September 11, 2011

What Were You Writing on 9/11?

Ground Zero

Do you remember what book or story you were writing when 9/11 occurred? Were you published then? Did the events of that day shape what you wrote later?

I was working at home then, and was alone that day. My son called me from his work and said a plane had hit the Twin Towers. I remember asking him if it was foggy. It never occurred to me that this could possibly be something done on purpose. At that point, I didn't turn on the TV because I had work to do and couldn't deal with the distraction. He called me not long afterward and said another plane had hit the other tower. Again, my thought was that something screwy was up with radar, or there was some kind of glitch in navigation. Even that aliens were involved. Hey -- I write science fiction, you know? Still could not fathom that anyone in their right mind would do such a horrible thing on purpose.

When he called the third time and said "You are NOT going to believe this" and told me the Pentagon had been hit, chills ran over me. I thought "We're at war." I put together my carryall for work and drove to the office. We lived in the country and didn't have cable, and there was no way I was wasting time trying to see through the buggy, snowy connection of live broadcast. I listened to the radio on the way in and heard details as they were unfolding.

When I pulled into the parking lot, I sat and listened as the DJ on the radio was talking to a woman whose son was in the second tower. She had called the radio station hoping they might have some contact with authorities, and be able to help her find out news about her son. I remember thinking she must be desperate if she was resorting to this. Surely someone in NYC could get through by phone. I had no idea the towers themselves were the sources of the telecommunications equipment in the area, even though the company I worked for owned and operated that very equipment. While they were talking, the second tower fell. I can still hear the DJ's voice as he said it. Gives me shivers even now.

I wasn't published until three years later. It took losing my job after 9/11 for me to realize I had to grab control of my life and steer it in the direction I wanted it to go. 9/11 didn't directly influence me to write. I'd always wanted to do that. But being one of thousands laid off from a company did make me reconsider my priorities. My next job brought me in touch with a literary agent who was getting out of the business. Through her influence, I set about redirecting my goals. Seven books later, here I am.

Share your story as we remember 9/11/2001.


  1. I remember getting ready for work that Tuesday. My husband, Mark, yelled to me.
    "Hey Babe! Some idiot just flew his plane into the World Trade Center!"
    We watched as the second plane hit and the TV went out. My first thought was. 'Those poor people!' I knew jet fuel burns somewhere between 700-800 degrees. The heat must have been intense and it brought tears to my eyes. I knew this wasn't a random 'accident'. Growing up in a military family, instincts are passed down. When the third plane hit and the fourth was missing, I started praying for the innocent lost and the ones responsible--I'm a Buddhist--in hopes their souls could find peace. No, you don't have to agree with, that's okay. But, believe me when I say, they pissed me off, and still do.
    Faced with the news of the plane in Pennsylvania, I sat with my husband and reflected the changes about to come. We wanted our children home from school. Wanted to hold them and tell them we loved them. But, with them being so young, we decided to leave them finish their day and not pass our panic on to them. We turned the TV off until they were in bed. One more day of peace for them was a priority to us.
    During the years that followed, I wrote and am now multi-published award winning. Two years after 9/11 I a novel about a man who was stuck overseas at the time of the attacks who lost both is parents. I refused to publish this piece until the time was right. The tragedy was still too fresh, maybe now it's time.
    With this tragedy our family has suffered economically like so many others. Mark's job, thank goodness, decided not to lay him off, as they did with many. Mine cut me to part-time then part-part-time. Eventually, I had to find a new one, which after a few years, did the same. But, through it all, we focused on staying together as a family. Our bonds became stronger and our children learned that it only takes a deck of cards and some pennies to have a fun family night. :)

    Have a Sparkling Day!
    Rebecca Rose

  2. Rebecca, how wonderful that you could surround your children with peace during that crisis. I had a new grandbaby, only about two weeks old, and I remember thinking that she would grow up in a US far different from what her mother knew. A kind of innocence had been lost on 9/11. Thank you for sharing your story.


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