We had the good fortune of connecting with Megan Garwood and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Megan, how do you think about risk?
Risk, I think, is an idealized word. We often imagine someone brave, suited with a parachute, taking a deep breath and diving off the back of a plane into the abyss. Drama, tension, the unknown — I most quickly attribute these words to risk, and movies do too. If it does not involve the risk of death, we don’t want to consume it. But I am more interested in the humble, unseen risk, an act that is less easy to delineate and more boring to recount. How do we tell the story of so many writers who work day jobs grabbing people’s coffee or trying our hands at sales, while staying up all night building imaginary worlds with words, only to wake up a few hours later, bleary-eyed and ready to do it all over again? I hope people realize that to create is a risk in itself, one very much worth doing. Anyone out there, willing to share themselves and be rejected countless times, risks their pride, better-paying jobs, and a relaxed lifestyle. But I see you. We, tireless creatives, see you trying to help the world better understand the intricacies of sexuality, gender, mental health, mortality, and other parts of ourselves that make us human. Your work is needed, please don’t give up.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I like to approach fiction by placing the reader in a rich world where I can subvert genre to create female-driven stories that locate truth in the make-believe and male-dominated spaces. My characters appear flawed, but they are far from it. Rather, they are thrust into the surreal and magical to reconcile their traumas.

My stories come from who I am. At 29, I was diagnosed with a learning disability similar to dyslexia. I can’t parse out syllables, so I see words as if they were images, recognizing their contours rather than letters. When I come across words I don’t know, I create elaborate stories to remember their shapes. Essentially, as a neurologist said, I create my own language to get by. I hope to use my own experience and linguistic research to develop a type of storytelling that challenges neurotypical reading patterns and mimics the way people like me read.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
In school, I never did well in traditional history, but in life, I am obsessed with the history of art and the magical. You must walk the Berendo Stairs in Los Feliz. They start near the intersection of Berendo Street and Cromwell Avenue. (Google them because finding the correct set of stairs can be difficult!) You’ll twist around lush landscapes and the storybook architecture of old Hollywood. Many people, good and bad, who made LA what it is walked these same steps. It might be cringe, but I love to spend the day walking by old Hollywood landmarks then get a big sundae for dinner. I’m never not a tourist here. Also, it isn’t a place to visit, but I highly recommend the book City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles by Mike Davis. It is long, but if you are spending time here, it is a must.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My writing group and family, especially my rescue chow chow, Hank!

Website: http://www.megan.wtf/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/terrible_megan/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meganmariegarwood/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrible_megan

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.