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Day 11: Living Well, Dying Well, and the Small People

This Day 11 of my 1000-Day MFA, a DIY education project I’ve undertaken that I learned about from writer Shaunta Grimes. You can read more about how I’m engaging with it here. By the way, there might be no rhyme or reason to how I choose the poems, essays, and short stories. Or they might have a theme. But basically, I just throw my net out to the world, and read whatever I catch.

by Megan Falley

by Katy Butler

Short Story: Homeland by Barbara Kingsolver

Holy Thank You for Not

This poem must be heard, as opposed to read. Well, it's probably every bit as great when you read it--but please treat yourself to this stellar performance of it by its author, Megan Falley. It's hard to quantify the impact this reading had on me. I have been there, in the territory she inhabits with this poem. It's a story I look forward to telling one day, when I write the memoir. One of the many great lines from this Falley poem is,

There are so many ways to die. Most of them you can do while living.

A Good Enough Death

I don't think anyone wants to die in a hospital, hooked up to beeping machines, in a regimented world of white and chrome. I certainly don't. I want to die snuggled in my own bed, with Elena yelling at me from the kitchen, and my children and grandchildren making too much noise all over the place.

This article walks us through one such "good enough" death; examining it through the eyes of the one dying man's sister (and the rest of the family)--the one in charge of all the crushing details involved with this sometimes achingly slow process. It's an eye opener, one I think we all need to face and embrace. Death is certain for all of us. Let's exercise a little more agency over it.

Barbara Kingsolver has wrought a subtle, loving, painful story about home and homelessness. About the things we take with us when we leave our home, and how sometimes that means there's no home to return to later on.


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