One of Megan Prikhodko’s bucket list items was to edit a book. She achieved this goal several years ago, and the experience led the Lakelands resident to publishing a book of her very own.
“Leap” is a collection of 15 years of poetry and prose divided into six chapters spanning the areas of childhood, self-awareness, pain, love, success and adult life. She was inspired to create her narrative by looking at modern poetry writers’ work and how they group poems based on subject matter to tell a story within the poetry book itself.
“I felt like I could group the poems based on a story of the physics of a leap,” Prikhodko said. “The first part is the starting place and you go all the way through momentum and friction, force to the point where you are flying and then landing. It is both a figurative and a literal arc within the story. … I felt a lot of the poetry was about taking risks or taking those leaps of faith in different parts of my life.”
Prikhodko has been writing poetry since she was in second grade. “I just always had the sense that writing is a really cathartic way of expressing yourself and getting things out,” she said.
She graduated from the University of Maryland with dual degrees in English and literature and philosophy with a concentration in creative writing. While earning her MBA at Johns Hopkins University, she befriended North Bethesda resident John Lim, whom she worked with on group projects and papers.
“Megan just had a natural ability not only to write but edit,” Lim said.
During their master’s program, Prikhodko told Lim of her desire to edit a book. “It was funny because most people would say ‘write a book,’ but for her it was ‘edit a book,’” he recalled.
Fast forward more than five years later to 2017: Lim, along with co-author Andy Bray, was finishing up his first book, “Making Fake Star Trek” that covered how the two actors helped to create an independent film dedicated to the famous sci-fi franchise. Lim recalled his conversation with Prikhodko and asked her to edit the book.
“It was wonderful working with her,” he said. “… Throughout this (editing) time I said to Megan, ‘You know, you should really think about writing your book. You are so talented, and I can see how gifted you are with prose and language.’”
By going through the publishing process with Lim on the first book and now its sequel coming out on Feb. 14, she realized it wasn’t as hard as she thought it would be. “I had this back catalog of poetry that I could shape up and revise and bring new life to,” she said.
Self published in November, the 102-page book is available on Amazon. Prikhodko noted it was an interesting experience going back and reading poems she created while in high school. Yet publishing poems written recently were harder for her than ones when she was younger because she had more distance from these experiences.
“I think anytime you are producing a poetry book, whether the poetry is new or old, you are really being very vulnerable because you are putting a lot of your personality and yourself out there and your raw emotions,” Prikhodko said.
Lim notes “Leap” gave him the opportunity to get to see another side of his friend. He knows her as an executive of a software company, a freelance editor, a mother and a wife.
“To read work from age 15 and to see a side of her that you don’t always get to see in another person, I thought was really interesting,” he said. “… I loved the fact Megan wrote poems about everyday things—sitting in a classroom waiting for a class to start, sitting in a business meeting—the day-to-day, everyday life events that we all experience. A lot of those resonated with me. I was able to understand these are events that I have experienced, but to see them written out in such an interesting way and such an expressive way, that was what I really enjoyed about it.”
Prikhodko hopes that people take away the feeling that if they want to create something, they have the ability to do so. “They should feel empowered to be creative and vulnerable and that can be well received,” she said.