Essay “What A Bullet Can Do” wins 2019 Maine Literary Award!

On June 13th, Maine writers, readers, editors, publishers, and librarians gathered at the Bangor Public Library for the announcement of the 2019 Maine Literary Awards. I was there to meet and mingle with the Maine writing community and to find out if “What A Bullet Can Do” was a winner in the short nonfiction category… It was!

In March 2018 Hazlitt, an online journal of Penguin Random House Canada, published “What A Bullet Can Do”. I’ll be forever grateful for the guidance and support of Senior Editor Haley Cullingham in getting this piece out into the world. In the essay I review works of literature related to unintentional shootings and weave in my own personal experience as a survivor-witness to an unintentional shooting that took place when I was 12 years old.

I am grateful to the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance for this recognition. For more than a decade I have been researching and writing a memoir about my dad, guns, and the unintentional shooting that resulted in the death of a neighbor. I’ve published several essays about it in recent years. This award feels like further validation of that work. Maybe this story is ready to be told and heard and read more widely. I am deeply grateful for the recognition.

In the past 24 hours, in the United States, approximately 100 people lost their lives to gun violence, and hundreds more were injured. These numbers are staggering. I can’t help but think of all the suffering created by just one bullet, and to realize it is magnified hundreds of times over every day. As citizens, as human beings, we can do better. We must do better.