Today is the 40th anniversary of the shooting at Kent State. In Dallas, someone broke into the Book Depository of JFK assassination fame and tried to steal a safe. There are always moments that are bookmarks in history, and every day, it seems, there is plenty of competition for some event to be the next headline in our historical memory.
I didn’t post last week because I noticed that I’ve been writing about the difficulties of writing instead of sharing the brighter moments of writing: the moments when you get things right. Getting it right is often a very personal yes, but when you receive feedback that something you wrote resonates a yes with others, then there is the reward. So, here I will relay an excerpt of a piece that received a few yeses: an excerpt from Mystique, published in the 2006 edition of Ten Spurs, of the Mayborn competition:
In September of 1963 I finally get to go to first grade. I put on my new wool jumper, black and white oxfords and beret for the opening day of school. The church is filled with uniformed boys and girls, nuns in yards of black organza and starched white wimples. I am now initiated with my older brothers and sister into this long-awaited ritual. Several priests assist Fr. Dunnigan at the communion rail for the hundreds of communicants. We first graders kneel in place, back straight, singing the hymns, waiting for our turn next spring. We are in touch with something here, something ancient and deep and true. Communion of saints bridging the past to present to future; our souls, just for a moment, glimpse the ineffable. Dominus vobiscum. Et cum Spiritu tuo.
Sister Mary Norbert stands in front of the seventy-five first graders under her care, a long, large Rosary with a crucifix bigger than my hand hanging from her waistband, her young face pinched in the white wimple. The principal breaks in over the loudspeaker this grey afternoon before Thanksgiving, interrupting our lesson. Her voice cracks. Our President has been shot.