I am not going to be bias because of the gorgeous Irish accent that Megan has, I promis, because her work is raw and so full of emotion I was very much in shock, awe and almost tears.
“I don’t feel entirely at home in the world of pure literature. It has not always felt pliable enough for my purposes and my limitations. It feels at times smoother and more professional than I am capable of being. And so I sometimes say I am “a writer and artist” to try to mitigate that confusion. I wish I knew a better word, a single one. If you think of one, or dream one up, do let me know.)
Anyway – life is the raw material of the artist. That’s not to say I believe as B.S. Johnson and others did that one must have experienced an event to write about ittruthfully. I mean only that what we observe of and feel about life- our own lives particularly and also life as a phenomenon, life as a catastrophe- influences what kind of work we will make. For this reason, and for the reason that comparing yourself with more successful writers is the easiest way to make yourself ill, I feel fine about telling you that how I write is basically how I live: messily, extremely, intemperately- often irresponsibly.”
(From Megan Nolan, ‘On Not Writing’, 2016).
Megan Nolan was born in 1990 in Waterford, Ireland and is currently based in London. Her writing includes essays, fiction and reviews which have been published widely including in E.R.O.S. Journal and The Guardian. Readings and performances commissioned across the U.K. and Ireland have included the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Goldsmiths Lit Live, Kunstraum Gallery, Cubitt Gallery, Wysing Arts Centre and the South London Gallery. Internationally, her work has also appeared at Hyper Local Festival in Buenos Aires and the Sandberg Institute’s “Wandering School” in Milan.
She is currently working on her first book of creative non-fiction concerned with the subjection of female identity in romantic relationships and body dysphoria. From http://www.davidhigham.co.uk/authors-dh/megan-nolan/
Megan Nolan/Articles for the Guardian
An essay about a relationship with an older man.
View story at Medium.com
An essay about looking at my boyfriend’s ex girlfriend’s Instagram.
A story about two actors having an affair.
A story about drinking too much
An essay about wanting to be clever but also wanting to be beautiful.
Megan Nolan is a writer and started at the age of 16. This was her poetry writing phase which lasted only a few years before moving onto university and dropping out. Next stop was journalism, and this is what Megan has stuck with since. She kept writing like this and did more and more readings to the public in shows. This has often inspired her recent works, which will be explained a little more later. She has been writing for the goal of twelve years now.
Over here last year or so, Megan has worked in Lomdon, performing inthe Chelsea degree show and also in Cubit over the last month. At the moment, Megan mentioned that she is writing a nonfiction novel, which is very different to any of her previous works.
In the very first reading of her work in this talk, all you heard about was men. This has been a very prominent feature in her life and she mentions how it is all about, because of and to do with men. ‘I hurt myself to hurt them’.
She also often talks about abortion and very personal situations that she has been through. This, I found, made the work very raw and personal, especially as it is written in the first person. ‘I didn’t want to be the abortion woman. I wanted to be a writer.’
Admittedly, I thought that Megan looked too young to be talking about subjects such as these, however she did give off a very professional and responsible air about her.
Megan also made us question what her writing, what her artwork really is. Is it confessional art? She is not necessarily confessing anything. She also exclaimed that women can make confessional art but for men, it is labelled as a journal or other forms of artwork. This almost says that women are more desperate and attention seeking. This leads on to the fact that she mentioned that we need to make a distinction between the truth and our imagination because we areflawed and the truth cannot exist independently of the human mind.
The text that Megan read out tours was in the first person, which makes the narrative very shocking. Her story was written in the Daily Mail (Rape claim at trinity college), along with her name and address. It was about the rape. The people that questioned her thereafter often got confused between the rape and how she likes it rough in bed.
‘The more inconsistency, the better’
The last reading that we had of Megan’s work was the same piece she read at Cubeit, earlier this year. This piece was written with the help of online communities that wrote in with their strange medical occurrences. This not only made the piece personal to her, but also to the others that wrote to her. Megan wrote about how she wanted to give her body to him, presumably her boyfriend of the time, in any way possible – she did not care and he did not care about her (he wouldn’t look at her or really care about her during sex).
The medical explanations at the beginning of each part where very interesting and sometimes very gruesome. From this, it goes into the first person text. The medical johrnal part has the potential to be criticised but it is done with the full permission throughout. Megan also mentioned that she often changes the events of them so that they may not necessarily be recognised by the person who wrote in with it.
Megan mentioned that the way in which she writes is often in little bits, but spends a lot of time on these. At the moment, writing the book, she is finding it very exhausting as she has never written anything on this scale. However, after performances, she said that she feels as though she doesn’t have to worry about the act of writing any more and it becomes less daunting.
It comes as a flow toMegan. She would start writing and wouldn’t be able to stop. She mentioned that she is particularly bad for procrastination and often does things the day before a performance. All in one go.
To be read to oneself and to be read aloud is very different for Megan’s work. This is due to the emotional reactions that people have. Because she is a small woman, when people read it her work versus whe she reads it, some may skip over the emotional details of the work, and it therefore doesn’t produce the reaction that Megan wants from her work.