READY FOR SUNRISE
by CJ Kirkland for River City Rising

Let me cut to the chase: I have never experienced so much irreplaceable loss as I did the past eleven months. If it were any other year, I might expect you to ...

THE HELP I NEVER KNEW I NEEDED

by CJ Kirkland for River City Rising

"When I began homes"chooling my son several years ago, the first thing I added to our “school schedule” was a weekly block of time for volunteerism.  This block of time was also the first thing I would intensely miss when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our schedule, our lives, and what we had come to celebrate as our non-traditional, new normal way of learning."

ENOUGH

by CJ Kirkland for River City Rising

"Countless lives taken from us by natural disasters we decry as being just plain cruel and un-natural cruelties we decry as being just plain disastrous. We lament aloud why either is necessary yet glimmers of hope are erected in the midst of our lamentations when we learn what is truly needed to bring about the healing of a people and the healing of a nation."
CJ has been a freelance writer since 2009, with a focus on conveying stories that exemplify the human spirit. She has written for numerous companies and nonprofit organizations including Executive Speakers Bureau, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Memphis, and cityCURRENT. She has penned the blog River City Rising (cityCURRENT) for more than four years.

Upon receiving her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Spelman College- where she attended on a full academic scholarship- CJ completed the requirements for her Master of Arts in International Relations at UCLA after transferring from Morgan State University. Following a short internship at CNN (Los Angeles) and four years of working as a commercial and voice-over actress, she returned to her first love (surprising absolutely none of her teachers, professors, close friends and family!): writing.

While residing in Los Angeles, CJ began a creative writing group at a residential home for at-risk youth and, after moving to Memphis, volunteered at a nonprofit organization helping students build their writing and English skills in preparation for the GED exam. In 2011, CJ was the graduation keynote speaker at BRIDGES in Memphis, Tennessee.
 
CJ recently completed her first Contemporary Fiction novel, FOR TRUE. She's an avid Crossfitter and enjoys traveling the world.
"She lifted her face to the blue sky. . . River felt a power beneath her bruised skin and broken spirit that pushed her into a place of peace and joy. Running set her free."
~For True