Maybe this should have been my introductory post, but it occurred to me only recently that my "about me" page is a good overall snapshot, but so much has happened to me in just a few short years that maybe warrants a more detailed introduction in a longer form.
As I gear up for the release of my next book Dealing with Stress: Insights and Tips for Teenagers in July, I thought I would introduce myself again to new followers and friends—especially because my life has changed so much in just a few short years. So… here we go!
I’ve written two YA non-fiction books on mental health for Rowman & Littlefield’s Empowering You series. My biggest writing passion is YA fiction (fantasy, magical realism) and children’s picture books. I look forward to announcing publication of those one day!
One of my foundational personal values is finding as much beauty and magic in the everyday world as possible. To honor that spirit, I try to find at least one thing that is beautiful enough or interesting enough to photograph every day. I share some of my daily photos on Instagram at @cmcognevich.
I’m from a little town in the wetlands just outside New Orleans. I spend most of my time criss-crossing the greater New Orleans area dreaming of magic (it’s a good place to dream).
If I’m not at home with my cats or spending time with my brilliant, talented, creative partner, I can usually be found writing in at libraries, cafes, and coffee shops around the greater New Orleans area. (Lately, my favorite neighborhood is Algiers Point.)
Traveling is one of my great delights in life. Every time I've been lucky enough to travel abroad, it's been a truly formative experience in my life. My most recent travels this past November were to stay with a dear friend in a beautiful, ancient Italian village about 45 minutes north of Rome. It was an incredibly healing experience after a difficult set of years. I spent most of my time there with my notebook and my camera, thinking about life and love and storytelling. Reflecting on life and loss. Making peace. Embracing myself. Reconnecting with my inner spark. I can't wait to go back one day.
My next big travel adventure is coming this summer—I will be attending the Oxford/Bath Spa summer residency in the UK with the Vermont College of Fine Arts WCYA writing program. I still can’t believe I will have the honor of being in residence at Christ Church College, Oxford University. Fun detail: I will be in England when my second book is published. What a way to celebrate!
I’m working on the restoration of my self and my joy. One result of that is that I’m currently at a crossroads career-wise. I’m a former educator who taught English and creative writing at the university and high school level for eleven years. I stepped away from the classroom last year for many reasons, but the most important thing I’ve been doing is resting and recharging my creative spirit as I write full-time. What am I planning to do next? Well, some things are developing on that front, and maybe soon I’ll have something to tell you… but not yet!
I love being a lifelong learner, but to be honest... I might have taken that a little too far. (Then again, I don't do things halfheartedly, pretty much ever.) I have a bachelor’s and master’s in English literature from the University of New Orleans and a PhD in English literature from Louisiana State University.
I’m excited to say that this month, I submit my final creative thesis for an MFA in writing for children and young adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts! (Which, by the way, means that in the last twelve years, I’ve written three theses—two critical, one creative—and a dissertation. Whoa.)
However, not all of my passions are explored in formal academic settings! And I don’t think they should have to be—being self-taught is beautiful. I’m self-taught in many of my interests, especially the visual arts: graphic design, digital painting, and photography, among others. (See? I’m not all books, all school, all the time. Ha!)
My favorite word is “saudade,” my favorite pens are purple Frixion erasable pens, and my favorite author is Diana Wynne Jones. I have two beloved cats named after dead poets, nine tattoos, twenty-seven purple Frixion pens, thirty-one books by Diana Wynne Jones, and exactly zero pairs of jeans.
So...Hello there! It's nice to meet you.