April 19th: Bearing Witness

You ask me why I wear black today, why I mourn today, why I keep a time of silence today.

You ask me why, and you don’t know what I mean when I say, “I’m from Oklahoma City.”

What I mean is that I grew up in the shadow. In the shadow of a tree that still stands. In the shadow of 168 white chairs across a lawn. In the shadow of two gates that mark before and after: 9:01 am, 9:03 am.

I grew up in the shadow of the Memorial; I grew up in the shadow of the bombing.

I was a girl who held onto numbers tightly, and among the numbers that I learned from childhood were these: 168 lives, 19 children, 9:02 am. There are 168 chairs for 168 lives, 19 of them smaller for the 19 children. There are 168 seconds of silence, every year, 9:02 am Central time.

That is when the bomb went off; that is when Oklahoma City changed forever.

Two years ago, at his speech at the 20th Anniversary Memorial Service, FBI Director James Comey said, “But it is not the moment that defines us. It is not the act itself that shapes our destiny. It is what comes next.”

I grew up in the shadow, but I also grew up in the light. The light of what came next. The light of what still comes next.

This is the story of my city, light emerging from darkness. And by virtue of this being the story of my city, it is my story.

And so today I remember. I remember the scar, though it heals. I wear the scar on this day. I honor what was lost; I honor what has grown in my lifetime.

This is for you, OKC. Continue reading

2017 Reading Challenge Update 1

We’re a quarter of the way through a year, so I thought I’d give an update on where I am in various reading challenges.

Read Harder

I’ve read at least one book for twelve of the twenty-four categories, but for two of those I’ve only read picture books satisfying the prompt. I’d like to get non picture books for each category, so with that metric I’m at ten of the twenty-four categories.

2017 Diversity Bingo

I’ve read at least one book for nineteen of the thirty-six categories. All of these are satisfied by a non picture book. For a while I only had all the categories I’d read in if I double counted a book; now I have the nineteen without double counting. I actually don’t have a bingo on the card yet, though. (I have clearly not been strategic in my reading order. :P)

Queer 52

I’d read four books on this list previously, so I’ve added four to it to get back up to 52. Those four are Corinne Duyvis’s Otherbound, Riley Redgate’s Noteworthy, Lucas Hargis’s If Found Return to Astropop (if it comes out this year?), and Jaye Robin Brown’s Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruits. 

So far, I’ve read Otherbound and seven books from the main list. That means I’m at eight out of fifty-two, so I’m definitely behind on this challenge (by five books, in fact). I have read all the books I currently own from the list, though, so from here I’ll be either buying new books or checking out from the library.

Reading What’s Currently On My Kindle

So I didn’t start paying attention to this until this past week, so it’s not so much a status update as a statement of a new challenge. I have at least seventy-five books in English on my Kindle that I haven’t read. I acquire new such books at a mildly alarming rate. I’d like to get this number much, much lower and keep it low.

United Methodist Women Reading Program

This is another one that I’m behind on. The list has five categories, and I’d like to read at least two books from each category (and as many books on the list as possible generally). I’ve read one book on the list so far.