive, judgy, and hierarchical – I felt like a flying squirrel trapped in a cage.
Finally, I graduated. I was free and never going back. At the Fringe, I felt like I had found my people. Inspired, I penned “Ode to Weird People” and performed it at the open mic. How my fingers shook and that feeling of a deer in the headlights as I read, but they whooped and applauded and after I felt seen and liked. One of the best feelings in the world, to feel that people like you.
A young playwright was in the audience for the reading and introduced himself. I had heard about him. His play was the buzz of the festival, and everyone was talking about his potential. “What a great writer,” they said. “He will do big things,” they said. Oh, and now he was talking to me. I blushed.
He was 24; from Oregon; with tattoos, long hair, and a wistful feminine face. He loved literature, theater and writing, and dreamed of being a novelist. For the next two weeks of the festival before I moved to Scotland, we would talk long into the night about books and writing. Driving home, my whole body would tingle with the thought of him- but I didn’t know why. Months later, after I had my first hookup, I would be like -ohhH!! I was sexually attracted to him. But at that time, I was just grateful and confused why someone that amazing and interesting and cool was talking to me.
One night we were talking, he said, “Sammy – you’re a manic pixie dream girl.”
“Uhm. Thanks,” I said, but I didn’t know what he meant. I went home and googled it, and felt very upset. I wrote this poem…
Manic Pixie Dream Girl
a beautiful mystery of a person that exists only in a dreamlike state she is not real because she is not wanted to be real. people say they do not want to know why- she is the way she is, just that she is, never bothering to understand the methodicalness to her weirdness, rather a beautiful mystery than a real, broken person
After that moment, the phrase “manic pixie dream girl” haunted me. I would remember moments with friends where they would say, “Gosh, you’re so weird,” or “You’re so unique,” or “I don’t understand how you’ve become the way you are, and I don’t really want to.” These kinds of comments started from a young age, mostly when I started elementary school in the middle of the year after living in London and people didn’t know what I meant when I said, “Can you please pass my jumper?”
Before I started at the Fringe, I attended Book Expo America for my high school graduation present, wrote my first novel Pretty Words (thanks NaNoWriMo 2011!), and dreamed of working in publishing. I attended book blogger events and received so many free books, sat in talks for librarians, and wandered around the thousands of stalls. I had a dream that this would one day be my world, my industry. During the conference, I decided I wanted to start a book blog, but I needed a name.
The Fringe ended, and I moved to Scotland. On the first sleepless, jetlagged night at my grandparent’s home, my passion for books and that depressing stock character type came together and ‘LiteraryPixie’ was conceived.
My Dad helped me buy the URL and set up a wordpress blog. This was in 2012. It is now 2023.
I have not talked to the playwright since 2012. I’ve liked social media updates about his self-published novel and crowdfunding for movies he wanted to make, but for a while I started to judge him. Instead of being an attractive, passionate, and talented writer, I started to see him as a sad-boy who refused to grow up.
I, and LiteraryPixie, had grown up. We had been a blog, a radio show, and then just an escape. As much as I wanted to be a writer, I had to make a living. I realized that writing stories was fun, but not as important as caring for the vulnerable. I realized that if I wanted health care, security, and money to take care of my basic needs and have a family, I needed to do more than float about reciting poetry.
And so I grew up, started working as a marketing assistant, as a direct support professional, and as a teacher.
But that playwright! He’s now 36, and still working on his film about meeting a manic pixie dream girl, and dreaming of being a famous writer/actor/director.
And then I read Successful Women Think Differently by Valorie Burton. In the book, Burton starts by asking the reader to agree to seven key decisions to begin the transformation. The first one was, “I do not downsize my dreams.”
The playwright had not downsized his dreams. Despite everything, he had kept telling himself yes. If he could do that, why not me? Especially now! I spend 80% of my time taking care of people’s children and teaching the next generation to be literate. I spent the rest volunteering for environmental organizations, and spending quality time with my friends and family. When would I have helped enough to deserve my own dream? How could I tell my students to work towards their dreams when I had not done the same?
And so I’ve decided to take my dream seriously, to take all dreams seriously. To not downsize them, to not tell myself no. I will let the world do that for me.
My current dream is to create resources that support plants, animals, and people in living the highest quality of life possible.
I hope to empower every person to create their own answer to what a quality life means to them.
I hope to support them in living that while respecting the boundaries of others and our ecosystem, and I hope that others will support me.
I hope we will work together to create a system that makes this possible. This is my dream, this is my vision, this is my work.
You’ve just listed a bunch of abstract and idealistic phrases, but what are you actually going to do?
We are going to publish zines that provide helpful information and support tools about important wellness issues that also share art, poetry, and creative prose. We will organize launch parties that bring artists, academics, and activists into the same room.
Currently, we have two annual zines with a bunch for funsies! We are open to publishing more and would love to collaborate.
The Feminist Toilet focuses on hygiene and public health issues revolving around bathrooms and the toilet.
Blow Gift focuses on healthy intimate relationships, gender power dynamics, and dating safety.
Develop Curriculum and Facilitate Workshops, Courses, and Events
We are going to organize a variety of spaces that connect people with each other and with resources and work to build a loving community. We plan to organize workshops for our zines, as well as courses on how to value your own thoughts; how to go plant-based and zero-waste; and how to be an adult in the 21st century. We also will create curriculum and lesson plans for teachers to use in their classrooms.
Nurture a Community Center, Intentional Living Community, and Sustainable City
This is my big, big dream! And I almost didn’t put it here, but then I’d be downsizing my dream and I promised not to do that. We will play an active role in making Los Angeles a sustainable city that is able to meet the needs of all its residents (plants, animals, and people) and learn from its mistakes.
We will start by hosting events, and hopefully through our events we will nurture a community. Our community will need a center, so we will set up one. From the community center, we will find like-minded dreamers who want to set up an intentional living community, and through our community we will be able to advocate for improved policies and urban design transformations that are love-centric, community-oriented, and truly meet the needs of its inhabitants.
Together, we can do this. And if you think I’m naive, I’m not. I’m idealistic.
As Angel Eduardo shared on the Center for Inquiry website, “Idealism isn’t naïveté—it’s ambition. It’s a refusal to concede the future to the present. It’s knowing how you want the world to be, orienting your behavior in that direction, and trying to inspire others to do the same. It’s also an acknowledgment that our fates are intertwined. Whether we ultimately agree or not, whether we try to communicate or not, whether we choose to be compassionate or not, we have to accept that we’re all on the same boat. We will sink or sail together, and we ignore this fact at our own peril.”
We’re in this together!
But what is a literary pixie? A word I made-up at 18, but will now take seriously.
Below is my journey to define this word:
Step 1: Google Literary:
Literary = (according to Cambridge Dictionary ) connected with literature
then WTF is literature?
Step 2: Google Literature:
Literature = writing that has lasting value as art
Then What the fuck is art?
Step 3: Google Art:
Okay, that makes sense.
Now onto Pixie.
Step 4: Google Pixie:
Pixie = a small imaginary person
Nah, dont like it.
Step 5: Google Pixie again:
Or Merriam Webster –
a cheerful mischievous sprite
Step 6: Google Sprite.
sprite = small imaginary person with wings connected to water
Step 7: Google Mischievous
I have it!!!
(noun) an imaginary persona created to express particular ideas and feelings that are taboo, controversial, or challenging with the intention to stimulate questions, reflection, discussion, and inevitably positive, lasting change within their unique community.