Tuesday, September 11, 2012

"Growing up 9/11"

As we all take time to remember where we were and how we saw this day eleven years ago, I am reminded that we now have a generation coming up who has grown up in the shadow of that world-changing event. My daughter came home today and said that she had just realized that she has "grown up 9/11." She was only 7 months old at the time, but she has felt the impact of that day in so many ways.

Her world will always be different than the one I grew up in. I had Viet Nam and the moon landing, Woodstock, Kent State, the cold war, and the fall of the Berlin Wall. These events shaped my childhood and young adult vision of our world and gave me a sense of how dark and how light our existence can be. Even through the scariest of those times, even with the threat of nuclear war, there always seemed to be light straining through and a sense of some security. As sense that our country will be here forever and will always be protected.  It is different for my children.

Since the day the twin towers fell...since the day a plane tore a gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon, our seat of military intelligence...since the day a band of brave Americans accepted their fate and changed the fate of the nation by steering a hijacked plane straight into the ground instead of our nation's capital, our children have grown up in the shadow of a new kind of terrorism. A new kind of war. A new kind of nakedness.

The sense of vulnerability that was generated that day may never leave us. Perhaps it shouldn't. Perhaps it is that sense of exposure that reminds us how precious our freedom and our lives really are. It is easy to become complacent when you live in a country that celebrates the individual and promises to protect life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is easy to take for granted the everyday necessities that come so easily to most of us. We might remember that there are still people out there, our brothers and sisters, who might not have enough food or a place to live but always assume they will forever have a right to it.  That day bound us together in grief and in wonder. It reminded us that freedom is not an easy thing to define or to hold on to.

Even though she was an infant when it all came apart, my girl will forever be shaped by what followed. And this is the indelible image she will carry with her and share with her children:

To all those who were lost...we will always remember.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Visual Inspiration

As #wipmadness continues, our fabulous host Kip Wilson Rechea blogged about visual inspiration for this week's reflection. She shared a few snapshots of the visuals that keep her inspired and fill her WIP with authentic setting details.  I have always used visuals to feed my WIP-ping heart and create atmosphere and inspiration as I plow through each draft. Sadly, I spend most of my days in a lab at the university, so I'm not really free to paper my walls with all the cool photos and bits of flotsam that drive my writing. So, I have papered my Scrivener bulletin board with them:

Of course, my Project 365 blog as well as my new adventures in Light and Shadow have helped me fine-tune my senses to those amazing little details of the world around us that bring my story to life. I just hope I am doing it justice when I write. Through these bits of setting or hardware or direction, I'm pushing to create that world, to make it real enough for the reader to embrace. Shapes, textures, light, and shadow—it's all essential.

I suppose if I papered my little corner of the lab with all my scraps and photos, security might think I was a psycho or something, building my little WIP/stalker shrine. Ah well...I suppose it would just keep them guessing...