There have been a lot of television programs and even big-screen productions of the 9/11 events in the last six months. And today, of course, it's been 5 years. It is difficult for me to think back to life before, to, as our local paper calls it "the last normal days we ever knew" - perhaps this is because I live 60 miles outside of NYC, perhaps because more than half the people I know and live and work with lost someone that day, perhaps because I too lost a friend on Flight 93, whose daughter is entering kindergarten this fall. 5 years.
This I do know: 5 years ago, I decided to start writing in earnest. I had been playing around with it for a long time, since I was a child really, but in the weeks after the terrorist attacks, I began to put together an essay on how it affected me and the students I teach.
It was the first thing I ever published.
Since then, I've become a lot more serious in pursuing publication as a novelist. I know that I've grown tremendously, polishing the craft in ways I never thought possible or necessary before.
I've often wondered why I found my niche in romance. I don't particularly favor the genre, not above any other, really. I guess maybe it's because there is (almost) always a happy ending. I've always been drawn to the power of human connection, to the mysteries of what can happen between two people against all odds. Maybe that's why 9/11 inspired me to write. Maybe I needed to make sense of things. Maybe I needed to convince myself that happiness could still be possible, even after so much agony and loss.
Today I may go to a memorial service. Or I may not. I may pay respects and remember in a different way. I may say a prayer or two. I may weep. But I do know this much: today I will write. I will sit down at my keyboard and compose. I will revisit the characters I have come to know and love. I will give them life and love and happy endings.