Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do You Remember?

It was already an unusual day for me. It was my second day on a new job, and I was just getting used to the new routine. I lived in Lakewood, Washington just south of Tacoma at the time, and was commuting to Redmond for a new job as a helpdesk technician. The drive was new enough to not have become the mind-numbing drudgery it would become in the coming months, and I was still trying to find a good morning show on the radio for the trip.

When I turned the car on, the radio came on to the Howard Stern show. I nearly broke my finger hitting the "Seek" button. I detest that guy and all that he stands for. The very next station I landed on was a news report. The word "explosion" caught my attention. I began listening more closely.

Living on the West coast, most of the attack had already occurred. The initial reports were still very unsure of what had actually happened, in fact I recall a good deal of debate as to whether it was an accident or not. The initial report on the Pentagon did not even mention a plane, it simply reported an explosion and smoke.

When I learned that the second tower had been hit, I knew in my heart that this could not have been an accident. I called my wife and told her to turn on the television. Then I continued to drive.

That drive was probably the longest of all the commutes I made between Lakewood and Redmond in the entire time I worked there. When I got to work, everyone was going about their jobs somberly and quietly. Over and over we watched the footage of the second plane striking the tower, the people covered with white dust running down the street, the unreal sight of bodies falling through the air after leaping from the burning building.

Since that day, a lot of history has passed. We have witnessed many historical events, which will be studied by school children for many generations. Scholars will debate what really happened that day, pundits will twist it to suit their agenda, and politicians will continue to milk it for whatever gain they can.

But I will remember. The shock, the uncertainty, the fear.

More than that, I will remember sitting in my car, driving on one of the most congested freeways in the nation, and thinking that for once, there were no strangers in those other cars. I knew what they were probably thinking, I knew what was probably playing on their radios.

In all that chaos, we were united. And for a few weeks, we had a common cause.

Whatever else came out of that horrible day, at least there was that.

© 2010 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Here it comes again...

I had almost convinced myself that I would completely ignore November this year. Last year was such a let-down; I couldn't even get into the Urinal Cakes thread with any sort of enthusiasm. Is my NaNoMoJo gone forever? Maybe.

Nevertheless, my good pals over at the Piker Press have been exerting a bit of peer pressure. KK for example made his participation conditional upon mine. "I'll do it if you do it." OK, if the old guy can do it, why can't I?

So that decision is made. Now, what to write? Start something completely new? Just head on over to the Seventh Sanctum and generate a random plot and get to work? This might be a good idea. Starting fresh with no preconceived notions of where I am going has worked well in the past. And yet I still feel that I would do better with a well thought out outline.

There are a couple of works-in-progress (meaning moldering away in that huge "I'll get to it" pile...) that I could pick up. This would technically be a bending of the NaNo rules, but would be serving a higher purpose: to get me writing again.

There is "The Education of Fred" which I have written a few scenes from. There is Zeniff the Spaceman and his trusty mining droid. I really have been wondering how he will get off that desert moon. "The Boy Named Sue" was a pretty good idea I had a few years ago, until I decided to make it a sci-fi western and tried to insert some old characters from another unfinished novel.

Whatever I decide to do, what Lao Tzu said about a journey of a thousand miles is true about writing a novel: it begins with a single word. (OK, he said step. But I am sure you knew that already.) I haven't done any writing at all for several months. This blog entry stands as the first writing of any kind I have done.

It also serves as a single step. Only 50,000 to go.

Wish me luck!

© 2010 Tyler Willson. All rights reserved