And so I, and a handful of others, became one of the first students at StoryStudio Chicago, Jill’s new writing center.
My students were getting published. I watched them launch dozens of memoirs and countless stand-alone pieces. And, on top of it all, they created writing accountability cohorts and became life-long friends. There is no more rewarding outcome for a writing teacher than this. And StoryStudio had created the space to foster it all.
There is a tacit understanding that if we don’t use our voices, the only power we really have as writers, then we might watch others tell our stories for us and paint a very different picture.
This group is still together, still meeting every Wednesday. Some of us have turned eighteen this year. Some of us are getting college acceptance letters now and talking about graduation. But when we first met, all we talked about was what high school was going to be like. How did we grow up so fast?
Standing in the studio as the kids convened in their summer outfits and backpacks filled with notebooks, pens, and snacks, I discovered the joy of teaching creative writing, of giving these kids a space to be their brilliant, zany selves…
I went into that first class with something to prove. I knew I was meant to live my life in stories. I’d gotten my undergraduate degree in theatre and had been acting for a few years, so my life already revolved around storytelling. But now, I wanted to live out the writing dream I’d abandoned all those years ago. I just needed to figure out how.
In the darkest time, Megan encouraged me to believe, and she made my book feel achievable. I will always be grateful to Megan, and StoryStudio for that time, that lifesaving class, and for the beautiful writing community they foster.
To say I owe my writing career to StoryStudio is not an exaggeration. Yes, I love my hyperboles, but in this case the gushing is warranted. This is the place that believes in you before you even start believing in yourself.
While writing itself is a deeply solitary endeavor, I came to realize that the support of other writers during the writing process was invaluable and, indeed, exactly what I had been missing since finishing my MFA.
The first time I went to StoryStudio was for a write-in. I loved that the space felt like an apartment—the creak of the wood floors, the ambient bubbling of a kettle, deep couches, warm lights. Though it attracts talented, accomplished writers, there’s nothing intimidating about the space, and that sense of warmth and community is embodied by Rebecca.