“I’m 23, recently graduated from college in Western NY with my degree in Sociology. I just moved back to Central New York after five years of school, and I couldn’t be more satisfied with that. I’m so excited for winter and the snow and blizzards and warm drinks and lots and lots of warm clothes. I spend most of my free time either writing, painting, or knitting. I’ve been knitting for almost ten years now, and I think that it’s the one hobby I’ve picked up that will stick with me forever. There’s nothing I love more than being able to present my friends or family with a warm knitted hat, a sweater, or a pair of mittens. Not only that, but there’s no feeling better than being warm in the middle of winter and knowing that you were the one who provided that warmth for yourself.
“When I’m in the middle of writing and I can’t quite get the ideas down, I’ll take a break and juggle for a little while. It’s absolutely calming and centering, even if when you’re just picking it up, it makes you crazy.”
Crazy is a very fitting word – especially if you’re discussing Meagan’s (aka entropist) inkpop project The Cycle. Why? Each of its 43,000+ words has left readers quite a bit crazy over her characters. Some love them; others hate them; and one even has the urge to punch the male protagonist, Matt, in the face. With reactions such as that, it’s impossible not to see why The Cycle is steadily clawing its way to the top.
★ You state in your profile that you “live in a world of perpetual cloud coverage and woe.” What exactly do you mean by that? Do you believe that feeling such a way has any impact on your writing?
Meagan: Well, I really just meant that where I live is perpetually cloudy. Really, you might see the sun for three months out of the year, if that. It has actually had an impact on my writing—you’ll never find me writing about summer or spring, and certainly not about the stereotypically cloudless, blue sky forever days. I’m all about seeing that blanket of grey and watching individuals brighten things up.
★ You have a degree in sociology. Do you feel that having such an educational background assists you in creating believable, relatable characters and plotlines?
Meagan: My father always told me that if I wanted to be a writer, I needed to have a background to build from. With Sociology, you have the ability to get in deep to some of the grittier facets of human interaction, and I love it. I really think that studying so much about people has definitely helped me create way more realistic and relatable characters. There are as many unique stories as there are people in the world, and sociology helps uncover some of the threads between them all. Not just that, but it helps teach a lot about how society as a whole works for and against us.
★ What is it about human relationships that fascinates you so much?
Meagan: There are always so many different facets to them. You can take two couples with very similar circumstances, but their personalities create all kinds of different scenarios. It’s fascinating to see how people interact with one another, how one person can bring out an entirely different side of someone than anyone else has.
★ The Cycle deals with first love, as well as physical and mental abuse. Did you find that it was challenging to write about such a difficult, upsetting topic? Why did you choose this particular topic to write about?
Meagan: It was definitely challenging to write about physical and mental abuse in a way that would still manage to engage anyone. It’s easy to get wrapped into an intense scene where two people are going at it, but it’s hard to keep the reader engaged after they realize “Hey wait, that’s her boyfriend. Run, Bonnie!” A lot of people still don’t understand how people get trapped in abusive relationships because they could never imagine it happening to them.
I have first-hand experience, but that’s not why I wrote this. Statistics show that one in four women has experienced some form of domestic violence in her lifetime. Three out of four women simply know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence. That’s just counting women and reported cases. No matter what, the numbers are too high. I feel like it’s something that everyone needs to know about.
★ Is there any particular message you are trying to get across to those who read The Cycle?
Meagan: More than anything, I want people to understand that situations like this don’t only happen to a specific kind of person. There’s no one set kind of person who gets wrapped up in an abusive relationship, and there’s no one set kind of person who escapes it. Both things can happen to any person. It sounds depressing and cynical, but it’s the truth.
Extremely important is the idea that anyone can escape it. I know it’s easy to say when you’re on the outside looking in, but every man and woman has the power to overcome whatever holds them back. It takes strength and it takes support, but it’s possible. There is hope for each and every person out there.
★ Who is your favorite character(s) in any of your work and why?
Meagan: Even though I feel strongly for Bonnie in The Cycle, I absolutely love Viola from Believe Me. She was the easiest character that I’ve ever come up with. I had the idea for a story about two people, and suddenly this ostentatious, weird girl popped into mind. I couldn’t get rid of her. I had to battle with myself to finish writing The Cycle before I got down with who I quickly named Viola Reid.
She’s my favorite because she’s all over the place. She’s weird and ostentatious and somehow a little ball of sunshine, even when she’s driving people crazy. Like Bonnie, she’s very dedicated to some things, but she takes it to a completely different level. You’d have to read to find out.
★ What do you think makes good writing?
Meagan: At the base of being a good writer, I think being a good storyteller is the key. There are some people who are born with a gift for telling stories, and there are some people who drag their feet the entire time. I believe the best writers are the ones who tell the most convincing stories. You can throw down words like an artist, but it won’t feel like there is anything behind them.
★ If you weren’t writing, what would you be doing?
Meagan: I’d probably be pursuing my dream of owning a coffee shop / bakery that specializes in gourmet cupcakes. I absolutely love baking cupcakes, and I love coffee, and I love coffee shop atmospheres. It would be a dream to own my own store, have my staff in adorable little aprons and serve only the finest cupcakes on the block. I’d even name it Jitters, like the coffee shop in The Cycle. I have sketches of my dream shop and everything saved for if my Sociology degree doesn’t work out for me.
★ Pop, Pop, Pop! Rapid Fire Questions:
★ Chocolate chip cookies or cupcakes? Cupcakes. Always, forever, undoubtedly cupcakes. I’m not that big on chocolate anyhow.
★ What’s on your iPod? Wolf Parade, Bob Dylan, The National, Handsome Furs, and Sunset Rubdown.
★ Batman or Superman? Batman!
★ Favorite book? Stick Figure by Lori Gottlieb
★ Dream destination/vacation: I’d love to take a few weeks and just soak up Seattle again.
Over to you…who do you think should be the next inkpopper of the Week?
Erika (aka inkpoperika)