My city, the phoenix.

Atlanta has always loomed large in my family’s personal accounting of its history.

We aren’t Georgians, as far as I know, at least not on any branches of the family tree close enough to crane your neck and see. I didn’t know the word Atlanta when I was three because this green, rolling state, with its peanuts and its peaches, had anything to do with us or our shared, Carolinian past.

I knew because, a century and a half before I moved into a leafy apartment on its outskirts, General William Tecumseh Sherman was here.

I grew up in the Deep South, where Sherman’s name was not said — it was spit. The split of the country still runs deep and fever-hot in the blood of its Southern inhabitants, as does the smoldering of Atlanta.

The Battle of Atlanta began 150 years ago this week, and the city fell the following September. Sherman began his March to the Sea after that, trailing fire down to Milledgeville, which was then the state capital, and Savannah.

I am no historian, and cannot trace the significance of Sherman’s presence here. I see it only in the most rudimentary, basic ways; I know, for example, it’s part of the reason for the youth and spareness of the buildings lining Atlanta’s streets.

I do know, though, that I am grateful for the reflection of the sunset in the Westin, for the crumbling headstones and graceful Southern dead in Oakland Cemetery. For the crack of a baseball bat and the soft lining of trees and, especially, for the rumblings of diversity rising against the odds in scattered, vibrant neighborhoods.

I am grateful for my borrowed city, which rose from the ashes.

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When it’s actually a brain tumor.

It’s never really a brain tumor.

That’s a paranoid fantasy you have when, in reality, you have chronic migraines. Or you need new glasses. Maybe you are stressed.

I thought all of those things over the last three months, as my headaches gradually ramped up in intensity. First it was this is annoying, better take a Tylenol, then hey, I’m just going to close my office door and turn the light off, okay? Then I stopped being able to get out of bed, and learned I couldn’t work from home if I couldn’t stand to look at a screen. The headaches were joined by a steadily increasing nausea — we’re talking throw-up-all-over-yourself-in-Atlanta-rush-hour nausea. When it reached the point that I couldn’t keep down a sip of water and a Zofran, I decided it was time for the ER. Continue reading

This is water. This is water.

“Of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about in the great outside world of wanting and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing. Continue reading

That was wonderful, and I don’t want it anymore.

Screenshot_5I went to my college town a few weeks ago for my best friend’s graduation. I spent the time eating my weight in local food; breathing in the smell that’s shared, for whatever reason, by every downtown store; and letting fresh, green mountains blend into me and lighten me.

It was a perfect weekend, but I haven’t spent the following weeks longing to go back — physically or in terms of timeline. That time of my life was a bright one, one of the very best I’ve had so far. And it’s in the past, and that’s where I want it to be. Continue reading

Five years on Twitter.

Five years ago (and some change — I missed this post by a week or two), I signed up for a Twitter account with only a vague idea of what I was supposed to do with it. At first, I was @meghanfrick. I lost it a few months later when I stupidly changed my handle to a nickname.

At the time, I didn’t have a smartphone, so all my updates were sent via desktop or SMS on my brick of a phone. I tweeted about my classes. Skipping classes. Meetings of clubs. That summer, I got sick and tweeted pictures of the view from my hospital bed — the artist Blue Sky’s Tunnel Vision. Continue reading

10 things you miss about App State

15 things you REALLY learn at App State is, by far, my best-read blog post ever. It’s gotten about 10,400 views, which is nothing for “real” bloggers but a ton for me. Most of those views came after I graduated, so I thought I’d follow up with a few of the thousands of things I’ve missed about Appalachian since I left.

I miss the smell of the Stadium lot on game day, even when I wasn’t going to the game.

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…and I miss the smell of King Street when these were cooking. Continue reading

grateful things, april.

Grateful for my train ride to & from work. I don’t mind having a long commute when it means I get to start and end every day with a book. I’m going through one or two a week, which I’ve never done with a full-time job before.

Grateful that my best friends and I fight. Things don’t go unsaid or unnoticed or shoved down below the surface. They get resolved. Continue reading

Good things I’ve read recently(ish)

Something lovely & a little strange:  “When I was a boy, I hated beets. I hope I can protect my son from beets until he’s old enough to hold in the tears. They’re not worth it. When the battery in my watch died, I still wore it. There was something about the watch that said: ‘It doesn’t matter what time it is. Think in months. Years. Someone loves you. Where are you going? There are some things you will never do. It doesn’t matter. There is no rush. Be the best prisoner you can be.”

The New York Times, Learning to Measure Time in Love and Loss Continue reading

Happy to be here.

A million times in the last two weeks, I’ve stopped in the middle of ordinary moments and thought it again: I’m so glad I moved to Atlanta.

It happened as I was dragging a smoothie through a straw in cold, rainy Midtown, a few blocks from the staid, stately house where Margaret Mitchell wrote Gone with the Wind. As I flipped pages over the din of rushing trains, hurtling from my Peachtree Corners apartment to my downtown office. As I sat in relentless traffic and then, at the office the next day, felt some warped camaraderie with everyone else who’d sifted through the sea of bumper cars the night before. As I tried on restaurants and grocery stores and libraries for size, walked past impossibly gleaming skyscrapers in Buckhead, took accidental exits into neighborhoods I probably shouldn’t have been in at night, and soaked up the feeling of having more city to explore than I could ever exhaust.  Continue reading

101 in 1001!

Start: March 23, 2014

End: December 16, 2016

exploring: 

Go to 10 restaurants I’ve never been to before (7/10: JR’s Loghouse, Corner Bakery Cafe, Flying Biscuit, Buckhead Pizza, River House, Last Resort Grill, Tin Lizzie’s)

And 10 Atlanta-area coffee shops, Starbucks doesn’t count (0/10)

And 5 Atlanta-area bookstores (1/5: Read it Again)

Take a day trip to Athens

Take trips to visit 5 people (2/5): Boone for Hannah’s graduation, Columbia for Morgan’s graduation

Do five tourist-y activities in Atlanta (1/5): Braves game

Have a picnic in the park Continue reading

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