Recent Work By Megan Stielstra

The OMG We’ve Got To Write About This Look.


When I found out my story collection was being published, the first person I called was Jeff. He’d been there from the beginning: the writing and rewriting; submissions and rejections; and, most importantly, all of the living that inspired the stories in the first damn place.

They were always together, talking about how alone they were. They’d be in the lounge area of the Lenox Hotel, sitting on plushy couches, waiting for the waitress to bring them drinks.

“I’m scared it’s always going to be this way,” she’d say, her voice melancholy.

“I know,” he’d say. He’d look around to see if anyone was listening, and then lean in close and whisper, “And I’m almost thirty.”

Later, we’ll study this day in history class. Books will have been written, documentaries made, references in political speeches and scientific research. It’ll be like April 4 or September 11; our first steps on the moon, the Challenger Explosion, Hurricane Katrina; everyone remembers exactly what they were doing the moment it happened.

I teach creative writing, and while thinking about this self-interview, I recently asked my students what they’re looking for when they visit literary websites. They said, overwhelmingly, that they want information about the writer’s process. Where did the stories come from and how do the writers live and write at the same time? There are eighteen stories in my collection Everyone Remain Calm, all really different, and I thought it would be interesting to share one aspect of the process in writing each story.