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Currently showing posts tagged Megan Stielstra

  • A Be Cool pause. And a goodbye to all that. For now.

    It was one year ago that Be Cool was supposed to be released. There were some glitches, and it didn't come out until February, but I've still been hustling for a year, and that seems like enough.

    For now.

    While we never know what might become of our books down the road, hence the pause, nothing more may happen at all, because that can happen too, and so if that's the case, than this is goodbye to all that.

    Still, to say goodbye and not take a moment to recognize all of the goodness and good people I connected with, and who supported Be Cool, along the way would be most unfortunate indeed.

    There was a kick ass kick-off reading with the Rob Hollywood and Zoe Zolbrod at the Book Cellar; followed by a kick-off road trip with Be Cool's publisher Dockstreet Press and Dane Bahr last August, which took us to Phinney Books in Seattle, and time shared with the inestimable Sean Beaudoin and Josh Mohr, great writers both; reading in Portland as part the Get Nervous reading series with the quite awesome Cari Luna and John Barrios; and then on to Boise for the truly cool Campfire Stories hosted by the truly cool Christian Winn at the truly cool Modern Hotel.

    Along the way I also got to read at Kill Your Darlings; Volumes Bookcafe for a second, and now official launch with the Jason Fisk and Eric Spitznagel, easy on the eyes both; Boswell Book Company and Quimby's, with Lee L. Krecklow, Robert Vaughan, Caitlin Scarano, Tasha Fouts, and Seth Berg, great readers and great friends, new and old, all.

    Even if the book itself didn't quite be what I wanted it to be, and who knows what that truly is, there were terrific interviews with The Rumpus, Five Questions, Steph Post, and Rick Kogan; wonderful reviews at Spectrum Culture, Atticus Review, and The Coil, among others; and the endlessly cool opportunity to appear on a panel at Printers Row Lit Fest talking memoir with Jason Diamond and Michael Phillips.

    Ultimately, I want to thank everyone who did anything to support Be Cool, especially my blurbers Sean and Robert, see above, as well as the Wendy C. Ortiz and Megan Stielstra, who now and forever, will serve as great inspirations and literary guides of mine.

    I would also like to recognize some of the many journals who ran pieces from be Cool in different forms at some point, including, but not limited to The Rumpus, Nailed, TNBBC, Thought Catalog, decomP, The Weeklings, Manifest-Station, Collected Poop Stories (for real), Midnight Mind, RAGAD, Entropy, In Case We Die, Revolution John, CCLaP, and Rated Rookie.

    Thanks as well to those who read Be Cool and posted comments and ratings on Goodreads and Amazon, you know who you are and I love you for that, and those I never met, but took the time to read the book.

    I will always welcome more reviews and more ratings, sorry for that, but it all helps, though I am otherwise going to work on letting Be Cool go, which is always hard, and move onto the next thing.

    I'm sure I missed some of you who supported me and I apologize for that, but know you are appreciated and loved as well.

    A lot.

    Anyway, thank you all, and goodbye to all that.

  • Megan Stielstra is SERIOUSLY BADASS WOMEN.

    She really is seriously badass. And if you want to check-out just how badass the Stielstra is you may read the whole SERIOUSLY BADASS WOMEN interview here. In the interim, however, excerpt? Word.

    Who is your favorite character? 

    I could answer this in a ton of different ways [1] and all of them be true, but for now let’s go with this: I just read an excellent essay by Roxane Gay about unlikeable woman in literature and I’m thinking about Cathy Ames from East of Eden, who’s introduced with the line, “I believe there are monsters born in the world to human parents.” And Anna Karennina, who trades everything—everything—for passion and is vilified for it, vilified by herself, even! And Cersei Lannister, who gives, like, zero fucks. These women are constantly knocked down and they constantly get up. Everyone wants to cage them and they are not having it. No matter how tormented, they still push back. They make their own decisions, their own rules. Would you want to be friends with them? Maybe no; maybe yes, but honestly, who gives a shit? Lidia Yuknavitch’s Dora. Dorothy Allison’s Bone. Claire Underwood from House of Cards. Sethe, who killed her own children. All of them fight, in their own unique ways. Give me the women who fight. The ones with claws, who live and love and make their own goddamn choices, for better or worse.

  • Quite self-absorbedly geeked to let you know about The TNB Self-Interview I did for Be Cool.

    So please do check it out here. Or even here. Cool? Cool. And excerpt? Most definitely.

    Welcome.

    Thank you. I’m thrilled to be here, and I appreciate the chance to talk with you about my new essay collection Be Cool—a memoir (sort of) from Dock Street press.

     

    Well, great, congratulations, truly, should we get right into the questions?

    Yes, of course, soft ball questions, right, I hope.

     

    Yeah, sure, anyway, so, navel-gazing…?

    What?

     

    You know, the activity of thinking too much or too deeply about yourself, your experiences, your feelings, etc. That’s from Merriam-Webster.

    Is that a question?

     

    No, not exactly, that was more of a reaction to your question, which was in response to my initial query. But if you don’t mind, I’m going to ask the questions here.

    You know, I had a therapist say that to me once.

     

    Yeah, how did that turn out?

    Not so good. But to your non-question, question, am I concerned about there being too much navel-gazing in Be Cool, no, I don’t think so, that never even crossed my mind. Really, it seems like writing personal essays would almost automatically engender that.

     

    Does that mean, that from your perspective, writing an essay collection, memoir (sort of) does not involve thinking too much or too deeply about oneself?

    Oh no, it does, but writing, ideally, is still something else entirely to me. You are attempting to craft a narrative that taps into universal themes, which just might offer the reader insight into themselves, if not actual entertainment and escape. And these are good things, and certainly the reasons why I read what I read.

     

    So, do you consider yourself an entertainer?

    At times, yes. Am I consciously engaged in the act of amusing or entertaining, also Merriam-Webster, absolutely. I want the reader to be engaged, and moved, and in my head. Does that also mean there is pain and confusion? Yes, of course there is.

  • Be Cool is quite amazing blurb from the quite amazing Megan Stielstra.

    "Oh my gosh, I love this book. Tanzer drops you into a scene like you’re standing right next to him, same sidewalk under your shoes, same heartbeat in your chest. His essays are both hilarious (losing his virginity at the same time he sees a UFO) and a punch to the gut (working cases in the foster care system). You think you’re entering a fairly straight-forward narrative—the 80’s, the 90’s, 2000’s to now—but the genius of Be Cool shows us that memory is far more complicated. These essays talk to one another: a childhood crush becomes an adult meditation on failure; the adult meditation on fear slides back to the child, the teenager, the 20-something. This is Tanzer at the top of the game."  -- Megan Stielstra, author of Once I Was Cool

    And more to come. Not to mention more information at Dock Street Press for those who want it.