A Promise for Orlando

by Laura Carpenter

This lesbian writer will not give up the dream

Last week I wondered why I bother to write when I publish so little. I spend so much time with words so few see.

Then terror struck. No. One man and an assault rifle slaughtered 49 and wounded dozens at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

Some of those who died were barely old enough to discover their dreams, let alone achieve them.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. It’s the only job I’ve ever really wanted.

Art can entertain, can foster compassion and understanding, can offer outlets to find and discover ourselves and our world.

Still, only a handful read my work. Maybe so, but I can push the world in a more positive direction one word at a time. My fully embodied queer, ugly, misunderstood and human characters can dance, stumble, recover and succeed across the pages.

I cast my pebble into the pond of love, compassion, unity and strength. May its ripples reach farther than I ever could. May joy spread like dandelion seeds, filling the air, blanketing the forest floor with wishes for all.

I will hold my daughter and my wife. I will let myself be as sad as I need to be. I will read about the lives lost and cry freely.

Then I will write. And write more.

Those who wish to strike terror and fear and chaos in the world will not make a monster out of me. They reveal my humanity and capacity to love. This massacre hurts but does not break me. It reminds me to live each day to the fullest, to pursue my dreams, no matter how impossible they may seem.

On this eve of Pride and time of tragedy, I send love and resilience and a promise. I promise not to bow to hate. I promise to love fiercely and openly. I promise to fight for my dreams and my family. I promise to remember and feel and do what I can, however small it may be, to build peace and joy and love for all.

For all.

What will you do?

Laura Carpenter is one of the authors in the “Building Fires in the Snow” anthology. She lives in Anchorage with her wife and daughter.