Amanda has over twenty years of professional writing and editing experience for a wide array of publishers, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, communications firms, and individual clients. A retired nightlife performer, she has appeared in theaters, nightclubs, and festivals in Cleveland, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York. In Chicago, she co-produced the Girlie-Q Variety Hour, a monthly queer burlesque and comedy show at the historic Hothouse.
Amanda’s fiction and nonfiction have been published in a number of journals and outlets. Her lit zine, PLUG, was sold at Quimby’s and Chicago Comics and featured in the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition From A to Zine in 2004. She received an MFA from The New School. She has taught creative writing at Pace University, Middlebury College, North Central College, Cleveland State University, and at Think Olio. She is program coordinator for the Northeast Ohio MFA Writing Program and is co-creator/host of the reading series One Full Wit.
I grew up on W. 48th St, a block from the Cleveland Zoo. I remember occasionally hearing monkeys and birds from my bedroom, but this may not be a reliable memory.
I am just returning to Cleveland after 20 years away, so I am discovering the city anew! I do spend a lot of time walking in the Rocky River Reservation with my dog, Hugo.
I met the iconic Mary Gaitskill while standing four feet above her in pasties and a g-string.
I should explain: When I was in my graduate MFA program, my thesis adviser asked me to perform as my go-go dancing alter ego at a book party (because: boundaries? what are boundaries?) Mary Gaitskill showed up to said book party with a friend, and said friend convinced her that she should tip me (because: ethics). I squatted down and offered my g-stringed hip (as you do) but Mary demurred, handing the cash to her friend instead. I think I said something like "I can't tell you how important your work is to me I write short stories too you see and you were a stripper once right?" Or something like that. She fixed her steely blue eyes on me, smiled, said "well, you look great," and walked away.
I have a fairly complicated system of book stacks around the house; the book stack on my nightstand is usually whatever book I might be reviewing or maybe teaching, a novel I don't mind taking forever to get through, and the newest short story/flash/essay collection I've picked up. At the moment (May '22) those are, respectively, The Fact of Memory: 114 Ruminations and Fabrications by Aaron Angello, Future Feeling by Joss Lake, and NYRB's Saki collection.
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