Last summer our staff was having an all day “read-a-thon” to catch up on our backlog of submissions, when someone came across “Muscle Memory”. It was passed around and we all agreed–this was something extraordinary. It was the first time I had read a story about Katrina that struck all the right chords, and since then I’ve come to realize that this is the best way to write about a tragedy that is so emblazoned on the collective memory–to, in a way, not write about it. To keep the reader’s focus somewhere else and let the event be an undercurrent, running below the surface. This is what Katherine Karlin does so well in “Muscle Memory.” I was completely fascinated by the world of welding. The details are incredibly exact, and if you read Katherine’s Q&A with us, you won’t be surprised that they come from personal experience. I also found my emotions really drawn to Destiny, as a powerful young woman entering a traditionally male occupation. Her father’s death is barely mentioned, and then, at just the right moment, as she tries on his welding hood–whammo. The scene packs an enormous punch. Then there is Augustine Beaudry, a wonderful character, who brings so much to the table–his bravado, his skill at welding, and also a connection to the history and music of New Orleans. In “Muscle Memory,” Katherine Karlin has opened a new and heart-felt world, telling how ordinary people are moving on and trying to recover from the devastation of Katrina. I hope that everyone reads this story.