Monday, March 26, 2018

Profiles in courage: Samantha Fuentes

The bravery of the young survivors of the Florida shooting forces our respect and admiration.
Somehow, after the horror, they found the strength to lead.
May it inspire all of the rest of us to step up too.
There have been many, many, many mass shootings in America. But this is the first time we see a movement like this.
The strength of these young people is inspiring. It is the first time since the election that there is reason for hope.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Monument to children killed by guns in America

We need a wall.
A glowing black wall of names,
the names of each and every child whose life was ended by a gun in America.
First name, last name, chiseled in white.
To stand in our country’s capital,
Where we can come to run our fingertips over the letters etched in stone as cold and dead as the child it names,
And weep,
And remember
And regret,
And vow to do better.
For the innocents
whom we failed to protect.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

The Experience Gift

The Experience Gift

by George Sampras

Jeanie loved Christmas. The tree, especially, with its foresty smell and twinkly lights , magically conjuring beauty and life out of winter gloom. And the children: round eyes, round mouths, round cheeks so kissable in their little round faces mad with excitement and desire and hope. Every year, the same tradition: the selection of the tree, the layering of the decorations (garlands, then lights, then crystal birds and horses and snowflakes, then the shiniest gold and silver ornaments, then, to top it all off, the Christmas angel), the acquisition, wrapping and installation of the presents, the hanging of the green and red embroidered socks (“Sam”, “Trish”, “Mom”, “Dad”), the night of little sleep, as a succession of Santas tiptoed in, to secretly contribute a small wrapped trinket or two to each sock, then the morning, first long and slow then short and fast, with a mad jumble of sweet and salty foods, flying wrapping papers, and instances of joy and disappointment, more or less well concealed according to the maturity and blood sugar levels of the recipient. It was something they had done together, without fail, every year since entering the world, as miraculous as Jesus, one starlit night.

Jeanie hated Christmas. The rawness of the emotions. The vulnerability of so much desire. Expectations, high in childhood, had risen even higher. Of course they were still a family, but it was at Christmas, that they came together, atoms touching, in the same physical space. Here they crowded, like expectant concert goers, in a preordered spot at a preordained time, their hearts tremblingly exposed, exit doors unmarked and too small in case of attack. Where to take cover? There was no cover. It was an act of faith, this communion, an invocation of the spirit of childhood, of family, of love. But such powerful forces, once stirred, never come alone.

Jeanie picked a torn piece of shiny silver wrapping paper off the carpet and placed it in the Hefty bag. Three armchairs had been pushed awkwardly together to make space for the tree, leaving the room off kilter.  We are sitting ducks here, she thought.
If lucky she had – what - maybe twenty Christmases left on her celestial time clock? Time, she resolved, to make them count.

George Sampras lives in California. His, novel, The Experience Gift, will be published in 2018.