Last night I opened "The Joy Diet" by Martha Beck. I opened it to a random page, as if I were cutting a deck of cards. "Figure Out What Your Career Really Is" headed the top of the page. Just answer this question, and you’ll find your answer: What did you do the evening of September 11, 2001?
My answer comes with a side of too much truth, as usual:
I want to make a living telling stories. Mine and others and not the words and tales that sell corporate ideas. I don't know - strike that, reverse it - I'm too afraid to make it happen. To sacrifice for it. I’m too scared to fail at the only real gift (besides always being the girl who could make everyone laugh) that I believe I have.
I stayed up all night the evening of Sept. 11th, wide awake and realizing for the first time how quiet the world can be with few cars on the highway near my window and no planes in the air. Alone in bed. Very alone in bed.
The next night or two I went out to hear live music and drink dirty vodka martinis and talked with the bartender, a beautiful new friend and rock-a-billy girl named Maddie who told us a friend of hers worked in the second tower (or was it the first?), a waiter at Windows on the World. And she hadn't heard from him.
I don’t know if she was telling the truth.
I still write marketing drivel. For the most part I like it.
I still hear the traffic out that window.
There are many evenings and moments and litmus tests that spark and cement who we desire to be. In fifth grade when my short story about Johnny Appleseed was turned into a live class play. At 17 absorbing the words from HR while security watched over me and a roomful of men and mostly women twice my age just laid off from the night shift on an assembly line. The first positive comment scrawled in red on a freshman creative writing paper.
What I did the evening of September 11, 2001 was try and comfort myself, figure out where to go from here and with how much fear or not. I do the same in my writing, in the words, even if only in the therapy and vanity of a blog.