Once I Was Cool

“In Once I Was Cool, Megan Stielstra is warm and open and wise. Whether she’s writing about the complex loneliness of early motherhood or failing to rise to the occasion or find the right language while living abroad, Stielstra is a masterful essayist. From the first page to the last, she demonstrates a graceful understanding of the power of storytelling. What she’s truly offering with her words, is the grandest of gifts.” —Roxane Gay, author of An Untamed State and Bad Feminist

Once I Was Cool front panel copy

Once I Was Cool is available at your local bookstore (I love your local bookstore!) and at Powell’sBarnes and Noble, and Amazon

Curbside Splendor put it out. They are awesome.

Here is a review from The Chicago Tribune, and additional press.

You can read excerpts at Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, and Joyland.

Here’s audio from live performances of Channel B at 2nd Story and on Radio National Australia.

Nice people have said nice things:

“What an amazing cri de coeur Once I Was Cool is. Megan Stielstra tells us in a witty, sympathetic, confident voice who she is and what and whom she cares about most. Reading these essays, I laughed out loud and also found myself on the verge of tears so many times. This book should be read by anyone who’s been in love, had a child or thought about having a child. So, probably, that’s everyone.” Christine Sneed, Little Known Facts

“Megan Stielstra’s wonderful writing and her storytelling bravery is truly a gift for everyone who reads her. Once I Was Cool is refreshing, hilarious, touching, and wise.” —Kevin Sampsell, This Is Between Us

“Holy shit. I read Once I Was Cool in two and a half hours. Then I started reading it again.” —Jamie Iredell, I Was A Fat Drunk Catholic School Insomniac

“If there was anything more embarrassing than snort-laughing on the CTA while reading about Stielstra’s run-in with an ex-lover while on ecstasy, it was ugly-crying on the CTA at the end of an essay about trying to console a friend when she knows it’s impossible to help her friend stop hurting.”Chicago Literati

“This is Stielstra’s talent: her ability to create experiences. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen her perform her work live before, but every narrative seemed to pick itself up off the page and turn itself into a performance before my eyes. The numerous asides, amendments, and annotations, force the reader to see and hear her work, not just read it. Ekphrasis (visual description) at its best, there is no contemporary author more vivid in description that Megan Stielstra.”The Chicagoist

“Stielstra’s prose reads like something your friend needs to tell you RIGHT NOW, before she even takes her coat off.” The Los Angeles Review of Books

“America’s next great essayist is Megan Stielstra.”—Joyland