“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge—even wisdom. Like art.” Toni Morrison, 1931-2019
This past summer was a difficult one for Dayton, Ohio, the place I call home. On May 27, devastating tornadoes tore through the region, and in early August, while much of the area was still reeling, a shooter killed 9 people and injured 27 outside a downtown bar. The people of Dayton and the surrounding areas have banded together to help begin to heal our city and the folks in it, and I’m so very proud to call Dayton my home.
But 16 years ago, when we first moved to the area, I was hesitant to think that any city other than Ann Arbor could ever find a true place in my heart. In fact, when we arrived, I said to my husband, “I’ll give it three years. If at the end of that time, I don’t feel like Dayton is home, we’re leaving.”
We do not have plans to move.
Three years isn’t all that long, but over the course of that time, I changed and so did my idea of home. In three years, I cultivated relationships and gathered with like-minded and differently-minded souls, letting them into my heart and gaining new perspectives. In three years, I learned that the people of Dayton, Ohio, are kind, generous, thoughtful, compassionate, and inclusive; they embrace what’s right and denounce what’s wrong. In three years, Dayton-area community members helped me make the place “I moved to” into the place “I call home.”
I wouldn’t be where I am today—including the role I play here at Literary Mama—without the Dayton community. With the help of my children’s teachers, colleagues, friends, and neighbors, I made my way through chaos and failures and accumulated knowledge and wisdom, to find not only the courage to begin writing again, but the courage to share my voice. And that voice, especially at times like these, is one I use to help myself cope.
We encourage all our readers to share their voices, to become a part of both their community and the Literary Mama community. Consider submitting your own work, commenting on a piece, or joining a conversation on social media. We hope you enjoy the September/October issue.
P.S. Stay connected between issues by exploring our archives to discover more mothers’ voices.
Gut Roiling by Taryn King
“It’s Drop Now” by Coriel O’Shea Gaffney
Cover by Kara Gebhart Uhl
9 ½ by Meg Yardley
This Is A Picture Of Alexander The Great Feeding Some Birds by Valerie Hastings
Milkweed by Kathryn Petruccelli
Images by Daniele Levis Pelusi, Lan Pham, Roberta Sorge, Ray Hennessy, Moren Hsu, and Brooke Medlin