Mourning for Oklahoma

It’s a small world, and sometimes a cruel one.

I had a big day Saturday at the Ozarks Writers League conference in Branson. I left with my head swirling with marketing ideas, a manuscript request from an agent and a new friend—editor Mari Farthing.

Mari lives in Moore, Oklahoma. Need I say more? We’ve all seen the harrowing accounts of the massive tornado that ripped through Moore yesterday. We’ve all grieved over the children lost in the Plaza Towers Elementary School and the families who will never be whole again. Mari and her family are safe, but that doesn’t mean they are unscathed. You can read her powerful account of hunkering in her storm shelter as the storm passed and facing the aftermath here.

I should be writing my novel—that’s what I’m supposed to be doing at this moment. After all, I now have three agents who have requested full or partial manuscripts when it’s ready. I haven’t even told my friends about that third request yet. It happened just last night, and it didn’t seem right to celebrate a manuscript request in the face of such a tragedy.

Joplin, MO

Joplin, MO

All I can think about is Moore. And Joplin. I volunteered in the recovery efforts following the Joplin tornado two years ago, and the images still haunt me. The skeletal trees. The twisted cars and mangled playground equipment. The heaps of rubble that used to be homes, extending as far as I could see in every direction. The hollow eyes of the now-homeless woman who limped into the facility where I was sorting supplies, asking me what she should do.

Joplin, MO

Joplin, MO

And so, instead of writing my novel, I’m writing this, hoping that putting my thoughts into words will provide a catharsis. My kids are with their grandparents, or no doubt I would spend the day hugging them. That’s definitely how I plan to spend my evening.

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10 thoughts on “Mourning for Oklahoma

  1. Lisa Medley

    Wow! So sad, but happy your new friend is okay. Congrats on ALL of your requests! Life is short and uncertain. Live it to the most every day and seize opportunities when the come along. I know YOU do this. It will get better.

    Reply
  2. Shirley McCann

    My husband has his tv on CNN. I just can’t watch that al day long. Makes me want to cry. I drove to the store a bit ago and noticed someone had posted “PRAY FOR OKLAHOMA” on their billboard. I guess we all need to feel like we’re doing something. Just too sad for words.

    Reply
    1. Sharon Keeling Davis Post author

      I agree, Shirley. We heard about the tornado while we were out for dinner last night, and the first thing I did when I got home was turn on the news. I could only take it for so long, and haven’t turned it on at all today.

      Reply
  3. Susan Keene

    I cry when I think of the children who perished and the parents who must go on. It is all so sad and we are so helpless. Give those babies of yours another hug from me.

    Reply
  4. Beth Carter

    It’s haunting how much the tornado in Moore reminds us of Joplin. Their world is upside down, literally and figuratively, and now ours is too. I can barely watch the footage, and at the same, time can’t stop. I think we’re all trying to figure out how we can help.

    Congrats on your request. I know what you mean about posting happy news. I can’t even read the funny, unrelated posts on FB now. It doesn’t seem right.

    Reply
    1. Sharon Keeling Davis Post author

      I’m right with you, Beth. I’ve tried to avoid watching more coverage today, but I just clicked on a link to watch video taken from a storm shelter. Can’t watch, can’t stop. Wish there were more I could do.

      Reply
  5. Mari

    It’s still so surreal. I’ve had the TV online all day long trying to figure out … I don’t know what. Normalcy? A sense of reality? Anything. I’ve never experienced anything like this before. I hope I never have to again. I do appreciate seeing how people are coming together to support one another. That’s truly an amazing thing. Thank you so much for your post!

    Reply
    1. Sharon Keeling Davis Post author

      I can’t imagine. I’ve had trouble thinking about anything else, and I’m three hundred miles away. Joplin hit close to home, but even that was eighty miles away, and an entirely different community. Know that your town is in all our thoughts, and we all wish there were more we could do to help.

      Reply

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