Matriculated in 1982 in Santa Fe.
At SJC Miss Baumetc., Mrs. Caven ponders the artistic impulse.
I was in Santa Fe for a brief, blazing time that ignited a lifetime of discovery and literary adventure. A summer in art school after Sophomore year swept me to California where I woke to feminism and tried to reconcile my paradigms in a 30-page philosophical comic book that had no place in the publishing world, though my cartoons won awards and hung in galleries and museums. I worked in the small press world for many years in various aspects, from receptionist at Bookpeople (the distributor that showed Amazon how to pack books, much to its demise) to editor to designer to marketer to founder of several imprints.
At the local high school, parents raved that the reading group I started for them (how come Paideia students have all the fun?) was the best they'd ever joined—based, of course, on the SJC opening question technique.
I've written a book on bullying and edited books on parenting psychology and ALS, and my plays include rewritten fairytales, troubles with muses, and the philosophies of fashion. I guess you can say all of my work has a certain "John-ne sais quoi" to it. In fact, in my first memoir (I've written three), I call myself a Liberal Artist — liberal relating to books, free-thinking, and generosity. I call my outpouring and arts nonprofit Generous Muse.
List of Publications
- Perfectly Revolting: My Glamorous Cartooning Career (2010)
- The Reason She Left & Other Stories (2011)
- The Souls of Her Feet (2019)
- The Bullying Antidote (2014)
- More Time to Love (2016)
- Ted's Tender Trophy (2017)
Perfectly Revolting: My Glamorous Cartooning Career (Book)
Year of publication: 2010
Publisher: Little Pig Productions (orig)
Description: A cartoon-filled memoir about creativity and academia, women's brains, boys and lack thereof, and the joys and heartaches of cartooning. Features Inside the Mills Revolution, the award-winning cartoon history of the 1990 student strike at Mills College, which was the only successful reversal of a women's college's decision to go co-ed until 2015.
The Reason She Left & Other Stories (Book)
Year of publication: 2011
Publisher: Little Pig Productions (originally)
Genre: memoir/graphic essays
Description: Comic books and philosophy don’t usually mix, but during her “drawn out” college career, wannabe philosopher Kristen Baumgardner Caven often used cartooning to medicate “the pain in her brain.” In her new collection of full-page works, she has danced around the edge of the autobiographical comic genre, and may have just opened up new territories in sequential art. Seven short graphic stories exploring themes like the scientific process, eastern/western world views, humanism, existential crises, lit-crit, post-modernism, dualism, feminism, alcoholism, pop culture, dreams, and cosmic consciousness unfold in a journey of discovery around the centerpiece, a 30-page graphic novel called The Reason She Left. This quirky but powerful narrative of ideas follows a college student on a quest to find her own beliefs and identity as a woman with a brain and a heart that desperately want to unite. Each graphic story is introduced by a short personal essays in which the author shares her adventures with the craft, her life, and building a personal philosophy by understanding the ideas of others. The Reason She Left and Other Stories is the follow-up to Caven’s memoir, Perfectly Revolting: My Glamorous Cartooning Career. NOTE TO JOHNNIES! There are some scenes in this book that LOOK like SJC but the pedagogy, as you can tell, is NOT SJC. A regrettable mashup!
The Souls of Her Feet (Book)
Year of publication: 2019
Publisher: Uplift Press
Genre: young adult
Description: In this colorful and quirky crossover novel, Kristen Caven reimagines Cinderella as a middle-American teenager with body image issues as well as the usual step-problem. This sweetly twisted version of the beloved fairytale bubbles with fresh character interpretations, emotionally resonant plot points and laugh-out-loud allusions to the story everyone knows. The Souls of Her Feet will inspire family conversations about responsibility, being passive or assertive, morality, waste, life choices, cross-dressing, and most importantly, cleaning house. Caven’s postmodern, self-aware emotional fantasy gives the fairy godmother a meaningful relationship with Ashley’s lost parents. (And what teenage girl doesn’t wish an uncle figure with aesthetic sensibilities would magically appear to save her from a world of tacky clutter and materialism?) When she finally gets to the prom, wearing just the right shoes, the transformed finally Ashley feels seen for who she is inside. A campy adventure of soul-love and assisted self-rescue from a childhood gone all wrong. This new (4th) edition contains bonus materials such as essays by the main characters and songs from the musical.
The Bullying Antidote (Book)
Year of publication: 2014
Genre: parenting (co-authored with Dr. Louise Hart
Description: With bullying at epidemic proportions, parents have to work to protect children from violence, depression, substance abuse, and suicide. More than anyone else, parents and other caring adults have that power, and can promote the well-being of children. In this critical, life-saving book, Hart and Caven give parents the skills they need to help their children—whether 6, 16, or 26—cope with bullying. They explore the ways they can be the antidote to pain inflicted by bullies, and immunize their kids against emotional harm. The Bullying Antidote focuses on prevention as well as healing for the entire family. It is the first parenting book to explore bullying and other abusive behaviors in the context of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Packed with insight and helpful information on how bullying relates to all societal ills, this book is a resource for building deep connection, protection, and empowerment. The authors provide a course of action for: - creating a family culture where bullying behavior is not accepted, - boosting inner strength in children—self-respect, self-confidence, self-esteem and resilience, - teaching assertiveness skills so that kids do not bully others, or attract bullies. Written in an accessible and guilt-free style, The Bullying Antidote synthesizes the research, practices, and wisdom that brings out the best in parents and children alike. It also helps parents improve their knowledge, emotional well-being, and confidence.
More Time to Love (Contribution)
Year of publication: 2016
Publisher: Uplift Press
Genre: memoir by Joseph L. Wions; foreword by Kristen Caven, editor & publisher
Description: When given a diagnosis of ALS, most victims struggle to make peace with a 2-3 year death sentence. Joe Wions, an energetic businessman who loved his work, his family, and his community, instead made the decision to live. Joe takes his readers on a journey from nightmares to miracles. Abandoned by Western medicine, he sets out on a quest for alternatives and discovers some surprisingly effective therapies. Determined to find a cure, Joe endures harrowing moments of decline, but eventually stumbles upon the keys that unlock healing in both his body and his mind. Insights and stories from his companions round out this detailed (and often humorous) personal account of Joe’s heroic struggle—between helplessness and power, the physical and the philosophical, personal choice and the punishing reality of ALS. Joe was treated by an MD who developed a treatment device based on James Clerk Maxwell’s electromagnetic waves that now works for damaged ALS neurons. This and other modalities are listed in the glossary of Joe's conventional & alternative medicine treatments.
Ted's Tender Trophy (Short story)
Year of publication: 2017
Publisher: Full of Crow
Description: A westernish hunting thriller with a twisted twist. Published in the online literary magazine, Full of Crow.