Hey, y’all. It’s been awhile, what with school ending and summer travel kicking in and lots of reading, writing and gardening… I put this news out on social media at the time, but not here, so now I’m letting the blogosphere know that on May 28th another essay of mine – “Standoff” – was published in Aquifer: The Florida Review Online, which lives at the University of Central Florida. This piece focuses on a standoff that took place in my hometown in Pennsylvania when I was living there again in 2012. It’s another way into the issues of gun violence, mental illness, and the militarization of policing.
I’m very grateful to Lisa Roney, Editor-in-Chief, for getting this story out there. It’s interesting to me that “Standoff” and “The Gun Show,” which was published by The Southeast Review, were both picked up by Florida-based journals. For a few years now I’ve wondered if the subjects of guns and gun culture are something that literary journals, which are often housed in college or university English or MFA programs, don’t really want to touch. I got a lot of, “This is very close, but just not right for us at this time. Please send us more work.”
Are folks in Florida simply more intrepid? Or at least in the case of this recent publication, are they a few steps ahead of many other places in America in confronting the dangers of gun proliferation, access, and vigilantism because of how Trayvon Martin was murdered and because of how the massacres at the Pulse nightclub and now Parkland are painfully etched into the cultural landscape of Florida? (Along with the many other incidents of gun violence that I/we don’t even know about.) I don’t know, just musing out loud…
But I am going to keep writing and talking about this. We need to talk. We need to find common ground. Our lives depend on it.