Tigers, Glimmer Train and Oregon

animal-tiger-002This is one of those good news bad news posts.

Because I’m an optimist, I’ll give you the good first. I took a creative writing class last spring and one of the assignments was to write about a car accident scene using all five senses. At the same time as the assignment was due, a sniper was targeting our corner of Northern Colorado. It was scary and sick. So sick. The sniper still hasn’t been caught, but seems to have stopped for now, thankfully.

So I wrote the car accident assignment from the imaginary sniper’s point of view and the story turned out ‘suspenseful and tight’ my classmates and instructor all said. Later, another writing friend suggested two contests that I should enter with the story. Guess what? The story, “Double Yellow,” received Honorable Mention in both! Thank you Glimmer Train and Molotov Cocktail for picking my story. Totally exciting and great news, right.

But now for the bad news. The day that Glimmer Train (the larger of the two contests and a whooping big deal in the writing community) announced that my story had received Honorable Mention was the same day that kid in Oregon shot up Umpqua Community College in Roseburg.

Another school shooting. My heart ripped. I’m from Oregon. It is my state. I’ve rafted on the Umpqua River. My HS basketball team played against Roseburg HS. My parents live there. We vacation there. It is my other home. And a kid shot a lot of Oregonians for no reason.

And my story was about a sniper. A sniper. And now I hate my award winning story.

I hate that kids can feel so lonely, depressed, angry and hopeless that their only escape involves the pain and suffering of so many others. I hate that it turns into a gun control debate and blame game on every social and political platform. I hate the pain.

This is the best blog I have read on guns, human kindness and solutions. Really, read it. This tragic epidemic is a problem we all share. And until we all begin acting as kinder humans, I don’t really think there is a truer solution.

So there you have it. What should have been a sweet victory was turned sour by the reality we live in today. My kids recently practiced a ‘lock-in’ drill at school. In my kindergartner’s own words he explained, “We have to lock the door and hide and be very quiet in case there is something scary in the hall or outside. Like a tiger.”

I wish the ‘scary somethings’ were merely tigers.

And because I’m supposed to be excited, here is the Glimmer Train announcement. And here is the Molotov Cocktail announcement. I’m supposed to be jumping for joy and accomplishment. Instead, I’m headed to my kids’ elementary school to volunteer with an after-school-program. One kid at a time, I’m going to make every one of them feel important today.


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