The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/01 - 9/11/11

I write this against the backdrop of bells tolling for those we lost on 9/11/01. I don't think there is a soul alive who doesn't remember exactly what they were doing on that day. It is a day that will act as a marker in the lives of many.

When the North Tower was struck, my daughter was five and a half months pregnant. At the time, she worked at Penn Plaza, which sits over Penn Station. She sat in her office on the 34th floor, surrounded by windows. I was standing on the elevated platform of the 4 train at Fordham Road when my cellphone rang. It was my daughter calling and she was hysterical saying that a "drunken pilot flew into the WTC". I only half believed her, I mean really? Is that even possible? It seemed too farfetched to me. There had to be some other explanation for what she was describing.

My train pulled into the station, so I hung up promising to call her back when I got into my office. By the time I arrived 45 minutes later, the South Tower had been struck.  As soon as I reached my desk, I called my daughter and was talking with her when it was announced that her building was to be evacuated. She was in a panic because she was on the 34th floor and she believed that NYC landmarks were being targeted. She was afraid she wouldn't make it out.

I had just started working at the law firm I was working at just 3 months earlier, but I decided to leave the office thinking that if my daughter was right, I wanted to be with her. With that thought in mind, I headed out of my office on 57th Street and Madison Avenue to find her. At the time, my cellphone provider was Verizon, hers was Sprint. I hopped into a cab knowing that I would probably not be able to ride over to her location, but I also knew the driver would take me as far as he was allowed to go. I figured I would walk the rest of the way. In the cab, I tried calling my daughter, but could not get through. I called my grandson's father who at the time was working in Westchester County and told him what was going on. The cab driver got me as far West as he could and upon exiting his cab, I walked against the crowd to find my daughter. I continued trying to reach her on her cellphone, but couldn't. The closer I got to her office, the thicker the crowds became. I fought against those walking in my direction to find her. Two blocks away from her office, I was stopped by the police and was told I couldn't go any further.

To my right was an Irish Pub. People were spilling out of it. I spotted Kiernan, my daughter's co-worker. He was in a daze watching the unfolding events on the television screen just inside the threshold of the bar. I broke through the crowd and upon reaching him, touched his elbow, not knowing what to expect. He gave me a hug and I could feel him trembling. I pulled away and looked at him silently. He halfway turned and pointed at a bar stool. I looked over and there was my daughter staring at the screen. I think she was crying; I can't remember. I scooped her up and we embraced. I know I cried on her shoulder. We pulled apart to look at the screen just as the two towers disappeared in a horrendouse mushroom cloud. I grabbed her by the hand, pulled Kiernan along and headed to Friday's (a restaurant) in order to gather ourselves. My daughter needed to eat, and while she did, I called Dayne's father, my ex-husband in Puerto Rico, my parents and then passed my phone to Kiernan so he could call his elderly mom in Ireland. Afterward, we headed out and once we were away from the crowds, Kiernan headed toward Queens and my daughter and I began our trek.

We ended up walking to the Bronx border, jumping into a cab the rest of the way home as soon as we stepped foot in the Bronx. The whole time we walked away from Manhattan, I never lost my cellphone service. People in the street walked around in a daze. When we stopped to rest, I would offer my phone to strangers so they could call family members. It wasn't until the next day that it hit me -- people were making international calls on my cellphone. I was sure to get a huge cellphone bill, but knowing that I was able to help people, even in this small way, made it all worthwhile to me. I was never charged for those calls. Thank you Verizon.

Two months later, Dayne was born 8 weeks early. I knew all along my daughter was having a boy, but my first thought when he was born was of the Vietnamese War and the draft. I thought we would go into a long war and the draft would be re-instated. How weird is that? The love of my life will be 10 years old in November. 

My most haunting image of this day is the one of people jumping to their deaths from their office windows. Just the previous April, I had been on my first trip to Las Vegas. My then employer treated my team and I to a trip there as a reward for a job well done; allowing all members of the team to bring a guest. I didn't bring anyone because it would be a working vacation for me. I was the department head's secretary and he is a workaholic. We were putting together a trip to Singapore. I knew I would be working all hours during my stay due to the time difference. I knew I would be spending the bulk of my time arranging meetings with his colleagues overseas and other people he planned to meet with.

Phyllis, my co-worker, brought her daughter, Laura Gilly. Laura was an international flight attendant for the now defunct Tower Air Lines. She travelled all over Europe, Saudi Arabia and Asia. She absolutely loved her job. Phyllis worried about her constantly. She wanted Laura to give up flying and take a job on the ground because she thought she would be safer. While in Vegas, Laura and I would hang out, and though she loved to party, I stayed sober in case I had to go back to my suite to work. 

A month before the September 11 attacks Laura took a job with Cantor Fitzgerald. She died a grisly death in the attacks. For years afterward, on every anniversary, I would watch the roll call until I heard her name. In the earlier anniversaries, I would cry for hours afterward, but this year, I turned it off after I heard her name. 

I feel for all that we lost that day, especially those left behind. You can't help but relive that day on the day of the anniversary. The anguish I still see in the faces of those people is like a knife through my heart. Remembering all those lost souls is a good way to honor them, but an even better way is to go on living, helping and loving one another. It is our obligation to truthfully pass on the story of how we came together as human beings looking after one another in the face of adversity. What a beautiful legacy for the children that will come after us!

To all first responders: firemen, police, EMS and court officers who ran into both towers as people ran out, you gave your lives so others can live -- a heartfelt thank you!

To all those who worked at Ground Zero for so many months recovering body parts and momentos of lives wasted and clearing away debris: we know a lot of you are now paying with your health due to your sacrifice. Thank you does not seem nearly adequate enough to express the gratitude we all feel.

To our military, the men and women who fought and also sacrificed their lives for our freedom and safety, finally bringing down Osama Bin Laden: This country owes you a huge debt of gratitude.  Thank you!



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Confess....

I can't color within the lines. I don't know how!! I have ADD. Right now, I can't focus and I think I've figured out why that is.  I. Don't. Like. Feeling. Boxed. In. Man, I've tried. I really have, but I've come to the conclusion that I just can not do it. It's too inhibiting and it makes me crazy.

There! I've released it! You must be wondering what the hell I'm talking about. I'm talking about many things ... of course!!

First off, I am supposed to be working. I am physically in my office. Up to about a moment ago, my fingers were flying over the numeric keyboard calculating what was owed by my clients while I simultaneously compiled a list of names of people I need to call in order to collect outstanding invoices in anticipation of my firm's fiscal year end.  However, my mind keeps wandering. I'm antsy and if I didn't know any better, I would accuse one of my characters of demonically possesing me!

I've learned something new about myself though  I just CAN NOT focus on mundane things; particularly when I am in the middle of creating a story.  I had this very same experience when I was writing Sinner's Ride. I was up at 4 a.m. this morning writing down notes for an hour and a half, then went back to bed and fell asleep.  I woke up again at 7 a.m. -- late!!! So, now I had to skip breakfast and rush to work only to be almost a half hour late because of a train delay.  At lunchtime, I ran around in the hot, sticky, muggy streets of NYC to gather up the last few items I promised my daughter I would get for my grandson for his first day of school tomorrow.  And now, with just an hour and 15 minutes left to my work day, I've just received the latest batch of invoices to send out to clients.  Ask me if I care enough to get them out? I'll do it first thing tomorrow....  Procrastination has set in.

This situation is so bad, that now, my working title for this story, "Standing on the Precipice" no longer fits and the cover I envisioned will not do!  Yes, I did plot it, but even with all the work I put into plotting this story, it has evolved so much so that the original plot barely resembles anything like the direction this story is taking.  I plan to continue to refer to this story as "Standing on the Precipice" but I am 99.9% certain that this story will be titled differently when it is published. 

This is what I am doing with this story:  I write a chapter, then I sleep on it.  The next day, I will go back to it and edit it, then write the next chapter and walk away from that.  A day later, I will revisit it and re-read the whole thing and then edit whatever needs editing.  When I went back to my current WIP after the second chapter, I ended up writing and inserting a new first chapter and got all worked up again. 

Then, when I wrote the third chapter, I chucked it after sleeping on it and started it anew.  Though I am much happier with what I have so far, this is how the story morphed into something else completely!  I'm not going to fight it any more.  I've never been good at conventionality. I have always been a non-conformist, so, I'm just going to go with the flow and let the story write itself!

The problem with writing in this manner is that when I take a break, I will often come up with ideas for new stories borne of conversations with people or documentaries (I love documentaries!) that I may watch.  Sometimes, even something silly and mundane might happen and it will inspire a new story.  As a matter of fact, I've got this idea for a story. It came to me when I wondered about something while watching a documentary on TLC about dinosaurs......

The interesting thing about this new me is that it makes me think crazy thoughts.  About a week ago, I was talking with a friend and I told him that I was afraid of drying up.  He made a face and said:  "Woman!  You're not going to dry up!  Your mind is always going!"  I looked at him and seeing as he was convinced of what he was saying, I was convinced as well!  Nah!  I won't dry up!  That's just not going to happen!  LOL!!

Hmmmm.....about that idea; the one about the dinosaurs?  What if.........


Friday, September 2, 2011

End of Summer

Hello people,

Sinner here. This weekend is Labor Day Weekend in the States. This is the holiday that marks the beginning of the end of summer with barbeques and the final days in which the beaches are open to the public. Schools will re-open soon and people will be back on their regular routines. I thought this would be a good time for me to pop in and say hello while Minnie was away and chat a bit with you all f'or a bit.

I want to start by saying I hope you all had a nice summer. I worked really hard this summer on getting better. Oops! Have you all read my story? No? Why not? It's available right here!

Anyway, I have been working hard at getting better and I have made a lot of progress. As a matter of fact, there are things that I've realized about my reality and as part of my healing process, I think I want to share those things with you all. You know, a cleansing of the soul and all that? So, Minnie and I have been discussing the possibility of sharing that part of my story with you. Stay tuned for further information. Just thinking about all that's happened has my mind all jumbled again, so I'm going to have to take a step back again, and figure things out.

Oh, and just so you know, Minnie's got a lot on her plate right now. Things are going to heat up at work and she has put pressure on herself to get cracking on her next story...which by the way, she has not included me in! Frankly, I'm appalled, but I get it and I forgive her. So, remember, when she gets crazy, she tends to disappear for a bit to do what she has to do. Be kind to her when she returns from those "Minnie" vacations. She truly is very grateful for all her followers. In fact, she's honored and that's why she goes off on her own for stretches of time. She's wants to offer you the best work she possibly can and she's working hard at creating stories for you that you will enjoy.

So, with that said, I'm going to go back now.  But before I go, I want you all to know that I also appreciate all of your support. Thank you, for if it weren't for you, I/we wouldn't be here!! Thanks for visiting and come back soon!

If you're here in the States, then have a great weekend and be safe. If you're elsewhere, I hope you enjoy the weekend as well!

Good night all!!