SPOTLIGHT | Megan Piercey Monafu
Megan and I met in High School where we bonded over our love for theatre, writing and our little posse of friends. Megan not only has developed her passion for theatre and writing into her professional adult life, she is a living example of what being a woman dedicated to the love of her craft is. She is passionate, and stays true to herself and that has been and still is something that moves me. Make sure to check out CSArt Ottawa and anytime she has work in your area.
How would you describe yourself?
I’m a playwright. I also like to write non-fiction. I’m a theatre director. I also started a small art business called CSArt Ottawa, which I guess makes me an entrepreneur. I’m a creative facilitator who specializes in adapting drama activities to diverse settings and groups.
This is a hard question. There are so many ways I would like to describe myself. I’m a person who, through profession, curiosity, and luck, has ended up in many very interesting rooms with fascinating groups of people. Businesspeople, statespeople, politicians, government workers, artists, activists, academics, people with disabilities, people who work in social services, faith leaders of different religions. Very rich people and very poor people, people with a huge amount of privilege and people who are severly underprivileged. I end up in very interesting conversations, and I switch hats a lot. I like to think of my artistic work as a condensation of these experiences, as a poetry that comes through me from the accumulation of the stories I hear and witness.
But that’s probably not the whole truth. It’s only poetry on the very best rare occasions. I end up writing about myself a lot more than I intend to. In some ways, you are only really writing about yourself.
What role does creativity play in your life?
It’s everything I do that is in any way worthwhile. Loving takes creativity. Getting up in the morning and finding a way to make yourself useful in the world takes a huge amount of creativity.
What are you currently working on?
I am writing a play right now inspired by my experiences working in social housing. It is my MFA thesis, due in 3 weeks(!). I am sure it won’t be truly finished for a while though… the theme is help, and how complicated it is to give and receive help. It takes a long time to think it through… I’m looking forward to taking a break from it because it makes me sad to sit down and write it, every time. Once it’s passed in, I’m going to go back to writing my play about virtual reality and the corporate tech world, because reading and writing about the crazy VR/AR technology and AI stuff going down right now makes me happy.
I’m also working on getting the second season of CSArt Ottawa launched! That’s a completely different creative task, curating and producing other people’s work. I’m enjoying it even more than I thought I would. It’s quite satisfying to find artists I believe in, give them resources for their work, and promote them. There’s very little ego in it for me, just the joy of gathering people and showing work.
And I recently took a day job in pursuit of a ‘parallel career’, a place to use my skills in other worthwhile ways while also taking the financial pressure off of my art work. I think there’s a real stigma around artists having day jobs; that it’s somehow an admission of defeat, or that your work suddenly becomes a hobby rather than a vocation. I think that’s terribly unfair. I have no regrets. I’m working with cool people on a cool project, learning new things, meeting new people. It is having a positive effect on my art work and my life.
What was the last book/movie/podcast etc. that left an impression on you?
I’m over halfway through reading The Idiot by Fyodor Doestoyevski. I had to stop for a while because it was breaking my heart.
It’s amazing that a 46-year-old Russian man from the late-1800s wrote something that a 27-year-old Canadian woman now can feel so connected to. That’s magic. It gives me hope right now when to me the world feels like it’s going to fall apart at any moment. I read the news almost every day, and then I read novels as an antidote to hopelessness.
What advice would you give to other creatively driven people?
Find your people. Collaborators whose work you believe in, and who believe in your work, are incredibly valuable. Honour those relationships.
It doesn’t matter how much money you make from your work, only how much heart you put into it, how hard you work on making it as perfect as possible, how much you try to learn, how honest you are with yourself, and how well this all connects with other people.