Meg’s journey with writing began at age 10 when she submitted a handwritten poem by mail to a writing competition and won. Meg most enjoys writing fiction, but finds joy in any opportunity to put pen to paper. Meg has Bachelor Degrees in English and History and a Masters Degree in English Literature. She has spent time professionally with a Shakespeare theater and taught college-level English Composition before transitioning into her current work in the nonprofit space. Today, Meg is the CEO of a nationally recognized nonprofit that serves people experiencing homelessness, where she has been honored as a top 40 under 40 Person in San Francisco and has received recognitions from the Mayor of San Francisco and Governor of California. She enjoys hiking, puzzling, baking, and traveling. While her favorite place in the world is London, her second favorite place is in her reading chair next to her dog, Tonks.
Read Meg's essay here and then return to learn more about the author.
----------Interview by Renee Roberson
WOW: Meg, congratulations on placing in this contest, and welcome! We're excited to learn more about you. How did you first get the idea for the structure of “Studious,” including the mention of the color-coded binders?
Meg: I approach most things in life the same way, with a well-planned outline! Even in my writing, I like to plan the story out first. So, as I was thinking about this very personal story, it only made sense to approach it the same way and even to highlight my very organized nature in the story with the image of the binders. I can laugh at the fact that I made an outline for a story about the fact that I enjoy making outlines!
WOW: What made you decide to make the transition of writing college-level writing to CEO of a nonprofit?
Meg: When I finished graduate school with a Masters in English Lit, my first professional role was at the Shakespeare Project of Chicago. I took the position because of the focus on Shakespeare and because I enjoy writing historical fiction around his time period. What I found in doing that role was how much I loved working with an organization that had a direct impact on the community. I began to use my writing background to support nonprofits with their grants, specifically supporting organizations that served people experiencing homelessness. Over time, my work in the nonprofit space became more predominant than my time spent writing. Though like many aspiring writers that have full time jobs elsewhere, in the back of my mind there is always a story hoping to be told one day.
WOW: Who are some of your favorite authors to read?
Meg: I have spent a lot of my life with Shakespeare. I am on the Board of the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, worked for the Chicago Shakespeare Project, and he was a big focus of my studies. I also turn to Toni Morrison a lot for style inspiration, she has a seamless way of making prose sound like poetry. But if you were to try to understand my favorite authors based upon my bookshelves, you would find such an array of stories and voices that it would be impossible to know!
WOW: You mention your favorite place in the world is London. What is it about the city that brings you so much joy?
Meg: I have always felt that I was meant to be born in England, and it was a mistake for me to be born anywhere else. When you walk around London, you can feel literary history hidden everywhere. An unassuming pub turns out to have been frequented by George Orwell and friends or the place that inspired Anthony Burgess to write Clockwork Orange. Even today, it is a culture that thrives on telling stories. Theatre is not only revered there, but accessible to the general public. You might stumble upon an afternoon play in the park, only to realize you are watching the most brilliant version of “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” you have ever seen. Even as I write this, I find myself distracted looking for available flights to return...
WOW: Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting to venture into creative non-fiction writing?
Meg: Nonfiction can feel like you are telling a story that doesn’t yet have a conclusion. My advice would be that you don’t have to wait for what you consider to be the ending of your story to start writing it, because if you’re always waiting for the ending, you may never get the chance.