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1001 Donors

A Chicago book that holds special meaning to me

Elizabeth Metzger Sampson


Elizabeth SampsonWhen Electric Arches was first released, I was newly injured from a bike accident on Milwaukee Avenue in Chicago. When the book arrived, I was propped up on my porch, leg elevated, and not weight bearing. I opened it up to find poems, stories, images, textual art, and my heart soared. We can do this now? We can do this now! The book had no genre just as it has no limit to its imagination and its ability to envision new and better futures for Chicago.

When I read Electric Arches, I feel it in my body. Ewing sketches another outcome for Chicago and as I inhabit it, my muscles relax. Injured and tense on the back porch, I could feel myself become lighter inside the author’s possibilities. “In the future, every child in Chicago has food and a safe space to sleep, and mothers laugh all day and eat Popsicles,” she leads us into her future of no police, of electric arches stretching through the sky.

Once my body is relaxed, Electric Arches makes my brain and my heart begin to levitate, they raise up and out of my body, just above my chest, just above my skull. With every “re-telling” she adjusts futures and pasts, and as she creates new outcomes, our city and our story feels a bit more open. She speaks new realities into possibility, and with it, makes us all just a little more free.

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