By Mark Aldrich
crabs with sandcastle dreams
inch toward me on the shore
— “Sandcastle Dreams,” Meghan Jenkins, Sail Wet
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The six books that Meghan Jenkins has published so far offer six different aspects to her artistry and several different facets of her personality: three volumes of poems, two volumes of advice that carefully tread a line between genuine pointers to life and misanthropic humor, and a work of fiction.
“Good Night, Good Morning, I Love You,” the title of a poem that gives one collection its name, caught my eye first with its verbal playfulness: what if we had a friend named “Good Morning” that we said good night to?
The poem goes deeper than the pun level almost immediately, however. “Good Morning” was missing during the night, which the reader recognizes as the simple fact that morning turns to day and then night, and the speaker in the poem becomes scared: “Good morning left me I feared.” As in ELO’s song, “Mr. Blue Sky,” the speaker learns things will turn out alright and Good Morning will return: “… you’re just asleep Good Morning / and now I can be asleep too … / But let’s wake up together, ok, Good Morning?”
The remaining ninety-nine poems in Good Night, Good Morning, I Love You are a collection of poems to things that make the speaker happy, list poems, poems addressed to character traits that the speaker is happy to say good night/goodbye to, poems addressed to lovers who have taught positive lessons through negative actions and inactions, poems that sketch out a consciousness lived in full awareness.
Some of the poems are epigrams almost as brief as the thought that expresses them, yet deep as thought itself:
I Love Love Still
I believe in love
And I believe
In her poetry Meghan Jenkins works in the neoteric tradition of a Catullus: a poem can look like it isn’t a poem at all, can even look like a detailed shopping list, until one notices that the details are where life is lived and a poem can show us how to live life. That is no small thing.
Ultimately, Meghan uses her voice across all platforms—performance, sketch comedy, music, art, poetry—to show how to live a fully engaged life with all its tears and laughter and its anxieties and its contented moments of confidence. Her books remind us to use our voices to be heard rather than wait for ears to start to listen, to believe in ourselves; her books show us one woman fully engaged in that project, herself.
Merry Christmas is an advent calendar of poems about trees, cookies, opening presents, and memories for December’s big holiday, and Sail Wet (poems for my beaches) is a poetic collection of beach memories and fantasies with four real-life “messages in a bottle” dropped in through the text just like, well, messages found on the shore.
The poem that I quoted at top, “Sandcastle Dreams” (“crabs with sandcastle dreams / inch toward me on the shore”) gives us a funny and beautiful image in an elegant and compact thirteen syllables.
Safety Date and Safety Date 2 (Kidnappily Ever After) are advice books about life, love, and romance, and the pitfalls to life, love, and romance with men, 99% of whom are not (speaking as a man myself, so it is my estimate) good human beings. Almost every chapter ends with the same good and hilarious piece of advice, which I will not spoil by sharing. Both titles stride confidently along the thinnest of thin lines between humor and terror, which may be a hard-won triumph if it is the result of Meghan’s dating history, and if it is from her imagination, it is a Stephen King-ish triumph there as well.
The Adventures of Pizza Alien is Meghan Jenkins’ first title, her first work of fiction, and my name appears twice in the acknowledgements, so I can say that my praise is in fact doubly felt.
When one points out that Pizza Alien depicts life through the eyes of an abused person who exhibits symptoms of dissociation, one risks an insult to the moments of comedy in its pages, but when one emphasizes the jokes, the book’s depth is lost. Pizza Alien, the character, just wants to love and be understood; Pizza Alien, the novel, suggests that love (romantic love, yes, but also love of our friends and neighbors) is the one worthwhile risk that life demands of us … and that those demands may be steep but the rewards of friendship are just as tall.
Pizza Alien is a character that Meghan brought into the world in a performance art piece in The Belly Room in The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood. Pizza Alien is also an occasional advice columnist here at MeghaZine.
Mark Aldrich is a journalist, award-winning humor columnist, publisher/editor of Meghan-Jenkins.com, writer/performer on the Mark Aldrich & Panda show, and writer/performer with the Magnificent Glass Pelican radio comedy improv group, now in its thirty-first season:
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Meghan Jenkins is an actor, comedian, radio personality, artist, author, musician, model.
As a model, Meghan has been invited by Maxim and Miss Jetset magazines to compete several times in contests to appear on a future magazine cover. Fans vote for their favorite model.
On December 14, 2021, Safety Date, Meghan Jenkins’ second book, was published. Meghan writes, “This book is dedicated to life, love and romance. This is also a humor book. Don’t take this too seriously. Whatever you have been through, if you are married or single, this book is for you. Safety first.”
The Adventures of Pizza Alien, a novel of interlocking short stories by Meghan Jenkins, is is available through Lulu.com and the online book retailers Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The Adventures of Pizza Alien is available for $18.
Panda’s Dance Party, Meghan’s first album, was released in December 2020. It is available to purchase, download, and stream on every music platform: Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes Store, Amazon Music, deezer, Tidal, Pandora, Juno Download.
Meghan is a brand ambassador for Pineapple Clothing. Use the code “MegJen” for a 20% discount!
Meghan’s new internet comedy show, “Mark Aldrich and Panda,” debuted in August 2021.
You can see each episode of Meghan’s previous internet show here: Camp Panda.
Meghan is the founder and host of the live comedy improv show The The Ding Wrong Show, recorded on Zoom and seen on YouTube.
In 2018-’19, she was one of the feature performers in the longest running improv comedy show at The World Famous Comedy Store in Hollywood, California, The Ding Dong Show.
Follow Meghan on Instagram!
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.