September 2002 Sometimes You Just Can’t


I couldn’t write this past week. Every morning, I’d spread my work out in front of me, intent on being productive, but as soon as I turned on the television, my best intentions slipped away. The horror of the World Trade Center tragedy hit me hard. Maybe it was because I had one of those stories of a family member who had escaped the bombing because of a schedule change. Maybe it was because I’m a mother of two, daughter of a military man, and a wife of a former Navy man, and I knew the implications of what had happened.

Or maybe it was just that I was human.

Either way, I couldn’t write. I didn’t get this newsletter done until the day after it was due out. I didn’t create so much as a shopping list all week.

But when President Bush said it was time to go back to work, it was like a signal went off in my mind. I was finally able to transition from grief to life. The words are coming, slowly but surely. My TV is still on most of the day, my mind is still with the rescue workers as their hope begins to dim, and my heart is still aching with sorrow for everyone who lost something that day.

From what I’ve heard from my writer friends, I was not alone in my inability to work. Some expressed guilt that they were so glued to the television that their jobs and assignments slipped by the wayside.

It’s okay not to work. It’s okay to get so sidelined by a tragic event that you let the writing stop. The point is not to let it keep you down, but to move forward after your grief has ebbed a bit. Don’t feel guilty for FEELING. You are a human, and terrible things have happened to other humans.

Let the words begin to flow again. One word at a time, one painful sentence after another. It’s a way of moving on, of showing the world that we have been shocked by the horrible actions of one extremist group, but we have not been stopped. We can move on, and we can live.

Celebrate the life you have. Celebrate the lives of those you love. And let your writing carry you through the times that test your mettle and the times that break your heart.

Until next time, may all your words be good ones,


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