Monday, September 23, 2013

The Day After

Not talking about a hangover.
At least not from alcohol.

It is the day after one of the busiest weekends I can remember. I taught two classes at the Midwest Storymakers writers conference and had the honor of being a keynote speaker, along with Janette Rallison. It was thrilling. And depleting. As most of the best things are.
To add to the fun my writing partner, the author Jaima Fixsen, came all the way from Alberta Canada to stay with my family and attend the conference.
What's that? You're writing partner wouldn't do that for you?
I'm so sorry.
But with all the compassion I can muster- You can't have her. She's mine!

We spent all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday exploring our city with our daughters, eating the best hamburgers on earth, staying up too late and talking writing, life, society, family and fountain pens.
And today- today when I need to get back to work and finish all five loads of laundry that managed to sneak up on me in one tiny weekend, and send emails and prepare for the Anderson's Young Adult Literature Conference in Chicago this weekend, all I really want to do is sneak into the backyard with my copy of Moby Dick:

And I am trying to edit and write and work and be a grown up, but the Dancer emptied her backpack for me this morning and made a pile of stones on my desk as she told me about each one.
"This one is speckled and this one is smooth and this one is pink and this one is broken..."

And now, in all honesty, all I can think is how beautiful those little rocks are.
Except for just now. I thought of how you can't end a sentence with "are" and that totally wrecked the moment.
I'm not sure that there is anything I can write more special than that haphazard collection.
So maybe I'll just go grab Moby and meet you outside...

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My 9/11 promise

The hardest post of every year is always September 11th.
I vowed never to let a year go by without recording my feelings of that day in a journal. That was back before we had public journals.
But a promise is a promise.

So short and sweet- because this day is not about me. It's about them. All of them.
The man who tried to cling to the window sill, but couldn't.
The fireman who vowed to find his men, but couldn't.
The wife who waited for her husband to come home through the smoke, but he didn't.
The child who wrote a letter to her mother, and had nowhere to send it.

I will simply say that that twelve years ago, in this very hour, my belief turned to absolute knowledge.
I always believed we were children of God.
I always believed I loved my neighbors.
And in a moment, what I always thought I knew, I suddenly knew I knew.
When those dust-caked faces with baffled eyes ran past the cameras, my heart screamed, "My brother! My sister!"
When the tower of rubble echoed with the locator beeps of hundreds of fallen firefighters who gave their lives for strangers, I knew there was a power deeper, stronger, better, purer than mere mortals.
There is something that changes people into angels. There is One who elevates us above ourselves and our circumstances. This I know.

To my brothers and sisters who are not here, but should be- I would have wept with gratitude to trade places with just one of you.
But you wouldn't have let me, would you? Which is why the world will always honor you.
Which is why I will never, never forget you.