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Megan Stielstra 

When: Fri., May 2 2014
You may be forgiven for believing that if you've had a relatively ordinary, happy life—if you grew up in a middle-class suburb with parents who were kind to you and did not have any chemical dependencies, if you and your family have always been relatively healthy, if you have never lived through a war, if your personal identity has never been so out of synch with everyone around you that you've had to face violent retribution—that you have no business writing a personal essay. Megan Stielstra's new essay collection, Once I Was Cool, cheerfully disproves this notion. "Blood and guts and piss and shit?" she writes. "Sure, but joy and courage and hope and understanding, too." Stielstra grew up outside Detroit with two loving and supportive parents. She made a few stupid but not life-threatening decisions during her young adulthood. But now, in her late 30s, she is married to a wonderful man named Christopher; they live in Chicago and have a charming and precocious son named Caleb, and, though she's sometimes stretched for time and money, she loves her career as a writer and teacher of writing at Columbia College. (She's also part of the 2nd Story storytelling collective.) This is the raw material that makes up these essays. Continue reading >>

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