Welcome to the fourth episode of “Writers Answer Weird Questions,” a sometimes-monthly podcast at the Chicago Review of Books where I meet up with a writer at an independent bookstore in Chicago to talk about his or her book — and ask a bunch of weird questions.
This month, I met up with Chicago-based writer and live-lit performer Megan Stielstra — author of the new essay collection, The Wrong Way to Save Your Life — at Women and Children First Bookstore in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. We talked about fear, laughter, teaching, dissecting deer hearts, and why Star Wars: The Force Awakens made her cry. Tune in below, and scroll down for some quotes!
On Binge-Watching True Blood During a Writers’ Retreat
I watched an entire season, back-to-back. I probably got up to pee and get wine and coffee. There was this guilt of, “Oh my God, I wasted this day.” That’s something I’m trying to be more gentle with myself on — time. I remember being 20 and thinking “Well if I’m not published by the time I’m 25…” Fuck that noise. I turn 42 next week.
On Why She Cried During Star Wars: The Force Awakens[When I was a kid], I kept asking my mom if she would take me to see the movies where Leia gets trained in the force. Because Luke and Leia have the force, and we get three movies about Luke’s training. And my mother had to sit down and explain that they didn’t make those movies. And of course I felt this profound injustice. So when that lightsaber flew into Rey’s hand [in The Force Awakens], I just started sobbing. I’d been waiting for that moment since I was seven years old.
On What Scared Her in 2017
I’m terrified about healthcare, specifically women’s healthcare, for my family and everyone’s family. In Chicago, I’m afraid of violence against people of color. But I’m much more interested in action than in sitting and stewing.
On What Made Her Laugh in 2017
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. My copy is shredded. I really love the work of Melissa DuPrey, who makes me laugh my ass off. Another comedian from Chicago, Cameron Esposito. Broad City. I Love Dick.
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Adam Morgan is the founding editor of the Chicago Review of Books and the Southern Review of Books. His essays and criticism have appeared in The Paris Review, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, and elsewhere.