About

“Writing well in a variety of voices, she’s a creative force for positive change.”

Kristen Caven is devoted to writing well: in the sense of excellence of expression—and also for wellness, for healing, to make sense of and straighten out a broken world full of broken minds.

Notoriously Prolific and facile, Kristen writes booksblogs, short storiesarticles, essays, cartoons and comics, plays, marketing copy, slogans, newsletters, manifestos, bad jokes, bylaws, musicals, specializing in names and neologisms. Give her an idea and she’ll find the right words for it. Give her some words…and she’ll find better ones.

Everything is writing.

The books. The shows. The choreography. The plans. Even every picture tells a story!

Kristen is the daughter of a writer, the mother of a writer, and married to a writer. Writing is a central part of her intense and sometimes astonishing life. When she doesn’t write, she isn’t well. (When she doesn’t write well—well, that’s a deep subject.)

Kristen’s short stories, articles, essays, cartoons, and comics have been published in Oakland Unseen, Oakland Tribune, The Monthly, Rudolf’s Diner, Doorknobs and Body PaintSynchronized Chaos, Full of Crow, The Sophisticate, and The Good Men Project.  Awards include: Ardella Mills Essay Prize, Bay Guardian Cartoon Contest—collection categoryWriter’s Network screenplay & fiction competition (quarterfinalist), and the Aluminous Flash Mob Play Festival.

Kristen is also passionate about nurturing good writing in others—mentoring, editing, designing, publishing, producing and promoting.

Associations & Instigations: BookPeople, Uplift Press, Little Pig Productions, California Writers Club Berkeley Branch (currently president), Mills College Writers Café, Bay Area Generations, and the Writing Well. 

Whereas other writers and artists choose to hone a single medium, genre, style, or sentiment, Kristen’s outpouring is defined by variety as well as quality. She has a “Generous Muse” and considers herself a “Liberal Artist” in every sense: Liberal as in free-thinking, liberal as in bountiful, and liberal as in having to do with books. A degree in myth & philosophy with further study in art and psychology give her endless insight into the human story.

A juggler. A cowgirl. An ironic beauty queen. A supermom. A hip-hop imposter.

Kristen best focuses her energy through personae, whether invented or lived. In fact, she is sometimes mistaken for her literary narrators, all of whom have something to say. Ashley St. Helens, Cosima Zanardi, Dr. Jayne Hart,  and Nettie Pendragon are all strong, intellectual feminine voices. Even her comedic personae—Garbage Miranda, Una Pulmonis, Dr. and Mrs. Id, and Renaissance Woman—are characters with a purpose. Other roles she plays are Director, Manager, Advisor, President, and Ringmaster.

Kristen also hears voices that are not in her head! A great observer and listener, she is sought after as a facilitator, director, and collaborator who can hear, understand, and synthesize the voices of a team, group or an artistic idea. She is a strong dramaturge and editor, able to define a vision to provide sustainable momentum. In groups and collaborations, she can help to articulate unspoken ideas, desires, needs and purposes with a sometimes uncanny accuracy.


image: after her Lake Merritt play, Be Mused


Associations & Instigations: The Sex Cymbals, Senior Ladies’ Lawn Society, Teen Tragedy, Cowgirl Creative, Invocation, Momedy Hour, Generous Muse, The DecoBelles, KRS-10 Dance Events

Kristen Caven’s imagination is driven by possibility and playfulness. “What if” and “why not” are two of her two favorite words. Kristen once told her father, “I want to grow up to be a thaumaturgist.” She believes in the power of ordinary humans to create miracles.

A producer of art events and other creative happenings, Kristen is a natural teacher, instigator, angel, and ham who also designs and publishes books, starts movements, builds fires, nurtures friendships. Her mission within her mission is:

“To inspire, enlighten, illuminate, and amuse.”

Kristen has been honored as a creative force in The Monthly and The Montclarion, was nominated for an Oakland Indie Award, and won the Jack London Award for her creative work shaping organizations. Her first published book was a cartoon history of a revolution, and she has defined and given names to many nascent movements and ideas that have flourished and sustained over time.

She hosts The Flourishing Artist programs and Creative Convivia, offering classes, seminars, retreats and community for creative minds.

Associations & Instigations: The Mills Strike Documentary, The Flourishing Artist, Heart of the Muse Salons, The DecoBelles, LitCake Contest, Kristen Caven’s Creative Convivia.

Change is inevitable. When it is growthful, it is good. Kristen brings activation energy and a philosophy of possibility to every challenge, assignment, production and project. Trained in positive psychology, she teaches the science of happiness, and as a change agent she puts it into practice.

Kristen spent decades helping parents and kids create better experiences together, and crafting systems and ideas for better flow. Kristen applies her talents towards creating desirable futures through harmony of vision, positive emotion, good system design and well-paced action.

“Kristen can find a solution to any problem. She always leaves things in better shape than she found them.”

Kristen’s clients value her professionalism as much as her fans appreciate her humor and intelligence. A sought-after leader and creative consultant, Kristen divides her time between service and self-amusement. With old-school, immigrant grit and a can-do attitude, she gracefully and expertly wields her imagination to invite and teach more curious, creative, compassionate ways of being.


image: Zorgos Day celebration.


Associations & Instigations: Child-Friendly Initiative, Peter Pan Nursery School, Friends of Sequoia School, Sequoia Dads’ Club, Bret Harte PTSA & Parent Center, Oakland Tech PTSA, Oakland Parents Together, The Bellevue Club, #OTGreen, Write350, Idle Free Oakland, 350 Bay Area, UNA-HRA

Executive Director: The Zorgos Project, distributing 3000 free copies of The Bullying Antidote (the first bullying book to connect bullying with ACEs) to Oakland parents.

Kristen Caven is a multifaceted creative type known mainly for her writing. Her work has been published in numerous national and international magazines, blogs and anthologies as well as multiple small and local publications. As a speaker and teacher, Kristen is known to fill a room with warmth and energy.

“A Literary Firecracker” —Jan Steckel, poet

Past President of the California Writers Club, Kristen is the author of five books and co-author of three. She owns and operates both Little Pig Productions and Uplift Press and directed The Zorgos Project in Oakland, California, where she lives and works. As Generous Muse, she produces creative events, and she teaches vitality and psychology classes through The Flourishing Artist at Uplift Programs.

“An inspiring social leader with an expansive imagination.” 

A performer, educator, and community leader, Kristen writes blogsbooks, essays, plays, poems and articles about parenting, positive psychology, health, humor, women, environmental issues, philosophy and creativity, plus unforgettable stories and songs about delightful and relatable characters.

“Honestly humorous…humorously honest.” —Laura Nicodemus, mom & dancer

Kristen’s family is full of uniquely creative individuals who write, teach, and uplift humanity. Her mother, Dr. Louise Hart, is an international public speaker who helped establish the science of positive parenting. Her brothers are teachers, inventors and innovators, she is married to a schoolteacher and cartoonist who is also a megablogger, and her son is also an outpouring of wit and humor.

“Kristen continues to astonish us with her creative output and innovative ideas.” 

Watch out when you ask Kristen what she does. She may stumble and grasp for words, but this is because there are so many ways to answer the question. She may be crafting a clever sentence, or preparing to present you with her latest inspiration or obsession, or simply searching for the phrase that will get to a deeper point.  Once you grasp her playful love of language, her passion for truth and good ideas, and the abundance of her character—and characters, you might find yourself calling her a Renaissance Woman!

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Read Kristen’s assorted BIOS here.

See a list of Kristen’s published BOOKS here.

Check out Kristen’s BLOG.

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