Friday, August 08, 2014

Memories of 911 and what I was doing at the time...

I found one of the first articles I ever had published online this morning in a creative writing newsletter:

This reminded me of my early days of writing for publication.

Back then in 2002, I think I was just filled with enthusiasm and hope.  I'd joined a large Yahoo online writing group called Momwriters who I learned so much from.  Some were editors, publishers, authors, freelancers, whilst others were ordinary mothers with young children with an urge to write something and see it in print.  If it were published and you got paid too, then that was the icing on the cake.

The group was very supportive and encouraging.  We shared writing tips and writing markets.  I saw some of those ladies go on to achieve great things.  One called, Joshilyn Jackson, even made the best seller list.  That was a thrill for me to see her book on the shelf at my local Tesco. 

It was a feeling of a 'can do' attitude back then.  Nothing seemed impossible.  It was quite easy to find markets and provided you had the skill to get published online and in magazines, so much the better.

However, following 911, when the twin towers fell, I noticed a change in the market.  Websites offering payment no longer did so, or some offered less payment or  none at all.  I've no idea really whether that was coincidental or not.  I suppose 911 must have had some impact on the economy.

I remember the day of September 11th 2001 so well.  It was a cloudless day with blue skies on both sides of the Atlantic.  I came home from work and walked the dogs and when I arrived back at the house, my husband arrived home a little later, this was just after 2 pm I think.  He said there's been some sort of plane crash into a tower in New York, I just heard it on the car radio.  It sounded awful but it sounded like an accident at that time.

However within minutes of hearing the news, we switched on the television to see another plane had crashed but this time it was into the second tower.  It was like watching a disaster movie unfold on the big screen, so surreal and spooky.  It was at that point I think that the world realised it was not an accident at all.  It was deliberate.

At the time people were discussing this at the Momwriters Yahoo group.  Now don't forget this was well before Facebook so we didn't tend to get instant threads with people joining in live on Yahoo groups like we do on social media these days.  But a phenomenal amount of messages were pouring in and even the moderators were allowing them to be posted immediately.  In that group ALL posts were moderated so they could take some time to appear.  Hours later usually.

I was hearing of people who had narrow escapes, hearing about people whose friends and family were missing.  People shocked to the core.  People on foot near the scene.  It was so strange to share the grief in some way when I was so far away from it all.

One Momwriter lost ten friends in one of the towers.  Can you imagine that?  Ten of your friends gone.  It's unimaginable.

At the time I was running an online E-zine called Positively Woman and one lady shared a story there her husband wrote.  It was of how he escaped from one of the towers and what it felt like being out in the street afterwards.  It had all started off as an ordinary day for him and ended up as Armageddon.

It was definitely a day that shook the world.  I had an article published about it at the time at the Canadian website Suite 101.  People posted lots of comments.  There was even one from a pilot's son his father flew airplanes for American Airlines.  I remember friends contacting me from all over the world afterwards saying, take care, hold your loved ones tonight, sending our love to you from Australia, or wherever.

I think what came out of it all was that after that horrendous tragedy which cost so many lives, we held our own loved ones a little closer and thanked our lucky stars we still had them.

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