I wasn’t going to write about today. At first I didn’t think there was any need for me to do so. Not that it wasn’t important. It was. I simply chose to remember in my own quiet way. But in the Information Age, it’s hard to escape. The world has eyes and we see everything whether we want to or not. There is no waiting, there is no filter to help make it any easier. First hand accounts become our accounts. Life is laid open, raw and bleeding right before us.
I was born and raised in New York. Not the city. My childhood was spent in a suburb two hours north. Still, New York was my home. When the events ten years ago unfolded, I was living three-thousand miles away. What I felt was no different than had I been standing in the dusty rubble with the rest of the fleeing masses.
I still feel it. I can’t watch the documentaries without choking on tears.
I can’t watch the documentaries, period.
I remember I had a dream a few days before the tenth. I stood at the far end of the Brooklyn Bridge and New York was on fire. I held a big stick in one hand and I was ready to fight. I hadn’t thought much of it at the time. I figured it was a crazy side-effect from one too many nights of playing a post-apocalyptic game; the obvious result of writing about werewolves in a world gone wrong.
It was so clear, like a movie. I’ve only had a handful of dreams like that in my lifetime and each one a warning from the Universe trying to get my attention.
But it’s hard to see when it’s a warning and when it isn’t. You don’t exactly want to be a Cassandra and run around shouting your prophecies to the world. People would think you were crazy.
So, as writers, we take our crazy dreams and put them into stories, because they make good material.
Only this didn’t turn out to be a dream. It was a real-life nightmare.
I’m happy and grateful I didn’t lose anyone that day. I’m glad my Dad was already retired from the force and wasn’t called to join his brothers from the surrounding firehouses. I’m glad no one he knew was lost either.
I’m happy and grateful there are people like Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds who really get what this day is about.
I’m happy and grateful that we can still find our sense of humor to lighten things up when they get too heavy.
I’m happy and grateful to know that when things get tough, humanity really can put aside their differences and pull together, whether it’s world-wide or right on our own block.
I’m happy and grateful for all of you, because without each other, there really is no point in doing the things we do.
Now I’m going to go unplug for the rest of the day and get lost in a story that’s screaming to be written. Go ahead and do the same, find what makes you happy and grateful and just enjoy it for what it is. Life’s too short not to.