Facing the Fall

A view from atop Dún Aonghasa

Another steep climb over slick gray rocks, but at least
that day the sun was shining. Short on breath, once again
but I paid no mind as I drank it all deep.

Another cliff side looking down to a fall into crashing blue
waves, but this time I faced the height. With cautious steps
and shaking hands, I lowered myself into a sitting
position and swung my feet over the edge.

Boots still muddy from the day before shone dusty against
sapphire waters, far, far below. I leaned low, facing the fall
with a lurch in my stomach and my heart. Oh, I fell.

Morning Whiskey at Red Fox Inn

I wrote this piece when I traveled to Ireland for the first time last year. Been missing it like crazy. I need to go back! It’s been a busy year, and a busy month, but I wanted to make at least one contribution to National Poetry Month.

morning whiskey poetry

One part whiskey, two parts hot brew poured slowly
into that fancy ass glass, and topped off with a frothy
cream. Liquor at 9 a.m. is when I knew I’d embraced
the Emerald Isle.

The first sip was bracing, like cold fire spreading
from my throat down my chest into my belly
and suddenly 41 degrees Fahrenheit wasn’t freezing
for this Florida Girl.

The second gulp went down smooth, and the third
I knocked back like a pro. Before the final chug, my
new friends and I raised the last of the rich, brown
concoction, clinking glass. To our newfound Irish health.

Sláinte!

Quick Update

Attention followers! Maybe you’ve already noticed, maybe you haven’t. Or maybe the update hasn’t completed yet so there’s no way you could notice. Anyway! I took the plunge and officially have my own domain now! From here on out, my blog will no longer show up as meagankimberly.wordpress.com, but instead as just meagankimberly.com. I’m still using WordPress to create content, so you can still follow me here. It’s just showing up as its own domain now. As soon as the update finishes (according to WP, up to 72 hours) I’ll fix any links in my portfolio that led to the WP-specific blog.

Happy reading & writing!

From Joanna Pickering through BHP

What an absolutely talented writer. The language is just so beautiful, which just adds to the devastation of the story. Seriously, do not miss out on this one!

Marrakesh, Old Town Everyone seemed to have rotten, black, and missing front teeth. They were friendly and kept smiling and that’s how I saw they mostly had rotten, black and missing front teeth. I couldn’t see a lot of the women’s teeth, only their eyes, and often not even. There were many women dressed from […]

via Nothing Dries Sooner Than A Tear* by Joanna Pickering — BURNING HOUSE PRESS

Wanderlust: Washington, D.C., Summer

My first time in Washington, D.C. was in the summer. I can’t quite remember what year it was. Possibly 2012, just before I graduated from UCF. Regardless, my best friend joined me on another adventure to go to an audition, and my cousin graciously hosted us for 48 hours. I was up and awake for 23 of those.

Upon arriving at the airport, the first thing Cat and I did was get lost and come out of the wrong exit, sending my cousin’s husband on the hunt to find us for pickup. Once we were finally found though, I enjoyed the scenic drive to their apartment. I immediately noticed the separate bike paths that followed the same path as the roads for the cars, and thought, “That’s so smart! Why can’t Florida do that?”

Of course, being in such a historic city, we couldn’t just sit back and relax that first night. My cousin took us to Arlington Cemetery, where we went on a sweaty, 2-hour walk the night before I had to be up early for my audition. No regrets though, because seeing those graves of so many fallen soldiers and the results of war was a sobering experience. I still can’t imagine what it’s like to have such convictions, that you’d be willing to die for something you believe in. That’s not necessarily everyone’s mindset who goes to war, but there’s enough belief in some to make that kind of choice. I saw so many gravestones demarking the ground where kids my own age now lay buried beneath, while I walked the path to see where their beliefs brought them.

The next day started for me at 3 in the morning, as my cousin and best friend escorted me to the venue for my audition. Cat, being truly the most ride or die friend that any girl could ask for, went on the hunt for an open breakfast spot and found me a delicious chocolate almond croissant before leaving me to wait all day for 5 minutes of time with an audition judge.

Once I left the venue, I called up Cat to find out where she was so I could meet her. As always, it’s not a trip without getting lost at least once. I hopped on the right metro rail, but going in the wrong direction. Thankfully, I realized my mistake only one stop into the ride, so I immediatley hopped off, walked to the other side of the platform and got on the right train going in the right direction.

I met up with Cat just in time to go to the Library of Congress, because of course the history buff and writing nerd would want to see a bunch of old books. I got to see the Gutenberg Bible display that made my writer heart swell three sizes. We also saw some art pieces depicting the arrival of the British to the Americas in a much different light than a series I’d seen in Ecuador. It’s amazing how perspective can change the same story into two totally different tales.

The real drama started as we left the Library of Congress. Just as Cat and I were leaving by the gift shop exit, I noticed a police officer walking in talking into his walkie and heard something about a code block. We were barely through the door when others ahead of us started running, being urged by another police officer just outside the exit, who kept motioning for us to hurry up. I’m not a fast runner to begin with, but add the heeled boots I was wearing the full backpack on my back, and it was all just very stressful trying to oblige the police officer and run out of harm’s way. Getting down the slope to the curb and far enough away from the commotion seemed to take an eternity, but finally, we found a place called We the Pizza and stopped to stress eat some lunch. That was where I discovered Red’s Apple Ale and found my lifelong drink of choice. Also, the barbecue chicken pizza with shoestring onions was dope.

After that, we met up with my cousin at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, where we saw terrifying prehistoric creatures. Seriously, how did human beings ever come to be when those monstrosities once existed? Once we’d had our fill of existential dread and scary (thankfully now-dead animals), we took a ride on the metro where a group of girls really wanted to let everyone know where they were going. We headed to Ben’s Chili Bowl for dinner, as when Cat and I kept looking up food to have in D.C., this place showed up on every list. We took it to go though, as I was so tired that by the time Daniel came around with the car to pick us up, I was falling asleep standing up and wobbling like a Mortal Kombat character who was about to get K.O’d. I barely remember getting back to my cousin’s apartment and eating my chili. I just know that right before I hit the guest bed and knocked out, my phone’s clock read 2:00, and my first thought was, “Dear God, I’ve been awake a whole day.”

The next day, my cousin and her husband took us to brunch in Alexandria at a place called Bilbo Baggins, which of course was Hobbit-themed. I had the richest french toast ever in my life, and no other french toast has ever compared since. Made from two thick slices of raisin bread and stuffed with a decadent cream cheese, that french toast was absolute heaven. I can’t wait to go back someday and have it again.

Lopsided Moon by Johnlmalone

From the Drabble’s feed. A beautiful poem that I wanted to share with everyone.

By Johnlmalone The bus shelter at the end of our street grinds its teeth at night. Sometimes I sit with it, hold its hand, listen to its tale of drunks and suicides, of lycanthropes baying at the full moon, of lost Lotharios weeping in their fists I talk to it too about my problems Of […]

via Lopsided Moon —

Diving into Diverse Reading

Lately, I’ve made a much more conscious effort at reading diversely. We chose The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu for my cousins’ book club. I read Krik? Krak! by Edwidge Danticat for the 2018 Madlibs reading challenge. And for my book club at work with my coworkers, we’re reading Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor. I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read in the past, but it is so easy to fall into patterns, especially when those works get widely passed around by the mainstream. It’s easy to miss out on some truly excellent work from writers of different backgrounds simply because they are not given the same platform.

A few years ago when I started listening to the Book Riot podcast, it made me aware that I’d fallen into the pattern of reading the same authors and types of work. Not that those stories aren’t worth telling, but rather that other stories are worth telling also. So, I started curating a list of diverse reading on my Goodreads to read list. But I still didn’t get around to reading so many of those books until just a few months ago. Why? Well, I still have a whole library of books I own at home that I haven’t read and need to get through. Having those books I own still sitting on my shelf made it easy to keep with my reading patterns. I knew I still wasn’t reading diversely, but I had no one to hold me accountable.

With the use of reading challenges and book clubs though, the excuses stopped. Having people to discuss the books with made it easier to choose diverse stories. More than that, having a planned out list for reading challenges made me more conscious of what I was choosing to read, and I’m grateful for that. The reason I’m writing about this is because truly diving in diverse reading has made me aware that I really don’t know much about other cultures.

 

Image from Goodreads

Ken Liu’s work is the first I’ve read by a Chinese writer. Edwidge Danticat’s book is the first perspective I’ve read about Haitian immigrants and the political struggles that country has gone through. Nnedi Okorafor’s novel is the first time I’m delving into African culture. With just these three books, I’ve been introduced to new worlds that gave me an appreciation for what I still have yet to learn. I don’t want to be the kind of person who never thinks of other cultures and ways of living and buries her head in the sand. I want to learn about other people. I want to understand others’ stories and hear their voices. We can learn so much about each other through our stories, so I think all readers should make an effort to start diversifying their bookshelves. It’s not enough to make lists without taking action.

How do you all diversify you’re reading? What books have you read recently that tell a story different from your own life?