Return from Yorkfest

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of reading at the Yorkfest Arts Festival in York, PA. This event was a first because I had never done a reading outside of school. But I did my MFA with Christine Lincoln, who is the poet laureate for York (and an absolutely amazing writer), so my name came up.

As the date got closer, I got more nervous. I haven't been writing all that much, and I don't normally read my work to strangers. I had a couple poems that I loved from grad school, including one which I've been tinkering with a bit recently. I had a poem I'd written a few months ago about a road trip I took last summer. And I had a rough draft of a poem about Ferguson. This last one made me particularly nervous because I'm not normally a political poet, and it's difficult to write about Ferguson without being political (including in the case of this poem). But I went and I read.

It turned out to be just what I needed. It was raining, so there weren't very many people there, and even fewer came to stop by the Poetry Spoken Here tent. But that suited me because I was a bit more comfortable with a smaller crowd anyway, and most


I see police as "safety." That view is a privilege.

It’s not unusual for me to go to the grocery store late at night. Yesterday was no exception: I was on my way home from visiting a friend and ended up fitting in my shopping at 10 p.m.

When I was walking, laden with reusable bags, back to my car across the dark and mostly empty parking lot, I saw an idling cop car a few yards away. The officer was likely just keeping an eye on things, exerting authority simply by being there.

When I am in foreign countries, especially outside of the West, seeing police usually makes me feel a bit nervous. I tell myself things like, “You’re a foreigner, they’re probably not going to do anything to you.” I’ve heard enough stories about police in other places that I keep my distance. I know that this reaction is based on stereotype and not necessarily truth, but it’s


Party animals?

After spending time with a group of people, do you feel energized and ready for anything or do you want to hide in the corner with a good book?

I am such an introvert! I’ve realized this more as I’ve gotten older. I love spending time with my friends and I like being social. But I can only take so much. After a busy night out or a busy weekend, I definitely need some time alone to decompress. This is especially true after spending time with strangers, but it can also be true after spending time with people I know well or even after spending time with family. The one exception is my husband.

I think this is because, like all introverts, when I’m around people, I feel like I need to be “on” all the time. I’m thinking about what I’m saying, how I’m acting, how it’s affecting the room. I often try to make jokes when I’m with a group of people because


365 days of writing prompts: the beginning

Wow, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to follow Kourtney with her fabulous guest post! I'm in the middle of her book, The Six Train to Wisconsin, and it's really interesting so far. I definitely want to know how it ends!

I have a few pans in the fire right now, but nothing to really focus on. I've felt so in-between in my writing life: in between stages, genres, projects. But I've been in a rut, and we're fixing that now with 365 days of writing prompts. One per day of the year (the prompts technically start in January, but why not start now?). Writing 250 words minimum. Totally do-able. And you get to come along. Let's get writing!

July 20: If you had the opportunity to live a nomadic life, traveling from place to place, would you do it? Do you need a home base? What makes a place "home" to you?

I actually have friends, a married couple, living the nomadic lifestyle for about six months. They started by spending a month


Guest post: Kourtney Heintz on chasing discoverability

Big thank you to Megan for inviting me to be a guest blogger here. It was lovely hanging out with you at the Hunter College Writers' Conference!

The decision to bring a book to market wasn’t one I took lightly. I did my research on self publishing and talked to authors who’d done it and done it well. I spent months weighing the pros and cons. I hired freelancers for editing, formatting, and cover design because creating a stellar book is the first step. Then I created a marketing plan and hired a publicist because a book has to get noticed. Without a big publisher’s distribution network and marketing push, discoverability can be the hardest part of self-publishing. For my book to stand out in the overcrowded marketplace, I had to chase discoverability.

There are a couple hundred thousand books published each year. How many do we hear about? Dozens? Hundreds at most. So how do you help readers find your book? Word of mouth is the biggest driver of sales, but how do you get people talking about