Yesterday Was One of Those Days

Yesterday, across the country and around the world, people remembered the cruel, vicious, unjustified, radical attacks on our nation on September 11, 2001. Make no mistake, we were attacked by radical Islamists just because of who we are.

All across the interwebz people were telling their stories, posting their memories, still, eighteen years later, trying to make some sense out of a senseless act.

The events of that day caused us to rally. We gathered in churches to pray. We stood in line to give blood. We few flags from our homes, from our vehicles.

From our hearts.

We vowed that it would change us forever. Perhaps it did.

We vowed that we would never forget. I’m not so sure we haven’t.

Perhaps yesterday gave us an opportunity to reflect, to remember. I hope so.

September 11, will always be one of those days. One of those days when people ask, “do you remember where you were? what you were doing?”

If you were a certain age, of course, you do. And you remember the days and weeks after when we lived in the fear of “what’s next?”

Funny how there are days that we’ll always remember. Days that we’ll always be able to point to and say “I remember.”

For me, I remember the day John F. Kennedy was shot. Yes, I was only five. But my brother came home early from school to tell us.

Likewise with the deaths of Bobby Kennedy and Dr. King.

There was the landing on the moon.

There was the Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster.

There was the shooting at Virginia Tech.

All of these days we can point to and say “I remember.”

In the days following the 9/11 attack we were united as a nation, a little kinder, a little more respectful.

Eighteen years later all you have to do is spend fifteen minutes on Twitter to realize we’re not that people anymore.

No one wants another attack. No one wants to face September 11 again.

But it would be nice if, just one more time, we could be the people we were on September 12.

Another one of those days we should remember.


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What’s in Your Writer’s Toolbox?

I need a new computer.

I need a new iPad.

I need the latest version of Scrivener.

I need a house at the beach.

Otherwise, how will I ever write the great American novel?

I can just imagine Margaret Mitchell and Ernest Hemingway rolling their eyes at me.

They didn’t need any of those things to write.

If stories are to be believed, Hemingway probably needed another drink. I could arrange that, but I don’t really want that to be the cause, or the destruction of, my literary greatness.  It’s all about the moderation.

So, really the list above is more about wants than needs.

Truth is, I do need the new computer. My home PC is multiple years old.  It still functions, but I am paranoid enough that I routinely back up files on an external hard drive.  Just in case.

And, while my iPad functions, it is no longer compatible with new versions of the apps that I use.

Hulu, for example. I’ve had to watch this season’s episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale on my phone.  Sure, I could go downstairs and watch it on the smart TV.  But that’s so…far.

And, a few months back I decided to bite the bullet and actually purchase Scrivener for the iPad…not on my version.

Here’s the thing.  Those are all tools.  They’re great tools.  They’re great apps and programs and everything else.

But, they’re not essential for writing.

Well, when you’re handwriting is as bad as mine, something with a keyboard is pretty important.

At the same time, this summer I’ve done some of my best writing with a composition book and one of my favorite Varsity pens.  I carry them with me, and when I find a block of time, I’ll sit down and write a short story.  The rule, or the goal, is to write at least one page. Sometimes two.

I’ll often do it in a bar if I’m by myself or waiting for someone.  Or in a coffee shop.  But those aren’t essential.

What I’m finding is that I’ve got a nice little collection of short stories.  Or their beginnings at least.

It comes down to this. I can write just as well (that doesn’t mean legibly) with a pen and paper as I can with a laptop or an iPad.

While I do have a symbiotic relationship with my phone – after all someone, somewhere, might say something – I don’t need the latest gizmos to write.  I need the discipline to sit down and put one word in front of the other.

The tools are just that.  Tools.  They’re not essential.

It’s a known fact that I can procrastinate just as easily without them.

One day I’ll upgrade the computer, and the iPad, and get the new Scrivener software. But, it is not this day.

  1. Points for the (vague) reference, and
  2. Don’t forget the tip jar is still there.

It’s funny, or is it odd, or is it just normal…that even without these tools, I’m finding, no making more time to write.

It’s what I do.  I’m a writer.  I write things.

Sometimes, good things.

So, tell me in the comments, what’s your must have tool in your writer’s toolbox?


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