You Can Call Me The Girl Who Ate the World

It was my creative writing class this semester that gave me the final push to return to my abandoned child of a blog. It reminded me that it’s not about what exactly I write but that fact that I am writing at all. The following personal narrative, and my final for the class, brings me nothing but pride and hunger for both food and adventure

Of all the posts to return to CC with, I think this is a curveball for all of us but enjoy!

The Girl Who Ate the World

By Casey Irwin

I plan on eating the world. Our planet we love and live for, I plan on devouring—and I don’t just mean I’m going to eat at the “Top Ten Restaurants in Rome”.

I am going to eat Rome.

Devour Moscow.

Consume Toronto.

Throw in some Hong Kong and even Vienna for dessert. I am going to eat the world until nothing remains.

I left Chicago because there was nothing left of it. I was eating away at it as I grew up, really learning the best mindsets when setting out to explore my city, person, or plate before me. My family nurtured me with putting experiences over everything, which showed me the best approaches to satisfying my hunger. I started off slow, not completely taking it in until the picky eater in me faded away and a big appetite took its place.  Even as I visit, returning only after it has had a chance to rebuild itself in my absence, I eat all that I missed and more of the surrounding areas. Eat one city and it is as if two grows back in its place. There is always something new to try while too much of the same also remains.

Next I will be on to Spain. I go. I try the Paella. The Jamón. The Tapas. But I don’t stop there. I consume the smiles that join me for every meal. I am given energy by the flowing conversation around the table. I snack on the satisfaction of a meal out, with a buzz from a coffee and a life-high hangover. Every element of Spain fuels me for my next trip, repaying the meals that my host family feed me with the filling feelings of appreciation and love. I leave without a regret; not a corner unturned.

Maybe India is next. India might be a bit harder to swallow, but I will take on any challenge if it means a full stomach. To some people it isn’t as pleasant as other places, but throwing enough spices on anything will make it tasty. I will be bloated by the rivers, and I’ll need to run off those festivals and traditions later. Social media will capture it all before there is nothing left to capture. Consuming India is a more intimidating idea, more than just the different table manners that come with a different place. It can take a lot of energy to step into a place without letting expectations and other people’s judgments take over, but what you get out of it is so much more. I won’t let the over crowded streets clog my arteries when there is something so satisfying about sharing a meal or traditional chai tea with someone that expects nothing from you except a smile.

Again I will be forced to question myself as I make my way to Egypt. History is like the bran muffin of subjects to some people, while to me the thousands of years of being marinated in conflict and culture have left Egypt ready to be cooked and consumed like a fine steak. My tongue may grow tired from trying to speak the native language, only to have my appetite grow with the humorous conversation around my mispronunciations. The tourist filled pyramids won’t stick with me, like how carbs never manage to keep me full for long. It’ll be the authentic restaurants and people that will carry me from one adventure to the next.

It’s then that I am ready for Melbourne, Australia. One of my high school best friends was from here, but I would like to think she would be encouraging and even helpful as I nibble away at it. The artistic support that has been created by the beautiful city, whether it be through the discussion around cafés or street art, will make it go down so smoothly. The intriguing thoughts brought up enrich my body more than any vitamin could.

Can’t leave out South America. I’ll make my way through Argentina, Bolivia, Chile,

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela by way of the Andes Mountains. The rough terrain has nothing on my chompers, making my way through small villages and vast cities. You would think that I would get tired of it after so many countries, but people tend to forget just how different the Latin American countries are. Only once I take a sip of satisfaction where the Atlantic and Pacific oceans meet will I move on.

To Baklava in Athens.

Korean Barbeque in Seoul.

Matriarchy in Mosuo, China.

The Cliffs of Moher in Ireland.

Equality in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Only the penguins of Antarctica are safe. One sided conversations leave a bad aftertaste.

I will travel them all, picking my teeth clean of them one by one, until I have licked my plate clean and eaten it too.

~          ~         ~

 I would eat the world if I could; for I think it would taste pretty damn good.

That is the thing though. Food isn’t just food. We don’t just consume and grow from what we put in our mouths. Food is the conversation around the table. Food is the energy of whoever you care to share a meal with and the culture that surrounds its roots. Meals are remembered by the place they are eaten and who they are with. Food is an experience that can be done alone, but is so much better with people by your side to complete the experience.

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My Words

I’m used to writing with a certain style in mind. At least for things that other people are actually going to see. I’m not sure yet how to blend that into my writing here or if my more casual style is working. I guess I’ll learn as I go!

My first writing memory comes from when I was about seven or eight years old. It was a magical story about a girl whose best friend was a goat because her mom had died. This adventure came after my phase of screaming at the top of my lungs whenever I was upset… At least I was voicing my feelings better and quieter. I had other short stories, but none of them stuck like that one.

Fast forward through about eight years that were probably 60% writer’s block to when I had two poems published in my high school’s literary magazine. That was a big day for me. I had spent my semester-long creative writing class working to what would hopefully be my full potential. It was a great experience, minus the teacher, that was full of interesting exercises and lasting skills. My favorite of the two poems is darker, but I am proud of it.

Changes (A Sestina):
Color filled her cheeks
As the sky turned to gray
And the wind messed up her hair,
But not her mind.
She was content,
With love in her heart.
With time came aches in her heart
Only blush would color her cheeks.
While love kept her content,
It could not save her from gray
Offices and other’s state-of-mind.
She often sat twirling her hair.
With the falling of the leaves came the falling of her hair
Which meant there was no healing in her heart,
So she had little security in her mind.
No amount of blush or blood gave her color in her cheeks
And her vibrant blue eyes were stained gray.
She longed to feel content.
The holidays gave her false contentment
While she wore someone else’s hair,
But then the white snow turned gray
And her heart
Felt as cold and lifeless as the appearance of her cheeks.
The New Year did not leave her with a fresh state of mind.
She told herself that even with positivity in mind
The test results would never keep her content.
She had hollows in her cheeks
And not a strand of her own hair.
For Valentines Day all she wanted was a candy heart,
But all that welcomed her was a room of gray.
Within months, her world had turned to nothing but gray.
She lost the willingness to stay strong in her mind
As pain grew in her heart.
Soon she would be content.
As they lay her to rest without hair,
She hoped someone would attempt to add color to her cheeks.
She would not be remembered for her gray hair or cheeks, but for how loving and content she was in her heart before her condition distracted every part of her mind.

Unofficially:
When a women chooses to change her given name when she marries
Another name and history can be lost.
Other times,
it is no longer her name
But it is something she identifies with.
My name is Nanticoke,
Gone from Delaware
As a Native American tribe
Without a trace or much information.
My name is Adams,
Like the second President of the United States
That is confirmed to be rooted among my family tree.
My name is Eib,
The surname known by Amelia Earhart herself
Who drank lemonade on her porch
With her best childhood friend,
My great grandmother Dorothea.
My name is Trower,
Like a restaurant that used to stand in Philadelphia
Run by John Nelson Trower,
The wealthiest African American in the country at the time of his death,
And my great great-grandfather.
My name is Nelson,
Like my grandmother Bettie Lou,
Who accepts that her mother died before she could know her,
And denies a chance that she left
To return to her life as a young single model.
Officially, my name is Irwin.
It is a Scottish variant
Of Irvin
That ended up in the likes of Kansas and Illinois.
All these other names are not present in my signature,
But I would not be here
To tell these stories
Without them.

We also did an exercise where we were given random words that we had to make into a poem. I would like to think it makes some sense, but not everyone gets it.

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I’m no Edgar Allen Poe or Dr.Seuss , even though I wish I were.  I don’t exactly know why I am sharing them, but I hope you’ll enjoy. I hope I post more poetry and more creative pieces of mine in the future. I really really do, because I have been laking lately.

I find it hard for my mind to be quiet, but at the same time I am very shy in person, so writing things out is a perfect medium. Writing almost everyday will hopefully help me grow as a writer. Whether that be more free form, poetry, or both. Only time will tell!