Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What She Said

I'll tell you what she said. She said, "If you're really drunk, how come you don't make a pass at me when I turn off the flashlight?"

I was seventeen then, and it was the first time I had tasted beer, but I wasn't drunk.

She said, "Do you remember where you left your sleeping bag?"

Those are the opening lines of a short story called "What She Said" in the Beloit Fiction Journal. The Spring 2006 edition. It just arrived.

The story is mine.

I like seeing it in print. Holding it in my hands. It's been a long time coming.

I say that not because the spring edition arrived in November, but because I wrote the first version of the story, then called "Good Thing Going," back in 1977, when I was fresh out of college.

I hit upon the new title and a new emphasis sometime around 1990. It felt like a breakthrough, and I sent the story to about a dozen magazines in quick succession.

No one wanted it. Not even the city magazine I worked for at the time. My boss wanted to run it but her boss didn't, and that was that.

I gave up. For a dozen years, I did nothing with the story.

Little did I know, all that time, that I was one more submission (and two or three changes) from success.

A small success, I suppose, but a sweet one just the same.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Getting Stronger

Hatred seems so strong sometimes. Overpowering. Unstoppable.

I'm convinced, however, that its power is often overestimated.

People learn to hate when they have been hurt. They're like wounded animals -- vulnerable and afraid. They lash out quickly because they know they are weak and may not be able to fight for long.

Love sometimes seems weak. It doesn't have the sudden destructive power that hate displays.

But love can heal. And given time, it will.

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

When Peace Explodes

I've decided I need to assemble a bomb.

Not me alone. I have to have help. Co-conspirators. You.

The parts and players we need will have to come from Detroit and D.C., London and Berlin, Beirut and Jerusalem. All around the world.

As I write this the sky is dark and quiet.

Can you feel it?

There's a charge inside of us.

We're the bomb.

We're the shock and awe.

And everything will change when peace explodes.